Average Life of a Daily Civil Servant


With thanks to Bruce, for more than I can say.

05.30 HRS.

I've been awake for five minutes, huddling in the warmth of my bed, waiting for the alarm to put the kibosh on my dreams. Fragments floating in my mind like cheap tea leaves -- BZZZ! All systems GO -- got to get my run in this morning, probably won't get the chance later...

05.55 HRS.

I'm not the only one out on this beautiful bollock-freezing morning. There's another idiot pounding down the path behind me. I feel like being alone for the moment, or I'd drop the pace, and let him catch up...

06.30 HRS.

Glad to be back in the warm. Kettle's on for coffee -- sod it! I'm out of cereal -- and sugar by the looks of things. There's bound to be something in the fridge I can conjure into breakfast. If I get the chance, I'll dive into the corner shop, get a few things -- tide me over till I can get to the supermarket -- or I could call on my partner...

07.05 HRS.

Bloody car hates the cold. I've kicked it, cursed it, thought about bump-starting it -- like Delaney's donkey! Finally, the engine's turned over -- I'll have to get my food down to get to the office...I'll get one of the mechanics from the motor-pool to put in some anti-freeze...

07.34 HRS.

Okay, so I'm four minutes late. I've still beaten the Old Man -- and my partner. I can sneak into the rest room and get a cup of coffee before settling down to those reports. The Cow wants 'em written up, but the girls from the typing pool are a bit short-staffed (maternity leave -- and I'm NOT responsible, despite the rumours!) so we agents are having to do our own work. That really pees me off: admin's known for months that Jayne was leaving, but do they find a replacement -- do they HELL! I sometimes wonder about the top brass...

07.38 HRS.

Coffee machine's fucked. No warm drinks until further notice.

07.39 HRS.

My partner is sitting at my desk, with his nose in the sports pages. When did he get in? He doesn't look up as I park myself on the corner of the table. Just a grunt that may, or may not, be "Morning." There's a plastic cup by his hand, the contents steaming nicely. I pick it up, take a mouthful -- and nearly spit it over him.

"What the hell's THAT?"

"Uniquench," he replies dryly, still reading yesterday's racing results. "S'what came out of the machine first thing. Bit of everything -- coffee, tea, chocolate, soup and -- "

I can believe it -- taste worse than the stuff HE makes. I set the cup down.

Bodie picks it up, and without batting an eyelid, he knocks it back. Got a cast-iron gut, I reckon. Finally, he looks up, folds the paper. His expression tells me he's in the money. He's smirking. It won't last...

08.10 HRS.

We finished the reports. I had the lion's share -- Bodie says he can't type as quickly as me, but his spelling's better. I write, he corrects, and we both go through validating the official date-stamps at the end. He gets a bit carried away -- like a kid with a paint-box -- and I find I've been 'Certified, checked and correct' with Friday's date on both wrists, and my forehead. I fend him off one-handed, and prod him where I know he'll squirm. With a squeak, we begin to squabble in earnest. I'm at a disadvantage now: he had to stand to reach me with the stamps and he's using his position to maximum effect, grabbing me round the neck, holding me in my seat while he tickles me. He seems to have grown hands -- too many for me to cope with -- I'm panting, out of fight in seconds and slump against him for support.

There's a grunt of disapproval from the doorway, and we look up. Wouldn't you know, Cowley's standing there, arms full of folders, looking distinctly annoyed.

"When you two've quite finished, I'd like those reports in my office."

He disappears up the corridor. Bodie pulls a face, and silently mimics the Old Man. He ruffles my hair -- he knows how much I hate that -- and grabs a pile of files. I pick up the rest and dump them on top.

"I'm going to wash this ink off..."

