Monday, April 29, 2013

29. Episode Six Part 2

“Why don't you go to Celebrity Spin first, drag it out, and I can shout you when we get the connection up and running?” Suggested Nigel.

“That's not a bad idea. But that part of the set isn't ready.”

“I'll shout the set manager quickly and get them to move it, very quickly, 60 seconds Tony.”

“Shit, ok.” With that Tony prepared himself as a panicked set manager suddenly screamed at the three stage hands to shift the Celebrity Spin wheel and podium onto the stage.

As the adverts ended and the show came back on air, they still hadn't managed to get it in place. The base of wheel was catching on the black carpet.

Tony started. “Welcome back to the Tony James Show. We're going to go right into Celebrity Spin in a minute, the trusty stage hands are just dealing with some technical dif...”


The wheel had fallen over from the force of two stage hands pushing, and trapping the other stage hand underneath it. She let out a cry of pain. The audience took a sharp intake of breath.

Tony, after a brief moment of surprise, carried on. “Yes. Definitely a few minor hitches to the current programme. We...” He stopped as the yelps of the stage hand caught under the wheel became too distracting to ignore.

From the side of the stage with the wheel, the voice of the stage hands were just about audible. Jon, the eldest stage hand snapped. “Bloody Hell Gary, why did you shove it like that?”

“I think I've broken my leg guys.” The trapped stage hand, Rosie, remarked.

“I didn't push it hard, it must have given way.” Gary replied.

“It didn't fall of it's own accord Gary.” Jon remarked.

“I didn't push it any harder than normal!” Gary insisted.

“GUYS! I think my leg is broken.” Rosie said loudly.

“I'm reporting you for this Gary.” Jon continued.

“Why?! I didn't do anything!” Gary pleaded.

Rosie, in considerable pain and very angry, drew a sharp intake of breath and screamed as loudly as she could. The sound reverberated through every microphone in the studio, and caused everyone in the studio to stop in silence and stare at her. “GUYS. I HAVE BROKEN MY FUCKING LEG. SHUT THE FUCK UP AND MOVE THIS THING.”

Tony had given up trying to ignore the calamity to his left and walked over to the wheel. “Do you mind please, you're ruining...” Tony thought quickly to himself. “...Why on earth did you push it so hard Gary?”

“I didn't push it hard!” Gary stomped.

“You did. I saw you.” Jon replied

“Yeah Gary, Jon saw you.” Tony remarked.

“I did not!”

“You did!” Jon insisted.

“See.” Tony added.

“Fuck you Jon.” Gary threw his hands in the air, paused a moment, and then quickly shaped his hand to a fist and swung at Jon, catching him squarely on the jaw and knocking him out completely.

“Jesus Christ!” Tony jumped back in surprise.

While this was happening, Rosie, still in pain, had put her hand over her forehead in frustration.

“Can someone call an ambulance please?” Tony remarked to the side of the stage.

Rosie snapped. “So he gets knocked out for being a dick and you call an ambulance, meanwhile I've been sat here with a broken leg and no one gives a shit?”

Gary, shocked by how much force he had put into his punch, shakily realised they should probably help Rosie now. “Tony, help me move this.”

Tony grabbed one side of the wheel, and Gary grabbed the other. They lifted as hard as they could and slowly lifted it high enough that Rosie could move away. She went to move very slowly and carefully, as she tried to support her leg with her hands, the pain caused her to scream.

Just as the wheel was roughly in it's upright position, Tony let out a cry and dropped to his knees clutching his back. “ back has gone.”

“What do you mean?” Gary asked, still shaken.

“It's upped and gone to Thailand to start a new life for itself, what do you bloody think? Arrrrgh..”

Roughly thirty seconds of Tony trying desperately to turn to camera was ended as the local first aid team ran onto set to deal with the injuries.

Nigel meanwhile, had taken off his headphones and gone to the computer storage room to try and fix the internet issue, and had missed the show since the break. He was looking around the small dark cupboard with the whirring stacks of hardware, as Holly the assistant burst in. “Nigel, control room NOW.”

“Not now Holly.”


“Fine fine, one minute.”


“Okay!” With that Nigel went with Holly to the control room. He walked in and looked at the monitor screen to see the Celebrity Spin set facing the wrong way, and with a large crack in the wheel, two stage hands on the floor, one stage hand shaking and mumbling, and Tony facing away from the camera on his knees.

“What. The. Fuck?” Nigel enquired.

“Logistical issues.” Holly replied.

“Go to a break!” Nigel yelled at Holly.

“But we just came back from one.”

“I don't care. Now!”

