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These days her driving was the glue that kept her social circle together. Mind you, friends were not always appreciative. She’d overheard Mavis, struggling out of the back seat, mutter to Kath, I won’t stop shaking for a week! As if it matters if we’re five minutes late for a game of cards. How ironic that she, the speedster, had been nicked for going slow.

It was one thing to learn to accept that your once-strong body had become feeble and full of aches. One could ignore that and push on. But this relentless reducing of one’s freedom was a bitter pill. More bitter than the taste of her Nembutal was reputed to be. She had bought the stuff in Peru on her last overseas trek. It had been easier than she had expected, a simple exchange through a hole-in-the wall shop carrying veterinary supplies. Cash for a bottle of magic elixir. She had smuggled it through customs, hidden among her other medications. That was what was buried under the heart-shaped tablet in her garden. It was her great comfort, an escape route from any long, miserable fade-out.

The trouble was --- when to use it? These days, the sentiment on the clay tablet was beginning to take on an accusative note. Was her heart too stubbornly attached to her garden, her family and friends, her life? Was she a weak fool for not popping herself off now, while she still had capacity? She had lived decades beyond her expectation. Perhaps it was greedy and cowardly to keep wanting more. A simple fall or stroke could put her precious bottle forever beyond her reach. The threat to her license was surely another signpost on the slippery slope.

Louisa harrumphed as she hung her wig on its stand. She could show that miserable cop a thing or two about driving! Seventy years ago Dad had taught her to steer out of skids in muddy paddocks. She learned to use reverse gear to back up along narrow winding roads on very steep hills because reverse was the strongest gear in primitive cars. 

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