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Jamie Mackay


18 November 2019

In Venice

The siren sounded at four o’clock in the afternoon: an ascending four-note melody in a minor key spread across the city, warning of an imminent flood of more than 140 cm. The Rialto became a stampede of umbrellas and barging limbs. An hour later, the water started to seep through the door of my ground-floor flat. The barricade provided by the landlord was breaching grey liquid. My partner threw down newspaper in the entrance hall to block the leak. I was stationed in the bathroom, tasked with bailing out the toilet bowl and shower, both filling up with the dirty, salty fluid. I ladled the stuff out the window with a kitchen pot. At last, after a couple of hours, the water level began to drop. I wandered out into the dark street, the lagoon still brushing against my knees, and prepared for another week of it.

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