Overheard #9

Theo: Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you…

Mabel: WHERE’S MY PRESENT?

Theo: …The people are your present, Mae. The people at your birthday.

Mabel: Yeah, but where’s my present?

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Love is a reciprocal torture. – Marcel Proust.

There’s a lot of whispering happening over there. I’m only as suspicious as I ever am. Four years of low-level torture has built up a surprising tolerance for these things.

Slowly, Mabel emerges from behind the couch and crawls on her little pink belly across the floor in front of me, to where the dog is lying in a small patch of sun.

‘You got any stored, Mae?’, Theo hisses at her, peeking out from around the armchair.

She reaches into her leggings and pulls out a small Phillips head screwdriver.

‘OPERATION TIME!’, she yells.

The dog lifts his head slightly. He looks at me with brief resignation, and goes back to sleep.

I almost join him.