Josie looked down at her toes and wriggled them against the cold of the pavement. Should have worn shoes, she thought. Shoes would have been smart. She tugged at her brown cardigan, pulling the open edges closer together across her chest and fiddling with the buttons to keep them in place. Blinking thing! Impulse buy and far too small! Her breasts announced themselves from within, rounded and rather too finely detailed in the chilly night air. Josie folded her arms across them, releasing one hand to rap urgently on the door. It was four in the morning; would she wake them? She had to wake them! A sound from behind — oh shit! Josie squinted into the darkness as a crowd of teenagers street-bopped its way home from a local gig.
“Doo wah, PAH!” one of them said, in response to the “Da da, BOOF!” his mate had just air-drummed over the roof of a transit van.
Josie watched them from the shadows beneath her friend’s porch. Shadows that obscured her from casually inquiring eyes, that preserved her dignity, that — oh God!
Three things happened at once:
The security lights came on.
Karen opened her front door.
The group of teenagers broke into hysterical laughter and one of them peed with abandonment into Karen’s hedge.
“What the…?” Karen’s mouth ticced up at one corner and Josie thought she saw an expression of deep concern being beaten to a pulp by one of barely contained hilarity. She tugged at the cardigan again, downwards this time, and fore and aft, in a gesture towards dignity. But the puff of gossamer Josie favoured for knickers was not up to the job of obscuring an arse that shone with uncalled-for brilliance in the drive’s spotlights.
She raised her eyebrows in a ‘well-what-were-you-expecting?’ sort of way. “Fox in the garden. Knocked over a bin. Thought it was burglars. Got my spare door key handy?”
Suzanne Conboy-Hill is a health care specialist in learning disabilities currently researching in virtual worlds and capacity to consent. In her other worlds, she provides hotel services to several cats, a couple of dogs, and a large number of uninvited spiders.