I hope you enjoy this week’s episode of Queer Tango. As always please excuse the typos.
Episode 46: Furry Tango
Paulette strolled along with Andy and Little Agnes enjoying the flipping freezing rain, the slippery ice on the pavement and even colder wind. Andy had a thermostat set twenty degrees higher than hers. He could barely manage to put more than a pair of shorts on indoors when she needed the heating on and blankets not to shiver. Must be a roofer trait because his dad was the same although she minded Andy without a t-shirt less than his dad who had a hairy beer-belly.
‘Are you sure she’s warm?’ Andy asked as he peered down at Little Agnes who was in baby-harness hanging off his shoulders, cuddled up in a thick thermal bodysuit, with two hats on—because she cried if she didn’t have her blue baby hat on so any other hat needed to be placed over it—and she had Andy for a heater.
‘I think she’ll get a tan if she gets any warmer.’ Paulette shook her head then slid-stopped and grabbed his arm to stop herself sliding into Hedges as a flash of golden fur sprinted from Hedges’ shop. ‘Did Stan’s wig break free?’
Andy snorted. ‘It’s not long enough. He wouldn’t suit waist length anyway.’ He wrapped an arm around Paulette and steadied her. ‘Maybe Ceri has a new feather duster that doesn’t want to dust plants?’
Paulette chuckled and cuddled in—for warmth of course, nothing to do with how pleased she was that Andy was so delighted to be seen out with her. She went to walk then slipped and Andy righted her. ‘Why haven’t they gritted the pavement?’
‘Trevor,’ Andy mumbled then tried to steady himself on the railings outside Hedges shop. ‘Or more so Barry… he won the contract to grit the pavements but he used the supplies on a bin-sculpture for his and Trevor’s back garden.’
‘What a surprise,’ Paulette slid-shuffled to the railings. ‘I didn’t do ice skating in RADA.’
Hedges sprinted out of the shop, her foot touched the ice, she sped-slid across the pavement, onto the road, across it with arms flailing…
Miriam opened the door to her surgery, the mop of blonde fur sped inside, then she turned and held out her hands…
Hedges crunched into her, they twirled on the spot and disappeared inside the surgery with a muffled ‘oooh.’
Paulette met Andy’s blue eyes. ‘Any ideas?’
‘Stan’s wig and her need a filling?’ Andy managed then glanced over at Stan who was wandering out of Hedges’ shop with a box of flowers. ‘Stanetta—’
Stan stepped onto the pavement, his foot shot forward, his head backward, the flowers flew upward, he did the best backflip Paulette had seen before landing smack on his backside with a flower wig on his head.
‘—Barry hasn’t gritted the pavement,’ Andy managed with a wince. ‘Are you okay?’
Stan whimpered. ‘I think I broke my backside.’
Paulette held onto the railings. ‘I’ll come and help you up.’ She put out her hand to stop Andy. ‘You are carrying a bundle of cuteness, you stay put.’
Andy nodded. ‘She is very cute.’ He smiled at Little Agnes and pecked her on the nose. ‘You may have layers on, but you can’t be an acrobat before you can dance, your mother won’t like it.’
Paulette’s legs slid apart and she did an impromptu splits. ‘I wasn’t in the mood to do gymnastics.’
Mr Hedges hurried out of the shop. ‘Stan, are you alright—’
He somersaulted and landed on Stan’s lap.
‘I’m not sure Gaynor or Hedges would like you to be those kinda friends,’ Andy said with a wince as Mr Hedges caught several flowers that dropped from Stan’s head. ‘Gaynor is over in the salon… she has Little Liza… Plimsole…’
Paulette snapped her feet together and slid-scramble-waved up at the salon. ‘Gaynor… it’s icy…’
Gaynor paused at the door then spotted Stan and Mr Hedges and the flowers and nodded. ‘Why isn’t it gritted?’
‘Barry,’ Andy yelled. ‘Whatever he’s put down instead has made it icy.’
Gaynor cuddled Little Liza. ‘I can’t dance as well on ice… you’ll have to wiggle by yourself.’ She sighed and called over her shoulder to Diane. ‘Can we use aprons as a sled?’
‘No, they aren’t certified for sledding. If I get audited, the health and safety inspector won’t be pleased.’ Diane peered over Gaynor and Little Liza. ‘I have to let my customers out.’
The blonde fur shot out of the dentists and raced up the street.
‘Clearly it feels as delighted as me about fillings,’ Andy said to Little Agnes who giggled in response. ‘It’s not funny, she pins me.’
Hedges, hair more wild than usual, shot out of the surgery after the blonde fur, slid as she hit the ice once more, spun perfectly—with correct head placement—several times then hit the kerb…
Mary-Lou wandered out of Janis’ sister’s shop with a box of cleaning wipes and looked up…
‘Oh, I can’t watch,’ Andy hid in Little Agnes’ harness.
