of Watts and the Dwat
Copyright Carolyn Horn 1993
All Rights Reserved
The gods were discussing
the problem of clothing. Bryarus mentioned cashflow problems, suggesting
second-hand shops, and Tansy said that gods like these deserved the
best. Cambider's was the shop for them. Bryarus gulped and mentioned
the cashflow problem again. Tansy suggested a cup of coffee.
Ra refused to leave
Uraeus behind at the museum with Apep, or at home with Bonasus. "I need
to find a pocket that will hold him," the god quavered and wiped spittle
from his chin.
At least Ra kept the
snake in his shirt now and not on his head, Bryarus thought. He didn't
feel up to arguing about it. He had sums to do.
They sat in Marco's
with the coffee - or something mud-coloured, anyway. A smell of mildew
hovered in the air. Tansy said: "Hey, Marco - what's cooking? This place
smells worse than usual; mould or something."
He shrugged. "People
say that all the time. I don't notice nothin'." He thought for a bit.
"Creek's risen this mornin', into the kitchen. Bit sloshy in there."
Arlo sat dreamily with
the Hathor-vulture on his shoulder. Every so often he'd blurt out: "Wow,
you should see what this bird can do," or "Yeah, this lass'll dance
to my `Dead Frog' song next folk night." Hathor was sipping delicately
from the cracked mug which he held up.
Tansy glowered at them
and muttered something about men who ogled birds.
Bryarus was trying to
work out the logistics of the situation, writing calculations with a
fork through the table-grease. They would need two taxis and then there
were four men and three women to clothe; and, try as he would, he couldn't
make the sums come to anything less than astronomical.
"Tansy," he said at
last. "Tansy! Hey!"
Tansy wrenched her glare
away from Arlo and muttered: "Yes, Big Boss?"
He cleared his throat.
"Your clothes look pretty good on Isis and Nephthys, don't they?" There
was a plea in his eye.
She looked at him, then
at the blonde goddess twins and then back at him again. "No, B.B," she
said with a firm shake of her head. He could see what she meant; her
bright jazzy colours did not go well with their fair, delicate complexions.
They were a little taller than their hostess, which meant that her mini-skirts
were of questionable decency; but worst of all was the difficulty with
which they kept their exuberant breasts from bursting out of confinement.
Marco was enjoying the show from behind the counter, as he picked at
Bes had wandered across
to Arlo and was whispering in Hathor's ear. She stopped sipping, cocked
her head to one side and blinked at him. Bryarus caught the last few
"-says he's the richest
man in town. Go to it, bird-face. Get us some." The vulture suddenly
spread her wings and let out a cackle; then she stretched up and whirred
out of the cafe. Arlo gazed worshipfully after her and Tansy hunched
Olwyn was on her
way to work. She was still nurturing Gertrude along the tree-bordered
driveway of Phelonia Hall when Jarrold Effingham-Luton, the director
of Phelonius Televisual Productions, erupted into the Hall's Georgian
offices with a snarl. His face mottled with rage, he waved an open letter
in one pudgy, be-ringed hand. "What's the meaning of this? I'm not to
be disturbed with such petty quibblings," he shouted. He glanced around
and said: "Where's that damn secretary? She's supposed to stop all this
sort of bother!"
Cicely Watts looked
up from her desk and pursed her mouth into a prim smile. "Oh, E-L sir,"
she said: "I have no idea. She hasn't been in yet this morning and it's
gone nine o'clock." Cicely looked down at the backs of her well-manicured
hands and shuffled a few papers. "I rather think... She left pretty
sharp on Friday, too."
"Hmph," said the boss.
"Well, send her in as soon as she arrives. I don't pay good money to
a secretary that never works." He stormed into his inner sanctum and
slammed the door as he yelled: "And bring me some decent coffee, for
Two seconds later his
door flew open again, to a further burst of yelling: "Aaargh - what
the hell... Catch that damn bird, it's got my money!" A huge vulture
caromed through the gap, clutching a fat brown wallet in its beak. It
flapped through Cicely's screams in a leisurely manner and sailed out
of the open window, just as Gertrude came to a sighing halt in the parking
Olwyn glanced at her
watch as she slid through the door of the Hall's office wing. Cicely
sat, looking unusually flushed but still prim and smug. "He wants to
see you," she said, "I just had to tell him you were late..."
