That's Entertainment

 

A Captain Scarlet short story

By Marion Woods

 

 

 

 Captain Grey looked at Symphony Angel with dismay.  “Did I hear you right?”

She nodded briskly.  “You know you did.  Put us down on your running order, Brad.”

“Now, Symphony, far be it from me to deter anyone from participating, but… well, It might not be that good an idea.”

“Why ever not? Yesterday you said you were desperate for people to participate and here I am enrolling the two of us.”

Captain Grey blanched slightly and sighed. “Okay, but don’t blame me if there’s a public outcry.”

Symphony laughed. “Oh don’t be so melodramatic, Brad.” She winked at him. “Trust me, it’ll be okay.”

 

~oo0oo~

 

“And you let her?” Lieutenant Green wailed.

          “I couldn’t really stop her, could I?” Grey justified himself.  “She sings perfectly well, in fact she’s rather good.”

          She is,” Green said with a bitter emphasis.

          Grey sighed.  “Perhaps there’ll be a Mysteron threat and that segment will be cancelled.”

          “If that is all we can look forward to – we should cancel right now…”

Captain Grey grimaced, that wasn’t what he wanted at all.  He’d worked hard to convince Lieutenant Green that CADS’ next production ought to be a variety or talent show.  He’d sold it as a light-hearted way to recruit new members as well as discovering just what talent there was on the base.  The fact that it was being held on February 14th – had introduced a romantic element to the show as well, with some of the couples on the base taking the opportunity to perform together. 

Grey was planning to sing a selection of romantic ballads. He was proud of his singing voice – he’d been a leading light of the Marineville Light Opera Society, winning applause from his colleagues for his performances in Oklahoma! and South Pacific - and he‘d heard rumours that the Cloudbase Amateur Dramatic Society was considering putting on Calamity Jane (reputedly, with Symphony as the eponymous heroine) and – not having joined in a performance before - he’d thought he would use this opportunity to impress upon them his suitability for a leading role. 

          He was desperate for the occasion to be a success and had been toying with the idea of asking Symphony to perform a duet with him.  There was little chance of that now if she was planning to do something of her own devising. Well, it was all very well… but he really hadn’t expected this.

          He glanced at the lieutenant.  “Do I leave their names on the list?”

          Green sighed. “Yes, I suppose so, but I might have to get Scarlet or Rhapsody to sound out just what they’re planning to do…”

          “Symphony wouldn’t tell me a thing about it,” Grey moaned.  “I think she was enjoying teasing me, if you want the truth.”

          “Oh well, let’s hope that in her case, love is definitely blind and not deaf…”

 

~oo0oo~

 

          “Adam?” Scarlet’s head appeared through the half open door of the Amber Room.

          “He is not here,” Destiny said with a smile, looking up from her book.  “When Symphony finished her duty they went off together.  They were whispering.” She grinned. “Not that that is unusual – but this was a more… childish whispering – like for a joke?”

          Scarlet came in and the door closed behind him with a soft thud.  “Do you know what they’re up to, Juliette?  Adam’s been very cagey the past week or so.”

          Non, but it has something to do with the talent show, I think. I am looking forward to it, aren’t you, Paul?  Harmony is going to do some traditional dancing and Captain Grey’s going to sing.  He is very good…”

          Scarlet flopped onto the sofa.  “Is he?  Green said he was, but I haven’t heard him.” He glanced over as the door to the bathroom slid open and Rhapsody came out.  She smiled at him and joined him on the sofa.

          “Have you two decided what you will do, yet?” Destiny asked.

          “For the show?” Rhapsody shrugged.  “We were toying with doing a Shakespearian scene…”

“Romeo and Juliette?” the Frenchwoman asked with a gay laugh.

          A rose by any other name would smell as sweet…”  Scarlet declaimed, feeling a blush rising in his cheeks.  It wasn’t often that Juliette reminded him of their brief and passionate liaison, especially not when Dianne was about.

“I was thinking more of the wooing scene from ‘Richard III’ – that always sends shivers up my spine…” Rhapsody said briskly – thinking on her feet.  Until she had heard Destiny’s teasing remark the implications of their original choice had not occurred to her.  Scarlet glanced at her, one eyebrow raised in quizzical surprise. “And besides, ‘Romeo and Juliette’ is so clichéd, everyone will expect us to do that. No, I think we’ll go for Tricky Dicky and the Dippy Lady Anne.”

