Arriving at Zac's on Tuesday evening I spotted Jerry, our regular alcoholic, sitting on a wall a little way down the street. I assumed he'd come in and join us when things got going but he didn't come in until it was packing-up time when he said, 'I didn't come in tonight; it was too mad in here.'
As it's usually Jerry who's partly responsible for any madness that was quite a statement and illustrates better than my words can the chaos of the evening.
He said, 'I heard the ambulance and I came over when it arrived as I thought it was my mate, Terry, had been beaten up but it wasn't. Then I saw the copper coming in. He didn't see me as I was in shadows. But, hey, I tell you, you should have seen him when the bikers arrived. All these bikes came down the road towards him and he ran off down the street. Yeah, he did, he ran. I was expecting him to come back with reinforcements but he just cleared off.'
Which is a rough summary of the evening's events. The bikers he mentioned were a group of hunky men from a visiting bike club, the beaten-up man was taken to Casualty and the policeman (a newbie to the area) called in to check that everything was okay. We also had more than usual rough sleepers who stayed in for the evening, and instead of continuing the study on David, Sean told the story of Zaccheus and explained how Zac's Place got its name - a perfect story and message for the evening: that Jesus cared about those that no-one else could be bothered with.
One of the rough sleepers, a girl in her teens, was so doped she could barely sit up. It doesn't bear thinking where these youngsters get the money to buy the heroin or, worse, what stories could be traced back through each needle mark and bruise.