So, it goes like this- there’s a global pandemic and a third of the world’s population is under some form of lockdown or social restriction; schools are shut down, people are queuing for food, hospitals are overflowing. If I’d written this as a plot premise last September it would have been just another piece if dystopian fiction. But right now it’s kind of true, unless I have actually gone mad (which is a possible scenario).
To keep sane, I’ve been keeping in contact with my friends, cycling, reading, and, of course, writing. I started a wee tale at the beginning of the lockdown and shared a snippet of it with one of my very lovely friends. She got back to me the next day telling me how she’d had a scary dream because of it. She sent me the nightmare and after asking if I could borrow the setting and one of the key elements of her dream, I’ve created this wee tale.
It’s a tale of lesbian lust in a lockdown. It’s full of mountain bikes, aliens and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If you like any of those things you should like this. If you like all of them, you’ll love it. Either way I hope it makes you laugh xxx
Oooooh and just so you know I used footnotes in the story (because I like footnotes). I wrote it in Word and so here, in WordPress, they are end notes, but they’re still part of the story xx
Locked Down with Lindsay
‘You can stay here?’ she said as she wrapped herself around me for a snug hug.
I smiled and took a deep breath. ‘That would be amazing,’ I purred, nuzzling her neck, her body hot and soft and right there. And we began again, which sealed the deal.
By the time we’d got out of bed it was way too late for me to go home, we were well into level 4 of the lockdown, so we ate and went back to bed.
Obviously, on reflection, I wasn’t thinking straight. My hormones were wild, my body pumped with all those delicious sex chemicals, and she was surprisingly kinky, all of which can make even the sanest woman a wee bit crazy. Plus she smelt so very good.
We’d started dating a few weeks before all the virus shit kicked in. We’d not taken much notice at first. We’d laughed together about all the talk of alien invasions, second comings, and the conspiracy theories, but mostly our social media time was consumed with each other. You know what it’s like at the start of something: buzzy, fun, and very suggestive. It overpowers the senses. Mostly the common-senses. I was hooked and wiggling like a happy little worm. Sure, she was too. It was a mutual wiggle. A pretty damn good slippery wiggle in fact. But, they say never made a decision within three days of having sex, due to those pesky sex hormones. And in the cold light of day, as I squished the flat tyre of my bike between my fingers, I figured the advice was right. Sure, technically we’d had sex in the last three days, but the initial buzz was fading, fast. We’d got past the ‘can’t keep our hands off each’ stage and had settled into the stage my friend calls ‘It’s okay if you just want to sleep’ part, which I did because I was back down to earth and realised staying maybe hadn’t been the best move after all. I mean I had no clean clothes, I had no supplies of my own, I was miles away from home, and I was starting to wonder who this woman actually was.
There were sides to Lindsay that she hadn’t mentioned on Bumble. The main troublesome one being an obsession with an obscure 1990s vampire-infested TV show. But it was way too late for regrets. It was day 33 of lockdown. We were into the ‘surprise’ second month and I was stranded in the middle of butt-fuck nowhere with a flattie, no pump, and therefore no way to get back home even if I wanted to.
In the normal world flat tyres are not a problem. You’d go to your backpack, pull out your pump, tyre levers and sticky patches and fix the damn thing. Or you could just throw out the busted old inner and use a new tube. Or, if you’ve run out of tubes and patches, you could pump it up as much as possible and head to the nearest bike shop and get a new inner tube. The problem was with this lockdown there was no nearest bike shop. They were all shut. They were taking online orders but it would be a while for anything to be delivered. So why wasn’t I fixing it myself? I’d made the trip over to see Lindsay after a series of very suggestive messages and I’d forgotten to pack my pump, due to a chronic case of sex on the brain. I had my repair kit, but, as we all know, sticky patches are no good without a good pump.
