Birthday Duet


She'd only been up for a short while when the postman called, and was in the kitchen getting breakfast when she heard the welcome plop of a healthy postal delivery on the mat.

She darted through to the hall, pleased at the mound of envelopes lying on the mat. No doubt several frog birthday cards from all the other hat- standers. It was great to get so many cards on your birthday.

But it seemed the postman hadn't quite finished yet, for, while she was still picking up the post there was a shrill ring at the doorbell. Recorded delivery? A special gift of some kind?

When the excitedly opened the front door though she nearly fainted with shock.

Never in her wildest dreams had she expected anything like this for her birthday!

Doyle in the flesh - or what looked like Doyle - complete with riotous curly auburn hair, large, shining green eyes, shirt half open to the waist and tatty skintight jeans.

But he looked a bit strange she thought, even a bit robot- like, was standing rigidly to attention, not moving, not even blinking....

She took a hard swallow, tried to pull herself together, looked down to find that he was holding a little placard in his hand which read:

"Be one of the first to try this new exciting invention! Your own personalised, robotic singing telegram - a gift from several devout hatstanders like yourself. To operate: for your own special birthday tune, turn key positioned at rear of gift."

Still in shock, she peeped over the telegram's shoulder to discover that there was in fact a little silver key protruding from the centre of his back. Now that she was so close to him she could hardly believe how lifelike he was. Everything about him was so real - the colour and texture of his skin, the shine on those auburn curls, the delicious, tangy aftershave his owners had dabbed on him, the silky fineness of the hair on his chest. Doyle to a T....

She couldn't help herself - she had to touch him, and she had to do it now. Once she'd turned the key, who knew what might happen!

Tentatively, she reached trembling fingers to his cheek, touched it very softly. Amazing - it felt exactly like real skin - smooth and warm and ever so slightly stubbly to the touch. God, they'd even sent her a Doyle who needed a shave!

There wasn't a flicker from "Doyle" though as she touched him. He didn't move a muscle (if in fact he had muscles - she still wasn't sure what he was made of).

Emboldened, she slid her hand higher up, brushing her fin- gers across the endearing, greying little sideburns. It felt wonderful, but there was still no re- sponse from her present.

Her hand drifted higher till it finally reached the profusion of auburn curls and tangled in them. Even more wonderful - so thick and silky - synthetic or not, he was a marvel of modern science.....almost as good as the real thing. Perhaps even better, because at least she could do what she wanted with this Doyle - the real one would probably have got more than a bit stroppy if she'd started trying to take such liberties with him.

Heart pounding, she peeped over his shoulder again. God, they'd even got that cute little ass absolutely right too. She was tempted, very sorely tempted...but maybe that was going a bit too far, so she concentrated her attention on the silver key in his back instead, reaching a shaking hand to it and giving it a tentative clockwise half turn.

The effect was instantaneous. "Doyle" immediately cleared his throat very loudly down her ear, shook his head from side to side a couple of times, curls bouncing, looked hard at her for a moment, and then marched straight into the hall. Without more ado he then launched into a more than passable rendering of "Happy birthday dear Wendy", putting a lot of feeling into it she thought.

But he'd only completed one chorus when he suddenly stopped, swayed back and forth a couple of times and went completely motionless and unblinking once more.

Surely that couldn't be it? There had to be more.

Walking round to the back of him she gave the key three full turns and stepped back quickly as "Doyle" immediately turned round and said, "Thanks love, needed that. I was runnin' down a bit there."

The voice was perfect too - he even missed the ends off his words.

"Have I just done "Happy Birthday"? He asked, looking very relaxed now, standing looking at her with his hands on his hips.

She nodded blankly. "Good," he said, looking pleased, "sometimes forget that one believe it or not and that's the most important of the lot, isn't it?"

She nodded again, still speechless. God, those green prob- ing eyes were making her stomach turn somersaults.

"Right," he said, very businesslike, "I'll give you the usual spiel OK, to make sure you get your money's worth." He cleared his throat again and stared straight ahead. "I am here," he began, as if reading a lesson by rote, "to make your birthday joy complete, to ensure that you have a happy day. In other words I can sing any song you wish as many times as you wish or provide any other little service...with a meaningful, sidelong glance in her direction, which made her stomach turn a cartwheel, "to make this a happy and never to be forgotten day for you."

