Pete: Thursday 1st April
I was having another of my really good Karen Gillan dreams, when I was disturbed by what sounded like the mournful ruminations of an angry cow. It took several seconds of panic-stricken flailing before I realised it was my mobile. God! The vibrate setting on this thing was really getting vicious in its old age! It was a text from Dom, reading 'Spoiler Alert! Tom Baker confirmed to make appearance in 11th Hour!!!' and then, in caps lock: 'THIS IS AN APRIL FOOL!' I couldn't help thinking he was somehow missing the point.
The door abruptly swung open, and in crashed a bare-chester Jeff, simultaneously dribbling toothpaste, making monster noises AND warbling the 'Who theme. The man was a genius! I immediately sprang into action, grabbing one of the sonic screwdrivers from my bedside table, and shouting 'he's hyperpodulating!' Then we both fell about laughing.
These japes got better every year!
Jeff: Thursday April 1st
I steeled myself, staring into the mirror.
“I'm the doctor. I'm a timelord. I'm 903 years old...”
Ok... it was time, although it wasn't really working, I'm a bit fatter than David Tennant.
“Hey Pete!” I greeted him far too cheerily.
“What's wrong?” he looked terrified.
“Nothing. Well... you know I said my parents were going away for Easter? Well... my brother's not at college at the moment and he can't really stay at home by himself...”
“What do you mean not at college?” said Pete, aghast.
“It's Easter. Half term.”
“No, I mean, why's he still college? He's twenty seven!”
“You know why.” I sighed.
“Because he's retarded?”
“Kevin is not retarded! He has mild autism.” Pete frowned. “Alright, it's pretty severe, but he's not retarded. You can't say that any more.”
“But if I could say it... then he'd be a retard?”
“Shut up. He's coming to stay.”
“What?!” Pete looked like he was going to cry.
“Just for the weekend!”
“This weekend?? My Helicopter?? Guy?? This weekend??”
“Yes this weekend...”
“But it's Doc-”
“Yes, yes, I know! But what could I do? I'm not retarded. Autistic. I'm the grown up sensible one, my mum asked me a favour and I can't say no because we're watching kids TV in our pants all weekend. I couldn't say that, I'd get the sigh.”
“I thought it was Daisy that did the sigh?”
“It's just women in general. He'll be here tomorrow, but don't worry. I'll sort something out.”
Jeff: Friday 2nd April
My Dad dropped Kevin off on their way up to the lakes. As usual my Mum stayed in the car and my Dad lingered reluctantly on the doorstep, trying to get away as soon as possible.
“Are you sure you don't want to come in for a quick brew?”
“No...No... We'd best be off. You be good now.” He mock punched Kevin on the shoulder. There was something quite depressing about that. He used to treat him like that as a four year old. That kind of exchange is normal between a father and small boy, but when it's a fifty nine year old and a twenty seven year old it's quite unsettling.
Anyway, it was probably for the best they didn't come in. The Lost continuity guide was still scrawled all over the wall. (It was eventually crossed out and “FUCK IT” scrawled across in red marker pen.)
“You ok?” I asked Kevin, in a resigned sort of way. The question was a formality, I knew whatever I received in reply would be unintelligible, irrelevant or banal to the point of.... banality?
“Ye.” He shrugged. “Is Pete About?..” He asked with a completely false sense of casualness. He couldn't actually keep eye contact as he asked the question. He's been terrified of Pete ever since they first met twenty four years ago. Pete had long hair, and for some reason this distressed Kevin. Every time Pete came round, my brother used to hide in the airing cupboard.
“Yes.” I wanted to say. “Pete's here. He's just next door. And he's got a knife.” Just for the fun of it.
“No.” I said. (He was asleep.)
“Oh. Where I am I sleeping?” Kevin speaks very quickly, so this all came out as one word. He's also not too clever when it comes to the letters L or S.
“On the sofa.”
