The school across the road has been testing an automated system all morning. A male, neutral-accented voice has been rolling off numbers all day, each announcement preceded by a beep. It goes on for a few hours and then stops. It has happened a few times this week. It is mildly annoying, but it sounds important even if it says nothing at all.

It has the feel of a nuclear attack warning, like the advice on the 12-inch remix of Two Tribes by Frankie Goes to Hollywood about tagging your grandmother for identification purposes if they die inside the nuclear shelter. This is before putting her outside the shelter, naturally...

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