“I watched the RuPaul Christmas special last night…” said Charlie, as they slid into a booth at Monty’s. “What on earth was that gay nonsense?”
“Didn’t that air last week?” asked Kellen, unwinding his scarf and taking off his bobble-hat.
“I watched it on Netflix last night…” shrugged Charlie. “I needed a break from the wall-to-wall coverage of Theresa May winning the vote to continue leading us off a cliff.”
“The RuPaul thing wasn’t that bad, was it?” suggested Kellen. “It’s great that drag is mainstream enough to have a Christmas special like that.”
“That’s total bullshit!” dismissed Charlie. “I’m pleased that some drag queens are making some money, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t call them out when they make rubbish television!”
“That’s homophobic…” replied Kellen.
“Don’t be ridiculous!” laughed Charlie. “I’m gay. I can’t be homophobic!”
“It’s your internalised homophobia speaking…” explained Kellen. “Or, as RuPaul would say – it’s your inner-saboteur.”
“What can I get you guys?” interrupted the waitress, coming over to take their order.
“Um… I’ll just have a Reuben…” decided Kellen, quickly looking at the menu. “And a black coffee, please.”
“Just a coffee for me, thanks…” added Charlie. “Black.”
“You’re not eating?” queried Kellen, as the waitress headed off to place their order.
“I’m not that hungry…” shrugged Charlie. “Anyway, I thought I’d share some of your Reuben – they’re enormous, and you never eat it all. They haven’t the caught the guy who shot up the Christmas market in Strasbourg, have they?”
“No, but I saw on the news this morning that they’ve released details of the suspect that they’re looking for…” replied Kellen. “Horrific. Imagine being there.”
“I know, right?” agreed Charlie. “Brings back all the memories of the attack on Borough Market. I’ve never been to Strasbourg. Have you?”
“No, but I’ve heard that the Christmas markets are worth a visit…” replied Kellen. “Just not this year, I guess.”
“I’ll put it on my wish-list…” grinned Charlie. “For when I win the lottery.”
“How’s work going?” asked Kellen.
“Busy!” nodded Charlie.
“So, what are you working on today?” asked Kellen.
“Oh, just some longer-term projects…” shrugged Charlie. “Putting together some pitches for next year, that kind of thing. You know how things are when you’re freelance.”
“When you say ‘freelance’…” began Kellen. “Are you using that as code for unemployed?”
“That’s a bit offensive!” laughed Charlie. “I have clients! I’m working!”
“Sure…” shrugged Kellen. “But is anyone paying you?”
“Well… It’s early days…” admitted Charlie. “I’m definitely making some good progress.”
“Charlie, how are you paying the bills?” pushed Kellen.
“Um… Things have been a bit tight…” acknowledged Charlie. “But I’ve got to make this work.”
“How about I buy you a Reuben?” offered Kellen.
“That would be a Christmas miracle…” smiled Charlie. “I promise I won’t ever again criticise RuPaul.”
This is the second episode of the serial, Hoxton Street.
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