Teatime With Macklin


"That is what I want, gentlemen, and unlike our American cousins I never ask the impossible of my operatives.:

Bodie stared at the ceiling, Doyle at the floor. Cowley thought they looked less like the sons he never had and did not want and more like the Owl and the Pussycat. If it were not for his limp he would have taken on the assignment.

"Can't you get someone else, sir?" demanded Bodie.

"Yeah. It's not polish he wants, it's sand-blasting!" "You are my best operatives. None of my other men can touch either of you! I look to you two to get the job done - he must be ready to excort Dr Ross on Monday evening. Do I make myself clear?"

"As crystal, sir."

"And you, Doyle?"

"Quite clear, sir."

"I sincerely hope so."

Hardly had the toast of CI5 got through the door when the arguments started. It's true they were under great stress, and would be for the next twenty-four hours, but their conduct left a lot to be desired. For once they were less than eager to meet Cowley's challenge.

"You could have said no."

"Not me. You're his blue-eyed boy now, sunshine."

"Very funny, Bodie."

"Noted for my sense of humor, I am."

"But 'im and Doctor Ross! It's laughable!" "No it's not, my son. The cow was deadly serious. 'Dear Brian' will be in your flat for tea tomorrow."

"Why my place? Yours is bigger, Bodie."

"Because Cowley said so, that's why."

"You could have offered."

"Yeah, I could have..."

The sniping went on for most of the next day; even five hours of desperate drinking in the 'Block and Tackle' had done nothing to restore their spirits or equilibrium. Somehow an uneasy truce was arrived at by midday on Sunday as the front room was tidied up by stacking things in piles behind the sofa and the Hi-fi. Some of Doyle's intimate sketches of Bodie vanished for nearly a year as a result of these activites, but that's another story. Odd, but true, the work not expanded to fill time and space, but overflowed both. Under normal circumstances Bodie would have been unable to pass the bright pink Swiss Roll on the table without a suggestive remark, nor would Doyle have been unable to resist the temptation of dragging him into the bedroom to see if he was only joking. Since Doyle was smaller than his partner you don't have to be in Mensa to work out that Bodie was a very willing 'victim'. Without warning the front door bell sounded; pressing home his advantage of being nearest the landing door Bodie shot out and secured a place in the bathroom before Doyle had taken three paces. The bell rang again.

'Beam me up, Scotty,' thought Doyle. "I'll get you for this, you bastard Bodie. One way or another I'll get you for this." "One way or another!" sniggered Bodie from the safety of his bolt hole. He turned his attention to the matter in hand - the pronblem page of last March's issue of Penthouse.

'I am nineteen and still a virgin. Please help." He could not remember being either of these things, but the advice offered surprised even the real blue-eyed boy of CI5. Meanwhile it was left to Doyle to 'entertain' their guests who had indulged in a large liquid lunch; he was swaying slightly and decidedly mellow.

"Make yourself at hom, Macklin. I'll put the kettle on."

"Thanks, Doyle. Where's Bodie?"

Doyle muttered something about the bathroom as he left the kitchen. Macklin took him at his word; he flicked on the YT.V., spread a low Sunday paper on his chair and settled down to watch his favourite series: 'Kung Foo'. Doyle returned with the Swiss Roll, cake and tea. Macklin reached for a huge slice of the cake and demolished it like a sink disposal unit working at peak efficency; his eyes never left the screen. Doyle was thinking of giving up before he started; but if he was going down, Bodie was going down with him.

"I won't be a second, Macklin."

"Shush! I like this bit, Doyle."

"Are you coming out?"

"I plead the Fifth Admendment on that one."

"You wouldn't like anything to happen to a certain bear, would you?"


"OK, you've asked for it, mate." There was a soft click of scissors and a severed ear was slipped under the door.

"You'll have to call him Vincent now." Bodie came out pale with fury, though he had to grudgingly admit he brought this on himself. But his poor bear! This heroic creature had survived Angola without a scratch. Now he was a dismal sight. Without a word, Bodie placed the ear and the animal on the bed and left for the front room, tense and on the brink of tears. It nvere ceased to amze Doyle that a tough mercenary like Bodie, with the brains of a rocking horse, could form these strange relationships with inanimate objects. He decided he had gone too far and pinned the ear back on before he went to rejoin Macklin.

On their return they found Macklin with his nose in Bodie's copy of the Kama Sutra. He looked uneasy to say the least.

"Here, it's disgusting, Bodie. They must mean cucumbers."

"Give me that!"

He snatched back his book. "I don't remember anything about cucumbers, Bodie, and I know the old K/S like the back of my hand. You've got it wrong, Macklin."

"Never, Doyle," snapped Macklin. "It's all here about vegetable love growing all over the place."

"Let's see. That's not the Karma Sutra, Bodie, you've been had."

Bodie put the offending book back on the shelf and decided to change the subject to something safer, La Belle Ross, in fact; but their guest beat him to it. "What do you think of Doctor Ross? Right little raver, eh! I'm thinking of popping the question." "I'd think twice. She's not fond of men. You should have seen the way she laid into Doyle."

