It was clear that I had displeased her.

She looked down on me, and fixed me with blue eyes. Schoolmistresslike. Even – I thought randomly – bigsisterlike.

“Take off your trousers,” she said simply.

I did as I was told. She stepped back and studied me from behind her long blonde hair.

“Why,” she queried, in some exasperation, “did you not go to Accident and Emergency when you did this…?!?”

I didn’t have an answer prepared, so I stammered a bit. “I didn’t really like to. That is, I didn’t think about it.”

She didn’t actually say “oh for Christ’s sake,” but gave me that sort of look.

Not being accustomed to being given that sort of look by a public servant, I drew myself up to my full height. Unfortunately, as I couldn’t actually stand up and didn’t have any trousers on, this didn’t have the sort of effect I was looking to achieve.

Had I been in a Boulting Brothers comedy, I would have said something like “now look here!”, but as it was I contented myself with a fairly direct and pointed “yes, I suppose you’re right. I don’t know what I was thinking of. Sorry.” Pleased that I had asserted myself, I sat back and allowed myself to be examined.

“Still. It’s not as swollen as I thought it might be,” she commented.

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