I was waiting for the barrier to open in Sunningdale when I noticed a bus full of young women not half my age – interesting. I pressed the big button on the bus and the door opened, I climbed in and said “Hello Mo!” to the driver.
I had read the name on her chest. She said “Hi!” She pressed a button and leaned forward to the microphone and announced “Hello everyone, Mrs Greatscan is on the bus.” I walked down the aisle – everyone stared at me – to the back of the bus. Amy was staring heavily through the rear window – she had her name on her back.
“You see those two cars, they’ve been following us since Blackbushe, if I stare heavily enough the two cars won’t move when the barrier lifts.”
I heard the sound of a train crossing the street behind me, the bus moved on and we waved goodbye to the two cars.
“Almost all, Trace is probably sitting on top of the bus and the policewoman is at home cooking a big pot of chilli con carne for us when we get there. Talk to all of us… And welcome on board!”
I sat next to Jenny and Jo. “Pleased to meet you. You’ve got a big program in front of you. Tomorrow, Sunday, is a rest day, we’ve been on the road and performing two or three gigs a day, every day.”
“But tomorrow Jimmie will wash you and find new clothes for you, especially tee-shirts with your name on the chest.”
“Oh, your name? Just before we started the tour we had a meeting and thinking day. We decided that the team needed somebody who was much more mature and probably older than us – that’s you. I forget who suggested Mrs Greatscan. Unusual isn’t it?”
Margaret leaned over the seats. “On Monday it really starts: singing lessons with Eloise and Harlequin, dancing lessons with Mary and Trace, Jimmie will want to talk with you, and if you want to play a musical instrument Jollity and Trace.”
A lot to think about. They definitely wanted me to be part of their team.
Jolly put her arm around me. “Don’t worry, you’ll be OK, but to be part of the team you have to be able to join in.”
“I am worrying. I’m sure I’ve seen you all on TV, but who are you?”
“Ho, ho! We’re 9gals! And you are aboard the Wonder Bus. We are the nine girls and the other members of the team, we are having a great time. Welcome on board!”
“But surely it can’t always be wonderful?”
“Too right! About three months ago we went through a really bad patch and it was all my fault. Jollity and me had planned to get married – Jolly and Jollity sounds good, doesn’t it? It was all planned, a big celebration, everybody was happy...”
“Everybody wasn’t happy, nobody was happy except us two – Jolly and Jollity. A week before the wedding it blew up. Everybody shouted at everybody else, some nasty names were called, some nasty accusations were made, it was all very nasty. And it was all my fault.”
“Amy and Trace gave me some help. I called for a meeting.”
“Hello everybody, I’ve called a meeting about the proposed marriage of Jolly, that’s me, to Jollity next weekend.”
“I want to say that it was all my fault – Jolly and Jollity cannot get married. And why?”
“Jolly and Jollity cannot get married because that would break up the team – there would be the two of us doing something completely different with completely different future plans. I have told Jollity that Jolly and Jollity cannot get married.”
“Jolly and Jollity CAN get married PROVIDING Jolly and Jollity marry everybody else in the team – that would keep the team together. I have told Jollity that Jolly and Jollity can get married.”
“Everybody was happy with that, everybody clapped. On the Saturday we each married each other, it took a lot of time. Lovely photos – even Jimmie wore a veil – everybody happy.”
“So that’s why you, Mrs Greatscan, will be marrying all of us in a few weeks’ time.”
“But you don’t look like a policewoman.”
“I take my gun belt off when I’m cooking.”
“She didn’t look like anybody, but I couldn’t say that.”
“My face is a bit fuzzy, Trace does that, nobody knows who I, the policewoman, am.”
The chilli con carne was good, with salad, crusty bread and wine.
Suddenly everybody stood up, they often did things in unison, went into the great bedroom, stripped off and clamped themselves together in a big heap, “big clump” said Jolly.
“I’m sorry, but I’m more a nightie sort of person...”
“Follow me!” said Jolly.
We entered a smaller bedroom and Jolly opened a wardrobe. “Your choice!”
I changed into a nightie and flopped down onto a bed.
Jolly put her arm around me. “Sleep well! Oh, also, don’t forget, no sex. Us nine girls were born just two years ago at the age of eighteen, we need more experience before we...” And she fell asleep.
They were all very tired, that was clear, but I lay awake thinking. 9gals! were very odd, there were more than nine of them and now I was one of them. Very odd. However I am pretty odd myself. Who knows what tomorrow may bring?”
Jimmie insisted that he washed me under the shower. He was good at it. Perhaps if I marry him, he will wash me often.
The tee-shirt with “Mrs Greatscan” on the front and back was fun. And Jimmie laughed when I insisted that I wore stockings under my new, white, very short shorts. Under is right, my stocking tops were very visible. I needed to hide my ugly legs and varicose veins.
I had a lot to learn, but I had to say no to a musical instrument.
The show opened with the whole team in the line-up, the power of the line-up.
“Welcome, welcome! We are the 9gals! in Cannock. No jokes about being chased. I’m new in the team, you don’t know my name yet.”
“How do you know my name? And no jokes about my age being greater than the ages of all the others put together. And now for your love:”
For your love For your love For your love To thrill you with delight, I'd give you diamonds bright Double takes I will excite, Make you dream of me at night For your love For your love For your love