Pole dancing and rubber gloves…

I drink to make other people more interesting

Ernest Hemingway


We unpacked and then went down to the bar below. It was quiet in there. The old drunk sat in the corner, worse than usual, his eyebrows doing crazy dancing when he spoke.

There were a couple of others sat near the bar. And Roberta.

I had met Roberta months ago, on our first evening in the bar. We had gone in there by accident, when we decided to go somewhere different. Different it was.

Roberta was stood by the door dressed in a pink frilly dress and blond wig. Next thing I knew, he had come over, glass of brandy in one hand, cigarette in a long holder in the other.

“You may kiss my hand.” This long bony hand was thrust under my nose.

I tried to be polite and shook the gloved hand vigorously. “Pleased to meet you.”

“I am Roberta. Robert by day, temptress by night. Is this your girlfriend? She is very beautiful.”

“I know.”

I spent much of the night avoiding Roberta from that point on. Then the day we signed the contract to live above, we realised Roberta was there to.

“Great. Living with a hundred year old transvestite. Perfect.”

So, bearing all that in mind, my worst nightmare came true when Roberta came up to us. It was obviously army day as he was wearing a camouflage dress, hat and thigh length boots. “Now you have settled in, I think it’s about time the kitchen got a good clean. How about half past eight tomorrow morning? It won’t take long with the two of us.”

“OK.” I was way too scared to say no and unsure about the way it was described as the ‘two of us.’

Of course, she thought this was hysterical.

“Don’t think I’m coming down at that time. Anyway, he probably won’t be there. Look at him.”

Roberta had moved away from the bar. The DJ had started playing. There was a pole in the middle of the dance floor and Roberta was draped around it, trying hard to suck on a brandy through a long pink straw. Legs wrapped round the pole and rolling a tongue trying to be sexy. Roberta was beckoning for any of the people watching him to join in.

No one did.

It looked more like someone’s Grandma auditioning for Spearmint Rhino. I did worry if he danced too hard he might pop a hip.

We were back in the flat before midnight and asleep shortly after.

“Don’t forget we have to be up early in the morning to help with the cleaning.”

She was already asleep.

It was about quarter to nine when I finally gave up trying to wake her. I had thrown on shorts and a T-shirt, fully expecting to be doing it on my own.

I went down the stairs and through the lounge. There was someone in the kitchen.

But nothing prepared me for the next sight. Roberta was on her hands and knees scrubbing the floor. Dressed in wig and full make up. If that wasn’t bad enough, he or she or whatever it was also wearing a rubber French maid’s outfit, fishnets and huge black heels.

“Morning.” And so cheerful. Yellow rubber gloves that were trimmed with fur completed the ensemble. “Sleep well?”

I so wished I was still asleep. This could not be real. What had we done?

“Uh, yes. Thanks.”

“Can you just finish the washing-up?”

I didn’t dare say no. Roberta was talking to me about the flat and jobs and like everything was so normal. Like it was the most natural thing in the world for him to be dressed like that talking to a man in shorts and T-shirt about mundane things.



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