Trending Texts

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The policeman didn’t eat donuts, but he did like a warm cinnamon scroll to soak up the previous night’s whiskey. When the call came in, he was finishing his scroll, wiping his sticky hands on his trouser leg, and throwing the wrapper in the bin. A couple of sleepers down at Culburra beach. Pink leggings; silver tarpaulin. Looking cosy.

On the drive to Culburra, he opens a fresh bottle of alertness pills, chewing them down dry. The bitterness is a harsh contrast to the cinnamon scroll, but he relishes the taste. He’d been up all night writing – his daily contribution to the local edition of Trending Texts, mandated by the Text Bureau – and now he needed to be alert for the day’s work.

The beach is empty, and they are easy to find. Lying atop each other: cosy indeed. Sleeping is a crime, but you can get away with it at home, in small doses. Everybody knows that. So why would they do it out here? What if they’re dead?

The policeman treks towards the beach, trudging through the soft sand until he nears the firmer surface at the waterline. He looks down at the couple, pulling back the tarp. A man and a woman. Breathing – not dead. It’s tempting to leave them in peace, but his superiors wouldn’t be satisfied with that. Still, he won't wake them up yet. He delves gently into the man’s pockets, retrieving his wallet.

A card inside reads Editor, Trending Texts. Seizure Division. Oh, shit.

He walks away, chewing another pill. Above the law, these editors. Waste of time. Let 'em sleep.