Sunday 4 December 2016

Day 4: Lost Baubles by Dianne Stadhams

A hedgehog might be cute but would you want to cuddle it? Or feed it and take it home? So Judy James ponders as she peers into the mirror of the staff toilet at the bus depot. Her tuft of blonde spikes is a tribute to cheap gel and dexterous fingers.

“Frigging heck,” she spits at the mirror, “he won’t even stop for a drink.”

It’s an hour until her shift is over, quiet time. Tidy up and plan her escape. Clock watch till lock up and walk out. Her office is open from 9am until 5pm, Monday to Friday. There is usually a queue when the doors are unlocked.

Umbrellas, they are the most popular request. According to her boss, aka The Oracle, over three thousand umbrellas found their way to the lost property depot last year. Only a few are ever claimed. Between Christmas and New Year her office packs up all the orphans and sends them to a charity which sells them in shops, staffed by volunteers, around the country.

Judy is fascinated where they send the weird bits and bobs. Who buys abandoned breast implants (three sets found on three different buses during one month), or a giraffe skull? Wacky or what? She plans to write a book about it.

“And your story, madam?” Judy asks a lurid pink, folding umbrella, “who left you on the number 47 bus?”
Books outnumber umbrellas by ten to one but there is only signed copy of the title, Baubles, a collection of short stories. There are lots of other items that have absconded from their owners. How can someone forget to take a lawnmower off a bus? Mind you Judy is more impressed that someone had managed to persuade a driver to have it on the bus.

Not all lost items are found, like the misplaced Rolex valued at £40,000. The staff award for ‘Lost of the Year’ has gone to a speech therapist. She reclaimed a suitcase of battery-powered vibrators. Used them in children’s mouths to stimulate tongue movement. Or so she said, blushing. Judy doesn’t want to think about it… too gross.

About the author

Dianne Stadhams is an Australian, resident in the UK, who works globally. She has spent many years in some of the world’s poorest nations working on poverty alleviation projects and has a PhD in communications for development. Her website gives details about this and her other interests. She loves to write – everything and anything from books to scripts to letters of complaint.


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