Bitch, thought Olwyn
and glowered at the personnel assistant. Then she sighed, straightened
her cheerfully flowered skirt and knocked on her employer's door.
The room she entered
was large, with a blocked-up Adam fireplace. Huge windows graced the
end wall, and disclosed gnarled trees which were still acorns when this
East wing was built. The plush carpet, which echoed the peach colour
of the high ceiling, rolled over the acreage between the door and an
antique oak desk. At the desk smoke wisped up from a golden cigarette
holder which a seething, balding, flabby man was just about to lift
to his lips.
As always, Olwyn wondered
why on earth quiet little Emily Effingham had married this man. What
had she seen in him? Perhaps his drive to succeed had seemed irresistible?
He had certainly managed to grab her, the house, and any money he could
lay hands on; and he'd tacked her posh name onto his ordinary "Luton".
E-L paused as Olwyn
entered, and roared: "About bloody time! Come here! What do you mean
this as a rhetorical question, Olwyn walked silently toward the desk.
"Look," he put down
the holder and lifted a small pile of letters from the desk, "what are
these?" He shook them under her nose.
Olwyn looked. Her heart
sank. "They are requests for payment, E-L sir," she said; "they are
long overdue and you really ought to pay the cameramen-"
"Don't you tell me what
I should do, my girl," shouted Effingham-Luton, his face purpling over
again; "I employ you to keep this sort of thing-"
"-if you want them to
work for you again," Olwyn went on. Her face was schooled to calmness,
but her heart hammered. "I promised them that I would make sure you
saw the bills."
"There are plenty of
men out there," he waved a pudgy hand at the window, "crying out to
work for Phelonius. Why should I bother with this petty stuff?"
"If you're not going
to pay them, perhaps you could instruct me to tell them that they may
"Don't be stupid, girl."
E-L shook the papers. "Here's Bill Gimlet - he can't afford to sue!
Anyway, Barney & Loophole wouldn't let-"
"Well sir, Bill says
he's found a solicitor who will do the job."
Her employer slammed
the sheaf of papers down on the desk again and gobbled slightly. He
sat down and his voice sank to a normal level. "Dammit," he said, "why
would they take such a small thing to court?"
Olwyn's heart steadied
again. "I think that they want to pay their mortgages, sir. That sort
of thing. At least that's what they say."
"Cheats! The lot of
them, demanding expenses for chrissake! Bloodsuckers." He scowled
and looked at the crumpled sheets. He began to mutter: "Money. People
must think I'm made of the stuff. Even, just now, that bloody vulture.
Where the hell did it come from? I'll take that bloody zoo for all I
can get..." His head shot up and his eyes gleamed. His voice rose again.
"As for you, what do you mean by wasting time I pay for? Where the hell
have you been this morning?"
Olwyn felt panic rise,
nauseous in her throat. "I-I went to the museum, Sir; I wanted to ask
them... I didn't think you'd-"
"The museum?" His eyes
were sharp with interest. Olwyn was surprised to see that his anger
was fading. "Hey, perhaps you're not so dumb. Snooping around, were
you? What did they tell you? They wouldn't speak to young Harold." He
rose and started to pace the floor.
"Well I didn't see very
much, but they said I could go back and browse. I did see some new statues."
Olwyn was puzzled.
"New ones?" He frowned
again and paused, "I thought the point was that they'd lost some.
I'd heard they'd got some new paintings; fancier versions of those new
posters, or some such nonsense. You'd think Cicely would know something
about it, but that brother of hers- Ah, Harold," he went on as the door
opened to reveal the art critic; "Miss Doorbar, here, seems to be getting
somewhere with that museum crowd. This could be our lever into the Lower
Postleton scene, if we play it right; should be lots of cheap film material
down there. `Human interest' rubbish."
Olwyn glanced with distaste
at the young man who had syruped through the door. A bow tie hid the
shortness of his neck and accentuated a large, jutting chin which sprouted
designer stubble. His eyes were glazed with horn-rimmed spectacles,
which were insufficient to hide their arrogant expression. Those eyes
quickly undressed Olwyn and caressed her intimately, whilst his small
mouth primmed itself into speech: "There you are, E-L; I always said
Little O had a way with men."