“Okay Nigel.” Holly leant over the control machine and started the 'end of part two' graphics. The unexpected change meant that the LTV broadcast controllers weren't prepared and ended up showing a test card for 60 seconds while they set the break up.

“I didn't think they had those any more?” Holly enquired.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

29. Episode Six (Part one)

In the panic of trying to find a way to get the internet to connect tonight’s guests to the show, the bright lights and colourful video wall appeared to over power the dark carpet more than usual. Turning a set that often felt a little gothic into a wall of light that left Tony looking as exposed as he felt.

He wasn't to know that Mark, the lighting and set designer had been overly eager in his bet over Gerald's desk. Even though there were four weeks of the bet left to run, Mark felt it had settled into Gerald's office nicely. He had decided to spend the money on the latest ultra powerful lighting rig, the Blinder 800. The merest hint of plugging it in caused the energy consumption meters at the National Grid to spike dangerously. It bathed the set in such a gigantic amount of light that it left Tony looking pale, or at least it would have done had he not looked a little pale already. Across the nation, millions of viewers were about to reach for their remote controls to increase the contrast setting.

Tony was sat in his black chair, behind his desk on the right of the stage, as the cue came from Nigel to start the show. This was unfortunate as his cue point was the small x at the front of the set.

The first thirty seconds of the show consisted of Tony realising he was in the wrong place, stumbling out of his chair, walking as quickly as he could without looking as if he was exerting himself, tripping slightly as he stepped off the main stage onto the grey laminate floor at the front of the set, picking himself up, and eventually reaching his cue point.

“It's.” He said. Before realising that the audience for his show were unlikely to get a 44 year old reference.

“Welcome to the Tony James Show.” he started with a bluster as he tried to catch his breath and calm his nerves. “We have a special show for you today. With three fantastic surprise guests coming up soon.”

The audience applauded, whilst looking slightly confused. “I thought the line-up was announced earlier?” one woman questioned to her friend in the next seat. “Maybe they were all killed?” the woman sat next to her replied. The first woman turned and looked uneasily at her friend.

“But first.” Tony was getting ready to stall for all he was worth. “I'd like to tell you a little story.”

Back in the control room, Nigel was back under the mixing desk desperately trying to figure out what was wrong with the feed from Manchester. He heard Tony's words, and quietly whispered to himself, “Come on Tony, channel your inner Ronnie Corbett.”

“I was talking this week to the head of LTV, Gerald Morley.” Tony paused briefly. “He's a rather stout old gentleman who loves his cigars and whiskey. Now, talking to Gerald isn't always easy. I'm not saying he is bad tempered, but the leaders of Israel and Palestine signed a new peace deal just to avoid having to meet him.”

The audience chuckled.

“So yes. I walked into his office to have a chat. Or as we refer to it at LTV, a blitz. As I walked in, being careful to avoid the landmines, I prepared myself for bad news.

“You see, Gerald doesn't do good news. He doesn't like it at all. In fact, good news is bad news for him, although that doesn't mean he likes to deliver it to himself.

“I sat down on the sofa ready. Gerald likes us to sit on a soil brown sofa, that's soil as in the earth I should clarify. He had it lowered so that we always have to look up to him, which is ironic because even when standing he looks down on us.

“Apparently the reason for the meeting was my contract, or Terms of Surrender as they are better known. The Court Marshal had decided that I was guilty of a minor infraction, namely failing to salute a senior officer. Technically I did salute, just not in the manner they were expecting.

“The punishment was apparently three days of solitary confinement in a dark holding cell. 'Have you not seen my dressing room?' I said. It's so small it makes the broom cupboard look Claridges.'

“I pleaded my case, which didn't do much good, as the weight of evidence was firmly against me. For a start, my creative salute wasn't only caught on the LTV security cameras, I was also doing it in the meeting as well. I thought about telling them I was counting, and had yet to get to three, but decided against it.

“In the end I accepted my punishment, and spent the three days in the brig. But I learned a valuable lesson. Apparently if you include a cigar in your salute, it doesn't count. Or at least it appears that way.”

A slightly puzzled audience slowly started to clap a bit.

“Now, it's time for a quick break.” Tony said, sighing in partial relief as the show cut to a break.

Nigel emerged from the desk to comment. “Where the hell did that come from Tony?”

“I have no idea Nigel.” Tony replied. “Now all I need are 7 more of those and maybe we'll get through the show.”

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

27. Undercover

Nigel had turned up early to the studio for the next episode of the Tony James Show. After the chaos of the previous week, he had decided to take the time to enjoy the whole show. If Tony managed to pull off the success, of a sort, of last week it would be well worth watching.

