'Yes, Corporal Ping?'
'Why're some of you wearing purple flowers, sarge?'
There was a subtle change in the atmosphere, a suction of sound caused by many pairs of ears listening intently. All the officers in the room had stopped writing.
'I mean, I saw you and Reg and Nobby wearing 'em this time last year, and I wondered if we were all supposed to...' Ping faltered. Sergeant Colon's normally amiable eyes had narrowed and the message they were sending was: you're on thin ice, lad, and it's starting to creak.
'I mean, my landlady's got a garden and I could easily go and cut a-' Ping went on, in an uncharacteristic attempt at suicide.
'You'd wear the lilac today, would you?' said Colon quietly. 'I just meant that if you wanted me to I could go and-'
'Were you there?' said Colon, getting to his feet so fast that his chair fell over.
'Steady, Fred,' murmured Nobby.
'I didn't mean-' Ping began. 'I mean ... was I where, sarge?'
Colon leaned on the desk, bringing his round red face an inch away from Ping's nose.
'If you don't know where there was, you weren't there,' he said, in the same quiet voice.
"I have had Alzheimer's now for the past two years plus. There's nearly as many of us as there are cancer sufferers, and it looks as if the number of people with the disease will double within a generation. It's a shock and a shame to find out that funding for research is 3% of that which goes to find cancer cures."
- Terry Pratchett OBE, Patron, Alzheimer's Research Trust