Eileen Pike, chairwoman of the Clatterford Women’s Guild looked at the diverse group of women in front of her. She straightened her Official Guild Regalia and coughed to get attention.
“Well now, ladies. Quiet please!” She held up her hands. “Quiet Queenie, thank you. Now, last week I announced that Mrs. Oaks of the British Bee Society would be speaking on the subject of The Disappearing of the Honey Bees, but unfortunately she hasn’t gotten back in touch and has - in a sense - disappeared herself. I’m terribly sorry to announce this, but I’m sure one of you has something interesting that she wants to share with us?” She looked at the women before her, seated on fold-up chairs in the hall of the community center. “No one?”
“Let’s go to the pub then!” suggested Tip. Many of the ladies applauded and some were already starting to get up from their chairs.
“Now ladies, ladies!” Eileen shrieked, waving her hands frantically. Her Regalia tinkled against her bosom. “Ladies, sit down! I won’t have you suggesting to move our gathering to the pub! It just won’t do! We pay dues to rent this community hall, and we shall use it!”
“Ooh, she’s getting angry...” mumbled Rosie in a slight panic.
“No, Rosie, I’m not getting angry, I’m just a little disappointed. Now... since we have no speaker for today, I suggest we move on to the next item on our agenda...the card making for the elderly and the poor. Pauline, give everyone a leaflet from the Big Wheel with card making instructions, please? And everybody: join me at the card making tables.” Eileen ushered all women to a spot at the long tables in the back of the hall, which had piles of coloured paper on them. “Does everyone have a seat? Does everyone have an instruction leaflet? Now make sure to do your very best ladies. Remember: this is for the poor elderly and the poor poor! Make the Big Wheel proud!”
“Oooh this is lovely, this,” said Rosie, picking out some pink and golden paper. “Isn’t it? I think I will make a card with a dog. A golden and pink dog.” She thought for a moment, then added: “And a cheese. Can a cheese be pink? Yeah...What are you making, Pauline?”
“You know, I haven’t decided yet. I’m thinking along the lines of an industrial landscape in the style of Paul Klee of the Bauhaus tradition, but I’m not sure that I can find the right shades of paper,” Pauline answered calmly.
Rosie looked impressed.
Delilah, who had somehow been seated at the tables all along, hid her false teeth under a stash of red papers for safekeeping and proceeded to clip the edges off of the instruction leaflet.
Caroline, who was sitting opposite from Delilah, had just finished reading the instructions. “Sal, could you hand me a pair of scissors?” she asked.
“I’m sorry, Caroline.” Sal showed her the empty basket where the scissors were kept. “I’m afraid they are all in use.”
“Oh, no matter!” said Caroline. “I shall be scissoring with Susie.”
“No!” said Susie.
“Pardon?” Caroline looked up at her friend with raised eyebrows . “Pardon, do you object to us scissoring together?”
“You mean cutting, not scissoring! Cutting!” Susie tried her best to keep her voice down, well aware that most of the Women’s Guild members had stopped their card making and were listening in on their conversation. “Scissoring is something quite different.”
“Oh yes?” asked Caroline
“Yes. Scissoring is...you know...when two ladies adjust their legs in the shape of intertwining scissors to rub their private parts together.”
“Good heavens, do they?” asked Caroline. “What on earth for?”
“Well...for...for sexual pleasure,” answered Susie. “I think..!”
Caroline took off her spectacles and put them on top of her head. She turned to look at her friend. “It is sexually pleasurable, is it?”
Susie nodded. Her cheeks were bright shade of pink. “Apparently.”
“For two ladies?”
Another nod. “That’s what they say.”
“Well... who would have thought?” With that, Caroline put her spectacles back on, picked up Susie’s scissors and began to cut out a flower shape for her card.