'Tis The Season..'

This tale is based on something I have seen recently, an image that has been branded in to my already damaged brain and will go with me to the grave. Stuart Damon in drag! It's an unbelievably silly piece I know and a little early for the Panto season here in the UK. But what the heck, I am determined to see 40 tales at least in this section, this being the 38th! It would have been the 39th, but I had to upload another tale deleted by accident!

The Champions Original Characters and Sergeant Cork Original Characters are the sole property of their creators, ATV and ITC. The rest are mine. No copyright infringement is intended. This is only for fun and not to be copied or used without the author's permission.

December 20, 18.00 local. Nemesis HQ Social Club.

"Aww Bloody Hell Craig! Will you stand still for five minutes whilst I try to get this...damn...thing...IN!"

Richard Barrett had fought in wars, with mercenaries, survived crashes in the Himalayas, being fried by fanatics, frozen in freezers, baked in the Australian outback, all things imaginable and had so far survived them all. But this? This was beyond him. How anyone could wear such an item and still be able to breathe in it, never mind be able to actually move, escaped him. Even with his engineering, physics and mathematical background, Richard would never, ever in a month of Sundays and Expenses claims, be able to fathom this particular item of clothing out.

"Ouch! Whaddya think you're doing! That hurts man!" Craig Stirling yelped as Richard gave one final and extremely brutal tug which dug in to Craig's chest area.

"There, done!" Richard finally exclaimed, standing back and admiring his handy work. He paused for a moment, giving one final critical review of the sight before him. It had taken ages to get on and do up with also quite a few large Scotches and tiny tonics needed to calm Craig down, while the operation was in progress. He smiled a little evilly at his colleague who was still gasping somewhat after the fitting.

"Y'know, with that get up, I could almost be happy to prove some of the rumours about us to be true. You do look rather splendid m'dear. You look just like a lady in an old photo my grandfather Bob Marriott had secretly hidden away, from his days with the early C.I.D." Richard said, and at the same time giving a swipe at a part of Craig's anatomy that has inspired some very dodgy fanfic from time to time.

"Get the *&^%! off me Richard, or else! This is *NO* laughing matter! Now help me get in to the rest of this and zip me up!" Craig roared back.

Richard threw up his arms, making a big show of rolling his eyes, then continued with the task at hand.

About 30 minutes later, Sharron had rushed through the door looking slightly flustered. Her BMC Mini had got jammed between two large vans this time, and she had difficulty extracting it without half of Geneva looking on. She initially had streaks of oil down her arms where it had dripped from the chassis that for brief moment had been over her head. But she had made it with time enough for a quick shower, and now only needed to get in to her costume. It would be the very first time that 'Pantomime' would be performed in the NEMESIS social club and the place was filled with operatives, associates and general employees with their families. 'Père Noel' Tremayne had given out the presents, and the evening was given over to what would no doubt be not Geneva's finest theatrical moment, but at least hopefully the funniest and most enjoyable.

It took a bit of doing to organise. It was Richard's fault really that it had got started. The three had been in a cafe socialising after a mission, and had got round to discussing their childhood memories, which was a real first. Up to that point, even with their combined telepathic powers and growing friendship, Richard, Sharron and Craig did not really know much about each other's personal backgrounds but had begun to open up about their past lives.

Richard had talked how as a child, he and his family would go to a traditional play called a Pantomime around the Christmas season, usually based on a fairy tale such as Cinderella, or Mother Goose. The characters usually included the 'Principle girl' played by a female and a 'Principle Boy' played by a ...female. There was also an older female character, usually referred to as the Dame, in a gaudy outrageous costume, usually played by a...male, with an older male character played by a...male. It took some time to try to explain that to Craig who had taken Richard's descriptions as Richard being filled with too much fresh Arabica and brandy. Sharron had backed Richard up, and from there it had grown.

Now, Sharron suddenly found herself stood speechless, at the sight of the same two men in her life that stood before her. The production was Cinderella and all the casting parts were assigned by a 'drawing-a-name-out-of-the-hat' system to make the casting fairly distributed. Craig had naturally assumed he would be the romantic lead, until reminded that usually a woman would play the part, but could be in with a chance of playing the part of Buttons, a friend of Cinderella who secretly loved her, or even Baron Hardup, Cinderella's rather henpecked father.

But much to everyone's amusement except Craig's, the cast list was drawn like this. The only one who did have a say in who he would play, was Tremayne and no one objected because a) no-one had expected Tremayne to take part in the first place and b) He was the Boss after all.

