I hope that you are smiling and that you’re in the mood for some Queer Tango. I was really touched this week because Carol over at LESBIreviewed reviewed Blind Trust and it made me smile so much. I especially love hearing her chat and I hope that you enjoy listening to how kind she is as much as me!
Anyhow, I hope that you enjoy this week’s episode: Yoga Pants and it makes you chuckle.
Episode 7: Yoga Pants
It had been a successful trip to Crumblestone Theatre for the class to watch Milda Gutterlegs perform in her latest Tango masterpiece. Paulette had wanted them to see how the legendary dancer was still able to perform to the highest standard well into her eighties however, they’d hired a bus through Ricky which felt like it was eighty and was not performing half as well.
Amongst ripped fabric seats with discoloured stripes through them, the class chatted happily and cheered everytime the rickety old bus made it up a hill. Yes, this was the glamour artistes aspired to.
Near the front sat Lanie with her bicycle helmet on her lap—she had hidden chocolates in it for Miriam but hadn’t had the nerve to hand them over especially as Tammy was on a diet and didn’t really want to be on a diet.
‘Did you see how high she got her leg?’ Lanie mumbled, hands all sweaty and shaky. ‘She could clean her ears out with her foot.’
‘She could have cleaned her partner’s ears too.’ Miriam eyed her, unsure how to ask Lanie why she was hugging a bicycle helmet even when she’d picked her up in the car and they were now on a bus.
‘Can you get your leg—?’ Lanie stopped, then tensed. ‘I mean… I can’t.’ She didn’t really want to ask that, no, she wanted to ask if this was… y’know… an official outing together but she’d fainted twice in work trying to ask Miriam to lunch and she was going to need the chocolate to revive herself if she shook any harder.
‘I can lift it halfway… sort of…’ Miriam said not sure why Lanie was paling again. Maybe it was bicycle withdrawal symptoms? ‘I’m sure Mary-Lou can though.’
Mary-Lou peeked through the gum covered seats behind. ‘I sure can.’
‘And in only a snapback,’ Hedges piped up from beside her then sniggered from behind her programme. ‘Or so Barney says… not me though… you get that, right?’
Miriam nodded. ‘I’ve done Pilates in a onesie… how about you?’ she asked Lanie hoping to get something other than incoherent mumbling.
Lanie hugged her helmet. ‘I… um…’
‘You need another pack?’ Stan said digging through a large holdall for another packet of crisps. ‘You want salt and vinegar or cheese and onion?’
‘Both,’ Gaynor muttered as she ripped off the lid of her Marmite. She’d always hated Marmite but now she glanced around for the spoon and as she couldn’t spot it fast enough, she shoved her hand in the tub.
‘My dad likes Marmite,’ Andy said from across the aisle Ceri and her girls were striding up and down. ‘Mum hates it so I always know when they aren’t speaking.’
‘Why, does he make the most of it and eat it?’ Paulette asked and rubbed at her sore foot. She shouldn’t wear heels but she’d always loved them. There was only one pub in Bumblebridge and with a dress code noted as ‘clothes of some shape’ so she’d suffer the pain even if only Andy wanted to steal her shoes.
‘No, she doesn’t buy any and leaves a pot of jam on the shelf instead.’ Andy admired Paulette’s stunning three inch heels and her matching handbag. Not only could she dance but she could work her wardrobe in a way Ruby could only dream of.
‘You mention jam?’ Tammy grunted from the backseats.
‘No,’ Andy said hoping Tammy didn’t charge down the aisle and frisk him. She’d needed to escorted from theatre for trying to mug the ice cream seller.
‘I like a spot of jam,’ Agnes said from behind Andy. She’d set up her travel kettle and pepper spray in case Tammy launched an ambush for her custard creams. ‘Paulette likes jam, Andy… she can make it, can’t you, dear?’
‘I really can’t,’ Paulette exchanged a glance with Andy. Her mother had enlisted Hedges to deliver flowers to Andy and his sister Ruby—Agnes was sure that was who Ruby was—on Paulette’s behalf.
‘I can,’ Andy said and shifted in his seat to tap Paulette on the knee. ‘I can drag you to class with me if you like?’