“Huh, you want me to play a hunchback?” Scarlet objected.

          “It would be a real showcase for your talent, Paul,” Dianne said with a glance at her fellow Angel, “to pretend to be a shrunken, deformed and ugly man… and besides, you look cute in tights…”

          Both women laughed. 

Scarlet guessed that Dianne was in some subtle, feminine, way getting her own back and he’d better not start arguing.  He was sure she would only blame him for the change of plan anyway…he could almost hear her reasoning now… ‘If you and Juliette had never been lovers we could have played the scene with impunity’... Yeah, right.

“Have you any idea what Symphony is up to?” he asked Rhapsody, by way of changing the subject.  “Grey was moaning about it again.  She still won’t tell him and it’s impossible to get anything out of Adam either.  She must be threatening to make his life Hell if he talks....”

          “No, but it definitely has something to do with Captain Blue and it’s taking up all of her spare time…”

          “I think that’s what Grey’s worried about,” he confided.  “She entered them under the title – a musical entertainment…”

          “Musical?  Captain Blue? She must’ve been teasing…” Dianne said with a wry grimace.

          “Perhaps he will play an instrument to accompany her singing?” Destiny suggested. She frowned and asked warily, “Does he play an instrument?”

          “I’ve heard him massacre ‘chopsticks’ on a piano…” Scarlet volunteered glumly.

          “Oh dear, that doesn’t bode too well for a successful performance.”

          There was a collective sigh as the three friends contemplated the dreadful reality of Captain Blue’s singing…

 

~oo0oo~

 

          The show was going well.  The auditorium was full and the performances were being beamed around the base to the Amber Room and a couple of standby Lounges.   Colonel White, as the guest of honour, had the best seat in the front row; Doctor Fawn sat alongside him. 

Captain Ochre, who was the stage manager for the evening, whispered to Rhapsody as she waited to go on stage.  “Presumably the doctor’s proximity is to allow emergency first aid to be administered to the commander–in-chief if Blue starts singing…”

          Rhapsody chuckled.  She was waiting to go on stage, dressed in a tall steeple hat, with a long, net veil and the full, high-waisted gown of a 15th Century noblewoman.  Across the stage she could see Paul waiting in the other wings, suitably attired in a dark cotehardie, with long scalloped-edged sleeves and parti-coloured hose, with a bejewelled cap in his hand.   He had taken some convincing that this was the ideal costume – the cotehardie only came down to just above his hips and left little to the imagination. He had become decidedly sulky when faced with the prospect of wearing a codpiece, but she had insisted that it was just the thing and historically accurate… so he had given way with reasonable grace.  He’d refused to wear the shoulder-length wig she’d picked out for him though. 

          The two juggling ensigns completed their routine and left the stage to appreciative applause and Captain Magenta – acting as compare – went out into the spotlight and introduced the next act, setting the scene for the performance to follow.

          Against a projected backdrop of gothic arches Paul made his entrance. It was amazing how successfully such a tall, powerfully built and athletic man was able to make himself shrivel into a lame and halting cripple.  Rhapsody drew a deep breath, he was good and she could only hope she’d do as well.

          Now is the winter of our discontent

          Made glorious summer by this sun of York;

And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house

          In the deep bosom of the ocean buried…”  Paul’s ringing tones spoke the famous opening lines with confidence.

          Rhapsody waited nervously for her cue. 

Across the other side of the stage she could see two people waiting in the wings, watching the performance with interest – Karen and Adam.   They were on next, the last turn before the interval, a decision made by Lieutenant Green who had reasoned that everyone might need a stiff drink afterwards. 

          She just had time to wonder what on earth her friends had planned before she needed to concentrate on her own performance and move, with stately gravity, out towards Paul. 

 

          In the audience Colonel White watched with increasing unease.  When he had opened his programme and read exactly what Scarlet and Rhapsody were to perform, his initial reaction had been concern. 

After the trauma of his Mysteronisation, Captain Scarlet had found it hard to come to terms with his new abilities.  He had doubted his very humanity and experienced a period of understandable disorientation.  It hadn’t lasted long – he was far too good a soldier to shirk his duties – and with the support of his close friends – particularly Rhapsody Angel and Captain Blue – he had pulled through it.    Since that nadir of self-confidence he had shown no further doubts, but the colonel was aware that Scarlet did still – on occasion – question his indestructibility – pushing himself to the limit and testing his remarkable gift.  Now here he was – the man fate had decreed should be unique – speaking lines fuelled by self-loathing, in which he described how he felt set-apart from his fellow man by his physical attributes.   The fact that Scarlet was speaking them so well and with such conviction only made the colonel more uneasy. 

