Northern Girls

toilet-roll-300x300We lie in the back of the car and play submarine.  Jamie has a periscope made out of mirrors and a milk carton. We take turns using it to see out of the back window.  No one comes.  There is nothing to look at.

“Want to see something?” Jamie asks.

I follow him over to his house, upstairs to Chuckie’s room. There is a small cage on the desk, full of wood shavings. Jamie reaches into the cage and picks up a handful of small pink things.  When he holds out his hand to me I see that they are baby rats —hairless, their eyes shut tight.  “He named it Mickey, but then it had babies.” The baby rats writhe, but make no sounds.  They look like fat pink worms, wiggling around in his palm.  I extend my finger, feel a rubbery body.  None of them is bigger than my pinkie. More

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