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Up and down the City Road
In and out the Eagle
That's the way the money goes
Pop goes the weasel!

W.R. Mandale (or perhaps C. Twiggs) "Pop Goes the Weasel," 1853


Sorry," Sparks whispered. "Sorry." His voice was so quiet it was almost telepathic.

"It's alright," Annie whispered back.

The palms were fronding above, the ragged harmonies in the distance were climaxing as usual, the wind was cool and the tree-trunk rough. She waited.

"Never cried," he said.

Never? she thought and bit her tongue in case it were true.

"Not since Blackie popped his clogs."

What? she wondered, and this time let it be known, eliciting a sadly silly smile.

"Turned up his toes. Passed away."

Oh. Died, the word too hard to say. But she couldn't resist.

"What's pop?"


Right. Just the one pair, she understood quickly. She held him very tight, squeezing him hard, and suddenly the music stopped, all of it, as though someone had pulled the plug.


"Must you?" she said, loosening her grip to give him the chance.



Damn all these blind horses.