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Authors: Ros Baxter

Lingerie For Felons

BOOK: Lingerie For Felons
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Lingerie for Felons

Ros Baxter

Lingerie for Felons
Ros Baxter

If there's one universal truth, it's this: You're always wearing your worst underwear when you land in trouble.

Lola's parents told her that
can make a difference. And she believed them. She's been fighting the good fights since she was eleven years old. But at 23, Lola falls hard for an Australian stockbroker who thinks Doctors Without Borders is a porno and Joni Mitchell sounds like a harp seal being battered to death. She cuts him loose, but over the next fifteen years, through protests, misunderstandings, humiliating predicaments, and a number of poor underwear choices, their lives and paths continue to converge.

Along the way, Lola learns a few important life lessons: Never wear a red lace thong to a strip search. Make sure you take motion sickness pills if you're going to the Southern Ocean to save the whales. And sometimes, Mr Right can be all wrong, and Mr Wrong just needs time to find the right path.

Funny, touching, emotional and political,
Lingerie for Felons
is Bridget Jones meets
An Inconvenient Truth
, about doing the right thing, finding the right person, and always thinking through your underwear choices.

About the author

Ros has been writing stories since she was eight years old, but she likes her new stuff better than her old stuff. She writes fresh, funny, genre-busting fiction. She digs feisty heroines, quirky families, heroes to make you sigh and tingle, and a dash of fantasy from time to time.

In real life, Ros works in policy for the Australian Government and in her non-existent spare time she coordinates
, a short story competition for remote Indigenous girls. Ros lives in Brisbane's North with her husband Blair, four small but very opinionated children, a neurotic dog and nine billion germs.


This book has a very special place in my heart as it was the first story I wrote after deciding to go for it. My thanks go to all those who read, critiqued, loved and loathed it along the way.

And to my husband Blair for always believing Lola would see the light of day.

For Quinn, the laugh of my heart.


About the author



Part One: The First Time

Part Two: Memory Lane

Part Three: Transition Man

Part Four: The Second Time

Part Five: The Third Time

Part Six: The Last Time

Bestselling Titles by Escape Publishing…


Genesis of a felon — Welmore Junior High; June, 1989

If there's one universal truth, it's this: You're always wearing your worst underwear when you land in trouble.

‘Heidi, I think I'm gonna be sick.' I could taste the humidity, hot and metallic. It cuddled me, like an extra blanket you don't quite need during the night, but can't rouse yourself enough to shrug off. My tummy was turning queasy circles.

Heidi looked at me with that little frown of concentration. Clear blue eyes sparkled out of the whitest face you ever saw. ‘Don't worry, Lolly. He's not so bad.'

I'd told Heidi I was supposed to be Lola now that I'd turned 16, but right now I had bigger fish to fry. I poked my glasses back up my nose. ‘I... I'm worried. One, I've never —'

Heidi held up a small white hand. ‘Oh no, girlfriend. Not the numbers.'

I flapped my hand at her. ‘One: I've never been called up before. Two: you know I have a nervous stomach. And three…' I could feel little hiccups rising in my throat as I forced it out. ‘Three,' I lowered my voice, ‘I'm wearing
My Little Pony

Heidi stopped the yapping duck gesture she'd been doing since I started my list and studied the region below my waist. ‘The ones with that pink horse head on the front?'

I sighed. ‘Pony head.'

She rolled her eyes. ‘That your Grandma gave you for your eighth birthday?' She paused. ‘Girl, get your priorities straight. He's not even gonna see your underwear.' Her voice started to ramp up, spiralling higher with each sentence. ‘He's gonna be screaming too hard to even see your face. Lola.' She took me by the shoulders and gave me a little shake. ‘You spray-painted his goddam ride.'

I squared my shoulders, shaking her off and pressing a balled fist into my stomach. ‘Well I can't believe he said no. They wanted to use the gym one day. Just one day.'

It was Heidi's turn to sigh. ‘Why've you always gotta do this?'

‘So you're not with me?'

She scowled. ‘I'm always with you. It's just... Can't you get a new interest?'

‘Like what?'

Heidi waggled her brows. ‘Like that boy. Y'know. The one in your chess club.'

I snorted.

‘Oh, I'm sorry gir-rul,' she drawled. ‘You busy with Mandela this weekend?'

I felt myself flush. I knew most of the other kids had posters of Jason Priestly or the Coreys (Haim and/or Feldman) on their walls. But hey, Mandela had earned his place. He had been my very first crush. And the longest running one, too. I shook my head to tune back in to my best-friend-since-forever.

‘Look, babe. I'm with you. I said it and I meant it. I'm with you. Damn, I was even with you through that whole tampon boycott thing last year. But...the head's car?'

I felt that familiar prickle. ‘He shouldn't have said that to those people.'

‘Uh-huh,' Heidi nodded. ‘But what's that got to do with the man's dick?'

I sighed. She definitely had a point. ‘Racist pin-dick,' I reminded her.

‘Racist pin-dick,' she agreed.

I picked up her hand. ‘Heidi, don't make me go in there as Pony Girl.'

Heidi sighed one of her special, eloquent, whole-body sighs.

And started digging in her gym bag.