‘That would be lovely, dear,’ Agnes said for Paulette and checked on her kettle which wasn’t boiling even when she’d hotwired the electrics from the overhead light—she was Ricky’s aunt, don’t forget. ‘Paulette can make you some cake so you can stop and chat at hers.’
Paulette opened her mouth but she couldn’t exactly threaten her mother with her plimsole. ‘I don’t want to learn how to make jam.’
Andy chuckled. ‘Then we can say we’re going to class and go shopping instead.’
Paulette tapped her handbag to his in salute. Shopping it was.
‘I think you should mow your grass, Andrew,’ Glynnis slurred from two seats in front. She’d been thoroughly bored by the show but extremely entertained by the house champagne. ‘I am going to put wild grasses in my garden.’
Hedges turned and shook her head. ‘We discussed this. You can’t. If you plant any more tall plants in that area, your husband won’t be able to get into his shed.’
‘Or out of it,’ Glynnis said with a drunken chuckle.
‘I feel out of it,’ Tammy said and gripped her aching stomach. ‘Starved, that’s what I am, starved.’
Tracy gave her a sympathetic smile and patted her on the back. ‘I know, you only had those three large bowls of chips in the interval.’
Tammy nodded. How could the doctor be so cold when he’d told her that her ankle would only stop swelling up if she stopped putting so much weight on it. Dancing was meant to help but the doctor felt that dancing a bit then stuffing your face wasn’t what he’d meant.
‘I fried fifty seven bowls of chips in your honour,’ George slurred to Diane—well, to the back of her head because she was chatting to Gaynor about Marmite. ‘Especially for your birthday.’
Diane turned and gazed at him, this shy yet dashing man she dreamed of, and cocked her head. ‘My birthday was months ago.’
George frowned. ‘But I thought it was yesterday?’
‘No, Ruby’s was yesterday,’ Andy said around Ceri who was double-timing it up the bus—shame she couldn’t power it with her steps. ‘Her first ever performance.’
Paulette pulled off her heels and presented them to him. ‘Then it should be celebrated.’
Andy hugged Paulette with delight and handed her his trainers. ‘Ooh, they are the perfect fit too.’
Paulette nodded. She’d always had big feet. It was nice someone appreciated them.
‘If they aren’t, stick some gum in the front,’ Janis said and held out a wad she’d prised off her seat. ‘Works for my mum.’
Ceri strode up and marched on the spot. ‘Reminds me of when you said you battled the craze the kids had for sticking gum on every seat.’
Janis nodded and handed her some water. ‘It weren’t easy. Boys were a pain ‘til I threatened them with cleaning toilets.’
‘Yeah, my poor boy was just like his dad before that.’ Tracy held Tammy back as she leaned forward as if to spring into action and dive at Agnes’ biscuits. ‘Now, look at him… he’s top of his class in police college.’
Tammy paused, mid-drool, to pat Tracy on the back. ‘He’s done a Trevor, that’s what he’s done.’
Tracy dabbed at her eyes with her sleeve. ‘He has.’
‘No,’ Glynnis slurred from in front. ‘Trevor has done a Trevor and has left Barry… to find himself… and he’s certain that collecting stray golf balls and selling them back is a job.’
‘Find himself?’ Mary-Lou furrowed her pencilled brow at Ceri marching past with her girls in front. ‘Guess he’s gonna want to make-up, huh?’
‘He tried that one,’ Janis grunted and shook her gum-holding fist.
‘He did,’ Ceri said with a nod and cleaned Hedge’s programme as she’d gotten a splodge of ice cream on it. ‘He told me that it was my duty to take him back even though we are divorced and that I must find it hard to cope without him to be head of the household.’
Janis narrowed her eyes.
‘What did you say?’ Hedges asked, shrinking back in case Janis hurled the gum—her hair was electric enough as it was.
‘I said that I was engaged to someone who could polish a floor, cook the tea, plant and grow flowers, wash clothes, iron, fix up the house, hold down a meaningful job, have two-way conversations, nurture the girls, dance her way around my every sense, grow a beard better than he ever could and make me smile so much I could squeal,’ Ceri said then took a long breath. ‘That was the short version and then I said that he could find someone else’s toes to step on because I’d stuck him out with rubbish and I’m not recycling.’
