Club Tropicana

Left/Right

1 September 13 words: Michael Eaton
Nottingham Council House's guardians have a late night chat
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Did you see that? All over us.

I can smell it from here. Chicken vindaloo
and half a dozen pints of lager.

Thought we’d got away with it tonight.

It has been quiet.

Well, they all meet up at Cloughie these days.

Can’t go wrong there, can they?
Allus getting us two mixed up.

Don’t see why. No crisis about my
identity. I’m Left.

That depends on how you look
at it. There’s some say I am.

Never! You only have to look at us.

Depends on where you’re standing.
Councillors coming out the chamber
reckon as how I’m the one on the left.

You’re the Toffs’ Left. I’m the
People’s Left. I’ve never been Right.
I mean, I am right, because I’m Left.

What does it matter any more?

Aye. We’re surplus to requirements
these days.

Still, could be worse.

Tell me how?

My cousin’s head’s nailed
to a wall in Wollaton Hall.

At least he’s out of the cold.

And nobody spews over his paws.

I’m thinking of putting in for a transfer.

Bit late for that. Who’d have you?

I rather fancy Trafalgar Square.

You think you could hack it in
the metropolitan league?

I’ve still got my pride.

That, brother, is where you are
wrong... Unfortunately.

Never too late.

Face it: this is our place. We’re provincials.
Quit your dreaming. I have.

That’s where we differ.
I don’t have a heart of stone.

Oh yeah? Get some sleep. The trams’ll
be clattering around Slab Square
again in an hour or so.

As his comrade drops off, LEFT muses:

What have I missed, stuck out here all these years in this bleddy dump? I could have been something. A symbol. On the shield of a crusader. On the shirt of an England defender. I’d have even made more of an impression stamped on a new-laid egg – at least I’d have been rampant. I should be marking my territory on the wide savannah...

I could murder a wildebeest.

The approaching click-clack of high heels.

(cont. increasingly excited) What’s that?
Wake up, comrade!

You what?

Don’t you feel it?

Oh yes! I know what you mean.

For the first time in years I’m coming alive.

Nah... It’s only a legend.

That don’t mean it can’t be true.

It’s never happened before.

That don’t mean it won’t happen tonight.
What’s the rule? Remind us of our rule!

It has to be someone... Pure!
Intact! Untainted!

Males don’t count, do they?

Course not. If lads were included we’d
both have had laryngitis long since.

Could this be the one?

She’s coming our way.

What if she just walks past?
Would that qualify?

No. It has to be a definite stroke.

What if she accidentally brushes
her arm against us?

No. It has to be a deliberate fondle.

What if she only chooses one of us?
Does the other get to, you know, join in?

No. It has to be a determined choice.

Left or Right.

The time-honoured tale of Nottingham
town tells that the touch of a virgin
will make the lion roar.

(clearing his throat noisily)

It’s been so long. Am I up to it?

Come to me, chucky chicken!
You know it’s right.

Turn to the left, dearest duck!
Embrace my powerful mane! Yes!
lets out a satisfying bellowing roar.

The Bell of LITTLE JOHN strikes the hour