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Nos

No 9 had taken in a tramp. One who’d been loitering outside her Edwardian semi. The neighbours watched as No 9 relented and allowed him the use of her shed.

“Do they speak?” No 6.

“Yes. Laugh even.” No 11.

“Laugh?” No 4. “With a tramp?”

The neighbours considered No 9 too generous, a lot foolish and a bit touched.

“She’s ruining the neighbourhood,” said No 11, whose house was up for sale.

“She should move too.” No 6. “Her house, after all, is too big for one.”

That night the Tramp partook in caterwauling after intercepting wine brought by No 4, who’d come to pry.

It was agreed by everyone, apart from No 6, that No 6, being a man of looming bulk and considerable voice, was best placed to suggest an eviction.

He caught No 9 clipping her back hedge and proffered a bottle of supermarket’s-own Cava and a plea to oust the shed dweller.

“No.”

“No?”

“No. He’s my brother.”

Nos 9 and 6 stared at the shed, No 6 later venting about lax folks owning vagrants as siblings.

“How are the Twelve Steps progressing?” No 9.

“You ask that waving some plonk?”

“Sorry.”

“Slippery—after my singing bonanza I’m sitting on the naughty step.”

No 9 sighed. “Lasagne for tea.”

She exited the shed and collected the shears by the hedge just as No 11 was cawing about schools and transport links. It was the ‘lovely neighbours’ that made her lob the Cava up and over shattering the greenhouse.

She headed in, to the tune of house-hunters’ squeals and No 11’s high-doh curses, thinking, yes, I will eject the shed dweller. The house, after all, is too big for one.


Flash Fiction by Sharon Boyle
Picture: Red sheds by Gunilla G under CC BY-SA 2.0
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Published in Winter 2017

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