Sven Goes to War. Part 6. Dress You Up
On the last day of The Swiss Card Sharp Summer School Stanley and Sven threw caution to the wind, what are they going to do, throw us out on our skinny white butts?, and skived off.
They went first to the mudflats where seals gambolled and mudskippers skipped and where, in the shadow of the Saltburn-by-the-Sea Nuclear Power Plant Stanley stripped down to his underpants, given, he said, eyes cast down, to his mother by Mr Goransky the owner of Saltburn-by-the-Sea Boys Outfitters, Clothes for *ALL* Occasions, in return for sexual favours, part of her psychosis being that on nights which harboured a full moon she would go out in my own flippin’ cagoule and no knickers to speak of and give herself arse over tit to the first willing man she came across, [flirtatious come-hither voice, index fingers manically circling nipples] ‘suits you sir, I love a comb-over, and pimples!, now why don’t you bend me over this here groyne, really, I’m a bugger for a rigid hydraulic structure, but mind out for me barnacles, precious to me they are, barnacles, they way they clamp, suck, succulent, suck you off, sir,’ Stanley sniffed, looked surprised to see his fingers still on his nipples, rotating clockwise, now if we’re going to be friends its best you know all out about me, warthogs and all and then he strode purposefully out to sea.
And out to sea.
And out to sea.
And having gone some distance, the land performing a sustained and graceful descent on this part of the coast, Stanley turned and, placing his hands on his hips, spreading apart his legs, so that he formed a kind of star, Antares, Pleiades, Betelgeuse, like one of the celestial bodies Sven had longed for on those sweltering Summer nights when he had lain wide awake and alone on the fire escape outside his room staring up at the sky, bless me Stanley for I have sinned and shouted,
And then he was gone, swallowed by the water, everything that is good is taken away from me, and will be taken away, and will be taken away, before his arms came back up out like pistons, a resurrection, a miracle.
It was twenty-five minutes later when Stanley returned, hair slick, dripping drips, sporting goose bumps from his toes upwards, chicken skin, skin on skin, please don’t let sin, but let me in.
Marching on the spot to keep warm his mouth moved to the beat of his pumping arms and legs.
When he, I, did, do, the swim proper he, I, would have to have goose fat spread all over my body, [bellowed] like a Christmas goose and somebody to follow behind me in an assistance boat
row, row, row the boat
the owl and the pussycat
gently down the stream
went to sea in a beautiful pea green
for life is but a dream
because I don’t want to make a flippin’ wrong turn and end up in flippin’ Iceland, the flippin’ Faro Islands or even flippin’ Cuba.
And laughing merrily, as dry as he was going to get, you see this?, crotch rot, a swimmer’s curse, water in the ears, and up the bum, its like shitting seawater sometimes, he pulled Sven up from the sand, Let’s bounce and shimmy, and he taught Sven, then and there, there and then, a dance he had learnt from a Cuban sailor, Jorge Felix Hernandez, hailing originally from Havana but now captaining tugs on the Humber estuary, one of me ma’s conquests, took him up the arse with four packs of Polo Mints elastic banded together, so me da told me, for me own good, like don’t try this at home, on your own, I mean fook, da, who do you think I am?
Who do you think I am? Sven echoed.
And then the two boys danced, laughing, because as Stanley pointed out, this dance was basically just moving your feet real quick but it feels good.
And they felt good.
Because his dad would be working and because today was the day his mum volunteered at the Lunatic Asylum Up On The Hill, due to all the friggin’ cuts someone has to push the Drugs Trolley and it isn’t going to be the Prime Minister of this dark and dusted land, Harrods Delivery, I’ll give you franchising Harrods delivery!, Sven said they could sneak up to his narrow room on the third floor above Delicious Gifts and no one would be any the wiser or the worse off for it.
He thought, Sven said, they could watch one of the Magnum PI episodes he had prerecorded on VHS Cassette, The Ugliest Dog in Hawaii or The Curse of the King Kamehameha Club or From Moscow to Maui etc, or if you’re notpartial to a bit of Tom Selleck, (and how could he not be?) they could search down the back and sides of the old sofa in the downstairs living room which might have looked up to date in the 70s but sure-as-tits-are-tits looks like we’re living on the set of The Liver Birds, cue Nerys Hughes, cue Polly James, Liverpool birds beat all the rest, for 1p and 2p coins which they could gamble our luck with down at Ginny’s Arcade but Stanley, then, having let him run on, told Sven to shut the flip up because there’s something I’ve got to show you.
Stanley had been carrying a cardboard suitcase around with him all day which Sven had naturally assumed contained some specialised swimming equipment (flippers, mask, octopus and stingray deterrent, plastic screw-in knob thing to stop salt water going up your bum) but now Stanley lifted the case up onto the bed and opened up the lid.
“What do you think?” he said.
Then he took out:
- a long yellow dress with flowers on it
- a pair of yellow shoes
- a black bra with matching yellow panties
- a pair of high heeled shoes
- a large straw sun hat with plastic daisies and a canary sticking out from the rim
“They’re for you. Not your Dead Sister’s. Yours. The start of your wardrobe. Even Myrna Loy started somewhere. With a single stocking I seem to remember… Now, come on mate. Try them on.”
Sven was gobsmacked and telling Stanley to turn his back, after all I am a lady, he got changed on a nine-pence.
When he was allowed to turn around again, I’m going flippin’ dizzy mate, Stanley did that thing with his nipples again, wolf whistled, just call me Teen Wolf, and grabbing Sven by the hand, brooking no brook, pulled him down the stairs and out onto the street, eyes forward, shoulders back, chest out, and act like the flip you mean it, they paraded up and down the front, past Ginny’s Palace, past Chippy Chips, past The Foetus Museum, past the shop which sold the huge sausage rolls which no one knew the name of but called it Arkady’s, if you’re going out, love, grab me a sausage roll from Arkady’s, a big fucker, I’ve got a right hunger on me, after the owner, a Russian from Crimea, who had lost both his sons in the Chechen war, one a bullet in the heart, one a cut finger that had gone septic, first he’d lost his hand, then his arm, then his shoulder, the doctor’s only stopped the cutting when there was almost none of him left, poor bugger, and Stanley destined for the army too, poor bugger, and soon, too soon, thanks to me da, and this day, in fact, a leaving present for his friend, although he hadn’t said it yet, wanted him to be proud of himself, spectacular, for all the hurt he had had caused to him, and he was spectacular.
They were spectacular.
And when Art Fiegelman, the fisherman, I specialise in crustaceans, cod fishermen are two a penny but it takes real skill to manage a hold full of crustaceans, doffed his cap to Stanley and asked him who the young lady he was stepping out with was and did she have a sister, Stanley, quick as a flash, said that she didn’t, that this lady was one of a kind, one in a million, his love.
And one day when he was older, when they were older, grown up and knew about such things, and not been sent off to war, bang bang, sorry son, you’re dead, he was going to marry her, so help me God, so God help me, so please God, I don’t want to go.
Dress You Up - Madonna - https://youtu.be/mWtpd8mS5jw
Image from Pixabay- https://pixabay.com/photos/seal-beach-waves-water-surf-2243104/