Inspired by the superb headlines of 1950s magazine ‘Man’s Life‘, Dance Ricky Dance proudly presents “The 100 Dames of Pvt. O’Rourke.” This is the first in a series of writings by the DRD columnists based on the headlines of this magnificent publication. Enjoy!
The 100 Dames of Pvt. O’Rourke
Private O’Rourke ducked into a narrow alley and hid in a shady doorway. He crouched on the balls of his feet, trying to ease his laboured breathing and slow his heart, which was hammering at the inside of his ribcage like a…well… a hammer, essentially. He cocked his head, straining his hearing for the slightest sound that would indicate that his pursuers were gaining on him. His head was swimming; his thoughts inevitably turning back to the fateful day a mere week ago, when his life had changed forever…
It was a muggy day in the middle of September in East London. It had looked like it would be a cold one when he’d left his flat that morning and he’d dressed appropriately, but the weather had tricked him and now he was sweating his balls off. He could feel a trickle of sweat entering his arse crack and was acutely aware that his scrotum was stuck to the inside of his thigh. He wanted to get his hand down his pants and have a relieving rummage but there were too many other people at the bus stop he was waiting at to really allow this to be done discreetly.
The bus was late; allowing him ample time to reflect upon the way his life was turning out as he waited. There was no denying the fact – he was off his fucking rocker. His girlfriend had dumped him a month previously and since then his life had involved nights alone in his flat with the lights dimmed; eating pizza, drinking beer and watching World War Two movies on DVD. He had an extensive collection.
A mild dose of food poisoning from a bad pizza coupled with the dehydrating effects of all that alcohol had caused him to start hallucinating. He was now convinced that he was a Private in the United States army and that the year was 1943. The fact that he had chosen the lowest rank possible for his delusion was an indication of how depressed he was feeling. Where the name O’Rourke came from, he had no idea. His name was Gary Davies, for Pete’s sake.
That was another thing. His swearing was all over the place. He’d never said “For Pete’s sake” in his life. “Private O’Rourke” was such an amalgamation of different characters from the films he’d been watching that he didn’t know if he was a mild mannered Methodist who never swore and wrote a letter home to his sweetheart every other day, or if he was a rough around the edges Irishman, with a different broad in every town and who swore a blue streak morning, noon and night. He decided he preferred the latter and tried to adopt some kind of James Dean style attitude. He put his weight on one hip and chewed at the non-existent Lucky Strike he was imagining in the corner of his mouth.
A group of teenagers swaggered past him, eyeing his children’s army fancy dress costume curiously. He gestured with his plastic machine gun in a threatening way and growled, “The fuck you lookin’ at ya fuck’n’ mook?” at which they raised their eyebrows and hurried past.
”Why I oughta..!”
Satisfied with this outcome, he began eyeing the women waiting at the bus stop with him. He sidled up to an attractive woman of around 30 who was wearing a trouser suit and had a laptop case in one hand.
“How ya doin’ doll face? I got me a 48 hour pass, what say the two of us hit the town and go dancin’? Maybe see how the evening goes from there?” He winked and tried to pinch her bum, at which point she slammed the laptop case into his chest, sending him sprawling into the gutter.
“Fuck off, weirdo!” she yelled.
“The fuck ya doin’ ya crazy broad? Can’t a fella be friendly no more?” He picked himself up and began making his way away from the bus stop, saying, “You believe this dame?” to a passing pedestrian, who suddenly became very interested in his mobile phone.
As he wandered aimlessly through the streets, trying to work out how to stop the whistling in his ears and the pounding in his head, he began thinking about his lost love, Sarah. “Sarah!” he muttered to himself, “I’ll never get another dame like her. Not in a million years.” He stumbled on, his vision blurred by tears.
It was at this point that the genie appeared before him and things started to get really weird. Looking just like the genie from Disney’s Aladdin, but with the voice of Orson Welles, he thundered, “WHO HAS AWAKENED ME WITH HIS GIRLISH CRYING?!?!”
