As the European Lawn Tennis season thunders on, Wimbledon fortnight comes round yet again. This year, however, there appears to be something strange and mysterious happening. Is it Something In The Water?
As usual in an Axolotl story, some of the female characters tend to have very large breasts indeed, innocent girls use shamefully earthy language and there are copious quantities of bodily fluids sloshing around. Grow up and get a life before you read it.
"Ah, Dr Wallace, so glad you could make it so promptly. As my secretary rather cryptically explained, we seem to have a bit of a problem; but it's something right up your street. Take a seat. Smoke? Ah, no, of course..."
Professor Merridew put his cigarette case back in his inside pocket. Dr Wallace, whose hand had shot out to take one, or even two, leaned back in his chair.
"Tennis," said the professor. "You don't mind if I do?" He lit up with obvious relish and after about thirty seconds blew a stream of smoke at the ceiling like a contented steam engine. "First today," he admitted. "Now, where was I?"
"Tennis. Tennis elbow? Not really a speciality of mine," said Dr Wallace. "My expertise lies more in the field of..."
"Yes, indeed. Indeed, yes. Saw your paper in the Journal. Fascinating work. That, in fact, was why we wasted no time in contacting you. There's something we'd rather like you to look at."
"Something in my field?" The doctor stared longingly at the cigarette as it lay on the edge of the ashtray. He gnawed at his fingers.
"Very much so, we think. Wimbledon fortnight started a few days ago. Ever been?"
"Never found the time, old chap. Strawberries and cream. The smell of the fresh-cut grass. The girls in their full, bouncing T-shirts; their short, short skirts and tight little lacy knickers, drenched in honest sweat..."
"You sure you haven't been?"
"I'd have remembered if I had, believe me."
Funny you should mention the girls. The women, we have to call them these days. Not even ladies any more. Some of them are a bit strange, if you know what I mean. Queer, what?"
"I gather they are, yes. One can understand it, living in each other's pockets month after month. Some of the younger ones are pure and innocent and extremely desirable. Hardly to be wondered at if they tend to stray from the old straight and narrow. But what's all this to do with me?"
Merridew took a long drag on his cigarette, regarding the doctor through the smoke with narrowed eyes. He ruined the effect at the end by having a coughing fit. "Shit," he said at last, as his secretary came in with a jug of water and a glass. He drained a full glass at a single gulp, and poured himself another. "They've grown big breasts," he announced suddenly.
"The female tennis players. Not all of them. Just half a dozen or so. And one of the ball girls, too. The development has been swift, sudden and somewhat staggering. I've got some pictures somewhere here..."
Dr Wallace leaned forward eagerly, his hands trembling as the professor dug into his desk drawer.
"These were taken on day one of the tournament. The usual press shots. Long lenses. They take dozens of each player, hoping for a flash of panties to please the editor. Now, look at these: same players, two days later." He slid a pile of prints across the desk.
Dr Wallace studied them, turning over the pile with almost desperate haste. "I see," he said hoarsely. "Any more?"
"Yes. These are yesterday's. I've asked for another set. We don't have all the players in this bunch of photos, some of them have had to withdraw."
"Too big, I'm afraid."
"My God!" Wallace began leafing through the prints again, more slowly. From time to time, he pulled out a picture and laid it on the desk, forming a separate pile. "You said there was a ball-girl, too?"
"Yes. But the press don't photograph ball-girls. They're not old enough to appeal to newspaper editors. They're only schoolgirls."
"Have you got any pictures of her, though?"
"A few." The professor looked shifty.
"I'd like these back," Merridew said quietly as he opened his drawer. "You can keep all the others, but I wouldn't want these to fall into the wrong hands."
"Of course." Dr Wallace looked at the top one. "Fuck me!" he said unprofessionally. He shuffled through the rest, then mopped his brow with a large silk handkerchief. Without asking permission, he poured a glass of water and took a long drink before picking up the pictures again. "The players have withdrawn, or some of them. Has the ball-girl withdrawn, too?"
"No news on her. The players are more important, of course."
"Oh, of course. Yes, indeed. Any theories on what's caused it?" Dr Wallace was sorting through the ball-girl pictures for the tenth time.
