Another exercise for the Faber Quickfic contest. The challenge photo was of a young couple dancing, probably from the 1940s. This is what I wrote.
A Good Time Girl
My granny was a Good Time Girl, she told me that herself. ‘Use capitals’, she’d said, ‘it was the name of our troupe.’ She’d fought her war by dancing, church halls, bases, work canteens. The nurses said they liked her, she laughed a lot and joked. Some of the other ladies were not so keen. She flirted with their boyfriends, that was what they’d said. Poor boys who’d died in ’42…. still alive in memory, brought back to life by dementia. Perhaps it was true, back then in some dance hall before the sirens went.
Flirted, well she might. Not too much though, she was devoted to my grandfather. He was Diamond Jack Wilson, always good for a song, a dance, a laugh. The war took him, gun crew in North Africa. Nothing much left to bury, they’d said.
In the end she forgot almost everything. No one there ever forgot who she was. She’d been somebody, she always said that. It was true. It seems recent, but it’s thirty years now since she went. I was a young man at the funeral, surrounded by her old pals, laughing, croaking, sounded much the same really.
Now they talk to me in loud kind voices, as if I’m deaf or daft. Just like they talked to her. Always my first name,that’s annoying. No, I’m Mr Wilson to you, young woman. I’m going to need my granny’s strength, her wicked laugh. I’ve got to start telling them, I’ve been someone, you know.
Tuschinski Theatre, Amsterdam