08.23 HRS.

Cowley's office. Bodie's standing at ease. I've got my hands in my pockets -- I know how much that annoys him. He ignores me. We are both hoping there's a job -- even a straight-forward obbo would be a bonus. Neither of us likes doing paperwork, which is what we'd end up with if we're confined to HQ today. It's a smashing day out there. Bodie likes to be outdoors -- oh, he wants us to do a follow-up on a couple of grasses. Information received -- to be treated with the same degree of confidentiality as we'd extend to Ministerial documents...

08.31 HRS.

Bodie logs us out of the motor pool in the silver Capri. We're heading up the East End. Better stay awake -- he doesn't know this place the way I do. This used to be my patch...Bodie enjoys teasing me about my time on the Met. -- calls me the Terror of Tower Hamlets, the Scourge of Stepney. I gave up thumping him for it a long time ago...Place has changed a bit since I walked these streets. New faces everywhere, hard -- not like the old days, when everyone knew the bobby on the beat, and respected the uniform...

09.55 HRS.

Bit of a waste, the first call. The old man wasn't there, and the kid 'didn't know nuffink'. Bodie drove us through the back streets, while I navigated. Brings back memories -- some of them unpleasant -- and Bodie seems relieved when we get to where we're going.

Albert -- keeps an ear to the ground, has his fingers in a lot of pies. Useful man to know, is our Albert. Ships, boats, any kind of waterborne traffic, he's the one to see. We let him trade because he's small fry -- we're interested in the big fish.

There's a whisper -- a shipment due in. No names -- no details, but it comes from a bona source: Albert trusts him, and we trust Albert.

"I'll do my best, Mr. Doyle..."

"You know where to find me."

Bodie's standing just within earshot, gazing out over the rusty hulls of unemployed barges. As he turns away from the water, I'll swear there's a wistful look in his eyes...

I know better than to ask.

"How about a quick cuppa?" he suggests, brightening perceptibly when I nod.

10.15 HRS.

Managed to swing a longish break. We headed back to Bodie's flat. He brewed up, while I called Tricia, this rather tasty secretary I've been eyeing up for days. Arranged to take her to her favorite Chinese restaurant. Bodie doesn't mind me using his phone -- that's what partners are for, after all -- I could get lucky tonight --

"You've got that look in your eyes again, Raymond." Bodie's carrying two steaming mugs. "Who is she?"

I smiled in my superior way and accept my coffee.

Sip -- he's sugared it deliberately.

"Think you've got mine," he smirks, as we swap. One of these days, I'll spike that sugar bowl of his with salt...If I wanted to work with a bloody clown, I'd've joined Billy Smart's circus, not Cowley's.

He's just conjured up a packet of biscuits!

10.20 HRS.

On the road, office-bound. Bodie is munching his way through a pile of chocolate cookies. He'll never pass his physical if he keeps eating the way he does, and I've told him as much. Repeatedly. I'll kill him if I have to work anyone else; he's not much, but at least I know I can trust him when the going gets rough...

11.20 HRS.

Spent the past hour in the office, knocking up a brief statement of our two meetings for Cowley, and helping Murph with a stack of archive material. He's looking for a connection between a junior minister and a prostitute. We'll be here for the rest of the day -- we sent Bodie out for lunch. God only knows what he'll come back with...

11.31 HRS.

Bodie's got an air of innocence about him that I've long since learnt to mistrust -- MEAT-PASTE! He's got ham and Murph's got -- well, he looks happy enough. NOW'S my chance -- Bodie's going down to the canteen for the coffee. Dunno where he got this weird idea about me being a vegetarian -- this ham's not bad at all. In fact, it's quite good...Murph needs a hand next door...

11.40 HRS.

There's a plaintive wail from the other office.

"Some sod's nicked me dinner!"

Murph and I exchange a look.

"Well, who'd do a rotten thing like that, eh, Murph?"

"I don't know -- maybe we've got mice," he suggests, sounding totally innocent.

Bodie scowls at me as we return to the main office.

"A two-legged mouse with size nine plates," he guesses.