"Nothing really. That's why we called you. We'd like you to conduct an inquiry, as a matter of urgency. In fact, starting this afternoon, assuming you're free to come down to Wimbledon. You'll be able to examine the females concerned."
"Examine? You mean... ?"
"We've thought of that already. I've laid on a woman."
"A woman? You've lain on her?"
"No, I've laid her on. She's a doctor as well. Dr Lewis. Her field is angled more towards research into consumer products for chemical enhancement. Non-invasive breast enlargement. She's done a lot of work with something called Pubertophen."
"Really?" Dr Wallace raised an eyebrow. "I've seen some of her papers. Nice pictures."
"She'll be on her way to the All-England Club now. If we leave right away, we'll be there by three. Pity it's pissing with rain, but it will give you a chance to meet your colleague, have a look round, meet the patients, carry out your initial investigations. It's all hush-hush, of course. The public have been told it's a flu virus. But between you and me, it's only a matter of time before some bright Charlie compares these pictures with the ones taken on the first day and puts two and two together and makes four. Or forty-four. Well, if you're ready? I'll have to leave you to it once we're at Wimbledon, but..." The professor stood up and held out his hand. Dr Wallace looked at him quizzically. "The ball-girl pictures, please..."
"Oh, how silly of me! I seem to have got them mixed up with the others..."
"Dr Wallace? A pleasure. Fay Lewis." The woman in a well-filled white lab coat held out her hand. Dr Wallace's eyes opened wide.
"My pleasure entirely. The professor has briefed me. A rum do, what?"
"Certainly is. There's nothing wrong with big whoppers, in their place. But the Centre Court isn't really the place. I've had a bit of a word with the old Tournament pasha chappies. It appears two of our women have disappeared."
"Disappeared?" Dr Wallace looked concerned. "Where to? Which ones?"
"They've flown off home to mummy. The pressure must be pretty darned heavy. For some reason, the boys from the gutter press don't seem to have caught on yet, which seems to be a remarkable oversight on their part. You'd think one look at the pictures ought to have been enough. You've seen them, of course?"
"Prof Merridew showed me some. So which players are still here? We need to examine them."
"I've got a little list." She flourished a single sheet of paper. "The complete tournament entry for the little Ladies' competition. Lots of names there. When the information first sort of leaked out to the Wimbledon medical orificer, she bashed out a list of about fifteen girls with bigger gazongas than the others. It quickly narrowed itself down to nine, then six..."
"The first three were all-stacked, all-natural. Big for tennis players. But by the time the list had come down to six, there was absolutely no doubt about it. Those six were more than just big. A lot more."
Dr Wallace licked his lips and produced his handkerchief. "And this was yesterday?"
"Yesterday morning. By yesterday evening, things had... developed ... even further. Of course, none of the girlies in question had been seen on court since their bodily changes had taken place."
"So we're down to four."
"Five, actually. There's a ball-girl, too. She looks like a very interesting case, if you're into voluptuous schoolgirls."
"So the professor told me." Wallace mopped his brow.
"We'll come to her," said Dr Lewis with a little private smile. "Meanwhile, here's the short list of four players we have left. They are all standing by for an examination this afternoon. Probably all stripped off and waiting in the locker rooms."
There were four names highlighted in yellow.
Ms Nakako Nakashita - Japan
Ms Yekaterina Kalashnikova - Russia
Miss Joan Hunter-Dunne - United Kingdom
Mme Marie-Louise Poitrine - France
"None from America?"
"There were two. They are the ones who flew home this morning. Probably to appear on a chat show. Wymyn Tennis Players Who Develop Hee-yuge Breasts Overnite."
"Is there such a show in the States? How very interesting."
Dr Lewis looked at him curiously. "These are happy-snaps of the four of them, before and after. As you can see, the changes have been remarkable. These were taken yesterday. I should warn you..."
Wallace was ahead of her. "They're bigger than this now?"
"Erm, yes." British understatement. "The ball-girlie is here at Wimbledon. You'll be seeing her, too. Later. Strangely, she seems keen to take her place on the jolly old court afterwards. Not, I should have thought, the most sensible decision, but she was saying something about having to uphold the honour of her school. Must be a bit of a rarity, a girls' school with some honour left to uphold."
