Checked Out

Bub takes three minutes to get to the store.

Bungs on his double pluggers and trots in.

Grabs a trolley on the way.

Five minutes to close.

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A Confession

Judith stared at a spot on the concrete wall in front of her as the prison guard guided the metal detector down the length of her body. As he reached the curve of her hips she breathed him in, the heady scent of cedarwood and tobacco smoke curling into her nostrils.

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Number Twenty-Five

Number Twenty-Five crouches over, knobbly spine swaying with the rhythm of the slight breeze. In his hand he holds a pair of scissors; not the kind you’d normally see in the hands of a gardener, mind you.

These are the type of scissors I remembered buying for my son when he started Prep, the ones with thick, brightly coloured, easy-grip handles and soft-curved blades that struggled to cut a single sheet of paper unless you stuck your tongue out at just the right angle.

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I Want You to Panic

‘When you’re asleep, you lose your sense of smell,’ the firefighter explained. ‘That’s why smoke alarms are important; without them, you won’t smell the smoke. If you don’t smell the smoke, you’ll feel the fire. Girls and boys, if that fire creeps up on you, you’ll be dead. Too late, game over. When you hear that smoke alarm beep-beep-beepin’ – girl, you’d better sit up and take notice before it’s too late. You gotta wake up. Do you hear me girl? You better wake the hell up.’

‘Anna! WAKE. UP.’

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