I put on my who-me? face. There's no way in the world he'll prove it -- not without a stomach-pump. He eyes the meat paste with -- trepidation...

12.18 HRS.


We're both at Bodie's side in a second, peering over his shoulder.

"The junior minister was done for kerb-crawling in his post-graduate days. Guess who he tried to pick up?"

"That's it, Bodie old son," Murph beams. "We can take that up to the Cow straight away -- "

"There was a co-defendant, bloke called Papadakis," Bodie continues.

"The shipping magnate?"

Wheels are spinning in my mind. Papadakis -- they used to run a protection racket up the East End a few years back...

"Ray?" Bodie is watching me.

I tell him what I recall.

"Let's get back, start nosing around?"

We leave Murphy to break the good news to Cowley, while we go down to the motor pool again.

14.52 HRS.

Spent the afternoon keeping a relatively low profile, and asking questions of a few old mates. Nikos came up with a couple of names. Bodie's on the radio to Central, having a computer run done on them.

"We've got one -- Philip Kala -- can you spell that, over?"

I swing into the passenger seat. "Let's go see Albert again. I've got a funny feeling about this one..."

"Copper's itch, " he agrees without sarcasm. He pulls the car into a tight arc.

15.23 HRS.


I push my way cautiously through the junk-heap that serves as his backyard. A jungle of scrap-metal, an all pervading stink of rotting vegetables, tom-cat and dog-shit...Bodie's very solid presence behind me -- skin crawling in sympathy with mine...Telepathic -- we split up without a word -- I can feel every muscle as he draws his gun...I'm doing the same as I make towards the back door...Something is definitely wrong here -- a flurry of movement, and an alley-cat flees into the depths of the shrapnel forest.

The door isn't locked, unusual for Albert...I push at it cautiously. There's an almighty cre-eak, straight out of a horror movie, and I dart inside, weapon poised. Kitchen's in chaos -- half-eaten meal on the table...I creep forward into the hallway.


Bodie's tone tells me he's found Albert, and that if he's not dead, he's not far from it...

15.37 HRS.

The ambulance has taken Albert off to the hospital. Bodie looked at me as they were loading him and shook his head. Not much hope of his surviving the night. We've both seen enough people beaten up to be good judges of who could make it, who won't... Cowley will be annoyed. Bodie's been on to the local boys -- they'll send in a team. Meanwhile, he and I'll take a look round the place -- I want to nail the bastards that did this...

15.43 HRS.

Forensics turned up. Know a couple of the team -- one of them was at Hendon with me. We nod at each other and I tell him what we've found -- note-pad by the phone with some numbers scrawled, chip-wrapper in the bin, and some fishing line that his attacker used to throttle him with. Jerry promises to call as soon as he has anything definite.

Bodie's gone back to the car and is in the middle of telling Cowley about it.

"Tell Doyle to start leaning on his contacts -- but be subtle, Bodie. That means -- "

"I understand, sir." He pokes his tongue out at the mike.

"Come on, sunshine, let's get diplomatic in Bethnall Green." At the look of disgust on his face, I laugh.

16.02 HRS.

Bodie skids the car to a halt on the South Circular and bashes on the hazards.

"Wait for me!" He bounds across the road and vanishes -- into the bookies. Two minutes later, he emerges, and the expression on his face, to say the least, is -- upset. He throws himself into the driver's seat and scowls at the silver bonnet. I think his horse is still running...

"Gambling's a mug's game."

"It won," groans Bodie, "And I didn't back it! 50 to 1..."

As no words of sympathy are ever forthcoming on (such) occasions, he vents his anger on the car, shoving it in gear and spinning the wheels...

16.47 HRS.

We've gone to as many people as I can think of. In most cases, it's the same as we were doing this morning. This time, however, we go in mean: Albert was a grass, a snitch -- Joe Public wouldn't miss him -- but he had rights, too, and he was a damned good source of news at street level...Somebody tipped the heavies off, and it may've been someone we spoke to earlier...