"We'll get to examine her after the others? Then she'll be free to bounce right out there with the rest of them." Dr Wallace rubbed his hands. "Well, I'm ready. Show the girls in."
"Wait a mo. Don't we need a plan of campaign? Some rules of engagement? A modus operandi of some sort? Before we start the Spanish Inquisition on these babes, we need a list of standard questions. Something's got to be causing this strange growth, and the chances are it's the same damn thing that's affected all of them."
"You mean something in the water?"
"Not exactly, old bean. If it had been in the water, it would have tended to affect the whole entry, in some way. Even the blokes!"
"The men? Men don't grow tits."
"Some of them might. Or they might grow other things. Perhaps we need to examine all the guys. It would have to be all of them; they won't have symptoms as obvious as a pair of instant giant boobies."
Dr Wallace looked less than keen. Dr Lewis hid a smirk and sighed.
"Perhaps you're right. It's probably just a woman thing. Let's find a common link between ... or more correctly... among these four..."
"These five." Dr Lewis stretched her arms above her head, the movement thrusting out her more than generous bosom. Dr Wallace concentrated hard. "Actually, the ball-girl might be the key to it. It could have been caused by something the players had all eaten or drunk somewhere in London. But it doesn't seem likely that this bunch of globe-trotting sportswomen would have gone out on a conducted tour of the night spots of south London in the tender care of a student at a respected educational establishment. An attractive theory, but improbable. So if it's not that, it has to be something else. Okay, it's likely to be food, or drink, something like that. But whatever it is, it's something that this group of four players and the ball-girl have been exposed to. That must narrow it down." Dr Lewis had taken over completely. Dr Wallace was still trying not to stare too openly at her bust.
She began pacing around the room, then stopped and wheeled round. "I must confess, I'm strongly tempted by male semen."
Dr Wallace's eyes almost popped out. "I beg your pardon?"
"If all of these women had been seeing the same man..."
"Doesn't seem very likely, Doctor. Four female tennis players indulging in casual sex in the middle of a Grand Slam tournament? Aren't they all lesbians, anyway? And what about the ball-girl?"
"Ball-girls have urges, too! They need it just as much as the rest of us. The fact that they're not officially old enough is inconvenient, but it's certainly never been known to stop British teenage girls from having sex. They're not necessarily particularly good at it, but if there's one thing they don't lack, it's enthusiasm."
"It's unlikely, though..."
"What did Sherlock Holmes say? Once we've eliminated everything else, if all we're left with is male ejaculate, male ejaculate becomes the prime suspect."
"It just seems unlikely if they're all dykes."
"They won't all be dykes, doctor. The ball-girl certainly won't!"
Dr Wallace wondered how she knew that.
Dr Lewis was not inclined to explain. "When we bring them in, I'll ask them all certain questions while I'm physically examining them. You can observe."
"You just watch. It's what you do best."
"Look at their breasts, you mean?"
"Naturally. But try to watch their faces as well. Their reaction to my questions. You might see something significant that I will miss because I'm too preoccupied elsewhere."
It was elsewhere that Dr Wallace wished he could be. But at least he had a role. Watching the formidable Dr Lewis manhandling a bunch of sportswomen's tits.
"Ah, Miss Nakashita. Please take a seat. I'm Dr Lewis and this is Dr Wallace. We're going to carry out a quick examination to try and find out the cause of this unfortunate thing that's happened to you. Wow! It certainly has happened to you, as well!" This wasn't in the script. Clearly, the diminutive Japanese player had made a deep impression on Dr Lewis.
Dr Wallace had expected the patients to be dressed recognisably as tennis players. Miss Nakashita shattered that expectation at a stroke. She wore jeans and a T-shirt with the logo of a sports equipment manufacturer. If anyone had asked Dr Wallace the name of the manufacturer, he would have been unable to tell them, even five seconds later.
It was an extra large T-shirt. Most T-shirts are, after all. But this one was...
