By: Heide Goody

“I’m thirty, Lori.”


He sighed bitterly. “You know, while some of us are out there, working, saving for a mortgage and a pension, contributing to society. There are some people” – ‘some people’ was code for ‘Lori’; he thinks he’s clever but I can read between the lines – “whose world doesn’t extend beyond their own social media filter bubble, who are more wrapped up in getting likes for their posts and redefining their identities on a daily basis. One day, they’re polyamorous pansexuals and the next they’re… they’re elfkin or unicorns or something!”

“I met a pansexual unicornkin on holiday,” I said conversationally.

“I bet you bloody did! And while we’re worrying about your trigger warnings and safe spaces, you’re no-platforming anyone who disagrees with you because you bloody snowflakes are all too flipping delicate and special to cope with the teensiest amount of criticism!”

Rant over, he just panted on the line.

“That was a bit harsh,” I said eventually.

Adam laughed. It wasn’t cruel or teasing. Just tired.

“Look, Lori,” he said. “Let’s just concentrate on the future, shall we?”


“I do care, you know.”


“Now, what time’s your interview?” he said.

What was it? I looked at the clock on my phone. It was coming up for four. The letter had said five pm.

I hadn’t really given much thought to the job interview. I’d rejected it out of hand the moment I read about it. To the uninformed outsider, it might appear that my parents applying for a job on my behalf was a generous act. Of course, it was nothing of the sort; it was a deliberate snub to my business endeavours. They assumed that a young cartoonist couldn’t be independently wealthy and would be grateful for a menial position at the university museum.

However, it was a good excuse to get Adam off the phone. I was bored of having everything wrong in my life mansplained to me.

“Ooh, it’s quite soon,” I said. “Must go and get ready.”

“That’s the spirit! Best of luck and speak soon. Oh, one more thing.”

“Shoot, bro.”

“The rocks in the lounge…”

“Yeah, I did wonder.”

“Please, do me a favour and just take care of them.”

“No problem. See you.”

“Bye, Lori.”

I blew a loud raspberry at the phone after he’d hung up. Sure, he sounded like he cared but you had to listen to the subtext: Saintly Adam Belkin, so successful that he was touring round lecturing poor unsuspecting Americans on whatever popular science nonsense he was peddling these days, running his life from his smartphone and generally being Shiny Adam with a halo of solid gold.

So, the interview.

Sure, spending the days working alongside one of my best friends had a certain appeal but Cookie was a girl without ambition. As long as she had her weed, her booze and an opportunity to strut her funky stuff on a Saturday night, she was happy. Me, I needed more in my life. I had an independent income from my web-comic, fed by donations from a grateful public. I could live off that and tell the museum to stick its job offer up its boring, dusty bum.

I pulled up the PayPal app on my phone to see how much I’d been paid recently.

“Seventeen pence,” I read.

Seventeen pence. In all the time I’d been away.

Okay. Plan B.

I’d need to tap up Adam or Mom and Dad for some money. Mom and Dad would be an easier mark. They might have run off to deepest, darkest Wales but they’d be in touch soon enough. I just had to tell them how I was poor and starving (those Wild Seeds were really doing a number on my empty innards). Of course, they’d ask how the interview went. They might be miffed if I told them I didn’t bother going…

I pulled out the letter. I might have to go to this wretched interview after all. If I got the job at least I’d be earning something. If I didn’t get it, I could honestly tell the folks that I’d done my best. Either way, if I played along with this grand plan that they’d all cooked up they might cut me some slack. Five o’clock. I had an hour. I went to the Lori Clothes box to find something suitable. It didn’t take long to pull out all of my potential outfits and spread them out. I like to wear things that reflect my personality, but something told me that I might need to tone things down for an interview. A great many of my tops are hand painted by me. I held up Florrie Paints the Town Red. That wouldn’t do. How about Grand Theft Auto - Florrie Edition? No. My best bet would be Florrie Does the Funky Chicken, but it still felt wrong. I went back to Adam’s room and looked in his wardrobe. There were shirts and suits hanging on proper wooden hangers and some jeans and polo shirts folded on shelves. The door had a little rack for ties. Everything was sorted by colour. I reached for a shirt. It felt expensive and crisp. Moments later I was wearing it. I smoothed it down. This was going to work. I struggled slightly with the buttons being the wrong way round, but once it was on, and I’d put one of my belts around my waist, it looked pretty good. My figure is on the boyish side, so the fit wasn’t a problem. I was tempted to see how a jacket and tie looked as well but I was running short of time. I grabbed my phone and the wickerwork goat (Cookie would love it!) and left the flat.