“What if Pete wants to sit on it while I'm asleep? He might hurt me.” He visibly paled.
“He won't. Do you want a brew.”
“Yeh. But not with the weird milk. It's not the weird milk is it?”
“What are you on about? We only use one kind of milk. The normal kind.”
“No, you have the weird milk in a carton. I like it out of the bottle.”
“It's UHT. Everyone drinks UHT.”
“It tastes funny. I like from the bottle.”
“Well, we don't have any.”
“Right. Can I have some orange juice instead?”
“We don't have any. It's water, tea or Carlsberg.”
“BEER?” He looked at me like I was forcing him to take heroin.
“It's all we have.”
“I bet you've got big cupboards full of beer. People will think you're like a crazy person.” He paused, staring in horror at the wall as though he'd just realised something awful. Like he only had a few hours left to live. “Oh, no!... Pete's not gonna get drunk is he?”
“Not unless it's a special occasion.”
“Oh no! He's gonna be drunk. Can you tell him to go away?”
“What do you mean go away? He lives here.”
“Yeah, but it's your house too. Please, can't you just tell him to go away until Monday?”
“No! I couldn't do that... he's not well.” I lie, but I thought playing the sympathy card might help him see Pete in a different light.
“Oh no!” He clamped the sleeve of his jacket over his nose and backed into the corner of the living room. “It's not legionaries disease is it?” His voice was shaking.
“No. I don't even know what the fuck that is.”
“He's not ill, he's just, you know, under the weather.”
“Bet it's legionaries disease...”
“Do you want a drink or not?”
“Can I have a shandy?”
“Yes.” I lied. We'd got some pretty week Sainsburys own beers in, I could put a teaspoon of sugar in it and say it was shandy. Of course, that would make it flat.... Ah! Of course, I could dilute it with the organic cucumber presse Daisy left in the fridge. (I asked if she was going to drink it, and she said it was a flower in a barren garden. I think this was some kind of metaphor comparing cucumber juice to Carlsberg export.
We walked through to the kitchen, or rather I did. Kevin hovered in the doorway. You know the way the SAS raid a building, bursting into rooms by securing themselves against the wall and checking every direction for enemies? This is exactly the way bursts into the kitchen, absolutely petrified that there may be another human being in there.
Luckily this gives me time to pour some 2% beer into a glass and dispose of the can. I stick the kettle on and then decide, fuck it, who cares if it's 10:30, he'll think I'm drinking shandy. Besides it's good Friday. I'm allowed a treat. I know I'm working later, but I work in a pub... so it's like market research.
Kevin started looking at the model Daleks on the windowsill.
“Which garlics are these?”
“Yeh, which ones are they?”
“I got them from that convention. Remember, the one we went to in Manchester when you were 10?” I remembered, he'd run out screaming.
“Yeh, but which garlics are they? Are the Davros's garlics or the renegade garlics?”
“It's just a model dalek.”
“Yeah but it's gold. The gold garlics are from the 70s aren't they.”
“It's just that colour because you're supposed to paint them.”
“Yeh, but the gold garlics were from the 70s.”
I wanted to go into detail that there had been a gold Dalek in the 70s, in Day of the Daleks, and of course the black and gold movie Dalek in Planet of the Daleks... but there were never more than one. And the ones that were gold weren't gold all over. That would look ridiculous. But I can't do it. I'd sound as bad as him.
“Yeah, they're from the 70s.”
“With the old man?”
“Jon Pertwee wasn't an old man!”
“Right yeah... you know the, err, undertaker? And John Cenna? Well Cenna won at backlash...” Oh god, not WWF. He always ends up on fucking WWF. He's been obsessed with the undertaker for about twenty years and I still don't know what he hell he's on about. The amount of sentences which begin with “You know the, err, undertaker?” And I just zone out.
In his bedroom at home, one half of the wall space is dedicated to the Royals (specifically the Queen mother and Princess Di for some reason.) and the other is a mural of WWF posters. Oiled, muscled men in leotards grimacing. No wonder he's never had a girlfriend.
