The first time Martin met Freddy was in the waiting room of the Therapy Clinic in Wainscot. Martin would not ordinarily have sat right next to a stranger, but there were only two chairs, and Freddy was sitting in the other. So he sat down, instantly attracting Freddy’s attention. Freddy leant over. He jabbed a thumb towards the consultation room.

“Have they ever actually helped you?” he asked. Martin shrugged noncommittally. “It’s all stress-related anyway,” Freddy continued, “why don’t we just go have an adventure?”

“Okay!” Martin agreed.

They went to the park.


They walked through the green, swapping complaints of a world that did not understand them. As they neared a large pond, a group of ducks clambered out of the water and headed towards them, hoping for food.

“Kick them!” yelled Freddy.

“Okay!” Martin agreed.

A cloud of angry ducks flew out in all directions.

“Put one in the bin!” yelled Freddy.

“Okay!” Martin agreed.

They gave chase, but the ducks simply took off and landed a few feet away.

“Hey!” yelled Freddy. “If we set fire to the grass, they won’t land…”


Later, in the same cell in Wainscot Gaol, they sat next to each other again. Freddy leant over.

“Why were you going to see the psychotherapist?” he asked.

“I’m very gullible,” said Martin. “I do whatever anyone says. How about you?”

“My family says I compulsively suggest stupid things,” replied Freddy. “But that’s rubbish. Say,” he said. “Let’s beat up the guard and break out!”


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