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  • (City)

    So my cousin phones me up all panicky. She has to come to the city for a specialist appointment and there’s been another murder in town. Being the encouraging type, I’m obliged to smother her fears with common sense.
    “Wasn’t that horrible?” she says.
    “Yup. This place is now the murder capital of Canada. Nothing to worry about.”
    “Doesn’t that bother you?’ she asks.
    “Not since I bought three extra guns and a huge padlock for the front yard.”
    She doesn’t seem soothed. “But you don’t even have a fence. How can you lock your front yard?”
    “Oh, sorry. Did I say front yard? I meant front door. That, and another lock for the back yard. The other night there were three bald guys in leather jackets poking around back there.”
    “Weren’t you scared?” she asks.
    “Nope. The Dobermans put a run on them. That and Boss yelling out the window. Then I took a couple of shots out the basement with one of the new guns.”
    “So I heard your whole neighbourhood is like that.”
    “Yeah. I heard it’s the most dangerous neighbourhood in Canada. But it doesn’t bother me. Mostly it’s kids fightin’ over drugs.”
    Her voice is shaky. “Don’t you think you should move to the other side of town?”
    “You mean over by where your doctor’s appointment is?”
    “Yes. How safe is that area?”
    “That place is even worse. That’s right near the new half-way house from the federal jail. Nothing to worry about though. I hear they mostly wander around yelling at strangers. What time’s your appointment?”
    “Ten in the morning,” she says, her voice a little higher.
    “That’s when they let them go for their morning jog. Last week I guess they got hold of some stranger in a car, and pulled the poor guy out, then hammered on him. Good thing they forgot their baseball bats at home. Nothing to worry about, though.”