Polari (from Italian parlare, meaning 'to talk')
Thomas hasn’t crossed paths with Tozer often thus far, but when he does it tends to leave an impression.
Today is no different.
“I think you’ve misplaced yourself, Sergeant,” he says, glancing up from where he’s folding the Captain’s linens on top of the pantry chest where the man has been hovering for half a minute.
“Have I?” Tozer replies in that drawling voice of his, making no attempt to remove himself. Quite the contrary: he leans a little further on the wall outside of the door, peaking around the frame to try and see more inside.
“Yes, sir, Mr. Armitage’s pantry is just there on the other side,” Thomas explains, flashing another look at him. He tips his head in the proper direction, offers him a tight smile. “I’m sure he can help you find whatever it is you need.”
Tozer works his jaw a little, his mouth twitching. Thomas doesn’t see so much as feel the way he looks him up and down.
“Must have gotten them mixed up. Haven’t found my way around quite yet.”
“An easy mistake,” Thomas consoles him.
“Haven’t got much of the lingo yet, either,” he says choicely and Thomas pauses to let the handkerchief he’s squaring touch the top of the dresser. “Maybe you could teach me.”
It’s obvious that Tozer takes him for the kind that lets this sort of chat become a habit, which won’t do at all. There’s no time to waste in his duties on idleness, and Thomas meticulously guards against distractions like these.
“Pogey-acqua means make it strong , sir,” he begins, looking at him full on. He lowers his eyes to give the Sergeant the same kind of once over he’s used to receiving, lingering at his trousers before raising it, “that’s how long-shoremen order their bevvy. Should get you started.”
“See?” Tozer smirks, shifting a little closer on the wall. “You’ve got it bene. How much does it parker, bein’ a Captain’s Steward?”
Thomas tuts at him. This is why he doesn’t trifle with bold little flirts, though he can always count on one or two being about. Conversations always turn to impolite matters.
“More gent than you have,” he replies primly and Tozer makes a low wounded sound.
“ Yeute bivare then,” he sighs, gaze lingering on Thomas’ hair, his face. “Shame, you’re right dolly. ”
“I'll say you’ve got big bats, Sergeant,” he flicks his eyes down at Tozer’s boots, then meets his eye, cocking his head, “but they're worth nanty to me.”
He watches Tozer tongue at teeth in silence, smiling. Eventually he nods his head, which tells Thomas he’s taken the hint, for now. It’s a shame, he thinks, what happens when men are left with not much to do. He anticipates he’ll have to repeat this exercise a few more times yet.
“Sargeant Tozer?” Billy appears next to him with the crate of washed flatware in his red hands. “What was he after?”
Thomas nods, watching the Sergeant wander back down the companionway.
“He had trouble with his rifle,” Thomas says, sliding an eye at Billy, which makes Billy huff a cool laugh.
“He seems to talk about that a lot. Did you tell him which way to load it?” He asks, and both of them take a moment just to admire Tozer’s back - in which there isn’t any shame so long as it doesn’t interfere.
“I pointed him in the right direction,” Thomas answers, going back to his folding.