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by John Nadas Robert puts his reasoner to his temple and makes himself believe Emma means well. He fixes a trailer to his bike. It is a short ride. He pumps the hilltop and her house into view. He leaves his bike by her gate. He knows the code. His breath is still sweet with beer; it’s bright, cold, and midday. There is no dead hose on the front lawn. There is no fountain of red, holey leaves. There is just a barbecue beating with coals and smoke. Robert checks the window above the porch. They are all there: Jo, Emma, Max. They are chopping food, even Jo. Robert rings the doorbell. He steps back. He listens. He knocks. Max opens the door. He has some tongs, a cloth, and a plate. “Robert, how are you?” He takes Robert by the arm and shakes his hand. Robert lets his hand move up and down. He nods. “Hello.” He looks around Max. He wants to tell Jo to get ready. “You fancy a barbie?” Max asks. He says “barbie” in an Australian accent. Robert doesn’t like the accent. He doesn’t like M

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