Talent Show – Variety

A week before the talent contest, Barry dropped round at Sindys house casually handing her a bag full of his dirty laundry.

“Just a few more bits Sind darlin’, it’s only ’til I get one of my own, did you wash my lucky pants by any chance?”

IMG_6049Sindy had been rushed off her feet, ironing his socks and folding his going out shirt when she had discovered some incriminating evidence that he may have been up to his old tricks and decided to confront him.

“Barry, have you been ….gambling again?”

He was deep in her fridge with his mouth full of her secret stash of chocolate bars.

“What?” He answered in a confused way, then saw the playing card she was holding up.

“No, of course not, Sindy believe me, I don’t do that no more.”

She studied his simple face for the tell tale signs of deceit but he held her gaze steadily while munching away and her suspicions were quelled.


“Oh Barry, don’t you ever eat at home?” She lovingly filled the bag with his freshly pressed clothes as he rummaged in her cupboards for the hidden crisp stash. Sindy had the best snacks and Barry was a very lucky man.


Fast forward to the night of The Ritzys Talent contest. The enigmatic owner and tonights compare Darius, introduced the next contestant as ‘Magic Barry – The man of Mystery.’

The ladies in the audience cooed their appreciation at this fine figure of a virile young man, Barry lapped it up, basking in the adoration with a half hidden smug smile.

He had been secretly practicing for ages and now it was the big night.


From out of nowhere a magic wand suddenly appeared in his hand as Barry began his performance using exaggerated gestures, all the while keeping a totally straight face.

A magic box was placed on the green baise table as the wand tapped it three times while he incanted the magic word ‘ALACAZAM’ .


The shocked gasps rippled across the awe inspired auditorium as he slowly opened the magic box revealing……




Barry’s first magic trick was incredible and the crowd went wild, especially after he carefully closed the box and deftly tossed it around on all its corners, there were absolutely no holes or gaps (maybe mirrors… but nothing was ever proved)


Barry’s next trick involved three cups and a real egg, this got even more gasps from the amazed audience as the egg disappeared from the table.


Only to reappear under his magicians Fez!

WOW! What a talent, how did he do that?

Although the cheap seats at the back couldn’t really see very much, even so they clapped loudly with the rest.


Just to show off Barry miraculously conjured not just one egg cup, but three.

Goodness me, this man had talent!


Barrys final trick was a classic slight of hand card illusion, asking a random lady from the audience to name a card, he magically produced this exact one ( the Queen of Hearts) from the pack. The back row were seriously unimpressed which, in hindsight, was not his best choice of tricks, it always went down well in the pub but sadly not in a theatre of this magnitude.


Barry the ‘Man of Mystery’ was unceromniously ushered off the stage as the set needed to be changed while the interval rush for the bar kicked off. He didn’t even get his full applause but Darius reaped the profits.

Suitably refreshed for the second half, the curtains opened and welcomed to the stage the ‘Many Faces of Max’ – Impressionist extraordinaire.

Laughter peeled loudly as he stumbled and bumbled around as Benny Hill.


His Tommy Cooper was hilarious, especially as Max used some of the same tricks as Barry but they all went terribly wrong to the great amusement of the now tipsy audience.

Barry was the only one not laughing.


Max even got an encore for his inspired performance as the popular and precocious child star Bonny Langford, singing her heart out very loudly

“I’m just a girl who can’t say no…..”

They were rolling around the aisles in merriment and one old lady even had an unfortunate accident because she’d drunk too much in the interval.


Darius introduced the hot new singing sensation KSSK ( vaguely pronounced Kissed) with their amazing vocal version emulating the popular Swedish group ABBA.

They had a phenominal stage routine with sycronised arm waving and everything.


Their rendition of SOS was …almost …in tune.

When Sindy hit the high notes, the rest gave her some harmony almost loud enough to drown out the wavering finish.

Nonetheless, the girls flounced around the stage as if they were superstars and everyone could see how much they were all enjoying the limelight.


They were just going into their second song ‘Waterloo’ when, for some unknown reason the microphones stopped working.

