Here’s this week’s Queer Tango for you to enjoy. I’m still pretty sick so I haven’t read through it so you’ll have to attempt the accents as you read… and maybe the dance moves too. I hope you enjoy and shimmy along!
As always, please excuse the typos.
Episode 31: Doing A Trevor
The crisp air scattered a confetti vibrantly coloured leaves along the main street of Bumblethorpe which created a crunch carpet under Hedges’ feet as she dashed along with her latest delivery for Miss Hughes who seemed to be very popular. Hedges sniffed in the flowery fresh scent and smiled as her feet tapped out a familiar rhythm punctuated with the gentle thud of her heartbeat and the sliding shaker of her breath. Sounded like a tango tune.
She glanced around at the shops. Diane was in her salon window throwing her arms around as she talked to a customer, her gold rings catching the sunlight, the flashes in time to Hedges’ personal tune; Stan’s van was idling with a low bassline of a grumble as he leaned out to talk to Andy who was up on the roof of George’s fish and chip shop.
Tap, tap, tap, thunk. The nail gun from Andy’s dad acted like a high-hat cymbal. Andy tapped his hand to his hip as he shouted down to Stan but he was full of excitement about little Agnes so his voice was singsong and pure.
Hedges paused beside a lamppost pretending to examine the hanging basket high above but her bum was wiggling and her flowers rustled in response.
Clunk, slam, clunk… the sound of Tammy and Tracy taking in a delivery of beer barrels and boxes at the bee. Tap, tap, tap, thunk, Andy’s dad with the symbol, pumping heartbeat of a metronome, the shaker of her breath…
‘She’s so beautiful,’ Andy sang out, tapping his hip to the offbeat. ‘She looks so much like Plimsole.’
‘How’s she sleeping?’ Stan bellowed back in his deep bass voice. ‘Better than Liza, I hope.’
‘She sleeps better than me!’ Andy laughed it out and the street percussion trilled in response. ‘I’m in love!’
‘I’ll ask you that when she’s teething!’ Gaynor twirled out of Diane’s salon, Liza in her arms and glided and danced as Liza laughed and giggled. ‘She loves it when I tango.’
Hedges’ bum wiggled some more and her shoulders joined in, flowers rustling. It was an irresistible beat. Lanie’s bicycle bell ‘tringed’ as she waved to Tammy and Tracy. She glanced up and saw Andy then tring, tring, tring, tring, tringed with a grin on her face.
‘How’s your girls?’ Lanie slowed and her bicycle tyres slid to a halt as she hopped off her bike.
‘Fabulous!’ Andy’s voice grew more excited. ‘They are the most beautiful, wonderful, fabulous Rubettes.’ He danced about on his toes as his father glanced over his shoulder, shook his head and reloaded his nail gun.
Hedges wiggled to the beat then tapped her foot to the leaves.
‘It’ll need fixing,’ Janis grunted from Miriam’s dental surgery. ‘Dunno why we don’t just get new.’
‘Miriam doesn’t want to give into him, that’s why,’ Ceri said with complete affection in her voice. Like a whispered melody of a rhumba. She gazed up at Janis as if they’d ease into hold.
Janis cocked her head and thunked the metal bin lid down. ‘I don’t get why he’s giving her hassle or everybody else. I’m the one who married you. He don’t try it with me.’
Hedges held onto the lamppost, trying to fight the urge to swing around it with her flowers thrust out. Janis could almost have her tango hat on… and Ceri could be in an evening gown instead of dental scrubs.
‘What’s he done now?’ Tracy yelled across the street almost like she could have her Welsh hat on and Tammy her shawl as she hauled in the barrels.
‘He broke the sofa in the waiting room,’ Ceri muttered, hands on Janis’ shoulders. ‘He unpicked all the stitches.’
Tracy rolled another barrel onto the trolley. ‘He needs sorting out, he does.’
Hedges gripped onto the lamppost as Janis puffed herself up.
