Juno wasn’t in the room at that time. She came back from the kitchen a couple seconds later to flinch at the sight of Doris’s dad still half-framed by the front door, slowed down by his sack and the weight of the collective perplexity. That instant Juno experienced what in upmarket Magic circles is known as pas encore vu. The rest of us call it a flash-ahead. Basically she had a lightning-quick vision of a moment in her future. She somehow knew it was an extremely important moment, and somehow she also knew when it was going to happen. It looked pretty much exactly like what she was seeing right now and would only make sense in another seven years’ time, but it left little Juno tingling with the high you get from supernatural Magic, Magic you got no hand in. And not a little curious. She went on to stray the furthest she’d been out of her depth yet.

She decided she wanted a good look at this important bit of her future she’d barely got to glimpse. She didn’t close her eyes this time. She opened them as wide as she could and stared hard at the setting of that abrupt preview, willing the scene to play itself out in full. The setting obviously was the front door, where Mrs Martin and Doris were just squeezing ’round their stalled breadwinner and his cookie load. He’d kind of spun sideways, so that Doris had to duck under the sack. Her mom was making good headway into the room with a smile and a ‘happy birthday’ on her lips, but Doris was right underneath Zwarte Piet’s goodies when they took the full force of her friend’s clumsy spell.