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Crab Scuttle

- Dedicated to an ol’ mate

I used to think a lot of things. Like I had a safe upbringing. That people always tried their best. Or that civilisation was inherently welcoming. But I escaped those doubts by thinning them down with whatever available serum. Tonight, my mate and I, Skeet, are daring for the alley fake ID to work this time. We’re hoping a six-pack will be enough to dilute the smog and tar. Last time I tried the license I got rejected out the gate. But doubt hasn’t stopped me before.

Skeet thought migrants were trying to take over our kindergartens. One day care centre position at a time. He wants nothing more than a woman of similar complexion to fulfill his legacy’s seat at the table. He also thought The Borg had some good points on assimilation.

You’d have to carefully sidestep these things. He’d try to sew his doubts into you. Little did he know I picked seams for fun. You weren’t speaking to reason. You are conferring with doubt. A doubt I didn’t quite know how to dispel.

To not draw suspicion, we park our bikes around the corner of the convenience store.

Skeet enters first. Confidently nods to the clerk. Then beelines to the bottle’o of the store.

He’s not carded. So, I enter without a doubt. I scour the fridge for the cheapest cans then pay.

‘That, and a pack ‘a smokes. Got any Trojans?’

‘Um. I’m going to need to see some ID.’

Hans Stensellman Snr – (03-09-78)

My moustache is passably Stensellman.

He looks me up and down.

My faded Ubu jumper over All Blacks singlet isn’t coming off as legitimate as I thought.

‘Um. This license looks new. The blue ink’s still fresh. You lose the old one?’

‘Well, I lost my last card in a cliffside road accident when my son was driving me to church. My wallet went through the windshield and my ID was lost to the hills. I’ve been recovering this last season and now I’m off my meds I can drink again.’

‘That’s a hard road. Can I get you anything else?’

‘Got any sandwiches? I’m going to need the energy.’

‘Down the back, in the fridge, by the ice.’

Leaving my stuff on the counter.

I make my way up the back where Skeet meets me looking nervous. He eyeballs the door.

In walks a tall, denim flexing, bandana posing, sunglasses at night abusing, macho man.

He saddles up to the clerk and spits on the plastic screen.

‘Don’t make us take another hostage. The boot’s full enough as it is. Give me all of this and a wad of smiles. Pronto!’

The clerk points to the register and slowly shuffles toward it. The would-be thief moves sideways with him. Skeet, and I, crouch in the aisle and start side stepping toward the corner.

Skeet looks at me punching the air like he could take him any day of the week.

I make the two outstretched finger point of, ‘follow my eyes to the front door.’

Crouching and shuffling we inch to the entrance hiding behind the low aisles.

He gets there first, so, he rips open the door for me and we bolt.

We get toward our bikes when Skeet, ‘Psssts!’ me.

‘The car waiting out front. The ski-masked geta-away driver. I think that was your mum!’

‘Crab scuttle!’

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