By this time, the conversation – or rather his monologue – has turned to the time he tried to get a goat in the back of his Dad's car, and the hilarity that ensued when they were pulled over by the police and the officer found a goat in the back, munching its way through an A-Z.
Every time he starts ranting about WWF, it always ends up with the goat story. And I never heard about this story in the first place. I mean, his Dad is my Dad, and he never said anything about a goat. It's all been relayed to fast, it's hard to distinguish most of the individual words, so I just let him get on with it.
I made to go through to the living room and Kevin froze in the doorway.
“Oh, no!” He wailed. “There aren't any cydermen are there?”
“Not unless Pete's been upgraded!” I quipped. He didn't get it.
“Pete's a cyderman?” He regarded me with a look of genuine confusion on his face.
“No. There are no cybermen.” I informed him. I'd made a routine check before he came round to remove anything featuring, or relating to cybermen from the living room. I'd shown him Attack of the Cybermen when he was a kid, and he'd been so scared by the scene where the cybermen crush that guys hands that he'd had to have counseling for about four years after. (That was the reason he ran from the convention in '93, although bizarrely he was more frightened of Sophie Aldred than the guys in cybermen costumes. He was running along a corridor screaming “Don't let the scary lady get me!”) And in the 80s, the cybermen were made of tinfoil, so for a few years he was too scared to go into the kitchen. He got over that eventually, but to this day he's still afraid of cling film.
“What about the DVDs? You've got cyderman DVDs!”
“Yeah... In the DVD rack. You can't see the covers?”
“Are the cydermen on the sides.”
“No! It's just grey, and a picture of the Doctor. You're not scared of the Doctor you?”
“You won't make me look at it will you?”
“Why would I want to do that.”
“Dunno. Oh no! You're not gonna make me watch The Earthshocks are you?”
“No. And it's called Earthshock.”
“I need a wee.”
“You know where the bathroom is.” He trundled off and I quickly ran to get another beer. It was only as I opened the fridge that I remembered; I hadn't removed the cyberman flannels from the bathroom.
Pete: Friday 2nd April
“Look after him??” I protested. “But I was all set to watch Battlefield tonight. Can't you take him to work with you?”
“Oh shame!” Jeff smiled to himself, obviously impressed by the apt timing of his quote; and now I was going to have to put another quid in the 'Bambera jar'. “I can't take him to work with me. You know what he gets like around noise... and alcohol... and people. What if he tries to climb into the chiller again? Kathy'll go mental!”
“But it just won't work. We both know how he feels about me! Besides, what if I'd been planning to go out?”
Jeff tilted his head. “Let's face it Pete. Kamilian's had more outings than you in the last few years!”
“Well, tonight could've been the night!” I was more than a little hurt. How could he compare me to that stupid, poncey robot; the blight upon the otherwise tolerable King's Demons? “Anyway, how would Kevin react if I was planning to have Dom round? He's still got long hair.”
“Dom's not coming round.” He spoke sternly.
“He might be...” Grinning, I reached for my mobile, which was buried beneath DWM, FHM and some clumps of toilet paper.
“Dom's NOT coming round!” I could tell I'd wound him up. “Now, I'd better go. I'm going to be late for work.”
When I went through to the lounge, Kevin was nowhere to be seen. I searched frantically, but it was only when I began to curse aloud - “Ah... Fucking hell!” - that he gave himself away.
A gasp of shock sounded from near one of the lounge chairs. “Don't swear!” Kevin was hiding behind the sofa, surrounded by a makeshift fort of cushions. “You won't go to heaven.” I removed one of the cushions from his head. “Don't hurt me!” He whimpered.
“Kevin,” I tried to sound calm and reasonable, “I'm not going to hurt you.”
