STEVE looked up from the dinner table to see a panda standing in front of him. It was his wife, Margaret. She had synthetic fur – black for her paws and hind legs and white for her belly – up to her neck. Above that was her face, red and sweaty from wearing the costume all day. Under her arm was the panda’s head, its eyes rimmed by inky bruises, the pupils plastic but somehow alive.
Steve stared at his wife, speechless. He was surprised because she usually came home dressed as the arse-end of a hippo.
‘Cutbacks,’ she explained. ‘A hippo requires two actors to look convincing. A panda, just one. Guess the zoo went with the cheaper option.’