London doesn't love the latent or the lurking, has neither time, nor taste, nor sense for anything less discernible than the red flag in front of the steam-roller. It wants cash over the counter and letters ten feet high. - Henry James, The Awkward Age (1899), Book I, Ch. 2.
When someone threw their biscotti at Harriet's head, she knew it was time to move on. She had hovered, waiting for the Big Issue man to draw her to him and tell her she could live with him on the streets, and share his sleeping bag, but it happened not. Plus she was shouted out by a teenager for harassing an innocent man, and then the biscotti moment happened.
She needed a bigger gesture. Bigger than the Big Issue. Bigger than the Dirty Dancing billboard that hovered over her head. She has another £50 note, she has the afternoon in front of her, and she just wants people to notice her. What could she do?
The white dress she is wearing is long-sleeved, long-skirted. She is a waterfall is white. Except the white is grey and stained now.
Just as Harriet is wondering, she feels a tap on her shoulder. It is her annoying father.
"What brings you here?" he asks, stroking his moustache. He is a father with a moustache. The worst kind of father.
Harriet Bardot looks her father in the eye and says, "You know the injunction? That was serious."
"I merely want to watch your every move. You barely notice that webcam anymore, do you?" He laughs and bares a hundred teeth.
"I have biscuit crumbs in my hair, and I want to go home."
But where would she go? Auberon is fed up with her, Fabian hasn't forgiven her for bloodying his car door, and Big Issue rejected her advances. Does she have some sort of Electra thing going on? She hates hates hates him, but he always appears when she's at a loss. Well, that's because he is stalking her. But nevermind. He is there.
"Can you redo that thing with the Habitat man, the decorating thing? I missed it when I was reloading the camera batteries," said Harriet's father. Henry Bardot.
"I'll do better than that," said Harriet.
She crouched down, leaped high in the air and attached herself to the back of a passerby. Just as this person, this woman wrapped in scarves who is saying, "I once was given a set of bathplugs from my daughter," Harriet grips her by the shoulders, tightens her legs around her waist and calls, "GIDDY-UP."
Off they go.