Annie On Writing

June 22, 2016

What Comes Round Goes Round By Oonah V Joslin

Filed under: Writing Tools — Annie Evett @ 3:00 am

“A government spokesperson has said that there is no proven link between violence as portrayed in Worldwide Corporate’s latest HoloInteractives and violence on our streets. She emphasised that OldStad and other areas like it throughout the city were virtually crime-free and darned good communities in which to live.” The wind-up radio wound down.

Jess struggled in on her sticks and placed three fresh eggs from the cotton bag on her arm on the rough table.

“Is that it?” asked her mother.

“Someone took one of the hens.”

True – it was unusual for anyone to steal in OldStad. Everyone was scraping by, little or no sanitation, standpipe water on the perimeter, anything they could beg, scrounge or recycle from landfill – but stealing a hen was virtually unheard of, after all–you might need a favour one day.

“Must be a stranger. Tell Dusty on your way back from milking the goat, Jess.”

“Sure, Mum.”

Dusty was a bully but he was the unofficial law around here and he was the nearest thing to a brick shit house they had. He made sure strangers became — familiar with the rules. Jess and Mari made sure he got some fresh milk every day and an egg if they could afford it. Many other families also contributed to his well-being.

Jess strung a bucket on a rope round her neck and picked up her sticks. Polio was rife in the OldStad as it was in all the satellite shanty towns. Jess considered herself lucky. She could walk. Construction for a brand new hospital was under way within sight of the perimeter but the treatment was well out of range for anybody in OldStad. The perimeter was a recent addition, lottery and business funded. Every five hundred yards along the high wall there was a standpipe providing clean water but it also meant the people inside were hidden from view: a convenient side effect.

Jess heard the wind-up as she approached Dusty’s shack.

“A government spokesperson has said that Public Screen coverage of the 2052 Olympic Games will greatly encourage young people to take up sports as well as contributing millions to the economy and vastly improving the lives of ordinary people.”

Between the lines of those two bulletins, something didn’t quite add up for Jess and she wondered whether the New Stadium they were building now would end up like this old one.

“Dusty?”

He grunted a reply.

She went inside. She poured some milk from the bucket into a tall jug on the table. She placed her sticks by the wall.

“No eggs today?”

“Mother said to tell you there’s a stranger about–one of the chickens is missing,” she said, undoing her blouse.

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1 Comment »

  1. The sense of deprivation and desperation really came through. The last line was a killer.

    Like

    Comment by ganymeder — June 27, 2016 @ 5:07 am | Reply


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