"I do not know what the Queensberry rules are, but the Wilde rules are to shoot on sight!"
~ Oscar Wilde

When would Fenner fucking learn?

His latest crooked scheme, though, had piqued Yvonne’s interest. A simple game of football, he said: A bit of fun for all involved, yeah? Cons against screws. Girls against boys. Blow off some steam on both sides.


How Fenner had wrangled approval for the game was a mystery. It sounded like a recipe for a full-blown riot. Which was probably why it appealed to Yvonne—that, and a lot of massive, illicit betting was going on, all under the nose of Larkhall’s incorruptible Napoleon, Helen Stewart. If the cons won, they all stood to make a tidy bit of profit.

Yvonne knew they would win in only one way: if Superdyke agrees to play,
she thought while striding across the yard toward her all-too-suspecting quarry. Damn Nikki Wade and her sodding principles.

Body curled like a beguiling form of punctuation, Nikki sat on a bench, focused on a fat, boring-looking book.

“Doing a little light reading, I see.” Yvonne nodded at the book.

Nikki glared at her, but put the book down. “Answer’s still no.”

“Care to tell me why?”

“You know the whole thing’ll go tits up—someone will get hurt. That’s number one.” For the purpose of staring down Yvonne, Nikki stood. “Number two, you’re just making this assumption about me—that I’m good at sport because I’m a dyke.”

Yvonne folded her arms and lied through her teeth. “Bullshit.”

“You were trying to get me on the team before you even mentioned this half-assed idea to anyone else.”

Nikki actually used finger quotes around the word “team.” Yvonne found it strangely endearing.

“You know, I thought you were a bit more enlightened than that, Yvonne. But no, it appears you believe the same stereotypical shit that the rest of the bloody fucking straight world indulges in on a daily basis—“

While Nikki ranted on about tofu and the Indigo Girls—say, my Lauren likes the Indigo Girls!
—Yvonne tucked her hands behind her back and flashed the signal across the yard to Shaz. She only hoped the little dingbat was paying attention and didn’t have her lips suctioned to Denny’s. Fortunately, Shaz was on the alert and, using every ounce of strength in her wraith-like body, flung the black and white ball with surprisingly bullet-like precision toward Nikki.

Just as Yvonne knew would happen, Nikki’s instincts took over: With a graceful leaping kick, she sent the ball hurling toward Bodybag. Yvonne resisted the temptation to holler “Score!” as it ricocheted off Hollamby’s head.

When Bodybag was done wobbling and slapping away Di Barker’s inept attempts at comfort, her fury settled on the last person seen in possession of the ball: Shaz. “That’s it, Wiley! You’re in for it now!”

It was a beautiful thing: brilliantly planned, perfectly executed. Not even Shaz’s screeches of innocence could deter Yvonne’s quiet triumph. Honestly, I should be running this country.
She turned to Nikki. “You were saying something about stereotypes?”

“You bloody, brilliant bitch,” Nikki could not keep the admiration out of her voice, nor a rueful grin off her face. She shook her head. “You don’t play fair.”

Yvonne returned the smile. “Never said I did, sweetheart.”