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Sheryl's Last Stand By Kerrie Noor Characters: 4989

Updated: 2018-02-07 12:01

'Not a bloody thing, I told you, I went to the....'

'There's no need to shout, Sheryl, or for that matter, wear a face like a smacked arse, ' Beatrice added, with a loud voice.

'Frances said...' the waitress continued.

'You know, ' continued Beatrice. 'If you just bothered a bit about your appearance, I'm sure you'd feel better.'

Sheryl wondered if the people across the road could hear her.

'Frances said, ' added the waitress, 'she was going to sort him out, starting with his so-called "collection".'

'Oh, ' said Beatrice, remembering why she didn't like Frances.

'And do you know what the old boy said? The only person touching his "collection" was him, and if he wanted to go to bed wrapped in tin foil, he would.'

Beatrice remembered why she liked Rugby so much.

Lindsey nudged her sister. 'You wanna aspirin or a smoke?'

'He said he would kill any damn bugger who was going to argue with that! And then he told her where to shove her porridge!'

'Aye well, he always did have a good imagination, ' said Mavis.

'That's Rugby for you, ' muttered Edna.

The waitress moved on, leaving a whiff of fried chips behind, reminding Sheryl that she was still hungry. She wondered why she put up with the Saturday morning shopping, why she was sitting there taking all this verbal abuse. And when did drinking with an old man become a crime? She thought about fish and chips, a smoke and enough beer to make her clothes tight.

'You heard from Martin lately?' asked Lindsay.

'Sheryl knows about the baby!' said Beatrice, still in loud mode. Lindsey, to Beatrice's mind was deaf; the truth was that Lindsay had no idea how to listen, or even pretend to.

'But did you hear about the wedding?' asked Lindsey, as she took a gulp of her drink. 'It's supposed to be a big 'DO'!' she muttered through chocolate lips.

'It's not that big a do, ' said Beatrice. 'They're holding it at the Argyll! That place has Irn-Bru on tap and karaoke on a Friday night. Their idea of a buffet is a plate of chipolatas, cheese and onion dip, and a packet of crisps. '

'The Argyll's been taken over, ' said a voice from the other table. 'They have a new chef, and they don't do chips after seven, only potato wedges.'

'You knew and you never thought to tell me?' said Sheryl.

'It's a rush job, ' yelled the waitress from the back of the cafe. 'She don't want to show in her wedding dress.'

'Show?' Beatrice exclaimed. 'She'll be six months gone by then, the on

ly thing she'll be feeling on her honeymoon will be heartburn and the small sensation of piles.'

A chuckle ran through the café.

'They've asked everyone, ' said Lindsey. 'Even you.' She slid an invitation card across the table.

The card was black with gold writing, some would say arty-farty. Sheryl ran her fingers along the crimped edges, and wondered how long the aspirin would take to work.

'She made it herself... ' said Lindsey.

'Pretentious crap!' said Beatrice, taking the card off Sheryl. 'Mind you, that doesn't surprise me, Martin always was a prat. I mean any man who has a hyphenated name.'

'SHE MADE IT HERSELF, ' Lindsey continued. 'Imogene IS a calligrapher.'

'How wonderful, ' said Sheryl. 'He's having a baby with someone who writes like a monk.'


Beatrice looked at her cards, leant back in her chair and savoured her dram. George was all that was left, and he looked smug. Beatrice aimed her smile at him. She was as familiar with his weather-beaten face as she was with the moves in wrestling, and she knew what was coming next. Beating George was going to be the highlight of the night, and she intended to enjoy every moment.

Frances lit another cigarette. Why did she come? Poker was not her game; she preferred whist nights, but as there was only the three of them tonight from the 'aces high' card club, she was outvoted. She let out a small trail of smoke and thought about the following day. Beatrice would be in The Stables by lunchtime, crashing her wheelchair through the tables as the school children queued by the take away counter. Her usual ploy was to barge to the front of the queue and insist on paying for her 99p tea and cake offer with the winnings. Frances thought about taking the day off. Watching Beatrice count out coppers with a queue behind her was as painful as listening to her Uncle Rugby after he had spent an afternoon exploring his malt collection.

'Play your hand, George, ' said Beatrice, draining her glass.

George met her stare.

'I'll raise you!' he said, pushing forward a 2p.

She pushed forward her coin and another, 'I'll see you!'

'Where's Sheryl?' asked Frances, 'Upstairs; or still at Rugby's?'

'She is at her belly dancing class!' said Beatrice.

'Ballet dancing?' said George. 'Isn't she a bit old for that tutu, dying swan stuff?'

'BELLY DANCING!' snapped Beatrice. 'You know, of Arabia!'

George looked blank.

'Sequins, bras, dance of the seven veils?'

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