Start again, he thought. In his role as observer, he had to observe. He started at the top, forcing himself to make mental notes. Funny how all Japanese women look about twelve years old. The notes in front of him insisted she was twenty-four. Yet her silky black hair was tied up with two schoolgirlish yellow bows. A couple of strands of hair escaped from these, and she had to keep brushing them away from her eyes. It must have been most off-putting when waiting to receive a service at 115 miles per hour.
Dr Wallace's mind wandered off on its own, forming an image of Miss Nakashita in rear view; powerful parted thighs and calves, little feet bouncing on the grass, a trimly sexless rump...
All these features were now mercifully hidden beneath her jeans as she seated herself on the edge of the cloth-covered examination table which had been set up in the small office allotted to the special examination team. Her legs swung backwards and forwards, her tiny feet some way short of the floor.
Dr Wallace congratulated himself on his achievement to date. He had observed Miss Nakashita's face and hair. He had observed her lower regions from her tiny waist right down to the ground. He felt he had now earned the right to observe what lay between.
"Fuck me," he muttered, his hand automatically going to the top pocket of his white jacket where he always carried a tape measure.
He shook his head. Both women were staring at him: Dr Lewis with ill-disguised amusement, Miss Nakashita with almost inscrutable contempt. Had he spoken out loud?
"Did you say something, Doctor Wallace?"
He cleared his throat noisily two or three times, unhappily experiencing a need to spit somewhere private. He swallowed instead, screwing up his face with distaste.
"I will now ask Miss Nakashita to remove her shirt and bra," Dr Lewis announced with relish.
"No bra!" The tennis player's accent was mostly American, perhaps with a hint of Australian thrown in. "My bra don't fit me no more."
"Your T-shirt, then."
Dr Wallace supposed that sports personalities were always dressing and undressing; if not exactly in public, at least in the presence of others. And he was a doctor, and therefore neutral. That would explain why Miss Nakashita stripped off her T-shirt without hesitation or embarrassment. 'Jeezus H Christ!' he thought blasphemously, as she tossed the T-shirt on to the back of a chair and sat there slightly round-shouldered on the examination table.
"Hmmm," Dr Lewis raised her eyebrows and stood up, her thumbs in her jacket pockets. This had the effect of stretching her jacket down across her own rack. She seemed to be carrying out a comparison. "Just lie on your back, please."
Dr Wallace remembered his role as observer. He sat and observed. It was as well he was sitting. Miss Nakashita projected upwards, he observed critically, by an amount almost twice the depth of her rib-cage. He forced himself to think in units of measurement. Her chest must be about twenty centimetres ... oh, sod it ... eight inches deep...
"Are you staying locally, Miss Nakashita?" Dr Lewis was asking, as she prowled round the table.
The dark eyes followed her like radar. "In a small place not too far. On the Common. It was recommended. Just me and my friend. We stay there every year for three, four weeks. For the Stella, then for Wimbledon."
And her total height above the table, including her breasts, would have to be ... get out of the damned way, Lewis ... about fifteen inches. Maybe sixteen...
"Girlfriend. Sally Doubleday." Miss Nakashita had obviously chosen her lover for the reason that her name ought to have been almost impossible for a Japanese person to say.
"You are gay, Miss Nakashita?" Dr Lewis's voice and manner were neutral, clinical. Her hands were cold, too. The Japanese woman gave an involuntary squeal as the doctor's fingers touched the side of her left breast.
"I'm bisexual," she replied as soon as she landed back on the table again.
"Cold hands, warm heart, old thing," Dr Lewis chirped. Miss Nakashita looked mystified. "So you eat out a lot, you and your friend?"
Miss Nakashita raised a worldly eyebrow. "Whenever we feel like it, I guess. But if it's food you're talking about, Ms Doubleday makes a mean chili."
Dr Wallace revised his estimate upwards to seventeen inches. A pair of remarkable nipples had just extended skywards. He was working on mind-bending calculations involving pi and the circumference of complex ovoids. How much easier it would be simply to wrap the tape round Miss Nakashita's chest.
"Have you been out socially with any of the other players this week at all? For a meal? A casual drink, perhaps?"
"A drink? With those lezzie bitches? You cannot be serious."
