Monday, June 22, 2009

South Of The Border by Barbara Machin (The Women's Press 1990)

'The petrol gauge has always been knackered, you know that,' grumbled Finn as they rolled to a stop on a dirt garage yard outside a small bar. 'You've got to keep track of the mileage - I've warned you before.'

'But it never seems quite so crucial down Deptford High School, does it?' They'd glared at each other in the orange neon of the bar sign. 'OK' it flickered on and off uncertainly. Finn was unforgiving.

Striding across a yard littered with crashed cars, Pearl headed for the bar to find the owner. This is what she hated about foreign travel, she decided: this loss of balance, the confusion between the grateful smile and the come-on. A line so clearly visible in South London and so blurred here. She could be letting herself in for anything, just by being there. And smiling. Smiling was dangerous, but how else was she going to charm the guy into opening up his petrol station.

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