The night is as black as coal and although it's the eve of Halloween I'm incognito.
I creep west along the Perth Road, passing Blackness Library on my right hand side and finish at my destination; this being the tenements at the top of Windsor Street. I am wearing a fiery red duffel coat with the hood up looking a little like Paddington Bear, skinny jeans tucked into ankle boots, chilly hands thrust into pockets and my Esprit sun shades on.
"Hi, Mrs Strudel," I say to Inge's mum, a coarse Dundonian who married a German, as she lets me in.
"Wit have you come as, a Gonk?"
Ha, ha very funny, I mutter under my breath. What I am doing is keeping a low profile, after our girls night in last Friday night, I didn't want to be bumping into J-Lo anytime soon.
Inge shouts to her mum from the bathroom.
"Is it Shaz or Janet?"
What! I am out the front door, down the stairs and almost at the end of the close, before Inge manges to grab me by my hood.
"Listen Shaz, J-Lo is on her way because we three need to sort out things." She pauses and then, "I have an announcement of my own."
Hmm, I am intrigued; for that alone I will stay.
I sink into Inge's sofa set in the high walled living room of the flat that overlooks Magdalen Green, tho one she shares with her mum and her eight year old daughter, Marie. Marie, incidentally is around the houses with her pals guising. As I am waiting for J-Lo to arrive, I cannot help but observe Mrs Strudel's strange behaviour: She is sitting in front of the home computer in the far corner picking away on the keyboard with one hand and giggling sweet nothings on her mobile with the other. She is wearing the same skinny jeans as me, dammit, a Lycra scoop neck tee and I am convinced she has borrowed Inge's chicken fillets because her bust is about to pop from her top like a balloon. Mrs Strudel is seventy to the day.
"Is your mum ok?" I whisper to Inge with a frown. "Maybe she needs her readers as she keeps stretching from her seat and peering at the computer screen."
"Ach, ignore the Trollope; she's on her Live Messenger, Shaz and is flashing her cleavage at the icam."
Inge leaves for the door with her pouch of silver for paying the guisers only to bring one of them back: Oops, it's not a guiser, it's J-Lo, dressed like a witch in sheep's clothing. Inge cuts to the chase and like a referee says,
"Shaz apologise to Janet."
"Sorry Janet for sleeping with your lad."
"Accepted, Shaz, as we had split up ... all's fair in love and war," said solemnly.
"Great attitude lassies 'cos eh slept wi Atilla tae."
Me, Inge and J-Lo ... dumbfounded.
Heading now for the kitchen with a tip tap of her stick; Inge's mum continues, "Girls, a plate o stovies? Made wi real beef mince from Grants up the Blackie, non o yir corn beef oot o a tin. And eftir oor stovies ... we'll swap ah o the details!"
I HAVE SOLD BOOKS, WRITTEN BOOKS, ILLUSTRATED BOOKS, PUBLISHED BOOKS, STUDIED BOOKS, COVETED BOOKS, VANDALISED BOOKS (THOUGH, I WAS ONLY TWO YEARS OLD AT THE TIME: HAVING BEEN LET LOOSE WITH CRAYONS), GIVEN PUBLIC TALKS ABOUT BOOKS, BOUGHT BOOKS (I PAID 400 FRENCH FRANKS ONCE - £40.00 - FOR A BOOK IN FRENCH TEXT THAT I CANNOT READ), DESIGNED BOOKS AND LAST, BUT NOT LEAST, I OWN A BUSINESS ABOUT BOOKS ... YET, BOOKISH THOUGH I MAY BE ... NEVER UNDERESTIMATE A BLONDE WITH A PEN!
My favourite things are books, pets and houses. I once owned a publishing company called Pumpkin Press and now own a cleaning business called House Proud. I am a published author of two books and have edited a third. I have a degree in English. I continue to write.