The Lola Boys’ Great Escape!
Paul sat in his sweaty surgical mask on the Boeing 777 Air Philippines flight wondering just how the operation was going to turn out! The aircraft was packed to the overhead lockers, there was no social distancing to be had. And to make matters worse, there had been no chance of a decent pre-med as everything in Manila airport had been closed. Including the ‘Duty Free’. The staff were too busy distributing alcoholic sanitisers to cater to satisfying alcoholics!
Andrew and Paul had been on the road for hours. Well actually days.
And not just the road.
They had begun their flight from The Philippines on a cargo ship, sailing into the sunset from from the beautiful Camotes islands, positioned, rather unhelpfully, deep in the western Pacific. The remote paradise had been one of the first territories to lock down in The Philippines- it’s isolation and lack of medical facilities making the place both a safe and dangerous bet when attempting to avoid Covid 19. Paul and Andrew knew ‘San Fran’, as their little isle was colloquially known, would be one of the most difficult places on the planet on which to contract the Corona virus. But if the pesky little pestilence made it’s away across from the ‘mainland’ of Cebu, then the infrastructure and simplicity of the region would make it one of the easiest locations on which to succumb to the dreaded disease.
The choice had been taken away from the boys anyway. Despite some bitchy comments, which had come their way via some catty internet chat group, they were both entirely aware there had been no way off of the island.
They were under curfew.
Andrew and Paul had made the absolute best of their little pink house and the new friends they had made at the small resort which had kindly taken them in. There were four friendly South Americans living in the flesh coloured house to their left. Opposite in the green residence lived Gerald and the gorgeous Nica, who had started life as Dominic then saw the light. And shone it beautifully so everyone else could see. She was an inspiration. To their left in the blue house was the wonderful Seph. A Texan who curated modern art exhibitions and exhibited a laugh which was a work of art all it’s own. And next door was Ara, a happy Filipino with her friendly Japanese husband Richard and their beautiful daughter Alice. An eighteen month year old angel who loved to dance and didn’t mind the camera. Paul wondered if a career in show biz was beckoning. They were an eclectic neighbourhood, but a community they were, and the spirit was palpable.
The resort staff too had become almost like family. Catering almost to their every whim. Though their was actually little on offer whim-wise than the odd trip to the half-open market and a couple of outings to the Western Union to score some much needed cash. The vegetable sellers of Pacijan would only accept old fashioned pesos.
Not everything in life or near death could be paid for with a credit card.
And two couldn’t live on rum alone!
Although Paul had tried that once in the past, but to disastrous effect. He now possessed a little more balance even if he and Andrew’s currently marooned state was making them both feel slightly off kilter – they were, at least, coping with their rum situation. And keeping their spirits up without partaking of too many.
Even though their temporary home was a paradisiacal ‘Knot’s Landing’ – they were both beginning to tie themselves in knots about landing somewhere nearer to home.
When their ship finally sailed, this time with them onboard, they were both so relieved Paul shed a tear. (But that didn’t take much. He’d acquired that lachrymose habit from his late father, who’d been an old tough fireman, yet still cried at the drop of a helmet!)
After disembarking from the cargo vessel mid tars and tar, they were greeted by two armed soldiers. They both packed great smiles as well as admirable pistols – or so Paul imagined, as both were heavily masked. But the glint in their eyes gave away a warmth and a welcome which was most welcoming. After all the other fuck ups that had occurred earlier that day, the boys had not been entirely sure their Houdiniesque flit from the island would be entirely successful. But it was a trick they had to try. As Paul’s sister had pointed out, it could be their last window of opportunity and they would be well advised to clamber through it. Or they could find themselves tied up in the Camotes for months. And over a barrel! But at least not over Niagara!
The day of their getaway had begun with a visit to the capital of ‘San Francisco’, at some unearthly hour which Paul had just managed to bridge. His golden gates usually didn’t open until the sun was higher in the sky. But in the tropics, she was won’t to wake in seconds – or rather a second!
The folk of The Philippines rose early.
Paul wondered that with all the natural disasters which often occurred there, many of them wanted to get as much done before the next typhoon struck or another volcano decided to blow her top.
It was an energetic place.
And so were her inhabitants. Paul thanked Mother Mary for that, as Tess woke them early, and they jumped into her Toyota. She stroked the rosary beads which hung religiously from the mirror and they were off. Not quite speeding towards their resumption. There was no way Mary would allow that. They drove safely on the archipelago – even if it drove one mad!
