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The Peace of the Country: a very short story

The Peace of the Country: a very short story

“I moved to Hilton for the rural atmosphere,” I told Jenny over the hedge.

She switched off her leaf-blower and removed her ear mufflers.

“Sorry, dear?”

“I said, I moved to Hilton for the rural atmosphere. The peace and quiet. So much more restful than Jo’burg.”

She nodded, arms busy winding up the cord.

“Oh, I know what you mean, dear. Same reason I left ’Maritzburg. Constant noise, day and night; it was terrible…”

She had to raise her voice at the end, to compensate for the hadedas settling on the roof and announcing their presence.

“So much more serene here in the country,” I bellowed, as the builders renovating the school over the road fired up their drills.

Jenny raised a megaphone from her utility belt, to compete with a hedge-trimmer wielded by next door’s gardener and the lawnmower at Number 17.

“Yes, it’s like living in an Arcadian idyll, isn’t it?” she crackled.

Suddenly, a deep silence filled the neighbourhood, broken only by one hadeda hold-out. Then even he shut up, and a hush descended.

I glanced at my watch.

“Thank heavens for load-shedding,” I sighed.

A generator started up at Number 23.

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