She could perhaps have
forgiven him for being a prat, if only he hadn't also owned sweaty octopus-hands
and a cousinship with Effingham-Luton. Her voice crackled with frost
as she said: "I don't know what you're talking about. I went to the
"Yes yes," said E-L,
who resumed his pacing, "and they didn't throw you out - even invited
you back. Now," and he stopped directly in front of Olwyn, thrusting
his face into hers so that she flinched from the conflict of sweat and
stale tobacco, "what we want is for you to arrange an interview. Art
documentary, that kind of thing. Cheap. Do I make myself clear?"
Olwyn went back to her
desk, having had to squidge around Harold and his leer to get to the
door. She felt depressed without quite knowing why. More depressed than
usual, that is, after a dose of Harold and E-L. When she thought about
it, she realised that she just didn't want to let these slime monsters
loose on the simple decay of Lower Postleton. A chord within her responded
to the world of that long-limbed, desperate-eyed man of the museum.
Well, she'd just have
to do it. And at least it would get her out of the Hall for a while
- legitimately. While she was out she might as well deal with something
else which was on her mind; those statues kept returning to her inner
vision and she felt that she just had to get help. The Bertha Clewydd
who advertised as a Wiccan teacher sounded ideal.
Bast was sitting tidily
on Gertrude's bonnet when Olwyn crunched over the granite chippings
to the car and got into the driver's seat. The cat stood up, arched
her back, and rubbed affectionately against the windscreen before flowing
down onto the passenger seat. "Got a bit of driving around to do today,"
said Olwyn, and set Gertrude lurching down the drive.
They skirted the town,
south toward the heavy brown stink of the glue-factory which towered
over the ancient village of Postle. This huddle of houses had nestled
in a fork of Pos Creek long before factories or sewage-plants had come
to need its waters. Trees still whispered agedly over the place, dipping
their moss-covered roots in the murky waters; Mother Nature coughed
and wheezed a bit, however, these days. The stench of liquefying bones
mingled with rotting eggs and methane, to powerful effect.
The Neighbourhood Improvement
Committee of Postleton West (in which Cicely was a leading light) wanted
the whole area razed to the ground, and converted into an up-market
shopping plaza. The Postle Villagers kind of liked things the way they
were. They enjoyed having homes to live in and jobs to go to.
At the moment, Olwyn
thought, the Village was winning; the Wold Regional Council was run
by Social Freedomists. She screwed up her eyes as she tried to remember
- hadn't she read somewhere that Derek Hartman, the chief councillor,
had been brought up by the tramps in Lower Postleton? She shook her
head. No; there'd been something like that, though.
Bertha Clewydd opened
the door of her chunky cottage in answer to Olwyn's knock, and peered
up through mild grey eyes. Her face was a mass of tanned wrinkles; her
hair splayed out in surprised-looking white wisps, and she stooped over
a gnarled stick. "Hello, my dear," she said, before Olwyn could say
a word. There was only a trace of a Welsh lilt to the soft voice. "I
was wondering when you'd turn up. But come in, come in!" She turned
and led the way into a small, round room which sparkled and swirled
with brasses and pictures and bright, gingham curtains.
Olwyn blinked and closed
her mouth. She doesn't know me - how could she tell I was coming?
she thought, and then she shrugged and followed.
"Take a seat, there
now, do," Bertha gestured vaguely and sat on a high-backed, embroidered
chair. Her hands rested, crossed, on the top of her cane. "Come, now,
there's something on your mind. Tell me."
Olwyn chose a sturdy
milking-stool and looked up into Bertha's eyes. She stumbled into speech:
"Well it sounds so silly, but I always wanted to have powers or something,
but I never expected to; and now - now, I don't know what to do..."
The old woman nodded
her head encouragingly, and eventually the whole tale of the motorway
incident came stumbling out. "Am I dangerous? Can I learn how to, you
know, control it? I saw your advert - you do still teach magic don't
Bertha's eyes stared
thoughtfully, unfocused. "There's tricky for you," she muttered softly
to herself. Then she roused herself and shook her head. "I can teach
you the Old Ways, the ways of Wicca - witches - if that's what you want.
But by what I can tell, it wasn't you who did that curse. Power like
that can't come unbid. This isn't the magic of Wicca; it is an older
spell even, from the origins of time. Someone else is here - a queen
of magic." She looked at the open doorway where the sun's rays fell
through. In a puddle of light Bast was curled, with one back leg elegantly
raised over her head, washing her genitals.
