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Angharad Donald Barthelme - The School

Children: Have you ever thought that maybe children are cunts? That they are completely aware what they are doing and saying? I mean, for God sakes, they have language, they have a vocabulary, grammar, a voice, a sound leaves their tiny mouths. Have you ever wondered that maybe they are never truly hungry when they ask for food? That they are never really hurt when they cry from a fall? That they can walk just fine when they ask to be carried? That they love the taste of greens, they’re just trying to wind you up? That they don’t care if you approve of their childish drawings? Have you ever considered the fact they like to see others in pain? There is no use whatsoever in thinking they are docile because when they move in packs, and you get in their way, they’ll fucking have you.

Death & Sex: If I’m honest, I never really knew how to care for Sooty. It was explained to us at school, at home, every adult explained and expressed the importance of responsibility. There was an emphasis on this word - ‘responsibility’ manifesting itself in the outward display of love and care towards animals, pets specifically. In hindsight, I never really felt anything towards Sooty. There was no love lost.

Quite honestly, I got the rabbit because I was obsessed with my next door neighbour, Dwynwen who also had a floppy-eared, albino one. We were the same age and I was utterly in love with her. I can remember once lying on top of her and kissing in her front room, worried her mother would see, we’d hide our bodies under the coffee table. I’m sure she saw. Dwynwen would put Tommy Hilfiger perfume in her hair because she read in a magazine that it made the scent linger, but she never washed. Her hair stank and I think she always had period blood under her nails.

One day, after several phantom pregnancies (I thought it was a boy), Sooty disappeared. My parents said a fox took it, tore it out the chicken wire. I’ve never seen a single fox in my village.

In response to Donald Barthelme’s short story: The School.