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BURNS, Anna



Milkman
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The day Somebody McSomebody put a gun to my breast and called me a cat and threatened to shoot me was the same day the milkman died. He had been shot by one of the state hit squads and I did not care about the shooting of this man. Others did care though, and some were those who, in the parlance, ‘knew me to see but not to speak to’ and I was being talked about because there was a rumour started by them, or more likely by first brother-in-law, that I had been having an affair with this milkman and that I was eighteen and he was forty-one.

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As for the names of us offspring, never could he remember them, not without running through a chronological list in his head. While doing this, he’d include his sons’ names even if searching for the name of a daughter. And vice versa. Sooner or later, by running through, he’d hit on the correct one at last. Even that though, became too much and so, after a bit, he dropped the mental catalogue, opting instead for ‘son’ or ‘daughter’ which was easier. And he was right. It was easier which was how the rest of us came to substitute ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ and so on ourselves.

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