It was the night of the annual Doesn’t Matter What Book They Belonged In party,(or DMWBTBI for short,Nell never did think it would catch on) where characters from the Chalet school gathered to celebrate. It was, as always, a joyful occasion as they met, some for the first time due to minor issues such as expulsions, others for a repeat time, sometimes known as Oh no, not her again moments.
The catering was to be pretty special this year, Thekla was in charge, helped by Joey, and there was rumoured to be a rather impressive pie at the end. They were all looking forward to that.
The hosts, as always, were of course Hilda and Nell, who, in theory should know who each guest was. In reality Nell was on her fourth gin and couldn’t care less, and Hilda was guessing since her sensible plain looking water was 99% vodka. Both were very elegant, well at the start at least, as befits the main stays of the school.
“Madge, good to see you, “Hilda said in that beautiful carrying voice.Suprised Joey thought that those eyes that had never needed glasses maybe needed some now.
“That’s not Madge. “Nell said firmly, “That’s Jack.”
“It’s Joey actually.”
“Same thing, begins with J.” Nell said pouring more gin.
“Where shall I put the sandwiches?” Joey asked.
“On plates.” Nell giggled.
“On the table…who made them. “Hilda asked peering suspiciously at them.
“Then the bin.” muttered Nell peering at her bottle.
“Don’t be ungracious Nell, “regally turning to Joey, “so kind Mrs….Mrs. “looking blank.
“Jack “hissed Nell'.
“Mrs Jack, if you could put them in the kitchen, which is over there…..well somewhere. “vaguely.
“Jolly good party “a masterful voice announced in clarion tones “I’ll take charge of the paper games and charades shall I since I’m the best head girl there ever was.”
Nell peered at her “paper games, charades…what the……?”
“How kind of you OOAO, I mean Mary-Lou, I don’t believe we are doing those tonight however. “Hilda said politely.
“What”shocked”Of course we must, never mind, leave it to me, I’ll get them arranged.”and strode off.
“Yes dear, you do that, “Hilda murmured taking a large swig from her glass.
Kathie and Nancy went by in matching red slinky dresses,suiting Kathie more than Nancy in truth, but hey, they were happy. Kathie stopped, smelling Nell’s gin, Nell hid it behind her.
“Hilda, I was just saying that you are second to nun..get it, nun, Abbess.”Nancy laughed.
“She’s been practising that. “Kathie said proudly.
“Should have kept practising.” Muttered Nell.
“Have you got gin?” demanded Kathie.
“Yes and its mine, my preciousssssss “hissed Nell. “now hobbit.”
“Lord of the rings? “Hilda said mildly as the other two rather hurriedly left.
“Yup.”Nell replied succinctly polishing the bottle.
“Thought so, pretty good impression.”
“Not like you to read.”
“I saw the film.”
They were approached by a tall blonde woman with a german accent. “It is I, Thekla, come to impress you with my catering.”
“Good, jolly good..err Thekla, do you think this year you could perhaps cook the food first before serving it, you know, just for a change.” Hilda suggested diplomatically.
“I am an artist, I am insulted. “she threw up her hands dramatically and left.
“Went well.” Nell approved.
“Yes, I was quite pleased, last year she hit me with a raw salmon.”
“Must be getting through to her then.”
“That reminds me, don’t ask, have we seated Grizel away from the candles.”
Nell frowned at her.” It’s a buffet, they can sit where the h..wherever they want. What’s she gonna do with candles, cook the bacon. “laughing at her own joke.
“Don’t be silly, just didn’t want her setting any random stray children on fire.”
“Could think of one or two that should be.”
“So can I but that’s not the point, its illegal. “Hilda nodded firmly “Damn.”as she splashed her drink.
“You said damn.”Nell teased.
“Wait till later, I’ll say more than that. “which shut Nell up for quite some time as she pictured it.
“Who is that man?” Nell asked.
“It’s not, Jack’s over there in that silvery looking thing with the damned earphones.”
Hilda paused a moment whilst the vodka let her realise it wasn’t the dress that had earphones.“No, that’s Mrs Jack, you said so.”
“Well if she’s Jack, who’s that?”
“Blooming Heck, make your mind up.”
“No , that’s the Jack who fancied Len.”
“Oh that Jack, why didn’t you say so.”
“I just did.”
“You said that was Jack…oh never mind, where’s my gin.?
“In your hand.”
“Oh yeah, thanks. So why is that Jack dressed like a man, cos, well we didn’t have boys, did we?” puzzled.
“No, it was Tom Gay, come to think of it she dressed like a man to. I’m confused.”
“Never mind, I’ll explain later, have a drink.”
“Who is the band?” Nell asked peering a little blearily.
“Corney and her friends.”
“She comes cheap.”
“She comes c..she can’t play that thing, sounds like a cat with its tail stuck in the mangle.”
Hilda was impressed by Nell’s word power after at least six gins”We are having country dancing later, Miss Lawrence is going to play. “Hilda said sadly.
They stood for a moment in silence at the thought.” I hear we’ve two kinds of pie this year.”Nell said brightly”One’s apple.”
“Who cooked it?”
“Joyce Linton.”They looked at each other.”Ah, might pass on that then.”
Joey came up to them “Who is that with Len, is it a woman?”
Nell looked at Joey puzzled, of course it was a woman, it had been a woman since Len was 18, however many years ago that was, Nell could only count to one..one bottle of gin..I’ll ask Nancy. “she thought.
“It’s Ted.”Nell said.
“Oh that’s alright then, she’s got a boyfriend, must be a trick of the lights, I could have sworn it was a girl. “and with her gay laugh she went off.
Nell stared after her, then at Hilda “We’ll talk later.”
“Strikes me we are going to do a lot of talking later. “she muttered, not exactly what she had planned. Grabbing Kathie and Nancy, bribing them to stay by giving Kathie a small gin she asked “How long is Len, I mean how has Len been. “paused, frowned and concentrated hard. “How long has Len been going with Ted.”
“Well, of course that depends on what book we are taking this from, and what year it is now, divided by the number of people in that book, multiplied by the number of times the name Joey is mentioned. Taking all that into account, remembering that maths is based on variables, including which way the wind is blowing then there can only be one answer to that. “Nancy said seriously.
“And that is.”
“I haven’t the faintest idea. “and went off with Kathie staring up at her in admiration.