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The day was getting hot. Beatrice and Arthur went down one side of the street, back up the other. Dollar notes are light, but the bucket only grew heavier. All the customers at Betty’s Burgers donated their shrapnel as well. All? Well, both of them. Sunsmart awnings partly shaded the cement apron in front of the Garden Landscaping business, knee-high statuettes of Greek nymphs hid coyly behind terracotta pots, and bags of cement were propped so comfortably against each other Beatrice gave them an envious glance.

Do you want a little rest? she asked Arthur, instead of saying that’s exactly what she wanted.

No, we can get it over by lunchtime. Only a couple of short streets and the cul-de-sac to go. He took off his hat, wafted it like a fan.

The bank branch was closed, lit only by the beckoning pokies lights of the ATM. The car yard next to it was an oasis of cool air as a junior hosed down cars, the drops arcing like diamond necklaces to rain down on late model Mazdas. Arthur said Mind your step, dear, too late. Beatrice felt water squelch through the hole in the seam of her left Adidas. It felt nice.

The shop front around the corner suggested something different; the name was suggestive. The Pussy Cat Club. It did not look at all like the vet’s they’d encountered earlier, which had paw prints up the glass frontage and a gaggle of sweet, furry kittens in a cage, $99 with immunisation and de-sexing. Arthur and Beatrice hesitated on the footpath. In case literacy was not a burden to the patron, a handy silhouette – à la paw prints and rather larger than the landscape supplier’s nymphs – was stuck on the narrow window that ran the height of the front door. A hand reaching for the door’s push/pull bar would have to be careful where it aimed.

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