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Page 3

Jane Downing

There’s probably no-one there at this time of day Beatrice suggested. Thought: sex in daylight!

Absolutely right concurred Arthur. No point trying the door.

A man strode out of the very door they were staring at. He had a neat goatee, nicely pressed grey trousers and blue shirt. Whatever was going on inside his brain and chest, he did not rush, nor slink, nor shamble shamefully.

Arthur started to hold out the World Wildlife Fund bucket as if to a Betty’s Burgers’ customer. Beatrice’s hand landed on his. The man passed by. A double beep announced the man’s car nearby.

When they were alone again, Arthur voiced his speculation. Accountants often work on weekends to sort out the books. Thirty-nine years a hardware supplier: he remembered the looming shadow of BAS-time. Places like this have accounts, now they’re legal and all that he explained helpfully to himself. We might as well get a donation from whoever is in the office.

He stood back chivalrously to allow Beatrice to enter the brothel first. She sighed a little breath of contented relief as the air-conditioning hit her.

There was a middle-aged woman sitting behind a counter, the type found in hire car offices. Both the counter and the woman. There was nothing surprising about her appearance except the look on her face. The look of astonishment was quickly replaced by a generous smile. What can we do… Arthur appeared behind his wife. What can we do for you two? the receptionist finished.

Save the animals? Beatrice asked.

Any donation over $2 comes with a tax-deductible receipt. Arthur waved his receipt book, letting the pre-printed tabs flutter invitingly.

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