‘Who the hell are you people?’
Laura suspects she blacked out, but cannot be sure, or at least cannot be sure she is awake again. In front of her is the girl in the hooped earrings from Monday, wearing a grey adidas tracksuit and New York Yankees baseball cap, the furious Chinese man called Yippee from yesterday who looks to be wearing a full safari suit, and an elegant lady in her fifties who reminds Laura of an old headmistress of hers. She steps forward in her matching pastel blue heels, pencil skirt and blouse.
‘We, Laura, are a band of international superheroes, for want of a better phrase.’
‘I can think of a few better phrases,’ says Laura. The lady smiles patiently.
‘My name is Cassandra.’ She holds out a hand for Laura to shake. ‘And you’ve met Yippee and Amber.’ Yippee scowls as Amber performs an elaborate curtsy, still chewing her gum. ‘Amber is educated to PHD level in six different fields. She could eat the Eggheads for breakfast.’
‘Oh stop it Cass.’
‘It’s true, Amber.’
Laura eyes them all up and down.
‘Superheroes? You? I can’t… what are you talking about?’
‘I’m afraid there isn’t a great deal of time to explain. You’re going to have to learn on the job. Now if you’d like to follow me…’
Cassandra turns towards the rear of the shop and Laura suddenly realises they are standing in the defunct Blockbuster.
‘I’m sorry. I’m not going anywhere,’ she says.
‘BUT YOU MUST!’ shouts Yippee.
Laura looks at her watch.
‘I can’t. I’ve got school pick-up in half-an-hour.’
‘Don’t worry,’ says Cassandra, waiting next to what was once a staff door. ‘That’s all been taken care of.’
Laura looks at Amber in the forlorn hope that she will inject some sense into her day.
‘Ah lady, your face. Honestly, you should have seen it when you put it all together. We was crackin’ up.’
Laura thinks back to the sitting on the grass outside. The kebab takeaway, the bridal shop, the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory poster, the Meatloaf shop.
‘I’m afraid we just don’t have time, Laura,’ says Cassandra again. ‘We might have if Boyd had put the right poster up in the window. He was supposed to know you hated the Johnny Depp version, and it cost us valuable minutes in you making the connections. Where is Boyd anyway?’
Amber and Yippee shrug.
‘No matter. Now please, come. You might have noticed we’re in a spot of bother.’
‘Yes we. Humanity.’
‘Oh, right, well, beats thinking of what to cook for tea.’
A lot of the stuff I write is very character driven. I’m not very good at plot, or at least I don’t tend to naturally write plot-driven stuff, so I’m using this story to force myself into some plot-heavy writing in a bid to improve.