At that moment,
Bryarus was trying to explain to a bunch of excited gods why they couldn't
grab at just any clothing which caught their eyes and carry it off -
particularly if someone was wearing it at the time. And especially not
before they'd entered the store. By the time he had shepherded his charges
inside Cambider's Ladies and Gentlemen's Outfitters, there was one shirtless
taxi-driver shouting out of his cab; three women screaming lustily in
various stages of undress; and two dustmen yelling about their trousers.
A scruffy old mongrel
hid under the dust-cart. Mutt knew when to keep quiet.
The screams and shouts
stopped abruptly when Bryarus slipped back out of the shop waving banknotes,
and hissed: "Shh! The camera's still rolling. You acted wonderfully;
thank you. Here's a little something for your trouble." The taxi-driver
grinned sheepishly; the women patted their hair and smiled in all directions,
whispering: "Ooh! Is it the telly? One of them `surprise' programmes?
Fancy, me on telly!" and the dustmen pulled their trousers back up.
But Mutt wasn't stupid;
something else was bound to happen. He stayed under the cart. Sure enough,
a few minutes later a vulture went whizzing past and into the shop with
something brown in its beak. There was only a tiny pause before several
hysterical shoppers erupted onto the pavement. Mutt slunk off to Lower
Postleton. Things were safer there, in spite of Marco.
Inside the store, Bryarus
sat with his head in his hands. Isis and Nephthys were fighting busily
over the torn remains of some purple creation, while Bes was experimenting
with makeup. Hathor flew across to the god; he deftly removed the wallet
from her beak and winked. She quietly turned back into a woman and gazed
The assistants were
beginning to take charge; they guided the gods toward the expensive
racks and helped them disrobe. One young man, labelled "Daniel", tried
to help Ra. "Oooh!" he gasped when he pulled at the god's shirt and
gazed into Uraeus' basilisk glare. "Aaaah," he gabbled and let go of
the cloth with a jerk. Unfortunately the spasm flicked the serpent into
the air, and it came down on Daniel's neck. Daniel then proceeded to
gyrate in a dance which would have produced rain if the store had had
clouds. He hopped and he jumped; his legs twirled and twinkled and his
arms windmilled around his head. "Urgle, unk, gurk," he grunted rhythmically.
He was being very earnest about it.
The twins stopped fighting,
to watch. "How about that one for a priest?" said Isis, "he's got plenty
Nephthys tapped her
chin with a small finger and looked at the gyrating man. She nodded.
"Perhaps we should take turns, though," she said. "He doesn't look very
Uraeus slid grumpily
to the floor and Daniel collapsed into a panting heap. Nephthys undulated
over to him. He yelped; she'd grabbed his crotch.
"Yes," she called to
her sister, "he'll do."
Tansy laughed. "Put
him down," she said, "we'd better get you dressed."
An older, greyer assistant
stood beside a naked Min. He averted his gaze. "Sir will need the modern,
baggy style of trouser, I believe." Min tried on the modern, baggy pair
and looked hopeful.
The assistant frowned.
"Sir does appear to have a - problem, doesn't Sir?" Sir did, indeed.
It looked as if he had something akin to an excited wombat up his trouser-leg.
The assistant cleared his throat. "Perhaps something a little tighter
after all, might be advisable. And, if Sir would agree; some support
stockinet to bind around the leg and the - member? Does Sir `dress'
to the left or the right? The left? Very good, Sir."
Isis slid out of her
cubicle and twirled happily in a powder-blue, wool dress with a very
full skirt. Suddenly she stopped. Her eyes flashed blue. "Hathor!" her
honeyed voice held shards of ice, "Put him down; he's ours. We saw him
first. He doesn't want your milk." She stalked over to Hathor and the
bemused Daniel, swung the young man over her slim shoulders, and walked
Hathor sulked and turned
back into a vulture.
On the way back to the
museum, the gods were laden with bags and boxes. Bryarus didn't even
want to ask where the money had suddenly appeared from; one look at
Bes' innocent face was enough to know that he wouldn't like the answer.
Djehuti sat next to
him in the taxi and asked: "Ah- what was the magic word you conjured
silence with earlier? It is a word which Tansy said -ah- has much power.
I see now that this is so."
"Eh? Oh, you mean about
the camera? Well, if people think they're going to be on TV..."
