She slumped her 16 stone arse into the swivel chair with a sigh, and shoved another custard cream down her throat.
As bad days went, this was shaping up to be one of the worst. It had begun roughly ten hours ago, with the violent hammering of her alarm clock that still seemed to be ringing around her skull. Her hair had thrown a tantrum before she even reached the bathroom mirror. Topped up by the wall of rainwater she had stepped into outside of her front door, and she had taken on the appearance of a very sad, abandoned rescue dog.
The car hadn’t started. Typical. A few good curses and a violent kick to the tyre rim had sorted that one out. And then the bloody sheep. Seriously, sheep?! She had sat in that bloody traffic jam for half an hour watching the poor drenched bobby desperately trying to round up the escaped creatures, who looked like they were damn well enjoying the experience. When the tenth bundle of soggy wool had run past her wing mirror, Marcie had seriously considered leaping out with a flamethrower and making lamb kebabs for breakfast.
Breakfast seemed a very long time ago now. Her feet were aching. Not the gentle ache of walking around the shops for too long. No, this was the hard core, feet-falling-off, power ache that only comes from lugging around large quantities of woman all day on the beck and call of the world and his wife.
The library where Marcie toiled was a dank, dark, unpleasant sort of place. Regimental council issue grey carpets surrounded by suspicious looking stains on the magnolia walls where the pigeon had gotten in again. If she had to catch that bloody thing again, Marcie was sure she’d catch rabies. Or some other terrible disease only found in Victorian slums. Well, she shrugged, at least she might loose a bit of weight if she caught dysentery. But, she hadn’t seen Sid, as they called him, in the last week so she was probably safe.
And she couldn’t really blame Sid. After all, it was marginally drier inside the drafty library than outside. Marcie figured if she was a pigeon, she would probably do just the same. Who knew? Maybe she and Sid would be friends if she was a pigeon.
She sighed again, her whole massive body slumping down until she resembled a large, fat, miserable Buddha. Over the counter, she was being laughed at by the conveniently photogenic girl on the council propaganda poster. Her library was bright and fresh, and all of her customers obviously found photogenic girl’s jokes very funny indeed. What a load of bollocks, Marcie huffed to herself.
She had never meant to end up here in this desolate place. End of the line. The last resting place of decrepit Mills and Boon and equally decrepit pensioners. And one washed-up, larger than life, 30…ish something.
Marcie had been a go-getter. Once. A very long time ago. She had dreamt of being somebody. Anybody, really, other than who she was. And by 30…ish, she thought she might have made something of herself. She would have had prestige, authority, power. She’d be someone people could look up to.
A piercing shriek of a child split through her thoughts in an instant, at that particular pitch that can liquefy a brain in a second. The brat was stomping up and down the bookshelves, his daydreaming mother gently perusing the chick lit as her offspring tore the stickers off the shelves.
Marcie forced herself not to react, and focused her attentions on her college, Rhonda, who was flicking through the glossy pages of the latest issue of Home & Country. Rhonda’s work avoidance skills were legendary, deftly ignoring the glares of the manager from the crime section.
‘Ohh, would you look at this, Marcie,’ Rhonda cooed. ’16 bedrooms and a billiards room. Alfred and I could settle for a place like that.’
‘Does it have a pool?’ Marcie asked half-heartedly.
‘Not interested then.’
‘It does have a golf course though.’
‘A few million,’ Rhonda replied matter-of-a-factly.
‘I’ll take two,’ Marcie grunted, hauling herself to her feet.
She dusted the biscuit crumbs off her fussy pink dress. Not that the crumbs mattered much. When she met Dave off getmatched.com tonight, he would soon realise that she was not a 7ft, size 8, Afro-Caribbean supermodel. She already regretted the dress. Too much…pink. She looked like a big, fluffy marshmallow. But then, Dave was probably not much to write home about. Some plasterer from nowheresville, who’d never even left his hometown and still lived with his mother.
What a catch.
Marcie scoffed another custard cream.
The brat was screeching again. Scream, breath, scream, breath, screeeeam…
‘Marcie!’ her manager squawked.
