As a recent recruit to Lady S’ sect Lady Bennoir was keen to impress and cement her position at the top table. One morning while we were sipping our first Cosmopolitan of the day she leaned over and said, a bit presumptuously I thought, “Sarah hev you considered expanding the sect’s search for poor people to the Americas?” I looked over to Lady S who was absentmindedly stirring her Cosmo with an olive stick.
Lady B continued, “One has contacts in Florida don’t ye know. Apparently they are tewibbly gullible folk who are more then heppy to cough up their hard-earned for a good cause?”
The olive stick stopped turning and Lady S looked up, “Red Indians?” she queried. I jumped but steadied myself with the thought that aristocrats don’t need to worry about political correctness.
“Noew, not just them Sarah but Deigos, Spics, Chinkies and Krauts too.”
I nearly choked on my olive. “Ladies, ladies we can’t go round using these pejorative terms willy-nilly. It’s not the done thing anymore!”
They turned round as one and looked at me askance. Lady S admonished. “Don’t be so silly dear, johnny foreigner doesn’t mind being called these names, they know their place. Enyway. Lady Bennoir, one’s most intrigued. Do continue? Will it be difficult to organise?”
“Ebsolutely not m’lady. Egg jelly it’s all tewibbly simple these days. Ay’ll sort it out end get meh pipple to talk to your pipple.”
“Marvellous” says I, “any one care for another cocktail?”
And I thought nothing more of it until Lady S cornered me in the library one morning months later reading my favourite edition of Viz. I was In the middle of a particularly poignant article about the trials and tribulations of overweight Geordie ladettes, whose view of promiscuity was unusually err roman, when the dear wife walked in and started talking to me. Such is the power of said magazine that her words were muted until one word caught. I looked up over my Dior reading glasses at the tweed-skirted brogue-shoed love of my life with a contented smile. ‘ What did you say my love?’
‘I said we’re orf…..’
‘Orf? Where to?’ I politely enquired.
“Why Florida of.course, you remember silly! It’s only for a month. Us, the Bennoirs and a clutch of acolytes.’, more of which later.
Resistance was futile so a few weeks later we arrived at Miami airport and made our way to our lodgings. Well I say lodgings but really they were a pair of splendiferous apartments nestled high up tall ocean-side complexes on an island called Marco. Naturally Lady B offered the state room to Lady S saying that her contacts would expect her to be prima Donna and the suite was appropriate for someone of Lady S’ social stature.
“Aym sure you know best, lady Bennoir. Now take us to our rooms were jolly tired. We’ve got some planning to do in the morning.”
The next few days were spent searching for natives ripe for indoctrination. This involved at least one boat trip searching through the Everglades,
had to stop of for a big fat lunch of course, and several trips to the shops. Or malls as our cousins call them. Curiously it also involved significant amount of shopping for clothes.
Now, men, you will understand me when I talk about going into ‘shopping mode’. This occurs approximately 45 minutes after entering the first clothes shop at which point you slip into a catatonic state standing still staring into the middle distance eyes unfocused. Approx 45 minutes after that when you have nearly given up the will to live your wife comes out of the changing room AGAIN and asks what’s the matter…
Lord Bennoir and one fancied we might slope off for a snifter or two but we got caught and were forced to spend the rest of the afternoon giving out leaflets. A bit humiliating really handing out pro-lesbian, anti nuke anti whaling feminist Trotskyist invitations to join a matriarchal quasi religious sect to sceptical Americans but you get used to it. We did manage to get some golf in but the Bald Eagle watching us was a bit off-putting.
After ten days of this Lord Bennoir, or the old count as some people call him, felt that we needed a break from the exhausting schedule of golf, sun bathing, eating and drinking that Marco Island in Florida presents you when you are not being bullied by your wife.
“Come on chaps we need a break from all this. Ones organised a few days down at Key West. Found an Island for rent just orf the harbour. Should be spiffing. I’ll take the Bentley and you take the Royce, it’s about a 4 hour drive.”
I was a bit taken aback at this as our man Edwards normally drives. But as he wasn’t with us for this trip I was left with no choice. Down in the garage my initial inspection of the Car revealed a serious problem. “Jim, old chap? They’ve put the steering wheel and pedals on the wrong side. Didn’t you spot it when you bought it?”
He looked at me rather oddly, “that’s because they also drive on the wrong side of the road, you old duffer!”
Cripes! thinks I; how the hell am I going to manage? Turns out that this side of the pond the roads are so wide and they drive so slow, that I managed fairly well. If I say so myself. There were a few hairy moments when i drove on the hard shoulder as I forgot the car was to the right of me not the left. But Lady S was in the passenger seat directing operations so all was safe. Never sat in the front seat of a car in her life much less actually driven one. But details like that don’t get in the way of the aristocracy. And anyway it was only a Mexican road-side fruit seller.
It’s worth mentioning at this stage that the count comes from much humbler stock than his sophisticated and illustrious wife who, having ensured he made his fortune flogging old lorries to the ‘Ay Rabs’, pulled a few strings and got him some ermine. That and a heap of elecution lessons bring us to where we are today, a dapper chap with a carefully constructed demeanour and a penchant for cravats. Think of Jim as an English Tony Curtis. From Befnall Green to Oakley Green.
We finally got down the keys to Key West. And made our way by private, of course, ferry to the island retreat. But, unbeknownst to moi Key West has a huge gay community; so it was with a light heart that I padded after the entourage ready for a quiet evening downtown. How wrong could I be.
Lady S Insisted on not walking “we may want to recruit poor people but one doesn’t want to mix with them!” so we got a rick-shaw instead. Trouble was he was an ex-Vietnam vet pilot who liked playing the theme tune to Apocolypse Now whilst cycling at about 100mph resulting in a rather disheveled arrival at out destination. Sloppy Joes. After the fifth round of cocktails everything was getting a bit blurry so Jim chipped in that ‘wouldn’t it be a fab idea to go and watch a drag show’.
Well I must say! Chaps like moi who have no trouble with their sexuality take this kind of challenge in the stride. Quick as you like we bunged the waitress a 100 buck tip and legged it over the road to ‘La Cage Aux Folles’. Moi, Jim, Lady B and Lady S. Having a great time amongst the flora and fauna of a hedonistic place. Although young Jim was taking more than a healthy interest in one young ‘lady’. I made a mental note to inform him about ‘Lady Boys’ but thought it would be much more fun if I waited until tomorrow. Anyway. It was about this time that the body was telling one that the 5 cocktails and various beers ingested were ready to depart. Which leads me to the nub of my story. Urinal etiquette in a drag bar.
Now chaps will know there is a certain etiquette when using the urinals. It goes something like this. On approach take an early assessment. How many urinals? Two or less it doesn’t matter. Three? Don’t pick the middle one. Four or more it doesn’t matter. Unless someone else is already there in which case, never pick a urinal next to someone when another one is free. On no account should you look sideways or, heaven forfend, glance at your neighbour’s appendage. At all times you should look straight ahead. Those advert spots must be worth fortunes. If there is a perv in the urinals he will stand at a corner urinal, flop it out, and stare at the other guests. On no account should you return the stare or ‘check him out’. On finishing don’t mess about, be workman like, remember to rezip and move briskly on to the basins. Where the non-working classes will proceed to wash their hands.
These are normal rules which us chaps are familiar with but does it translate to a drag bar in a gay town? Maybe but on no account do what I did and bottle it, use the traps and forget to lock the door properly. The result of which, when the wide door slowly opens, is to reveal to three of Key West’s finest a sight to behold. Yours truly, trousers round his ankles, arse out, peeing. “Cooo-ee!”