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Sarah Lotz

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

The Embarrassment of Dead Grandmothers

This short story won the 2007 SAfm “Express Yourself” competition.

Oh God. I’m almost sure she’s not breathing. It’s hard to tell, though, with that racket on stage. The Phantom of the bloody Opera. Her choice, not mine. Well, at least if she is dead I can blame Andrew Lloyd Webber.

She really is being unusually quiet. Especially considering she was snoring ten minutes ago. Plus, she’s normally one of those noisy breathers – on a good day her chest sounds like a Volkswagon beetle with a cracked carburettor. And if she’s not wheezing and rattling, she’s making ghastly smacking sounds as she adjusts her ill-fitting dentures. These less than pleasant sound effects normally drive me up the wall, but right now I’d give my left arm for a snort, a cough, or even a fart. Any sign of life will do, in fact.


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