Ten Little Elephants

Written by: Ant Gavin Smits
Sparks connected the wires to a small mushroom charge suspended between metal rods at the top of the small water tank. It could now be discharged. He guided the cyclorama cloth down to mask the tank and replaced the tank’s cloth cover.
 
“Don’t forget to warn our lot – and me.” Percy called down from the flys. “You don’t want me takin' fright and releasing the wrong drop, do ya?”
 
“You’ll be fine,” Sparks replied. “You'll hear the line: the drinks are on me. Then bang! And the cowboy shoots into the air. Simple, right? I’ll test it shortly.”
 
Percy nodded. “If you say so. I don’t like those things.” He moved out of sight. 
 
Sparks walked to his console and picked up the small switch-box connected to the tank. “Clear for mushroom.” He flicked the switch, but nothing happened.
 
Just then, Tanner came through the rear stage door, cupping a cigarette in his hand. He perched on the tank edge to finish it. "What's happening, gang?"
 
“Clear for mushroom.”
 
“Say again, Sparks?”  Tanner got out, then he yowled in surprise and pain as a sudden bang echoed through the theatre and the cyc cloth shivered. Amid uncontrolled laughter from the fly platform, Tanner writhed on the stage holding his buttocks.
 
“I’ll get you for this, Sparks. That caught me right up the bleedin’ kyber,” he moaned.
 
Percy looked down, laughing and pointing. “Hey Tanner, what’s that damp patch there?”
 
“I’ll get you both, you’ll see,” shouted Tanner, examining his jeans.
 
***
 
“I will deal with you two later,” said Marge. No time now. Les danseurs de garçon have arrived to look at the stage with their choreographer. He is strict.” She gave Tanner a warning look. “Do not go near them.”
 
“Of course not. I’m dating Louise, ain't I?”
 
Marge smiled with the rest of the gang. “Okay, so let the girls use the stage today. Get the sound system sorted, George. Sweetie, make sure all the cloths have a number and Percy, I do not want to hear that bloody brake handle squeaking anymore. Oil it and look at the rest.”
 
 “They ain’t a troop of dancers," Tanner said. "It's a line of baby bleedin’ elephants. Tree-trunk legs. Those girls ain’t gonna be doin’ a kick routine, that’s for sure.” He watched their warm-up from Sparks' desk as he helped set the first lighting cues on Producer Gooing's list. "Something ain't right," he whispered. “They are all flat-chested.” 
 
Sparks smiled. “Go and ask the head girl over, will you? I need the costume colours,” he said.
 
Tanner walked across to the closest dancer, not noticing that others in the gang were suddenly paying close attention. “Hello, gorgeous," he said, grinning.  "Sparks needs the colour of your costume.” 
 
The dancer's eyes widened. “Oh, you lovely boy. What’s your name? I’m Billy.” An arm went around Tanner’s shoulders and the watching gang chortled from all sides.
 
“What will Louise think?” called Percy. “Les danseurs de garçon – the Boy Dancers, you dickhead.”

Comments

This story keeps getting better. Such fun !
I agree with Donna. This is a good chapter, Ant but I do have a problem that you have caused. How on earth do I follow this? The story is very real as we both know and we draw from our experiences. I do like the way you write the dialogue with great insight into relationships. Percy talks about a damp patch. We all know what that implies but can we write it unless we know the characters or are as writers, knowledgable and into that kind of mind. It is not easy to do smoothly. And Tanners la méprise - a great way to end the piece. Nice one, Ant.
Oh I agree. The last line was hilarious. The characters are just taking everything faaaar tooo seriously. (: Great job.