Nigel walked through the studio, without the usual show lights and video screens switched on the combination of black carpet and dark décor gave it a shadowy, creepy atmosphere. He walked over to the blue carpet of the music area of the set, and sat quietly down, looking around the set in contemplation.

Though he was relatively new to working at LTV, Nigel had more than enough experience to look forward to watching Tony get one over on them, eventually, he hoped.

He thought to himself. This whole studio, this channel, the whole thing, just churns out the lowest quality rubbish seven days a week. It has been years since this station produced anything intelligent. When he started working with Steve on the Tony James Show, the belief that Tony would finally change that long hole in the schedules was his key motivation. Sadly, he thought, that belief didn't survive very long with Gerald.

"Let's make some shit television gentlemen."


"How can we make this more asinine? I know, dancing dogs, gentlemen."

What an arsehole.

Nigel frowned, Gerald was everything he hated about TV, everything he hated about the media, and everything he hated about business. He was eternally grateful to Tony for giving him an opportunity to take him down a peg or two.

Just at that moment, Tony walked into the studio, and noticed Nigel sat on the blue square over on the far left of the set. However Tony was not feeling particularly in the mood to talk, he walked past Nigel who followed him silently with his eyes, and wondered if he had been missed in the darkness.

"Tony?" Nigel queried.

"Not now Nigel."

"Oh, er, ok." Nigel shrugged and started looking around again, but his train of thought had departed from the station. Then he figured that he should find out what was up with Tony.

Nigel got up from the blue carpet, walked off the set and through the black corridor to Tony's dressing room. He walked up to the bright white door with the cheap plastic star, and knocked.

"Go away." Tony shouted.

"Are you in character or really annoyed?" Nigel asked.

"Really annoyed."

"Oh." Nigel went to walk away, before realising that was probably more of a reason to stay. "What's the matter Tony?"

"Well aside from the fact that my career is being slowly destroyed, I'm being forced to work out a stupid contract on a terrible show, oh, and my girlfriend has left, everything is fucking rosie posie Nigel."

"We're working on the show, your reputation will be okay, and what about Abbie?" Nigel responded quickly.

"It's hardly fair is it?" Tony replied despondently. "I do love Alison but something isn't right, and then this whole situation with Abbie just adds to it."

"Tony. Do what is going to make you happy." Nigel replied with a maturity that surprised him.

"I wish I knew what that was." Tony sighed. "I wish I knew that I could."

"What do you mean?"

"Why on earth would Abbie want to be with someone like me?"

"Why would she not?"

"For a start, she's gorgeous, and I'm quite a few years older than she is."

"Tony. What happened to you?"


"You are always so confident, so assured of who you are and what you do. Where the hell is this coming from?"

"You clearly haven't known me long Nigel." Tony remarked.

"No. But..." Nigel pondered. "I guess I just figured you were always that way."

"First rule of television and theatre Nigel." Tony explained. "Most actors, most presenters, most comedians, they have ups and downs, and they need the reassurance of being applauded and being liked.

"I know Tony." Nigel replied. "You just seemed different, better."

"Sadly I'm not Nigel. I am just the same, I might be a great actor, but I am not the Tony James you see on screen all the time."

"Given your current character, that's probably a good thing."

"What does it matter anyway? After this show ends I'm never going to work again. I might as well just get into character and trash this piece of shit so I can get on with finding something better to do that no one will ever watch."

Nigel gently turned the door handle and pushed open the door to find Tony sat on his black leather chair with his head resting in his hands. He carefully approached Tony, rested a reassuring hand on his back, and said. "You're Tony James man. You'll be fine."

"Thanks, but not bloody likely." Tony sighed.

“Tony. Did you not see how the people in that club reacted to you?” Nigel explained.

“They were happy I slagged Chillgame off.”

“Well yes, weren't we all. But you know it was more than that. You put something out there in public that no one else was daring to do.” Nigel continued. “Maybe that is something to take forwards when this crazy series ends.”


“We'll chat about it tomorrow, we will find a way Tony.”

Tony thought to himself. “I actually feel a bit better now, thanks Nigel.”

Nigel bowed. “You're welcome. Let's get Gerald and work you out of this contract first though yes?”

“Yes. I have an idea too.” Tony plotted.

“Excellent.” Nigel nodded and left the dressing room.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

26. Metal Gear Wobbly

A dark character stood with his back to the wall, hidden carefully down a small side-street, peering out round the corner. He was dressed from head to foot in a black, and wearing black framed sunglasses that screamed 'I am up to something'.

It was 11.25 in the morning, the high street was busy with shoppers making use of the bright sunshine and unusually warm temperatures.

