All stories

Principle Boy

by Russ

‘Who’s fucking shoe is this?!’

Even as it wrenched me from my slumber, I knew the yelled question was somehow referring to me. Murmurings followed, building before terminating abruptly with a sharp knock on my bedroom door. Instinctively, I turtled my head under the covers.

‘Cooeee, Cinders!’ It was Jamie. The call was punctuated with more rapping. ‘Open sesame, darling!’

I didn’t have time to answer before the room was invaded. I poked my eyes above the covers to see Jamie and Alex, every inch the ugly sisters in their awful dressing gowns. Jamie was holding my silver heel aloft like champagne on a tray.

‘Oh God, it’s the beast,’ Alex’s nose screwed up in mock revulsion.

‘Don’t you be so unkind to poor Sleeping Beauty,’ Jamie patted Alex on the arm and moved to sit on the end of my bed, grinning ear to ear. ‘Although you could use a little wishee washee, dear.’ Jamie put down my shoe, freeing the hand for a moment of nose holding.

‘So, where is he?’ Alex asked. ‘Prince Charming?’

I pushed my palms into the mattress and raised myself into a sitting position. The clouds were clearing a little.

‘Buttons,’ Jamie stage-whispered, pointing to my chest, which wasn’t at all contained by the shirt I was half-wearing. I fumbled at the fastenings until I’d managed at least one more. Alex coughed impatiently.

‘Prince…?’ I managed to squeeze out.

‘Don’t come all Baron Hardup with us, dear,’ Jamie spoke more sternly now. ‘We know you had a lad in last night. It was man Friday in here. We heard.’

‘You were painting the air pretty blue,’ Alex accused.

‘Blue?’ Jamie’s eyebrows shot up. ‘You were fee-fi-fo-fucking!’ the last word rang out. A pain shot through the back of my head. I jerked forward in reaction.

‘He’s behind you?’ Alex laughed.

‘He probably was last night,’ Jamie chirped in. I wanted to argue, but judging by the scratches I’d just noticed across my stomach it seemed they might be onto something. Either that or I’d been playing little spoon to a tiger.

‘He must be gone,’ I offered, conceding.

‘Oh no he isn’t,’ Alex was holding up a pair of jeans which definitely weren’t mine. ‘Not without these.’

I closed my eyes and tried to work out what was going on. It was then we heard the roar from outside.

‘Uh oh,’ Jamie gulped. ‘Something’s woken Widow Cranky’

The roar grew.

‘Sounds more like a giant to me,’ Alex said. ‘One who’s lost their golden goose.’

Jamie’s face lit up and my two uninvited guests looked at each other in excitement before turning to me.

‘The lost boy, he’s in George’s room!’

There was a clattering, a banging of doors, and the sound of running. My door burst open once more. A man I didn’t know from Jack flew in, naked as the day he was born.

‘I’m, s-sorry,’ he wheezed. ‘I went to pee, I must have…’

He froze as he realised there was an audience and looked down at himself. Three pairs of eyes followed his gaze, arriving just in time to see his morning stalk shrink back to the size of a bean as booming steps echoed outside the room.

Three minutes and fifty five seconds

by Jenny

Sweat beaded on Jeremy’s forehead. Rupert’s arse was far too close to his face for comfort, everything was dark and Jeremy’s back already ached from holding himself hunched over Rupert’s denim clad backside.

Three minutes and fifty five seconds Jeremy told himself over and over, repeating it in his head like a mantra. The director had made them time it five times and the longest he and Rupert would be zipped inside this hot, cramped costume together was three minutes and fifty five seconds.

“Bet you’re wishing I’d skipped the curry at the lunchtime buffet, aren’t you mate?” Rupert whispered back to him with a muffled giggle, an ominous rumble coming from the depths of his jeans. Jeremy closed his eyes and prayed for patience.

With relief Jeremy heard the cue and, as they had so carefully rehearsed, he and Rupert shambled on stage. Left, right, left right. Jeremy’s back screamed at him.

Three minutes fifty five seconds.

A pantomime tiger is a completely different beast to a pantomime horse, and Jeremy should know; he and Rupert had been horses, donkeys and even a camel one year and Jeremy always ended up playing the arse end. But a pantomime tiger was new for them both. Jeremy thought that the thick fur fabric raised the temperature inside by at least 10 degrees. Under the stage lights, he began to sweat in earnest.

