Club Colours

This week’s prompt is

‘Vernon Vermillion? Vern..?’ Blanche Beige read from the clipboard.


What appeared to be a sack stood from the seats and hurried forward. Blanche noted the bright red socks and shoes and nodded.

‘Colour counselling?’

A muffled voice confirmed that was correct. Blanche led the way into a small room painted in a rather startling rainbow of colours.

‘Please sit, Mr Vermillion and… er, you can remove the sack.’

‘I’d prefer to keep it on.’

‘I do understand but I can’t really begin to assess the extent of the issue…’

Slowly at first two red hands appeared at the hem of the sack and gradually lifted it up until Vernon was uncovered. He couldn’t meet Blanche’s gaze.

‘I’m guessing you applied for work in the palace?’

Vernon nodded. He looked angry as he waved at his clothes. ‘She did this. Didn’t even ask if I minded.’

‘I assume the “she” is her Majesty?’

‘The Red Queen, yes. Bloody despot.’

‘Did you not read the job description?’

‘You mean the bit about being suitably attired for the nature of my employ? Oh yes. I thought that meant I got a tunic, or an apron. Maybe a hat. I’m partial to a hat, me. But this.’ He checked one way and then the other. ‘She had me dyed. Can you believe that? Ok, so I get she has this fixation with the sinister end of the colour spectrum. We all know how devastated she was when her hairdresser said she was no longer a strawberry blonde, but come on. This isn’t normal.’

Blanche could have offered that living in a magical kingdom with a colour obsessed monarch with a murderous passion for flamingo croquet hardly ticked the normal box. Instead, she made a pretence of checking her notes. ‘What is it you’d like me to do?’

‘Can you turn me back?’

‘To your birth colour?’

‘Of course. What else?’

‘Oh you may be surprised but these days you can’t be too careful. If I were to assume your preferences I’d risk being cancelled as a colourphobe. You may have been assigned beige at birth but its possible you may have chosen to live as green. Anyway, beige. However, before I consider treatment I need to know what role you had been employed to undertake.’

For the first time since he’d revealed himself, Vernon looked uncertain. ‘I… can we say I was in service?’

‘We do need a little more than that, I’m afraid.’

‘Such as?’

‘The type of service?’

‘I… that is… I was servicing… the … you know…’

Blanche nodded. Not the first and it did explain the full body dying. ‘You were to service the Queen.’

Vernon tried not to look sheepish.

‘As one might a bull a cow?’

‘That sort of thing.’

‘To generate an heir? Ensure a progeny? Continue the Scarlett line?’

‘Yes, all right. I was the employed inseminator. God, do we have to?’ He looked furious. ‘It’s not a bad gig. Free food, fresh sheets and enough perks…’

‘… to keep you perky. That’s why you’ve turned red. You’ve not been dyed, but rather you’ve been prepared for dying.’

‘Come again?’

Blanche sighed. Why did these people not get beyond the bit about the bedroom. ‘Did you assume you were the first? I’ve had perhaps fifteen young men like you in here. All in service to the Red Queen. Each one has tried to perform the function for which they were employed but after three goes, Her Maj tends to the view a change is needed.’

‘So she dyes me?’

‘No, that is just a perk… as in its aim is to keep you perky. Up for the job. Ready to per…’

‘Yes, I get it. She is pretty demanding, but I do like to think I need no help to give complete satisfaction.’

‘That’s what all your predecessors said and yet we have no heir.’

‘It’s a punishment. This dying?’

‘More a notice of termination of employment.’

‘I’m sacked? Fired? Shown the door?’

‘Yeeess, though none of those euphemisms manages to encompass the, erm, finality involved.’


Blanche tried not to be unsympathetic but if only these gonadally obsessed studs would read on beyond the sex… ‘What do you know about the royal predilections? When the Queen is disappointed?’

‘I… you mean the ‘Off with their head!’ piece?’

Blanch nodded.

Realisation had clearly begun to dawn on Vernon. ‘She’ll decapitate me? Like some sodding preying mantis? One bonk and its off? Surely that’s just a fairy story?’

Blanche watched as the man held his head in his hands, thinking that it wouldn’t be long before it wouldn’t only be him who could hold his head thusly. She patted his shoulder. ‘It could be worse.’

Vernon looked up, goggling at Blanche. ‘Worse? How can losing my head to a psychotic premier be the least worst option?’

‘No, true. I can change your colour, mind.’

‘You can?’

‘Oh yes. Blue, maybe.’

‘And this will stop her biting my head off?’

‘She uses a s…’

Vernon stopped her with a flat hand. ‘I’d rather not know. Will it allow me to avoid the chop?’ He winced at his own casual euphemism.

‘Not as such, no.’

‘I’ll not bother then.’

‘I thought you hated being red?’

‘It’s the all encompassing nature of the colouration that I object to. But if I’m going to go, I might as well go red. Better red than dead.’

‘I think might have misunderstood. It’s more like better dead…’

Vernon lost it. As Blanche gently exsanguinated into the carpet, he strode through the reception confident no one would notice he now sported a smooth sheen of blood on top of his underlying pigmentation. He could do this, with his head held high. Well, at least until it wasn’t. And this way no one could accuse him of betraying his club loyalties. Blue, indeed.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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11 Responses to Club Colours

  1. So uniquely you, Geoff. Your imagination has no bounds. Happy St. Patrick’s day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A green head would have been a statement. Great story.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Off with his………ooh, painful!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sometimes I think you are such a nob, Geoff. But I do like you

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A big improvement on the original story, Geoff.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. V.M.Sang says:

    Wel, I would go along with not wanting to be blue! Club loyalty is important.

    Liked by 1 person

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