Darius ushered the confused performers off to stage right with a fixed grimace of a smile on his weary face.

It had been a long night.


The final act for this frenzied and strangly laughing crowd was a total surprise to Old Mrs Sindy, who was sitting in the second row next to the lady who had wet herself earlier. She’d only come to support her darling daughter but now was amazed to see on stage, none other than her new gentleman friend, Sir Charles!


“Hello Sargent Life Guard, have you seen Her Majesty the Queen recently?” asked Sir Charles.

“Yes, I have”

“And did she offer you a beverage?”

“Yes she did.”

“What was that drink?”

“A gottle of gear.”


“Ho Ho, my wife has just come back from a holiday in the Caribbean?”


“No, Trinidad actually.”

“I say, I say, I say, did you know that my dog has no nose?”

“No nose? How does he smell?”


And it truly was an awful performance, everyone could see his mouth move, even so Sir Charles probably received the loudest and longest amount of applause of the whole evening.


Now we have all witnessed the variety of entertainers, who would you pick to win the contest?


©Juliette Dodd 2020


Talent Show – Ballerina

The Talent show compare and The Ritzy’s enigmatic owner, Darius accompanied by his glamourous assistant Jeannie, loudly introduced the next contestant to the already excited crowd. She was a picture in white satin and net tutu with the mearest glint of regal gold.


The beautiful ballerina wafted around the stage as light as a butterfly and as elegant as a swan ( not the other way round) while the familiar music of Tchaikovsky enraptured the audience to some high brow entertainment ( for a change)


There was a hush as they watched her graceful movements, from en point to pirouette as she teeterd across the stage while miming exaggerated dying swan movements.


As arranged earlier ‘The Magnificent Burtini’ ( our hero Burt, in case you didn’t know) was waiting in the wings to support the ballerina for her final pas de deux – what a lovely couple they made!

As the audience was soothed with this classical performance, Burt withdrew and the music suddenly changed to something that can only be described as bawdy.


In a blink of the eye this elegant creature whipped out an enormous sword and without further adieu began to swallow it right in front of the gobsmacked theatre!


Slowly the whole blade disappeared down her gullet, the amazed crowd watched in shocked silence, as she carried on her ballet dancing in small careful tippy toe steps.

No one had EVER seen such an act before (or since, although it’s now been banned in every European country and most of the Commonwealth)


Of course the applause matched this unique act and the wowed room were cheering and clapping with all their might; after a little curtsy the pretty Ballerina asked for a volunteer. Burt was determined not to let her take all the limelight away so fast and he was beside her as quick as a blink.


Before he really knew what was happening he was expertly strapped to a huge spinning target, this was a bit of a shock to him but not as much as her next trick.


Oh dear, poor Burt, he tried to keep his cool as every eye in the packed theatre was on him and their blood lust was tangible.


The target started to spin as the ballerina pirouetted around and around on stage, she suddenly stopped and expertly threw the razor sharp sword, with a loud thud it was embedded deep in the painted wood  – right between Burt’s exposed thighs!

If he wasn’t such a brave man, he would have shrieked in terror, luckily his years of grueling service in the Navy had taught him how to remain calm in a crisis.


The crowd went wild and the hideous sound of primal screams could be heard from the older ladies at the front row.

Burt was still spinning and could hardly see what happened next but judging by the gasps, something even more dangerous was about to happen.

She had put on a blindfold!


‘NO, please no!’ Burt silently shouted in his head as his face turned gravely pale and every muscle in his body tensed up.

She elegantly danced around and around precariously towards the edge of the stage as the audience fell silent, the eerie quiet was suddently broken by her next sword throw – THWACK!


Burt could swear he felt the cold blade graze his shoulder as she threw more and more swords at the target, he closed his eyes and prayed this hell would end soon.

Now all her weapons had been deployed and the routine was over, at last.


Almost a broken shell of a man he still was able to hold his head up high as she lapped up the enormous and raptuous applause, although his legs were shaking uncontrollably.

