The Best of Times Short Story Competition

Spring 2018 Results

Near Miss

Copyright © Karen Lieversz 2018

It was a near miss. Near enough that I could see the sky blue of the driver’s eyes staring out the windscreen of his black SUV as I scrambled from its path. Far enough that I felt instant thanks to my guardian angel that there would be no need for any emergency workers to uncover the hideous pair of new granny panties I am wearing. A birthday present from my mother. What was she thinking? I’m twenty-eight, not twelve. It is a sign. As if I needed one. The underwear is going into the trash just as soon as I get home.

Standing on the footpath on legs that feel like a twelve-month old toddler taking her first steps, I clasp my handbag tightly, staring blankly at the space the monster vehicle now occupies. The space that I had occupied just seconds before. The door to the SUV opens. Work boots with muscular legs wrapped in blue denim jeans step out, followed by an open white shirt that does nothing to hide the black ink swirling up over an impressive six pack and pecs. A closely shaven head is next, but I barely register that fact. I’m trapped by the feral glare of icy blue eyes.

“What the hell were you thinking, walking out onto the road like that?” His voice is gravelly, rage barely contained.

“Umm…” Oh God. Did I escape being run over, only to be beaten to death on the side of the road? “I… didn’t see…” I tremble as tears start to fall.

He extends his hand, his bear sized hand, to my face. I close my eyes and flinch, expecting the worst. But they are gentle, his tone softening. “Are you okay?”

“I… I think so. I don’t know.” I gulp, in between pathetic sobs.

“Ah fuck.” He grabs me and I panic, thinking it’s all over and my granny pants will be seen, by not only the emergency workers, but also the hospital and mortuary staff. Not how I imagined my death. But he holds me, gently.

“You’re going into shock,” he says.

You’re probably wondering why a twenty-eight year old would be imagining her death at all? It was after my Granny’s death that I began visualising what I would be doing and what I would be wearing when I died. She died in her nightie on the toilet, her large granny pants caught around her ankles. I was the one who found her. I was eight at the time. Needless to say it had a huge impact on me. After that I started being very careful about what I wore at all times. My friends might say I became obsessive about it.

So how did I nearly get caught out wearing granny pants today? Well, my mother still treats me like a little girl. She can’t accept that I’m all grown up and very much a woman. When she bought them for me I pretended to like them. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. I was on my way to meet her for lunch and thought I’d surprise her and tell her I was wearing her gift. I chose to hide the granny pants underneath a pink lace shift dress that ends just above the knee. The lining of the fabric easily conceals them. I take my white lies very seriously so I figured what was the harm in wearing them for one day? No one would know.


Very wrong.

The SUV guy shakes me a bit hard, snapping me out of my daze.

“Hey maam, shall I take you to a hospital? You’re looking very white.”

Hospital? No, no. I’m not going to a hospital. They might try and put me in a gown. See my granny panties. “No, I’m fine. I just need to sit for a bit.”

“What’s your name?”


“Well, I’m kind of holding up traffic stopped on the road, Claire, and there isn’t anywhere here to sit. Can I take you somewhere? You shouldn’t be alone.”

I look at him. He doesn’t seem as scary now that the rage has left his eyes. But still, he is a stranger. “Ah, that’s kind of you but I don’t know you. I’ll be okay in a minute.”

“Understandable.” He reaches into his back pocket. “Would it make you feel easier if you knew I was a cop?” He shows me his NSW Police badge. It says Inspector Jake Matthews. “I’m on my way into the station now. I could take you with me. Perfectly safe place for you to relax until you’ve recovered from your shock.”

He smiles. It’s the first time he has smiled since getting out of his vehicle. It transforms him from possible biker thug murderer to handsome cop saviour. I know I can’t continue on my walk to meet mum. I’m in much more shock from my near miss than I would have thought possible. But these granny panties! What if something else goes wrong? What if my granny panties are still found out? Argh! What to do?

