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A Corporate Camus

I am 31 years old and for the last year I have been stealing from my employer. I would like to tell you how I got to this point by telling you a little about myself.

I was expelled from military boarding school for stealing a heart from biology and putting it on my friend’s plate at lunchtime. My charge: “deliberate and wilful attempt to spread E. coli”. Absurd considering the school cooks seemed to be managing that fine by themselves.

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A Couple of Baskets

I spent 1991 crawling to and from my service industry job feeling as if I had died, but no one had buried me. A year on, I got a diagnosis. It wasn't terminal, but my specialist recommended I wind up my business, invest in a good mattress, and move to a bungalow by the sea.

I was twenty-eight.

For a fortnight, I lay in bed with a pile of library books and a second-hand budgie for company.

As soon as I could sit up again, I went shopping. It had to be window shopping because my previous employer had pocketed my National Insurance contributions, and I had no income.  

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A Dressing Down

Looking back, secondary school rules on dress were fairly relaxed when I started there in 1989. Ties, although encouraged, were an endangered species, and dark-blue blazers reached extinction some time during my second year.  Trainers and “T-shirts with slogans” were severely frowned upon; jeans banned outright.

“You’ve got the biggest bit.”  My brother Andrew measured the chocolate Swiss roll with his eyes. “Put some back.”

I stacked the three sections on top of each other. “We’ve all got exactly the same size.  Stop whining.”

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A Faint Whiff of Rebellion

Being a rebel has never been my forte. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always seen the romanticism in rebellion, from the heroes of the French Resistance to the ‘rebel scum’ who stood against Vader’s Empire. I grew up in the seventies & eighties, when every cop series featured the gritty detective fighting against the strictures of his superiors and getting the job done, dammit! The rebel was my hero, the aspirational self of my fantasies.

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A Forgotten Rebel

Every act is ephemeral

To Rebel is an act

All Rebellion is ephemeral?

Seventeen years ago, I served in northern Iraq as the Field Coordinator in a UN project providing aid to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP). Some 66% of the population in the northern Governorates of Sulaymaniyah, Erbil and Duhok had been displaced at least once in their life, resulting in an effective breakdown of societal structures and community support networks.

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A Goat Named Miro

It was Liz's idea. I mean I was content in returning Miro to the Hagerstons, but Liz insisted this was a battle we needed to fight. When she gave her impassioned speech all I could think about was "will this cut into my Mario Brothers playing time?" I knew it would, I knew it would cut into catching salamanders and toads down at the bog that borders our subdivison. I knew it would cut into a lot of things that I prefered to do instead of civic activism regarding a pet goat. I was counting on the folks to step in and curb Liz's ridiculous idea. But they gently encouraged her.

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A Juvenile Success

The dictatorial, purple-faced, square-shaped department head ae Religious Education, Mr Blank, had been summoned. Five ae us were in trouble. Three were good boys led astray and oot ae their element. Me? Ah had experience and wis a little scared, but better prepared fir the disproportionate onslaught. The final guy, a misbehaving maestro and ma mate, Richie, wis a living, breathing nutter, who would crack jokes in a foxhole. He couldnae care less if you paid him in PlayStation games and sanctioned days aff school.  

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A Little Rebellion

I believe I was quite an innocuous wee girl at primary school. I did my work, liked to read, liked to colour in. My friends and I squabbled incessantly, but question authority? It wouldn’t have occurred to me. You have to respect those put in authority don’t you?

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A Love Letter

Honey bunny, Mummy wants you to know that you don’t have to try to please everybody around you.

You can say or show how you truly feel.

I want you to be happy and be able to have the confidence to speak up for yourself.

I want you to be able to find happiness from within.


First, you need to be able to stay true to yourself.

You don’t need to say out loud to others how you feel.


You need to be able to say it to yourself, be confident in what you believe and accept who you are!

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A Moment Of Glad

Though baptised first name Dilys
Was called my middle name, Jane.
Dolls were not my friend
Teddy bear and rabbit my game.
Sugar and Spice were not my thing
But slugs and snails and puppy dogs tails.
Moles in traps, to my bed
Fleas and disease my parents dread.
Time and tide moved on
Muddied knees clean
Wild and free remained my dream.
Headmaster at school, who thrashed a lad
Cos he lifted my skirt, in a moment of glad.
He preached on a Sunday
About the Lords Love
The rebel in me was fed by his glove.

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