Tuesday, 1 June 2010

The Party

Story from Roue 02.

The Party

Jenny sat pensively in the back of the taxi while Carol chattered on about something or other. Jenny wasn't listening. She was thinking about what the hell she was doing there.

'Nearly there,' whispered Carol. 'Cheer up, it's alright y'know, I wouldn't get you into nothing dodgey, would I?'

Dodgey? Sounds dodgey enough anyway, getting your bum smacked by a load of geezers you don't know. All the same if you did know 'em. Still be dodgey, wouldn't it?

' 'Ere we are!'

Nice house. Worth a few bob, that!

'Come on Jenny. What's the matter? You got cold feet?'

'I'm coming, aren't I?'

They crunched together up the gravel drive.

'How many blokes came last time you were here?' asked Jenny.

'Three. I told you.'

'And there wasn't any – well, you know.'

'I told you. 'E's a real nice bloke. All that 'appens is 'e smacks your bum, that's all.'

'And they didn't make you do anything? I mean, nothing you didn't want to?'

Carol giggled but declined to answer. She reached up and pulled the iron bell-pull.

Jenny's heart seemed to skip a beat as she heard the footsteps in the hall. A man in his fifties opened the door. He smiled in a friendly way.

'This is me mate, Jenny,' said Carol.

God, I wish she wouldn't always act so bloody common!

'Hello,' said the man.

Jenny smiled. The man showed them into the house.

Smells old, this place. Wood preserver or something.

'The caterers have already been,' the man said to Carol.

'Right. An' what time you expecting the others?'

'My guests will be arriving fairly soon. We'll probably start dinner about eight. Er – we'll do it as we did the last time. If that's all right with you?'

'Carol's told you all about it, I dare say.'

'Yes, well, kind of.'

He looked enquiringly at Carol.

'I told 'er what 'appens. I said it ain't nothin' to be scared of.'

'I see.' He poured himself another drink. 'So – well, you understand that you might get your – um – knickers taken down, Jenny?' His teeth looked too good to be true as he smiled again.

Jenny could feel herself blushing. His eyes seemed to plumb the depths of her being.

'Yes,' she answered quietly.

'And you won't mind that?'

Course I bloody will. I'm only doing it for the money, she thought to herself.

'No. I – I won't mind.'

'Splendid. Well now – er – Carol. We'll have dinner at about eight, as I said. And then –' he indicated a projector and then a screen, '– well show a few films. And we'll play a few games, eh?' He chuckled, like an uncle with wandering hands.

'Games?' asked Jenny.

'Yeah, like I told you. You remember.'

Jenny looked warily at the man. He smiled benignly back at her. She nodded slightly, signifying reluctant approval.

'Well, I dare say you'd like to get changed.' The man led the way into the hall and upstairs. He stood to one side as he showed them into a bedroom.

'Your things are on the bed.'

'Ta!' said Carol.

The 'things' were all in white. A sleeveless jumper, stockings, suspenders, knickers, frilly cap, little apron, shoes.

'Where's the skirt?' asked Jenny.

'Er – there isn't a skirt, actually.'

Carol giggled. Jenny held up the knickers. There wasn't much to them.

Bloody marvellous. She didn't say anything about walking around in just your bloody knickers.

There were also two envelopes. Jenny picked hers up.

'Urm – the rest will be given to you later. Half now, half when you go.'

Great! Either you're a good girl, or you don't get your money.

The man stayed and watched as they changed. Jenny's apron was so small that it didn't even reach as far as her stocking tops.

'Fit you?' asked the man.

'Er – yes. I think so.' She felt behind her, seeing how the knickers fitted.

Less bloody knickers than bare bum! Could get your bottom smacked perfectly well without even taking them down.

'I'll see you downstairs then.'

'Right,' said Carol, sounding perfectly happy about the arrangement.

'He fancies you,' she said to Jenny.

'That's all I need. Anyway, what's his name?'