“I… thank you, but…” Who am I kidding? I’m a mess. He seems trustworthy. After all, he is a cop. “Yes, thank you. That would be good.”

Jake opens the door and helps me into the passenger side. “I’ll just be a moment. I need to exchange particulars with the guy who nudged the back of my car. It’s only a scratch. But still…” He shuts the door.

Oh my God! I hadn’t even noticed the other car. A fresh wave of shock shudders through me as my near miss floods back to me. Near miss on two counts! Quickly, before he can return, I reach up under my dress and wriggle my granny panties over my bottom and down my legs, shoving them deep into my handbag. Better to be wearing no panties than those hideous things.

True to his word, Jake is only gone a few minutes. The driver’s door opens up and soon all those muscles and ink are folding into the driver’s seat. Suddenly the spacious interior feels suffocating and my lack of panties seems way too brazen. He looks across at me, those clear blue eyes seeing everything.

“Are you feeling any better?” He reaches out a hand to touch my forehead.

I flinch from his touch. It’s warm. Inviting. I clench my legs together, certain he will somehow know that I’m wearing no panties, that I’m practically naked in his SUV.

His eyes narrow. “You’re flushed. Are you sure you don’t want to go to the hospital?”

“No. Please. The police station sounds fine. I just need to rest a little while.”

He stares at me for the longest time, grunts and then turns to start the engine.

Phew. I close my eyes.

We haven’t been driving for more than five minutes when my mobile phone rings. Startled I open my bag, nearly spilling the granny pants out of it. I squash them back in, my face reddening with embarrassment and grab my phone.

“Honey, where are you? I was expecting you ten minutes ago.”

Shit. How could I forget? “Sorry mum. I… I nearly had an accident crossing the road. I’m okay,” I say quickly. I glance across at Jake. He’s watching the road but I can tell he’s listening. Not that he can help it. I’ve somehow managed to put mum on loudspeaker. “A police officer is taking me to the station to sit for a while and make sure I’m okay.”

“Oh no. That’s terrible.” Mum screeches in my ear. “I hope you were wearing clean underwear.”

Oh God. I can’t believe she just said that. A smirk has appeared on Jake’s face. Bastard. “Yes mum, I’m wearing clean underwear.”

“Is it the underwear I bought you for your birthday?”

I groan. Could this get any worse? “Yes, mum. It is.”

“Well, that’s good. You wouldn’t want to be caught wearing something flimsy. Better to be wearing good, sturdy underwear.” I stand corrected. It can get worse. Jake is outright grinning now. I’d hit him except it might cause an accident.

“Ah mum, I need to go. I’ll have to take a raincheck on lunch today. Can we do it next week?”

“Sure, Sweetie. Is the police officer married?”

“Mum! I’m going now.” I end the call, shove the phone in my bag and zip it back up. I don’t want those granny pants accidentally spilling out.

“Don’t say anything,” I warn.

He chuckles.

“It’s not funny. She… she’s just obsessed with underwear. Argh!”

He turns and looks fully at me. It’s okay. All mums say that. It’s no big deal.”

“You don’t know my mum. She…” Oh God. I was almost going to tell him about my granny panties. What was I thinking?

He laughs again. A full belly laugh and continues to drive. Thank God he will never know about my hideous granny panties or lack of panties under my dress.

When we arrive at Parramatta police station Jake buttons up his shirt, covering up all that delicious ink, before opening the door and helping me out. There are three police at the counter and a couple of dodgy guys in the waiting room. By the look of their clothes I’d guess drugs but what would I know? This is my first time inside a police station. My biggest crime is nearly walking into the path of a moving vehicle and ending up inside that vehicle with hot police officer. Oh, and walking sans panties into a police station. Jake guides me past the counter and out the back into a spacious area with a lounge.

“Would you like a coffee?” Jake asks.

“I would kill for a cup of tea,” I reply.

He raises an eyebrow at me. I slap my hand over my mouth. “I really wouldn’t kill for one. You know, I…”

“I’m just messing with you, Claire. How do you have it?”

