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The Cold War

It was a stand off. Two equally opposed enemies facing each other across the vastness of a darkened classroom. I stared her down, unflinching from my position on top of a desk. She stared back; eyes narrowing against the glare of the school film screen behind me. I knew this was a battle to the death. When you take on a nun, there will be no survivors.

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The Comics! The Comics!

Mum and Dad expected me to leap, blind,
from pictures to prose. But I never did.
Instead I was hacked up, not raised up,
by those horrible blinking comics--

scripted, drafted, inked and lettered,
printed and distributed, sold and traded,
thumbed through and poured over--
what little words there were, were uppercase

and the kerning was off so that innocent FLICKS
were given new meaning--they read me well.
Page one, panel one, blank and white,
save for that dirty black spot in the corner.

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The Conformist

Yer wanting a story aboot a rebel? Well, yer no getting wan.

Ye hear me?

Yer no telling ME whit tae say,

Ah write aboot what Ah want tae,

Ah winnae dance tae yer tune,

Yer terms and conditions,

Yer perfect renditions,

O’ some snoff’s idea o’ po-yeah-tray


I’ll. Break!

All, You’re?


Make…. U.


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The Confrontation

Five foot four of righteous anger stood dead centre, facing the withering authoritarian.

Eyes locked, chin raised, she knew she had the upper hand. She was certain she was right, and he couldn't make her, or any of the other pupils make that choice.

An almost imperceptible pallor beginning to appear on his face, he roared at her to "GET OUT". She stood her ground. Didn't even flinch. She glanced back at her traitorous, weak-willed, lying friends. Her backup had failed, but still she stood, alone, proud of her resolve.

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The declaration

Whoa, she thought. What was the point of getting out of bed, feeding the baby, putting the baby in his or her bed and then getting back into bed? It was cold in the middle of the night and there was never enough time for sleep. There had to be a better way and she knew what it was: let the baby sleep safely in the bed. That way she could sit up, feed, put the baby down, go to sleep and she’d never have to set foot out of the bed until morning – unless it was absolutely necessary to go to the toilet.

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The Dress Code

‘Don’t be on that all night,’ Dad says as he passes through the kitchen. ‘You’re costing me a fortune.’ I’m sat on the kitchen counter (our phone is hung to the wall just above it).

‘So, what are you wearing?’ I ask Michaela who’s on the other end. She’s wearing her new white stilettoes, her new navy pencil skirt and a shiny white blouse that she’s worn before. I’m supposed to wear the exact same or something very similar. This is me trying to fit in.

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the economist and I

Warning: this piece contains strong language


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The Girl Code

The Girl Code

There seems to be a system. A code. Rules to be followed. In schools, in jobs, in all sorts of places. In the world. It seems there is a certain amount of requirements to classify as a girl. To classify as “female” you of course need to match all the biological matters. But to be a “girl”? It is almost like the Ten Commandments. In every school, in every place of work, all over the world, “girls” or “women” follow these rules:

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The Grape Escape


My head was pounding. I was tired, lethargic, and hungry. The overhead fluorescent lighting wasn’t doing much to help, with one flickering tube in every aisle of the supermarket. There was an army of tiny humans bashing around inside my skull with a million miniature hammers, like the ones my granny used back in the day to smash her toffee into more manageable chunks.

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The Head

The other teenagers jostle and cry like seagulls circling a fishing trawler. At their centre, we stand. He like a king and I, his lowly serf. He pushes me. I step back, my sportsbag dropping to the ground. He follows, eyes blazing, chest pumped and fists white. I bend to reclaim my bag just as he thrusts with his infamous headbutt: his nose bursting on impact with my tilted head. He falls to my feet, his face cupped in his bloodied hands. Quietly triumphant – the seagulls now silent and still – I pass unhindered, and away to meet my own fate with the school's Head.

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