Definitely my favourite month.
You may have been wondering what happened to Will and me. Or you may not, how the fuck would I know? The point is I’m going to tell you.
After a well deserved Christmas break I returned to the Bandwidth building bright and early on the January 1st with a spring in my step. I had been meaning to see a doctor about it, but what with being drunk for an entire month I just hadn’t gotten round to it. It appears to have been a psychosomatic issue, because what I found at HQ (that’s right, we use professional-sounding lingo) destroyed my mood worse than a badly timed shot of Ron Jeremy’s O-face in a cheap porno, and my tottering short person walk returned almost immediately. The place was a shit tip. Smashed windows covered with cardboard, the unmistakeable stench of a backed up toilet, rats building little houses out of discarded syringes, and by far the worst of all, Michael Barrymore appeared to be squatting there.
‘We warned you about this Barrymore!’ I yelled.
‘No, Will said it was cool this time,’ he replied.
‘What? When? Where is Will?’
‘I don’t know. A couple of weeks ago he said he was moving on. Greener pastures, he said.’
‘Fuck,’ I said, pulling up an office chair and taking out my hip flask. ‘Will was my hero.’ I had a swig and noticed Barrymore eyeing it. I passed it to him. ‘Going though another rough patch huh?’
‘Yeah, just need some time to get my shit together,’ he said, guzzling my whiskey. I snatched the flask back.
‘Could be worse,’ I said. ‘Michael Madsen’s in the Big Brother house.’
After that nothing more needed to be said, and we finished the whiskey in solemn silence.
Before I left I went to take a leak, and that is where I got my lead. The toilet was filthy, and of course there was no toilet paper left. Barrymore had been using old office documents, which he had carefully torn up into wipe-sized squares. I recognised most of them as old This Is Not A Review articles and it struck me that there really would be no reason to print those things out, except with the intention of wiping one’s ass on them, but I didn’t have time to be offended. There, nestled amongst the words that spilled out of me like whiskey from a glass when I fall asleep in front of the TV, was the remnants of an official looking letter written on BBC stationery. The BBC. Of course.
I marched all the way to the BBC building, stopping only briefly for three pints of Guinness. At the reception I slammed my fists on the desk and demanded to see Will. The receptionist told me I wasn’t allowed in without a visitor’s pass.
‘How do I get one of those?’ I asked.
‘Just fill in this form.’
‘Fuck that!’ I screamed. ‘This is an emergency.’
‘I’m going to have to ask you to leave sir,’ she said.
‘I’ll be back,’ I said.
Me, crashing a car through the front of the BBC building.
I reached over the desk and snatched a visitor’s pass, then I descended into the depths of televisual hell. I had prepared myself for some resistance, but the only obstacle I encountered was a girl I went to university with.
‘Hey [name deleted for reasons of libel], good to see you again. Now where’s McConnell?’
After pretending not to recognise me, she gave me the long version of how successful she has been in the ‘industry’. Finally she told me how to find Will and went back to mopping, insisting that I not walk over her lovely clean floor, and find another way around.
The door was marked ‘Sound/Dubbing/Cleaner’s Store’. I booted it in, and immediately regretted my decision. Will had his feet up on a mixing board and was leisurely masturbating to a behind-the-scenes video loop showing [name deleted for reasons of libel] repeatedly bending over, exposing perhaps an inch of cleavage at most.
‘Ian!’ he exclaimed.
‘What are you doing here?’
‘Please stop masturbating!’ I said.
‘Oh, right,’ he said, tucking himself away. ‘What’s up?’
‘Dude, what’s happened to you?’
‘I’m moving up in the world Ian. Steady work. A credit on a real TV show. Even my own office,’ he said, motioning around the cramped mixing studio we were in. ‘The ladies toilets are next door. You can hear them when they’re in there.’
‘Jesus fuck Will, you’ve turned into a sex pest. And worse, a dubbing mixer.’
‘Oh yeah, coming from the guy who works in a chocolate shop.’
‘I still have my dreams Will. And when I jerk off at work I have the decency to go to the toilet.’
‘But I’m happy here. It’s easy,’ he said.
I grabbed him by the collar, spun his chair around and slapped him in the face. I tried to ignore the fact that the movement had exposed his genitals again. ‘Listen to me William,’ I said. ‘Did I ever tell you about my uncle?’
‘Your uncle was not John Wayne, Ian’
‘No, my other uncle. Tony. He had this obsession with people letting their dogs shit in the street. He used to go on and on about how the council should do more about it until one day he finally snapped and started his own private business cleaning up dog turds in upper class areas. At first everyone thought he was crazy, but it really caught on. He was even in the paper. ‘Pooper Trooper is Super, Says Council’. But you know where he is now? He’s a dog shit warden in a park. The council liked his idea so much they hijacked it and now he works for them. Just another cog in the machine. He never has to get his hands dirty, but you know what? He’s a broken man. Says he can’t even remember what a bucket of dog shit smells like any more.’
‘I don’t understand,’ said Will.
‘Don’t you see? You used to be in charge of shit. Even if it was just small time, it was all yours. Now you’re just doing someone else’s shit for them.’
‘You’re right,’ he said, standing up, his junk lolling into plain view. ‘Let’s go make some fucking music videos.’
‘Okay, but put your bits away first dude. And zip up this time.’
As we tracked mucky footprints across a beautifully clean floor we bumped into the runner, heading in the other direction with a tray loaded with cups of tea. Seeing the mess we had made she dropped the tray, scattering broken crockery and tea, and broke into tears.
‘I can’t do this any more,’ she cried. ‘Please, take me with you.’
‘I don’t think that’s a good…’ I started.
‘What show do you work on?’ Will interrupted.
‘Out Of The Blue,’ she sobbed.
‘Oh you poor thing,’ he said, putting his arm around her. ‘Of course you can come with us.’
I mouthed ‘what the fuck?’ at him and he responded by cupping his hands in front of his chest and biting his lip in a furious manner. Luckily I know sign language, and understood that he was indicating her massive breasts. He had a point.
‘Okay then,’ I said, ‘let’s go.’
We headed straight back to HQ, stopping only very briefly so I could have three pints of Guinness.
TO BE CONTINUED…