That Old Gang of Mine was the first theme to catch my eye. It's always been fascinating to me to see how people I knew long ago have ended up today. Many are still totally recognisable, the same as they always were, following the dreams and plans they had as teenagers. And some have changed so significantly it's a shock - either pleasant or disturbing.
Time moves on for us all, but I've dedicated this novella to "everyone's happy memories" and that's what the story is about. Dan is looking for adventure and thinks he might find some answers in following up his friends from a teenage sports club, many summers ago. He has fond memories from that time - and maybe a few questions, too. With the support and companionship of his new - and attractive - friend Nick, he sets out on his Quest :).
And Chase the Ace? It's a childhood card game that I used to play, that I imagined Dan and his friends played at that sports club on rainy days. It's all about chasing the lowest card around the group so you never end up with it, thereby losing the game. And if you read the story, you'll find out why Chase the Ace is a critical part of Dan's Quest - and one particular game has strong and secret memories for him!
Have you ever wondered what happened to particular friends or acquaintances from long ago? And more interestingly - have you ever acted on that curiosity? Feel free to share it with us!
As a Release Day treat, here's another glimpse of the story that you saw here FIRST! :D
“So tell me about Gerry. You met him at SSSC, right? What was he like?”
“Gerry?” The idea of describing him was intriguing. “He was very good at football but he was always messing around so he got left as a reserve for most of our local matches. But he was a good supporter and kept us entertained with jokes. He had a really wicked sense of humour. Everyone liked him, or if they didn’t, he never seemed to care. When we had more artistic sessions—music, drama—he was always the best. He was very bright. But apparently he’d been excluded from school several times, and he wasn’t going back after that summer. He told us he was dating an older man, who was getting him a great job in show business.” I glanced around the Sea Spray bar with its slightly dusty picture rails and scuffed chair legs. “Maybe that’s still a work in progress.”
“He was out, then?”
“I think he was trying, if you know what I mean. We were sixteen. We didn’t talk frankly about things like that, so he never got to put a name to it. I’m not sure he was bothered about that, anyway. He was just…Gerry. But we knew Gerry with his older boyfriend was closer to us than the other boys and their lusting over the female netball coach.”
Nick grinned and gestured at my glass. “Another drink?”
I was surprised to find we’d finished the bottle between us already. We ordered a selection of bar snacks including nachos and mini samosas, ordered more wine, and agreed to split the bill. I hadn’t realised how hungry I was—we demolished the lot while we went on chatting about school, and the SSSC, and what Nathan was doing nowadays, and how Nick had built up his business after doing work experience with a local architect. Before I was even aware of how much time had passed, we started to see bustling behind the curtain. The spotlights clicked on and off in testing, and we heard a hum of excitement building around the room.
The music started, a fanfare on the PA system. I had to lean over toward Nick to see between two large men at the table in front of us, one of whom was wearing a huge blonde Marilyn Monroe wig for some reason. A young man in top hat and tails slipped through the opening of the curtains at the back of the stage. He wore a dress shirt and bow tie over a pair of sparkling green shorts—perfectly named for their brevity over a very fine, tight pair of buttocks—and he called the room to order.
“Gentlemen, ladies, and our very awesome others! Welcome to the Sea Spray tonight for our much maligned yet persistently praised floor show. And tonight’s mistress of ceremonies will be—”
“We want Dina!” yelled a squeaky-voiced young man in a mesh shirt from the other side of the room. Everyone laughed and the announcer bowed in his direction.
“And you shall have her. May I introduce the star who will shine your way through the programme tonight.” He waved his hand back toward the curtain. Someone tweaked it from behind, getting ready to sweep it open.
Nick put his hand on my arm and whispered, “Dan…”
“The lovely, the lascivious, the loquacious diva—our own Burly Chassis—our darling Dina!”
The star of the show swept through the curtain, dressed in purple sequins from neck to toe, the sumptuous dress fitting closely over high, shapely breasts, skimming over the waist and down over slim hips to a swirl of feathers around her feet. Down one side was an outrageous split from thigh to ankle, showing a strong and shapely leg. Her makeup was stage-heavy but sexy, her mouth a wide pout and her eyes sparkling under thick lashes. Her hair was a high pile of artfully-styled dark curls, a la Bassey herself. The crowd was cheering, some of them on their feet and whistling appreciation. Dina was obviously a popular favourite.
“I know,” I whispered back to Nick, who’d obviously guessed a few seconds before I did. “I can see.” The way that Dina tossed her head at the audience’s adulation; the way she winked and blew a kiss to the young man in the mesh shirt… I recognised the gestures even though I hadn’t seen them for twelve years. Gerry had come out in a rather spectacular and star-spangled way.
Available now at Amber Allure.
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