Nobody at school had anything to say about Juno’s new bonneted look other than how cute it was, and underneath it her hair grew back surprisingly quick. Emboldened by this, Juno shut her eyes hard a couple evenings later, after Doris had stamped her foot and exclaimed, ‘I wish I was grown up already!’ For a few seconds nothing happened, other than Mrs Martin, Doris’s mom, repeating that this was the last time she’d bother calling and adding that if a certain person wasn’t inside within two minutes she’d take it that this person had decided to live in the yard from now on. Then Mrs Martin’s head disappeared and the back door closed. And Doris let out a crazy yelp, flinging herself to the ground while at the same time being jumped on by the neat pile of leaves her mom had raked up earlier. In a moment she was rolling ’round the yard in a roaring, frenzied, rust-coloured cloud, watched by Juno, who stood awestruck in a corner. The back door flew back open just as the horizontal twister that was Doris came to a panting halt. Leaves were everywhere. Doris looked like an object lesson for camouflage. Her arm bandage was wrapped around a holly bush. She had a new gash on her cheek.

Dusk was falling on Hastings-Sunrise, and Doris’s mom’s dark shape against a rectangle of her bright kitchen threw a long shadow as she took in her rustic-looking dazed daughter, her no longer raked yard, and her daughter’s immaculate bonneted friend. Her honed prairie senses told her loud and clear that there was something fishy going on, but those same senses urged her not to dwell on what that might be. To her and her forefathers’ eternal credit she didn’t come down on Doris for messing up the yard. She just said, ‘When I was saying about you living out here, I didn’t mean you could make it look like your room, eh. Dinner’s ready.’

The whole episode makes sense once you know that Doris went on to struggle with piles all her adult life. She even had a couple operations.