I arrived home a little bedraggled (nothing new there) and stepped over a courier parcel sitting on my front door. My arms were carrying files and papers that I'd spent an age sorting out so I uncharacteristically placed them inside, on the coffee table -all nice and neat like - before skipping back to the door to see which delightful person had sent me something.
I ripped open the package.
Well, actually that's not altogether true. I tore at it, yanked it and sliced at it, which just shifted the glue around a little. On the verge of tourettes, I took to it with a carving knife and out popped a bubble wrapped pair of...bright red knickers.
Further inspection saw me trailing wires that protruded from the general crutch area. I knew those insomniac nights of watching CSI would come in handy and like any true bomb disposal forensic person would (earth cable, always my favorite), I followed them all the way to the seemingly innocent detonator control box.
To activate or not to activate, that is the question...
When one is faced with such grave danger, the best thing to do is telephone older brother and assign him 'team leader' status. Needless to say, he was over in a jiffy.
"Jesus, I thought you were joking! What the hell does this bit do and where you suppose to put this?" he asked, holding up the control panel. I groaned - what's the point in asking his advice if he merely comes up with the same daunting questions?
"Well, why not try them on and see what happens?"
"You couldn't fit a weasel's butt into these," I said, "Are you completely mad?"
"Hey, I ain't the one getting this sort of shit sent to me alright!"
Good point. A jolly good point and one that sent me straight to the ripped packaging to investigate just who would send me such a parcel. My mind boggled - an ex-boyfriend with a a bit of a grudge? Well, that doesn't narrow it down at all! A client? Hum....
As my brother prodded and zapped in the vain hope that something magical would happen, I spotted the intended recipient. "Oh my God, they're not mine. They're my neighbours!"
Team leader thew the knickers down in disgust, "Oh you're bloody kidding me! But, she's..." He didn't have to finish the sentence because, by then, we'd both sat down, burdened by the visual of my said neighbor, a considerable plump woman, and her toothless husband, short-circuiting each other's bits.
"You're going to have to give them back."
"Don't make it sound like I stole them, " I yelled. "I didn't. I just....anyhow, I can't." I held up the packaging with its numerous stab wounds. "They'll know I opened it. They'll know I know."
Team leader snatched the packaging out of my hand like some team leader snatching something out of my hand.
"I know!" he said confidently, "We'll just put the bloody thing back in here and throw it over the fence."
"But she's got two dogs, what if one of them, you know, bites into it and gets electrocuted. We'll be up for thief, perverting the cause of justice, and death of dog!"
"They'll have to prove it was us."
"But your bloody fingerprints are all over the crutch!"
"I told you, you should have put them on!"
Team leader was mortified: "Shove them in your wardrobe and say nothing."
And I did. Those vibrating knickers remained in my wardrobe for nearly two years before I considered it safe enough to throw in the trash. I only had one further encounter with the neighbors before I moved and never saw them again - he motioned me over to his front door, one morning, looked left and then right before asking me whether I had, you know, received something from a courier by mistake. I was so flabbergasted, I couldn't say a word, which was good, cause right at the moment, he let out an embarrassed laugh and said, "I gone bought me wife some vibrating knickers."
I joined in on his embarrassed laugh - for all the wrong reasons. "Sorry, can't help you with that one." (Gulp).