'Fred. Why?'

'Just wondered.'

They went down to the kitchen. All the food was ready to serve, kept warm on a heated trolley. Fred wandered in.

'Er – I'd like you to answer the door, Jenny,' he said. 'There will be five or six guests. Just take their coats and show them into the lounge, and make sure they have a drink. Carol will take care of this end, won't you sweetheart?'

Look at him, fiddling with her bum. He'd have your pants down soon as look at you, he would! And I bet it'd be more than a smacked bum you'd get, too.

Jenny hovered around, feeling distinctly nervous about everything. The doorbell chimed and she nearly wet herself. Fred appeared in the hall and hurried her along with a soft little smack on her knickers as she passed. With her tummy flipping over and over, she turned the catch on the door and peeped round it.

'Good evening.'

'Oh. Er – come in.' Jenny hid behind the door as she opened it. Eventually she had to close it. She felt almost naked. The newcomer's eyes took in every inch of her. She took his coat, and then realised that she couldn't put it away without turning her back on him. To her considerable relief he didn't touch her. He waited for her to show him the way. With her half-naked bottom feeling utterly exposed, Jenny led the way to the lounge and gave him a drink.

The door bell chimed again. She answered it. Only with considerable dexterity did she avoid the groping hand as she served his whisky.

The bell again. She shrivelled up inside as she realised that this one had a woman with him. The woman seemed about twenty-eightish, and as interested in Jenny as was the man.

'Very pretty, Freddie,' she said as Fred welcomed them.

Jenny scuttled off to the kitchen.

'There's a bloody woman in there too!' she gabbled to Carol.

'Blimey! She didn't come when I was here before.'

Fred appeared in the kitchen doorway. He gently clasped Jenny's ear between thumb and forefinger and led her back to the lounge.

'Drinks, darling,' he said mildly, and slapped her hard and stingingly across the naked part of one plump cheek.

'Ow! You –'

SMACK! Jenny gasped and tried to pull away. His finger gripped her ear firmly, then he slapped her again, making her yelp more with indignation than anything.

The people in the lounge looked on with interest, having ceased their chatter. One man smiled cheerfully at her. Acutely embarrassed, more so than pained, Jenny controlled the urge to run and sulkily served drinks to the woman and her friend. A hand stroked her freshly spanked cheek, more exploratory than sympathetic. Jenny peeped up into the man's eyes.

'She's got a lovely little bum, hasn't she?' he said to the woman, completely ignoring Jenny.

'Yes, indeed.'

Jenny made herself scarce, though not for long. The door bell rang again. She felt acutely conscious of the crimson splotch on her bottom as she led the way to the lounge, having caught sight of herself in the long mirror. She poured him a drink, and then another hand tweaked at her cheek and its owner wanted a drink too. At last she was able to leave the lounge. She made off to the kitchen, looking for sympathy. On the way she passed Fred, and avoided getting too close to him as discreetly as she could.

She burst into the kitchen and said: 'That bastard just smacked my bloody bum!'

'Oh?' said Carol. Her fingers plucked surreptitiously under her apron. 'Why'd he do that?'

' 'Cos I was s'posed to be serving drinks. But it bloody hurt Carol. You said –'

Jenny realised that Carol was trying to pull her knickers up.

'Stings a bit, but that's all,' said Carol. 'Shouldn't worry about it. 'E's only showin' off in front of 'is friends.'

Her bum's not red, not like mine. So what's she been doing with her knicks down then, eh?

'Yes, but we haven't started yet, we've got all night. And I'm telling you that hurt Carol!'

'Don't worry about it, you'll get used to it.'

'Jenny'?' It was Fred calling from the lounge.

'Oh God! I'm supposed to be –' Jenny scampered away.