Paulette tried to slide enough to grab Hedges hand but slid past into the surgery’s large bins outside. Hedges flew through the air, Mary-Lou dropped her wipes, held out her hands and caught Hedges then flew back into the shop.
‘Nice catch,’ Paulette mumbled from inside a bin.
‘Honey, people are gonna think we’re those kinda friends,’ Mary-Lou mumbled from inside the shop.
‘It’s alright, Mr Hedges is on Stan’s lap with some flowers,’ Hedges grumbled back. ‘And I’m going to yell at Glynnis.’
‘Well, you might have to catch her first,’ Andy called across the street as Glynnis slid at full speed down the hill holding onto Lanie’s handlebars from the front as Lanie held onto the brakes.
‘Oooooh….’ Glynnis managed as they whipped by.
Miriam peered out of the surgery. ‘I’m glad Lanie has her helmet on.’
The blonde fur sped up the street with a bark.
‘Do wigs bark?’ Paulette asked trying to haul herself out of the bin.
‘No,’ Hedges dusted herself off and tried to head up the street only to slide back down into Mary-Lou. ‘I’m going to use him as a wig.’
‘Honey, that’s kinda not okay,’ Mary-Lou held onto Hedges as she tried to slide after the blonde fur as it zoomed by barking. ‘We like puppies.’
‘It’s not a flipping puppy,’ Hedges yelled and tried to slide after it again only to land on her backside with Mary-Lou on her lap.
‘You just need to be patient with puppies, they don’t know they’re being a pain-in-the-ass.’ Mary-Lou tidied Hedges hair.
‘I have a pain in my ass,’ Stan whimpered.
‘Janis, you can’t use gum, it doesn’t stick when you freeze it,’ Ceri peered around Miriam as Janis came out of the shop behind Mary-Lou and Hedges to help.
She landed on Mary-Lou’s lap, on Hedges. ‘That didn’t work.’
Mary-Lou shook her head.
Hedges managed a squeak.
Lanie and Glynnis whipped by the opposite direction uphill. The blonde fur sprinted after them barking.
‘How are they sliding that way?’ Paulette groaned as she climbed onto the pavement… then she did the splits again.
‘Lanie and Glynnis are trying to help catch the puppy,’ Miriam said with a shrug. ‘But they can’t actually stop when they get going.’
‘Can we try hairspray?’ Gaynor asked Diane.
‘No, it’s not allowed on pavements, we haven’t done a allergy check.’ Diane shook her head.
‘Do pavements have allergies?’ Gaynor asked then spotted George. ‘I… George!’
Andy held onto Little Agnes. ‘I really can’t watch.’
George looked up. ‘What?’ He stepped onto the pavement and walked over to the puppy who launched at him and pounce cuddled him. ‘Why are you cuddling Mr Hedges?’ He cocked his head at Stan then cocked his head at Hedges and Mary-Lou underneath Janis. ‘We doing a new dance?’
Andy eyed him. ‘Do you have grips on?’
George shook his head and picked up the lead attached to the puppy’s collar, caught Lanie’s bike as Lanie and Glynnis slid back down the hill and righted them then handed the puppy to Hedges somewhere under Janis and Mary-Lou and smiled. ‘I gave him sausages.’
The puppy barked and George fed him another and handed some to Janis because Hedges’ other hand was under Mary-Lou somewhere.
‘The pavement is icy,’ Andy muttered. ‘How are you walking on it?’
George shrugged. ‘Used to it in my shop.’ He held up a finger walked over to the fish and chip shop and pulled out some grit from his yard. ‘I asked Ricky to nick me some.’
He nodded to Tammy and Tracy who were in the doorway to The Bee howling with laughter… with a camera.
‘Did they put Barry up to it?’ Andy said and wagged his finger at them. ‘I will tell your son on you.’
Tracy snorted. ‘We didn’t know what Barry was doing but my Ricky knows how to keep me sweet.’
‘I can’t get out of my shop,’ Diane muttered. ‘And neither can Gaynor.’
George walked over, picked up Gaynor—dancing and having to lift Diane was helping—and carried her down to the gritted part by the bee. He then strolled up and carried Andy down to safety too.
‘Ruby is very appreciative of your help, George.’ Andy smiled and pecked him on the cheek then waved at Paulette who rolled her eyes.
‘The grit will work… he’s put the lard from my shop down,’ George said and walked up the hill, picked up Diane and carried her over to his shop. ‘I got lunch on for you.’
Diane gave him a smacker.
Hedges managed to extract herself and glared at the puppy. ‘I bought you to help me with the flowers. You are meant to keep my blood pressure low… it’s not working.’
The puppy barked up at her then rubbed against her legs and she landed on her backside again.
Mary-Lou snorted. ‘Well, I think George was right. We have a new dance… it’s an icy one but definitely a very furry tango.’