There was a potent chemistry between the two actors that couldn’t quite be disguised, even in this performance, and the colonel watched intently as Rhapsody’s waif-like ‘Lady Anne’ wilted under the verbal brilliance of Scarlet’s over-bearing ‘Richard’.   Confused and bewildered by her would-be suitor, she finally agreed to allow the capering villain to court her – despite the repugnance so evident on her face – and fled the stage.  

          ‘Richard’ sobered instantly and addressed the audience once more. 

As he listened to the well-known words Colonel White could not prevent a slight shudder, as if someone had walked over his grave, when Scarlet came to those telling words:

Upon my life, she finds, although I cannot,

Myself to be a marvellous proper man.

 

Once more the colonel glanced at his neighbour, but Doctor Fawn was watching in rapt attention, thoroughly engrossed in the excellent performance.

The colonel’s uneasy thoughts were interrupted as the lights dimmed and the performance came to an end.  The applause broke out all around him – genuine and unrestrained applause for two clever and talented performers. 

Colonel White joined in as Rhapsody came back on stage, all smiles as she reached for her partner’s hand. 

He sighed.  Maybe I am reading too much into his choice of play?  It can be so hard to second guess Scarlet’s moods.  I’ll have to do a little delving myself and be sure that nothing has brought on an attack of self-doubt again…

 

~oo0oo~

 

          Lieutenant Green joined in the applause for the performance he’d just witnessed.  He had watched his next performers wander in with some trepidation.  He had profound doubts about all of this.  

Symphony and her partner had missed the rehearsals, saying they would do their own lighting and backdrop projection and when he had tried to check out the program Blue had input to the automatic lighting system, he found that it was encrypted.  Only Blue had attended the timing walk-through and he had merely stood with a stop watch and timed out his allotted performance time, humming to himself in his inimitable tuneless style before smiling and leaving.  If it had been anyone other than Captain Blue, Green would have said he was enjoying prolonging their agony…

Now the couple stood at his side, applauding their friends on stage.   Symphony was wearing an ankle-length, velour dressing gown over her costume yet, despite that she looked incredibly sophisticated and elegant in an elaborate wig of piled-high blonde hair.  Captain Blue had his long black coat over his costume, which was apparently some sort of dark suit. 

          Scarlet and Rhapsody finally left the stage and met their friends in the wings.

          “Very nice,” Blue said genially, as his friend pushed passed, adding, “I like your costume…” 

Scarlet glanced in vexation at him and then he and Rhapsody stood out of the way to watch their friends’ performance.  Like everyone else they were filled with a fascinated dread as to what the pair had planned and, for once, Adam had persistently refused to drop any hints – even to his best friend. 

          Captain Magenta went back on stage.   A sense of unsettled anticipation filled the auditorium as the compere began to speak.  After adding his praise and congratulations to Scarlet and Rhapsody he continued, “Ladies and gentlemen, we bring the first half of our show to a close with a musical entertainment, courtesy of Symphony Angel and Captain Blue…” his voice trailed away on an uncertain note.

          Blue chuckled. 

Symphony pressed the remote control handset that controlled their lighting program. The backdrop projection flickered on showing an opulent ballroom.  Orchestral music started playing.   She removed her dressing gown to reveal a demure ball-gown in stiff silver satin, with a high neckline and full, swirling skirt.   Blue shrugged off his coat to reveal an exquisitely tailored frock-coated suit. He offered her his hand and swept her into his arms before they waltzed onto the stage together.

          They danced around the empty set, against the backdrop of the ballroom.   Upright, emotionless and technically perfect, the dancers showed little interest in each other or the music, concluding their dance as the music finished, with polite bows to each other.

          There was a smattering of applause as the music finished and the audience wondered what was next.  Symphony gave an obviously false smile at her partner, fluttering her eyelashes outrageously.   Blue smirked in return. They stood, obviously ill at ease and Symphony smothered a yawn. The impression was created that this state of affairs had been going on for some time.  A ripple of laughter went through the audience.

