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Carrie gets a Brazilian Waxing.
"Died?" I blinked, "how, when?"
"Last night, just after we went to bed there was a car crash in Paris, her boyfriend is dead too."
I had to work that Sunday, it was one of the advantages or disadvantages of being Indian, depending on your outlook. Everyone hated working Sundays but I was usually available to work. My normal routine would have seen me getting into my uniform in my bedroom but that morning I showered and then came through in my dressing gown to get into uniform in full view of Peggy. It was one of the saddest days I can remember, I'd been at traffic accidents before and knew the script. I was able to give an approximate rendering of what would happen next.
"They'll question the paparazzi of course, but there will be other things too, like alcohol and drugs. Wiz the driver hammered? Were there other cars involved? How fast was the car going when it hit the pylon?"
Peggy was still staring at the telly with a tear-strained face but as I picked up my bag and prepared to leave she got up suddenly and hugged me.
"Stay safe," she squeezed me tightly and then slightly embarrassed, released me, "sorry it's just the emotion of the moment."
"It's fine," I reassured her, "I'll be fine, it's a short shift anyway, I'm off the now."
Nevertheless, it was a busy shift. We had to deal with one poor old lady who suddenly collapsed in Byres Road, I don't think it had anything to do with the tragedy in Paris as she was quite old. There was a minor traffic accident near the university that could have had tragic consequences when a car clipped an oncoming car and then veered onto the other side of the road narrowly missing three teenagers on the pavement. Crime didn't even take a breather when we were called to arrest two shoplifters at a chemist.
The general feeling however was one of shock and sadness, it seemed to filter through all levels of society, affecting even those ardent Republicans who wanted to abolish the monarchy. To be honest I'd never given the royal family much thought. Mum was more the royalist but dad had a far more ambivalent attitude. I actually called my parents from a payphone on the way home and spoke to my sister who told me that our parents had gone to a friend's place because they had the Internet and at that point in time everyone was scrambling for more information. Not that there was much more out there than what we'd read in papers or seen on the telly, for many I suppose it was a way of processing it in privacy.
It was what Peggy was doing when I finally arrived back home. She'd changed into a cream silk blouse with plastic beads on the collar and a tan cargo skirt, the dirty dishes in the sink evidence enough that she'd not done much else but surf the web.
"They're not saying much," she sighed, "but I blame the paparazzi."
"Aye it seems to be what they're all saying," I unbuttoned my jacket, "but it's all very dodgy, these people are supposed to have protection at all times, so what was a drunk driver doing behind the wheel of the car anyway?"
"Fucked if I know," she pushed away from the computer and stood up, "I've been sitting in front of this thing most of the day, I only ducked out to get a curry and went straight back to surfing the web, you take your turn if you want."
"Thanks," I pulled my jacket off, "I'd love a cuppa though."
"Allow me," she squeezed my shoulder as I sat down.
"I wonder if they'll do a state funeral?" Peggy went on.
"Doubtful," I pulled my ponytail loose, "she's lost her royal status, in this country it's all about protocol. They cannae even hoist the royal standard to half mast because the queen is in Scotland so it cannae be flown at the palace."
Peggy's hands dropped to my shoulders and stayed there. In hindsight that should have alerted me because after discovering my sexual orientation she'd refrained from too much physical affection, not that Peggy was particularly tactile. In her defence though, she never wanted to lead me on and I respected her for that. She seemed to come to herself a few seconds later and stepped back.
"Coffee or tea?"