Maverick is a dog. She’s a kelpie-staffy cross, and she’s not a maverick. Maverick does whatever she is told. She is obedient. Really, Maverick is the best trained dog in the park. Probably in her suburb. Maverick doesn’t chase all the ibises trying to get stuff out of the bins. Maverick doesn’t bark at the parking officers booking everyone on the clearway. Maverick sits and stays and drops, and yes, Maverick rolls over. Maverick’s owner is called Prudence and she, of course, is heedless.

Right now Maverick and Prudence are in the park wondering why so many of the trees have orange ribbons tied to their trunks. Is it the council or the Hare Krishnas? Either way, this makes them both unsettled. Trees are best unadorned, they both agree. Prudence sets about removing the ribbons with the tiny blade on the corkscrew she still has in her bag from the picnic last Sunday. Maverick follows Prudence around the perimeter of the park as she hacks through the ribbons and stuffs them in her bag. Prudence makes good progress all the way round to the last gumtree on the south side, where – uh-oh – she is spotted by the parking officer. Maverick hides behind Prudence’s legs and Prudence cheerily waves at the parking officer, whose name is Omar, though she doesn’t know this. Omar waves back, all casual and cheerful. How does she get away with it? Maverick wonders, and the ibises look on admiringly.

(For Hannah)


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