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14 Help yourself Kicked out of Countdown for kneeling at the pick ’n’ mix to sneak sweets from the lidded bins as my mother deliberated on fresh produce, weighing apples with her hand while I chased the scent of false fruit esters. Ethyl valerate reek radiating from a cartoon nuclear-waste green gummy apple lolly. The gelatine absorbed light so it glowed from within. Neon clot. Synthetic peridot. The fake was always prettier and more delicious than the real apple, the illusion of non-perishable desire magnetising my attention beyond nutrient-rich five-plus-a-day to the synthetic forbidden. Rascal genesis. I used my body as a shield to conceal my fossicking, this ecstatic drooling for something I did not understand why it was wrong to have although I had learned already to keep the having secret. Little goblin a glutton for the hi-fructose phosphorescent fruits of guilty pleasure. Though how could this be theft? The sign above the bins barked HELP YOURSELF. But the entwined fairy mushrooms and rainbow snakes, congealing in their own nectar, shedding crystal citric acid and desiccated coconut shreds, all tasted the same and made me ill. No matter how many I ate I never felt full.

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