‘I would sort him out if Ceri let me.’ Janis clanged the bin again. ‘She won’t let me even when the girls want her too.’
‘He’s only doing it to be mean,’ Ceri said then shook her head.
Stan’s van idled; Andy’s dad give a roll with the nail gun; Diane’s gestures flashed light at Janis as Gaynor tangoed into the local shop; Hedges did some tap steps to fill in the pause and Janis puffed herself up again.
‘He’s doing it because if he tried confronting me personally, I’d put him on his backside.’ Janis gave a curt nod. ‘He knows you won’t let me unless he tries it.’
Ceri leaned back as if subdued by Janis’ magnetism. ‘He’ll only press charges.’
Tracy snorted. ‘Not if she got witnesses that say different, right, Tammy?’
Tammy clutched her box of scampi. ‘Right, Trace.’
‘I’ll rustle up one of Paulette’s plimsoles if you want to use that,’ Andy called down, grin on his face, cheeks rosy and his toes light on the tiles as he held up a roll of felt. ‘I’m sure she won’t mind.’
Lanie tringed her bicycle bell. ‘I’ll lend you my bicycle pump.’
Stan tapped his hand to the metal of his van in support.
Hedges wiggled, and kicked through the leaves. The rhythm of her classmates filling her with the urge to dance. She twirled around the lamppost and did thrust out Miss Hughes’ flowers.
‘How you doin’ there, Honey?’ Mary-Lou asked from behind her, laughter in her voice.
‘I need to dance.’ Hedges grabbed her and her shopping bag and threw her into hold, flowers held in her leading hand. ‘I must dance.’
Mary-Lou raised her eyebrows. ‘Sure… but can I put down my groceries first.’
‘No, the clinking works with the nail gun.’ Hedges tango-ed her toward Ceri and Janis who’d stopped muttering to stare at them. ‘I think we should put on a show.’
‘We kinda are,’ Mary-Lou said, amusement in her eyes. ‘Or did you not get the whole class rehearsal?’
‘Another show,’ Hedges leapt from hold onto Miriam’s wall and thrust out her flowers. ‘We should do a street show.’
‘Why?’ Tracy said but she’d ditched the barrel delivery and was perching herself on the bonnet of Miriam’s car.
‘To show that we love Paulette.’ Hedges didn’t really know why, but she had a good idea and, for once, it didn’t involve deliveries with poems. ‘To show we love each other… to… well… showcase how we are sticking up for ourselves against that bully.’
Andy slid down his ladder and pranced over. ‘I’m good with the loving Paulette part but I think you’ve been doing a Ricky with the produce of the bee.’
‘It’ll be a way to show Paulette we’re hoping she’ll still run classes.’ Hedges tap danced along the wall and Ceri Charleston-ed in response. Janis chuckled at them then shrugged and Charleston-ed too.
‘She has to run classes,’ Andy said with a shuffle. ‘It’s sort of her job, darling.’
‘Yeah, but I heard she might go on tour with that show we helped out in,’ Mary-Lou said with a serious nod that was perfectly in time with Hedges’ tapping. ‘I know the director is real impressed with her.’
‘She might do that, yes,’ Andy said as if confessing… while wiggling his hips. ‘But she’s intending to keep going with classes.’
‘What about Agnes?’ Stan asked, having left his van and waltzing over. ‘She likes making the tea.’ He shook his head, then spun and curtseyed. ‘And little Agnes will want to dance like Liza.’ He wagged his finger in time with Andy’s wiggling. ‘And little Agnes will want to dance… she’s got the feel for it.’
Andy gave a wistful-shimmy-sigh. ‘She will… I hope she will… but what show are we going to perform to convince Plimsole?’
Glynnis pulled up to the surgery in her car and got out with files. ‘Are we doing class outside?’
‘We’re discussing doing a street show,’ Tammy said as she waved off the delivery guys and salsa’d over. ‘Hey, Gaynor, grab Lanie… we’re having a class meeting.’
Gaynor did grab Lanie then waved at Diane until she poked her head out of the shop. ‘Grab George we’re doing class.’