As the target moved away, the man spotted a bus stop about ten metres ahead. He checked for obstacles and then stealthily moved over to behind the bus shelter, peering out again to check if he had been spotted. He had of course, but he wasn't bothered about the old ladies busy doing their shopping and sitting outside of cafés.

After twenty seconds, the man looked for his next cover and eyed a folding shop signboard that was advertising today's sandwich specials. He checked the coast was clear and quietly sneaked out from the cover of the bus stop. Had this been a cartoon, each of his footsteps would have been soundtracked with the single plonk of a xylophone, played with the verve of the late Patrick Moore.

Midway to the sandwich board the man realised he looked too suspicious, so to stay less visible he adopted the first rule of stealth video games, no one sees you if you do a forward roll. However, The man was not what you might call an accomplished gymnast. He crouched down, and hesitantly moved into a wonky forward roll that promptly veered off to the side, resulting in him kicking the sandwich board with his feet as he finished rolling.

The thud of the man's feet against the board caused everybody in the near vicinity to turn around and stare in bemusement. A second later the board fell on top of the man's head, causing him to yelp out loud in pain.

A brief moment later he shook off the injury and quietly ran ahead to behind the postbox up in front of him, staring firmly at his target to ensure he hadn't been seen.

Nigel had heard the crash, but the board had hidden his follower. He carried on walking down the busy street, weaving between old ladies and occasionally glancing to the shop windows, however he had the unshakeable feeling that something was amiss.

It was, that something was Steve.

Steve realised there was no further cover, so decided to run to the nearby music shop about 100 metres ahead, just behind Nigel. He started to run as quietly as he could, he got to a point equally ten metres from Nigel and ten metres from the shop, at which point he caught his shoe on the pavement and fell sprawling over. The noise made Nigel turn around and leap out of his skin as he saw the suspicious character behind him.

“What the fuck are you doing?!” Nigel exclaimed.

Steve stayed silent.

“You looked like a bloody mental case dressed like that.”

Steve took off his glasses, before realising a split second later that this was the only thing preventing him from being recognised. He winced in irritation at his mistake.

“Steve? What the bloody hell are you doing following me?”

“Pardon? Non Englische, er, gesprechen.”

“Steve. Stop being a cock.”

“I er, no understand.”


Steve sighed. “I was trying to find out who planted the terrible guests onto Tony's show. I was trailing the suspects for evidence of wrongdoing.”

“I'm in town buying a new jacket Steve.”

“I see.”

“How long have you been following me?”

“Well...” Steve counts on his fingers. “Six, maybe seven... no, six. Six minutes.”

“Ok, well stop it. If you want to talk to me just ask.”

“Not much of a secret investigation if I just ask you is it Nigel?”

“Why does it need to be secret?”

Steve thought for a second. “Because someone was acting on behalf of Gerald, and I want to expose them.”

“Have you thought about involving Tony?”

“Well not yet.”

“You haven't got him as a suspect too have you?”

“No. I ruled him out in the first week of enquiries.” Steve remarked proudly.

“Good work Officer Dibble.” Nigel replied sarcastically.

“Thank you.” Steve replied with no realisation of the real meaning.

“Can I suggest you meet up with us and we discuss this properly?” Nigel pleaded.

“No can do.” Steve answered boldly. “I'm going to crack this case myself if it's the last thing I do.”

“Steve, if you keep falling over like that it may very well be just that.”

Steve ignored this and pointed at Nigel. “You better not be behind this, I will catch you if you are.” At which point, Steve turned and ran off, a few seconds later he collided with an old lady's shopping bag causing both of them, and the contents of the bag, to eject all over the pavement.

Nigel looked confused, before remarking to himself. “He really needs to stop watching those American cop dramas.”

Steve picked himself up, helped the old lady to her feet, and carried on walking away with a slight limp.

Nigel shook his head, turn back around and walked off humming the theme tune from The Bill.

Monday, December 10, 2012

25. Oh What a Night (Part Two)

The inside was decorated largely in black, but with bright red and purple patterns on the wall. The flames, stripes, and swirls contrasted with the dark aesthetic and made the venue feel modern and stylish despite the initial impressions given by the wailing grungy guitars. In addition, the bar walls and ceiling were covered in rock memorabilia and what looked like pieces of abstract social commentary in the form of art hanging down. In particular, a battered disco ball covered in razor blades caught Tony's attention as he queued at the bar.

After a few minutes Tony reached the bar, only to catch sight of Sarah turning around from using the cash register. She grinned and pointed her finger towards him as she walked over to him. The music made it incredibly difficult to hear clearly, but he just about made out what she said. “Tony! I looked for you after the show, but I couldn't see you.”