Lindsay was house-sitting in Masterton. It was her family home. Her mum was up in Kerikeri with Lindsay’s auntie. They’d decided to stay together for the lockdown. That kept Lindsay happy and her mum was loving the company, by the sounds of their raucous video chats. I’d come out on the train with my bike, I’d cycled over to Lindsay’s from the station. The plan had been to stay a few days, cycle up to Rivenrock, have some fun, and then go back home using the train again.  Except now the trains were replaced by buses for the foreseeable future, and the buses didn’t take bikes. Plus it was a bit of a scary prospect being on a bus for an hour and half, what with the virus lurking. The other option was to walk home and push my bike. Google maps reckoned it would take a mere twenty hours for me to make the journey on foot. Google maps hadn’t factored in me half-carrying, half-pushing my bike all that way. Have you ever tried to push a bike with a flat tyre? It’s not fun. In fact it’s hard work, you have to hold it up so it’s just rolling on the inflated wheel otherwise it pretty much fucks the rims. Poor sweet baby bike. But then I thought about another evening with Lindsay watching another season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and, yes, maybe I could risk the walk and buy new rims when the world was back to some form of normality. After all, it’d only be the one rim.
‘Hey,’ Lindsay said coming up, slipping her arm around my waist and kissing me.
I smiled, despite my cynicism. She was very lovely. ‘Hey.’
‘Thinking about escaping,’ she motioned towards my sadly neglected Specialized.
‘I was,’ I said. ‘It’s flat.’ I indicated the tyre.
‘Can you pump it up?’ she said.
I laughed. ‘I didn’t think of that!’
She gave me a look. ‘You know what I mean.’
I nodded. ‘I can’t find my pump.’ I sighed. ‘I always keep it in the front pocket on my bike backpack, but I brought my bigger backpack so I could bring some clothes. I think I left it at home.’
‘Bit stupid,’ she laughed.
‘Very,’ I agreed with a tone as flat as the tyre.
‘I’ve got a pump in my car or I could drive you even.’
‘I don’t think we’d get away with going all the way to Wellington with a nice fat fine for non-essential travel, and I’ve got Presta valves, they’re different to the car ones.’ I crouched down, undid the valve cap. ‘See they’re these skinny little ones.’
‘Poor bike, what will you do?’ At this, she cackled.
Lindsay fascinated me. She had a fucked up sense of humour and I couldn’t even start to predict how she’d respond to anything. She didn’t like chocolate but loved avocado. She never watched Netflix but had a small stack of old TV series she’d watch again and again. And books, the same: a neat stack that meant the world to her. She’d sit and gently touch the spines when she thought I was in the bath and not watching. I must admit I had my own quirks too. In all reality, although reality is a strange concept during lockdowns, we were a pretty good pairing. But that was the thing, I’m not really the pairing kind. I like the chase and then I like to run away. Always have and expect I always will. But here I was locked-down with Lindsay and although the urge to run was strong, she kept drawing me back into her firm yet supple tight embrace.
We’d gone back inside and Lindsay had rubbed away some of the heartbreak over my poor bike. We ate dinner, tasty warmed beans with crunchy baked potatoes we’d dug up from her garden a few days before. I was telling Lindsay more about the amazing bike parks in Wellington when she interrupted me and said, ‘I expect there’s a bike pump in the garage somewhere. Jamie had a bike when she was little.  I doubt dad threw the pump away. He kept everything.’
At that moment it seemed like a ray of sunlight threw itself through the window and surrounded her in a golden glow. ‘Really,’ I sighed, then took a double take. ‘I thought you said you didn’t have access to the garage’ I was puzzled she had said that, plus her wee car was parked up just down the drive and my bike tucked up in the outhouse, after some discussion about how it really wasn’t the sort of bike to be left outside in the rain.
She smiled and shrugged. ‘I exaggerated. The truth is, it’s a bit crazy in there.’ She frowned. ‘It’s full of my dad’s stuff.’ She let out a breath. Her dad had died a few years back and she had such a sad look whenever she mentioned him. ‘He liked to collect things. I remember thinking the garage was like Aladdin’s cave when I was little. It drove my mum mad, but I know she secretly liked it when he was out there with his projects. That’s how I got into Buffy, we used to curl up and watch it together. She loved it.’
I gazed, elbows on the table, face in my hands. I’m a sucker for a good story.
‘I had this huge crush on Tara.’ She continued. ‘Even when I was just a teenager I could tell she was really hot. Then there was Kennedy. Willow had the best girlfriends. I loved that they were queer and witches and right there on telly.’
‘Willow’s queer, but what about Oz?’
‘Oh my god, spoiler!’ she said clamping her hands over her mouth and looking mortified. ‘I keep forgetting you don’t know yet.’
I ate in shocked silence; shocked that I cared about Willow and Oz and shocked that I was actually having this conversation. What was happening to me? I really needed to get back to reality. I shook myself out of it. ‘But the garage?’