Bodie caught one bloke in an arm lock, to prove he meant business. Me, I let him get on with it -- he's good at what he does, and it got us a name...

16.49 HRS.

The computer check gave us an address. We decide to follow it up. Doesn't look as if I'll get my meal with Tricia...

17.11 HRS.

Bodie takes the back, as I go in through the front. The flat is on the first floor. We ease our way in, checking the rooms at ground level. Clear. We confirm with each other -- a look -- and it's Bodie's turn to go up first, while I cover from the foot of the stairs. He crouches on the landing and I move. We take up position, one on either side of the door. A nod and his boot busts the lock. I dive, roll and we bring our weapons to bear on the man in the bed. Bodie grabs him while I sweep the other rooms in the apartment.

Terrified dark eyes flick from Bodie to me and back -- Bodie uses it to his advantage. I shut the door to the hall, wedge it with a chair. With a malicious smile, my partner turns into an inquisitor...

17.22 HRS.

Cuffed, close to tears, quaking with fear, Constantine Markoupolis is frog-marched off to the Capri. We'll take him to HQ and give him a proper grilling. He'll be held incommunicado until we get what we need. If we're lucky -- hope springs eternal -- Murph'll come and lend a hand.

18.00 HRS.

Officially, we were off-duty an hour ago. Unofficially, of course, we NEVER are. It plays havoc with your social life.

We put matey Markoupolis in the detention room and Bodie sent me to fetch Cowley.

18.05 HRS.

Cowley glances up from his review of the station report. "4.5?"

"We pulled Constantine Markoupolis, sir. Thought you'd be interested."

He is. He was about to go to the hospital and check on Albert in person, but he detours to the detention room.

Bodie is waiting, eager to begin.

Behind Cowley, I hold up my hand and tap my watch. He gives me a smile and a slight nod. They won't need me. I get out while the going's good...

19.45 HRS.

Tricia and I are at the restaurant, placing our order. She's looking pretty edible herself tonight. Doyle, old son, play your cards right, and you'll be having your end away with this ravishing creature before the night is through...

20.30 HRS.

The waiter is looking unhappy. He's coming over. This could mean trouble.

"Mr. Doyle, there is a call for you."

Nobody knows I'm here -- except Control, of course. I excuse myself and follow the waiter to the telephone.

"Doyle -- go ahead."

"Ray?" Bodie sounds normal enough.

"What's up, sunshine?"

A hesitation, then, "Can you, er, drop whatever you're doing and come over?"

"Can't it wait?" Stupid question; he wouldn't be phoning me if it could. "I'll have to take Tricia home first. Where are you?"

"My place." The line goes dead abruptly and I find myself frowning at the receiver for a full thirty seconds afterwards...

20.45 HRS.

"I said I was sorry."

"For God's sake, Ray, you're off-duty!" Tricia protests.

"I WAS off-duty. Bodie may be in trouble -- "

"He's big enough to get himself out of it alone, isn't he?"

Tricia's met him once, the first time I asked her out as a matter of fact. "Tricia -- "

It's no use -- and no contest either. There are plenty of pretty girls in London, but very few people I'd trust with my life. "I have to go. I'll call you," I promise. With a swift kiss, I leave her on the doorstep and go...

20.57 HRS.

I've spent most of today leaning on doorbells...Christ, he's taking his ti-- The moment the lock's released, I'm up those stairs like a whippet -- his lift isn't working. He's standing on the landing, grinning -- the same self-satisfied smirk he was wearing when we first met.

"This had better be good, " I warn, as I barge past into his lounge.

He closes the door firmly after us and follows me.

"I cancelled on Tricia because of you." I like him to know the sacrifices I make on his behalf. It's no good being a martyr if nobody notices. Our eyes meet and I know I can't maintain the charade, not when he stands there looking like that...He holds out his hand...oh, bloody HELL, here I go again...

