• Lindsay and I have left Ireland and gone to live in Chicago, and I'm working as a bicycle messenger, cycling through the city centre. It's sunny and warm and busy, and I'm freewheeling down a long hill near the shore of the lake. I come to the steps of an enormous skyscraper, dark like the Sears Tower, but larger and wider, a different shape. I enter, and rise on escalator after escalator in the gigantic forecourt, until the people below me are just wriggling black marks.

    I meet my friend John at the top. He's in bed with a girl I've never seen before, and he seems grumpy to have been woken up, so I remind him that we were supposed to take a drive into the country today. He puts on his blue dressing gown and comes down, and the girl makes breakfast for him. I pack some CDs while I'm waiting for him to get ready. When I look at John, I can see all the huge skyscraper space behind him, and its moving, like a vertigo scene in a post-Hitchcock movie.

    We leave, and while we are driving away, the skyscraper falls. I see this as if it's happening on TV, and there is a commentary in my mind as I watch the million windows shatter, the dark, smudged outline collapsing to the ground. "This is the great Sydney disaster. Too many people crowded into the building, and it couldn't take the weight. It was utterly destroyed, and thousands of people lost their lives."

  • I was running through the same city with my friends. We were all amateur athletes trying to get to the Olympics. We were following a specific course through the back streets, under overhangs and through half-open awnings and back doors. We stopped at a pharmacy where someone we knew worked, because we needed more muscle tone and bulk. I was popping performance-enhancing pills of some kind while I ran, and I needed more. Another racer needed to build more muscle because he was so thin. Our pharmacist friend was baffled that this guy could have taken so many steroids and not bulked up, but I knew the real reason - he was hooked on amphetamines. Another racer pinched a vein in my leg and told me it had to be a lot more 'articulated'. I wasn't even out of breath.