‘When dad died, mum boxed up all his clothes and university stuff, and just put it out there. She didn’t want help moving it so it is just exactly where she left it, all piled high. It’s box chaos but we can look. I’m happy to assist with your escape.’ She had smiled when she said that but it felt like we both knew it was time for a little bit of space.
It rained the next few days. Not just rained but it poured, so we spent those days, curled up in front of the real fire, binge watching the rest of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, eating tasty morsels, and ignoring any deep conversations. They could wait until I was potentially able to leave. In the meantime ignorance was bliss.
My eyes were red by the end of season 6. ‘Fuck,’ I said.
‘It’s good, isn’t it?’ Lindsay agreed, her voice a sad whimper.
We retired to bed, thinking of all the ways your world can end. It felt like we’d moved into another phase, a sweetly, gentle phase, a different kind of mind-blowing.
The next day, despite bright sunshine, we finished season 7. It had to be done. Then it was project Go Home.
‘That’s strange,’ she said as she pressed the green button on the electronic door key. ‘It’s not working.’ She pressed again, shrugged and, bending down for the handle, hefted up the garage door. ‘There should be a pump in here somewhere,’ she said when the door was waist height; ‘the question is where?’
When the door was open to head height, we both stood back, faced with a wall of plastic crates, cardboard boxes and stuffed bin bags. A few feet away, there was a person-sized gap in the wall. ‘Come in,’ Lindsay said, taking my hand, and walking through the box doorway. Once past the initial wall, the space inside opened up. We stood and considered the immensity of Lindsay’s parents’ garage.
‘Wow,’ I said, for lack of words to express what I was seeing. Unlike your average garage this was both spacious and cramped. It was a massive garage. It had started off small but had grown as the family had grown. First one extension, then the second which included the roller door and strip lighting. And all the space was filled with stuff. You could see the different eras of the collection. The far wall was like an average old-fashioned workspace. There were small cupboards which came to about waist-height, and a very organised section of wall above that with tools hanging on nails. The shape of each tool had been painted on the wall, making each piece look like it had been highlighted. But that was the old bit. The last remaining section of clarity. After that there were layers and layers of new storage making it a hoarder’s delight.
The two side walls had a semblance of order to them. Wooden shelves had been put up down the length of each wall which had then been filled with boxes, crates, jars, tins, and heaps of other random stuff. But in front and on top of the wooden shelves and the old cupboards there were more boxes. There were heaps of them, some with labels, some without, most with more stuff poking out the top. Looking up even the rafters were bulging with random camping equipment, building materials, and sporting goods. Lindsay was right; there probably was a pump somewhere, but I could see why she had been hesitant to come in.
‘Dad had the kind of memory where he could tell you exactly where something was. I never understood the logic behind it, if there was any. He was smart but definitely had his quirks. I’d loved coming in and poking around when I was little, but now we actually want to find something.’ She stopped talked, turned and looked at me. ‘I miss him.’
I didn’t know how to respond. I stared at her for a while and then just pulled her into a hug. She squeezed back, a lot. This whole spending time with someone thing was quite intense.
She let go, stood back and touched my face. ‘Thank you,’ she said. Then ‘Okay, where shall we start?’
‘You take one end, I’ll take the other? How about I start over here?’ I walked towards the farthest corner and spotted a big old station wagon lurking, like a metallic green dragon. ‘Wow, was that his car?’ It was so old that these days it was actually cool again. ‘Nice.’
‘Original 78 Dodge,’ Lindsay said proudly. ‘It still goes too. So many memories in here, family times, camping, holidays, dad coming to pick me up.’ She took a deep breath and blew it out again. ‘Okay, let’s do this.’ And turning away, she walked to the other end nearest the door.
I edged around the beautiful car, running a finger over the dusty side. It sparkled underneath, my head filled with images of driving with Lindsay, road trips, camping, visiting friends, yet here I was hoping to leave. I dropped my thoughts and headed for the boxes directly along the left-hand side. I started peering into the boxes and trying to decipher the labels, hoping for something that said ‘Bike tools here’.
‘Look, my old school stuff,’ she said holding up a hockey stick. ‘That was a violent game,’ she grinned.
‘Did you play?’ I remembered the game from my own school.
