Knickerless puzzle #3

Tom Stoppard once told an interviewer that he tended to get plot ideas from unusual things he saw that made him wonder how they had happened. He gave as an example the time he saw a man in a suburban street, with his face covered in shaving foam, chasing a goose.

Then he tried to work out the steps that must have led to that moment. There would have been a series of ordinary, mundane events and decisions that made sense at the time, that came together to make something out of the ordinary. 

Stairs are a thing, in bdsm, aren't they?

Stairs are a thing, in bdsm, aren’t they?

I’m not going to write a play about a knickerless woman running down stairs, or running upstairs with her ass covered. Because a girl flashing her ass at a room isn’t all that astonishing. She was a pretty girl, in an ordinary girl going to music school kind of way. Actually, she looked a lot like the young Pink. I mean the singer. I was glad I happened to look up when she passed.

But there are things I haven’t worked out. Where did she come from, the place where she wasn’t wearing any knickers? If she didn’t mind being knickerless, why did she hurry to get more clothes on? If she did mind, why did she skip down the side of the stairs nearest the audience? If she’d been on the other side of the stairs she’d have been next to a wall, and no-one would have noticed. 

So I haven’t worked out a backstory that fits. 

Always keep your disaster kit stocked: first aid, torches, laptop batteries, bikini, tinned food, matches, wine

Always keep your disaster kit stocked: first aid, torches, laptop batteries, bikini, tinned food, matches, wine

It’s like that girl who was out by the seaside during Hurricane Sandy, dancing happily in a bikini with an umbrella, in the middle of 100-mph winds. Newscasters were talking grimly about the disaster, and she got into the news footage, clearly having a whale of a time while the newscasters just pretended she wasn’t there. 

I still wonder what in the world was going on there, and I guess I’ll never know.

Same with this girl. Not important, but puzzling. 

Knickerless puzzle #2

The knickerless girl disappeared into the green room. It wasn’t the green room that the cast and orchestra were using, but the green room for a different auditorium. That night it was being used by the students working behind the bar. 

So I forgot about the knickerless girl and went back to the conversation about how much of the wanker the director was.

Kind of like this.

Kind of like this.

But a few minutes later the girl ran out of the green room and sprinted up the stairs as if she was later than the white rabbit. She’d got changed in those few minutes, into a little mini skirt with leggings underneath. Her prim maiden aunt, if she had one, wouldn’t have been remotely shocked by the view she provided. 

But I was shocked. Usually I can work out what is likely to have been happening, when people do unusual things. Even if I’m wrong, the story I work out makes some kind of sense. But I couldn’t come up with any story about the girl’s two stair dashes, one knickerless and one modest, that made any sense at all. 


Update on snakes: I went back this morning. The snake was out, probably hunting. I picked up the spade, and – very carefully – kept on digging up the old compost heap. When it comes back from hunting, it’ll have to find somewhere else to hide. I’ve warned the neighbours that it’s around, and possibly looking for a new home. 

Knickerless puzzle #1

The reason I’ve been talking about knickers is that a few nights ago I was at a university music department, watching a student performance of Don Giovanni.

It wasn’t a bad evening, and no-one was actually terrible. But there were no great voices that night, or singing actors in the making. I don’t think anyone in that production is ever going to be a star. The only one I’d have actually thrown tomatoes at, though, if I’d had them, was the director. That night’s Don Giovanni was set in a brothel in fascist Italy, and in that context a hell of a lot of the events, and the characters’ motives, made no sense at all.

But something odd happened in the interval. I was with a woman who was telling me that she was going to kill the next director who up-dated a Mozart opera to Nazi Germany, mafia gangs in America, Thatcher’s Britain, or had the singers come on-stage in their everyday clothes because this opera is timeless, really, isn’t it? It’s about today, really? 

And I said, “Yeah. Or they set it in the time it was written, because the composer was really writing for his own time. Which means Victorian gear for most operas. God, I’m so bored with that. And Victorian dresses are probably the worst clothes women have ever worn in the history of humanity so far. And – ”

lessI stopped because there was movement overhead. A wide staircase led down into the floor we were on, and the girl I was with had taken her drink to the wall under the edge of the stairs. I was facing her. 

The movement that caught my eye turned out to be a girl skipping down the stairs in a sundress. I said, “if they like Victorian costumes so much…” But the dress flipped a bit, mid-skip, and flashed the undercurve of her bottom. A nice slim bottom, pale, apple-rounded. She was either wearing a thong, or nothing at all.

I continued, “they could dress them in – ” Another step and I caught a glimpse of labia. She was wearing nothing at all. She didn’t shave, or wax.

This took maybe three seconds, at the most. But it seemed to have gone on for a remarkably long time. The girl with me said, “dress them in what?”

I’d been going to say something about how Victorians liked to wear costumes from the Raj, and then there was the Japanese craze. So you could dress your cast like that. Anything to get away from brown and grey crinoline. I shook my head. “Nothing. Sorry, lost my train of thought.”

I know. What am I, fourteen? The story’s not quite over yet, though.