Janis high-fived the girls as they reached her. ‘She does love her polish.’
‘I do, and you even polish the taps,’ Ceri said then nodded to Glynnis. ‘Voluntarily.’
Glynnis cheered but mainly because the bus was on its way downhill so they were moving slightly faster than walking pace. ‘His father is as useless.’
‘Barney takes out the trash and he cuts the grass so the maid and the gardener are real happy,’ Mary-Lou said still not sure what ‘doing a Trevor’ was but that she didn’t want Barney to do the same.
‘I’m the gardener,’ Hedges said and poked her in the elbow with her shiny, polish covered programme. ‘And my husband takes hours to correct his mowing… and then hours to stagger home when Barney’s fed him alcohol again.’
Mary-Lou grinned. ‘Keeps the guy busy. I mean I love our mutual activities but a girl needs her alone time.’
‘We’ve been mutually arrested,’ Tracy said with a proud smile. ‘It’s what keeps the spark, you know?’
Tammy eased forward on the ripped fabric, onto the balls of her feet, eyes locked on the multipack Stan had pulled from his holdall. ‘My Colin says I’m withering away… withering.’
Tracy slid her arm to stop Tammy. ‘Keep strong, he’ll love it when you can clean your ears with your toes.’
Paulette snorted. She was a good teacher, but she wasn’t that good.
‘I don’t think I’ll be able to handle being upside down like that,’ Stan said opening a new jar of Marmite for Gaynor. ‘Don’t think it’d be good for the baby if you lift me neither.’
Gaynor met his eyes, then smiled, then burst into tears. ‘I love you so much.’
Stan handed over the jar glad that Marmite was cheaper than bunches of flowers.
‘I would love to try lifting you and show you how wonderful you are,’ George said to Diane. ‘I need to work out more though.’
‘Or you could lift Ruby,’ Diane muttered and slunk behind her programme.
Andy smirked. ‘Ruby would need far more chasers for that.’
‘Don’t tease,’ Paulette whispered and tapped him on the hand. ‘You’ll need to a haircut eventually.’
Andy leaned in. ‘He’s always there when Ruby performs.’
‘I’m supporting you,’ George muttered hoping Diane would stop glaring. ‘And I’m a single man who is trying to ease the pain of not being with the woman I love.’
‘Oh, my Colin’s excuse is that he says Ruby reminds him of me,’ Tammy said with a snort, eyes locked on Gaynor’s empty Marmite jar. ‘I tell him that I haven’t fit into those kind of dresses since birth.’
Tracy chuckled. ‘Ricky says that it’s okay to love Ruby because she’s not real and so that way he’s not looking at other women.’
‘But Ruby finds it so lonely in the spotlight,’ Andy said and smiled at Agnes who seemed to be making an eligible bachelor list for Ruby. ‘And there’s no one who can move her to a tune the way she needs.’
‘Barney goes to the bar,’ Mary-Lou said trying to make Diane feel better. ‘Although he comes home talking pool and those quaint bar games you play.’
‘Darts,’ Hedges translated to everyone. ‘And they don’t play pool, they play snooker.’
‘My late husband played snooker all the time,’ Diane said with a grunt. ‘It was a gentleman’s club back then until I marched in and beat every bloke in there then dragged him home by the ear.’
George gazed at her. ‘You’re so commanding… so… strong.’
Diane fanned herself with the programme. ‘You’re lucky I don’t drag you home by the ear.’
‘I can learn to play snooker,’ he said, ever hopeful that she would ask him out so he didn’t have to ask her. ‘I’m crap at snooker but I’ll try.’
‘For me?’ Diane pecked him on the cheek. ‘You heard, Ruby, and I can even pot them behind my back.’
Andy bowed. ‘She salutes your womanhood.’
Diane winked at him—she wasn’t a Ruby fan but her tiles just kept falling off her roof so Andy needed to visit and fixthem… weekly.
‘I still have an outfit from a show where I was a prince if Ruby fancies a dance,’ Paulette said not sure why but maybe her mother was having an effect on her.