From her choice of expression, Dr Wallace wondered if she ever mingled socially with any male tennis players. God, she was enormous, though. Those things just stood straight up like twin lighthouses. On a petite girl of five feet one or so, they were immense! If only he could wrap his tape around them, just once. Life would have little more to offer after that...
"Thank you, you may sit up, please, Miss Nakashita. Everything seems perfectly normal."
"Normal? These you call normal?"
"There's nothing wrong with them. Perfectly healthy breast tissue. There's just an awful lot of it, that's all. If you'd like to stand up and get dressed..." Moving with some difficulty, Miss Nakashita returned to the vertical, tottering slightly. No doubt she'd get used to it in time. "Ah, before you put your T-shirt back on, Dr Wallace will just take a few measurements. It's all right, his hands are probably warmer than mine!"
"I ... meeee ... measure... ?"
"Your tape's in your top pocket, Doctor," Dr Lewis chided him. "You can stand up, can't you? Not lost the use of your legs or anything?" She peered at his anguished face. "Ah, perhaps you have, after all. Give me the tape, then! You just write the numbers down..."
With five thumbs on each hand, Dr Wallace fished the tape measure out of his pocket and tossed it to his colleague. The tennis player stood placidly, patient as a cow and probably almost as well-endowed. Her face was blank. Perhaps in Japan, women found themselves being measured all the time.
"Thirty-one inches. That's her hips, Doctor. Is that your normal measurement, Miss Nakashita?"
"And waist, twenty-two."
"Normal," the player sighed.
"Chest, below the breasts..."
"Hey, you measuring me for a bra, or something?"
"No, this is just for the records."
"Pity. I'm gonna need some bras, pretty quick. Even exotic dancers need bras."
"Twenty-eight. Exotic dancers?"
"My new career. I had an offer last night."
"That was quick."
"Sally's got contacts. How big's my bust, anyways?"
"Wow, that ain't normal. I told them forty-two. Three inches bigger since last night! You finished looking at them now, Doc?" She reached for her T-shirt and climbed inside. It was a tight squeeze. It might have helped if she could have left her nipples outside. She looked down and patted herself on the sides of her bosom. Everything wobbled noticeably. "This has sure saved me a shitload of dough, you know? Do you have any idea of the cost of implants?"
Both doctors shuddered at the word. Dr Lewis found her voice.
"When are you leaving England, Miss Nakashita?"
"We're trying for a flight tomorrow. Pity about the tournament appearance money, but I could be on the stage in San Francisco by Saturday night. Old Japanese saying: 'Never look a gift horse in the mouth'."
"It loses a little in the translation. See you guys!"
"What do you think, old bean?"
Dr Wallace consulted his notes. "The Japanese one, 45-22-31, and only five feet one tall? She'll do well in her chosen profession. Then the big Russian one. An awesome pair..." He stopped. Dr Lewis was staring at him.
"That wasn't quite what I meant, Doctor. What conclusions do you have about the cause of this growth? We've examined all four of the players. For your benefit, and no one else's, we've even measured them. We've questioned them about their lifestyle, where they are staying, their eating and drinking habits."
"No common thread at all. The Japanese shacks up with her lover. The Russki is staying in a five star hotel. The Brit lives with her mum and dad in Dorking and the Frog flies back home to her little hubby three nights a week."
"Check. And they haven't been out anywhere socially together. So what do they have in common apart from that?"
"Fucking great tits..."
"Forget those for a moment..."
"Forget them? Forget four of the finest sets you ever laid hands on? Each pair utterly different ... the French one even had hairs around her nipples..."
"It would have been a bit strange if she'd had bald tits, Matey, she was like a gorilla everywhere else."
Dr Wallace turned pale. "Yet all of them were so magnificently huge..."
"Doctor! We'll come to that later when we sum them up. Meanwhile, have they been eating here at the club? If so, what?"
"Don't they all eat bananas?"
"Mostly, although tennis players don't subsist entirely on bananas. They're not monkeys. They just eat them on court for instant energy. And in bed, too, I shouldn't wonder..."
"They're all keen on indoor sports, I must say. We don't know much about any nocturnal visitors the Russian has, but Miss Joan Hunter-Dunne has that regularly-well-fucked look about her as if she's getting it ten times a week."
