"We've been in this queue nearly two weeks. It's far too long, there's only wan till on," she complains, but with a smile, checking our faces to see if we're on board.
"Some people's even goat businesses t'run," and she nods at Berd, "like, you look like a very respectable lady."
"Me?" questions Berd adjusting her posh scarf.
"Aye. You do," is the firm reply. And she leans in, dead chummy, warm and friendly.
The conversation widens to include Moira behind us who says to Karen, "You look dead like somebody I know."
"Aw, see me, Ah've got hunners a doppelgangers. Aw o'er the place," and she announces this fact loudly to the queue, "hunners a doppelgangers, me."
"It's ma daughter's pal you look like." says Moira.
"You've goat a daughter! You're dead lucky."
"Aye, as soon as Ah had a daughter, Ah just thought, that's me, Ah'm havin nae mair. You smell nice," she continues across me to Karen who bursts into a peal of laughter.
Right enough, the air is redolent of sweet fruits and flowers.
"Ah, hahahaha! That's vodka yer smellin'!"
"Naw, naw, it's a nice perfume."
Karen dissolves into a fit of the giggles. "That's cos Ah was splashin it oan to cover up the smell a drink, alcohol. Ah put oan a pure ton a it."
"Well it's nice," we all say, "eau de smirnoff."
"Sorry aboot ma voice," Karen says, introducing a new topic to our conversation. "Ah've goat laringytis." And here her husky tones ascend a couple of octaves, "Usually I've got a wee sweet voice," and then she descends into a cackle. "Fallin tae bits, look at ma hauns. See that's rheumatics."
And she holds out the backs of her hands with swollen veins.
Moira leans over to her, "You're a bit young for that. Are you sure it's no," and she whispers right into Karen's ear something about shooting up at which Karen exclaims, "Naw, naw, naw, Ah don't dae anything like that."
She holds the hands out again for inspection. Swollen veins and bitten fingernails.
"That's rheumatics. No arthur-itis. Arthur-itis makes them like that," and she twists her hands into grotesque claws.