The loud wail of my cheap battery alarm clock screeched out into the darkness, making my heart thud to a standstill.  I slammed my hand out onto the bedside cabinet, smacked the off button and launched it across the room.   It hit the wall and judging by the wail from the bottom of the bed, it had bounced and landed with a gentle thud on Cat.   I fumbled for the lamp switch.  He was sitting, less than impressed staring at me, swishing his tail backwards and forwards with a look of complete contempt.

Squinting at the flashing red numbers as it sat nestled on top of the quilt, I let out a steady groan.  5:15 a.m.   Whoever invented this time of the morning to get up for work must have seriously been a masochist.

“Sorry Cat.” I whispered, giving him a scratch under his chin.  He carried on staring with complete indifference.

Throwing the duvet back, I leapt out of bed, hurdled the two black bin bags full of clothes for the local charity shop, skidded across the landing, vaulted the still snoring dog, hopped around the bathroom because the floor tiles were cold and finally jogged on the spot waiting for the shower to warm up.  I giggled as I mentally patted myself on the back for having successfully completed my morning exercise regime in record time.

Running my fingers through my bed-head hair, I grimaced, stuck out my tongue and checked myself out in the mirror.  I breathed in trying to reduce my wobbly belly and held a pose.  Jeez, that looked even worse!  Defeated, I decided to let it all hang.  Sometimes a girls just got to accept they’re a barrel rather than a fancy bottle.

Wrapped in a towel and suitably refreshed for the day ahead after my tepid three minutes in the shower, I ambled into the spare room to get dressed.  Joe had been working an afternoon shift and had locked up late for a burglary, consequently he’d only just slithered into bed at 3 a.m, greeting me with a sloppy tongue in my ear and a very loud fart.   Punching him hard on the nose in disgust, he had quickly fallen into a deep sleep.  Listening to his rhythmic breathing, I had begun to wonder if maybe I’d actually rendered him unconscious instead.

Making a mental note to torture him relentlessly when I got home that evening, I returned to thinking about the day ahead of me.  I hated early shifts at the best of times and today was no exception.  I had two arrests to make, three court files and an interview under caution, all squeezed in-between crewing a car and probably dealing with numpties like Tyrone again.

Throwing my bra up behind me, cups on my back so I eerily resembled Quasimodo when I glanced in the mirror, I clipped the straps together at the front then set about trying to twist it round to the right position for support.  Easier said than done when your skin is still damp from a shower and you’re half asleep.   Grunting as it crumpled up, wedging both cups under my left armpit, I began to wish I’d been born a man.  I mean, come on, what items of underwear do they have to endure in the grand scheme of things?  Two types of boxers.  The saggy loose fit ‘swing-em-free’ sort or the ‘grab-your-testicles’ tight ones.

I’d carefully laid my uniform out last night, everything I’d need for the shift ahead.  Combat pants, shirt, belt, black socks, SWAT boots on the floor, pens, chewing gum and my famed Coral Blush lipstick.   I stood staring at the pile on the bed, my knickers were missing.  Picking up my combats, I gave them a shake.  Nothing.  Hunting around I kept tutting to myself as though that would make them suddenly appear, as if by magic.  I had definitely put them there the night before but after glancing at my watch, I knew there wasn’t time to crawl on all fours looking for them and I didn’t went to disturb Joe by noisily rummaging in the wardrobe in our bedroom for another set. 

Grabbing a fade-to-grey old pair from the pile that had been resigned for the duster box, I stretched the well worn material over my big fat, curvy butt, snagging the polyester with my fingernail.  A ladder began to appear the more I heaved them up.  They were awful, but going commando at work definitely wasn’t an option.  Rushing out of the house, I grabbed my jacket and car keys and headed off to the local SPAR shop to pick up milk and biscuits for our morning tea.  

Surprisingly, for that time of the morning, it was pretty busy but everyone seemed to be in quite good spirits, smiling in the most affable way as I passed by them, trundling up and down each aisle looking for the digestives whilst swinging my basket.

As I paid for my spoils and bade my farewells, I found that their smiley, giggly faces had actually set me up in quite a good mood.

