From behind my plastic wall, I hear the hollow footsteps of Munro. Munro always comes in at daybreak, as is her habit. A Munro day always fills me with dread. But it’s also a two day marker; only two days until Higgins starts his shift. And his shifts are always much more bearable.

Munro’s footsteps stop just outside of the door, and I can hear her punch the numbers into the keypad, and the pistons on the door hiss as they loosen. Then the tinny jangling of keys, and the soft clicking of the lock, the turning of the handle. Then she opens the door, and comes in.

Munro, is an older lady. I only know she’s older, because she leaves magazines near my wall for me to look at. Almost always they’re fashion magazines, glossy and bright, with images of thin tanned women in what I think looks like underwear, but are actually clothes for swimming, Munro tells me. They all have smooth skin in a way that Munro doesn’t. I pointed this out to her once, and she got really angry. I wasn’t quite sure what I had done, but she shouted at me, and told me to mind my own business. I told Higgins about it, on a Higgins day. He said that some women didn’t like to be reminded that they weren’t young anymore, and it wasn’t polite to remind them.  

I thought that was stupid. Everyone’s going to grow old, and there’s no way to stop it.  

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