"Cinderella - By NEMESIS

Cinderella - Mandy LeBlanc - Accounts
Prince Charming - Sharron Macready - Field Office
Baron Hardup - W.L. Tremayne
Mrs Bangle-Hardup - Barry Letham - Security
Bobbi Bangle-Hardup (1st Ugly Sister) - Craig Stirling - Field Office
Bibbi Bangle-Hardup (2nd Ugly Sister) - Richard Barrett - Field Office
Buttons - Francois LeCruset - Catering
Fairy Godmother - Magda Klein - Liason (UN)"

and so went the cast.

Sharron continued staring at the sight of the two in front of her. Richard had been transformed in to a tall willowy actually not bad looking 2nd Ugly sister. He wore a huge blond beehive wig, with bits of coloured paper stuck over it, Huge bauble ear rings, loads of gaudy make up, long sparkly false eye lashes, and Sharron's old silvery evening gown had just about fitted Richard down to mid calf level over a fine white jumper. His tights were green and white ('Christmassy colours' Richard had insisted) hooped, which did nothing for his legs, but he did seem to cope with wearing a large pair of high heeled sling back sparkly sandals.

Craig. Poor, poor Craig had really drawn the short straw, as his very masculine shaped body (steady on there CHIC's!) had not fitted at all in to the original costume that had been made up from various female operative wardrobe cast offs, so had to be stuck with a last minute hastily hired costume.

It was as gaudy, and as loud as Craig's angry glare. He had a huge yellow coloured woolly type wig with a small purple hat set on top of his head. The dress was a huge flouncy red and yellow cotton thing that had a pair of matching frilly knickerbockers which came down to below Craig's knees. Under that he wore red and white hooped tights which ended in a pair of bright red Doc Martens Boots, decorated with a glittery bow on each boot. He looked a sight, but something wasn't quite right...

"Craig, I hate to say this, but you look a bit, well, odd." Sharron said, trying to figure out why, even though it was meant to look hilarious, something wasn't quite right with Craig's costume.

"Ya think!" Craig shot back though a heavily made up face with very long false eye lashes, rouge and ruby red lipstick, "Hah, and here's me thinking this is what's being worn in Paris this season!" With that, Craig just growled, crossed his arms, his face glowering.

"Oh! For goodness sakes! Grow up! It's only for one night and 'sides, you're not the only one looking an idiot. We're here to create some merriment after what's been a dreadful year!" Richard retorted, white gloved hands on hips.

"Easy for you to say! You haven't been trussed up like a turkey in this damn thing and what happens if I need to pee! How the hell do I get to...!"

Craig had stomped over to Richard, but Sharron stopped him and pulled him back a bit. She stepped back, with a look of puzzlement in her face, and started to feel lightly around Craig's waist and up towards his chest area.

"Whoa, there sweetheart. If I had known you liked a little kinky costuming...!"

Sharron swatted Craig's arm briefly, "Don't be so daft! Hang on a sec. Craig, take your dress off..."

"Er..should I exit the room now and leave you both to it..?" Richard said, eyebrows wiggling suggestively, as he backed up towards the door of the bathroom that had been assigned a dressing room - the Ladies naturally, as there were more cubicles and mirrors.

"What? No, don't be so silly Richard! Here, you can lend a hand.."

Rolling his eyes upward again, and with a heavy sigh, Richard tottered over to Sharron and a protesting, grunting Craig to get the main dress off. Once off, Sharron could see the problem and why it was so difficult for Richard to secure Craig in to the garment in the first place.

"You've got the corset on upside down and inside out." She announced to the two men.

"Does it really matter?" Craig groaned, dreading the thought of having to unhitch and redo the tight, crushing, whale boned, solidly stiff, awkwardly rib-crunching shaped garment off. He found himself backing against the wall away from a determined Richard and Sharron, when suddenly they were interrupted by knock on the door, opening to reveal a somewhat startled Tremayne.

"I dont know what it is you three think you're up to, but we're on in five minutes, so get a move on!" The Nemesis Chief growled.

Sharron suddenly stopped, looked at Richard. "I've not changed yet. Look, it'll have to stay in place. Craig, try not to bend over too much or you'll crush the boning and will tear your dress! Richard, get him back in to it!" She barked, while grabbing her costume and diving in to a cubicle to change into her 'Prince Charming' outfit.

Soon all three were somehow ready for their entrance. They stepped out and crept along the corridor towards the main hall where the rest of the cast and audience were waiting. The music started and Tremayne strode forth to open the play to applause.

In the wings, the three main characters waited, when all of a sudden from one came an urgent whisper just as they were about to go on stage.

"Guys, I gotta pee!".