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A policeman, or a man dressed like one, stops me on the way to the shop and says, “Can I have a word?” like he knows who I am and what I do. I say, “How about orange?” but he doesn’t laugh or smile, so I go for: “Okay, sorry, what for?” and he says, “No reason really,” which I figure is as good a reason as any.

He says, “What’s your name?” and I say, “You don’t know?” and he says, “No,” his look all why would I ask otherwise. So I tell him, and he taps at this phone he pulls out his pocket and says, “Then why are you not in here?”

“I don’t know,” I say. “Am I supposed to be?” and he says, “Not if you don’t want to be, but it’ll help me, us, you know, when we come for you, so we know everything about you,” and he shows me the phone and what to do.

I say, “Where do I get one?” and he says “You don’t know?” like I don’t know that two plus two equals four, and before I can reply he says, “Come with me,” and we go to a phone shop and get one. There’s this guy there who seems to know the policeman, if he is a policeman, and he shows me how to get started, and soon everything I write on my phone is on the policeman’s phone too.

He says, “Good,” and I say, “Great,” and we shake hands and say goodbye, and he says: “See you soon,” like he already knows he’ll be talking to me again.

I go home and play with the phone. I tap at it all night and the following day, until my doorbell goes, and I put it in my pocket and go answer it. It’s the policeman again, if he is one, and he says, “Can you come with me?” and then my name, and I say, “Sure, I’ll just get my jacket,” and a minute later we’re in the car, his car, if it is his, heading, so he says, for his office.

When we get there he says, “Follow me,” and I follow him through some glass doors and into a room with a desk and three chairs and no natural light. He says, “Take a seat,” and begins talking, saying something about acts and detainment and my phone, so I get it out and he gets his out too.

He begins reading things about me that I wrote and looked at earlier that day, things that I read and look at as he reads and looks at them. Then he says, “Do you have anything to say?” and I say, “I don’t know, how about orange?” but he doesn’t laugh or smile this time either, so I go for: “Sorry, no, not really,” and he puts his phone back in his pocket and asks for mine.

I say, “What for?” and he says, “No reason, really,” just like the day before, so I smile at the memory and hand it over.

He stands, and says, “See you soon,” and I say, “Great,” thinking he’ll be back tomorrow like he was the last time, and he walks out and closes the door behind him leaving me alone in the room.

I figure this is great, he’ll come back soon, with the phone and everything, and he can show or give me something else, so I stay on the chair and wait. I hear an announcement from somewhere saying, “Lights out,” and five minutes later they go off, but I carry on waiting on the chair, in the dark, for hours with nothing to tap at, until eventually I go to sleep.

When I wake the lights are on again, I’m still on the chair, and after ten minutes or so I hear the lock on the door clang and then the door opens. It’s the policeman again, and I say, “Hi,” thinking he’s going to say, “Come with me,” or “Can I have another word?” or something like that, but he just says, “Anything to say?” so I smile and say, “Orange?” thinking this time he’ll smile too, he’s got to eventually, but he says nothing, and closes the door behind him.

I say, “Sorry,” as he does, but he doesn’t come back, so I stay on the chair and wait again, thinking about what I can say instead of orange until the next day he comes back again and says, “Well?” and I look at him, smile and say, “Mango?” and he turns and leaves.

The next day he comes again and I say, “Pirate,” and he closes the door. The day after, “Mole,” and he leaves. Then: “Earthquake.” Nothing. One word, silence, the door closes. Eventually he brings some food, fruit, an orange and a mango. He looks at me and says, “Well?”

I bite into the mango: “Face cream?”

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3 thoughts on “Orange

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