The collective shoulders of the Wet-Whittering-under-Wold branch of the Ex-Outlaws Appreciation Society drooped.
Their annual party lacked a certain – ‘je ne sais quoi’.
It lacked – élan.
It lacked – verve.
It lacked – pep.
Since the last of the Vin Tres Ordinaire had been gulped down and the box turned inside out to suck the lining dry – it lacked alcohol.
Two dextrous fingers and two supple tongues gave up trying to squeeze a last lick from two battered litre tubs. It was official. Now – the party also lacked double chocolate chip ice cream.
Cally and Rimona HAD invited the neighbouring Bog-Whittering-by-the-Wold branch of the Appreciation Society to share the festivities – but, her bunions were playing up.
“Want to watch – The Day they Hung…?” started Rimona, capturing and swallowing a final chocolate chip off her cardi.
“Not with YOU holding the remote,” interrupted Cally. “…We never get past the tub scene!” A beat. “…Apache Springs?” she counter offered.
“Pffftt!” dismissed Rimona. Another beat. “…What about bringing down the life size cut-outs and playing ‘Pin the Hat on the …”?”
“They’re both too battered to stand upright,” sighed Cally. “…And – the inks come off both their…”
“You mean…” casually interjected, Rimona, “…as if someone’s slobbered all over …? No!” she interrupted herself. “We’re both sensible, mature, responsible women! Would we?”
“Exactly!” agreed Cally, firmly. “Would we?”
Two guilty faces exchanged a glance. A sigh. No – make that two sighs.
Suddenly, a delivery van pulled up outside and there was the sound of sharp ‘Rat-Tat-Tat’.
“That’ll be the door,” remarked Cally.
“Must be a delivery,” chimed in Rimona.
The reader will gather both ladies were not only obsessed with ex-outlaws, but – as are many women with this hobby – startlingly observant, highly intelligent and razor sharp on the deduction front.
Listen! Do you want to write your own dang stories? Do you? Right then – Rimona and Cally both had minds like a steel trap.
AND – they were gorgeous.
Oh alright. But, they HAD both remembered to put lippy on.
“They’re big boxes!” observed Cally, surveying the crates, once they had been signed for. Cally made some spurious claim to having once, long ago, been some kind of engineer and so felt qualified to make this kind of complex dimensional judgement.
“Must be just over five foot eleven!” agreed Rimona. She in turn claimed some kind of scientific bent – and so had a multifarious variety of measurement systems at her polished fingertips.
Cally tore open the envelope fastened to the first crate, while Rimona fetched a fish slice and spatula from the kitchen to lever off the front. TOLD you she was practical.
“From your fellow board members across the pond,” Cally read aloud.
She read aloud so Rimona could hear, you understand. She COULD read to herself. Sometimes – sometimes she could even manage it without moving her lips!
“From your fellow board members across the pond. A little gift to help your party go with a swing…”
By now, Rimona had jemmied off the front of the first crate. Startling blue eyes! Floppy brown hat! Snug…Wow! Rimona blinked. Snug fit in there!
“Howdy ma-am.” Despite the tight squeeze – the blond managed a civil tip to his hat and a dazzling smile.
I should perhaps clarify. The phrase ‘tight squeeze’ referred to the space constraints in the crate, NOT to any actions on Rimona’s part. Although…
“Let him go! Put him down! Open the other one! Hurry!” squealed Cally. With dignity. “Hurry Up! Ooooohhhh! Please! Rip the front off! RIP IT, WOMAN!” Not many ladies can squeal stuff like that with dignity. Not while clutching their own hair and falling off their party heels, anyhow. So – I hope you’re impressed.
“Finish the letter,” panted Rimona, doing her best with the fish slice and gallantly ignoring the chips to her ‘Flirty Fox’ nail varnish.
“…Lots of love, Breda and Emgar,” read on Cally. “…P.S. They will be hot, sweaty and VERY dirty from the journey – so please wash thoroughly before use…”
Cally’s eyes took in the full dimpled, chocolate-eyed glory of the contents of the second crate.
“…Not a problem, ladies…” she breathed.
“…Certainly isn’t,” agreed Rimona, still enjoying her blond moment, as she rolled up her sleeves.