I hope you enjoy this week’s episode of Queer Tango. Thank you so much for your kind thoughts and words which made me smile… so I hope that George will give you a bit of a chuckle!
As always, please excuse the typos.
Episode 44: Leading Georgetta
In Bumblethorpe’s main street filled with inhabitants dashing out of the cold or dashing from Diane’s salon having being introduced to Gaynor’s clippers, just up from the Bee where lunchtime patrons shoved a chewing gum in their mouth before heading to work—Stan did like his pub lunches—near Hedges’ shop where she was practicing singing her poetry while trying to look less like she was ‘those kind of friends’ with Mary-Lou who was snorting with laughter—Barney decided he wanted to make her smile—and past the dentist’s where Andy was beating Sally and Bailey’s steps as he scurried by the door hoping Miriam wouldn’t see him, and beyond the smoky waft of a deep fat fryer, a short dark-haired bloke with a purple apron, a very well trimmed beard and various bumps and bruises crinkled up his face in disgust.
‘You tried to cool down the fryer?’ George asked without looking at Diane’s eldest son. The boy tried but he had less brains than Barry.
‘The customers were complaining the chips burnt their mouths,’ Diane’s eldest son said with a shrug and a yawn. ‘I didn’t want them yelling at me.’
‘So you thought adding water to oil would cool it down?’ he wiped a hand over his face. Fryers like his cost loads and he loved his chip fryer.
‘But it started smoking and then…’ He waved his hand around at his singed eyebrows and the charcoal wall behind him. ‘The fire brigade lady was well fit though.’
George raised his eyebrows. ‘You fried my shop to see a woman in uniform?’
The eldest boy chuckled. ‘I wanted her to carry me out but she sprayed foam and stuff instead.’
‘I can see.’ George blinked a few times then waved at the door. ‘Go help your mother in the salon while I sort this out.’
‘I don’t know anything about hairdressing.’ Diane’s son frowned then glanced at the shop. ‘But Gaynor is well fit.’
George gritted his teeth. ‘Ask her to show you how she gives a short back and sides then.’ He smiled, pained, at his step-son’s floppy hair. ‘Ask her to be a model.’
He puffed himself up. ‘I will.’
George nodded and the boy strode out like a lanky, dense teenager. Hopefully Diane would enjoy Gaynor shaving the kid’s head. Hopefully she’d take pictures for George. He could frame them. What idiot put water into an oil fryer? It was a wonderful fryer. He’d created fried Snickers in that fryer.
‘George, I know you are a married man but hiding behind smoke with a spatula held up that way reminds me of when you tried to impress Ruby with your singing voice.’ Andy leaned against the doorframe and tucked his hands into the tip of his work trouser pockets. ‘And married men don’t get to enjoy the company of the incredibly attractive firefighter.’
‘I didn’t notice.’ George sniffed. ‘He fried my fryer.
‘And half your counter, the ceiling, the wall and I suspect some electrics.’ Andy pushed out his bottom lip with some thought in his eyes. ‘So I’m removing you from the shop until less attractive maintenance persons can fix it.’
George sniffed louder. ‘Can I make him wear pink lycra?’
Andy walked over and took the spatula from him, placed it down, then took his hand and swung their hands between them. ‘Not with his legs. He’d look like pipe cleaners had broken free.’
Andy kissed his hand. ‘Why don’t we go for lunch at the Bee and then I’ll take the afternoon off to help you sort out the maintenance?’
George nodded, sniffed then sniffed again. ‘You don’t take lunchtime off to see Paulette. She won’t like it.’
‘She likes your fried food too.’ Andy winked at him. ‘And we both know how much you’re in agreement about how fabulous Ruby is.’
‘Will you wear the wig. I like the wig.’ George shrugged when Andy raised an eyebrow. ‘It’s a pretty wig.’
Andy tutted. ‘I’m being ditched for Ruby?’
‘No?’ George glanced back at his fryer. ‘I don’t mind that he will look like a pipe cleaner. I’ll save the pictures for when he meets someone he fancies. I can show them.’
‘But then he will be stuck in your household… and working in your shop… instead of married or living with someone…’ Andy led him outside as Diane peered between her fingers at her son as Gaynor shaved off his hair. ‘You can show the person who decides he’s attractive when he’s moved out.’
‘You’re right.’ George watched as Gaynor swished the clippers to and fro and Diane’s son stared at himself in shock. ‘He’s an alright kid. Someone will want him.’
Andy patted his hand and led him down the street.
‘Why are you dragging my husband off?’ Diane poked her head out of the door with a suspicious look in her eyes then saw George’s face, then looked back at her son and his singed eyebrows then at the shop then hurried over. ‘The fire brigade was for you?’