‘Yes,’ she grinned. ‘I was school captain. I could bully with the best of them.’ She motioned smashing something hard and low. It sent a shiver down my spine right to my shins.
‘Awesome,’ I managed.
I poked around a few of the lower boxes. They were dusty. I kept a look out for whitetails.
‘Oh this looks promising,’ I pulled out a box that said ‘Jamie’s stuff’ on it, but it was just filled with mouldy dolls. ‘Just a dead Barbie,’ I said holding it up.
Lindsay laughed. ‘Jamie’s right?’
After what seemed like forever checking out lower boxes I stood and stretched. Looking up there was even more stuff, bags, boxes, even an ironing board. Hanging from the rafters was a large woven basket, about three times bigger than a shopping basket. It looked like it had papier-mâché and cloth piled up inside. The material spilt over the edges and seemed to curl up and around, half way up the handle. It looked like a badly-made prop from an episode of Buffy.
‘So what did your dad do?’
‘He was a chemistry professor at the Uni.’
‘So, who was the creative one? You or your mum?’
She laughed. ‘None of us are creative. We’re all clever, of course, but not really creative.’
I pointed. ‘So who made that?’ As I stood there with my hand outstretched, I noticed in the mess of papier-mâché what looked like a big, globule-like eyeball under folds of brownish skin. ‘It’s really realistic.’ I said, and suddenly the eye started to swivel around as if it was in agony.
‘How are you doing that?’ I asked, looking back to see if she was pressing some remote-control device to make it move.
‘I don’t know what the fuck it is,’ Lindsay hissed, her eyebrows higher than I had ever seen eyebrows outside of a 1930s movie.
I looked back at the creation, intrigued and also slightly disconcerted, when suddenly the back right-hand side of the basket exploded and out came a bloodied, squirming, squelchy mass of real to life creature. It fell steaming to the floor. It had a head like a teeny wrinkly elephant, with a trunk and far too many tusks, and tentacles. Lots and lots of tentacles. There were tentacles coming out of what I supposed was the neck and the whole thing was thrashing wildly.
A noise grew in my head. A kind of whirling, buzzing. A loud yet quiet sound. I felt my head twitch. The world grew distant. All I could see was the creature. It was everything. I stood mesmerised. Then through the static I heard Lindsay’s voice.
‘Babe,’ she shouted.
‘Babe,’ I thought. ‘She called me babe.’ My heart panicked whilst also puffing up like a baby peacock at the same time. It had been a long time since someone called me babe. I turned and looked at her.
‘Run,’ she screamed, just as the creature seemed to stretch and fly across the floor directly at me.
Suddenly I moved. I leapt and somehow found myself half-crouched, half-sitting on the bonnet of the car.
‘Watch the bonnet,’ Lindsay screamed, suddenly there, suddenly smashing the fuck out of the creature as it tried to eat me. ‘Your leg,’ she yelled, ‘get it off your leg.’
I looked down; something slimy was on me. Several tentacles were wrapped around my leg and some part of it was busily engorging my shoe, whilst another part of it hissed and flailed at the vicious Lindsay.
I looked around, saw a box with several handles sticking out. I grabbed one of them; it was a hand-sized garden trowel. I attacked the tentacles with it. I don’t know if I was actively cutting the tentacles off, or the creature was dropping them so it could get away, but they fell to the floor like cut locks at the hair dressers. Even then they wriggled like big fat earth worms writhing from its prey.
‘Fuck, I’ve scratched the car. I’m so sorry,’ I said once the creature was off and I’d checked I hadn’t been bitten, sucked, probed or anything.
‘No.’ Bash. ‘Fucking.’ Bash. ‘Problem.’ Bash. Lindsay replied as she beat the shit out of the now gooey mess on the floor.
‘What the fuck is it?’ I said panting.
‘It’s fucking dead, whatever the fuck it was,’ Lindsay said, staring at the meaty heap. ‘Fuck sake, you and your fucking bike.’
‘What the fuck has this got to do with my bike?’
‘Well, if you hadn’t have gone on about it all the time this wouldn’t have happened.’
‘Gone on about it?’
‘It’s all you ever talk about, trails and mud and rock and amazing fucking scary berms. Whatever the fuck they are.’ She took a breath. ‘Do you know how annoying that is?’
‘Annoying?’ They were my best conversations.
‘You might as well marry your bike,’ she puffed.
I huffed. ‘Better than hiding behind your Buffy.’
