Car 7

Ms Marina Pensbury

Outward appearance

Corkscrew hair, age somewhere between early and late 30s. Woolen tan matching jumper and skirt, large tan overcoat. Listening intently to her neighbour. Then a sudden, withdrawing shift of body language.

Inside information

Works in HM Customs and Excise, well east of Waterloo. There is something in Marina's timeless looks, professional dress, and sympathetic manner that means she is forever receiving confidences. People tell her about their anal warts; their snoring, their dislike of colleagues, how they changed their names when their father was convicted of child abuse.

Her workmate Susy was desolate after her husband left her. Marina invited Susy to stay, to talk. That was four weeks ago. Marina now knows everything about Susy's sex life, childlessness, and pets. Susy's mother has come to stay as well.

What she is doing or thinking

Marina listens to Susy rejoice: her husband wants to come back. Susy can get rid of her Mum and go home to some comfort.

Susy's Mum announced, "I've decided to clean that oven of yours," the day after Marina cleaned it. "I've thrown out all that old food from your refrigerator. I brushed Susy's cats. Sorry about the fur. I'll deal with it later."

Susy's mother drinks. She snoozes on the staircase. None of this has bothered Susy. "At last the old bag will be out of my hair," she chuckles.

Susy still has not thanked Marina. Not once in four weeks has she expressed concern for anyone else. Marina can understand why Bill left.

The real question is: why do I keep asking for this?

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