About eight o'clock, as they were about to serve dinner, the doorbell rang again. Jenny opened it. It was another man, mid forties. With him was a girl of about nineteen. She had an incredibly high-pitched ultra sophisticated voice. Jenny felt awful. It was utterly humiliating. Wouldn't have been so bad if she'd been older, but –

Somehow, between them, they managed to serve the soup. Henry, the one with the naughty-uncle hands, was impossible to avoid. The main course was even more difficult. Jenny left Carol to deal with Henry. Carol didn't make a very good job of it. She looked rather silly hopping about on one leg with a tray in one hand and trying to drag her knickers back up with the other. Henry thought it highly amusing. The others laughed with him. Henry threatened to be the life and soul of the party.

How it happened Jenny couldn't be sure. Of course, it had to be Fred's sodding sweet she dropped on the floor.

The assembled guests, well mannered to a fault, slow-hand clapped in unison.

'Knickers down. Knickers down!' they chanted.

Jenny stood bewildered. She didn't even struggle as Fred coaxed her pointedly across his lap. He made magical passes over her up-turned bottom with one hand, holding her firmly down with the other.

'Knickers off, knickers off –'

With a flourish, and with a deft, one-handed movement which started at her right hip and swept and swooped down and across her tightly bending bottom as he trapped her legs between his, he bared her pert and cheekily blushing bum in an instant.

He spanked her soundly, though it was no more than twelve smacks. Her bare cheeks bounced and jiggled as he slapped her hard and rhythmically. With her legs clamped together, and her face aflame with humiliated embarrassment, Jenny struggled only feebly across his lap as the smart in her bottom grew rapidly and the amused, mocking chant continued. Then suddenly she was allowed up. She stumbled to her feet and stood tremblingly under the eyes of the diners, dragging childishly at her drooping knickers, quite neglecting to hide the sweet nestling of her pubic hair atop her thighs.

Somehow she couldn't find the spirit to be angry. The woman's eyes stroked, rather arrogantly, down the soft pout of her bare belly. Jenny fled; her knickers rucked awkwardly up under the frantic wobble of her two glowing bum cheeks, pursued out of the lounge by the woman's quietly ironic laugh.

She stood breathlessly in the kitchen, gasping back what might have been the threat of tears.

Christ! That bastard means it! My bum's all bloody hot –

Carol arrived, grinning.

'What're you bloody grinning at?'

'Cheer up kid. I told you, he likes you.'

Wouldn't bloody want him for an enemy then, would I?

'Does it get worse?'

'No, not really. I dunno what 'e meant about "games" though. But I don't s'pose it'll be any worse than last time.'


With careful timing, and a sinuous wriggle of her scantily clad hips, Jenny managed to avoid Uncle Henry's friendly hands, as she and Carol cleared away the dishes and served coffee. The woman with the ironic laugh followed Jenny's every movement. A cool long-fingered hand played teasingly with her glowing bum-cheeks where the little knickers failed to encompass the full, heavy rotundity of her buttocks, and once, shockingly, trespassed briefly into the damp, silky press between the very tops of her thighs. Jenny wriggled away from the fingers, and the woman slapped her sharply on the bottom. Several people laughed.

'Naughty, naughty,' said the woman, and laughed herself. She turned to her companion and said: 'We know what to do with naughty girls, don't we Max?'

Several people nodded their assent. Jenny made it back to the kitchen, and heard Carol squealing in the lounge. Too nervous to risk an unnecessary return, she stayed out of the way while Carol squealed, and the sound of someone's palm landing sharply on bare flesh made her feel helpless.

Then it was time for the films. The two girls brought drinks on a tray, while Fred and another man fiddled with the projector. At last Fred announced that it wasn't going to work.

'Good,' said someone. 'Let's play Sixes.'

'Yes, sod the films, bring on the dancing girls.'

'They'll be dancing alright.'

They all seemed to find this last remark rather amusing. Jenny thought it sounded bloody ominous.

'Which one shall we have?'

'Let's have them both,' said Fred.

'Yes, let's have 'em both!'

'You'll find some more clothes upstairs,' said Henry to Carol.