 The music returned with a flourish, startling the dancers from their near catatonic stances.  It was the bouncy, foot-tapping rhythm of a mambo or a samba.  Aghast, Symphony looked down at her dress – she couldn’t dance to such music in this dress.  She turned horrified eyes on her partner.   Captain Blue looked in consternation at the set as the lights flickered and dimmed and then back at his partner.

The audience stirred – had something gone wrong?   

The backdrop blurred and shimmered, mutating into a wall of dark orange and red flame, writhing continuously across the screen.  Blue’s hands went to Symphony’s shoulders and she raised her hands to lift the wig off her hair.   The audience gasped as a ripping sound filled the auditorium and Symphony’s ball gown fell to the floor to reveal a very skimpy, halter-neck, backless dress, of sultry deep red.  It clung to her figure, revealing her legs and a great deal of cleavage.  

          Blue removed his jacket to reveal an equally vibrant silk waistcoat and deep red cummerbund. Before he discarded it he drew a black fedora from the pocket and set it on his head at a rakish angle.

          They danced three short, energetic Latin American dances, their steps perfectly attuned and their bodies in absolute synchronised movement.

          Then they paused, breathless and Symphony fanned herself, casting shyly inviting glances at her once more gauche escort.  A titter ran through the auditorium as Blue studied the far side of the stage and looked anywhere but at the scantily-clad woman beside him.

          She was obviously less than impressed with his response.

          A new, pulsating Latin rhythm started and as her partner dutifully whirled her round energetically to the music; Symphony began to sing, confiding her state of mind to the audience.

Everybody's mambo crazy
            Cha-cha happy, but I'm lazy
                        I don't dig this frantic Terpsichore.
                                     When I trip the light fantastic
                                                 I don't wanna be gymnastic -
                                                             That's not what a dancing floor is for.
She addressed the next lines to her partner.
            What I got in mind is a big improvement -
                        With the very minimum amount of movement
                                     Let the other couples push and shove….
                                     What I got in mind I think you're gonna love….

 

The tune changed, slowing to the pulsating rhythm of a tango. She grasped Blue’s shoulders and they began to dance with slow, exaggerated movements, which grew more intense as the song progressed until the performance reeked of sensuality. 

I’ve got…
            A new-fangled tango
                        And there's nothing to it
                                     You just sort of …stand there…
                                                 And just sort of …do it
            You stand close together
                        There's no wasted motion.
                                     A new fangled tango -
                                                 An old-fashioned notion.
The floor may be crowded -
            But that doesn't matter.
                        It's not necessary to move -
                                     Don't move, why move?
            It may be crowded
                        But that's all the better!
                                     It's just like romancing, while dancin’…
 

Who’s dancin’?”  Blue muttered archly.

And by now neither of them was moving much at all, yet they were managing to make standing still seem the most erotic activity imaginable on a dance-floor. 

Symphony carried on, teasing the audience with flirtatious glances and swaying provocatively…

 

            You start off with one step

                        And cling to each other…

                                     And you know how one step

                                                 Can lead to another

 

Oh, there's nothing wrong with

            A waltz or fandango

                        But oh, what can come from

                                     A new-fangled tango…

 

            They took the opportunity of the musical break to execute a few dance moves across the stage, which left them entwined closer than ever. Symphony continued.

 

You cling to your partner

            And sway to the rhythm.

                        You can't lose your partner -

                                     'Cause you're right there with him

            You don't have to worry

                        About fast or slow steps -

                                     The nice part about it

                                                 In this dance… you don't need steps.

 

You don't have to worry
            If your dancing won't do
                        It's not what you do do
                                     It's more what you don't do
                        You don't need a waltz
                                     Or a fancy fandango
                                                 You just need your man
                                                             And a new-fangled tango…
 

As the tune played to fade, they completed the dance, finishing with Symphony arched so far back over Blue’s bent knee, as he lunged forward, that her head almost touched the floor.   Both had their hands outstretched, and she supported herself by locking one leg around his waist, the other being against his trailing leg, her ankle twined around his calf.

          The pose was instantly backlit re-creating a classic image of tango dancers.

Then the lights went off and after a heart-beat’s delay of totally astonished surprise, the audience erupted in wild applause and cheers.