He looked around him
at the blank faces, and chuckled. "Of course, you wouldn't know. Tell
you what, why don't you all come home with me tonight and I'll show
At the museum, Arlo
said: "That woman who came earlier; she was back, asking for you, boss.
Dunno what she wanted; said she'd come again tomorrow. I don't think
it's books this time."
Bryarus was a little
startled. Behind him, he could hear Ra and Min snigger. "Oh, come and
help me shift some stuff," he said crossly and led them away.
Tansy was checking
the "back shop"; she could see Arlo, through the shelf slats, hunched
over a soldering iron. She smiled tenderly to herself. He really was
kinda cute, she thought. Just then, Hathor flew into the room, shook
out her feathers and rose up into her shape of statuesque, cow-eared
woman. Her eyes glistened at Arlo's concentrating spine. "Dost thou
desire a drink?" Her deep voice brought Arlo's head up with a jerk and
her eyes caught his.
"Eh?" he said. "Wha-?
Her hand lifted to her
breast. "Wouldst like a suck?"
"No, he wouldstn't,"
Tansy's voice yelled from behind the shelves.
Hathor frowned and then
shrugged and walked out. Another time, perhaps. This man could make
a good priest. Arlo stood looking after her, his mouth open and soldering
iron dangling. Tansy glowered at him through the slats.
After work, Arlo looked
for the vulture. Tansy tapped her foot. "She's gone back with Big Boss,"
He looked vague, and
his hair stuck up in endearing ginger spikes. He ran his hand through
it again. "Oh? Pity. I wanted you to see her tricks. I swear she understands
what I say," he said. His eyes focused on Tansy. His face split in a
shy grin and Tansy's irritation melted.
"Yeah, well," she said,
"let's pick up your guitar and nip along to the club, eh?"
Half an hour later they
slid into Marco's; the sound of folksong already warbled from the windows
above the cafe. Marco was leaning against the counter, picking his teeth;
he looked at the guitar and waved a thumb at the ceiling. "They've started."
he said. "Wanna beer?"
They grabbed a jar of
his home-made ale and hopped up the stairs, avoiding the broken ones.
Half the jar and the
"Dead Frog song" later, Arlo was moaning to anyone who would listen:
"That vulture, she can really dance you know. Wanted you all to s-see
it, an' now, now - where is she? Oh wow, what a b-bird..." Tansy squinted
at him and belched. That ale was special.
The air grew heavy with
sweat and smoke and a new member fought his way through dancing, tapping
bodies to the window. He grasped the latch and pushed, just as a cry
of "Nooo - don't open it!" rose from a dozen throats. The window, a
chunk of wall and the folk enthusiast fell with a splash into the waiting
Someone else yelled
"Aaaah - shit!" from the stairwell, as he tripped over a loose board
in the stairs and made a soft landing in the grease at the bottom.
Marco stopped picking
his teeth. "You wanna beer?" he asked.
All was normal at the
Cicely was out
when Bryarus got his flock back to the house. Drivula was inspecting
the drinks cabinet, while the Bonnacon's head hung soulfully through
the window. "What's this stuff?" Drivula called over her shoulder, holding
up a bottle of bitters. And then she caught sight of the neatly- dressed
gods and whistled. "Wow! What class!"
Bryarus removed the
bitters from her grasp. She entwined her fingers through his and slithered
her other hand up his arm. He shivered with the silkiness and closed
his eyes. Then he heard her click those teeth together and jerked away.
"Believe me," he said, "you wouldn't want to drink that neat. Okay;
anyone for cocktails?" The next few minutes were busy with tinkling
sounds, slurps and sighs.
Isis slipped into the
room and grabbed Bryarus' glass. She drank thirstily.
"What'd you do with
your `priest'?" he asked.
She shrugged. "Oh, he
wasn't much use, after all. He kept squealing and falling asleep."
The television was switched
on and the gods clustered around it. Moans of surprise wafted through
the room: "Is glowing! A sun-"
"-a window between -ah-
"Shush," said Bryarus,
sitting down on one of Cicely's angular chairs, "It's only television.
Should be the news right now. Hey look, that's Postleton! Quiet. Let's
hear what they're saying." His companions squatted beside him on the
soft white carpet.
