Chapter 4, Part 7

Ping. The chimer went, she turned to the right, and waited for a while, and then a while longer and nothing seemed to happen. She half opened her left eye and tried to peep at the control panel. ‘FINISHED’ it said in calm electric blue letters.

“Oh My G…”

She had been so preoccupied with what to wear and where to get it that she had not noticed the chimes. Instead of rotating a quarter turn four times and thus getting an even all over all round light tan, she had stood still and taken all four jet sessions to her front. Geraldine now looked like a native of the sub continent from the front, and an Eskimo snow girl from the back. Geraldine took the robe from the compartment, put it on and went out to the girl on the desk.

“Don’t ask, don’t look, just give me another programme, right now. I don’t care who is next, if anyone, just delay them, just do it.” Not waiting for an answer, Geraldine went straight back to the booth, de robed and pressed the controls that started the machine, this time with her back to the machine for the whole cycle. She heard the soft chimes telling her to turn and each time she said out loud “No – not moving.” After the louder chime denoting that the machine had finished, Geraldine slipped the robe on and left the machine, hurrying back to the changing room. She stood and looked in the mirror.

“Oh Golly looks like a sari for Tuesday not an LBN for me.” Actually it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Everywhere should have received a small spray two times, and had in fact received a small spray four times. There were no ‘runs’ that she could see, she was just twice as tanned as she should be. Dare she go home and shower some of it off? She decided not, they did tell you not to shower for 8 hours after a treatment. Dress buying was top priority and so now she needed to be off to town and to the Promenade. A quick swipe of her credit card, a thank you to the girl on the desk, and she was out, into the cooper and quickly onto the bypass.