 

As the lights came up again the flushed and smiling performers took their bows.  Blue, holding Symphony’s hand stepped back so that she would receive the majority of the acclaim.  The cheering increased as the attractive, scantily-clad Angel dropped a flustered curtsey. Then clutching her partner’s hand she skipped off the stage to join their friends who were cheering lustily in the wings.

          “Where did you get that marvellous costume?” Rhapsody gasped at Symphony, after she had kissed her cheek in congratulation.  “I don’t remember seeing that in the CADS wardrobe…”

          “It wasn’t there, that’s why.  Sarah had it made for me – Adam’s Mother? – well, we sent the measurements and an idea of what we wanted and she got it made… it only arrived the other day – I was starting to panic.”  She grinned at her friend and twirled around.  “It’s rather fine, isn’t it?”

          “I’ll say… I bet you nearly gave the colonel a heart-attack when Adam ripped that ball gown off you!”

          They giggled together like naughty schoolgirls.

“No wonder you were keeping that little performance quiet!” Scarlet was saying cheerfully to Blue. “What happened to ‘keeping a low profile’?” His friend grinned at him.  Scarlet looked across at Symphony who was laughing at something Magenta was saying as he handed her her dressing gown to avoid getting cold.  “You do realise, I hope, that no-one watching the two of you could have any doubt about the nature of your relationship, Adam.”

To his surprise, Blue’s grin merely widened.  “Just goes to prove what excellent actors we both are then, doesn’t it?” Scarlet raised an eyebrow in query.  “You gave me the heebie-jeebies doing that scene… I was hard-pressed to stop myself coming on stage and ‘sorting you out’ for bullying Dianne…”

          Scarlet laughed.  “It did go even better than I’d hoped…”

          Lieutenant Green joined in their conversation. “You’d better hope the colonel believes that you were both just acting…or you might find yourself with some explaining to do,” he warned Captain Blue genially.

          “Oh, come on, Seymour – even the old man couldn’t believe that was for real…” Blue protested.

          Symphony cleared her throat with menace.  “You mean you were faking it, Svenson?” She asked with her tongue firmly in her cheek.

          “Well, no, I mean… we were only dancing…” He saw her thin eyebrows rise in displeasure. “Weren’t we?” he concluded lamely.

          Rhapsody drew a sharp breath.  “Oooh, Adam, I do believe you have put your foot in it…” She laughed and linked arms with Paul.  “However, if you two thespians would buy us two chorus girls a drink at the bar –we might be prevailed on to forgive you… in time.”

          “My Lady, will you do me the honour of accompanying me, forthwith, towards the cornucopia of refreshments the theatre management have so thoughtfully provided?” Paul said, with a slight bow. “I’ve heard rumours that the colonel’s granted a liquor license…” he added as an extra enticement.

          “Verily, My Lord… I’m parched.”

          “A reassuring, if somewhat anachronistic reply,” he teased.  “Come on, Karen, take my other arm.  Here I am… a thorn between two roses… You coming too, Adam?”

          Blue gave a crooked smile.  “I wouldn’t want to get in your way, Paul…” he murmured as he trailed after the playful trio.

          Scarlet glanced back over his shoulder. “You won’t be in the way, condiscípulo, you’ll be paying…”

          “That’s the story of my life…” Blue said without rancour.  “Okay then… let’s go and… party- on!”

“Oh, and Adam… don’t forget your coat…” Paul said winking his eye.

 

~oo0oo~

 

Colonel White noted his two senior officers entering the refreshment bar.  He was surprised to see both Angels hanging on Captain Scarlet’s arms, amused to see that Scarlet was wearing Blue’s coat over his costume and more than a little relieved to see that Symphony’s costume was covered by a practical dressing-gown, of a pale peach-colour with delicate, brightly coloured flowers embroidered on the neckline, cuffs and pockets.  He sensed the disappointment of the men standing around the bar though.

          “Well,” the colonel said, “here are the undoubted stars of the evening - welcome!  What will you have?” He turned to the bartender and indicated that he was buying the drinks for the new arrivals.

The Angels had their allotted glass of chilled white wine, Scarlet a pint of best bitter and Blue a half of lager.  Even on the rare occasions alcohol was permitted on Cloudbase, there were strict limits as to the amount everyone was allowed.

 They stood close to the colonel in an uneasy group, sipping their drinks.  Symphony’s attention was quickly claimed by a group of young officers, all anxious to compliment her on her performance.  Captain Blue stood at her side, in a silent assertion of his claim on the popular young woman.

