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April 2013, vol 9, no 1

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Peter Butler

Early Morning Call

I wake
from a bad dream
to a worse one

Three cops at the door. A fourth in the car with the engine running. I am in my Kafka dressing gown, and ordered to get ready. It seems I am under arrest. At the station I am accused of indecent assault on a named person some 30 years ago. I protest my innocence. They question repeatedly my name, age, whereabouts on a given day, my inside leg measurement (okay, I made that bit up).

Another raid and a ‘number of items are removed’ from my house. They include diaries, telephone records, my computer, photo albums, gas bills, garden shears, my toothbrush. It gets into the local press. Curtains twitch as I return home on bail. Neighbors are polite, as usual, but with searching looks that were not there before.

Some weeks later, another early morning call. Apologies. They have made an arrest. A man in the road of similar height and build. Neighbors smile sympathetically, never having doubted my innocence, bring me gifts, cakes mostly. I see my lawyer about compensation, trusting it will be a case of Big Win - Low Fee, as I plan to move. Before they find out more about me.

I ditch
the toothbrush
it has their fingerprints