“Sorry, I had to leave in case Charlie came back to stab me.” He replied, truthfully.

“What on earth are you doing here?!” Sarah enquired. “I didn't think you'd actually visit a place like this.”

“My friend Patrick recommended it.” Tony answered. “He likes all sorts.”

“You mean that guy there?” Sarah pointed to Patrick, who was stood a few metres behind Tony, talking to Abbie.

“Tony turned around to see who she was pointing at. “Yes. You know him?”

“I met him after your show. He said he liked my t-shirt, we got chatting and we went for a drink.”
“How strange!”

“Isn't it just! What are you having?”

Tony tried to remember the order he had taken a few moments earlier. “Three large rum and cokes, and, er, and a vodka and orange please.”

“Of course.” Sarah smiled and went to pour the drinks. She came back over shortly afterwards with them, as Tony went to hand her the money she waved him away. “These are on me.”

“Thank you Sarah.” They both smiled, and Tony walked over to Patrick and Abbie. “I didn't know you knew the girl who was on my show yesterday Patrick?”

“Nigel told me you'd met her before, and she loved Zombie Grave Diggers. It took him a lot of work to find her.” Patrick explained.

“Oh wow. I didn't realise.”

“I thought I'd go meet her and see if I could find a way for you two to meet up again.” Patrick thought about what he was saying, looked over at Abbie, and back to Tony. “Er, you know, celebrate the new more exciting Tony James Show!”

“Sounds like a lot of effort, but thanks!” Tony laughed and looked over at Abbie, who was happy smiling and bobbing along to the music.

As he looked around at the people dancing, Tony smiled. Once he had got over the volume and noise of the place, Tony was starting to feel quite at home in The Pit. It was full of people who didn't care about fashion, celebrity or trying to fit in, people who were expressing themselves and getting deeply involved in music they were passionate about. Tony couldn't bring himself to try head-banging just yet, but over the course of the first hour he gradually nodded his head more and more.

The four of them walked over to a space nearer the dance floor, when all of a sudden the music stopped. Patrick looked up and to the left where the DJ was playing from the raised booth. As he did, the DJ picked up his microphone and started to talk.

“Ladies and gentlemen. We have a special guest with us here tonight.”

Tony, Nigel, Abbie and Patrick looked around to see who had arrived.

“I don't know if any of you have been watching the Tony James Show, but if you haven't you have been missing out.” The Dj said as he pointed to Tony, who froze as two hundred intense and slightly sweaty rockers on the dance floor looked towards him simultaniously.

“This guy put Zombie Grave Diggers on LTV. Then yesterday he tore that dickhead from Chillgame apart.”

A huge cheer rose up from the dance floor.

“Tony James, you fucking legend. This is for you.”

The DJ put down the mic and hit the button to start playing Entrails of a Virgin Queen.

Tony laughed and lost his nervousness as the two hundred black clad rockers started to dance as if their lives depended on it. Except for a few who were stood looking at Tony, trying to beckon him to join them.

Patrick nudged him. “Just nod your head in time with the music, look intense but happy, and move around with them a bit.” He then shoved Tony towards the dance floor. Tony stumbled a few steps before stopping, stood right in the middle of the dance floor. Tony shrugged and started nodding his head vigorously, which caused about fifty people to roar in delight and do the same thing.

Several hours, many drinks and much dancing later, Tony, tired from dancing and a little worse for wear, took a break and wandered into the smaller quieter room adjacent to the main dance floor. He sat on a soft black square stool. A few moments later Abbie came over too, sitting on the stool just next to him. Although still decorated largely in black, the little room had tiny star like lights all over the walls. It gave the space a slightly romantic feel. “Worn out?!” she asked.

Tony nodded, catching his breath.

“You've made a good attempt at joining in, nine out of ten I'd say.”

Tony smiled.

“I'm proud of you, you know?”

Tony cocked his head in surprise. “Why?”

“For standing up for intelligence, and for defending your reputation whatever the cost. For not pandering to the lowest common denominator.”

“Thank you. That means a lot coming from you Bea.”

Abbie smiled. “No matter what happens, you can hold your head up high.”

Tony glanced into Abbie's eyes and smiled. She did so in return. For a few moments they stayed in silent comfort, happy to absorb the moment.

Abbie moved forward slightly to kiss Tony, who pulled back sharply and nervously.

“What's the matter Tony?” Abbie replied, surprised at his reaction.

“Sorry, that was just unexpected.”

“What were you expecting?”

“I was hoping, but I never... jeez.” Tony couldn't quite let the words he was thinking escape, and had to make do with a few dishevelled syllables.

