He squatted on the land and took shelter inside a long forgotten bunker. A fence ringed the perimeter and ended in a snarl of barbed wire and a busy ring road further isolated him from the rest of the world. The council had owned the triangular plot for years and had used it as an overspill for the town’s domestic rubbish.
Eventually, though, the cabbage leaves and the seagulls and the upturned shopping trolleys had become an eyesore for commuters, who glanced at it through misty bus windows on their way to work, and the authorities smoothed the area over with dark, rich earth. After the diggers had gone he thought how easy it would now be to extend his basement out into the landfill.
Before the booze had choked his life he’d worked in the building trade and he knew that tunnelling into the great mound was possible. The only danger as he saw it was being found out and he’d have to keep the digging a secret, although he knew that he was the only person who ever spent any time there. Now, down in his basement, he ran his fingers over the rubble wall and picked at the dry earth between the stones; it would easily crumble with a couple of well-aimed blows.
He took his pick and braced himself before running it though the wall. He pulled out great, grey, sodden chunks of stone and earth and, after a couple of blows, he’d made an eyelet as hollow as a washing machine. Rather than seeing a mulch of soil and clay he was surprised to see rows of white paper bags, clumsily wrapped and sodden with filth. As he removed more of the surrounding wall they began to spill out and as they split open he saw they were filled with tablets. The medication dribbled out at first and then began to pour in a steady stream all over the floor of the basement.
He thought of the money he could make selling some of them on the black market and thanked the NHS for its waste.
Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Aberdeen