'Slip up and change into them, there's a good girl. And you, sweetheart.'

Carol and Sweetheart went upstairs. The clothes had been laid out ready for them.

Bloody school knickers! Bloody schoolgirl stuff! Bloody kinks, that lot!

'Which ones d'you want, Jenny?' asked Carol. She didn't seem at all put out by it.

'What are they going to do with us?' demanded Jenny.

'Told you. They're gonna smack our arses, that's what.'

Shit! And in bloody school knickers.

Both the skirts were grey with pleats. The knickers Jenny got were green, Carol's blue. Thick and childish looking, the proper thing.

'I feel a bloody freak in these,' said Jenny.

'Shouldn't worry about that girl. You won't 'ave 'em on long enough.'

'Oh, piss off Carol! I feel bad enough, without you keep making it worse.'

'You'd better wear the green tie. It'll go with your knicks.'

There were two blouses, two vests, two pairs of socks, and two pairs of shoes. There were even two cardigans, one green and one navy. The skirts seemed ridiculously short.

Downstairs the two girls were greeted with murmurs of appreciation. Everyone was seated on straight chairs, the chairs arranged in a circle in the middle of the room.

'Your place is in the middle,' said Fred.

The girls stood in the middle, Jenny fiddling self-consciously with her skirt. She noticed that not quite everybody was seated round them. The young girl, the one with the high-pitched voice, was sitting in an armchair, outside the circle.

Jenny was given one of a pair of dice. It had three ones and three sixes. The other one, said Fred, was an ordinary one. He explained the rules. Jenny swallowed and automatically ran a finger round the leg of her knickers to snuggle them more comfortably round her bottom.

'She's got the wind up,' whispered Uncle Henry to Max.

The game started. Carol was first. Fred rolled his dice, and got three. The next man took a turn, and got four. The woman threw a six.

'Six!' they all clamoured enthusiastically.

'Now it's your turn,' said Fred. 'You have to throw a six.' He chuckled. 'Or else it's bottoms up for you my girl.'

Carol squatted on the carpet and threw a two. Everyone seemed very happy about that.

The woman put Carol across her knee. Jenny stood on the far side of the circle, watching with big eyes. Carol lay meekly as the woman tucked up the pleated skirt, letting them all see her navy knickers.

'Get on with it,' moaned Uncle Henry.

The navy knickers were pulled down, well below the lower curves of Carol's bottom. The woman spanked her once, and hard. Carol made a face and flexed her knees. Her bum quivered, and a bright red blotch slowly appeared on one round cheek. The woman spanked her again, then gave her the last four, one after the other, good and hard across each cheek alternately. Carol gasped, and teetered uncomfortably across her perch.

Then it was Jenny's turn. Someone threw a one.

'Knickers off,' chuckled Henry.

'Your throw,' said Fred.

Jenny threw a one.

'Lucky cow,' said someone.

And then it was Carol's turn again, and she wasn't so lucky. She puffed and panted across Edward's knees, and her bottom looked very pretty indeed when he'd finished with her. She stood back in the middle and rubbed her stinging bottom disconsolately.

And then Jenny wasn't so lucky either. Uncle Henry 'won' her. He plonked her unceremoniously across his lap and yanked her green knickers down. She lay there like an idiot while everyone waited to see her get her spanking. Poor Jenny kept her thighs pressed tightly together. She jerked and jolted as Henry's heavy hand punished her naked bum scorchingly. She struggled against the indignity, but her plump, helpless bottom got its first six of the game. Near to tears she hobbled back to the middle, dragging her pants back up and trying not to bend too much and let them see up her skirt.