“I’m glad it worked this time.” she whispered.

It was only then that Burt noticed the dark red stains splattered around the spinning target.


The next contestant is waiting nervously in the wings for their own story to begin.

©Juliette Dodd 2020


Local Talent

Karen welcomed Old Mrs Sindy who was getting her notoriously frizzy and course hair done at Ken’s Unisex Salon, her regular appointment had been moved as there was an unexpected rush on this week.


As usual the place was a hive of activity, buzzing with the sound of whisperd gossip, clippers and heady waffs of hair lacquer. Old Mrs Sindy watched as a confused young man tried to get the assistants attention.


Karen just walked right past him several times while he tried in vain to get her to notice him.

“Er excuse me Miss”


He looked very awkward until the suave salon owner Ken came to his rescue

“Have you got an appointment, love?”

“Yes, I’ve been here for my 3.30 trim” Both the young man and Ken looked at the clock, it was quarter to 4.

Karen whispered loudly, “I swear I didn’t see him.”

“Put your glasses on, you silly moo.” Ken chastised his assistant jokingly, “He’s wearing the same colour blue as the walls!”

IMG_5172As Ken ushered the confused young man to a vacant barbers chair, in walked the very smart and dashing Sir Charles; he rapidly scanned the waiting area and spied Old Mrs Sindy. ‘Perfect’ he thought to himself as he politly nodded across to her, ‘Splendid.’


“Beautiful morning Madam, your hair looks perfection, if I may say so?”

“Ho ho, I haven’t had it done yet, young man!” she chuckled in delight, it had been many a year since she’d had a complement from the rougher sex!

“Ah, I will be interested to see how young Kenneth can surpass your natural beauty.” Sir Charles was incorrigable in his persuit of new prey.


Old Mrs Sindy giggled and blushed.

“I haven’t seen you here before?”

“I’m new to town, recently moved on…I mean in,  not far from here but its only temporary until I can get settled properly.” Sir Charles looked wistfully off into middle distance, as if transpoted on a distant memory.


Old Mrs Sindy studied this dapper military chap, his slightly dull brass buttons and battered cap, there were frays on his cuffs and his boots had seen better days; apart from that he was a fine looking man of indeterminate age.


At that moment Ken bustled through with a final spray of lacquer on his latest hair masterpiece.

“And that my dear is how I create perfection….” He was in a very jolly mood today, although he generally was a happy fellow, there seemed to be a special skip and bounce in his step.


“You, my dear are ready for the ball,” He exclaimed loudly,

“Are you entering the contest too, Ken?”

“I may be ” He tittered and winked and gave yet another final spray.


“It’s all just too exciting!” Sindy entered to collect her friend for some more rehearsal practice.

Sir charles couldn’t help but ask what all the fuss was about and the girls were more than happy to tell him

“A Talent Contest at the Ritzy, there will be celebrity judges and maybe a TV show…” Mindy explained.

“Or record contract..” Sindy butted in, hardly containing her obvious enthusiasm.

“…and huge cash prizes.” Mindy finished.


This was exactly what Sir Charles needed and his brain whirred into overdrive.

In the meantime he continued his persuit of the comely Old Mrs Sindy, even if he had to shout over the dryers.

By the end of his salon visit he had successfully arranged a date to take her out to the new Tiki themed cocktail bar next to the Wimpy on the High Street.


As ususal it was adorned with the beautiful people being all elegant and fashionable, Ken  regularly popped in and out for a top up and to chat with his new friend the barman.


“Oh isn’t it….colourful? I’ve always wanted to come in but not on my own.” Old Mrs Sindy was so glad Sir Charles had asked her.

“What cocktail would you like, my dear?”

“Oooh they all sound….so exotic, I really don’t know, I usually have a port and lemon but what do you recommend?”

“A Piña Colada…that springs to mind, dear lady….for some reason.”

“Oh go on then, you Devil!’ Old Mrs Sindy was ecstatically happy, for a change.

Jolly good.


Meanwhile Burt was busy in the garden when Barry visited on his way to the match.