“Just white, please,” I say softly as I sink into the lounge, placing my bag at my feet.

Jake hands me the tea and I take a sip. Heaven. My mother always says there’s nothing like a good cuppa to chase away your troubles. On this one we agree. The granny pants, not so much.

I kick my sandals off and put my feet on the lounge, smoothing my dress carefully around my legs because… well… I’m not wearing any panties.

“You just relax here for as long as you like, Claire. I’ll be in the office over there if you need me.” Jake points across the hall.

After a short nap, I wake up to find myself staring into the excited brown eyes of a slathering Labrador. He’s got a paw on my handbag and is now sniffing it with way too much interest. I grab the handle but he starts to bark at me. Yikes. What the hell? A couple of police officers come into the room. They look at the dog, look at me and stiffen.

“What’s in the bag?” one of the officers asks.

“Nothing,” I say. Too fast.

“Well, you won’t mind if we take a look.”

“I do mind.”

“Look maam, this is a drug sniffer dog. He has taken an interest in your bag. We need to check it for drugs.”

“No. That’s not possible. I don’t have drugs.”

“Then you won’t mind us having a look inside your bag?”

“No, you can’t look inside my bag.” Oh God, this is my worst nightmare come true. They are going to find the granny pants. What is wrong with this dog? There are no drugs in my bag. Just horrible, ugly, granny pants.

Jake comes out of his office. “What’s all the commotion?”

“Milo, here, has detected something, but the lady won’t let us inspect her bag.”

Jake’s gaze narrows on me. “Is this why you didn’t want to go to hospital? You didn’t want to get tested for drugs?”

“What? No. That’s absurd. I don’t do drugs.”

“Then show us the contents of your bag.”

“I can’t. Please. I have personal stuff in there, that I don’t want anyone else to see.”

Jake considers that. “Would you prefer a female officer to inspect your bag?”

“Yes. No. I don’t know.” I wring my hands in anguish.

“Claire, if you don’t agree to the bag being searched, you may be arrested for hindering a police search.”

Oh God. This can’t be happening. Stupid granny pants. Tears well up in my eyes. “Okay. But… I want it to be you, Jake. No-one else.” That surprises him. He looks at the other officers. They nod their heads in agreement.

“All right, come into my office. But Claire, if there are drugs. You will be arrested.”

“There are no drugs. It’s just… I’m really embarrassed about what’s in there okay? I don’t know why the dog has picked on my bag but it’s not drugs.”

I walk into Jake’s office, my naked nether regions feeling extra exposed. I put my handbag on the desk. Jake has put on gloves and begins to unzip the bag. The sound of the zipper is like tiny nails in my coffin. I choke back a sob. He looks at me, not sure what to make of my agitation. Probably thinks I’m a nutcase and that he should have run me over with his SUV. He opens the bag up. Out comes my phone, wallet, sanitiser. His hand returns to the bag. He stops. Stares back at me with a bemused look in his eyes, before pulling out the granny pants. Multi coloured, waist high, thick cotton granny pants. He holds them with both hands. They are huge. Even in his hands they are monstrous. I cover my face and sob.

I can’t look at Jake. If I could drop dead like Granny right now I’d welcome it. My humiliation is complete. I don’t know why I chose the hot cop to uncover my dirty secret. Only, I was hoping, after our conversation in the car, he might understand. I don’t know. This whole day has been one huge mistake.

Jake prises my hands away from my face. “Claire, this is what you are embarrassed about? The underpants in your bag?”

I nod at him through tear stained lashes.

“But, I thought you were wearing them?”

I shake my head. “After the accident I was so scared I’d be caught out wearing the hideous things, I took them off in your SUV.”

“So, what are you wearing now?”

My face burns as I look away.

“Oh,” he says, clearing his throat. “I see. Well, there are certainly no drugs here. I’ll let the others know. And Claire…”


“I don’t like the idea of you going home on your own without clean underwear. I’d be happy to escort you. Just to make sure you get home safe.” He gives me a wink and walks out the door.