George nodded. ‘He fried my Snicker fryer.’
Diane clapped her hands to her mouth. ‘How?’
‘He put water in it.’ George stared at her. ‘So I’m going to lunch with Ruby and he’s getting a trim.’ He held her gaze. ‘I’m even going to collar Stanetta and drag him too… in his dress and his heels… and we’re going to go the Bee like blokes do.’
Andy pulled his mouth into a line as Diane eyed him. ‘I think it’s the smoke.’
‘Aren’t you meant to be working?’ Diane asked with pursed lips.
‘Yes.’ Andy hunched.
‘Or changing nappies or having lunch with Paulette?’ Diane pursed her lips further as her son tried to escape Gaynor’s chair and she pinned him like Miriam did her patients.
‘Yes, but Ruby is going to lunch so it doesn’t count.’ Andy hunched further as she eyed his hand in George’s.
‘And he will get a hangover and try singing to me when he drags his backside home from the pub.’ Diane wagged her finger. ‘Gaynor will be as impressed when Stan is trying to climb into the garage and sets off the alarm again.’
‘I don’t know why he doesn’t just go through the front door. I do try to tell him.’ Andy edged away with a smirk. ‘I even opened the door for him and he still climbs into the garage.’
‘You’d better not start wearing wigs,’ Diane shot at George then sighed as her son squealed. ‘Or flower arranging.’
George puffed himself up. ‘I can wear a wig if I want to and wear a dress and I can prune a petal too.’ He stuck up his nose. ‘I could be Georgetta.’
Andy snorted then covered his mouth as Diane eyed him. ‘He’d look ridiculous.’
‘He would.’ Diane wiggled her mouth around and George wasn’t sure if it was a smirk. ‘You have a shop to sort out.’
Diane held up her hands then sighed as her son squealed again. ‘You better make sure he staggers through our front door because we don’t have a garage.’
Andy nodded. ‘I will try and remind him.’
Diane opened her mouth but Andy dragged George away down the street.
‘I could look good in a dress,’ George said with a grunt. ‘I could wear heels like Stan.’
‘Why don’t you work with the apron instead?’ Andy dragged him across the street avoiding Lanie on a ‘conference bicycle’ with several other board members puffing along behind her. ‘Stanetta, you are needed for garage climbing.’
Stan poked his head out of Hedge’s shop. ‘I like it, I have a new dress I want to try out.’
Hedges’ son stared at him then at George then at Andy.
‘When you settle down, you’ll wear dresses too.’ Andy smiled at him trying to keep his face serious. ‘And maybe make-up… or at least concealer with those spots.’
Hedges’ son eyed him. ‘I’m in the band at school. It’s like wearing dresses.’
‘Bands are cool,’ George said then nodded as Stan nodded.
‘They are,’ Stan said with a flex of his biceps.
‘It’s the school band… we aren’t cool. We aren’t much good either.’ Hedges’ son looked Andy up and down. ‘And I’m skinny and spotty.’
‘I was spotty too,’ Andy said with pursed lips. ‘Concealer… work with it. As for the school band… I knew someone in the school band and… well… I’m happy you are happy?’
Hedges’ son glowered at him. ‘I work with a Stan… everyone knows he wear dresses… and I help in my mum’s flower shop.’ He waved at her singing poetry to a sniggering Mary-Lou. ‘And I don’t know what’s going on with them but Louise is never going to fancy me.’
Andy pressed his finger to his lips. ‘Tammy’s daughter?’
Hedges’ son nodded then blushed.
Stan shook his head. ‘She’s a bit… well… Tammy-like for you, isn’t she?’
‘Ah, the wonder of a wild young lady.’ Andy winked at Hedges’ son. ‘Maybe you should buy her a Snickers?’
George burst into tears.
Andy and Stan helped him down the street as he blubbed. They walked to Andy’s and he snuck inside and Ruby-ed up then they walked to Stan’s and he threw on his new frock and then they walked back to the Bee with George complaining that his feet were hurting.
‘Oh, we’re having a bloke’s session then,’ Tracy said as they sauntered into the Bee. ‘Need me to call Colin in case you try sneaking in through the back garden again?’
‘Why do you need Colin?’ George asked Andy as Tammy placed their drinks on the bar.
‘He tried sneaking in and fell over the washing line.’ Tammy laughed then nodded to Tracy. ‘That impressed Paulette’s dad who nearly attacked him with his slippers.’
Andy hid his eyes. ‘He doesn’t go to the pub.’