Diane clapped her hands, left her customer staring, and headed into the fish and chip shop then dragged a confused looking George out behind her.
‘I’m as fond of you, Luv, but I’ve got a queue,’ he said waving his spatula at the shop.
‘The boys can manage it,’ Diane said and hauled him off the kerb before tangoing him across the road.
Lanie held up her hand, hurried into the dentist’s before re-emerging with a shocked Miriam in her arms still with her metal tooth checker and mirror in hand.
‘We’re discussing dancing,’ Lanie said as she put Miriam down.
‘But I’m doing a check-up,’ Miriam mumbled but then tapped her tools together in a drumbeat as George twirled, tripped over his feet, clattered into the bins, Janis righted him and pushed him back and he regained his hold and lunged Diane into a pose.
‘I’m sure Mrs Andrews won’t mind,’ Ceri said clapping George.
‘And Miss Hughes is enjoying the magazine Lanie brought in about bicycles,’ Janis said with a smile. ‘She commented on the repair I did on her tyre.’
Ceri pursed her lips. ‘Well, you are wonderful with gum.’ She tutted then twirled. ‘But she can keep her tyres to herself.’
Hedges waved her flowers around. ‘I think there’s a few people who want to show her their puncture kit.’ She winked at Ceri. ‘Should keep her busy.’
‘I fixed her tyre,’ Janis said with confusion on her face. ‘I married the woman who suits me just fine, why would I want to be anything more than friendly?’
Ceri gazed up at her. ‘I’m sorry, I forget that you mean that sometimes.’ She pecked Janis. ‘I don’t like the thought of you giving your gum away.’
Andy aww’d. ‘I think that’s better than flowers and poetry.’
Stan sniffed. ‘It’s beautiful.’
Gaynor rolled her eyes. ‘You’re not flower arranging again. We’ve only just managed to get this one to sleep.’
George snorted then blushed then shrugged when Diane gave him a look. ‘It’s funny.’
Diane tutted. ‘Before George decides to make jokes about his spatula, what’s the idea for the show?’
Mary-Lou clutched her shopping bag, then dug inside it and pulled out a multi-pack of crisps. ‘Doesn’t kinda work as well as ice cream or popcorn but chips will have to do.’
‘Crisps,’ Hedges translated then turned to George. ‘Not chips.’ She turned to Mary-Lou. ‘Fries.’
‘Either way they’re potatoes made delicious,’ Glynnis said then ooh’d as Andy pulled her into hold.
‘Yes, that’s because they’re saucy, Saucy,’ Andy said in his sing-song voice. ‘So, tell us, Hedges, what’s your idea.’
Hedges clambered up onto the highest part of the wall and used Janis to steady herself. ‘I think it should be about how two dancers fall in love but how they are targeted by a mean accountant and their friends support them but this accountant keeps getting away with it… we could all have dances… and then we could have a great scene where Janis Charelston’s him onto his backside and we cheer and the audience clap… but other than the fact I think we should have percussion… that’s as far as I got.’ She shrugged. ‘I’m better with pruning.’
‘It’s a fantastic idea, honey,’ Mary-Lou said with an affectionate chomp on her crisps. ‘I’m sure Andy can work out what moves Paulette would love.’
Andy ‘ooh’d’ and clapped his hands. ‘I could. I’d love to… I could get Agnes and little Agnes on board.’ He clapped again. ‘We could have a tea break mid-dance.’
The class cheered and several people walking past raised eyebrows then carried on… it was Bumblethorpe, being odd was normal.
‘I could get Ricky to nick some props,’ Tracy said nodding to Tammy who nodded back and produced a Snickers from her pocket.
‘I’ll get Colin in on it,’ Tammy said with a chomp.
‘Well, we’ll need to call it something,’ Miriam said still tapping her tools together. ‘For inspiration.’
‘I know exactly what we can call the show.’ Hedges tap-danced along then spun into a pose. ‘It’ll be called… Doing A Trevor.’