I’m currently editing Hayefield Manor ready to send back to my editor but I paused to create the newest episode of Queer Tango. I hope it’s giving you a chuckle!
Episode 5: Taking the Plimsole
Over packs of biscuits and steaming hot cups of tea, the intrepid class of Paulette’s Tango for Complete Buffoons—ahem—Beginners nursed their hard earned bruises and bumps during a break. Yes, it was tango, but tango could be ferocious.
‘This one is colder,’ Ceri said and placed a rolled up wad of paper towels to George’s eye.
‘Thanks,’ George said with a groan. His feet hurt a lot more than his eye and he didn’t get why blokes had to wear heeled shoes to dance. He’d asked Andy in the pub the other night only to get a full detailed response about how heels were fabulous for posture.
‘Why don’t I hold the towels, you go have your tea,’ Diane said, limping over. She liked Ceri but not near George. She didn’t like any female near George… or Andy near him. Well, not so much Andy but Ruby and her perky bosoms.
‘No, it’s okay, I had my cup while doing shuttle runs to and from the bathroom,’ Ceri said with a cheery smile. She was ahead, yes, you heard her, ahead on her steps for the day. YES.
‘Surely your thumb is sore and you need a sit down,’ Diane said through gritted teeth and her best ‘hands off my man,’ look. So, George wasn’t her man but he had managed to give her a lift to class, alone, with no Andy. That had to mean they were getting there… surely… why couldn’t he romance like he fried… speedy?
‘I can’t sit.’ Ceri marched on the spot in protest at the mention of it. Janis’ mother had only managed five miles because she’d visited the garden centre with Janis and been distracted by the petunias.
‘She never sits,’ Janis grunted, half-proud, half really wanting Ceri to settle down into a comfy chair now and again. Janis didn’t mind walking, or that her mother, Ceri and the girls all walked, but it would be nice to have dinner with people sitting down.
‘I’m sitting for her,’ Tammy mumbled between long pants. She was sitting too, in the soft play with her feet up on the seesaw that looked like a giraffe. ‘Vicarious and all that.’
Paulette paid no attention to this conversation because she had cornered Tracy next to the badminton tables and was contemplating using her plimsole.
‘You said that he would have the costumes this week,’ Paulette said, peering at Tracy and ready to make her do Quick-Step. ‘Where are the costumes?’
Tracy held up her hands. She’d heard all about how vicious Plimsole Paulette was from Ricky. He was still limping. ‘You see, he was in the middle of obtaining them from the fancy dress place over in Bubblestone and the local flat foot happened to be sticking his beak in, you see?’
‘Is that English?’ Mary-Lou was loitering nearby in case Paulette was thinking of handing one of the cookies she had on a plate. She loved those cookies.
‘Ricky was stealing and the local policeman spotted him,’ Hedges translated and licked her lips at Paulette’s plate. Custard Creams were lush and she needed them for the pain in her hip. Mary-Lou was taller and it was really hard to fling someone over your arm when they were taller and had more muscles.
‘Is this the same as doing a Trevor?’ Mary-Lou was sure whatever it meant that it wasn’t an approved social interaction but Brits had funny ways.
‘No,’ Hedges said and shrugged at Glynnis who pursed her lips. ‘I explain it every class, I don’t really know what else to say.’
‘Doing a Trevor,’ Glynnis said in her posh voice and recoiled in her best dramatic fashion, ‘is being an ungrateful scallywag who gave up a career in as an accountant to sell cars.’ She fanned herself with her shrug. ‘That is after disgracing the family by abandoning his duty as a husband, running off with the refuge collector then crawling back to my house begging for money because Barry has been sacked.’
Ceri raised her eyebrows and leaned up to Janis’ ear. ‘Explains why we haven’t had to drop the girls off.’
Janis nodded. She’d happily pay the idiot to stay away.
Mary-Lou peered at Glynnis trying to catch up with the accent. ‘That’s real specific.’
‘It is.’ Hedges nodded in her bee-like manner and placed herself closer to Mary-Lou as Gaynor slapped a plate to her cheek and groaned.
‘We’re not those kinda friends, honey,’ Mary-Lou said then spotted Gaynor and smirked. ‘Glad you don’t wear your toolbelt to dance.’
Hedges raised her eyebrows. ‘I’ve never danced with a bush-cutter on before.’
Mary-Lou glanced at Hedges electrified hair and was glad the snapback covered most of it.
‘What did you get in your eye anyway?’ Stan asked pondering over his latest poem. Needed some inspiration.
‘Feather,’ George said although he hadn’t really been hurt by it but Agnes’ had kettle boiled and he was exhausted. Diane was more woman than he could handle, especially when she twirled at an angle. He needed to workout more but that meant less time dedicated to fried creations.
