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But he can't save me--

a huge red car

slams in to me at high speed

I'm flattened like

a piece of dough

under a shoe

one of the boys in the car

gets out

and peels me off the front of the car

he looks at me

and begins to laugh

his friends join him

they laugh, too

even my dad joins in

he's laughing himself sick

Dad shows me a mirror

when I look in it

I understand what's so funny

I look like a little pancake

with my face

spread out all over it

like it was painted on

with icing

just for fun

it even looks funny to me

when I try to laugh

my mouth feels huge and flat

and sticky

eventually I manage

some sort of grin

then I roll up

(like when someone

rolls their tongue)

and I slip away across the grass

and into a duck pond

I dive down

deep among worms

and wigglies

and slimy weeds

the boys in the cars

drive after me

the cars are tiny tin things

popping through the water

like baby submarines

soon two of them are alongside

and I see little faces

looking through the windows

one of the boys

winds down a window

and reaches out for me

suddenly

I'm in the car with him

and he's trying to eat me

I wriggle round

so he can't eat the part

where I think my brain is

but his sharp teeth

attack mercilessly

I feel myself slipping

down his throat

in little morsels

soon I'm digested

I've turned into

the boy

whose name is Red

I have a head

like a tomato with toothache

I'm sitting on a table

people sit around

making sandwiches

I know what's next

a shiny blade

with a serrated edge

slices through me

I'm slapped onto bread

sprinkled

with salt and pepper

and popped

into a paper bag

In the brown darkness

I'm carried for a long time

not knowing where I am

until I hear the sound

of a whistles and steam

a railway station

this is exciting

perhaps

we will travel

to the seaside

it's true

soon I can smell the sea

and hear the cries

of happy children

then I feel the heat

from the sand

through the paper bag

I peep out

I can see a funny man

dressed in long black trousers

playing with little children

on the beach

I want to join in

but I can't get out of the bag

then the long white arm

of the trouser man

reaches down and pulls me

out of the bag

I inflate like a balloon

into my normal self

a little girl

dressed in old-fashioned clothes

I undo laces

and take off my shoes

and walk in the sand

long black legs beside me

then we're in a room

with bare boards

and a shiny light

the man says

'If you can sit very still

you can have an orange.'

I sit still for what seems

three days

then I eat the orange

I have a messy mouth

and the long black trouser man

says

let me clean it for you

he presses a hot wet towel

onto my face

which feels really nice

then he says

'You should really

be clean all over.'

...

That's all I can remember.

 

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