Part One: The First Time

Handcuffs and heartbreak — Back seat of a police car, NYC; March, 1998

Underpants should be the last thing on your mind when you're sitting handcuffed in the back of a police car and your heart's broken.

Shouldn't they?

The lights and sirens seemed kind of unnecessary, but I also knew they were going to increase my credibility when I told the story to Heidi later. I mean, I was hardly Lee Harvey Oswald, but I'd definitely been arrested. The stereo was oozing bad R&B, punctuated by hoarse squawks from the police radio.

You know, it's not just empty vanity to fret about underwear during an arrest.

It's SSP: Subconscious Stripsearch Paranoia.

Why? Why couldn't I have done the damn laundry? Washed my nice, sensible, protest rally underwear, and some nice, sensible jeans. Then I wouldn't have had to borrow from my stripper roommate. Well, she says gentleman's escort, but
potato, po-tar-to.

I felt hot prickles scratch the back of my neck.

I imagined a prison guard slapping a truncheon lasciviously against an open palm. A beefy, unsympathetic guard who thinks girls in red lace thongs are ‘askin' for it'.

I groped for some perspective. At least I had underwear on, unlike some of my comrades that day. I usually went ultra-sensible when scaling fences. Happy as I was to change the world with them, there was no way I wanted any of those Clan of the Cave Bear types getting a peek at my own private wilderness. Lest they felt inclined to erect something far more serious than a placard there.

I bit my lip and watched the streets slide by, looking sad and dirty at this time of year. We passed a corner where a few men were gathered, their belongings strewn around them in plastic bags. One of them lunged out onto the road, holding up a piece of cardboard with something scrawled on it. As I strained my neck to try to read it, the driver honked at the men and grunted. ‘Fuckin' hobos. I'm votin' for the other guy next time.'

‘Huh?' The baby cop in the passenger seat stretched big hands to touch the roof.

The driver spoke again. He was short and bald with a strange little beard. I could see the sides of him spilling over the seat. He reminded me of an unhappy leprechaun. ‘That ex-marine guy. The one what's gonna clean up the streets.'

Yeah, right. Takes guts to get tough with people who live in cardboard boxes. I bit my tongue though. First time for everything.

The younger cop turned around with an apologetic grin. The back of his neck was bumpy with old acne scars, and he smelled like ironing spray. ‘Dunno what you was thinkin' tryin' to go over that fence? Razor wire's real dangerous. And you in that nice skirt n'all.'

His accent carried me back somewhere half-remembered. He sounded like he came from an even smaller town than me.



‘It's a dress. Not a skirt.'

Why don't men know the names for garments? You don't need to be Sarah Jessica Parker to know if it starts at the waist it's a skirt, and if it goes all the way it's a dress. I'm hardly any fashionista myself, but surely we all learn that in our first readers.
Look, Dick, look. House! Dog! Dress!

The driver spoke again. ‘Well then, I guess the point my buddy here's trying to make is what the
were you doing on a razor wire fence in your itty bitty party dress?'

‘Look it's probably hard to understand —'

I wanted to say
for a mean old leprechaun
but didn't.

‘— but it's like this. One: it's a fact: the death penalty kills innocent people. Two: it's incredibly barbaric, and those people, they're just like us —'

Well, actually, hopefully not like you
. Didn't say this either.

‘Three: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights actually says —'

He cut me off with a belch. ‘Yeah, well, some Americans actually say that being arrested for trespass is pretty stupid'. He started laughing — a horrible sound through which I swore I could hear the twanging of his hardened arteries.

‘Don't worry,' Baby Cop said. ‘They probably won't even charge ya. First time?'

‘Yes,' I sniffed, poking my glasses up my nose. ‘First time'.

But Leprechaun wasn't finished. ‘You people should just get a job.'

Little did he know.

I contemplated telling him, just blurting it out.

But he wouldn't believe me. I'm not like other mathematicians. What are other mathematicians like, you're wondering? Well, take my thesis supervisor, who thought U2 (you know, Irish pop band?) meant U squared. He stayed up ‘til two in the morning to watch Live Aid, thinking it was a mathumentary. I love him, but like how you love an elderly uncle who buries guns in the backyard and chews tobacco even though he lives in the city. Then there's the Dean of the Math School. He only wears clothes donated by a friend of his who runs a morgue. I once saw him wearing jeans with a bullet hole in them.

I ran a finger down the window glass, playing with the condensation. The car shuddered as it stopped and started in the mid-town traffic. Baby Cop fiddled with the radio and that song came on, the one where the guy declares ‘they could never, ever, ever tear us apart'. I snorted, and tried hard to think about the eleven place orders of pi.

So perfect, so soothing.

But that song, that raspy seduction, kept insinuating itself into my brain.

Never tear us apart.

I argued with it.

I tried telling the voice that it was wrong, that the chances of evisceration were actually quite high when it came to love. In fact, directly proportionate to the depth of feeling. I mentally reminded the singer that love takes perfectly nice, sane people and turns them into cartoon versions of themselves. Metaphorically running off a cliff, not realizing there's nothing below but air until it's too late.

Until they hurtle like Wily Coyote to their doom.

Had it really been only a year ago?

BOOK: Lingerie For Felons
6.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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