The Love Boat

Monsieur Puree was making his third rotation around the deck and attracting puzzled glances by the various guests. A grown man dragging a stuffed sock that looked a little like a caterpillar that has seen better days on a string was bound to cause some comment after all.

He seemed a little out of breath and stopped by Bunty to dab at his forehead with his pocket-handkerchief.

“You are doing ever so well Monsieur” she said enthusiastically while Lola tried to ignite the string with her cigarette.

“Mon Dieu, I hope it makes a move I am quite breathless” panted the dapper little man.

“I rather think you may have done it” whispered Bunty pointing at a scuttling creature that stomped on little stubby legs towards the sock.

Professor Hawking, observing the strange courtship of the munching bug produced a large pint glass and swiftly slammed it over it.

“A glass coaster if you please!” he demanded looking at Lola; his authoritative tone normally would have produced a dainty heel jabbed swiftly in his groin area but she meekly handed him the coaster and with an adroit flick of his wrist he up ended the glass and there at the bottom its hideous teeth gnashing at the glass sat the captured bug.

“My not a pretty creature” observed Puree

“Will the glass contain it” asked Bunty

“I think we are quite safe now” said Prof Hawking, “The glass being smooth does not allow it to make any mark, but to be on the safe side we will make sure it is contained in further layers.”

Meanwhile back at the manor, Branwell was showing signs of becoming quite the performer. Together with Vita they had worked out a whole show. Vita had called in a few favours and Branwell now had a backing band of singers and dancers. He wasn’t sure about the dancers, they were a group of ladies from the meat-packing factory who met every month to exercise to music. A novel idea that probably wouldn’t catch on but they called themselves “The Scrag ends”, a singularly appropriate name as they thundered across the stage set up by Vita.

“Fabulous darlings, kick higher next time please!

Branwell reached out to steady his arrangements as the ground shook, he grimaced as several hefty and mottled purple thighs flashed past him.

Vita clapped her hands, “Break now lovies, tea up!”

The ‘Scrag ends’ made for the tea and biscuits shoving each other out-of-the-way in order to capture the few slices of Battenberg.

“Only one slice girls remember your figures!” yelled Vita

Branwell was convinced several of them were not women at all, one called Sharon supposedly had a decent sized moustache and tended to scratch a lot in the gusset area in a way that ladies didn’t. More worryingly was the way ‘Sharon’ would lean against him and say things that made Branwell blush.

Lola looked at the captured Bug but she couldn’t concentrate, something was distracting her.

“Whatever is the matter Lola, you don’t seem yourself?” said Bunty

“I don’t know exactly, perhaps when we reach Rome.. “said Lola

“Yes, Rome my beauty” hissed Max from the depths of the hold.


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