The game went on, and the boisterous, amiable banter grew in volume. Carol took her spankings reasonably well. Jenny wriggled rather a lot and squealed delightfully, which made her very popular. In about twenty-five minutes Carol was down to vest, knickers, blouse, skirt and her left sock. Jenny had caught on to the fact that a one meant you lost some article of clothing unless you could match it with another one. She already knew that a six meant they smacked your bum. She was feeling rather silly. It was difficult to feel anything else standing there in just a vest and a pair of green knickers, plus her bottom was feeling rather sore. Fred threw a six. Jenny knelt hopefully on the carpet and tried to throw another six.

Fred smacked her bright and trembling bottom with artistic and delicately placed slaps, especially around the really uncomfortable places that advertised their tenderness with a bright red glow. Jenny sniffled back her tears, but everybody knew.

'Aaaah!' they all said in mock sympathy.

'Isn't that sweet?' said Henry.

Jenny stood like a little girl in the middle while someone smacked Carol's bum again, then it was Jenny's turn, and they threw a one. She felt awful, but they made her take off her vest. Her tits stood out proudly, as if determined to win the acclaim of the audience.

Bloody marvellous, this! The way that Henry geezer's looking at me I'll be lucky if I don't end up getting screwed! Still, only got my knickers left to go. They said the game's over when you lose your knicks.

Jenny received two more smackings before she managed to lose her knickers. Naked, she stood self-consciously in the circle and wondered what happened next.

Carol was down to vest, blouse and knickers, although she wasn't exactly wearing the knickers because that woman had them down and was smacking Carol's bum deliberately and painfully.

Then, so they said, it was Jenny's turn again.

'Sod off!' she said. 'You said the game finished when all your clothes had gone!'

'Not exactly,' said Fred, and threw a six. 'It only finishes when you've both lost your knickers. If it's only you who's lost yours, then you're still in the game.'

Coaxingly, because she was obviously near to tears, Fred persuaded the naked Jenny across his lap. He stroked her punished bottom soothingly.

'The trouble is, from your point of view, since you haven't got any more clothes to lose you get smacked for one's as well as sixes.'

'Oh no!'

'Yes, 'fraid so my dear. And – he grinned impishly at the enraptured circle, '– to make it even more interesting, you also get smacked for every one of Carol's sixes and ones.'

'Oh no, please! No, that's not fair!'

'It's in the rules,' said Fred amiably, and smacked her bottom nice and hard, six loud and painful slaps.

Jenny stood back in the centre and the tears rolled down her cheeks. She wanted desperately to run. But Carol was near to tears too, and Jenny knew she couldn't desert her. She stuck it out somehow, getting spanked again and again as she failed miserably to throw sixes and ones at the right time, and Carol lost her blouse and vest and finally her navy knickers with agonising slowness.

At last, with their schoolgirl clothes bundled in their arms, their lender bottoms waggling as they retreated, they were allowed to leave the circle. Jenny crying with quick, gasping sobs and Carol still trying to be brave.

Fred came upstairs and talked soothingly to them. Carol perked up quite quickly and let herself get talked into another game called 'Musical Parcels'. Jenny avoided Fred's comforting hands and said she'd probably be alright in a while, only she wasn't sure she wanted her bum smacked any more.

'Come downstairs and serve drinks then,' he said. 'Carol's going to play another game, aren't you darling?'

Carol simpered and let him pat her bum.

'But as a punishment, you're only to wear your kickers Jenny,' said Fred. 'Oh, and your stockings, and your cap.'

Carol followed Fred downstairs.

Bleedin' kink, that girl! Bloody all of 'em are kinks! I'll just have to keep well away from that Henry bloke, that's all!

In the kitchen she slid the supper dishes into the oven. She turned it on but it wouldn't light, simply hissing gas. She went into the lounge, though with some trepidation, to find a box of matches, and found another game in progress instead.

'Musical Parcels' looked superficially like 'sixes'. They all sat in the same circle, except that in front of each person was a paper plate on the floor. Carol and the young girl who'd come with the guests were standing in the middle, each dressed in only a bra and knickers. Carol looked nervous, the other girl looked unperturbed. As she turned away towards the far side of the circle Jenny noticed the posh girl's bum, barely covered by her brief red knickers. Across both cheeks were faint bluish lines. Jenny couldn't be sure what they were, but she had an idea.

