Arthur Barratt Monckton, president of the local Golf and Rugby club, and his wife Doris Dryden Monkton, whose father had a surprising fondness for restoration playwrights, completed their preparations for the dinner and dance marking the opening of the new sports hall. It had been built after a period of vigorous fundraising by the local community and the dance was going to be a big affair. “Art” as he was known, was decked out in a freshly pressed suite and a shirt skilfully ironed by Doris, who loved a bit of style.
Arriving at the hall in their old but shiny Mercedes, they moved through the growing throng towards the bar, where “Art” and his well-presented wife, could settle any pre-speech nerves with some soothing refreshments. As with all well organised events, dinner took longer to serve than expected so they were able to pack in more refreshments than originally planned.
Doris, apart from working in the local beauty salon spent some time training as a stripper in her youth, and was known to “take a bit off for the boys” if the refreshment periods lasted too long, so Art got understandably concerned when she glided outside her third vodka and orange in the space of ten minutes. You know that smile which says “I love you all,” well it’s often a symptom of danger in the middle-aged, and Doris was showing some serious signs of “feeling the love”. A few of the village’s more upright citizens were lining up more drinks for her at the bar, and Art could see that an intervention might be required. Still with a pint in one hand and a sausage roll in the other he was at a temporary disadvantage.
Geoff, who hid his love of vaudeville and Mrs Monkton behind the counter of his ironmonger’s shop, was sliding a further supply of her favourite tipple towards her when Art shouted out, “Leave it Geoff! she’s ad too much already”. As we all know, the truth is a hard pill to swallow so Geoff ignored it before placing a modest double vodka in front of the object of his admiration. She was now starting to hum ominously to herself and swinging her hips in a manner clearly recalling her heyday, some three decades earlier. Her rear end, fondly described as a “Two-seater” on account of its size, still showed some signs of rhythm and verve.
“That’s enough” shouted Art. His voice box was nicely oiled by a few pints and easily heard above the din but his instruction was ignored. Overly mischievous after a few drinks, Mrs Monkton was clearly getting into her stride and toying playfully with the buttons on her blouse while her hips swayed in vague time to the music.
You know that expression, “Words fail me”. Well they clearly failed Art, who decided that actions can sometimes make a greater impression: after about a second and a half of micro planning he decided to allow his fist to express his sense of frustration by contacting the side of Geoff’s jaw. Recovering himself, Geoff responded in kind and soon the bar was split between the party poopers who wanted less vaudeville, and the free-spirited, who loved art in all its forms.
Bodies swayed and pushed and drinks were spilt as the discussion moved briskly back and forth among the participants: sadly some furniture was damaged. At last above the swaying and battered bodies, the voice of the master of ceremonies could be heard. “Ladies and Gentlemen”, he boomed, “Dinner is served”. Apparently it included a faintly challenging curry cooked by a local gastronome.