‘I flicked it with a flourish,’ Diane mumbled and demonstrated the move, slapping Glynnis in the nose. ‘Feather boas bring that out of me.’
‘I said I don’t mind getting proper dance costumes,’ Andy said, peering at George. He was such a wimp, who got floored by a feather?
‘Ooh, that would be nice,’ Glynnis said rubbing at her sore nose. ‘And save the injuries.’
Stan shrugged. He didn’t know why Gaynor had a plate stuck to her cheek. He’d heard of having egg on your face but not crockery. ‘I like my toolbelt.’
‘So did I until you tried shaving my face off with it,’ Gaynor muttered and slapped him across the head. His wig shot off and hit Agnes who yelped, threw it onto the table and beat it with her teaspoon.
The class stared.
Agnes let out a sigh of relief. ‘Spiders are just looking for water, I know, and I tell them that if they stay away, then we’re friends, come near me and they get squashed.’
Andy picked up the wig with his little finger. Good thing it was only one of his spares. ‘It’s Ruby, Agnes.’
‘Who’s rude?’ Agnes asked, frowning up at him. He was a lovely boy and she was sure he would like to marry Paulette.
‘Ruby,’ Andy said slowly. Agnes had forgotten the batteries to her hearing aids two weeks running. ‘It’s Ruby’s wig, Agnes.’
‘Rude to swig?’ Agnes studied him then smiled. ‘Yes, you’re quite right, you should sip tea.’
Andy handed his wig back to Stan. ‘I’ve got nothing.’
‘You’re not getting costumes,’ Tracy muttered at Andy then smirked at the wig as Stan stuck it back on. ‘Ricky wants to show he’s still got it.’
Agnes nodded but she couldn’t hear them and, to be honest, they rarely made sense anyway but Paulette seemed to enjoy the classes.
‘Got what?’ Janis said wondering if she needed to fill in a risk assessment.
‘The skills,’ Tammy said with a snort then slipped off the giraffe seesaw which flew into the air and smacked Gaynor on the bum so she crashed into Stan whose wig fell onto Agnes a second time.
Agnes threw the wig to the table and beat it, again. ‘I told you, if you come close, I squash you.’
Mary-Lou nodded with a smirk. ‘Yeah, you’re not those kinda friends.’
‘I’m not kind to them, dear, no,’ Agnes said and one lens in her glasses steamed up so she could only see a pink giraffe flying at Tammy. Did she need new glasses or new medication?
‘Oi,’ Tammy said and rolled onto her side then hoisted herself up. ‘What you throwing stuff at me for?’
Gaynor slunk onto one hip. ‘You started him off.’
‘Your more slinky than a feather and you catch the eye,’ Stan whispered, eyes closed, toolbelt sash on the wonk. ‘Loving you is like a seesaw.’
‘And if you keep reciting crap poetry at her,’ Tammy said with a snigger. ‘She’ll boot you and your wig out the door.’
Tracy snorted then chewed then stopped when Paulette gave her the Plimsole Peer. ‘I said he’d get costumes, he said he’d get costumes, getting the goods ain’t just straightforward.’
‘It is if you just buy them,’ Andy said then rescued his wig, folded his arms and slunk onto one hip. ‘You walk into the shop or go online and click… you have costumes.’
‘If Ricky ain’t got money, he ain’t gonna be buying Ruby drinks,’ Tracy said then looked him up and down. She didn’t have the heart to tell Ricky that Ruby was actually Andy.
‘Hmm, your way is acceptable then,’ Andy said with a wink. ‘But if you could tell him to stop asking if wax my legs, I would appreciate it.’ He pursed his lips. ‘A lady doesn’t reveal her hair removal methods.’
Paulette narrowed her eyes at Tracy. ‘I’ll show him how to wax.’
Tracy held up her hands. ‘Now, Paulette, you need to watch those stress levels. Dancing will only help you chill out so much.’
‘I like my hat,’ Hedges piped up hoping to stop Paulette scowling. She scowled a lot considering she was young, beautiful and didn’t have to sing to someone else’s wife and present flowers. ‘I don’t mind continuing with it.’
‘I quite like my dusters,’ Ceri said and twirled her feather dusters around. ‘Now Janis got us safety goggles, they are much easier to dance with too.’
Janis tapped hers. ‘We did a full risk assessment, followed COSHH guidelines… but they didn’t say much about wearing dusters ‘round your neck.’
‘They didn’t,’ Ceri said and gazed up at Janis. ‘She improvised beautifully.’
Janis cleared her throat. Ceri gazed at her a lot especially since Diane had shown her how to style her facial hair. If she’d known growing hair would get her someone like Ceri, she’d have done it years ago.