He mouthed along with Aladdin’s lines, listened with distracted satisfaction as the audience laughed at their antics. He and Rupert had managed to get the pantomime animal thing perfected over the years and, really, he did enjoy it. Usually he enjoyed having done it, and the congratulations of the congregation afterwards, more than the reality of the hot, cramped performance of it all.

Rupert’s bowels gave a gurgle and Jeremy rolled his eyes. Playing the arse really was a bum deal. He heard Aladdin deliver the line that let them shuffle from the stage with relief.

As they stumbled into the cool darkness of the wings, Jeremy was panting, he was longing to stand up and stretch the aching muscles of his back, to breathe air that hadn’t been exhaled already by another man. He heard the hurried footsteps of Janine, that evening’s stage manager, scurry over and she began to tug at the zip.

But the blast of cool air didn’t come. Janine’s fumbling took on a new, panicked quality and the tiger costume was jerked wildly from side to side.

“Come on Janine love, I’m getting a bit desperate in here,” called Rupert.

“The zip’s stuck,” Janine hissed, panic seeping into her voice. “I can’t get it open. Larry - you try.”

A second pair of hands, more tugging, more shaking and still the costume wouldn’t open.

Jeremy heard the audience laughing at Widow Twankey and thought he would give anything for a mouthful of cold water right now. Rupert began to squirm.

“Mate - I’m really sorry. I thought it would be ok. It’s the curry - it was only meant to be three minutes and fifty five seconds. I didn’t think this would happen, but...”

Jeremy heard the mounting panic in his friend’s voice and had only a moment to wonder what he meant before Rupert’s guts gave their loudest protest yet...

A star is born

by James

Without any doubt at all Reggie knew that one day he would be a star. And what does every star need for talk shows? Tales of the shitty jobs you had to fight through on your way to the top so that the little people knew you weren’t some kind of hoity-toity dick. Not that he had any intention of taking this bloody job of course. Back half of a sodding pantomime tiger? Okay, so it was a hundred quid for a one-off show for some rich toff who fancied himself a theatre director, but if word got out that Reggie was stooping as low provincial parts?

These people were desperate though, because they rolled with the old trick of cute as a button casting agent whose hoody was zipped down low enough to show off the skimpy vest top she had on underneath. Reggie smiled along, let her go through all the spiel, let her try all her little tricks of persuasion – the wide eyes, the tiny little hand of concern placed on his manly bicep – but he was determined not to waver.

Go ahead Cindy, you drop your pencil for the third time and take an age to bend over and pick it up, it was fine by Reggie. You want to wiggle your cute bum inside tight jeans, you go nuts – but Reggie was not a man to be played with such transparent tricks.

Cindy took him to the costume department and got one of the slack jawed stage hands to fetch out the costume. Reggie decided that now was the moment to be firm and tell her he was not going to take the gig.

Cindy’s face wrinkled with disappointment. ‘Oh! No. Why? It’s not the partial nudity, is it?’

‘The partial…? The what?’

Cindy smiled winsomely. ‘Oh, it’s this silly costume. It’s so hot, and the tiger will be on stage for hours, one simply has to go semi-buff. In my case, for example, I’m thinking my blue bikini. It’s a string bikini though. How does that work for you?’

Reggie managed a nod.

Two days later and Reggie was clad in a pair of slightly tool small brand new designer underpants beneath tiger fur. He was nervous about the performance because Cindy had always been too busy and Reggie had been forced to lump around the front half of the bloody tiger during rehearsals. It would be fine though, because stars like him, they always found a way. The door to the dressing room burst open and Cindy bounded in, panting a little in breathless excitement.

She beckoned to someone in the corridor. ‘Come along in here with the front half.’ A pair of stage hands dragged the front half of the tiger into the dressing room. Cindy blew Reggie a kiss. ‘Two ticks, and I’ll be right back.’

Reggie turned to watch her bound out of the room. He took a deep breath and willed all parts of him to behave themselves.

‘Right, showtime,’ one of the stagehands said. He stuck out his hand for Reggie to shake, and then peeled off his stained tee shirt to expose his hairy belly. To Reggie he said, ‘Right, laddie. You’re fine with the nudity thing, right?’