• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 09

T is for Tightrope and Trampoline

After his career in the circus, he would hang around on street corners, doubling the number of chance encounters that might alleviate the boredom and present the opportunity to thrill and entertain.

He had assembled quite a wardrobe of brightly coloured outfits: cast-offs, keepsakes and charity shop finds - the bolder the better these days. He confined himself to a gentleman's demure couture only when he had business to attend.

On inclement days he would solicit a lift from a lady friend or hail a passing cab - often to an indoor market where he would display his talent between cut flowers and fruit 'n' veg. He occasionally frequented the subway, teetering and tottering on the edge of something - usually posing a threat to himself or others - often shocking in stockings and stilettos.

Whatever the weather, he had learned to always carry a brightly-coloured umbrella.
It could provide shelter from the sun as well as the rain; attract much-needed attention on grey, lifeless days or provide some refuge or a degree of protection when the heat was turned up and queer-bashing was in vogue. If the spear of the brolly proved no deterrent, then he'd kick off his heels and show off his parkour moves, honed in the Parisian suburbs, in a daring barefoot escape.

To his neighbours in his apartment block he was endearingly known as Victor Tightrope or Vanessa Trampoline. They had never seen them both together of course, but they were perfectly fine with that - just as it should be. However, they simply called him Mr T to his face, for that was what he'd asked to be called - whatever colour he was wearing.