“I didn't realise it could get so complicated kissing someone.”

“I just, I didn't think you would actually want...”

“Why on earth not?”

“You're beautiful. You're so pretty.” Although he hadn't made his point particularly well, Abbie couldn't help but reveal a little bit of a smile as Tony said this.


“I'm not.”

“Tony. I would be rather worried about you if I thought you looked pretty.”

Tony's half inebriated brain giggled. “Why would someone as pretty as you kiss someone like me?”

“I'm not sure I actually need a reason Tony.”

“No, but...”

Abbie interrupted. “Do you think if you weren't worth kissing I would have done it?”

“Well, no.”

“So what's the problem Tony?”

“You are so...” Perhaps Tony's brain was more than half inebriated. He looked at Abbie as he started the sentence, and as he couldn't find the words he looked down in slight shame.

Abbie's eyes flickered with empathy for the usually confident and articulate man beside her. “You silly thing Tony.” She put her hand on his cheek and he looked up. She stared gently at his eyes, he went to speak, but she put her finger over his lips for a second, before moving it away and kissing him softly on the lips.

As she pulled slowly away a few seconds later she saw a flurry of intense emotions run through Tony's face. As if he was experiencing huge pain, pleasure, happiness, sadness and confusion at the same time. She put her arm round him, he reciprocated, and as they embraced they gently rested their foreheads against each other. “It's ok.” She whispered.

From across the dance floor, Nigel saw the two of them together. He tapped Patrick, who was dancing near him. Patrick looked at Nigel, then over at Tony and Abbie, then back to Nigel, before exclaiming quietly. “Awwww!”

Saturday, December 8, 2012

25. Oh What a Night (Part One)

Tony sat in bed for a little while contemplating the news. In a rare act of intrigue he read the stories about his TV performance, and was surprised by how undecided they were. He got out of bed, eventually, having sent a message to Alison, apologising and asking her to come back and talk, as of yet he had heard nothing.

Tony made breakfast and wandered into his lounge. The white walls and black blinds went crisply with the dark red sofa, and made the room a pleasing mixture of cosy and stylish.

Tony sat on the sofa and tried to remember what had happened the night before.

Tony and Nigel, fresh from the meeting with Gerald had parked the car and wandered into the city to share a drink with Patrick. The soft furniture and warm colours of The King James had felt like a more attractive option than the flashy bars full of suited bankers and PR managers anyway.

Sitting on the soft barstools, Tony and Nigel signalled their arrival to Patrick with a quick salute. Patrick, always keen to up the ante proceeded to carry out a full naval salute to full attention. He remained totally static.

After about ten seconds Nigel clicked, and in his best Sergeant Major's voice bellowed. “At ease gentlemen.” Patrick dropped the salute and stood quietly.

“That sounds like Gerald.” Tony remarked as he nudged Nigel.”

“You alright Patrick?” Nigel asked.

Patrick stood still and said nothing.

“What are you... oh. Very good. Permission to speak.” Tony laughed.

“Thank you sir.” Patrick smirked. “I'm fine thanks Tone.”

“It was me who asked, I find it rude that you addressed a lesser ranking officer instead of me.” Nigel added in his newly discovered Gerald voice.

“Sorry sir.” Patrick said with faux remorse.

“Did I say you could speak, private?” Gerald, I mean Nigel snapped back.

“No sir. Oh bugger.” Patrick laughed.

“Okay okay, I get it.” Tony interjected. “Can we stop the military talk and get down to military style drinking please?”

“Two very large Navy Rums coming up... SIR!” Patrick bellowed.

With the first sip of the outrageously toe curling rum, the night had begun.

As Patrick's shift finished shortly after Tony and Nigel has arrived, he soon joined them on the other side of the bar, placing himself onto the bar stool at a moments notice of clocking out.

“I've been watching Tone, I love what you are doing.” Patrick explained. “The whole show now has a dangerous air around it, I never know what is going to happen next. It's compulsive viewing.”

“See, that's because you haven't taken it far enough yet Tony.” Nigel remarked. “People haven't been put off the show, we need to get the idiots who watch it, no offence, to switch off.”

“Some taken.” Tony offered an amused glare to Nigel.

“I just mean the idiots who watch for the stupid guests Gerald keeps bringing on.” Nigel clarified.

“I know... I know.” Tony smiled. “But I went for the jugular with Chillgame and people still seemed to enjoy it.”

“Yes but Chillgame are shit.” Patrick added.

“Yes. But the idiots we want to turn over love them, and yet they seemed to like the show!” Tony exclaimed.