Like some alpha-male lion guarding his mate…Scarlet thought, hiding his smile by drinking deep from his beer glass.

          Colonel White congratulated Scarlet and Rhapsody on their performance. “Richard is always such a difficult character to play, I’ve thought.  He’s a charmer, but a thoroughly evil one and he can never quite recapture his initial brilliance once he is king. Don’t you agree, Captain?”

          Scarlet opened his mouth to reply and closed it again.  “I never really thought about it, Colonel,” he said after a pause.  “It’s not a play I know very well, to be honest.”

          “Then your performance had even more to commend it,” White reasoned.  “Why did you choose the play?”

          I didn’t – Dianne did… sort of.”

          Rhapsody, who had been hovering close to Scarlet throughout this conversation chipped in.  “Yes, we had thought to do Romeo and Juliet – until it was pointed out that it’s very clichéd to do that on Valentine’s Day.  I’ve always liked this wooing scene – we did the play at school, you see - and I thought it would make a change from the usual slushy Valentine fare… and that Paul would make a good Richard III.”

          “Hardly a flattering comparison, Rhapsody,” White pointed out, but not too unkindly. “I’m certain Captain Scarlet would object to being compared to such an inhuman monster...” They both stared at him.  “Surely, if anyone of Spectrum’s officers were ever to be compared to Shakespeare’s Richard of Gloucester for sheer, malicious evil, it would be our unfortunate, erstwhile colleague, Captain Black?”

          Rhapsody gasped, a slow flush starting in her cheeks.  “Oh my!  I’m sorry, Paul – I never thought about that aspect of it!  I mean… it never occurred to me at all - to me you are just… Paul Metcalfe!  Surely nobody would be stupid enough to read anything into it?”   She stared at him in dismay, as she thought of the unpleasant consequences her choice might have for her lover.  “You should have said if that was why you were reluctant to do it. I’m sorry…” Her beautiful face was such a mixture of embarrassment and misery that Scarlet took her hand and raised it to his lips – despite the colonel’s presence.

          “You’re worrying unduly, Dianne.  My reluctance was because I wasn’t that familiar with the play, and because I hogged the stage and… well, quite honestly, I feel an absolute twerp in this costume!”

          Colonel White smiled.  He felt happier now that his concerns over Scarlet’s state of mind had proved unfounded.  “Well, whatever the reason for your choice, you were both excellent.  Well done.” He raised his wine glass in salute to them. 

          Symphony turned back to the group from accepting the plaudits of various males in the room and the colonel turned his attention to the other couple.

“Allow me to add my congratulations to those of Doctor Fawn and Lieutenants Cerise and Claret and the rest of the male population of Cloudbase – or so it would seem.  You were exquisite, Symphony Angel.”

          “Why, thank you, sir…” she blushed.  “Everyone’s been saying how much they liked our dancing…”

          Blue smiled down at her excited face.  “I am sure they really meant – your dancing…” he said affectionately. “Unless I’m mistaken, I think everyone was just grateful I didn’t sing?”

          “Well, you have to admit, Adam… you aren’t the most tuneful of singers,” Scarlet said with a sympathetic shrug.

          I didn’t know you could dance,” Rhapsody admitted.  She smiled up at the handsome American.  “If Karen was exquisite, you were a revelation,” she complimented him.

          “Did Karen teach you?” Scarlet asked.

          Blue smiled as his girlfriend interrupted indignantly, “No, I did not – he can dance perfectly well, when he puts his mind to it!  How many years of dancing lessons did you have, Adam?”

          “Too many,” he admitted with a shudder, “once a week for what seemed an eternity.  My mother insisted we all learn ‘proper dancing’.”

          “And you, Symphony – where did you learn?” the colonel asked.

          “Oh, my mom taught me – mostly.  And Adam helped me brush up what I knew before we did this, of course.”  She smiled into her partner’s lovingly proud eyes with a dreamy expression as she recalled the long hours of ‘practising’ they had put in…

           “Were you ever a dancer, colonel?” Rhapsody asked brightly, determined to cover her friend’s indiscretion.  “I must say there’s something in the way you move that suggests you might be a good dancer…”

          Scarlet stared at her, his eyebrows raised in disbelief. “How can you tell if a person can dance by the way they move normally?  You never thought Adam could dance – you just said so – but he can - we just saw him…”

          She dismissed his protest with a shake of her head.  “Adam’s always been light on his feet, for a big guy… more than you, anyway,” she added teasingly.

