Susie stepped out of the shower immaculate, the night dreams drained from her pores. She swabbed the last remnants away, the towel soaking in ethereal memories. Stepping from the tub linoleum rushing to give substance to the day, she opens her eyes. A clean page before her, the mirror approaches, no harsh reality.
    Susan Quow works as a data entry specialist. Piecemeal requirements of 211 a day. And that's just to stay. In by six and out by three-thirty. Fifteen minute break every two hours. No lunch. Keeps you thin and trim, and hungry. Intense. Actually she coasts around 300, and that's when she checks out the temps.
    Long frizzled dark hair emerges from the fog. She smiles, eyes peeking between curls. Who knows, maybe he's out there. She pouts. Maybe he's not.
    Susan drives a Datsun 310-SX that her parents bought her for graduation. She would have been an Honor Student, except that she had flipped off the sponsor one afternoon after school. The play she was in required her to wear a very revealing, flowered dress with really garish makeup. The sponsor, Mrs. Elgin, spotted her and proclaimed, maybe even half jokingly, "Dressing like that will not get you into the Honor Society...." So she flipped Mrs. Elgin off. She was the only person in the top fifteen of her class that was not an Honor Student. She was third. In fact, the saluditorian had only moved into the area the last year of school, or had been moved in....
    In the car on a one way, two lane street, she passed the various businesses housed in the old two and three story row buildings of the neighborhood. Mixed within the slum lorded apartments were the used record shop she frequented and even university offices and departments. Parked cars served as buffers to the sidewalks. Susan was grateful that she was going downtown instead of having to search for a spot. Spend thirty minutes trying to park when a store visit might only be fifteen.
    Except for the lace shop. Nothing compares to a soft, all cotton weave. The tender caress of a thousand fibers. A movement of touch, a symphony of feeling, a sensual opus. An hour may not be enough to just look. And if you were clean, Cindy might even let you try on a few. Cindy would also have to know you. Sort of like a business relationship, something you built upon from the first moment you walk into her mileau. A look, receptiveness, a learned respect for merchandise. A smile, that first purchase... maybe even on the second visit. Always an attempt at worldly banter, but not pushing it, let the talk flow as naturally as possible.
    I'll always remember the first visit. There were a couple of glib teenagers and a middle-aged housewife, conspicuous because of the absence of a ring. Maybe she was divorced.
    Stoplight. The only problem with Main Steet was that there were so many crossing streets. At least there isn't any facing traffic. That would doubly complicate any lefts. Go.
    So I walk up to the polyester blend, you know the shiny blue or violet ones with the machine woven patterns. Hold one halfway out to show the notable stiffness.
    "I can't understand why men like these, the back always rides up my crack." Giggles from the teens and a wide eyed glance from divorcee. Instead of ruffling. Cindy responded with a nonchalant drawl and hidden laugh. "No honey, you've got it all wrong. He's not supposed to leave it on you long enough for it to make any difference." More giggles and then hushed whispers. A knowing nod and further browsing. When I left, Cindy made sure that I had the shop card and the obligatory "Come back and see us."
    The us actually refered to her mother doing stock in the back. I wouldn't meet her until the next time I entered the shop. That's when I bought my first teddy. She recommended an all cotton, discreetly laced, absolute masterpiece of handiwork. Cool deal, and the last one. It fit perfectly.
    Red light. Well only a mile left, fourteen blocks and then the welcome refuge of the parking deck. I guess Cindy was in the back doing stock, that time.
    Green light. Susan accelerates from the left lane, going through the gears. She notices the UPS truck a block up in the right lane. Glad I'm on the left, they move so slow through the city. Maybe Cindy was out getting lunch or something...
    She doesn't notice the left turn signal of the six ton, steel step van. As she approaches the leviathan, she is shifting into fourth as it turns across her lane.
    Special Delivery.