I didn’t see what was funny and couldn’t think of a clever reply so I said, ‘Fuck you.’
‘No, fuck you. I never asked you to come out here and stay this long. I’m not used to it.’
‘Actually you did.’ I reminded her. ‘But I didn’t know it would seem so very long.’
The creature made a hefty twitch.
I squealed, loudly, and we both jumped back. Then, before I could gather my breath, Lindsay bent forward and began to bash it some more.
‘You can attack me, send assassins at me, but nobody messes with my girlfriend,’ Lindsay shouted, as she deftly used her hockey stick. ‘We were having our first argument. That means something, don’t you know?’ The near-dead creature fought her back as well as a baby monster could, but Lindsay was tenacious, brave and vicious as fuck. Eventually we both heard a crunch from one of the extra lumpy parts. ‘I think it’s got a skeleton under there, somewhere,’ she said, hitting again in a more exploratory way now. ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘but it’s broken.’ She paused and considered the gloopy mess. ‘Now it’s fucking dead,’ she said, kicking it for luck.
I was speechless. ‘Girlfriend?’
‘Well, aren’t we?’
‘I thought you wanted rid of me and my ‘precious’ bike.’
‘I just felt jealous, to be honest. You’re very passionate about it.’ She frowned, ‘But you really did have enough of Buffy. I know it.’ She said still prodding at the creature with her stick.
‘True,’ I agreed, ‘but I love Buffy now.’
‘Do you?’ she turned her head and smiled at me.
‘And,’ I continued, ‘you know you said you’d like to come out mountain biking with me, well, it was going to be a surprise but when I ordered my new pump online I went a bit mad with my credit card and there’s a bike on its way to you. It’s a beauty.’
‘Really?’ She looked up and smiled on a par to her smile when I’d admitted to loving Buffy.
I nodded. ‘But girlfriend? It’s a bit soon.’
‘Buying me a bike is a bit soon.’
‘Well, I thought it would help us get out of the house a bit, and it’s fun, and well, if you didn’t like it I’m quite happy to have three bikes.’
‘Well, yes, I’ve already got two.’
‘Well, if you’re into multiples we could see how it goes and still date other people,’ she said, ‘if there’s anyone else left in the world.’ Lindsay stood up, turned fully towards me and laughed. She was literally covered in the creature’s blood. It was on her face, her neck, her t-shirt and her jeans. She looked strangely invigorated and slightly insane, like a wild carnage queen.
‘We should talk about us later.’ I said. ‘Maybe we should clean up or something?’ I motioned to the creature on the floor.
‘Yes,’ she said. Like me, suddenly realising what had just happened. Her faced changed, became all earnest and meaningful. ‘I think this is it, the end of the world. There is no Buffy. There’s only us.’ She carried on talking for quite a while. I zoned out, just watching her lips move, noticing the shape of the muscles in her arms as she waved the sticky hockey stick for emphasis, how her t-shirt was sticking to her beautifully curvaceous body and how her nipples just showed through, tantalisingly. After a while I realised I was being a lech and tried to tune in her words. ‘…every one of us. Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong?’
I smiled; glad I’d not missed the end of her power speech. We’d just watched season 7, I could fill in from there. I slid off the car and stood looking at her. I said, ‘All this talk, can we just skip it? Can you just be kissing me now?’
Lindsay came over and stood an inch away. ‘Did you just quote Buffy at me?’ she asked, the happiest look on her face.
‘Yes,’ I said, wiping some goo from her cheeks. ‘And I think you’re right. This could be it, the end of the world, but we need to be ready.’
‘So you don’t want the pump?’
‘I’m okay for now,’ I smiled, and we kissed, showered, sealed the deal, ate, and got ready to save the world.
 There’s some delicious trails up at Rivenrock bike park. my favourite is Barney Rubble. If you don’t believe me, check it out on Trailforks.
 Best not to lie.
 Yes, Buffy and Angel.
 Jamie is Lindsay’s very conservative older sister.
 We were getting through the seasons, but were still only half-way through season 4.
 We all know what ‘I need some space’ means in the queer world. It doesn’t mean ‘Let’s have some time and space’ as you’d imagine, it means ‘Fuck off, dearest’.
 Many a time on a wild, jumpy, adrenaline-filled downhill, as I moved and flowed with my bike, I had actually considered this.