Characters: Annie, Sam, Gene
Rating: White Cortina
Word Count: 550
Notes: Written during an especially boring Ecology lecture last week. For some reason, completely bombing the midterm yesterday reminded me that I hadn't posted it yet. *g* Proof-read but not beta'd, so feel free to point out any typos, errors or Americanisms.
Summary: Uh, undercover-in-a-gay-bar *gen*. Pure silliness, with cross-dressing. Er, in a manner of speaking.
How on earth had she let Sam talk her into this?
It was the way he appealed to her sense of competence. It was that way he had of encouraging her to think, against all evidence to the contrary, that she was a fully integrated member of CID, as important as any of the men. It was those damn eyes of his.
"Who else is going to do it?" he had said.
She'd nearly retorted with, "Well, you could, sir," but she'd bitten her tongue.
"You're already a bird," the Guv had reasoned. "Can't be too hard, playing a bloke playing a bird."
So here she was, platter of drinks in hand, wearing an outfit Liberace would call flamboyant, and a name-tag with swirly cursive script bearing the nom-de-plume "Victoria." Sam had suggested that so quickly that she had to wonder just how often he'd contemplated this exact scenario before it actually presented itself. Assumed name: Victor Andrews. Stage name: Victoria. He'd said it with one of those strange smiles of his, like he was laughing at a joke he didn't expect anyone else to understand.
The make-up was brighter, gaudier and spread more thickly than any she'd ever worn before. Well, aside from that party in '67, but she'd been at university then, and that incident had involved quite a bit more alcohol consumption.
On the whole though, serving the clientele here was not all that different from her previous barmaid experience. She was still pinched and fondled, still greeted with lecherous stares and vulgar invitations, except that here those trying to get a hand up her skirt would be sorely disappointed should they succeed. Despite the colorfully sequined servers and cage-dancers, the place had a dark dinginess to it, complete with the same dense layer of cigarette smoke that permeated every pub she'd ever set foot in. The stale air was condensed with all the familiar odors of maleness, the smells of CID or the Railways Arms, that bouquet of sweat and aftershave and cheap tobacco... It was almost comforting, really.
Sam and the Guv were stationed at a table in the corner, where they were supposed to be keeping an eye out for their target. Instead, they appeared to be having a philosophical disagreement. She walked over.
"...a copper, not a fairy," the Guv was saying, his voice low.
"The two are not mutually exclusive, you know."
"They bloody well are."
"They bloody well are not."
"Gentlemen," said Annie, cutting in, "can I get you anything?" She tried to keep her voice slightly below its normal pitch.
"You might get yourself a new young man, Cartwright. I think this one—"
"Just because I believe in equality for—"
"Gentlemen!" she said again, more pointedly. She leaned down. "Sam," she said, though she glanced at the Guv as she said it, "is this really helping, sir?"
"She's right," said Sam, eyes darting around, furtively taking in the dark room. "This is not the place to be having this conversation."
Annie straightened up. "I don't know, sir. As long as you keep your voices down, it looks like you're having a lover's spat."
She disappeared back through the crowd, gone before Gene could reverse his position on the subject of women and physical violence.