They split the bricks and snorted the remainders and it was all good but she got nervous and then Mavis Beacon had to fit ten kilos in a five kilo bag. And the little problem of the two bodies wasn’t such a little problem, either.
She rolled over, panting and covered in sweat. Just as she had thought, Mavis Beacon realized, the wife really had been nothing to worry about.
Mavis Beacon looked down at her watch. She had never been less sure of anything in her entire life. Twenty seconds. The back of the van was crowded and all she could see was the top of the other’s heads, all facing down staring intently at their watches. She waited for the second hand to sweep past twelve. “Mark it,” she whispered, and half a dozen leather-gloved fingers snapped the crowns of their watches back into place. She pulled the mask back down over her face and watched, through the ragged eye holes, the second hand make a second pass. No one spoke, but the sound of six safeties releasing meant they were all on the same page. The van’s doors were pushed open. If everything went according to plan, it would all be over before the third pass of the second hand.
It would forever be remembered by those who were present as the day that they saw Mavis Beacon breaking up a fight between bobcats, and by everyone who wasn’t there as the day they missed seeing Mavis Beacon braking up a fight between bobcats.
Maybe, she thought, some champagne was the thing. She floundered for a second to untangle herself from a mess of blankets and find maybe half a glass or so. She was upright on the cold floor, and it was 10:15 a.m. on the sixth day of the New Year and her head felt like it was lined with a kind of warm, moldy peach fuzz. Mavis Beacon was very much awake, but the only thing she could focus on was not vomiting. She took an uneasy step forward, like a baby lurching toward a v-legged parent, or Neil Armstrong, the great American hero, testing the consistency of the Moon’s cheese. This was the year, though. There was a bottle sitting open on the counter and god only knew if the half inch of liquid at the bottom was really champagne, and if it was if there was any chance it still had any bubbles. But she cold feel it: this was her year. She found a mug and upended the bottle, spilling a bit on the floor. She thought she’d leave it for the dog, if she had a dog. She tried to think of what the dog of hers would be called, and what her pet name for it would be, and what type of dog, specifically, that it would be, but there it was again and she had to clench her jaw and tighten her eyes and forget about the dog. And somewhere deep down she could feel it, the decidedly faint feeling compared to the sour butterflies in her boozy stomach, but it was still there. This was her year.
Mavis Beacon gasped. She couldn’t help it. The wirey man held the card up so all could see. Yes, she offered when prompted, it was the queen of hearts. Yes, when once again prompted for an answer, this was the card she had picked. Yes, a third time, that was, in fact, her name written on it in thick black letters and, again, yes to the final question—but how?—that was her hand writing. Incredible. Impossible. She knew that there was a trick in there somewhere, but Mavis Beacon didn’t want to figure it out; if she could hold on to the thrill of the moment a little longer — now that would be real magic.
Mavis Beacon twirled, watching the taffeta folds lift into a shimmering spiral. She raised a panel of the frothy material and pressed it against her right cheek. Her eyes glazed with stinging regret as the salesperson asked if she was interested in purchasing it. “No…no, not today,” she said, her voice trailing off as she gazed in the mirror.
Flames licked hungrily at all four walls. Mavis Beacon darted to the right, then to the left, trying to find an exit through the ever-thickening smoke. She tripped on something and fell heavily, her feet unable to gain purchase on the ash-laden floor. Feeling desperately with her singed fingertips, she found the opening of a trap door - yes! She could escape! She opened it frantically, and was about to drop through when she heard a long, pitiful mew from the far corner. Through the close air she saw the yellow orbs of the trembling kitten’s eyes for only a moment, then, with an almighty crack, a beam fell from the top of the fifteen foot ceiling, blazing as it sliced downward, then slapped the hissing ground between them like a branding rod.