"Oh, by the way," he finished, "I am yours for the whole day, till 6 o'clock this evening that is. Got another assignment in Cheltenham after that - double shift today. Not a birthday or anything, just a routine three hour call." He sighed exaggeratedly, obviously wanting her to sympathise with the fact that he was so overworked. "Rushed off my feet I am. Never knew there were so many "Professionals" fans around. Right then, so what would you like me to do first?"

What a question! There were at least a dozen things she could think of right off the top of her head, none of them repeatable.

What a present! What a birthday!

Then an intriguing idea struck her.

"Is there a "Bodie" by any chance?" she asked hopefully.

"Oh sure," "Doyle" said casually, "but he's over in Mort- lake today. Special week long assignment. Why? You didn't want him instead of me, did you?" looking offended, "don't tell me the office has got the paperwork wrong again!"

"Oh no," she said quickly, "no, but I wouldn't mind having both of you".

His green, cats' eyes slitted across at her suspiciously. "Oh yeah? You mean both at the same time?"

She flushed, but held her ground. Why not, it was her birthday, wasn't it, and she could have what she wanted.

"Yes...sort of..."

"And what would you want us to do?" he asked, still suspicious, "it's just that we've had a couple of strange requests just recently. Some of these "Professionals" fans seem to have some very funny ideas about us."

Her flush deepened. She bet they fact she had a few herself...

"You did say you could provide any other little service though," she reminded him, determined not to give way.

" is in the contract of employment," he con- ceded, "OK, you wanna see if I can get him over here?"

"Please," she nodded.

"Well, I dunno how easy it's gonna be," he said doubt- fully, shaking his head, "apparently he's assigned to someone called Meg for the whole week like I said, and he's become very attached to her. I gather she's's pretty keen as well. Always been a bit of a softie, has Bodie."

"Oh that's all right, she won't mind coming down to see me. I know her," she told him, "she won't mind bringing him with her either."

"To make up a foursome?" he suggested, starting to look a little more interested.

"Something like that." She flushed again. "Maybe you could do a duet for us?"

"Oh yeah, I'm sure we could manage that," he said, nodding, "he does sing. Not as well as me, mind, but he can get by."

He suddenly shook his head abruptly, and flexed his hands, swaying precariously. "Give me a quick turn, will you, love?" he asked, cocking his head in the direction of his back, "can feel a touch of atrophy settin' in again."

Even as she was giving the key as many hefty turns as she could manage, the doorbell rang yet again. It seemed evil minds thought alike because she had a pretty good idea who'd be standing there.

Sure enough it was Meg, with "Bodie" in tow - and he was looking....God, he was looking, well, pretty Bodie-like. She noticed he was looking very appeal- ing too, wearing his little boy lost expression, and Meg was holding his hand.

Yeah, she thought, with a twinge of regretful envy, well, Bodie was more affectionate and demonstrative. It was only to be expected...but maybe if she worked on "Doyle" a little? After all, he was here to please her, wasn't he?

When they were all ensconced in the living room, "Bodie" and "Doyle" sitting side by side on the sofa, which had taken quite a bit of achieving in itself, because "Bodie" hadn't wanted to let go of Meg's hand and had kept muttering something about having found a "proper home" at last, and he'd be damned if he'd let anyone take him away from Meg. When they'd finally managed to prise him free of her though, after assuring him that he had absolutely nothing to worry about because Meg hadn't the slightest intention of letting him go any- way, Meg and Wendy sat facing them both in armchairs, and turned to each other, considering the situation.

"Let's start them off with an older song," Meg suggested, "you know, drop a few subtle hints. They've both done a bit of period stuff before from the 20s and 30s, haven't they?"

"OK" Wendy agreed.

"Cream in my Coffee?" Meg suggested.

"No, too corny. How about "Making Whoopee?" Wendy pro- posed.

"Or even..."Meg said evilly, "Begin the Begine?"

"Yeah, why not? It's a start anyway," Wendy agreed, "er..."Bodie"..."Doyle" you by any chance know a song called...."

-- THE END --

Circuit Archive Logo Archive Home