by Sue Kilpatrick
Joe wasn’t looking forward to being the rear end of Daisy, the tap-dancing pantomime cow, again. And who could blame him? Last year he’d been completely humiliated – he and Emily (the front of Daisy) could hardly have been worse. They’d missed their cue, messed up their dance, and for a finale fallen off the stage, taking the pantomime dame and part of the beanstalk with them.
A degree of chaos had to be expected with Emily. She was just that sort. Why ever had they let her on stage?
Most of the villagers felt sorry for Joe. He took his dancing seriously, and had at one point wanted to make a career of it. Still, though sympathetic, many couldn’t resist the odd jibe at him: ‘oh no she isn’t’ or perhaps a ‘moo’.
Even the local Gazette had featured an article on them, ‘Daisy Returns’. The rest of the cast got a fleeting mention, whilst every detail of the cow’s exploits was retold in exaggerated glory. One year on, folk were not going to let Joe and Emily forget.
‘I’m not as daft as I look, Joe,’ Emily was saying in the changing rooms, her blonde curls bouncing as she wagged her head.
What could he say to that? She was daft, but then he was daft too. What was he doing?
‘Trust me tonight, will you?’ she continued, smiling sweetly.
Poor Joe. If only those blonde curls were less bewitching.
Thanks to the Gazette, the village hall was packed that night as it had never been. As soon as they saw the cow the audience started cheering, and within seconds had begun to chant ‘moo, moo’. Emily went wild. She fudged her steps, wiggled furiously in the costume, and charged about recklessly, pulling the two of them into props and people. Joe did what he could to steady her, but Emily was a bundle of excitement and energy. By some miracle they kept themselves on stage. Only just.
As the final curtain came down Joe pulled himself out the rear end of the cow and made swiftly for the exit. He didn’t wait for the encore.
As he rushed off down the street a middle-aged man ran up behind him. ‘Excuse me! Were you part of Daisy the cow?’
‘Leave me alone,’ Joe muttered.
‘I thought you were great. Never seen a cow like it.’
‘Mmm.’ Joe walked off.
‘No really. It’s hard to pull off something like that. Great chemistry between the two of you.’
‘Are you from the newspaper?’
‘No. Here, take my card. If you’re ever interested in a job call me.’
‘Thank you,’ Joe replied gruffly as he marched off.
A week later Joe found the card in his coat pocket, and looked at it for the first time. It was a business card for a theatre company in London. He could scarcely believe it.
No, she wasn’t daft, that Emily. Crazy, yes. But not daft.
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