Their first port of call was the municipal town hall, where Marjorie, Tess and the boys waited for over an hour as travel passes were completed in order for Paul and Andrew to have permission to leave ‘San Fran’. These had to be signed off by the mayor of the Camotes, and a glamorous lady in a spaghetti style dress, whose main function seemed to be to swan in and out of the office and up and down the staircase. She did it rather well, but Paul suspected she’d function better if she sat still for a little longer. Eventually she handed Paul and Andrew the necessary papers.
An inordinate amount of burearatic shit that would have satisfied even the strictest Stalinist.
They then crossed the now sweltering street making for the health centre, which consisted of an outdoor compound surrounded by various outbuildings with rather worrying names. ‘TB Centre’ was one Paul noticed, along with pictures one usually finds on a cigarette packet.
Only life size.
Or rather. Death size!
After a while he stopped looking at the medical propaganda and concentrated instead on completing the forms which were to provide he and Andrew with medical certificates to show they were fit to travel. He was slightly concerned. He hoped the requirement was physical and not mental. Both he and Andrew’s psychological doors were coming off their hinges by the second. But he was fairly confident they possessed enough DIY skills to keep them from falling off entirely.
After the medical, the boys were marched back across the road to another government office, swathed in plastic sheeting, in which blew an arctic wind, there they were required to give more information and pay the fee for the certification they were about to receive.
They then sweated back to the health centre and were informed they would have to see the doctor. Paul wondered if someone had noticed something unusual, but the gorgeous Marjorie informed him this was quite normal. Although there was nothing normal about anything in the world at that moment, both her and her beautiful cousin Tes, most definitely were. From where they gained their strength and demeanour Paul had no idea. If he was ever allowed back onto the planet, he decided there a then, he would like to be a Filipino. They may imbibe a less than perfect diet, and die younger than most, but when they lived they did so with grace and joy. Surely a joyous life cut short is preferable to an elongated existence clouded with misery. He knew far too many spoilt people in the west who were long of life yet short on levity.
What was the fun in that?
The boys were weighed and measured by a charming nurse, who showed them how she strengthened her PPE mask by padding it out with a panty pad. Paul was rather alarmed when she removed her facial furniture and there were visible scarlet stains on the inside. He’d not remarked. Attempting to suffocate his laughter. Practically choking in a Covid 19 manner. But he was most relieved when Andrew, informed him afterwards, that it had been the poor girls lipstick which had made the towel look unsanitary.
Paul went in to see the doctor first. He was a fat, morose thing squatting behind a desk looking like a medical Jimmy Cagney.
He asked Paul a few perfunctory health questions then demanded he inform him of the date of his and Andrew’s entry onto the Camotes.
‘Oh, I don’t remember exactly,’ Paul said, beginning to suffer from ‘White Coat Syndrome’, (that horrid complaint that makes every patient’s body heat hit the hospital roof), and he was now getting worried the miserable squat quack wouldn’t sign him off for sailing.
‘About seven weeks I suppose’ Paul said.
‘Don’t suppose,’ snapped Dr Cagney, ‘Tell me the exact date.’
Paul wondered if the hoodlum in the white coat was going to pull a machine gun from under his table at any minute and start target practicing. He was so aggressive. His temperature was on the rise – he knew every minute it was getting dicier. He only hoped his temperature wasn’t going to taken.
‘I think I have the booking on my mobile, it’s outside.’
‘Go get it’ Cagney demanded. Just about resisting the urge to reach for his Bazooka.
Paul jumped up rapidly, fearing any rapid fire, and went out to Andrew who was waiting beside a ineffective fan just outside.
‘Give me the phone babe,’ Paul barked urgently, ‘this Nazi of a doctor is giving me the third degree. It’s like ‘Sophie’s Fucking Choice’ in there! I’ve no idea what answers to give.
This was difficult for Paul, who was usually able to come up with a response, even at the worst of times. Unlike his husband who could turn into Jerry Lewis at the hint of any verbal threat. It usually served Paul well during any arguments in which he and Andrew participated . Which were, of course, as anyone who knew them well, terribly rare!!!
Paul returned to the doctor – iPhone in hand, and managed to assure the dickhead that he and Andrew had been on the isle for at least six weeks. What difference this made when there wasn’t a Covid 19 test in sight for love nor peso he had no idea, but Jimmy seemed satisfied.
He then asked Paul all the usual medical questions to which one usually lies. How much d’you drink? D’you smoke?
‘Cigarettes?’ Paul asked.