“But I did a bad thing.” He inclined his head down to where a damp stain was spreading on his already food-encrusted trousers. “I'm dead sorry.” His lips trembled. “I didn't mean to. I was scared. I heard you say Don was coming round.”
“Ahhhh!” He screamed pathetically.
“Come on.” I tried to hide my exasperation and sound sympathetic. We couldn't afford to hire a carpet cleaner, and if I gave him anything else to be scared about the whole lounge would end up smelling of piss. Kevin's combined mortal terror for practically everything and weak his bladder meant that he was a volatile house-guest. Last time he stayed, we ended up having to replace a whole set of bed covers after our flannel, which had a picture of Shrek on it, gave him nightmares. I grabbed his arm to hoist him up, but he began to chew his lip and wail pitiably.
“Geroff! Geroff me! I'll call a policeman. I'll tell him you've been drinking pot!” He shot up, ran into the kitchen and went to hide underneath the table. I came through just in time to see him knock it off-balance, and, from then, everything seemed to go in slow-motion. A beer bottle swayed precariously on the brink, but mercifully came to rest. A Marmite jar slid to one side, stopping just in time. A teapot tipped and lost its lid. Miraculously, however, it didn't smash.
For a brief moment, it seemed as though everything was going to be okay, but then the unthinkable happened. The K9-biscuit barrel, that Jeff had bought for my 21st birthday, fell to the ground and shattered into tiny pieces. The noise sent Kevin into some kind of fit, and I had to call Jeff back. When he eventually got home, I'm not ashamed to admit that I was slumped dejectedly on the floor, staring at a fragment of K9's ear and weeping.
Jeff: Saturday 3rd April (am)
I got out of bed and had a long hard look in the mirror, just to remind myself what a morally corrupt bastard really looked like. I'm a bastard... But it had to be done.
I picked up the phone and called Dorset Gran, my only surviving grandparent. The trouble with Dorset Gran is that I started lying to her when I was about 25, and I've been unable to stop. I sort of dig myself in deeper every time. If I really was the kind of person she thought I was, then I imagine my parents would actually come round for tea.
“Hi Gran? It's Jeff.”
“Hiya Darling! How're you doing?”
“Oh good, good.”
“How're things at the Brewery?”
Cringe. “Oh, you know – tough but rewarding!”
“I still can't believe it, managing director!”
Cringe. “Yeah... Listen, I really don't like to out you out but I'm looking after Kevin at the moment... yeah, they're in the Lakes... But I've got Daisy coming round and...”
“You're lovely fiancée!”
Cringe. “Yeah... and, well, you know, we're having ... The kids talk!”
“Oh! How exciting! I always hoped I'd be a great grandmother before I died. You're a treasure, Jeffry.” It was entirely possible she was crying. I cringed.
“Don't worry about Kevin, he can stay here while you get yourselves sorted. I'll put some steak pies in the oven, he likes them doesn't he?”
“Yeah, just remember to take them out of the foil tray.”
Pete: Saturday 3rd April
The anticipation was too much. I couldn't sleep, so I was up by 11 – the eleventh hour. I skulked cautiously around the house, checking for signs that the deed had been done: sleeping bag empty; big puddle on the bathroom floor; discarded pairs of tracksuit bottoms slung over sofa, cooker door AND record player; spilt UHT; trail of Rice Krispies leading towards the exit; and everything blissfully quiet. I breathed a sigh of relief. Kevin had left the building, and the rest of the day was mine to enjoy!
A part of me was pleased to be out of bed so early – I could put on that exercise video Uncle Julian had sent me, make a start trying to repair the laptop, clean the house, write a novel. Another part of me, however, knew that it'd be like childhood Christmas Eve all over again – that I would rattle round the house, feeling tense, wringing my hands, going slightly mad, running baths and then letting the water go cold without taking them, bidding on ebay for German car parts and football memorabilia.