A pair of mean. Beady little eyes were peering through the foreign literature at her.
‘Marcie Smith, what have I told you about eating at the counter? The manager half-sung in a veiled attempt to hide the venom.
‘Mwah? Meh?’ Marie sprayed a hail of biscuit crumbs across the counter.
Real convincing. Just be cool, Marcie, she told herself. Let it roll off you. The woman’s a grade A moron. Grand total of life achievement: nil.
The manager popped her head over the shelves, a crazed main of wild frizz encircling a heavily lined forehead and tiny-rimmed spectacles. Serengeti like, she stalked over to the counter, hunting for weak prey.
‘And you’ll need to do the till receipts again, the manager snapped.
‘All of them? But that will take all…’
‘No excuses, Marcie. You didn’t fold them right last time. I’ve told you this before. They need to be folded into three equal parts, not two.’
‘Can’t we just…’
‘No,’ she shook her head as if chiding a naughty child. ‘They are all bent out of shape. We can’t just re-fold them. They need to be done again. If you had just listened to me in the first place, we wouldn’t be cleaning up your mess, now would we? And some one needs to stay late to wait for the mobile library to return. That will be you then, I take it? He’s due in at 9pm. Marcie?’
Marcie had clenched her fists, fighting the overwhelming urge to smack her manager in the teeth. Tension was roiling in her stomach, running up her shoulders.
Don’t rise to it, girl, she told herself. This, this…gremlin of a woman…is nothing but spit on the bottom of my shoe. I am better than her. I will take the high road.
Despite the fact that my life has amounted to nothing. Despite the fact that I could crush this gremlin’s puny body with just one of my voluptuous buttock cheeks. Despite the fact that she has just confiscated my custard creams!!
‘Marcie, are you listening to me?’ the gremlin was whittering. ‘Honestly, it’s like I’m talking to myself sometimes…’
‘Yaaaaaarrrrgh!’ the brat yelled, swiping at the counter and stealing the scanning wand.
‘Marcie,’ Rhonda absentmindedly pointed to the child hurtling away, scanner in hand. The wire, still attached, was yanking the computer down the desk.
‘Marcie!’ the manager barked.
The voices where careening around her brain, boiling her blood. Her knuckles had turned white, her teeth grinding themselves to sharp points. Everyone needed to just shut up!
‘What?!’ Marcie slammed her hands down on the desk, trapping the scanner wire. The brat yelped as he hit the floor.
Glaring over the counter, Marcie found herself nose to nose with the slightly-scared looking security guard, Bob.
‘What do you want, Bob?’ Marcie spat.
‘I just came to tell you about Sid.’
‘What about Sid?’ she ground out.
‘I’m sorry Marcie, but Sid is dead. A local drunk was seen in the graveyard. He…He…I’m sorry to have to tell you this…but he…he…bit Sid’s head off. It was on Crimewatch and everything!’
Enough was enough! Her blood was on fire, steam evaporating from her skin, her hair pinging into rampant curls.
There was only so much one woman could take!
This was insane! This town was insane!! Sid was dead!!!
What sort of twisted, freakish sickos infected this stinking spit of a town?! To bite the head off a live pigeon! An innocent bird! This place was toxic! Evil! Inhuman!
‘Arrrrgh!’ Marcie screamed.
Hulk-like, she grasped the swivel chair and hurled it over the counter at the snivelling brat. He ran screaming for the door.
She vaulted up onto the counter, grabbed Rhonda’s Home & Country, and tore it to shreds with her bare hands. Ripping the till from the counter, she chucked it with all of her considerable weight at the gremlin’s head, knocking her out cold on the floor.
Rhonda and Bob looked on with horror as Marcie’s fingernails grew claw like, her skin drying and forming scales. Her jaw grew long, sharp teeth protruding like fangs. And, sprouting from her rotund posterior, a long reptilian tail swished across the desk, swiping library stamps across the floor.
The Marciesaurus turned her fearsome glare upon them, and let out a huge, window shattering, roar.
‘SILENCE IN THE LIBRARY!!!!!!’