A line of footprints led away along the strand.  She squinted harder, trying to cut down the glare of sunlight on pristine white sand, and realised that the footprints came up from the water's edge, and then turned away from where she was sat to carry on.  She was reluctant to get up, having only just sat down; and of course normally she'd have Reggie to send after the footprint-maker.  Or to help her up, for that matter.

A sudden thought finally penetrated her wine-soaked thoughts, and she peered at the footprints again.  Were they barefoot footprints, or shoeprints?  She twisted her head this way and that, but she just couldn't quite make it out.  What she needed was... a drink.  And there was a bottle in her hand.

She'd unscrewed the cap of the bottle and had it halfway to her mouth before she remembered what it was.  Lowering the bottle again, she set it down next to her, and peered out at the footprints once more.  It was no good; this was just like that time with Jane Fonda.  Cynthia would clearly have to do all the work herself, even though she was dressed this time.  She put her hands down and levered herself up, her knees protesting and her ankles threatening to give way.  She comforted herself with the thought that Jane would have snapped like a twig out here, and struggled across the hot sand to the trail of footprints.

They were shoeprints, large enough to be a man's prints.  Conceivably they were Reggie's, and even if they weren't they could surely be coerced into assisting her.  After all, Cynthia was well aware that she was just a tiny little woman (in her own mind) and that she therefore had something that men desired.  She batted her eyelids coquettishly while she was thinking about that, and felt one of her false eyelashes coming loose.  It was this wretched heat, she thought.

The shoeprints wandered erratically along the edge of the sand, sometimes disappearing as their owner must have strayed onto the scrub plants that grew into the edges of the strand; but they always reappeared.  Cynthia tramped along, looking around from time to time, and wiping the sweat from her face and neck much more frequently.  Finally the shoeprints halted, seeming to fade almost entirely in the middle of a patch of sand.  Cynthia stopped too, and then made an unwelcome discovery about why the shoeprints had disappeared....

The End

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