With Age, Comes a TOG Sticker


Up first, as always, and observing himself in the mirror, at the foot of the stairs, Bodie sighed. With age, comes experience, he remembered saying, to some young thing, more years ago than he cared to think about. He should have added 'grey hair, middle-aged spread and problems with your bladder.' Not that she would have been interested - any more than he was at the time, if he was honest. Amazing how the ' it'll never happen to me ' mentality encompassed getting older. Until you actually got there. He picked up the papers and post and chucked them on the coffee table in the sitting room, while he opened the curtains.

Once in the kitchen, he switched on the radio, reached for the kettle and filled it for his tea and Ray's coffee. The Carpenters. Now they could harmonise. Wow. Beautiful.

'What lies in the future is a mystery to us all....'

Too bloody right - should've learnt to play my guitar like that - might be living in luxury in California now. Or dead. The grass wasn't always greener. Fabulous song though - no-one around so it was ok to sing along. Couldn't hold a tune in a bucket according to his beloved, hmph - called the kettle black quite often did Ray - luckily his tongue could do more than pontificate.

He flicked the dishwasher switch and opened the door. God, you'd think we'd entertained the entire branch of the local Women's Institute, to look at all the bloody cups! Feels it's his duty to use a clean mug every time he wants coffee. Odd how he's never around when the dishwasher needs emptying though. Amazing the allergies people have.

Sighing, he set about transferring crockery to cupboards. Ooooof. Bloody back! He winced and stood up straight, kneading the muscles around his non-existent waist. He looked down. Used to have one. Once. Take your eyes off something for five minutes....

Make the tea. Feel better then. He chucked the tea-bags in the pot. Not bad these, on offer in Tesco's 'buy one, get a packet of chocolate digestives half price'. He'd grinned and some woman had thought he was trying to pick her up. Hadn't been able to resist winking at her over his shoulder, as he walked off, with his trolley. Made her day, nice to know he could still do it.

"We've got a website now...!"

Yeah, technology's overtaken me too Terry!

Hungry. What's in the fridge? Bacon, eggs, tomatoes. Decisions. Fried bread or potato cakes? Both? YEAH! No. Ray would throw fifty fits, if he caught him, shoving all that cholesterol down his throat. He frowned. Grill the bacon, poach the eggs - could he get away with two - and fry up some potato cakes. Perfect.

The sizzling was no match for Creedence Clearwater Revival's request to know if he'd ever seen the rain. Better ask the Water Board mate, they'd like to know too...

He wandered back into the sitting room and looked around. The very least the bloody furniture could do was remind him what the hell he'd come in here for! He wandered back - turned the bacon and the tomatoes. If he was lucky, Ray wouldn't be down until he'd eaten it. Where's the paper? Oh yeah, that was why he'd gone into the sitting room...

Back in the kitchen, he inspected the mail. Bank statements telling him how much money he didn't have, and by the way, he could have a 5,000 loan if he wanted it. Mmmmmm, could buy a guitar. Or one of these beds here, for poor sods with bad backs. Like him. He grinned, trying to imagine Ray's face as Bodie whizzed up and down on a bloody orthopaedic bed. Might be worth it...

His breakfast must be ready by now. He piled it, unceremoniously, onto the plate and sat down to eat. The God slot kept him company. Be nice to people. He was. Drove Doyle mad the way he helped old dears with their shopping. "Stop calling them sweetheart," Ray told him, "they don't like it these days!" So why did they smile beautifically at him, when he did it? All of them. Think these eggs are a bit old. Delia would chuck 'em out. Must try that spud recipe she cooked last night. No meat, so Ray would be able to eat it.

He finished - no sign of Ray - good, got away with it again - and put his dishes away in the dishwasher.

Another cuppa tea would go down well.

"No you can't have a TOG car sticker, you're not old enough!"

Bodie grinned, that's it Tel, you tell 'em, 40mph driver or not, you have to be fifty!

"You one of those then?"

Bodie jumped. "Where'd you come from? Didn't hear you come down the stairs! Am I one of what?"

"A TOG? Terry's Old Geezers. That you?" Ray was grinning and Bodie's day was suddenly complete. No middle aged spread on him. Veggie. Watched what he ate too. Bloody edible himself. Hadn't changed a bit, as far as he could see. Still dreamboat material, drop-dead gorgeous in that yellow shirt I made him buy. Makes my stomach turn somersaults every time he walks into the room, even after twenty years. Hasn't gone to seed like me.

" 'spose I qualify don't I?" He answered, grudgingly, staring mournfully at his flab.

Doyle was tipping some Muesli into a bowl. "Oi, pass the milk, haven't got a lot of energy after last night." And he wiggled his eyebrows, suggestively. "Running a bit low, better pop to the supermarket later, Bodie. Your groupies on the tills will, no doubt, be thrilled to see you. One of them asked me if I could get a photo of you, last time I was in there! Asked her if she wanted you to autograph it!"

He chuckled; sitting down to eat his cereal, his knee gave a loud crack. He ran a hand through greying locks. Bodie remembered the wild curls he'd sported back in the late seventies, it still held a special place in Bodie's heart. He kept it slightly shorter now, straighter and swept back. His Oscar Wilde look, Bodie called it. Sexy as hell. When he'd expressed a wish to have it cropped in the latest style, Bodie had hit the roof, unable, to even consider the idea of his love with short hair. Doyle had not mentioned it since.

Picking up the paper, Ray looked around.

"Forgotten where you put them again?"

A long search ensued, culminating in the discovery of the lost spectacles in the downstairs loo.

"Aim a bit poor is it?" Bodie teased, "or did you need your glasses to find it?"

"Didn't hear any complaints from you last night!"

"Yeah well, knew you was tryin' your best like..."

The tea cosy hit him square on the head.

Bodie grabbed his tea and sat down at the table, opposite Doyle. He was welcome to his bowl of nail clippings and bird seed. He leaned his head in his hand and contemplated the love of his life. How the hell was it possible for him not to have aged? He hadn't changed a bit, not one iota. Totally - sodding - gorgeous. He sighed and Ringo Starr began to sing.

'When I get older, losing my hair...'

Hmph. Not if I've got anything to do with it.

-- THE END --

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