Trafika Europe 1 - Northern Idyll

But Andra also told me about the dysentry. How no-one was reporting sick. If you did that, they wouldn’t let you on the train. No-one wanted to stay on that continent any longer than he had to. You were so desperate to get home that you’d shit in overflowing buckets for three days and nights. That was the only hint that something had happened inside the minds of all these men in tin hats. Not just those with a story like my own father’s – his escape from a tank. An armoured vehicle that had been mobile, just seconds before, became a steel coffin. A smouldering target. A hatch clanged shut for the last time and he was outside of it. By a whisker. We kept hens for a while. Out the back. The daughter, Anna and me had fun, building the housie with the nesting box on the side and the run out front. Long before that, I remembered my granny just lifting a corner of the coop and grabbing a black one. She disappeared into the shed with it and we got it to take home in a bag. It might not be worth roasting but there would be good soup there. I killed hens after making sure Anna really was somewhere out of the way. First I listened to advice then I did the twist thing just as I’d been told, so I thought. But you might as well have been doing the other kind of twist, chasing it round the garden when it came back to life. So I put an edge on the hatchet after that. They still quivered and moved more than you could think possible but you knew they were dead in most senses.


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