Fred explained the rules, and produced a cassette tape which he said was pre-recorded with music and gaps without music, and which would apparently play for fifteen minutes.

The girls stood on a plate each, on opposite sides of the circle. The music started. The girl with the marks on her bum whisked her knickers down as far as her knees and then back up again as quickly as she could, and then darted for the next plate around the circle. She'd obviously played this game before. Carol caught on only slowly. Hesitantly, she pulled her knickers down to her knees. The music stopped. Everyone laughed. Carol was hoisted protesting across somebody's knees and got her bottom soundly walloped until the music started again, when she was allowed up. She looked indignant about it.

Fred stopped the music and explained it to her again.

'It's easy,' he said. 'The secret is not to get caught with your knickers down when the music stops. So you whip 'em down to your knees as quick as you can, and they have to go right down to your knees, and then you pull 'em up again before the music finishes. Then, once you've pulled 'em up again, you dash to the next person in the circle, stand on their plate, and do the same again.'

'Oh,' said Carol, rubbing her bum.

'The other thing is this. First, you must take your knickers right down to your knees at least. If you don't, the person on whose plate you're standing can declare a foul and smack you on the bottom and make you do it again.'

'Oh,' said Carol, and pulled her rucked knickers out of the crease of her bottom.

'And, if you don't move to the next plate as soon as you've got your knickers back up, the person whose plate you're on is entitled to spank you until you do.'

'Right,' said Carol, and frowned as she tried to remember it all. 'But I can stand on the next plate as long as I like?' she asked. 'I mean, before I take my pants down?'

'Yes,' said Fred. 'Only, if the girl behind you catches you up, you get walloped anyway for being so slow, and if you get caught between two plates when the music stops, you get smacked then as well.'

'So I can't win,' said Carol, her bottom lip pouting prettily.

'Of course you can darling,' said Fred. 'You just have to be quick, that's all.' His gleeful smile wasn't altogether reassuring.

The music started again. The girl in the red knickers with the funny marks on her bum had her pants going up and down like a yo-yo. Carol did her best, but got caught with her knickers down again.

'Oh no! This ain't bloody fair!'

'Get across here girl!' demanded the woman. Carol did, but reluctantly. She got well smacked for her tardiness. Even when the music started her bum was still bouncing up and down as her legs kicked convulsively.

And then it was the other girl who was caught. She seemed to take it very calmly, which was easier for her of course, because she hadn't been getting her bum smacked for the best part of the last hour. She lay obediently with her knickers down and her long slim legs straight, and didn't even gasp once as Max whacked her bum fiercely. The music didn't resume for almost half a minute. The girl's bottom was ablaze with crimson by the time Max let her up.

And so it went on, until Carol eventually burst into tears, from which point, though Carol continued with the game only half-heartedly, the girl with the red knickers started to get caught nearly every time. So often in fact that it was uncanny. Jenny served the occasional drink and watched the goings on, and at last she had sussed it.

From the cassette player a thin, unobtrusive wire led under the rug on the carpet in the direction of Fred's chair. With an almost unnoticeable pressure of his foot he was apparently able to stop and start the music at will.

The girl in, or mostly out of, the red knickers was at last beginning to show signs of distress. She was gasping now with every spank that landed on her tender and quivering bum cheeks, and once or twice she looked to be on the brink of tears herself.

Carol got spanked only twice more, and then the game seemed to be over. Carol was patted patronisingly on the bottom and praised for being a 'good girl'. The other girl was sent, without protest, to stand facing a corner, her knicks around her ankles and her startlingly red buttocks wobbling occasionally as she moved. Jenny thought it all very odd, and went upstairs to the loo.

