A deep baritone voice from behind Sheila Two boomed out, “Lofly, laides.” They turned. “I am Baron Boris Moscow-Spartak, from Mother Russia.”
A beaming fellow of some three score and 10 freezing Russian winters introduced himself, bowed and kissed each hand in turn.
“And this is my friend Count Horacio della Fountain-Penna, from Italy,” he said.
He ushered forward a gentleman of similar decades who also kissed each hand. This time with Latin flair as opposed to a Russian bear lick.
The Baron continued, “And here is our dear friend Sir Morris Minor from England.” The third gentleman was of the same vintage and did the rounds of the female knuckles with some style. He then asked in a very plumb British accent what they would care to drink. All three settled on wine — red, and Russian of course — and the sixsome duly set about getting to know each other over crystal glasses.
Boris, Horace and Morris were full-time diplomats.
“Tell me, cara mia,” the Italian Count consulted Sheila Two. “How do you get to be so beautiful? Does it have something to do with all that Australian sun?”
“More likely with all the gallons of Australian Nivea cream to keep the sun at bay,” Two informed Count Horace, wondering if he was related to the Count of Monte Cristo. She’d loved the old film and it would perhaps be some common ground for them to talk about, if needed.
“Would you care to check my samovar some time?” Baron Boris asked Sheila Three conspiratorially.
“I don’t know how to use one so couldn’t be sure about how to check it,” she revealed innocently. “Do you pull it?”
“No, you suck it.”
“That sounds rather appealing to me, just what I’m here for,” her eyes narrowed in anticipation. “I’m quite partial to that kind of thing in the right environment,” she said, eyelashes fluttering.
“It’s well hidden at the moment,” he said, winking back.
“Like most good things,” she said, nudging him in the ribs and pouring herself more Russian red. She wondered why they only served red wine.
Sir Morris questioned Sheila One, “Did your ancestors come from Blighty?” referring to Britain by its naval term from where many had been deported to Australia long ago.
“Of course. Two murderers, three rapists, four bread-stealers and six penny-pinchers. All deported,” she said, smiling demurely. “Actually, it’s a wonder I’ve managed to keep my hands off some of the attractive silver in here …” She gazed around the room, “… and some of the rather dignified men.”
“Quite,” the Knight of the Realm said, wondering if she was related to Ned Kelly as he tried to imagine how she’d look with a metal bucket over her head. Maybe he’d find out later. “My seat’s in Dorset,” he said.
“Which explains why you have no furniture in Singapore and have to stand up all the time when you’re at home?” Sheila One questioned ancient British history.
“No, no,” he burbled. “What I mean is my family estate, or seat, is there. I am of course here.”
“I can see that. Though are you asking if you can sit on my knee?” the lady summed up with a knowing wink. He was getting confused, but another glass of red should settle things he thought, looking round for a tranquillising tray.
The group wanderings took them into the outside garden where a large Russian flag of white, red and blue horizontal colours stood proud under spotlights in the middle of a manicured lawn.
“I love the colour red,” Sheila Three told Boris.
“Which means you have passion in your veins,” he replied.
“Is that what this wine’s called? Russian passion? Sounds nice.” She sipped more of her drink.
He chuckled then added, “Perhaps I can show you my new Cossack hat later?”
“That could be nice. Where is it?”
“Under my bed,” he leered.
“Ooh, I say. And the size?”
“Six and seven eighths.’
“A perfect fit,” she announced, flashing eyes across the wine glasses.
“That is the general opinion of those who have seen it,” he said smugly. Another drink and he asked, “Perhaps I can take my hat off to you later?”
“Ooooooohhhhh, yes please. That’s just what I need,” she said, opening her mouth and flicking her tongue across bared teeth.
He opened his mouth in mirrored response and his upper denture flopped onto a quivering tongue, wobbling rather imaginatively in a unique dancing display.
“My family’s in spaghetti,” Count Fountain-Penna told Sheila Two.
“Mine’s in New South Wales,” she said, sharing the menu. He smiled, obviously missing much of what she said. “Isn’t spaghetti rather messy?” she asked, filling in the silence with the first thought that came to mind.
“Only when you open all the cans at once,” a far-away look took over his flushed face. Perhaps he’s back in Padua thinking about sauce wrestling, Sheila Two wondered.
“I love Italian food,” she told him.
“Good. Maybe I can prepare something special for the two of us to get stuck into some time?”
“Fine, but what about the food?”
“Cheeky,” he said, laughing and pinching her bum causing a loud “Whooo…” to shoot across the lawn and ruffle the folds of the rather droopy flag nearby. The tropical night air was very still, even if certain guests were not.
This is an extract from Peter Dorney’s book, Chinese Takeaway, a satirical look at life in Singapore through the eyes of several Australian teachers. This, and Peter Dorney’s other novels, are available at Amazon/Kindle and CreateSpace.com