Here is this week’s episode of Queer Tango. I hope you enjoy and have a giggle.
As always, please excuse the typos.
Episode 45: Knotted Knitters
The lights dimmed in the packed little theatre in Gumton as the regular theatre orchestra puzzled over the music scores printed on George’s fish shop paper—scented with fried Snickers—and the very posh theatre curtains swished back to show an odd selection of dancers in knitted jumpers—or sweaters as Mary-Lou called them.
The crowd settled in, quiet and attentive as the lights faded up and the orchestra blurted out a jaunty fish-scented number.
‘Hand me those extra threads, Georgetta,’ a fella in a hat with a gold tooth said in a voice that might be rather high-pitched for a fella. ‘We need to get the stripes on this jumper just right.’
Georgetta frolicked—well, the audience took it as that but he slipped on his dress and slid-hopped—over to the gold toothed gentleman and planted his hand on his head not to lose his new wig.
‘Here’s your thread,’ he said in a very strange attempt at a lady’s voice. ‘Did you hear that Hedges might be leaving the factory?’
A gentleman in dark glasses with the slickest hair and long nails gasped so hard, she then coughed and the gentleman beside her in George’s best tie slapped her on the back.
‘I… He’s not…?’ The gentleman spluttered. ‘Stop thumping me or I’ll cut his hair to show his bald patch.’
The gentleman in George’s tie gasped. ‘You wouldn’t.’
The audience laughed although they didn’t know who the two very softly spoken gentlemen were on about or why a factory worker would cut anyone’s hair.
‘Yes, he’s been seen out with Stanetta!’ Georgetta threw his disgust into his words, glared at the gentleman in dark glasses while holding his wig tight to his head. He didn’t really have that much of a bald patch… there were some places the hair was still thick.
The lady in yellow cleaning gloves tottered forward, then cleaned a patch of dust on the floor. ‘Stanetta, the owner of our rivals… Stitching Up?’
Georgetta turned, trying to be dramatic but then twirled too far and lunged out his foot to stop himself only to reveal his very hairy leg through the split in his skirt—not the costume design but he was clumsier in a dress. ‘Yes, Ceri, Stanetta is trying to stitch us up.’
The crowd ‘oooh’d.’ Mainly because of the leg hair on show.
Ceri put her cleaning gloves in the air and struck an equally dramatic tango pose even though she was certain the first dance number was meant to be a jive. ‘So, what should we do?’
‘Mary-Lou is beautiful,’ a very posh lady said from the sewing machine made of cardboard which kept wobbling. ‘Hedges won’t be swayed by Stanetta and her charms.’
‘Why are you being slow?’ A handsome man said as he swayed in flicking his clipboard about musically. ‘We have jumpers to knit?’
‘Hedges could be swayed by Stanetta,’ a gentleman in bicycle helmet said. ‘She’s quite the catch.’
‘You’re not meant to be looking at her,’ a lady with a dentist’s head torch said.
‘I’m not.’ The gentleman in the bicycle helmet shrugged then winked at Georgetta who tried to curtsey but toppled and headbutted the man with the clipboard on the bottom.
‘Georgetta, we haven’t done any chasers and it’s not dark, behave.’ The man with the clipboard turned to the audience. ‘You have to watch her, she’s always flashing her legs at me.’
‘Am not,’ Georgetta grunted in a very deep voice.
‘Are too,’ the man with the clipboard shot back, righted Georgetta’s wig, and tootled over to the side. ‘Back to work.’
The cast launched into a very uncoordinated dance routine in which the three men with very soft voices jigged about quite well; the man in the bicycle helmet and the lady with the dentist’s head torch danced wonderfully; the man with the clipboard and the posh lady were even better and Ceri performed an amazing jive while performing athletic dodging manoeuvres to avoid Georgetta who stumbled around, flicking his legs out to balance himself, flinging his arms out as if on roller skates and performing some strange jive-Charleston-tango routine that left the audience clapping and cheering… but they were cheering the cast’s ability to avoid being battered, right him and send him fling-kick-jiving back across the stage.
Paulette peered between her fingers backstage as Tammy chomped on a Snickers bar and Mary-Lou, Hedges and Stan giggled amongst themselves. Janis was too busy fixing the white safety tape on the floor to notice.
‘He’s never tried it without a George-mat before,’ Paulette mumbled to the stage manager who stared and hugged his clipboard. ‘He usually flattens Ceri by this point in the dance.’
‘He does,’ Janis grunted from the side. ‘I bought her extra knee protectors.’
‘That’s probably quite wise,’ the stage manager whispered. ‘Why did you let him wear heels?’
‘I didn’t,’ Paulette said with a twitch of her lips. ‘That’s him in flat shoes… we tried giving him tango ones for a while.’
The stage manager looked at her in shock.
‘Exactly, Lanie needed more than a bicycle helmet.’ Paulette blew out her breath then nodded to Tammy and Janis. ‘You’ll have to put your weight behind you so he doesn’t knock you into the orchestra… again.’
Tammy finished her Snickers and handed the wrapper to Janis who grinned and placed it neatly in the bin. ‘I’ve been married to Colin… I can plant my feet when I need to.’
‘Why, does he try and throw you into orchestra pits?’ the stage manager asked with confusion.
