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You know the feeling. You wake up with sunlight peeking from the blind and you wonder if you’re late for work. Keep snoozing and you end up missing your dentist appointment. Your manicure session. The world spinning half an hour too long and you there, with a drooling mess edging on your pillow.

Sometimes you count up. Sometimes you only need to count down.

Twelve minutes.

I woke up with a banging coming from upstairs and someone knocking at my door.

At the door, a motorbike helmet. A blue suit hanging loose choked up in a yellow tie. Eyes hidden…

Before we all started going shopping wearing a mask, I went to Paris. I sat at a table looking at tourists climbing on top of each other and peering between the construction site fences. All of them trying to snap a photograph of Notre Dame. Notre Dame, she got a bit burnt last year, but she’s doing fine. Just a few scratches. She’ll be alright. Like the rest of us.

So I’m sitting at this table, drinking a hot coffee I got from the Shakespeare & Co café, I fish my notepad out of my bag and start working on…

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I broke a leg once. Literally. It snapped, like breadstick on tuna. I was in high school and we were playing this 5-a-side match with my friends after school.

I’m chasing the ball by the side of the pitch and my ankle bends in this odd unnatural way. Then I’m moving like a crab and tell my friends, I think I broke something.

They keep playing and say that no, I didn’t break anything. They say, “When you break a bone you feel sick and throw up everywhere.” I was just fine, they said.

A few minutes later there’s a…

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When my mum was about to receive her master’s degree the whole building suddenly crumbled, reduced to a pile of debris. Everyone was safe but all the archives were destroyed and there’s no proof she ever went to uni. At least this is the story she’s been telling us since we where kids.

No one in my family managed to get a degree, and because war and poverty everyone had experienced were decades behind, my sister and I, we just had to. We were the first ones in our entire genealogical tree, but there wasn’t a big fuss about it…

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I lost a mortadella sandwich once. I was young. Eleven, maybe twelve. Can’t remember exactly, but I was the age when swimsuit season was never a problem. I used to eat an incredible amount of food. My superpower, back then, was to squeeze my belly and make two doughy bread rolls pop between my belt and my chest. Years later, I stepped up and managed to even put four little ones together. That incredible gift made me a performer when we gathered with my pals. Although, I’m somewhat grateful that in those days we didn’t have any photo camera ready…

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Josh is a good friend of mine, only I’m probably not a good friend to him. But it could be worse.

We were flatmates at Uni. Back when we thought the world was all about us and we felt immortal. He was so gorgeous he always had to push back dates. Tired of all these women trying to hit on him. Only years later he realised he didn’t like women at all.

This one time we had an argument. Josh was in the kitchen, eating is kale and couscous salad, when kale was not even a thing. We argued. Screaming…

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If you knew me, you’d know this: I’m a whiner. A terrible one. I could weep over a TV ad. A movie trailer. Text me the right words and I’ll turn all snot and tears. It’s also pretty embarrassing if you’re with me. Because while I snuffle and wipe my nose on my sleeve, you’d be checking around for strangers’ side glances. Everyone wondering what you’ve done to reduce me to a face of wrinkles and jerking sobs. It’s mortifying.

I’ve always thought my whining was somewhat genetic. Blaming your family and genes for what you dislike about yourself is…

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My first job was to mail supermarket flyers around the neighbourhood. The annoying pile of clumped paper in the mailbox burying your bills, that was me. I wore white sneakers one size bigger because my toes were still growing. Crusted blood edging on my denim with my grazed knees never healing from playing football on the asphalt.

The job was money under the table and didn’t pay much, but at least I ended up knowing every front door and side street in the area. We moved in teams of two and my plus one was my friend, Tony. I always…

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Realising that there’s never a phone charger when you need one

Pigeons. Or for that matter, anything that can flap wings and shit on my head

Going shopping when you have nothing to buy and ending up with five giant bags you can’t even remember what’s inside

Going shopping because there’s something you desperately need, but it turns out you can’t find it anywhere because of the wrong colour, the wrong size or the wrong shopping assistant, and go back home empty-handed

Getting mugged on the street

Walking the dog and realising you’ve forgotten the poo bag

Starbucks misspelling your…

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It’ll be Easter soon and there’s no way you’ve ever seen an Easter egg like the one I got when I was a kid. Seriously. This was when I had hairless armpits and everyone in my family was still alive. It was an Easter lunch and we took a photo with a disposable camera. One of those with only twenty-four shots available and no screen, so you never knew if you came up with your eyes closed until you had them developed. Anyway, in this picture you wouldn’t notice right away how drunk everyone is because your eyes would fall…

Benny Allen

I scribble a lot.

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