Earlier this year I was invited to go with a few friends to celebrate the imminent marriage of one of our group. It was to be a low key affair involving nothing more scandalous than a dinner out with friends and some gifts for the bride-to-be.
I had been advised that all the attendees would be getting lingerie for the lucky girl which seemed like a fantastic idea to me.
This girl is beautiful and sweet and I thought that she definitely deserved some fancy underthings to enjoy on her honeymoon.
I also realised that although I knew this girl pretty well we had not been acquainted for a very long time. This gave me an idea. I figured that she was unlikely to have seen or even to suspect that I have a slightly twisted sense of humour or that I delight in a little mild trickery. I started spinning a plan.
I set out to the mall one fine morning in search of the items I needed to fulfill my not quite evil plan. Abigail was my accomplice on that morning and in our excitement we got to the mall well in advance of its opening hours. We waited around in the lounging area and watched as the shops, one by one, opened their front doors and we planned our shopping spree using the giant mall map located next to our base camp.
We made our way to the first shop, none other than the widely acclaimed Victoria's Secret. Now when I first entered this establishment pushing Abigail in the stroller while she happily munched on her goldfish crackers, I was given the quick once over by the sales assistant. I did see her visibly shudder when her glance rested momentarily on Abigail with her slightly orange hands and then as she looked me over her eyes kind of glazed slightly. I was quick to assure her that Abigail would be thoroughly occupied with the crackers to the extent that she wouldn’t do her normal clothing shop routine of touching everything in sight. Then I put the poor girl out of her misery by letting her know I was shopping for a very small friend not my voluptuous self.
The sales assistant let out her breath of relief at my news and quickly started trying to find out all she could about my friend. I was directed here and directed there and shown many gorgeous outfits before I was left to my own devices to search where I may. I finally decided on a rather saucy negligee involving rather a lot of lace, a few ribbons and some barely there panties attached. I tried to find the price tag but had some difficulty. Probably the same degree of difficulty the poor label attaching person had had when trying to find a place to secure the tag in the first place.
I made my way to the checkout and stood in line. It was there I found a rather delicious looking bottle of massage oil designed to be similar to honey but without the sticky residue. It even came with a honey dipper. What could be more perfect? I put that on the counter too.
As I moved toward the front of the shop and out the door I heard the ear blasting sound of many sirens. I was suddenly descended upon by shop assistants I had previously not seen. It is amazing how they can conceal themselves behind such skimpy outfits. Of course the noise attracted quite some attention from general mall shoppers who were passing by. Right there in the front entrance of the shop in front of all those onlookers the shop assistant opened my bag and with a flourish pulled out my purchases, waving them around for all to see.
Now it was quite clear that the outfit would fit no part of my body whatsoever but I held my head high and pretended that this was an everyday occurrence for me. They finally located the offending security tag all the while muttering about how it could have been missed when it was practically bigger than the item it was attached to. They removed it and I was on my way once more.
Stage two of my plan was much simpler. I made my way to the sleepwear section of a local department store and located the granny section (rather larger than I thought it would be actually). I found what I was looking for with alarming speed and the selection was breathtaking. I spent quite a few minutes giggling away as I picked out the perfect garment. Now I am not quite sure what the garment is called, it is kind of a cross between a nightgown and a dressing gown. It covers the entire body and is not shaped in any way. It is sort of like a sack with arms and you can, if you like, buy a matching nightgown to go under it but you could also get matching dressing gowns too hence my confusion as to what this garment really is. I am not sure when you would wear such a thing but when I looked at them I could almost see my own grandmother sitting around after her bath with curlers in her hair rocking this look. I finally settled on a deliciously pale pink number embellished with tiny flower posies and the best feature, a zip running the full length from ankle to neck complete with tassel and a tag reminding the wearer to remove the tassel before laundering.
I took it to the checkout ready to get an exchange receipt so that the unsuspecting recipient of my generous gift could replace it with something more in keeping with her style (like a cheese grater or a citrus reamer). I found that the garment had been so heavily discounted that I was actually able to purchase it using the change in the bottom of my purse so I skipped the exchange card.
After all that shopping it was time for some lunch and a little play in the playground for Abigail. This went without a hitch until it was time to leave. Abigail had apparently decided it was time for a game of tag so she took off through the food court unwavering from her goal in the distance. I wasn't quite sure what this goal was at first but as we got closer it was obvious that she was heading for the bathroom. I was right behind her with the stroller full of our purchases and desperately trying to catch up but not wanting to make it too obvious to all the other customers that I had completely lost control of my offspring.
She made it to the hallway which serves as the entrance to the bathrooms and I got closer. Unfortunately I was not close enough to stop her from suddenly darting into the bathroom itself. Now these bathrooms are designed without doors, they have a kind of maze like series of short hallways which conceal the bathroom area itself and I'm sure they delight themselves on being very sanitary as a result of not having doorknobs. I watched in horror as my innocent little girl trotted completely unobstructed into the mensroom.
I wasn't quite sure what to do. I edged into the first hallway and kind of peeped around the edge of the next one. The sight that met me was that of a row of men standing proudly at their individual urinals being gazed upon by my little cherub. I called out to her in the fiercest voice I could muster which caused all the men to snap their heads round to see me supposedly staring at them but did not cause Abigail to flinch at all. Of course none of them could see Abigail standing right behind them.
I ducked back out of the way and tried to figure out if I was game enough to march in there after her. At that moment a man started to exit the restroom (not one of the ones I had seen). I asked him if he had seen a little girl in there and although he initially gave me a strange look I think he realised my predicament when he saw my empty stroller. He went back in and came out kind of herding Abigail from behind without touching her. I turned to thank him as he beat a hasty retreat and in that split second Abigail sprinted for the mensroom once more. I couldn't believe how dumb I was to not have grabbed her when I had the chance.
I peeped around the corner again and this time instead of seeing Abigail I saw a pair of black shoes. As my gaze lifted slowly I saw black pants followed by a white shirt and then the very unamused face of a security guard. “Is there something I can help you with Ma'am?”. I asked him if he had seen a small girl in there and he gave me a very odd look before saying “no Ma'am, this is the mensroom”. I explained, or at least tried to explain while stumbling over my words, that my 2 year old had run in there. To his credit he did turn around and try to find her and came back with her within seconds. Unfortunately he underestimated the powerful slipperiness of a 2 year old intent of mischief and he didn't actually hold onto her. No sooner had she seen me than she darted back between his legs and disappeared once more.
When he brought her back again I dispensed with the pleasantries and held her in a vice grip as I strapped her securely into her stroller and practically sprinted for the mall exit.
To be continued...