“Have you had one of these? Sindy is making me hand them out and I’ve only got three left.”

Burt read the flyer as Barry told him how impossible Sindy has been recently,

“She can’t speak of anything else but at least she’s let me go to the footie while she’s rehearsing.”

“Good for you Barry.”

“Well, are you entering then?”

“Hmmm.” Burt murmered thoughtfully.


Later that afternoon, Burt’s mind wondered to his long distant dream of show business and the bright lights, he could almost hear the loud roar of applause and something deep inside him stirred into life.

YES he will be entering!


So the night of the contest had arrived and there was a huge crowd queuing for tickets outside the Ritzy, all the way up the street and almost to the station. The contestants had been practising all afternoon, getting their props and stage routines perfected; everyone wanted to win, it was the biggest thing to happen in this sleepy town since the Tiki bar opened next to the Wimpy.

Darius, the enigmatic owner and proprietor of The Ritzy was to be compare for the night but the rumoured celebrity judges were still a mystery, you would not believe the wild guesses flying around, some were just plain obsurd!


“Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome, please take your seats Meine Damen und Herren, Mesdames et Messieurs, Ladies and Gentlemen!’ It was all very cosmopolitan and the audience loved it.

“Without further ado, our first contestant for tonights extravaganza is …..(drum roll)…. The Magnificent Burtini.”

The crowed were so excited they clapped with all their might as the curtain opened to a darkened stage, the spotlights lit up and there, standing on his podium was a veritable beast of a man.


Oh how the ladies swooned at the sight of his rippling muscles, the oiled thighs and sheer animal magnetism (I’m sure one even fainted!)

With loud grunts of pure energy Burt ( for it was none other than our old friend just using his stage name) managed to lift the enormously heavy barbell weights high into the air.


Of course the whole auditorium cheered encouragingly at his amazing feats of strength, Burt was almost tossing it into the air with apparent ease, posing as each wave of applause reached a crescendo – what a man!


At this point I shall break off and compose myself for the thrilling second half of this tall tale on a small scale.

You may wipe your brow too.

….to be continued shortly.




©Juliette Dodd 2020

Casino Nights

Friday evening and Barry was taking his girlfriend Sindy for a night out at The Ritzy, the Mecca of entertainment in this town with something for everyone, a veritable hub of non stop excitement; meeting place of the beautiful and glamorous people.

“Oooh Barry Bingo night is next Wednesday, I can’t wait.”

“Not my thing Sind, you take your granny.” Barry had actually never been so he didn’t know what the sheer ultimate thrill of ‘Eyes down for a full house’ could offer.

“Yes, she loves a good National game with big prizes.”

“Casino night tomorrow though, wanna come?”

“No you can’t go, not after last week.” A couple were arguing loudly in the foyer.

“It’ll be different this time Babe, I promise I’ll get you another TV when I win.”

Sindy looked questioningly at Barry.

“I’ve never been to a real casino, whats it like?”

“Put your best dress on and come and see.” Barry knew that would tempt her, Sindy loved dressing up.

“Alright, tomorrow at 7 0’clock, I’ll meet you in the foyer.” She was already mentally going through her wardrobe for the perfect outfit.

Saturday evening at 6.50 p.m, Barry was early and dressed to kill. He’d been to many Casinos while in Her Majestys service and he loved the high stakes and the adrenalin rush ( he really should have tried Bingo first though)

Sindy’s bus was late making Sindy late too, she rushed up the street and panting appeared slightly flushed in the foyer and straight into the arms of the very smart and handsome Barry.

“I hope we didn’t miss anything?” Sindy had no idea what to expect at ‘The Casino’

Just as they chatted a large man barged past and marched straight towards the Casino doorway.

Barry and Sindy watched as this stranger greeted the owner Darius, followed by a suspicious whispered conversation.

“Come on Sindy, lets get some chips.”

“But Barry, I’ve had my tea.”

Inside the plush Casino suite, Barry was accosted by a familiar face.

“Hey big boy, where did you disappear to?’ Barbie jested, she’d had her room keys returned by the concierge.