“I think you have to keep at it. If you are rude to everybody then surely people will get sick of it eventually.” Nigel insisted.

“I bloody well hope so.” Tony sighed.

As Patrick hopped round the bar to pour the next shots of rum, Abbie walked through the door of the pub and waved to Tony, smiling as her face lit up. Tony waved back and got off of the bar stool to go and greet her.

“Patrick.” Nigel whispered. Patrick didn't hear, he had his back to Nigel, pouring the rum.

“Paaattrrriiickkk.” Nigel half whispered half shouted. Patrick didn't hear.

Nigel pick up a coaster and threw it at Patrick.

“Ow.” Patrick exclaimed as the coaster hit him squarely on the back of the head. “What?”

“Is it me, or is there something happening with Tony and Abbie?” Nigel asked in as much of a whisper as he could manage whilst being heard by Patrick.

Patrick looked across to Tony, who was stood just in front of Abbie, both of whom were smiling. As Tony said something unintelligible from the bar, Abbie laughed and flicked her flame coloured hair. Shortly afterwards the two of them shared a hug, which looked extremely comfortable, and went on for maybe a second longer than you would expect from most people.

“Who is she?” Patrick remarked. “I think you may be right though.”

“She's a friend of ours. Do you think we should say something?” Nigel asked.

“Maybe, let's play it by ear.” Patrick shrugged.

“Okay. Makes sense.” Nigel nodded.

“Hi guys, Abbie has come to join us for a bit, is that ok?” Tony asked

“Of course Tone.” Patrick replied. “I'm not sure I've been introduced though.”

“Oh, sorry Patrick. This is Abbie, she is a brilliant hairdresser. Abbie, this Patrick, the son of my former manager, and reasonable impersonator of a naval officer.”

Abbie looked a little confused, but gave a little laugh and waved. “Nice to meet you Patrick.”

“Likewise miss. What can I get you?” Patrick enquired.

Noticing that all three of them had what appeared to be glasses of the same drink, Abbie questioned. “What are you guys on today?”

“Naval rum. It hits you like a torpedo.” Tony replied.

“Ahhh, I see. Well I'll have the same then please private.” Abbie giggled and sat on the bar stool to the left of Tony.

“Yes Ma'am.” Patrick answered.

“Word in your ear private, don't ever call me ma'am, it makes me sound about fifty years old.” Abbie replied with the mocking sternness of a headmistress.

“Sorry, er, sir?” Patrick shrugged.

“Miss will do, thank you private.” Abbie glanced over to Tony for a split second, he caught her gaze and smiled.

“Yes miss.” Patrick saluted and went to pour the rum.

“If I'd have known this was going to carry on all night I would have borrowed some marine hats from the props department.” Tony laughed.

“I can give you all naval haircuts if you like?” Abbie added.

Nigel posed thoughtfully. “Tony won't need much help if you keep putting all those colours in his hair.”

Tony scowled mockingly at Nigel and sipped his rum. “So what's the plan from here gentlemen? Oh, and er, girl.”

Abbie raised a single eyebrow, looked inquisitive, and followed it up with a cheesy grin.

Patrick jumped in. “I know a great place a few streets down, judging from the past few weeks of shows, I think you'll love it Tony.

Nigel looked inquisitively at Patrick, who nodded and looked slightly smug.

“Sounds good to me.” Tony replied.

A couple of hours later, and they were ready to leave the pub. Nigel and Patrick walked on ahead towards the next destination. Tony and Abbie walked behind, side by side and a little slower, talking about her week.

“Have you been okay Abbie?” Tony asked with genuine kindness.

“Still not great to be honest, but better than before.” Abbie replied honestly.

“Sorry things aren't great, you deserve to be happy.”

“Thank you Tony. As do you, I hope you can be soon.”

“Me too.”

“I hope it doesn't take too long though.”

“Hang in there Bea, you'll be ok.”

“Bea?” Abbie enquired.

Tony laughed nervously and put his hand over his mouth, replying. “Sorry, for some reason that seemed a nice way of er... I'll be quiet now.”

Abbie put her hand on his arm. “It's ok Tony, it's nice.” She smiled.

Tony smiled back, they shared a brief glance and Tony put his arm round her waist as they walked along together.

Just in front Nigel and Patrick were discussing what was going on behind them.

“She clearly likes him Nigel.”

“Yes, and he clearly likes her.”

Patrick thought for a moment. “What about Tony's partner?”

“Last I heard they were going through a rough patch.” Nigel replied. “Besides, those two look so comfortable together it would seem rude to interfere.”

“Can we interfere in a nice way?” Patrick asked back.

“Oh, of course we can do that.” Nigel laughed. “I already have a little.”