21.36 HRS.

The fighting's over. There are no losers tonight, just a different way of winning. When we are together, we get boisterous and wrestle. Nothing's sacred and I'm usually the one who gets dumped on the sofa and crushed -- as he lands on me... Tonight, we tussled on the carpet until I yelped -- I got a friction burn on my behind -- then he backed off and got -- no other word will describe it: tender sounds too soft, romantic, too slushy -- he's anything but...He's very serious about making love...He rolled me onto my belly and proceeded to render 'first aid' as he called it. It was worth getting hurt just for the attention -- licked it, kissed it dry, then cuddled up, apologising without words for being too rough...Cosy...I managed to endure it for three minutes -- one hundred and eighty seconds of pretending I wouldn't forgive...The longest time I've ever held out. He tried to pull me into his arms -- I wouldn't budge. So he started to kiss me -- he's twigged that I like my ears nuzzled -- then he knelt over me and began on my back, shoulders to scorched buttock, lapping, licking, making love with his mouth...Took a lot of self- control not to squirm and let him know I was ready for him...

When he reached my legs, he sat back, hands resting on my behind.

"I didn't mean to hurt you, Ray..."

"I know," I answer. "Was just seeing how far you'd go -- "

"You rotten little -- "

And this time, he rolls me over with no trouble, mouth descending to meet mine. I slide my arms round him, pulling him down on top of me...

21.57 HRS.

The perfect end to an average day, lying back against the pillows with Bodie half on me, totally spent. He's nuzzling at my nipple again -- I wonder if he knows he's doing it...When he reaches the stage when he's more asleep than awake, he loses his inhibitions and snuggles up like a kid, and I'll find him sucking gently...It's almost the only time I get to pamper him -- think sometimes he forgets he's younger than me. Usually after we've had it off, doesn't matter who's on top, he hauls me into his arms and pets me to sleep. It's very nice, but it's one-sided -- like he's trying to bribe me to stay...He doesn't have to -- bribe me, that is: I'd stay if he asked me to -- if he said it in so many words...

I kiss his hair and stroke down his back. He's beautiful and you can't get away from the fact. Say as much to his face though, and he gets embarrassed -- man of the world, who's such a little boy at heart...I want him -- want him to love me again, want him to ask me to stay, want to spoil him the way he does me...

His lips close over my nipple and he begins to suckle -- softly, dreamily. It's the kind of stimulation that send X-rated messages to my groin. I can feel myself stirring...Girls hardly ever bother with what feels good for me, as long as I can deliver when they want it...Bodie is completely the opposite: he makes it good -- better than good for me every time. He lets me set the pace here in the bedroom. It's unfair on him -- he's testing his teeth against me now -- Christ, doesn't he KNOW what that's doing to my cock...I run my fingers through his hair...damp, slight perspiration...so soft -- wish he'd grow it longer so I can play with it...

"Wake up, gorgeous..." I whisper. "I want you."

I can get away with calling him pet-names while he's sleeping; he'd take my head off at the shoulders if he were awake. The most I've ever heard him use is sweetheart -- he sometimes murmurs it when he's waking up in the middle of the night but NEVER in the cold light of day.

Bodie is suckling, contentedly, oblivious to what's going on at base-camp further down the bed.

"You just gonna lie there all night chewing my tit, when my cock's sitting up waiting for you?" I ask. "He's come up specially for you, you ungrateful sod..."

He wriggles to get further onto me. His prick is throbbing against my thigh...

"Bodie-mate -- "

22.06 HRS.

The phone by the bed jangles, startling us both. Bodie's teeth close round my nipple in surprise and I yelp. There's this funny look on his face as he realises what he's done -- then he struggles away from my embrace and flushing fetchingly, he grabs the receiver. I'm close enough to hear both sides of the conversation.

"3.7," Cowley sounds tired, "Albert Leyton died ten minutes ago. Someone should inform 4.5..."

"I'll get onto it right away, sir."