‘Of course’ the doc had replied.
‘No’ said Paul. But he didn’t mention the cannabis or the crack. He hadn’t been asked after all!
‘Do you suffer from Dyspnea?’ came next in the interrogation.
‘From what?’ Paul asked.
‘DYSPNEA’ the quack screamed. As if volume would make the meaning clearer.
‘I’m sorry,’ said Paul, ‘I don’t know the meaning of that word.’
‘You don’t know Dyspnea.’
Paul couldn’t resist, he was beginning to loose his cool, he just hoped the thermometer wasn’t next, he ripped off his mask and spat,
‘No doctor. I don’t know what Dyspnea means. I didn’t go to medical school. Is it something to do with Walt Disney?’
The doctor took a short breath. And then clarified.
‘Shortness of breath?’
‘Oh’, said Paul, ‘Yes I know what that is,’ replacing his mask as his breath was shortening by the second.
‘No. No. I’ve never had that.’
Dr Cagney was obviously in doubt. He reached down, thankfully not for a Kalashnikov but a stethoscope and proceeded to make Paul breathe from places he had not done since drama school. He passed, with flying respiration it seemed, as the old quack told him to get out, pronouncing him ‘fit to travel’.
He probably just wanted rid of him.
‘Now send in Andrew Hill’ he said, with a touch less kindness. Paul’s magnificent breath control had obviously put the wind up his white coat!
Andrew then went in, as the door closed Paul was most concerned. Andrew was rarely fit to travel in the best of circumstances. The lack of nicotine and an overdose of caffeine usually made him look like a junkie at airport security. He was always checked without fail.
Surprisingly, after only five minutes Andrew exited the doctor’s office unscathed.
He had been asked if he smoked and he had answered ‘since I was fifteen!’
‘Fifteen years?’ The doctor had said.
‘Yes’ Andrew had said. By that calculation he was just thirty years old. He had been thrilled.
When asked if he had any shortness of breath he had answered that he only suffered from Dyspnea when he walked upstairs- this had satisfied Dr Cagney.
Although when he took Andrew’s blood pressure he found it much more criminal and gave him a gangster rap for being hypertensive, Paul could have told him that without any medical training. The practitioner also issued Andrew with a prescription for blood pressure pills. And on Andrew’s travel certicate it read ‘Hypertension Extensive’ – and the prescription for the pills was stapled to the back. If Andrew didn’t pop’em – he couldn’t pop off. Paul found it hilarious. Mainly because his blood pressure had been considered perfect, doubtless due to the ten milligrams of Olmarsatan he had popped that morning. He’d left that bit out – he wanted to get outta there for fuck’s sake!
Several more visits to different offices and they were furnished with the diplomatic papers which would enable them to leave the island and reach the rescue flight, arranged, but not paid for, by the British Consulate in Manila.
Or so they thought.
After they reached the port and attempted to bribe the coastguard- which he resisted so charmingly,(a trait which Paul had discovered was quite common in the Philippines 🇵🇭 unlike the rest of south east Asia!), they discovered something less charming. The papers they had spent six hours arranging were not sufficient. Apparently they were lacking two little things. Authority to land at Danao, the port to which they were heading, and a test for Corona virus which proved they were negative. They raced back to the resort and Marjorie hit the phones again with abandon. The permission to dock at Danao came from a contact of her father’s who knew someone who knew someone who knew someone else – it definitely seemed to work like that on the great archipelago. Together they then phoned the embassy who assured them the Covid19 test was not essential.
Mainly cos there weren’t any!
But they would have to go back to Dr Jimmy Cagney and get a certificate not only proving that they were fit to travel but to prove the length of time they had been on the island so that they were both virus free.
They had two hours before the boat sailed.
The boys had no time to make their farewells to their friends in the rainbow of houses they had made. They threw their clothes into their rucksacks. Shoved everything else into their hand luggage and hit the gas. Marjorie’s intended, the lovely Charles, drove like the wind, missing dogs and chickens by skilful millimetres. They got their new certificates and made the port of Consuelo just in time for the boat’s departure.
They bid their goodbyes. Paul got tearful again. He could distance socially but not emotionally. These people they hardly knew had been so kind to them, shown them so much love, he and Andrew would never ever forget them. And they were certain when all the viral madness was over, he and Andrew would return to the Camotes.
The island which had been so kind to them at such a difficult time for themselves!
Whatever, they were now off.