‘Would you?’ Andy clapped his hands. ‘I’d adore it!’
Agnes leaned over. ‘Have a custard cream to celebrate.’
‘Then maybe I should send Trevor to the pub,’ Glynnis slurred and leaned into the aisle. ‘He could find himself a job then.’
‘I’m not hiring Trevor,’ Tammy said and folded her arms. ‘He left Ceri and I like Ceri.’
Ceri smiled. ‘That’s very sweet of you.’
Janis nodded. ‘It is.’
Tammy shrugged. ‘Ceri gave me three packs of doughnuts the other day.’
‘The girls made them in school.’ Ceri smiled and the girls high-fived Tammy mid-step.
‘I could do with a doughnut,’ Tammy said and sprang to her feet. She raced down the aisle hypnotised by Gaynor’s roast beef crisps.
Lanie dived at Tammy and tackled her to the ground.
‘I need crisps!’ Tammy tried to scrabble free.
‘It’s for your own good,’ Lanie said holding on. ‘You know what Gaynor’s like, she took her curling iron to a customer who asked for tea… before she was pregnant.’
Gaynor was too busy with her head in her crisp packet.
Lanie fished in her helmet for the chocolates. ‘These are safer for you,’ she handed over one pack of chocolate.
‘You’re the best.’ Tammy grabbed the pack and started scoffing.
Miriam smirked as Lanie re-joined her. ‘That’s what the helmet is for?’
Tammy wandered back to her seat, chocolate all over her mouth and a happy smile on her face.
‘They were meant to be for you,’ Lanie muttered and fished out the remaining pack. ‘They are your favourites.’
Miriam pulled open the pack and offered it to her. ‘I like sharing better.’
Lanie smiled, then felt faint again. ‘Wasn’t sure if… you know… it was… official… between us.’
‘Yes, we’re going out.’ Miriam pecked her on the lips. ‘Didn’t Hedges tell you clearly enough because I could make her husband play the bongos again.’
Hedges peered over at them. ‘I can get my son to play the recorder too if you like.’
‘I can get Ricky to source some drums,’ Tracy yelled, relieved Tammy was scoffing her way through the chocolate.
‘I think Trevor has learned how to play the fool,’ Glynnis slurred then chuckled, hiccoughed and cheered as the bus chugged up a hill.
‘But Lanie should sing,’ Tammy said, between scoffing. ‘She’s alright at singing.’
‘And Ruby and her prince can dance,’ Andy said and chomped on his custard cream, his legs crossed to show off his heels.
‘I’ve seen Paulette dance,’ George said with a dreamy sigh. ‘Now, she can get her toes in her ears.’
Paulette nodded. ‘And in yours too probably.’
‘But not just in a snapback, I hope,’ Hedges said with a giggle and hid behind her programme.
‘Oh, so you fawn over Paulette now?’ Diane muttered and tugged at George’s earlobe.
Paulette held up her hands, stood up and gave it her best performer’s voice. ‘We are not those kinda friends.’
The entire bus clapped including the driver but he was clapping because they’d managed to get to the top of Bumblebridge hill.
Mary-Lou ‘ah-hmm’d’ and nodded in her best attempt at her daughter who did it the cool way, not like the mom-way… ish. ‘I hear you, honey.’
‘You heard her, y’all.’ Hedges clicked her fingers and tried for the sideward head wiggle American people on TV did when they were arguing.
Mary-Lou shook her head but was oddly touched by Hedges’ terrible impression.
Diane snorted with laughter. ‘It sounds so funny in a Bumblebridge accent.’
‘It does, it sounds like you said yawn but with chocolate in your mouth,’ Andy said mid-custard cream—Agnes was distracted by planning wedding invitations for Ruby and her prince.
‘Hey, it’s the effort that counts,’ Hedges said and shrugged.
‘Sure is.’ Mary-Lou gave her a hug and nodded.
‘How do you get your toes in your ears?’ Stan asked, still feeding Gaynor and still hoping he wouldn’t have to be swung around upside down in class like in the show.
‘It’s all in the yoga pants,’ Mary-Lou said and high-fived Paulette. ‘It’s all in the yoga pants.’