Gladiatorial moments in suburban cushions

I needed a couple of fitted sheets, so I went off to my local linen store.

Well. There is a huge sale on today, and every blonde woman in my posh council area was there.

These women DO NOT wait in queues. So they kept leaving their bags to hold their place and wandering off to find people to complain to. While I was waiting, I watched one Lululemon-clad woman reach into a Burberry-clad woman’s bag and take out a single cushion.

Eventually the second woman returned to her gigantic bag of stuff and slid it over to the checkout. The nice man greeted her warmly. She said, “You want me to TAKE THIS STUFF OUT??” He very gently said yes, so he could scan it.


A couple of cushions in, this woman slammed her fists down on the counter and shouted, “I’M MISSING A CUSHION.”

Me, helpfully: “Oh, I think someone took it.”

Reader, her whole body vibrated. Her eyes narrowed. “Which woman was it?” she hissed.

I said, oh, I can’t remember, you are literally clones made from the remnants of underpaid hospitality workers.

She went storming off around the store, looking for the woman who had stolen the cushion she had not yet paid for. Defeated, she returned to the poor sales guy.

Then, across from her at the other checkout: the cushion. “That’s mine,” she said, quietly at first. “THAT’S MINE.”

I’m really sorry about this. I said to her, oh yes, that’s the woman.

Honestly she blew up like Violet Beauregard. She marched over there.

“THAT CUSHION WAS MIIIEEEENEEEE.” The Lululemon woman was not having it. She had found it fair and square.

The sales guy said, “I can see if we have another one out the back!” Brave soldier. “THAT WAS THE ONLY ONE. THE BRUNETTE GIRL TOLD ME.”

At this stage I could see the other woman trying to figure out if she was meant to give the cushion back. She would pick it up, then look at the dreadful woman having a tantrum in a linen store and put it back down. I mouthed, Don’t do it. The cushion is yours.

She paid for it.

The first woman EXPLODED. She ran over to the other bench, grabbed the cushion and shoved it at this poor, kind sales guy. “Sorry,” he said. “This lady already bought it.”

Burberry started trying to recruit the other Prues and Trudes around her. “THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS.”

The tension was out of this world. Thirty Audi-SUV driving women in this confined space, clutching their own manchester like they birthed it. Sales guy, petrified, squeaked: “I’m really sorry.”

No one was breathing. Only the sound of the automatic doors hissing open and closed.


Then she high-tailed it out of there, into the wilds of middle-class Melbourne.

I don’t know who has the cushion now.

Sometimes writer, frequent emotion haver. Tops mother, massive try-hard and friend. Wrote THE GULF and THE PAPER HOUSE.

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