Posted by Barbanne on August 28, 2003 at 23:12:35:
PART ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHT
Alex got most of the stuff he needed up in the high country and all of us (me mostly) were sort of sick of camping in pretty cold weather and so (after some world class nagging, by me.........of course!) we packed up and went down to town where we took two motel rooms and this became base for operations for the next couple of weeks. We couldn't afford it, needless to say, but first thing Jade and I went to the pub and got casual jobs waitressing and our pay covered the cost of our accommodation and meals.
Being in town gave us the chance to get together with Marlene and Gerri and talk over the sets we intended to shoot.
I decided that if ever Frankie and Johnnie was going to get launched this was the time.
The publican was a fat, greasy sleeze and a groper I reckoned, but he understood the value of a dollar. So after our shift ended on the second night I went to him and told him he had this super act working for him and for a hundred bucks each we'd do our turn in between waitressing stints. He looked at me like I was something that smelled bad and so Jade and I gave him a quick preview and described the costumes we'd almost wear and I saw his brain ticking over and then he offered us thirty bucks and we settled on fifty.
Jade and I shot off to Target and got matching pink bikini pants and bras and a heap of sequins and spent hours sticking the sequins to the "costumes". We'd have sewn them on but a, we're non sewers and b, there are terrific adhesives available nowadays. Our "costumes" were actually underwear but covered in sparklies nobody would know. Sequins tended to moult away from the material and drop off a bit when we danced but what the hell.
That night there was a big crowd in, the pub got a lot of tourists as well as locals, and there were heaps of people eating and drinking and playing the pokies. We worked our asses off taking meals and drinks to the masses and when our break came at nine o'clock, instead of taking a well earned rest we shed our waitress skirts and shirts and got into our sequined stuff.
Fatso announced us as the famous all singing, all dancing, Diamond sisters from Melbourne (where he got that from I'll never know) and out we came and to a rather tinny taped version of Frankie and Johnnie away we went.
I had peeked out at the crowd in the lounge bar while we were being introduced and my bowels loosened at the thought of what I was about to do. I took comfort from the fact that fully half of them looked to be well and truly pissed.
Johnnie of Frankie and Johnnie was a bloke so two girls doing it must have confused some of our audience and when it said "Frankie and Johnnie were lovers............." and we twirled past each other and did a quick but langorous embrace and pretend kiss we got cat calls and "hey lezzos," and other stuff of a semi derogatory nature. Bugger them, we danced on clattering around in our heels and trying to get some sort of movement in time with the main beat of the song. I reckon we were pretty crap but the sequins looked great under the spotlights and we were showing quite a lot of skin and as I said the crowd was well oiled and we managed to attract at least three people away from the pokies they were playing and then when it got to the climax, the bit where I wuz doin' Jade wrong, she included a big loop in her dancing so that she could snatch up the little plastic pistol we had bought along with our costumes and then she came back and bang, bang, bang, she shot me and I clutched at my boobs and tottered this way and then that way and then did a final little "dying" tap and slide and then staggered around some more and held out my hand and looked imploringly at Jade who was standing there looking minxily self satisfied and blowing pretend smoke from the gun and someone shouted out, "Shoot her again love, she's over acting," and so Jade did and I did a graceful swan dive down onto the tiny stage and twitched once or twice and then half rose and then shuddered and stiffened and "died."
Jade dragged my body off by the heels and then we waited behind the curtain and there was some clapping here and there and then some drunken cheering and more clapping and we skipped out hand in hand and took our bows and by now most people (who weren't playing the pokies) were applauding.
We stripped off our cossies and put on our waitress clothes and went back to carrying trays of drinks and food.
The next day a sign appeared announcing that the Diamond Sisters were going to be doing there famous "Frankie and Johnnie" stage act and when we came out in our sequins at nine o'clock there was a big crowd waiting. By the end of the week it was standing room only and the publican was giving us a hundred bucks a show each and had us doing two shows a night at nine and eleven o'clock.
We were in the money!
That was good because it meant we all ate well.
Alex came along and saw us perform at one show and his comment was, "Hey country folks are really starved for entertainment." I think that meant he thought Jade and I were not headed for Broadway. Still, the money kept us in more comfort than we were used to and sleeping with a roof over your head was truly welcome. It was to this babe anyway.
The money we got from doing the Frankie and Johnnie shows added to our waitressing wages more than covered expenses and allowed us to save up a bit on the side. I was sort of chuffed to be doing my little bit for the group. I knew I wasn't really able to contribute much to making the documentary other than doing some of the scut work and I'm not an intellectual match for Alex and in truth I'm a lousy dancer and actress although I am a good waitress. So being able to earn some money made me happy. I stocked up the van some and made some good meals and I took us all out to dinner on several occasions and we ate well although not ultra fancy. We were in the sticks after all.
After eating out one Sunday, Sundays were mine and Jade's day off from both doing the Frankie and Johnnie thing and waitressing as well, I dragged Alex into bed and we cuddled and kissed and I whispered how much I loved him into his ear and started getting him used to the idea that this was all leading up to wildy energetic and brilliant sex.
But he decided to talk.
"Barb," he said in that voice of his that tells me we are going to get serious.
"God you can't know how glad I am you're here."
"Mmmmmm, course I can................"
I rubbed myself against him to remind him of the plot here, boy meets girl, boy and girl like each other, boy cuddles girl, girl kisses boy, they fuck each other's brains out!!!!
"No..............," something about the way he said it caused me to stop and listen.
"No you can't know. When you were seemingly trapped in the old warehouse............"
"That's over Alex darling. Over and we're going to forget it."
"How can we?"
"Easy, we just blot it out and forget it."
"Of course you can."
"Barb when you were in there and I was outside and I tried to get in and the flames were so fierce they drove me back and Dave said it was madness, suicide to attempt it, but I knew I should and then I tried, oh god I tried, but it was just too hot, too hot and too dangerous and I was scared and I knew you were in there and if you hadn't come out I don't know what I'd have done. I just don't know."
He leaned into me and I cradled his head.
"Well I did come out," I said, "and if you'd tried to come through the front you'd have been killed for sure and that cannot happen, I won't let it, so fate worked its mystery and here we both are."
"No thanks to me."
"Bullshit! Without you I'd have probably given in and got burnt up."
"I don't think so, you are a tough bird."
"Tough old bird," I giggled.
"Tough wonderful bird," he said, and then, "Oh Barb I love you so much."
"I know my darling and I love you too. More than anything I love you and without you I can't imagine life at all."
"Oh Barb forgive me."
"Nothing to forgive. Forget it. Its over, in the past, history and now is all that matters."
"Oh god I love you girl."
Silence for a minute or two.
"Now hows about we get down to screwing."
He started laughing almost hysterically and then I was laughing too, giggling, shaking, laughing and maybe crying and just happy, happy, very, very happy, happier beyond words.