“Hey, if I ripped your frock off and tangoed you around the room – I bet we’d get as good a reception as the Yankees…” Scarlet responded with a wink at his friends.

          “If you do that, Captain, you’ll find yourself spending the rest of Valentine’s Day in the brig,” the colonel warned, with just a hint of amusement. “Besides, I think you would be hard-pressed to improve on what was an excellent performance.”  White paused and then said, “It quite took me back to the days when my dear wife and I used to go dancing regularly. We were good – we even won a few amateur competitions …” 

          The quartet stared in open-mouthed surprise at this glimpse into the colonel’s private life – normally he was the most guarded of men.  They hardly knew what to say, but, apparently he wasn’t perturbed by their silence.  He continued in a wistful tone, “Of course, dancing in competitions or in dance halls isn’t a patch on dancing at home… to your favourite music, alone in your apartment… late into the night… with your bed all ready to tumble into when you are tired – of dancing…”

          Scarlet nearly choked on his beer.  White snapped back to reality.  He fixed Blue and Symphony with an appraising stare.  “But, obviously, you two wouldn’t do any such thing…”

          Blue shook his head vehemently, but Symphony met her commander’s eye with her own honest gaze.  She was not in the mood to dissemble with him.

Rather to everyone’s surprise White gave an indulgent smile.  “You did say that your mother taught you to dance, Symphony?  And does she still like to dance herself?  I must ask her if she’d like to accompany me one evening… it’s some time since I went dancing with a beautiful woman and your performance has reminded me of just how much fun it can be… I’m feeling positively inspired to have a go myself…” Satisfied that he had managed to intrigue every one of his audience, Colonel White nodded his farewell and walked away to rejoin Doctor Fawn. 

The four young officers stared at his retreating back.

          "Well, I'll be..." Scarlet muttered, “there’s life in the old boy yet…”

          "You and the rest of us..." Rhapsody agreed.  "You never quite know with the colonel, do you?

          "Do you think he was serious?" Blue asked.  One pale eyebrow rose quizzically.

          "You mean to say that you can't tell?" Symphony asked in considerable surprise.  "Honestly... men – they haven’t got a clue, have they, Dianne?"

            Scarlet laughed and gave a dismissive shrug.  "Come on, girls, drink up!   You still owe us that drink, Svenson."

          That had the effect of relieving the tension. "I‘d hoped you’d forgotten about that!" Blue admitted ruefully.

          "Have you ever known me forget something that important?" Scarlet teased him as he led the way back to the bar.

          Across the room, Fawn glanced at the colonel as he came to stand at his side.  They’d be going back into the auditorium shortly for the second half of the programme.  "Everything all right, Charles?" he asked.

          White noted that, once again, he had underestimated his chief medical officer.  He gave a slight nod.  "Oh yes, Edward, everything is all right," he reassured him with a faint smile. He glanced at the laughing quartet of officers and Angels enjoying themselves after their exertions.  “In fact, I would say it is perfectly all right.”

 

 

         

 

 

 

Author’s Notes:

               The song in the story is ‘A NEW FANGLED TANGO’ by Matt Dubey and Harold Karr.  Taken from the Broadway Show "Happy Hunting" (1956).

The only recording I have heard of it is by Lena Horne and if anyone wonders about the tune, I found this excerpt from that recording at:

 

http://www.oldies.com/product/view.cfm/id_28412.html

 

It was the song that inspired the fiction. 

 

The picture is taken from The Net as well – and tweaked a little to fit the storyline and characters a little more. Unfortunately I cannot find where I originally got it from.

          The characters from the Captain Scarlet and The Mysterons™ TV series remain the property of the TV companies.  Sarah Svenson and Mrs. Amanda Wainwright, both mentioned in the text, were created by Chris Bishop.

          I also owe Chris a debt for finding me an ending to the story - and my thanks to Caroline Smith, for beta-reading it all for me.   Any inconsistencies, errors or omissions are my fault.

          Thank you for reading.

 

Marion Woods

February 2005

 

         

Other stories from Marion Woods

BACK TO FAN FICTION PAGE

 

“FAN FICTION ARCHIVES” PAGE 

 

Any comments? Send an E-MAIL to the SPECTRUM HEADQUARTERS site