Barry had a clear conscience but still didn’t want any trouble.

Sindy was nudging him and whispering “Who’s that?”

“This lady lost her room keys and I found then and sent them back.” A semi truth is better than a lie.

“Oh yes, …anyone could have got into my room, I’m so glad you found them first Barry.”

Barry quickly changed the subject by explaining the game on the table to his lovely girlfriend.

They watched first as the burly ginger haired man from the foyer rolled the dice and seemed to win with every throw.

Sindy still wasn’t sure how this game worked but watching the red haired man throw high scores again and again was mesmerising, she really wanted a turn.

Barbie was getting closer and closer to the winner and it wasn’t long before he’d cleared out the table.

Sindy was most impressed, ‘It’s all bravado’, she thought, ‘And nothing like Bingo!’

Collecting his huge winnings, the mystery man quickly made his way out of the door, opening the table to all the other eager players.

Barry was itching to have a go.

Barry wasn’t very lucky tonight and within a few throws he’d lost half his weeks wages.

“Don’t worry, I have some pocket money to play with.” Sindy reassured him.

Poor Barry was brassic and it was only 8’o’clock.

Suddenly another contender entered the room, although he seemed strangely familiar. Barry and Sindy watched him sauter over to the table egged on by Darius, hovering in the background.

Out came a large wad of notes and the dice were thrown again and again.

No way, every time a winner, it was almost unbelievable!

There was something about this new man, Barry just couldn’t put his finger on what though.

The Moustached stranger cleared the table and quickly cashed in his winnings, to the amazement of the room; goodness, that was more than Barry earned in six months!

The table was bustling with eager punters trying to better the last chaps good luck, he’d made it look so easy, but the dice were cruel and left everyone broke.

Out of the corner of his eye Barry half recognised a familiar figure, the same build, the same jacket but ….how odd, he’d not seen this man before?

Deep in conversation with dodgy Darius and holding a rather large amount of crispy five pound notes, he hovered in the shadows.

“Hey Sindy do you see that man?”

“Yes, why?”

“Does he look familiar?”

“I’m not sure but that jacket is all the rage and everyone seems to be wearing one.”

“Lets go Sindy, I’ve no money left and I’ve a feeling there’s something afoot here.”

“Did you say chips Barry? It’s still open if we hurry.”

To be continued…

©Juliette Dodd 2019

Buffet Party

Sindy was getting really excited about tonight, it would be her very first Buffet party and she’d invited all her friends and neighbours.

The food was lovingly prepared following all the latest recipes, oh it was so very modern and she really wanted to impress her guests with exotic delicacies.

After a relaxing soak in a bubbly bath to freshen up, Sindy tried hard not to feel tense and nervous.

Meanwhile Barry was also in the bath getting ready for the weekend after a long and heavy working week, his latest job as a bin man wasn’t as much fun as others he’d had and it made him sweat bucketloads.

‘Oh no is that a spot coming’, she was devastated at the prospect.

Preening in the mirror, Sindy had just the product that would sort this problem out and it was quickly applied.

His trusty back scrubber reached those hard to get places perfectly, Barry was now truly as clean as a new pin in every possible place.

‘I feel pretty, oh so pretty…’ Sings Sindy as she beautifies herself, the building excitement is beginning to give her butterflies in her tummy.

‘As close as a man can get,’ is the slogan to this part of Barry’s routine, he wants to impress and knows how Sindy can’t stand bristles.

‘Not too much lipstick, keep it subtle,’ Sindy applies her make up, ‘I’m NOT a tart!’

“What you looking at?’ Barry puts on a pretend American accent.

“You talking to me?”

“You talking to ME?” He flexes as he poses, what a handsome fellow, a fact no one could deny.

‘Just some extra napkins to fold’, Sindy has prepared everything beautifully and laid a table fit for a King, now its just a case of waiting for the guests, soon her nerves were twitching.

‘Just a small taster to see if everything’s nice,’ Sindy ate to calm her and she enjoyed every savoury mouthful.