‘At least you are with someone who improvises,’ Glynnis muttered and snatched a custard cream off Paulette’s plate. ‘Trevor has been a car salesman for nearly a year… and hasn’t sold a car.’
‘Not surprised,’ Ceri said and jogged around George to her. ‘I had to change the oil and he could just about find where the “on switch” was.’ She nodded to Janis who raised her eyebrows. ‘Honestly, he really called the ignition an on switch.’
‘Then he would know nowt ‘bout spark plugs then or miles per gallon,’ Janis said with a sad sigh. She didn’t own a car but her dad had been an enthusiast.
‘Then why aren’t you a mechanic then?’ Tammy asked and poured herself another cup as Agnes wiped her spectacles.
‘The community needs me to keep its buildings in working order,’ Janis said with a deep sense of pride.
‘Oh, George understands that too, don’t you, George,’ Diane said, dabbing at George’s eye. He was so brave and so gentlemanly not to yell at her for assaulting him with her feather boa. ‘He is so dedicated to feeding the town.’
‘Yeah, he is,’ Andy said and rolled his eyes. ‘But Ruby prefers salads.’
George wagged his finger at him. ‘It was dark and I was hammered.’
‘Talking of salads,’ Tracy said, hoping it would stop Paulette assaulting her with a ballet shoe. ‘Where are Miriam and Lanie?’
‘Vacation,’ Mary-Lou said with a grunt. Two of her best workers being off at the same time meant that she’d dealt with Mrs Wentworth-Collins and, wow, didn’t the woman need a vacation from whining.
‘Vacated where?’ Tammy said sure that Lanie lived with her mum and dad.
‘Or are you saying they’re vacant?’ Tracy said turning to glower at Mary-Lou, ‘because I agree ‘cause Miriam shouldn’t have married a bloke if she fancied Lanie and Neal ain’t exactly worth the effort.’
‘Who marries a prison guard?’ Tammy said and rolled her eyes. ‘That’s even worse than marrying a p—’
‘Police officer,’ Paulette cut in and glanced at her mother.
Agnes was too busy eying the huge spider on Stan’s head. She stepped from her seat, teaspoon raised—
‘You’re more dulcet than… ow.’ Stan turned and rubbed his arm as Agnes thwacked his shoulder—she could only reach that far. ‘It’s not a spider, Agnes.’
‘I can’t reach any higher, you’ll have to stoop,’ Agnes said, focus on the creature.
‘A vacation is a holiday,’ Hedges said, peering between her fingers as Agnes continued to assault Stan. ‘They went on holiday.’
‘Oooh,’ Andy, Tammy and Tracy all cooed.
‘It’s not a spider,’ Stan ducked behind the table and waved his hands to try and fend off the crazed teaspoon attacker.
‘It is a spider, go on,’ Gaynor said with a snort. It was so much better than listening to poetry.
‘Lanie would have made a great barber,’ Diane said turning her back to the ensuing melee. ‘But she ran after Miriam when she left with Neal.’
‘No, no… she ran off to be a singer,’ Gaynor said, giggling as Stan tried to defend himself with his own teaspoon.
‘She gave me a grade two all over,’ George said to Diane while admiring Agnes’s swordplay—well, spoon-play.
‘Did she?’ Diane eyed him in her expert hairdresser like way which was a lot like a doctor but with less specimens in jars.
‘What’s a grade two?’ Mary-Lou asked wincing as Agnes trapped Stan’s spoon and forced it to the table, disarmed him and thwacked him on the chin.
Hedges searched her extensive knowledge of American from her son’s fascination with TV but drew a blank. ‘Short.’
Diane nodded. ‘Very short. Wouldn’t go with the beard… but you would look dashing.’
George rubbed at his beard. ‘I would?’
‘Hi,’ Lanie said with a smug grin as she strolled in. ‘Sorry we’re late, we bought some of my uncle’s biscuits for you.’
Miriam wandered in behind her with a bag bearing chocolate covered goodness. ‘Thought you’d fancy some, Agnes… Agnes?’ She raised her eyebrows then ducked as Stan’s wig flew at her. ‘I don’t have the toolbelt to wear this.’
Agnes, focused and determined to put the spider in its place, charged.
Miriam threw the wig at George who had just removed the paper towel from his eye and Agnes thwacked him, hard, with a perfect shot. The wig slipped to the floor, George with it and Paulette turned to Tracy and narrowed her eyes.
‘I know,’ Tracy said and swallowed her gum. ‘I’ll tell him… costumes or plimsoles.’
‘Resume positions,’ Paulette said it with enough force the class sprinted to their starting places as Agnes withdrew to enjoy her victory with more tea making, George sported a fitting bump, and Stan resuscitated his wig then shoved it back on his head some shape.
Yes, not having the right costumes was clearly taking the plimsole.