Something was very wrong.

Even as Bodie lazed in a ladder back chair, his sturdy left hand wrapped around a beaker of arf n' arf, the skinned knuckles of his right hand soaking in a bowl of iodine and ice, his mind was alert to identifying the problem.

Doyle was standing right alongside, warming canned spaghetti in a saucepan while tending the toast. He was singing with Handel's 'Messiah', which welled and swelled out of the Royal Albert Hall, collected into a small plastic cassette tape, only to spill condensed out of the speaker of a clock radio player combo, which perched on a shelf next to the stove.

Ray kept hitting the notes exactly right, shifting his range up and down to accommodate his own tenor to the timbre of the various soloists, choir, organ and strings. That alone was a feat of familiarity that somewhat astounded his partner.

But it, while most peculiar, wasn't the particular wrongness that caused Bodie to cock his head.

Doyle tweedled along with the pipe organ a few measures, and then warbled with the choristers. "Sorry. Sorry. You're my size," he sang.


The organ rang jubilantly, and Raymond joined the singers. "We like cheese, oh we like cheese. I've got to say. We like cheese, oh we love cheese!"

"Ahem," Bodie felt compelled to interrupt.

"Eh?" Doyle distributed the toast equitably between two platters, loaded the bright orange pasty pasta on top of the bread, and skidded one serving along the table top toward his mate.

"Kindly excuse my blunted address. However, I feel morally certain. Nowhere in 'Messiah' does Handel say 'we like cheese'."

Ray grinned, the sunny expression stopping only at his swollen left eye. He plunked into his seat, seized upon the cutlery and launched enthusiastically into their post ops snack.

"So, what are they singing there?"

"Haven't a clue. But it surely can't be pertaining to cheddar in any way, shape or form."

"You think not?"


"Hmm." Doyle leaped to his feet and reached up to the player. Scrambled squeaks sounded at the tape being rewound. "We'll see about that." He punched 'play'.

Intently, Bodie harkened. Once again, the pipe organ twittered and the choir sang religiously. "Oh, we like cheese. We love cheese!"

"Hear it?" Doyle waved his fork at Bodie while swallowing a mouthful. "Said so."

"Can't be."

"And whyfer not?"

"T isn't biblical enough."

"They had cheese back then."

"Not disputing that."

"Goat cheese, likely enough. So not cheddar. More like feta, I'd imagine."

"Still and all. White or yellow, hard or soft, Handel wouldn't put it in 'Messiah'."

"Handel didn't put any words into 'Messiah'. Zero. Zilch. T was a bloke named Jennens that did the deed. Georgie just composed the music."

"Know that. Still. Jennens wouldn't've tossed cheese into it either. The king wouldn't've liked it."

"There is that," Doyle allowed.

This time, Bodie rewound the tape. He sang along. "We like cheese. Oh, we like cheese."

Doyle reflected, Bodie had a scrumptious fine voice.

"Damn me if you're not right," Bodie decided, chuckling. "I stand corrected. Or sit corrected, any gate." Once again he rewound the tape.

Together, Bodie and Doyle sang with the Royal Albert Hall choir, mellifluously. "Sorry. Sorry. You're my size. We like cheese. Oh, we like cheese. I've got to say, oh we love cheese!"

Ray started to clear the dishes to the sink. "Need more ice on your finkies?"

"Naw. Think I'm good, ta."

"Nabbed the scoundrels before ridiculous o'clock. Lovely. Plenty time yet afore lights out." Doyle paused to pour half measures, squinting, meticulously judging the division between the two glasses. Golden lager, sparkling with distant stars. Then a midnight measure of stout on top. With the sunset border between light and dark, exploding into turbulent action between the two.

He handed one back to Bodie, who appreciated the artistry of the view a moment before slurping into the drink.

Ray started rinsing the saucepan, meanwhile humming the hallelujah chorus.

Bodie was playing with the dub button on the cassette player. 'Messiah' suddenly twittered through the speaker at top speed, sounding like the singing chipmunks. "Oh wee like cheeeese," the high pitched voices squeaked.

"Here now, hear there? I've identified the source of the problem," he stated solemnly.

"Eh? What's that?"

"You've got rodents."


"Yurp." Bodie tossed from hand to hand a catnip stuffed mouse of pink satin. It was intended as a Christmas present for Betty's marmalade tom. Their boss' secretary being a foremost oracle to be placated with offerings, after all. "Mice are infesting yer tape player."


Bodie tickled Doyle's chin with the mouse. "Oh, Constable Ray," he made the mouse say in sighing soprano. "I just adore to nibble at your ears."

"Leave off," Doyle scrunched his shoulders.

"No." Bodie licked the back of Ray's neck. "Afters."

"I've a marked propensity for 'Messiah'," Doyle offered as confession.

"Have you why?"

"It was originally dedicated to the benefit of the Irish Insane."

"Never heard that before."

"S truth."

"Should learn it thoroughly meself, then."

"Or at least by half," Doyle suggested. "Every other stanza, mayhap."

"Um," Bodie agreed, commencing a serious assault upon Doyle, twining himself around the other's body while gnawing in the vicinity of his carotid pulse.

His attack was interrupted by Doyle's sudden laughter.

"What?" Bodie demanded while addressing Ray's shirt buttons, the unfastening thereof, with persistence.

"I've an insistent inspiration. "

"Mm," Bodie was devouring his mouth.

"Yes," Doyle drew away momentarily. "We'll simply have to rechristen it."


"Handel's Mouse-ssiah. "

Isaiah 53:6 All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;
and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

-- THE END --

December 2006

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