George snorted then plonked onto his stool and put his head in his hands. ‘He doesn’t have a step-son who fried his fryer is why.’
Tammy handed him a chaser. ‘I saw the fire engine… Ricky was giving us a rolling commentary.’
Tracy chewed her gum then wagged an empty glass about. ‘He gave us commentary on the woman more than the shop.’
‘Didn’t like to tell him that she is one of Lanie’s friends.’ Tammy tapped her nose and snorted. ‘He wouldn’t look right in a bicycle helmet.’
Tracy filled the glass and plonked it on the bar next to Stanetta who grinned. ‘I dunno… He does a lot of exercise.’
‘Running from his own son.’ Tammy tapped her hand to the bar. ‘I’m not sure how drinking with Ruby and Stanetta is going to fix your shop but I need entertainment.’
And Tracy and Tammy had their usual entertainment of Andy and Stanetta drinking George until he hung onto the bar more wobbly than normal; impromptu renditions of song—by Ruby which the punters loved—dancing from Stanetta—which the punters enjoyed—and how to cook a fried Snickers from George which Tammy loved.
Andy and Stanetta wobbled George out of the Bee as Tammy locked up and they shivered in the freezing cold air.
‘I want to make him wear pink lycra,’ George mutter-slurred. ‘Or go to the dentist’s.’ He eyed Miriam’s surgery then swayed. ‘I think he should have a check-up.’
Stanetta staggered into the side of his van as they wobbled by. ‘I don’t like having check-ups and Gaynor says I’m a baby.’ He hiccoughed. ‘It’s okay for a grown bloke to cry when Miriam’s pinning him.’
Andy nodded then shivered and cuddled George’s arm then picked him up as George tripped over his own feet and hit the pavement. ‘You’re not dancing and we don’t have a George Mat.’
‘I could be dashing,’ George said then straightened out his apron. ‘I managed to get Diane to marry me.’ He wagged his finger at Stanetta who stumbled over and held onto Andy’s other arm. ‘She actually married me… I don’t know why… but I love her.’
Andy nodded then rested his head on George’s shoulder to stop feeling dizzy. ‘You do love her.’
‘I love Gaynor,’ Stanetta said with a flick of his arm that sent all three of them into Hedges’ shop window. ‘I should make up more poetry.’
‘I think you should too.’ Andy righted them both at the entrance to George’s shop. ‘We need to fix your fryers.’
George nodded. ‘I didn’t pull down the blind… did you?’
Andy peered at the shop. ‘No.’
‘Diane probably locked up. She’s good like that. She loves me.’ George tried to find the door handle and headbutted his window. ‘I thought the window was dirty from the smoke.’ He frowned at it. ‘It’s clean.’
He pushed open the door then stopped and squinted as his shop looked like new and his fryer wasn’t sooty. ‘Huh?’
Diane held up some flowers dressed in a top hat and a suit. ‘You might like drinking with Andy… but you dance best with me.’
Andy and Stanetta winked then stood to the side. Hedges’ son blurted out a wobbly tune on his recorder and Diane’s sons waved at the fryer.
‘I didn’t mean to put water in it.’ Her oldest son shrugged then held up a spatula. ‘I got you a new one.’
George blubbed. ‘I can’t dance with you.’ He waved his hand around then stumbled into Stanetta who righted him. ‘I don’t have a dress.’
Andy placed his wig on George’s head. ‘You can borrow Ruby.’
George narrowed his eyes. ‘You’re sober.’
‘And you’re sober.’ He glowered at Stanetta.
‘We are.’ Stanetta nodded to Diane who nodded to the back room and Hedges’ stepped out.
‘You are a bit of alright when you cook,’ she sang badly to the recorder. ‘Your smile and food of which I do not tire.’ She waved her hands around and hopped on the spot. ‘Your dancing is a bit like water and oil when others look.’ She puffed out her chest and Mary-Lou and Gaynor bellowed a harmony from the back room. ‘But to me you’re as lovely as a new Snickers fryer.’
Paulette hit the lights and the glare bounced off the shiny new fryer.
‘It’s a really posh one,’ George stared at it then blubbed. ‘I love you.’
‘Me?’ Paulette raised her eyebrows.
‘Well more the fryer.’ He turned to Diane. ‘I love you.’
‘Then give me a wiggle, Georgetta, I have learned some new steps.’ Diane wiggled herself, handed him the flowers then chuckled and pulled him into hold.
George fanned himself with his flowers. ‘I quite fancy you in that hat.’
Andy and Stanetta high-fived each other.
‘Well,’ Diane said with a smile. ‘Some people have a leading man but I have a leading Georgetta.’