“How do you mean?”

“Well, I made sure that she would be around when he needed a new haircut for the show.” Nigel explained.

“Good work sergeant.” Patrick replied.

“Let's not start that again!”

Ten minutes later and the four arrived at the next destination. As Patrick led through the side street to the nightclub, each of the other three gradually noticed the venue in turn, and gave Patrick a quizzical look.

“Lady and gentlemen. Welcome to your new favourite nightclub.” Patrick announced, and walked to the queue.

Tony, Abbie and Nigel looked up at the bright neon sign and wondered what to expect.

'The PIT.' London's Heaviest Rock Club

The exterior was black all over, except for the white neon light of the sign. The queue was made up of people dressed largely in black band t-shirts and what looked to Tony's untrained eye like mild fetish wear.

“This is just a music club right?” Tony enquired.

“I sure hope so.” Abbie replied. “Only one way to find out.”

They walked into the queue, and listened to the rumbling sounds coming from inside. It was hard to pick out what was playing, but it definitely included loud distorted guitars and louder drums being hit with the force of a shotgun bullet. Whatever speakers were being used sounded as if they had been rejected from a Motorhead concert for being too noisy.

As the three reached the entry desk, the girl behind the glass recognised Tony. She gave him the devil horns with each of her hands and nodded her head in respect. “No charge for you and your friends Tony.”

Tony nodded, said thanks and walked through to the club with Abbie and Nigel.

Friday, December 7, 2012

24. The Sun Always Shines on TV

After his past experiences with the press, Tony very rarely bought newspapers, however the comments surrounding his recent performances had started to get quite noisy.

While he hadn't yet been faced with doorstep reporters, it was very clear from conversation taking place online and from what he had heard was in the newspapers that his actions were being discussed.

If there was one good thing about his show being slagged off, it was that it seemed to stop them talking about him and Abbie, which helped at home.

“Tony. What the fuck is this?”


“Tony?!” Alison was serious.

Tony's head was pounding, so he simply looked sluggishly towards Alison with an inquisitive look. The large fluffed up pillows and soft yellow quilt cover were not going to make this comfortable he thought.

“Do we even need to talk about this?” Alison's voice was slightly muffled as she was trying to hold back from crying. “If you don't want to be with me then just tell me Tony.”

“Of course I do.” Tony replied. “I don't even know what you are talking about.”

“You never do Tony. Yet every couple of weeks it's put in front of my face again.”

“You shouldn't read the papers, they print anything they can get their hands on that looks like it might cause scandal.”

“Tony, I know you've had trouble with them in the past, but you cannot use that as an excuse to get me to ignore something that appears to be pretty clear.”

“I really don't know what you mean.” Tony really didn't, but as a hazy memory of the night before cam back, he was worried he might soon.

“Tony, how many times do I have to see pictures of you with this girl before you either tell me something I don't want to hear, or I find it out for myself?”

Tony sat in silent, doubly painful contemplation.

“We agreed remember Tony. We sat and we agreed that we would never do anything like this to each other.”

“I know. I haven't...”

“After your past and my past Tony, this is not something I want to deal with.” Alison really was crying now.

“”I know.”

“So why are you making me have to deal with it?”

“There really is nothing going on.”

“So why does it look like it, and why are you always out with her, and never out with me?”

Tony thought for a second. “She just happens to be where I go, and we are just friends. If something were to happen I would tell you, I really would.”

“Would you Tony? I love you but I am starting to get the feeling that maybe you don't feel the same way.”

“Of course I love you.” Tony tried to article the debate that was going on in his head. “It's just that...”

“Oh fine. Fuck you Tony.”

That was not what he intended to say.

As Alison stormed out of the bedroom she threw the paper at Tony, which landed open on the half page picture of him with his arms wrapped around Abbie. Apparently it hadn't stopped them.

Tony looked at the picture and thought to himself. Part of him wanted to go and chase after Alison, while his more analytical side was wondering why he was even in this situation. He liked Abbie, of course he did, but he had never set out with any intention of doing something wrong. Or had he? No. No. He wasn't like that any more, even though it had taken a long time he had grown up.

Tony hit his stumbling block, the question over what would happen if faced with a choice. While he was many things, he was not the sort of person to carry on an affair. He may make mistakes in how he deals with things, but he is not that kind of person. He doesn't ever want to be that kind of person. What's the point in being credible in his work if he couldn't be credible in his own personal actions? Besides, it wasn't his fault that his work credibility was being damaged, he had acted in good faith at all times.

Maybe that was it. He had acted in good faith, but the situation had developed in a way he wasn't expecting. Bloody hell, where now?