The boys waved to their hosts from the port side of their cargo vessel and then collapsed onto their rucksacks, full of port, well, cheap rum.
They were going to sea after all.
Paul watched as the beautiful group of islands receded gracefully onto the horizon and he turned towards their destination of Cebu.
The pink gin sky beckoned them westward and listening to the thunderous engines and gazing through rope work on the starboard deck he realised why he’d always adored being at sea. There was a calm that rarely surfaced anywhere on land.
It was only on the surface of the ocean one could feel totally lost and safe at the same time. Paul noticed the unmasked crew agreed with him. Sitting at the helm, swapping playful punches and binoculars. Both erotic and exotic – All the nice boys love a sailor – wasn’t that the song?
As mentioned, they were met by the army on disembarkation. Then Jinky, another connection provided by the girls at The Santiago Bay Garden And Resort, was there to drive them to her hotel before the curfew kicked in.
They just made it.
A heavy supper of cheeseburgers, pizza, fries, full fat coke, and full alcohol San Miguel’s relieved some of the boys stress. They hit the sack – they had four hours before they needed to wake to meet ‘Jupiter’. The driver who’d been recommended by the embassy to get them through the eight checkpoints to the island of Lapu Lapu! They were both nervous – not least because although they were utterly charming, the embassy staff had failed at nearly every turn. And charm never got no man past a guy with an automatic weapon. Well – almost never!
After a few minutes sleep the boys awoke. Andrew drank all the coffee, Paul shouted at him for doing so, and took a swig of the remaining rum instead. There was, after all,no liquid refreshment available. Other than the taupe water which dripped from the tap.
Jupiter appeared like a god at exactly 3.30am. And like that magnificent deity of the sky he drove them like thunder along the black roads. Now and then there were bright lights up ahead and stop signs appeared out of nowhere. There were military and officials in masks. Guns and torches surrounded them. Every piece of paperwork was studied and re-read again and again as if an ‘A’ level exam depended on it. At one point they nearly didn’t make it through, the invigilator was not entirely satisfied, and it was only when Paul assured the woman in the black mask that he was a very good friend of the British Ambassador, that they were let through. In fact he thought Daniel Pruce to be an absolute cunt – but he thought it best not to share that information at that particular juncture. The unambassadorial prick had answered none of his emails. Not issued them with a refund for the cash they had shelled out for an impossible flight. And then asked them for more money to pay for the repatriation flight they were now attempting to reach. As far as Paul was concerned the man should be repatriated himself – to hell. But he kept this to himself! He knew it was neither the time or the place.
The rest of the checkpoints proved less troublesome. Yet the gunmetal increased as did the cases of Covid 19. The boys were well aware they were now driving into the island’s hotspot where thousands of cases were on the rise, in conditions where social distancing was a distant prospect for such a society. It was both frightening and heartbreaking, as they passed the shanty towns on route to Mactan, wondering what was in store for the people they were leaving. There wasn’t much in the stores as it was.
It was certainly a strange age they were living through. And although they both felt a slight guilt for the people they felt they were deserting – they both knew they needed to get closer to their loved ones. It was a primal urge. Paul had never felt it so strongly before.
As the airport came into view Paul and Andrew sighed with relief. They wanted to hug Jupiter but couldn’t – so tipped him heavily instead. He probably preferred that to be honest.
They waited in the empty airport. Paul in blue – Andrew in red. Face masks that is.
They made it through to the check in and queued, a metre apart from the person in front. It was eerily calm until they approached the check in desk.
‘Your passports sirs’ said the smart polite young man who was to issue them their boarding passes.
The boys handed them over. It was two seconds before Paul just knew something was amiss. He felt it in his rum-fused water!
‘I am sorry sir. But we can issue Mr Davies with a pass. But Mr Hill has been added as an infant. He cannot fly.’
‘A hwhat?!’ Paul heard Bette Davis coming from his gob, ‘an infant? You can clearly see he is not an infant!’ Although Paul knew his partner to be infantile at moments he was certain Andrew was an adult.
Most of the time.
And he was certain the British Embassy had booked them onto the flight’s manifest. Of course, he was less sure they’d done it properly.
‘What d’you mean a bloody infant?’ Andrew started,’ just change the ticket!’
‘I can’t sir. Not without confirmation from the booking office!’
‘Then phone them’ Paul said.
‘They are not open sir – if you go and wait over there and be seated we will try and sort it for you’ the ground steward went on.
