The world was spinning. Where was the law? There was the barricade. Who was it protecting from what? The city was run by a madman and his shadowy chums, so where was the law?
Coppers liked to say that people shouldn't take the law into their own hands, and they thought they knew what they meant. But they were thinking about peaceful times, and men who went around to sort out a neighbor with a club because his dog had crapped once too often on their doorstep. But at times like these, who did the law belong to? If it shouldn't be in the hands of the people, where the hell should it be? People who knew better? Then you got Winder and his pals, and how good was that?
What was supposed to happen next? Oh yes, he had a badge, but it wasn't his, not really... and he'd got orders, but they were the wrong ones... and he'd got enemies, for all the wrong reasons... and maybe there was no future. It didn't exist anymore. There was nothing real, no solid point on which to stand, just Sam Vimes where he had no right to be...
It was as if his body, trying to devote as many resources as possible to untangling the spinning thoughts, was drawing those resources from the rest of Vimes. His vision darkened, his knees felt weak.
There was nothing but bewildered despair.
And a lot of explosions.
There were a lot of explosions. The firecrackers bounced all over the street. Tambourines thudded, a horn blared a chord unknown in nature, and a line of monks danced and danced and twirled around the corner, all chanting at the top of their voices.
Vimes, sagging to his knees, was aware of dozens of sandaled feet gyrating past, and grubby robes flying. Rust was yelling something at the dancers who grinned and waved their hands in the air.
Something square and silvery landed in the dirt.
And the monks were gone, dancing into an alleyway, yelling and spinning and banging their gongs...
Vimes reached down and picked up the silver rectangle.
He stared at the thing in his hand. It was a cigar case, slim and slightly curved.
He fumbled it open and read: To Sam with love from your Sybil.
The world moved. Vimes still felt like a drifting ship. But at the end of the tether there was now the tug of the anchor, pulling the ship around so that it faced the current.
- from Terry Pratchett's Night Watch