Nothing but gay men cover art

Nothing but gay men

By: Keith Butler
  • Summary

  • An overheard conversation. All characters are fictitious.
    2022 Keith Butler
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  • Nothing but gay men
    Mar 2 2022

    The waiter is seating us at a table in the restaurant of the overnight ferry to St. Malo. Two people are already seated at the table. The man facing me is overweight, florid faced, wispy white hair eccentrically long. He wears a crumpled lined suit, perhaps once white now not even cream. A tie, probably MCC, askew at his neck. Shirt straining at the buttons.

    His partner is sat facing him. She is the polar opposite. Slim with long dark, glossy hair falling down her back. She is wearing a beautifully patterned, aquamarine silk sari.

    As we approach, I hear him say “Nothing but gay men riding bicycles with poodles in the basket” in that loud, self assured, plummy accent of the privileged English upper class.

    We sit and he introduces his companion “This is Mihiri. She’s Sri Lankan”, said in such a way that I’m left unsure whether it was an introduction, an explanation or an apology.

    Mihiri smiles at me with a look and shrug that says, “I’m used to it”. 

    “Where are you off to?” he booms but before I can begin to answer he says “We’re heading for Provence. Not sure the old girls going to make it. Going the long way round.”

    Mihiri is quite beautiful and younger, a picture of health. She corrects my misunderstanding. “The car, an elderly Morris Minor. I’m travelling with Harry, I’m his wife’s companion for the journey. We are old friends. She is feeling unwell this evening.”

    “Mal de mere, the bloody old fool. Told her to take the pills before we sailed. Yes, 1948, Traveller. Body work patched up but engine clapped out. Bit like me!” 

    “That’s a joke Mihiri!”

    Mihiri smiles politely behind her menu.

    “What are you having? She’s married to the Sri Lankan high commissioner.”

    Mihiri now looks embarrassed at this revelation but points to the menu

    “Oh, don’t have the prawns, they’re a bugger to eat”.

    “As I was saying, I was most disappointed. I had wandered into this nudist colony”.

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    3 mins

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