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THE SOUTHAMPTON HUNDREDS

49

Crackle’s parents come down for her meeting with the probation officer. I go with them and wait outside in their car. Her mum just looks intensely worried and keeps glancing at me and half smiling, in supplication, as if I’m of some use: while her dad, like all dads, just leans back and squints at me, as if he is looking at me through a large spyglass that he is holding the wrong way round. “I don’t know how long we’ll be,’ he says, ‘You can have the radio on but not for too long or you’ll drain the battery.’