‘No, he just likes to have a drink with Andy, Ricky, Stanetta and Georgetta and gets funny ideas about me twirling him around in a wig.’ Tammy eyed Paulette. ‘You listening? A wig.’
Paulette rolled her eyes. ‘They started off binary.’
Stanetta tutted. ‘I’ve been wearing a wig since our first class.’ He thumbed to his implants with a smile. ‘I get to wear heels.’
The stage manager nodded. ‘I’m very happy for you. Does your wife find it odd?’
‘No,’ Stan said, rubbing at his stubble. ‘She’s the bloke with the glasses on.’
The stage manager looked at Paulette.
‘Don’t look at me, I live with Ruby,’ she thumbed at Andy flouncing around Glynnis who jumped elegantly over George’s leg sweep.
‘I thought she owned Squishy?’ the stage manager said with confusion.
‘No, I own Squishy, honey and Paulette and Glynnis ain’t those kinda friends,’ Mary-Lou pulled up her pop-socks.
‘She means they aren’t an item,’ Hedges translated from under her large bee-keeper’s hat.
George took out Gaynor who crashed into Lanie and the class members toppled, one by one, into a large heap.
Tammy and Janis skidded out as George got up and rugby-tackled him into the wings on the other side as the audience laughed and cheered and the other class members groaned their way off stage.
‘That went so much better than I thought it would.’ Paulette clapped and smiled. ‘Stanetta, Hedges… you’re up.’ She tapped them on the back and Hedges and Stanetta strode out onto the stage—well, Hedges scurried and Stan tottered.
‘You thought it did?’ the stage manager shook his head as Stan batted his eyelids at Hedges and they shuffled into a half-decent tango.
‘Yup,’ Mary-Lou said clapping Hedges as she twirled Stan and tried not to topple as he leaned over her arm. ‘Ceri usually needs some kinda bandage.’
‘And George usually needs ice.’ Paulette nodded to Mary-Lou as Hedges and Stan froze in the dimmed light—well, tried to, Hedges had her trouser leg caught in Stan’s heel and was slowly being pulled downward into the splits as Stan tried to keep his balance.
‘I know Hedges loves me,’ Mary-Lou said to the other wing and Janis stumbled out and smoothed over her beard. ‘I can’t let myself be swayed by you.’
Janis Charleston-ed over. ‘But you know how much you think I’m alright.’
The stage manager raised his eyebrows.
‘Yes, but Hedges and I were so wonderful together when we were kids.’ Mary-Lou twirled perfectly to the front of stage. ‘We were so those kinda friends.’
The stage manager looked at Paulette.
‘Seriously, I live with Ruby.’ She turned back to the stage as Lanie and Miriam rhumba-ed behind Mary-Lou performing the same moves in front. Janis gave a great effort and the audience were completely engrossed.
‘I’m not really sure who Ruby is,’ the stage manager said. ‘But you look very happy about it.’
The stage cleared and Paulette pulled a top hat from beside her and nodded to Andy in full Ruby-outfit of a very figure hugging dress, flash new wig and teasing strut.
‘That’s Ruby,’ Paulette winked at the stage manager and slid out onto the stage. ‘Ruby, I know you’re working with Stanetta but you have to stop. She and Janis Overalls can’t take the factory away from Hedges and Mary-Lou.’
‘But I love watching them dance,’ Ruby said in her very smooth voice. ‘Plimsole, you can’t persuade me. I need them to take over the factory so I can put my own line of jumpers out.’
‘You don’t wear jumpers, Ruby.’ Plimsole strutted over to her and flipped her into hold. ‘And you don’t know how to knit.’
‘So, I’ll buy some cheap off this bloke called Ricky.’ He nodded then winked at the audience. ‘It fell off the back of Lanie’s bicycle.’
Plimsole charged with him across the floor. ‘We can go into a different line of clothing, Ruby… you just have to stop helping Stanetta.’
Ruby pushed out his bottom lip and flicked his leg over Plimsole’s shoulder—Mary-Lou wasn’t the only one who could do Pilates in nothing but a snapback. ‘You want to go into business with me?’
‘Ruby, I know I can’t help myself,’ Plimsole dipped her hat to the audience as they cheered Ruby’s flexibility. ‘You shave much better than Georgetta.’
The audience chuckled.
‘Then what clothes can we spin together through dance, Plimsole?’ Ruby flung himself backward and Plimsole flicked him upwards then caught him in her arms.
‘Wigs,’ Plimsole said with a cheeky smile. ‘For those attending dance classes and doing chasers with roofers.’
‘That’s very non-binary, Plimsole,’ Ruby said with a smirk. ‘In fact, I think we’ll have to call it Knotted Knitters Wigs.’
Plimsole eased him into a perfect pose leaning him over the orchestra pit and dipped her hat to the audience as the music faded up for Tammy and Tracy’s ‘Snicker Dance’ then pulled him off the stage to a huge applause.
‘Knotted knitters?’ Gaynor asked with a snort as Tracy flung Tammy around. ‘That’s a daft name for a wig maker.’
The stage manager shrugged and winced as Tammy nearly took out the safety curtain.
‘Well, I thought it suited our class.’ Andy batted his eyelids at Gaynor and then smirked at Stan and George in wigs and frocks. ‘We are definitely a class of knotted knitters.’