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'A Ty Without a Tag isn’t Worth Squat' by Anne Howkins


'A Ty Without a Tag isn’t Worth Squat' by Anne Howkins, LISP Flash Fiction FINALIST


You’ve strewn soft plush bean-stuffed bodies across the floor like the victims of some god-awful tragedy in a ruined city somewhere hot and dusty too far away for you to do anything to help, even though you know that you should because it’s just setting up a direct debit for a few quid a month, which is about what it cost you to buy your little princess a velvety purple bear and all the rest of these damn cute facsimile animals with names she made you recite at bedtime if you were home, not necking margueritas in bars with women who reminded you of her mother, or rummaging through Ty shelves in airport shops reading crass little ditties on tags, trying to find one which shared its birthday with her, as if toys are born after nine months of hope, as if her birthdate wasn’t the one joyous moment you can remember, and you Google to check if any of them are worth anything before you stuff them back in the box, because you remember seeing how much purple princess bears go for on eBay and lord knows you could do with the cash, and you seal the box to drop off at the refuge where they know your face, so you’ll have to leave it on the doorstep sometime in the void between locking up time and dawn, before your feet trudge you back to the high rise flat that wasn’t judged a safe place for her, and you copy out that stupid tear jerker of a poem her mother used to recite onto a parcel tag, and you tie it round your neck with the satin ribbon you found under her bed, and you really, really want something soft and plush to catch you when you fall.




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