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Fast Fiction: Tabs

Richard Mallinson’s tale leaves you musing on the identity of the tab keeper.

To read more of Richard's fast fiction please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/fast_fiction/

'It ain't easy,' the elderly man said, sitting down beside me on the bench.

'What ain't, er, isn't?' I asked, from behind my newspaper.

'Keeping tabs on her when we go out for a walk. She -'


'Yes, on my sister. She tends to stray a bit, you know.'

'Is she very old?' I asked, putting the paper down.

'Eh? Oh, don't stop reading just because of me. I didn't mean to distract you from the news and, hm, views in the Guardian.'

'It isn't the Guardian, it's the Times - but that's irrelevant,'

'What's irrelevant, the Times?'

'No, I mean reading the -'

'Hey, reading's not irrelevant. Where would I be without it?'

'I don't know, where would you be?'

'Probably back inside.'

'Inside? Whatever for?'

'Oh, pimping. Did a lot of it in the old days. Always treated em well, though. Then I started reading books and became a -'

'Wilf,' said a headscarfed woman coming up to us, 'you mustn't keep straying like this.' She looked at me.

'I try to keep tabs on him,' she said, 'but it ain't easy.'


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