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Linda had bloodshot eyes.

She knew I was a soft touch.

I landed in a city clueless.

Always a good start.

She was a big Malay girl, early fifties, missing two front teeth and a sadness that she covered well with an inner fortitude born from years of hard living.

She hangs out at the Seven-11 most nights, looking for a free meal.

Eat it all up, I said. And have some of mine. She even smiled for the camera as I took a photo of her on my iPad.

The other night she was sleeping in the chair. It’s the table I usually write on in the early hours when the local zombies come out to play.

She’s harmless.

I’ve been avoiding her for the last few nights.

She’ll humbug me.

‘Buy a rose,’ says the lady who sells noodles at Chinese food court, two doors down from 7-11. ‘Charity.’

Charity my fucking ass.

She knew I was mucking around with Rose, a Dyak, the other day. And she was playing cupid again.

I have no one to give it too, I replied.

And why don’t you buy a rose from the deaf lady? You fucking hypocrite, I wanted to say.

But I’m an empty vessel. Fill me up. I’m not here to cast judgment, it would be counterintuitive to this writing gig.

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