The 5th of April 2017 will be one of those days when, one thinks, we will all remember where we were when the devastating and unexpected news was unleashed to the world, without warning.
As for onself, one was in the village pub; The Badger’s Snatch.
One had been sitting for a short time in a freshly upholstered booth reading through a discarded Daily Mail left on the table. It was then one’s dear friend - and owner of the aforementioned drinking emporium - Fanny O’Dour approached.
“Like a refill, Crusty?” Fanny said, while hovering the deliciously designed bottle of Pere Ventura Tresor above one’s crystal flute.
“How delightful, dear. Let’s!”
“You found anything interesting?”
Looking briefly at her, then briefly at the Daily Mail, then back at her one replied, “Good Lord! In this dear?! No, just checking the state of the pages. It’s a perfect publication for lining the bottom of Crotchet’s litter tray.”
Fanny smiled and turned to walk away. Suddenly, she stopped.
“Oh! By the way, did you hear the news earlier? Barry Manilow’s come out.”
“In a rash, dear?” One replied inquisitively.
“No. Come out … of the closet.”
“It must have had very loose hinges, dear. Just now?”
“Yes. I was shocked? Who knew?” She added.
“Not everyone, it seems.” One replied, looking her up and down and slowly sipping one’s Cava.
“Of course, reading the articles over the years about his private life, he’s always been very tight-lipped.”
“Quite, dear and from recent TV appearances, he’s also been very tight-eyed, tight-eared, tight-chinned, tight-cheeked and tight-necked. The last time one saw him hit a high note during Copacabana, his eyes shut and his toes curled up!”
“Crusty! You’re terrible. He has said his fans have been very supportive, which is nice.”
“In fairness, Fanny dear, they have had over 40 years to prepare for the revelation.”
Sometime later and ready to leave, one glided elegantly to the bar to hand Fanny one’s flute.
“Do you know, Fanny, you’ve made one remember something.”
“Yes, one remembers a time when Barry Manilow stayed at one’s beloved Crusty Hall.”
“Stayed with you?! You never brought him down?” Fanny exclaimed, a little miffed.
“Oh, it was a whistle-stop visit, dear. Mr Peppercorn had asked him to judge his prized sausage in the back room of the village butchers and the guesthouse was out of bounds because it had just been fumigated. Anyhoo … one had offered him a suite in the east wing for the night before he flew off to America. We had had dinner and one was reclining divinely on the chaise on the Holly Johnson room …”
“The music room?” Fanny clarified.
“Quite, you gorgeous thing. Barry had just sung a medley of hits, while one fingered through a gents quarterly …Suddenly, his fingers lifted from the keys and the music stopped. One felt a little tension in the air. Chu Me was rigid and his eyes had widened. Nevertheless, one continued fingering one’s flaps and humming Could It Be Magic. One could see him from one’s peripheral vision, walking towards one. He sat next to one and took one’s hand. One could feel him shaking and beads of sweat began to cascade down his face – quicker than one would expect as there were no wrinkles to slow them down – and there was a raspy pant in his voice. “Dame Crusty, there’s something I need to tell you.” He said. “I see.” One said. “It’s something I’ve never told a soul but I feel I can confide in you.” After moment one said, “Don’t feel you need to, dear.””
“Oh my God! What happened?!” Fanny squealed.
“After what seemed like the length of an X-Factor result, complete with the sound of his pounding heart to add suspense, he stood up and said, “I can’t. I can’t. I’m so sorry.” Then off he went to his quarters with one’s pussy, Crotchet, close behind. One looked at Chu Me. Chu Me looked at one, shrugged his shoulders and left the Holly Johnson room with a steady slap of flip-flop.”
“Do you think he was going to tell you?”
“Goodness dear, one thought he was going to tell one he was a vegetarian!! The other wouldn’t have mattered a jot, as one believes his legion of fans will concur.”
With that, one bid Fanny farewell with a kiss on each cheek, headed out of the Badger’s Snatch, into a waiting GUSSET 1 outside, where Chu Me had prepared a selection of nibbles in the armrest and one headed off back to the residence.