“Uh…Private Patrick O’Rourke, United States Army,” trembled O’Rourke.
“O’ROURKE, EH? ARE YOU SURE?”
“Yes, sir!” said O’Rourke, ripping off what he imagined to be a smart salute, but what actually came off as a slightly effeminate wave. He was pretty sure he was Private Patrick O’Rourke, although the name Gary Davies did keep flitting through his mind now and then.
“VERY WELL THEN, PRIVATE! SINCE YOU HAVE SUMMONED ME WITH YOUR LADY TEARS FROM THE SEWERS WHERE I HAVE BEEN TRAPPED FOR CENTURIES, I SHALL GRANT YOU ONE WISH!”
“Only one? Isn’t it meant to be three??”
“NO!!” screamed the genie, “DON’T GET GREEDY!”
“Well, in that case, I wish I had a load of dames in love with me!”
“A LOAD OF DAMES?”
“Yeah, that’s right! Say, a hundred dames, all crazy in love with Pvt. O’Rourke!”
“VERY WELL! ONE HUNDRED DAMES IT IS! PIFF PAFF POOF!!”
And with that, the genie disappeared in a vast cloud of smoke, which smelled strangely like the perfume that O’Rourke’s Grandmother used to wear.
What happened next was nothing. O’Rourke waited, expecting gorgeous women to start throwing themselves at him at any moment. It was at this point that he felt the first niggle of dread in the pit of his stomach. He hadn’t actually specified that he wanted gorgeous dames to throw themselves at him. He hadn’t been really specific about anything, except that there should be a hundred of them. Still, he reassured himself, with a whole hundred women to pick from, he was sure to find himself at least one drop dead gorgeous one!
Where were they though? He had been waiting for about ten minutes and every woman he’d seen during that time had passed him by with total indifference. He was just about to give up and move on, when he became aware of what sounded like millions of scuttling footsteps behind him. The hairs stood up on the back of his neck, as he felt a hand tap his shoulder.
He turned and stared down into a face he was instantly familiar with.
“Aren’t you…aren’t you Judi Dench?” he stammered in disbelief. At the same moment he looked past her and with horror realised that behind Judi Dench were dozens of Judi Dench look-a-likes. No. No, they were not just look-a-likes. They were exactly the same! Clones! He knew at that moment, exactly how many there would be. One hundred. One hundred Judi Dench clones, a horde, all gazing at him with what can only be described as wide eyed lust.
“Yes,” all one hundred of them spoke in unison, “Dame Judi Dench.” With that, the Judi at the front of the crowd reached up and tore his shirt open from the collar all the way down to the bottom.
Raising an eyebrow, she looked him up and down slowly and licked her lips. “Rawr!” she purred, as the whole crowd of them surged towards him.
And that was how it had been, for a whole week. He had barely slept. He hadn’t eaten in days. He had to keep moving. It took every last scrap of energy he had to stay ahead of the clones. Every trick he’d picked up from watching commandos in World War Two films and documentaries he’d called upon to keep him one step ahead of the 100 Dames.
As he crouched there, regaining his breath in the gloomy alley, he could hear them coming. The clip clop of Judi Dench’s stylish yet sensible shoes magnified one hundred times. The sound of his approaching doom. They sensed his presence. They would always find him. They would always want him.
Exasperated, he lumbered off again. Off to his left, he noticed a stairway that seemed to lead down to the basement of a pub he was running past. Sensing a possible escape route, he started down the stairs. He tripped; his feet made heavy by exhaustion. His head slammed into a step halfway down and he blacked out instantly.
He regained consciousness for mere seconds before blacking out once more. For those few seconds, he was aware of three things. A tongue in his mouth, a hand in his trousers and a world famous voice whispering hot breath into his ear.
Two days later, Gary Davies awoke in a psychiatric ward and was diagnosed with temporary insanity brought about by alcohol poisoning and general stupidity.