‘No,’ Paul said, Ms Davis was coming to the forefront now, ‘we are not going over there call someone and tell them we are on this flight. You are not leaving us stranded here at the airport. We have tickets – you can see he is not an infant’
‘Call your Embassy sir’ the poor guy tried, still polite, but now going into a mild panic.
‘It is Six Thirty in the morning – do you think anyone will be at the Embassy?’
Paul resisted swearing. He knew it rarely got anyone anywhere in such situations, in fact the opposite was usually the case.
‘Get that Charmaine on the phone’, he barked at Andrew, who was pacing up and down. Now quite pale and probably imagining the same fate that had befallen the explorer Ferdinand Magellan when he had been stranded in Lapu Lapu. That hadn’t gone too well!
Surprisingly Charmaine answered. After a brief conversation she assured them she was onto it. Paul assured her that if she wasn’t he would be onto her. Although he didn’t put it quite like that. It was now nearly seven o’clock and the sweeper flight to Manila was two minutes from closing. Several phone calls later, and the poor boy at the desk had lost twice his body weight in sweat, and Paul and Andrew were provided with two boarding passes. Adult ones!
The boy had done good. The flight had been held up for them. Charmaine must have appealed to those on high. The boys were grateful to them both
‘What’s your name?’ Paul asked the poor boy who was still shaking, but smiling behind his mask.
‘Kenneth Jo’ sir’ he said.
‘Thank you Kenneth Jo – you have been brilliant. We love you. I shall make sure I mention you’.
‘Thank you sir’, said Kenneth Jo. Andrew threw him a tip which Kenneth Jo tried to resist, but was forced to accept. And then Paul and Andrew ran to gate 11.
Two flights later and they were in Manila. Andrew had to again grow up and change himself from an infant into a man. This proved a slightly easier task as the airport had been filled in by the ever helpful Charmaine. The boys then had too pass through three security checks, of course Andrew didn’t pass a single one of them without incident. At the first t’was a lighter which caused him to be stopped. At the second some batteries he’d stashed somewhere he shouldn’t have showed up. And on the third attempt he was reprimanded for having a roll of gaffer tape! And most seriously.
‘But how’s that a weapon?’ Andrew queried. The security guard then mimed the binding of a stewardesses wrists together and all became clear.
‘Oh, I see’ said Paul. ‘We never thought of that – we use it for something else.’ Which he then realised sounded even worse!
He thought it best not not to explain further, just glad that he and Andrew were not travelling with the rest of their ‘Lola Boys’ gear. Some of that would be very difficult to explain away.
They were seated apart, which was not always a bad thing, as they could often fall off a long- mawl flight like Burton and Taylor at their worst.
Paul sat next to lovely lady from the Philippines called Wilma. And an old English man who had a condition which made him punch the screen in front or the window of the aircraft at three second intervals. Wilma was crying hard, the tears soaking her two masks, she informed Paul between sobs that this was the worst time she’d ever lived through as she wasn’t sure if she’d survive. The flight was to last fourteen hours, Paul wondered if any of them would. He was contemplating oxygen already. Especially as he’d been informed they would not be serving alcohol on board. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d flown without a Bloody Mary. Now he only had a bloody Wilma and a bloke with a Henry Cooper complex to swallow.
The crew were in full stormtrooper gear.
They threw food at the passengers, who then lifted their masks to eat the crap in the white boxes. As Paul was always a slow eater he had managed only a quarter of what was on offer before the cyber men returned to throw the rubbish back into their trolleys and retreat rapidly behind a plastic curtain. It was the most bizarre flight he’d ever taken. Especially when looking at the radar information on his screen he could see they were flying directly over Wuhan. He only hoped this would be the place where the crew ejected the waste from the toilets. But he knew that was cruel. And it would no doubt find itself onto a market stall and cause another epidemic.
They landed fourteen hours and nine minutes later at an empty Heathrow airport.
‘You go and smoke – I’ll get the bags’ he instructed his partner.
This was their usual ritual. Andrew hadn’t gone for fourteen hours without a fag since he was fourteen – he was flagging.
‘I’ll see you out there’Paul continued.
Only he didn’t!…..
As Paul waited with their friend Wendy, who had offered to put he and Andrew up in splendid isolation with her partner Doug as they lived somewhere just stone’s throw from Heathrow. That stone being a diamond, as it turned out the somewhere was ‘Virginia Water’ in Surrey. The boys were gonna have to slum it for a while in the stockbroker belt as they no doubt would have to loosen theirs – they were so looking forward to some good old English grub. They knew there was such a thing. Despite what the Americans said. What did they know? Apparently they had a penchant for bleach cocktails!