“Thanks Mavis, see you tomorrow then…” shouted Bernie on the till  “… hey, just thinking, will that be with or without your little friend”

Turning round I came face to face with Timmy the paperboy who was so close I could see the remnants of his Rice Crispie breakfast stuck to his right nostril, he was practically attached to my side, looking at me with an embarrassed grin.  

I smiled back.  “Morning Timmy.” 

“Err Miss, can I tell you something in private?” he conspiratorially whispered.

I hesitated, changing the carrier bag from one hand to the other.  “Is it very important Timmy, can it wait until later, I’m running a bit late for work this morning.”  

“Well, its not like a crime or nuffink, it’s just it’s your boots…..”  he faltered and blushed again.

“Ah I see, you like my boots?  Well they are brilliant, very comfortable and although they’ve got laces, they actually zip up and Velcro at the sides saves me time putting them on.”

He sighed and looked at me with an expectant grin.

“I’ll tell you what, if you like them that much I’ve got an old pair at home you can have….gotta rush, I’ll catch you later, okay?”

….and with that I ran to the car and set off for the nick.

Pulling into my usual parking space squashed between the industrial wheelie bins, two broken office chairs and the bicycle minus it’s saddle, I ran across the car park and into the station with minutes to spare.  Slinging my belt across my shoulder and slamming my locker door shut I came face to face with Petey as he completed his last little skip along the aisle;

“Gosh don’t you just hate earlies Mave, it’s so dark and horrible in the winter, me feet are freezing already and……..oh dear… Mave you’ve got…….”  He coughed, bordering on choking.  

I was late and I was exasperated, I just didn’t have time for a Petey moment.

“Yes Petey, it is cold and it is dark, now please let’s get a move on or we’ll be late for Parade..”  I impatiently interrupted.

I ran up the steps leaving him standing pointing into space as I rushed down the corridor just as Sergeant Jennings emerged from his office.

“Hey Mave, can you do me a favour, Command Team has called an early Incident meeting, can you take Parade for me and I’ll fill you all in later?”  He handed me the clipboard and briefing sheet.  Looking down, he grinned.  “In a rush this morning where you Mave?” he winked.

“Err yes, no problems Sarge, will do, yeah, just a little rushed, didn’t know it was written all over my face though!” I laughed.

“It’s not your face I’d be looking at Mave my dear.” he quickly retorted before disappearing into the Conference Room.

……. and that was when it all started to go horribly wrong.

Walking into the Parade Room to brief fifteen colleagues, all sitting in eager anticipation of what the day would hold for them, I took my place at the front of the room, turned to face them, clipboard in hand. Feeling very important, I leant against the table, and confidently swung my right leg up and across my left leg in a sort of half Lotus position, just like the Sarge always did.

“Right lads, AR21, Bob, Martin refs at 1100hrs….”  The sound of sniggering stopped me in my tracks.  I looked up to a sea of faces staring back at me, ripples of laughter snaking along the rows of seats.

“What’s so funny?” I bristled.

Petey could hardly contain himself as he pointed animatedly at my feet.  “I tried to tell you Mave, look…”

I glanced down…

…… and there for all to see was my missing, most elusive and most treasured size 18-20 black lace Primark thong swinging in the breeze whilst firmly adhered to the Velcro strap of my right SWAT boot.

The sudden realisation that I was treating my workmates to an eyeful of what I wore under my combats was only eclipsed by the added horror as it also hit me that half the customers in the SPAR had also seen me dragging these little frillies along the floor by the hot crusty Baps and French Fondant Fancies.  It was also the reason why Timmy had been fixated with my boots.  The poor boy.

 Mortified and turning every shade of red you could think of, I leant forward and trying not to break the flow of my conversation, I grabbed the offending briefs and shoved them into my pocket.

“They’re my spare pair…..just in…err……..” I mumbled, whilst willing the blue carpet tiles to peel back and the floor to open up and swallow me.

“In case of what…”  snorted Bob, whilst the rest of the Section burst out laughing. “…….in case of a fire? Mave there’s not enough material in them bleeding things to put out a sodding Swan Vesta match girl!”

Mavis, Mavis, Mavis!

In future I think I’ll be getting my milk from Aldi – they don’t know me in there!

(c) 2016 Gina Kirkham

Handcuffs Truncheon & A Primark Thong