"A typical English virgin, you mean?"
"More or less. And the Frog has only been married a month. They're not all pregnant, do you think?"
"Not according to my tests. And the Brit isn't getting it ten times a week ... Not this week, anyway."
Dr Wallace looked ill at ease. "Oh, really?"
"You're supposed to be a doctor, Doctor. You don't faint at a few little spots of blood."
"So, anyway. We'll check out the catering. Drink?"
"No thanks, it's a little early for me."
"No, I mean, how about the stuff they drink. Anything common there?"
"It's not Robinson's Barley Water any more."
"It's not Coke, either."
"Or energy drinks. We need to find out if they all use the same brand of isotonic energy replacement fluid. If so, who supplies them. Batch numbers, stuff like that. You can do most of the leg-work on the phone."
"A male voice carries so much more conviction, old chap. Still, all that's for tomorrow. Let's wheel in the ball-girl..."
"Hello! My name's Dr Fay Lewis and this dear old gentleman is Dr Wallace."
The girl cast an apprehensive glance at the older gentleman. Her parents had warned her about men like him, but until now she had never been fortunate enough to find one.
"Hi," she said in a husky little voice, like furry treacle. "I'm Melanie Cranston."
"Now, you know why you're here, don't you, Melanie?"
"Yes, Doctor. I'm a ball-girl. I was here last year as well, cleaning the players' toilets. That was good fun, too."
"I'm sure it was, Melanie. But we do know why you're at Wimbledon. What I meant was do you know why we've called you in here to see you."
"Not really. I haven't done anything wrong. Not really."
"No," explained Dr Lewis patiently. "You've done nothing wrong. It's just something that's happened to you since you've been here."
Daylight dawned. "Oh, you mean my boobies. They're really big now, aren't they?!"
"They certainly are! And you're not the only one, as you've certainly noticed. We've already seen the players who have been affected in the same way as you."
"So have I," the girl confided. "I'd already got their autographs. My boyfriend got them for me."
"Oh, that's nice."
"Are you ready, then?"
"Yes, Doctor." The girl sat there.
Dr Lewis took a deep breath. Melanie watched her, her eyes widening a little, but she remained slouched in her chair. "We'd like to examine you, Melanie."
"No, just externally. In fact, you needn't even take your skirt off. Just your raincoat, your jacket, your sweater, your shirt, your T-shirt, your vest, your slip, and your bra."
The girl's face lit up with delight. "I'm not wearing all that lot... !"
"It's a warm afternoon, Melanie. You'll be much more comfortable if you're not wearing quite so many clothes."
"I'd rather not, Miss Doctor..."
"But we need to examine you, don't we?"
"Why don't you just tell me which bits of me you want to look at, and I'll describe them to you?"
As far as Dr Wallace was concerned, that sounded like a most satisfactory plan. Obviously not to Dr Lewis, though.
"It would be much better if you took your clothes off, Melanie. You're not embarrassed about anything, are you?"
"Well, then... ?"
Melanie slowly got up. "You promise you won't stare."
"We won't stare, Melanie." Dr Wallace was pleased to see that his colleague had her fingers crossed behind her back.
"And you won't laugh?"
"We certainly won't laugh, Melanie! What is there to laugh at about a very attractive and well-developed girl taking her clothes off?"
"Oooh, Doctor!" The girl was wearing a raincoat, reasonably enough during Wimbledon fortnight, although it wasn't really raining indoors. She took it off, although in an unconventional manner, loosening the belt then pulling the coat off over her head, like taking off a sweater. She eventually emerged, tousled, and dropped it on the floor. There she stood, drooping slightly, with her tennis-shoed feet apart and her knees together. Her face wore a shamed expression as if she had just performed a striptease in church.
"And your sweater, Melanie."
The sweater seemed to be all she was wearing, although it wasn't easy to say, as it came down to her knees. It was a huge chunky-knit white thing with alternate green, gold and green stripes round the vee-neck and just above the hem-line. There were similar bands near the ends of the sleeves, which had slipped down as she stood there until they covered her hands. Somewhere around the girl's tummy was an ornate embroidered badge with an elaborate heraldic design and the words 'Champions 1998'.
