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I was only two bites into a corned beef and pickle sandwich and surrounded by unmarked exam papers when one of my students, Nod Clay, walked up and asked me to write him a reference.

‘You got a job interview Nod?’

‘No it’s for court, for assault.’

‘What sort of assault?’

‘With a brick.’

‘Jesus Nod…’

I pushed my chair away from the desk and folded my arms.

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The boy’s heart sank when he saw the ship.

For as long as he could remember he had held the dream of his first ship. She would be long and sleek, riding low in the water, white, with touches of blue along her prow. The funnel would stand high and proud, with the scarlet insignia of the line.

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The daily special at the Great Northern Hotel that blustery late-November day was chicken schnitzel, mashed spuds, peas and a free pot for four bucks, but Marie’s spelling had struck again. Schitzel would not be passed up by anyone.

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Have you ever looked at a duck? There is more to it, to use that peculiar cliché, than meets the eye. Watching ducks has been my labour for some time, but, of course, it will be so only for a limited period. Still, I expect I will always retain the interest now that I have come to know ducks better.

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While most people were looking forward to the Mid-autumn Festival, she was hoping it wouldn’t come quite so quickly. However, it didn’t really matter what anybody thought, mid-autumn gradually loomed closer and closer.

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On hearing Samuel Beckett refute his birth date my mother, who was pregnant with me, was thrown into a whirl.

‘He cannot’, she said to a gathering of friends who shared her view that he would praise their new club motto which, they had just decided, would be:

Seek disorder, Live for enigma. Beware of fools and false causes.

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