Sara stomped hard on the brakes, causing her Edwardian hat to go sailing from her head and settle on the dashboard. Her daughter yelled.
“Mum, what the fu-”
“Sorry, Mum, but you frightened the shit out of me!”
She softened her tone. “It’s just that I forgot the rest of the costumes for the dress rehearsal. I need to go back for them.”
Andrea’s face creased and that teenage whine started.
“I’ll be late!”
“I’m sure your friends will wait for you -”
“You don’t understand, you never do. I’ll get out and walk.”
Andrea got out of the car and flounced down the road in the way that only 14-year-olds can master. Sara watched her go with a mixture of apprehension and relief.
She looked in the rear view mirror and saw that the road behind her was clear. A feeling of devilment took hold of her. Putting the car into reverse, she shot backwards at high speed. Still got it, she thought. Sometimes it was handy being an ex-rally driver. After 20 yards, she felt a lurch in her stomach… strange, perhaps age is making me nervous. She finished the drive at a more sedate pace and saw with relief she could park right outside the house – in fact the road was unusually clear of parked cars. Pulling up to the kerb, she dashed round to the back of the house worrying about those costumes. Can’t really have a dress rehearsal with no dresses. My Fair Lady in jeans and t-shirts…
A small chuckle started to escape her throat at the thought of the musical being performed in 21st century clothing but was quickly choked off at the sight of a man in shabby clothes exiting her back door, laden down with assorted household items, including her heirloom silver tea tray. It might be old and battered… hang on, it’s not!
The robber looked as shocked as Sara was. She shoulder-charged him and they both went down in a heap. She grabbed her silver tray, pausing only a moment to wonder again why it wasn’t bent out of shape, then cracked it across the robber’s skull. BLAM! He went down, hitting his head on the path for good measure. Now my tray looks like it should! She looked down at the tray-burglar. Her eyes skimmed his ragged outfit and filthy skin. Good grief, she mused, no wonder he’s out on the rob, poor bastard. The enormity of what she’d done hit her like a Ford Cosworth slamming into a brick wall. Bad memories. The ground rushed up to meet her and then — blackness.
She came round slowly. She could see the man she’d lamped over the head, still lying comatose, but between them was a pair of cute button-up boots skimmed with a skirt hemline. Must be Marie come to find me. Then she realised that unlike her wife’s rather crudely put-together costume, this skirt had no hanging threads. The owner of the boots and skirt must have bent down because her face appeared in Sara’s vision. A face surrounded by feathery tendrils of hair escaping from a chignon bun spoke: “I say, are you alright? You appear to have stopped this scoundrel from absconding with my property. I’ve sent a runner to fetch the police.”
Lady, I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.