As it was, I ended up on the sofa – which was inevitable, really – using duct tape to bind together the TV, DVD, video and Freeview remotes... which was less inevitable. This actually proved decidedly fiddly, and I was still going at it when Jeff walked through the front door. He looked at me, before his eyes turned excitedly to the remote controls, dropping a pair of shopping bags, and raising his arms aloft.
“The Megatron returns!” He shut the door. “Pete, you're an absolute genius!” He locked the door. “I mean, there was me abandoning the whole idea...” He bolted the door. “...After Daisy got that hi-fi remote stuck to her arse,” he put the chain on the door, “and went all...” He pulled a face and waved his hands frantically, before shoving a wedge beneath the front door, “and here you are, br- wait! Have you unplugged the phone?”
“You dick!” He ran to yank out the extension cord, eventually succeeding after several attempts.
“Jeff, is there a reason you're being so security conscious?”
“Just want to make sure no one disturbs us during Doctor Who.” He stopped, and seemed to be catching his breath, before adding guiltily. “Plus, I just stole shitloads of stuff again. Now come on!” He snapped his fingers.
“Erm, Ok... But you are quite sure you're not going to get caught sooner or later?” His eyes widened considerably.
“Yes... Maybe... It hardly matters! Did Tom Baker play by the rules in 'Genesis of the Daleks'? I think not!”
“Oh, come on! You can hardly compare a life-changing moral decision like that to you nicking-” I rustled through the shopping bag. “...Slim-a-Soup, motor oil...”
“I'm an outlaw...”
“Value brand tampons?”
“You're a kleptomaniac!”
“For fuck's sake, Pete, as if I'm the one with the problems!” He slammed a can of XXX-Chunky dog food down onto the kitchen table.
“And just what's that supposed to mean?” Jeff fell silent, biting his lip, and when he blinked, it seemed like whole minutes passed in the time it took him to shut and open his eyelids.
“Never mind.” He said at last, smiling genially. “How about I make us one of those special hot chocolates while you do the important work?” He waved a stolen pad of paper, and red Biro. “We've got six-and-a-half hours, and ten doctors to get through. Do your worst.”
It proved to be an impossible task. By the time Jeff'd made a hot chocolate, the page was still completely blank. By the time he'd had a bath, I'd managed to write the name of each doctor down, but had got no further. By the time he'd cleaned out the kitchen, tidied the lounge and barricaded the door, my head was in my hands and there were so many crossings out that I had to start afresh. And by the time Daisy came round and nearly ruined everything, the list looked like this.
Jeff refused to shift the furniture and let Daisy in, shouting through the peep hole that he was 'very ill'.
“Aww, but Jeffy,” Daisy squealed, “don't you want me to come in and wook after you?”
“Daisy, there's nothing I'd like more than for you to come and 'wook after' me, but I've got...” He fumbled at thin air, as though it would provide him with an end to his sentence. “...Smith's Disease,” he said at last, a little too triumphantly, “and it's tewibly contagious.”
“OMG!” She screamed, banging hard against the door. “Phoenix from 'Lentil Fetish' had Smith's Disease, and he nearly lost a hand! You have to let me in so I can bath the affected area in lavender essence!”
The exchange continued like this for some time. We thought we were in trouble when she threatened to mount a doorstep vigil, and her medley of Bryan Adams' love songs proved to be a particularly bleak moment. The Radiotronic Workshop could show her a thing or two! When she finished, I shouted that Jeff had taken to his bed. I'm a terrible lier, and felt sure she'd know that he was stood right next to me, eating a waffle, but it seemed to work. After fifteen minutes pawing at the door, she eventually left. Somehow we'd lost most of the afternoon.
The rest of it rapidly vanished in the time it took to boil the kettle, prepare the experimental schnitzel-sausage-noodle sandwiches, artfully arrange the Twiglets, sufficiently defrost the ice-cream, arrange the Twiglets again, decant the crisps, set up the video recorder, and rearrange the Twiglets to perfection.
Before we knew it, the moment was upon us... The Eleventh Doctor had arrived...
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