Coming out she bumped into Uncle Henry, who was so large that he completely blocked her exit. She struggled desperately as he herded her into a bedroom. Something crinkled, and was tucked scratchily down inside the front of her knickers. She fished it out while fending off his hands and found it to be a twenty-pound note. The money made it easier to give in, though she clung on to her knickers as long as she could before he finally dragged them down, not wanting to appear lacking in principles. She was screwed briskly, pinned under his considerable weight so that there was little she could do about it anyway. He, at least, seemed to enjoy it.

Back downstairs she discovered that Carol was missing. So was the woman. Bent across a chair, her face flushed and streaked with tears, was the girl who was now without her red knickers, though her bottom substituted colourfully. Her bare breasts swung softly on the far side of the chair seat. Fred was pacing up and down waving a thin, swishy cane, as if it were a conductor's baton. The assembly were singing raucously, to the unusually slow and laboured tune of 'Old MacDonald's farm'.

'And in this dungeon there was a wench. Ee-aye-ee-aye-oh!'

'With a – Whack! Whack! here, and a – Whack! Whack! there –'

The girl over the chair twitched and squirmed her well-whipped buttocks with scant regard for the tempo of the song as Fred caned her with firm and sizzling strokes, timed to suit the cadence of the mournful dirge. She gulped and sobbed, her blubbering a tearful accompaniment to the somewhat inebriated choir.

Jenny retreated as quietly as she could lest she should be spotted, and bumped into Carol at the foot of the stairs. Carol was clutching at her bare bottom with desperate hands, the tears rolling unheeded down her cheeks as she sobbed helplessly.

Jenny took one look and nearly wet herself for the second time that night. Carol's bum was a blotchy and trembling chaos of bright scarlet weals, the strap marks plain even down the backs of her bare thighs.

At the top of the stairs the woman appeared, the strap dangling threateningly from one hand. Slowly she descended, brushing past the two girls who stared at her with wide and panic-stricken eyes. Stroking Jenny's bottom she whispered: 'Your turn later.'

As one, the two girls darted upstairs. Five minutes later they left via the back door. The singing was still going on in the lounge, the 'thwack' of the cane still interposing rhythmically, the girl's high-pitched voice a long, continual wail of complaint.

They found a telephone box and called a taxi, waiting inside the booth until it came. From under her coat Carol produced a clanking, glittering collection of things which were not, strictly speaking, hers.

'They bloody are now,' said Carol, as Jenny expressed her doubts. 'This'll pay for the rest of the money 'e didn't give us. Bastard!'

'It'll pay f' more than that,' said Jenny. 'There must be a thousand quid's worth there!'

'Right! So we'll go to Spain and bloody spend it. OK?'

'Right!' said Jenny, and rubbed pensively at her bottom under her skirt, soothing the lingering sting. The lights of the taxi picked out the phone box as it swung around the corner.

They got into the car, Carol clanking guiltily.

'Well, serves 'em bloody right,' she said defensively, ' 'E shouldn't 'ave let us in f' that lot without at least sayin', should 'e?'

'Wasn't it like that last time then?' asked Jenny.

'No, nothin' like that. What d'you think I am, a bleedin' masochasm or somethin'?'

'Masochist,' said Jenny, 'and I was beginning to wonder.'

A fire engine passed going in the opposite direction, back the way they'd come. Gradually Jenny began to giggle helplessly. Another fire-engine flashed by, its blue light revolving.

'What's the matter with you, you silly cow?' asked Carol.

Jenny found it difficult to explain, what with her fit of the giggles. 'Well, you remember while you were playing musical chairs or whatever? – well, I put that stuff with the cheese on, you know, that Italian stuff – well, I put it in the oven –' she struggled for breath before she could carry on. 'An' – and I forgot to light the bloody thing. The thing is – I'm almost sure I must've left the gas on!'

'Funny we didn't hear the bang then isn't it?' said Carol.

Which was the wrong thing to say in the circumstances. They were still helpless with mirth when at last the taxi driver got them home.

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