Sidney Takes Leicester Square - Part Two - A Craven Danger Mystery
Wed, 27 Nov 2013
“But I’ll tell ya about London first. That was the fun part of the war. The rest I’d rather not talk about. Leicester Square. Now that’s something to talk about! Yowza! What a time we had!
“One thing I’ll never forget about London, FDR, was sittin’ in them seats at the Odeon theater. They were covered in leopard skin. I’m not kiddin’. They must of cleaned out a whole jungle-full of leapards just for them seat-covers. Imagine that. I even took a picture of the seat I was sittin’ in so I could send it home to my mother. It was the darndest thing, FDR. And the only thing better them those seats was Miriam, the usherette.
“I was in love, FDR. Only Miriam didn’t know it at first. It wasn’t until I came back to see the Phantom of the Opera for the tenth time that she came over and asked me what the matter was.
“‘You okay?’ she says to me. ‘Sure,’ I say. ‘Now that you’re here.’
“I know what you’re thinkin’, FDR. What dame is gonna fall for a creaky line like that? And coming from a schlub like me? This sweetie Miriam. That’s who. I could see it in her eyes. All starry like. Like I was from another planet and she had better take me under her wing for protection before I go and get myself hurt.
“Then she says, ‘I find it a little unusual for an American soldier to be spending so much time at the cinema, what with all the fun trouble that’s to be had on the outside. Isn’t’ that a soldiers dream before going off to battle? A girl on each arm, and a belly full of ale, as you swagger down the lane without a care in the world.”
“‘Nah,’ I says. “I never seen no percentage in overdoing it. I’m the cautious type.”
“‘I see,’ she says. ‘Well, how about you step out of your box tonight? Not too far out, mind you. I don’t want you to get spoiled. Just far enough to buy a lady - and I do mean lady, so don’t be getting any other ideas in your juvenile head - no matter how adorable you look in that uniform. Just far enough to buy a lady a drink and maybe have a dance or two at the local dance hall.’
“I tell ya, FDR. At that point I think the leopard skin seats was beginning to have an affect on me, ‘cause my heart starts poundin’ and my chest gets all puffed up and all I wanted to do was pounce. But I restrained myself and says to her, and I ain’t kiddin’ ya, I says, ‘And just what army’s gonna stop me!’ I blushed when I said it, ‘cause I ain’t never been that bold with a lady before.
“Then she tells me to meet her outside the theater in exactly one hour. So I have us synchronize our watches like we was going out on patrol or something, and the timing was everything. And it was. ‘Cause I didn‘t wanna miss that night for nothin‘
“And in exactly one hour there she was. Dressed more like one of them dolls up on the screen and not like an usherette at all. And when she flashed me that smile of hers? Man, I could of been one of them giant balloons in the Thanksgiving Day parade. That‘s how big my head got.
“‘Ready, Mr. American soldier?' she says to me. ‘The dance hall is only a short walk from here. I hope you know how to jitterbug.‘
“Jitterbug? I have to say, FDR. The only type a dancin’ I ever done was on top of my granny’s shoes when I was five. One, two, three. One, two three. That was Granny’s idea of babysittin’. She’d wear me out so’s all I could think about was layin’ down for a nap. But jitterbuggin’? Hoo, boy, FDR, what a night I was in for.”