An hour later and Paul and Wendy were still waiting for Andrew. Paul had searched every smoking section at Heathrow. Which didn’t consist of many as the world had grown cowardly now – no-one took a risk on anything anymore. Except in the state of Georgia where one could go bowling after having one’s nails and hair done, despite the rise of the virus. Those good old southern states – one could always rely on them to resist abolishment- of any kind.
Paul rejoined Wendy at the arrivals gate. Still no sign of Andrew. Paul was getting worried. He wondered if Andrew had smuggled in too many dodgy cigarettes or even worse someone had planted something plant based in one of their bags. Suddenly Wendy got a phone call. Andrew attempted to speak, but was cut off by a voice in the background telling him he was not allowed to use his phone.
He’d definitely been apprehended.
Eventually Andrew emerged. Incandescent and wan at the same time. He told them he had been pulled over by customs who had questioned him fiercely and without humour for an hour!
‘It’s your fucking fault’ he spat at his partner.
‘What did I do?’ Paul asked. ‘I let you go and smoke – I waited for the buggery bags!’
‘Your bloody note book. She read that. Then she thought I was a peadophile!’
Paul was perplexed. He used his little blue book, a thoughtful gift from his sister Tina, to write down ideas. For blogs. For songs. For any thoughts really. He hoped one day, when he grew up, he would become a writer. It hadn’t happened quite yet.
Andrew, after a dose of nicotine, was calm now calm enough to explain that the dumb woman who’d pulled him over was unaccustomed to such musings. She found some of them to be obscene. It wasn’t her custom to read such filth. She’d obviously never come across ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’.
She’d obviously never come!
Andrew explained to her that the offending passage was a pastiche on a Barbra Streisand number entitled ‘Come To The Supermarket’. In it Paul had written lyrics pertaining to the dodgy items one can buy over the market counter in a city called Wuhan. Including such incendiary stuff as …
‘If you want a two foot bed
Or a virus you can always spread,
Why not take it home and knock ‘em dead,
Why not catch it whilst you can.
Come to the supermarket in old Wuhan.
If you want a walking stick,
Or catch Typhoid fever double quick,
We can guarantee to make you sick,
With a cockroach in a can.
Then come to the supermarket in old Wuhan’
Then there was a middle eight which Paul thought he would save for The Lola Boys audience – if they still had one when they could eventually go back to show business! But he thought he must share the offensive verse. The lyric which convinced the young girl, especially after learning Andrew was married to a man, that he was a paedophile.
No longer an infant – but trafficking in them!
‘If you want to buy a teen,
Or a girl, or something in between,
Or be put in major quarantine,
Or a pussy in a pan,
Come to the supermarket in old Wuhan!!!’
‘Stupid, dumb cow’, Said Paul, who was even angrier when Andrew told him she had shouted over to her equally obtuse colleague,
‘He’s waiting for his husband to bring the bags through!’ in a conspiratorial tone which suggested that as there was homosexuality involved there must be some wrong doing.
Her colleague continued along the same lines.
‘I see you travel to the Far East regularly sir – May I ask why?’ He’d asked.
Paul knew what his answer would have been. He also knew with his irreverent attitude he’d probably still be in custody. He had little respect for a uniform – unless it was in the process of coming off. Or worn by Richard Gere. But his husband held his cool. Quite marvellous after the ordeal they had both been through.
Paul was only glad the duct tape had been confiscated in Manila or Andrew could have gone down – and not in the way he was good at!
How these failed police service applicants from Hounslow had the nerve to rake his partner over their luke warm coals offended him to the core. He was already drafting letters to the foreign office. The airport authorities and anyone else who he could think of. He was determined they would not get away with it.
The boys finally reached Wendy and Dougs’, and after a beef casserole they hit the sack. Still stewing. But beefed up. And so glad to be nearly home – despite the welcome.
Paul found it unfathomable that one could be completely comfortable ten thousand miles away in a foreign land with foreign people yet be treated like a criminal alien when returning to his own country. He hoped it was not a sign of things to come.
And if it were – he’d have something to say on the subject.
As a loyal subject.
But for now it was time to eat, drink and be ‘Marys’.
After all, the friends of Dorothy had made it back from ‘Oz’.
All they needed now was to be repatriated with Toto.
They’d not seen their little Lola for nearly four months.
They both hoped that day was just somewhere over the rainbow,
When the virus flies!