‘Push!’ I yell even though it’s just me heaving the long claw of crowbar down into the sand and wedging up the fence from below. The mesh winces, creaks. ‘Push!’ I shout like a midwife birthing new life; here in the long hot flat with the afternoon swelling and the wires ruling long lines of fire. I press what is left of my weight into the bar, heaving as the fence clings on, its thin nails gripping at the soil. The wires groan, and I groan, we chorus our pain as the sun sweat slides down the surface of the sky.
The new hole in the sand whistles light. Pete claps. He’s small, thin and sick; balding and flabby of beard. He lifts another sign and starts wiring it above the gap. This one’s a picture of a carrot the size of a small rocket that seems to fluoresce. It’s his favourite. ‘I can nearly smell it,’ he told me this morning. ‘I can smell it.’ All I could smell was scrub and dust. Here on the fence it’s more tempting. I want to reach out and stroke the carrot’s skin, but I lean on the crowbar and let him finish the job.
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