orange

Streak was long and thin.

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Copyright © 2007, Michael M Wayman

Everything was orange then, we dyed everything orange, at least I did. Shirts, tee-shirts, trousers, socks, underwear, everything orange. Anything that was white, or nearly white, or had started off life white became orange. We all wore orange, except Streak.

Streak was long and thin and had difficulty going through doors. He was very quiet and very soft. I'm not small and have no need to be macho, but next to him I was John Wayne.

Streak had two pieces of clothing, we never saw him in anything else: a blue coloured rag he wore round his neck and a very long brown raincoat. The raincoat was longer than he was and it was very dirty. Once Streak took off what he called his scarf and we saw a blue, or was it green, mark on his throat. Someone grabbed hold of him and took him to the doctor.

The waste bin, in those days made of metal, was sitting on the stove in the kitchen. Water was cooking in the bin and the orange dye was added, with a little washing powder, dye and wash. The first load sat there for thirty minutes and was rinsed under the tap, very strong orange. The second load was orange but a weaker colour. What about a third try?

Someone persuaded Streak that his raincoat would look good if it was orange. Whether he wore anything underneath I cannot remember. The raincoat remained absolutely brown, no way did it want to be orange, but it was clean.



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