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Synopsis – Mistaken identity can be inconvenient, even fatal.

I was still dizzy when they brought me into the office. Sharp suits meet hospital smock. Bloody. I could not hear much. The crash and concussion, no doubt. They were smiling, trying to be nice. They called me Sir. Because I looked like Him, I guess, so people told me. My side and leg hurt too. A glass of water please. It came but had something shiny in it. Not right. I gulped it. Toilet please. An assistant led me. In the cubicle, I sprayed him with the fluid and pushed him down. Surprised, he hit his head on the basin. I stole his clothes and shoes and ran. Get the service lift fast. Look as if I belong. Loading zone was busy. Vans rushed in and out.

To hightail it in a van or to run in the city? I was thirsty and a little hungry. The Sikhs give free food somewhere in the center. Try there. Change clothes too. A pretty girl caught my eye. Curious. She wore lipstick out of fashion. I wanted to ask an Indian guy passing by about the Sikh center, but he looked too neat. A new student. Luck was with me. A troop of Hari Krishna people danced my way, chanting with joy. One more for the road. They led me right there.

I sat down. Food came. Table manners gone. A Sikh sat next to me, noticed I was in pain and tried to help. A woman sat on the other side. She talked fast. I was not on the ball, to their disappointment.

It was early evening, time to go. Find a place for the night. Not rubbish bins emptied anytime but skips. Need a construction site nearby. Entry is easy. A voice in the skip pipes up ‘Sorry already occupied.’ Try again. Police patrol. Look ordinary and purposeful. Skip two is dusty and jagged. Bed on an old door. Tomorrow, new clothes and new plan.

Voices. Construction work starts early. Men put the remnants of their burgers and fries in the skip. I exit, eating just like every other construction worker. How to get clothes? Go to an opportunity shop in the burbs but they do not open until 10. Go to Fitzroy pool. They open at 6 and have two big bins of left-behind clothes. That is it. A shower and a swim too. What a luxury! Need money for entry. Beg.

Then what? Hop in a delivery van and out at the first stop. That may be around the corner or in the middle of nowhere. No. Go to the Russian church and seek asylum. Beautiful but they may turn me in. Go to the old convent across the fields and seek asylum. May not be in use. The Salvation Army citadel is close. They helped my good friend Craig. Best bet. I should check the news too.

I squat down to beg. I look the part. A shot shatters the morning silence. The bullet chips the tile just beside me. How did they …? I hurl to the pavement, dreading the next shot. No time for terror.

Bio – A man’s a man wrote Berthold Brecht. That covers it for Peter Wright, now writer.


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