‘Who’s that?’ she thought as she heard the back door open and slam shut.

Barry waltzed into the dining room loudly opening a pocket of crisps.

“Nice spread, Sinders.” He remarked as he eyed the sumptuous table heaving with goodies to eat. She hated that nick name.

“I’m so glad you’re here to help me Barry.” She really was relieved he come early instead of stopping off at the pub first ( it has been known).

Barry greedily sampled every dish on the table, he was starving although he didn’t think much of those green olives, yuk, too wet and salty.

“NO BARRY! Wait until the guests arrive.” Sindy chastised him in an affectionate way. just as he reached for (another) devilled egg.

She didn’t like him eating eggs as they had an unfortunate and very anti-social aftermath.

The guests all arrived on time at 7 ‘o’clock on the dot, her best friend Mindy and her cousin June plus a host of neighbours; things suddenly got very busy at Sindy’s buffet party.

“Is that your boyfriend then?”Asked Cousin June curiously.

“He seems to be very friendly with her?” Commented Mindy.

Barry was deep in conversation with …Sindy wasn’t sure exactly who that girls was, a niece of her neighbour maybe?

Busy being the perfect hostess Sindy couldn’t help but notice Barry was STILL chatting to her some time later. If looks could kill, that poor girl would have been mortally wounded by now.

‘Oh yes please.” Cousin June grabbed at a succulent sausage as Sindy mournfully gazed over to her boyfriend while offering the final meat platter around.

“I’d never let my boyfriend talk to the likes go her.” Mindy ranted, although she didn’t have a boyfriend anymore, not since Paul had come out.

Shortly afterwards the uninvited guest made her excuses and left early.

“Bye bye and thank you for coming,” Sindy called out politely as she disappeared through the door.

Things got a bit awkward quite quickly as everyone else made their excuses and slinked away.

“Who was that girl you seemed so engrossed with?” Sindy may have had a few more sherrys than she was used to.

Her friends left the scene.


“I was just being nice to your friend.” He didn’t think there was a problem, Sindy was being a little over the top.

“She wasn’t my friend.”

“How was I to know, I’m not a mind reader, I’m off till you calm down.” Barry grabbed his jacket and the last devilled egg and walked out the door, leaving Sindy suddenly all alone.

‘Nooo.” She wailed as the door slammed behind him.

“I didn’t mean….”

Before she knew what she was doing the secret stash of chocolate had come out and she was scoffing for England

Caramac, Marathon, Bounty and Curly Wurly bars, the whole confection selection was consumed.

Just beginning on a huge family sized chocolate bar did Sindy come to her senses.

Gosh, that’s better.

“I am a silly billy and with all this washing up to do!” She cleaned her teeth and busied herself with the Buffet party aftermath, although all of the food had gone ( except the olives)

Meanwhile, Barry had route marched his frustration down to the town centre, as he passed the bright inviting lights of The Ritzy he was drawn into the lush interior and the promise of a quiet drink at the bar.

‘Have you got any change for the Duke box?” Called a sweet voiced as he stormed like fury through the foyer.

Barry fumbled in his pocket but he only had a nice crisp fiver from yesterdays payday, he never liked to go out with a pocket full of shrapnel.

“Ooh, mines a cocktail, if you’re offering?” she giggled, Barry wasn’t but how could he refuse such big beautiful eyes and pretty smile.

“A blue cocktail, to match you’re eyes.” He really knew how to flatter a girl and it worked a treat.

Her other admirer had stocked up the records and the joint was jumping once again.

“You must come here more often, I work here most nights.” She tittered while sexily swaying to the latest tunes. Barry was certainly interested.

He was a lonely man in need of comfort.

“Come up and see me.” She seductively handed him her hotel room keys, number 304 and winked.

Barry was shocked, never in his wildest dreams did he imagine this would happen to him, it was like a film story.

Now he was flung into a moral dilemma.

Should he stay or should he go?

Her big beautiful eyes said yes…..

What would you do?

This story continues in the ‘Bingo Hall’

©Juliette Dodd 2019