"Good man. Night, laddie."

"Night, sir."

Bodie is watching me as he hangs up. "Ray..."

I shrug: I had known -- we both had, before the ambulance crew showed up -- what his chances were. He'd survived longer than either of us expected.

He's waiting for me to say -- do -- something. I can't think of anything appropriate. Hesitantly, he puts a hand on my shoulder and squeezes gently. I cover his hand with mine. Maybe we don't need words after all...That look in his eyes says it all -- if I need a friend to lean on, he's there...

"Can I stay with you tonight..."

"You're always welcome, you know that..."

I nod and open my arms for him. As he slithers into them, I swallow awkwardly. "I need you..."

He hugs me fiercely, as if he can crush all the hurt out of my heart. I bury my nose in his hair, rubbing my face there, wiping away strange sudden tears. Not for Albert -- all grasses live in the shadow of discovery and it's always sad to lose friends, but we do that a lot in our job -- there's something more, something indefinable that MATTERS. I'm hurting and I don't know why --

Bodie is scratching his ear on my shoulder --

"I'll get you some flea-powder," I threaten, "next time I'm at the chemist's."

He raises his head. He knows -- he knows EXACTLY what's going through my mind at the moment -- not such a fool as he makes out, this partner of mine -- those eyes can see right into my soul...

"Don't forget the savlon either, mate." He ducks his head to tongue my sore nipple.

I can't help it -- I start to laugh, and I kiss the top of his head again. He looks up and when he knows I'm ready to take it, he grins manically and begins to tease me...

00.13 HRS.

I raise my head and listen to my lover sleeping. In the faint light from the street, I can just make out the sweet little smile on his lips. One heavy arm thrown across my middle...Stray words from a song drift into mind -- 'never even thought it could happen to me, maybe I've been blind only others can see I'm in love' -- could've been written for me...

Here, in the safe, dark anonymous night, that feeling I was reluctant to identify earlier can be named. I sit up and study it -- we've been partners for a long time now; friends for most of that time, and we've been going to bed together for a while now -- stolen evenings, a quick grope, and jacking each other off, which gave way to the heavier stuff. It was a bit of fun at first, a way of letting off steam...I took it as read he would let me stay, so I never asked before...Now, I don't know...

Beside me, Bodie shifts in the middle of a dream I'm not privy to -- about the only thing we don't share -- working, playing, thinking together, complementary companions -- Cowley's hounds of wrath -- hounds hunt in couples I seem to recall; one on its own being a half...At this hour of the night, it makes sense -- sort of...

Bodie wriggles again. I put my hand on his shoulder. "S'all right, darlin'," I tell him. "Just going to the loo."

He whimpers in protest as I slide towards the edge of the mattress. I brush my lips softly by his ear, knowing he's still asleep. "I'm not leaving you. Can't, can I, when I love you..."

I slip out from under the covers and go off to do what nature intended, carefully closing intervening doors before putting on lights...

00.16 HRS.

I creep back into the bedroom and park myself on the mattress as gently as I can. Bodie is still breathing deeply, rhythmically -- wonder where he is when he dreams -- Liverpool, London, who he's with, whether he remembers...

"Took your time," he accuses sleepily.

I should've bloody well known! "Timing me, were you?"

He yawns in reply. "Always count the seconds while we're apart..."

What're you supposed to do with a man like that? I burrow in beside him and inflict a pair of cold feet on the warmest part of his anatomy. He flinches, then drags me into a bear-hug. I'm gasping for breath --

"Bodie -- "

The hold slackens, his grip changes, and he kisses my forehead, tucks my head under his chin. I close my eyes, relaxing against him -- one warm foot is rubbing at my leg, sliding over my calf, hooking me closer still...Bodie...I love

"Shh, angel-heart...you can tell me in the morning..."

I've got a funny feeling that he already knows...

-- THE END --

Never Even Thought by Cliff Richard
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