Moving In

"Dearie me!" exclaimed Mrs. Wolfe, "Is something wrong, officer?"

Mrs. Wolfe stood at the door facing an imposing looking woman in full police gear. When the phrase "built like a brick house" is used, usually it means a woman is well apportioned of female curvature. In this case the phrase would still apply, but the more appropriate inferrence would be that she was strongly and solidly built. Heavy muscle cords visibly bulged and relaxed as this woman moved her arms.

"I do apologise. I should have warned you that I would be coming straight from work to speak with you about renting the flat here," said the woman, "I'm Manda Swindon. You were expecting me?"

"Of course! Come in. You gave me quite a start," said Mrs. Wolfe. She directed Manda to her living room and the couch. "Give me a moment. I'm just finishing off bundling the newspapers for tomorrow's rubbish. I never seem to be able to tie the string tightly enough to keep the paper from slipping around a bit."

"Let me do that for you. I can see to it that the string is nice and snug," said Manda following Mrs. Wolfe to the kitchen where blue nylon string draped around a stack of The Age newspapers. She quickly saw to it that they were bound up tight while Mrs. Wolfe put on a kettle for tea.

Mrs. Wolfe found Manda's strength quite exciting. Just think, a woman can be that muscular and powerful. She wondered what it must be like. Did Manda get more respect? Did she feel more in control? Manda offered to carry the tray with teapot, tea things and plate of Mint Slices out to the coffee table.

"Everything seems to be in order for your application," said Mrs. Wolfe as she settled into her overstuffed chair and picked up the piece of paper draped over its arm. "How is it that you became a police officer?"

Manda smiled, "Oh, as a kid I used to love playing knights. I liked pretending I was Joan of Arc. I had a knack for sports, but rather than becoming a girls' gym teacher I wanted to, like, defend the helpless. Might for right and all that, just like Arthur's round table. Becoming a police officer seemed pretty natural."

"Have you ever had to use your gun?" asked Mrs. Wolfe.

"No, thank god, I haven't," said Manda, "but I've chased a few criminals in my time, though not these days." Manda sighed.

"Do you have a whistle?" asked Mrs. Wolfe eagerly.

"As a matter of fact I do. Would you like to see it?" offered Manda. Mrs. Wolfe nodded, so Manda reached into her breast pocket and pulled out a shiny chrome-plated whistle. "Whistles are mainly used by traffic officers, but my dad found one in an op-shop and bought it for me when I was in secondary school. I like keeping it on me to remind me of the faith he had in me following this career. Pretty cool, huh?" She placed the item on the coffee table next to the teaspoons.

"So, tell me, why are you interested in the flat here?"

"Well, I needed a new place and this is close to work and in a nice neighbourhood. I also love the little flower boxes outside our windows. Would I get to care for those?"

"If you like, yes. In fact I would be happy to let you have the flat if you are still interested," said Mrs. Wolfe.

"Yes, please," said Manda.


Pigs in the City
Copyright © 1999 Katherine Phelps
Story Shapes