"This isn't mine," she pointed out. "I borrowed it from someone bigger. He plays cricket."
"It really suits you, dear," said Dr Lewis patiently, "but do take it off, please."
"I promised him I wouldn't stretch it out of shape," she said as she began tugging it off over her head. It joined the raincoat on the floor and Melanie stood with her arms folded, revealed at last in the working uniform of a Wimbledon ball-girl: a burstingly-full green polo shirt and matching pleated skirt. Her knees weren't bad, Dr Wallace thought. He wasn't really a dedicated leg-man, but there was nothing wrong with being an all-rounder on occasion.
"Now your shirt, Melanie," Dr Lewis urged gently.
The girl may have been slightly hard of hearing. She placed her hands on her hips and prised off one white shoe using the toe of her other foot. Then she repeated the process with the other shoe and stood demurely in her almost white ankle socks. She had the tip of one finger in her mouth.
"Melanie, dear. At this rate, it's going to take until bedtime before you get all your things off. Now although Dr Wallace may be finding this stimulating, it is fair to point out that we do have other things to do this afternoon."
"Not everything. Just your shirt and bra, then get on the table."
"Mummy says it's rude to sit on the table..."
"It's designed for sitting on, Melanie. That's what it's for."
The girl considered this gravely. "Even so, I'd better not sit on it with my moist panties." She hoisted her skirt and slid the offending items down, bending at the waist to slip them over her feet. She tossed them on to her pile of cast-off clothing, then made a decision and dropped her skirt, placing that on the pile as well.
"It's your top we're interested in, Melanie. Not your bottom."
"Oops, sorry, Doctor. I'm so used to the doctor at school. She gives us internal examinations at least twice a week. I forgot. Should I put my skirt back on... ?"
"No, don't bother, for now. Unless Dr Wallace finds it a distraction ... no, he doesn't, it's all right. Just your shirt, dear. Please!"
"Should I go behind the screen, Doctor?"
"What the hell for?" Dr Lewis screamed, then recovered her composure. "Melanie. We're doctors. You're a patient. You are standing there wearing only a polo shirt..."
"And a bra, Doctor..."
"And a bra. You are already exposing your lower half, apart from your ankles. We need to examine your breasts, not your pudenda." Melanie blushed prettily, as did Dr Wallace. "Perhaps you might care to reveal why you wish to undress behind a screen before you come out and lie on the examination table?"
"My boyfriend always says..."
"Melanie! Take your fucking shirt off!"
"That's right! How did you guess?" said the girl, genuinely surprised. She peeled off the shirt and stood there wearing only her bra. Now as someone has surely said before, 'only' is a misleading word to use in these circumstances. This bra was many things, but if there was one thing it wasn't, it was 'only'. One of the other things it was was 'black'.
"My goodness, Melanie," said Dr Lewis. "That is a big bra, isn't it?"
"It's one of my big sister's," the girl explained.
Dr Wallace felt the need to interject. "Where's the apostrophe?"
The girl screwed up her nose and looked at him.
"What the doctor means, I think," explained Dr Lewis gently, "is, do you mean it's one of the bras belonging to your big sister, or one of the bras belonging to one of your big sisters? In other words, do you have one older sister who wears a large bra, or more than one?"
"Yes and no, Doctor."
"Yes and no?"
"Yes, I've got two older sisters, and yes, they both wear big bras..."
"This bra belongs to my younger sister, Doctor. But it doesn't fit very well. I mean, it fitted okay last night, but I've grown since then. Do you want to look at the label, Doctor?" she addressed Dr Wallace, whom she had identified as a connoisseur. She aimed her little rump and approached him in reverse, looking over her shoulder and backing neatly into the space between his knees. Numb-fingered, he fumbled inside the broad black back-strap and inspected the bra label. "What's it say?" Melanie asked, wiggling her bottom against him with a hint of impatience.
"'This bra belongs to Syrita Cranston. Wash separately'," said the doctor. "I can't read the rest."
