CHURCH PLAYERS 10
Everyone clustered in the backroom doorway to stare at Vince.
“Come in, come in,” he said grandly, seeming unaware of their dumbstruck expressions. “I’ll just run through what’s needed to get this sorry play resurrected and then you can get down to it. Chop-chop. Quickly now! Time’s short.”
“You can’t just walk in and order us about,” Gordon said. “You left.”
“And now I’m back, and just in time, methinks, to save this floundering Group from sinking into oblivion…”
“Who the hell do you think you are?” Bill asked, poking his head over Gordon’s shoulder. “We’re not floundering!”
“Your Producer, of course. It’s my job to…”
“We already have a producer,” Gavin said.
“What?” Vernon scrunched his eyes up to find the dissident. “I don’t know you, sir. Will you please stop interfering in something that doesn’t concern you.”
Gavin drew an angry breath and I put my hand on his arm. Someone said, “Tell him, Jenny.”
I cleared my throat. “It’s like this, Vernon. You were our producer of the Shakespeare thing—”
“A Tribute to the Bard, written by my good self,” he chipped in, in case we’d forgotten.
“—and as you…um…disappeared—”
“Took a Sabbatical,” he corrected.
“—we had to find someone else,” I said, at my most tactful. “George—”
“Who’s taking my name in vain?” asked a jovial voice as a hand landed heavily on my shoulder. “I’ve come to a decision. Jenny. What’s done is done, but next time you take it into your pretty little head to make a managerial decision, run it past me first, hmmmm?”
I twisted round to glare at him. Condescending jerk!
There were murmurs of disapproval and he smiled his toothpaste ad smile, holding a supermarket bag on high.
“I’ve brought a selection of cakes as a good will gesture. Time to draw a line in the sand and stop acting like school kids! Somebody put the kettle on. We’ll have a quick brew and then do a run-through, kind of limber up for tonight’s show. We’ll do our very best, free or otherwise….”
“It will have to be a damn sight better than last Saturday. That was an utter and complete disaster,” Vernon said, putting his specs on so he could see George clearly. “I know you now, you’re the man who gave that silly sick-making speech at the end…”
“How dare you!” George yelled after a frozen moment of surprise. “I don’t know you. Who are you?”
“Your Producer,” Vernon said, exasperated. “How many more times do I have to say it?”
“Liar!” George spat, drawing himself to his full height, jabbing his chest with his thumb. “Me! I’m the Producer. Me!”
“You, sir, are an upstart who usurped my position in my absence,” Vernon said grandly. “You couldn’t produce a rabbit from a hat even if it surrendered!”
I was struck by how alike they were in manner and stature. Both red in the face. Talk about not acting like kids!
“Tweedledum and Tweedledee,” Jon murmured.
“Insolent boy!” Vernon said, beating George to it.
“Hey, come on now, boys!” I said, doing my peacekeeper thing. “You’re not in the playground—”
“Act like grown men and pull together,” Gordon said. “We’ve a play to put on…”
“I know that! I’m the Producer,” Vernon said.
“Not on your nelly!” George spat. “I’m the Producer!”
“How about you be the Director, George?” I said, thinking I’d neatly solved the problem. What’s in a name?
“Director?” he asked, eyes narrowing thoughtfully. “Fine by me. You,” he jerked his head at Vernon. “You put the thing together in a satisfactory manner, and me, as Director, directs. In other words, tells you what to do.”
Vernon snorted like a war horse and I thought hostilities were going to continue.
“I’ll tell you both this,” Mr Jenkins said angrily, pushing through the bodies clustered in the doorway. “I draw the line at mopping up blood on me floors. Any more of this, and I’m sending for the police.”
This remark acted like a bucket of cold water. There was immediate silence. Vernon and George looked shocked.
“Right,” I said, taking charge before they recovered. “Time to draw a line in the sand. We’ll all have a cuppa to calm us down and then we’ll get busy on a run through. Sorry to have been a trouble, Mr Jenkins.”
“I’m holding you responsible, Mrs …er, for the good behaviour of these two…two….”
“Yeah, hard to think of a word to describe ‘em,” Gavin said, earning a glare.
“Put the kettle on, Gavin!” I snapped.
“Won’t fit,” he said, grinning.
“You know what they say about tea,” Gordon said. “It cures all, but I’m thinking you’ll have to make it mighty strong!”
To be continued…
Copyright © Betty Woodcock 2016
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