`Gimme an axe.'
'The woman blurted this order across the formica counter. When the shopkeeper turned and saw her brimming eyes he took a hasty step backwards. His rancid half-smile, insincere to begin with, vanished into the gloomy corners of the store. It was still very early. Outside, tucked beneath a ragged hibiscus bush, a hen cawed a single, doubtful note. Inside was nothing but this black girl and her highly irregular demand.' (Introduction)