"Stupid old git," she muttered. "It's a 36H. That's why it's not a very good fit. I only need a 32. Syrita's built like a tank, you see? She wants to be a wrestler, but she'll probably grow out of it. She's only eleven." Melanie was silent for a moment. "A female wrestler," she added helpfully. "Or maybe a rugby player..."
Dr Lewis resumed. "You're right. It's not a very good fit, dear. Slip it off and get up on the table."
Melanie obeyed at last. She lowered the broad shoulder straps and pulled the bra off, sliding it down to her waist. Somewhat surprisingly, she didn't twist it round to unfasten the hooks. Instead, she pushed it further down past her hips and stepped out of it, bending forward from the waist to disentangle it from the toe of her grubby sock. Her breasts swung together, slapping against her thigh. She stood up again with some difficulty, smiled shyly at the two doctors and wiggled her bottom on to the examination table. Working by feel, she inched her way further on to the table-top, clutching her breasts with two inadequate hands and both forearms.
"Lie on your back, dear."
The girl lay back.
"You can let go of them now, dear."
The girl let go of them.
"She's gone back out on the court? With those?" Dr Wallace's eyes boggled. He paced rapidly across the room. "Which court?"
"You haven't got time to go out there and watch her. Court Fourteen. They're letting her stand at the end and throw the new balls to the players. They don't want her trying to run around. It's bad enough as it is; she's supposed to throw the balls to the players then stand absolutely still. Apparently she's standing still but her breasts carry on wobbling for the next minute and a half. The organisers are thinking of complaining to her school and having her replaced."
"Her school? How old is that little hussy?"
"Old enough. More than old enough. And certainly big enough. Apart from that, what have we learned?"
"She's got some sisters with big tits."
"And a boyfriend. Who is possibly built like a brick shithouse and plays cricket."
"She was a toilet-cleaner at Wimbledon, last year. And she worships a number of female tennis players and collects their autographs."
"Not much to go on. But write it all down. No information, Dr Wallace, is ever wholly without value."
"Was that Holmes?"
"No, that was Lewis."
"Eureka! They all drink the same energy drink," Wallace announced. "IsoTropic! From a supplier in Putney. Name of Salim. A bit of a fly-boy, but not your average shady dealer. He seems quite switched on."
"Salim, of Putney, you say?" Dr Lewis picked up her mobile phone off the desk, keyed in a number and barked, "Salim, Putney," into the mouthpiece. Wallace gaped at her as she listened briefly, then said, "Sammy Salim? That sounds right. Check!" She switched the device off with a beep. "What else do we know about him?"
"He knew the names of all the players at Wimbledon who used it. Fourteen men and eleven women."
"Fourteen and eleven?"
"He made two deliveries. On Friday morning, the last six cases he had in stock. On Friday evening, six more cases of a new batch. These went to ... guess who?"
"Six female players... ?"
"Better get on to him right away and tell him not to sell any more of that batch."
"He won't. I bought the lot. Sixty-eight cases. I've brought a couple of bottles along for analysis."
"Where's the rest?"
"It's quite safe. In my garage at home. If this stuff works, that's sixty-eight times seventy-two, less two, at ... let's say £19.99 a bottle. That's..."
"Ninety-seven thousand, eight hundred and thirty-one pounds and six pence," said Dr Lewis instantly. She began scribbling furiously on a pad of paper. "How much did you pay him?"
"Twenty-five quid a case."
"Hmmm. Still, it's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick." She pushed several long sheets of paper across the table towards him.
"The agreement. My share is forty-eight grand, in round figures. Better make it payable monthly, four K a month starting August 1st. Sign all five copies there, and there, and down at the bottom." She uncapped her pen and pressed it into his trembling fingers, then sat back to watch him sign. "It doesn't explain one thing, though. What about Melanie? What made her grow? You are responsible for printing the new labels, by the way."
"Maybe she's natural. Her sisters are all big."
"She might have been just saying that."
"No, it's true. I parked down the road from her parents' house last night and watched through binoculars. She wasn't telling us any porkies. She's got two older sisters and one younger one. They're all whoppers, believe me."
"I'm still not happy about her, Wallace. She's too..."
Dr Lewis blinked at him.
"Busty? Smelly? Clever by half? Big for her age? For her boots? For her sister's bra?"