The news cameras were
roving around the shabby streets of the East end of town and had homed
in briefly on a temporary, lean-to stall by the Old Wall; this area
was thick with green, luminous posters which overlay decades of peeling
proclamations. A hand-painted sign dripped above the stall and declared
that it contained Berkoff's Antiques and Curios. A man who was, presumably,
Berkoff himself grinned at the camera through soiled and gappy teeth
and held up a mis-shapen object. Before him was a rough placard which
declared the item to be a "Genuine, Hand-crafted pograp Shrine".
It further urged the public to "Buy One Today".
The camera cut to views
of the new posters which covered Lower Postleton; a disembodied voice
was speaking: "-And have spread into Upper West Postleton. We return
you to the studio."
The programme was the
regular, networked news discussion on Channel C, and it came from the
Wold Area studios. Murdo Goshawk was the host. He sat in the semi-circle
of leatherette chairs with the Reverend Willey, a bishop, a military
general and a scientist. Bryarus sat up with a jerk and snorted. Dr.
Visect, he thought; what was he doing there? The man had a knack for
appearing on chat shows, and he was only a drugs specialist - but one
who advocated experiments on prisoners and looked like a weevil. "Bet
he pulled the wings off flies when he was a kid," Bryarus muttered to
"The phenomenon is most
unusual, yes unusual," Dr. Visect was heard to say. He pushed his glasses
up the thin bridge of his nose and coughed. "There seems to be no way
of removing these posters and yet they are placed most haphazardly.
Somebody knows how to move them, yes move them, but we have been
unable to discover how or who. But I cannot, yes cannot agree with the
General Cragblatt spluttered.
He was a square, heavy man and his voice was a loud bark: "Agree! Hah!
I tell you, an evacuation order should be slammed on this town right
away. Leave it to the military. We'll find the danger; eradicate it
"Exactly. You would
remove something which science has not yet had the chance to study,"
said Visect, "rather than think, yes think: `How can we contain
the menace until suitable research has been carried out?' There are
some valuable tests which must be made; for instance, did you know that
these posters, although luminous, yes luminous, appear to be totally
non-radioactive? Without question, we should proceed cautiously, yes
cautiously before levelling the area. We must first understand what
we deal with, and then detonate, yes detonate."
The bishop cleared his
throat. "Ahem. I believe that the general has a point; these objects
could be an immediate danger. People respond to hype. Anarchy
"My dear bishop," said
Dr. Visect, "you should be aware, yes aware, that more damage could
result from faulty understanding. For instance, the posters may not
be easy to destroy in conventional ways-"
Bryarus gasped. He jumped
to his feet and shouted impotently at the screen: "The bastards!" He
stopped and looked around at the gods, whose faces were all turned up
toward him; enquiring moons. He flung his hands out toward the flickering
light and his drink slopped over the glass. "Don't you see? They all
want to bomb the place - kill the Dwatters!" "Well -ah- a three-d bomb
wouldn't hurt them, you know. But it would frighten them," Djehuti said,
a frown on his face, "the -ah- noise, you know."
"Never mind that - what
about us? What about my home, my museum? And would your Gate survive
a nuclear bomb?"
"Hush, another speaks,"
Hathor's deep, harsh vulture-voice spoke. "Let us hear what he hath
"...from the local parish.
What does your Church recommend?"
"My Church? I can only
speak for myself, you know," Willey's vague voice wafted from the tinny
speaker, "but I-I cannot agree - do you really feel that it's right
to judge harshly?" The camera showed his face in stark close-up and
his pale brown eyes shifted nervously. "Whoever is doing this - they
must be God's creatures, too, don't you think? I don't think we have
the right to-"
A babble drowned him
out: "-threat to the State!"
"-from the Devil himself-"
"-duty to science-"
The director overrode
the sound and Murdo's face filled the screen. Against a background of
shouts, he smiled and said: "Well, it appears that we all have a lot
to think about; however, we've run out of time here at News Around C.
My thanks to-"
Bryarus strode over
to the set and thrust the switch off. He stood, drumming his fingers
on the plastic top, and stared, unseeing, at the window. Bonasus crowded
out the light; he was slurping merrily at a bucket of cocktail. A brooding
peace descended for a while.
An hour later, the door
of the room crashed open, and Cicely bustled in, saying over her shoulder
to someone behind: "Look what I got at the market! It's perfect for...
Ugh! What - who - what is all this?"