"Hang about. She said you'd got S/M leanings, Bodie!" gloated Doyle, a remark he would later regret.

"But she fancies me.' Those kind of women often do."

"Who says?"

"It's a well-known fact, Bodie. They love a bit of rough."

Macklin shot a neat dollop of condensed milk from the tube he always carried straight into the herbal tea Doyle had provided and took a noisy mouthful.

"What the hell's this?"

"Rose hip."

"It's disgusting, Doyle. I'll have coffee."

"Polish, sunshine, polish," Bodie smiled sweetly.

Doyle was pleased to leave those two together while he went to get Macklin's coffee. Let Bodie have a go at their V.I.P. Maybe he was right and Ross really did fancy a bit of the rough. If so, it was a well-kept secret. He would try and drop a hint about the table techniques and the newspapers on the chair before Macklin left. The kettle, though unwatched, seemed to take ages to boil. As he waited Doyle was aware of bumps, scuffles and the occasional cry from the front room. No doubt Bodie had moved from the metaphysical 'Karma Sutra' to the physical Macklin and some kind of 'game' was in progress. Just before he returned there was a loud crash and everything went quiet.

"Sorry, William..."

"Don't mention it, Brian." Macklin, breathless and dishevelled, rose from his knees in front of Bodie and returned to his papered chair. Bodie was sitting as far back on the sofa as he could. He was blushing and averted his eyes from Doyle's anxious gaze.

With the bookshelf off-limits and nothing on T.V. the burden of entertainment in the end fell on Macklin. He launched into the ego trip of the decade. It was a full two hourse fortyseven minutes before he ground to a halt. It was unfortunately too late when he had finished. By then he had convinced himself that a nice 'girl' like Doctor Ross was too good for him, and that she could not be expected to set up home in an old garage and live on a diet of scrambled eggs, dry bread and hot, sweet tea. "it's no good, boys," he sighed. "I'll put George in the picture and think of something else, right?"

"Whatever you say , Macklin," agreed Doyle.

"Well, I'll be off. Thought I'd drop in on Murphy tonight. Give him a surprise. You can keep this." He indicated the paper. "They're not very sound on the gardening page."

Doyle rose to show Macklin out; the afternoon had not gone the way it should have but at least it was over. He felt a pang of pity for Murphy.

"Forgive and forget, Bodie." He squeezed Bodie's shoulder and riffled the dark hair affectionately as he left. On his return he found Bodie washing up. This in itself was odd, but his partner was strangely silent and withdrawn. There was no reaction when Doyle waved the bear complete with restored ear about in front of 3.7. Doyle made for bed. He was shattered. Macklin as a cure for insomnia... pity he couldn't be bottled, Doyle could have made a fortune. He yawned at the memory of their guest's tour de force. As he closed his eyes he decided to sort Bodie out when he came to bed. Whatever was wrong had little to do with the incident with the bear and a great deal with Macklin. Bodie went to the front room to unwind. By the time he had gained a small degree of serenity it was after mdinight. No point in going to bed. Besides, if he did Doyle would be bound to notice. He settled down on the floor and began to fall asleep out of pure exhaustion. Doyle woke with a jolt. 12.45 and no sign of Bodie. What was he playing at? Another version of the game? He got up and made his way to the front room.

"What the hell are you doing down there? You'll freeze!"

From his present position Doyle seemed tall and imposing and he was very cold; the idea of a warm bed was most inviting.

"I'm okay, sunshine--just leave me alone."


Doyle grabbed Bodie's feet and started to drag him towards the bedroom; this time his partner put up much more than token resistance and Doyle had to fall back on reason.

"What's wrong? And don't say 'I'm fine'!"


"Really got to you, did he?"

"Yeah. Look, I can walk, and you're right, I'm very cold." The bed was great compared with the floor; Bodie sank down next to Doyle. Maybe he would have the grace to say nothing.

"You're going to sleep in your clothes! Here, let me give you a hand."

Before he could stop him Doyle had got Bodie's sweater off. Practice certainly makes perfect.

"My god-Macklin-you let him do this to you?"

"I should have stopped him but he was the guest, he seemed to be having fun."

"If I didn't know you better I'd say Ross was right about the S/M. I'll get something for those cuts. Always thought I'd make a great nurse." Bodie was too comfortable to move and Doyle carefully cleaned over the nail marks Brian had left on the inside of his partner's arms. The small lines of oozing crescents ran from the wrist to just below the elbow like the footprints of a bird in snow."

"Where else?"

Bodie looked swiftly into the worried green eyes and turned away. "Where else?" Then he added softly: "Better tell me, or I'll go looking on my own account."

"My neck-the left side."

The bruise had started to show so Doyle left it alone; Bodie was alomst asleep anyway.

"Sorry about the vear, mate. I got carried away."

"'s all right, sunshine."

"I'm very fond of you, Bodie."

"I love you too, Doyle."

Peace at last, but not for long.

-- THE END --

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