Lond Ho Adventures

The Feast of Stephen Part 2

“Boys!  You made it!”

Doris the thirty-something cougar of a Building Manager turned from the conversation she was having with the Mexican from the fifth floor.  They both had small white with blue trimmed fabric “Atco” stickers affixed to their shirts that had their individual flat numbers written on them in black Jiffy Marker™.  Doris immediately stepped over to Hunter and Bill as they stepped out of the elevator, and as quickly as she could in her three-inch heels, spirited them over to a table near the front entrance that was covered in similar nametag stickers.

“You’re looking good tonight boys,” she purred, putting down her glass of white wine and searching for their flat number, “Ah here they are.”  She handed one to Hunter, who stuck his on upside down over his heart.  Doris slowly peeled the backing from Bill’s tag and gently pressed it on to his shirt, gently massaging it to make sure it stuck.

“So how’s it hanging tonight boys?”  She gave Bill a lascivious grin, still rubbing the tag onto his chest.  Hunter felt a pang of jealousy at the attention Bill was getting, and was quite sure the sticker was fine, but apparently Doris believed otherwise.

“Like a brontosaurus!  As always!”  Bill said in answer to Doris’s somewhat personal, and perhaps inappropriate inquiry. 

Hunter has other concerns, “Right then, bring on the free hootch!”

Bill nodded, gently removing Doris’s hand from his barrel chest.

She picked up her drink, “Right this way boys,” she said, leading them to another table covered with several big bottles of what a bartender might call “well spirits,” the cheapest brands of the cheapest booze in the biggest bottles money could buy, along with no-name soda in regular and diet varieties, topped off with a couple cartons of Egg Nog and a cooler full of cans of Molson Canadian.  None of this mattered to Hunter or Bill however, as free booze, was after all free booze, and one never looked a gift-horse in the mouth.  Doris excused herself as another group of party-goers appeared from out the main lift car.  A singer Bill and Hunter didn’t recognize started belting out, “Run, Run Rudolph!” from a banged up old Sony stereo cassette blaster in the far corner of the lobby.

Hunter reached for a beer.

“I wouldn’t.”  Bill said.

Hunter looked over at him, “Whadda you mean?”

“Beer before liquor, never sicker.  Liquor before beer, free and clear, which is why I’m starting things off with a double dark and dirty.  Should I prepare one for yourself as well?”

Hunter shrugged, “Sure, whatever.  Hey is that Rachael over there?”

Rachael was standing stiffly in the corner near the corridor leading to the “Dirty Deli”

Bill glanced over his shoulder, his hands deftly mixing two drinks at once in white plastic party cups, “Yup, that’s her alright.  I thought you told me she wasn’t coming?”

“She said she wasn’t, which is why-“

Bill finished his thought, “Which is why you invited that blonde girl you met at the Underground last month-“

“Yeah, the Witchy looking girl with the nose-ring and the long bouncy ringlets.  Ami.  We’ve been sorta seeing each other for a couple weeks now.”

Bill was finishing off the drinks with a slice of lime, “Yeah, Ami… the girl that looks like Kate.”

“What?  No she doesn’t, not even a little!”

“Whatever you say, pal no one's ever accused you of not having a 'type.'  Here”  Bill handed Hunter his drink.

Hunter spied the lime wedge, “What’s with the fruit salad?”

“You don’t want to get scurvy do you?”

“I’m not a pirate!”

“But you might be someday.”

Hunter looked over at Rachael, who hadn’t seemed to have noticed him yet, “I better go talk to her.”

Bill nodded, “Ha!  Ya think?”

Hunter took a deep drink from his cup and winced, Bill mixed him a strong drink here.  He would have to pace himself.  Or at the very least get some of the chips and sausage rolls he spotted on the other table into him, but first…

“Rachael!  You’re here!  I thought you couldn’t make it!”

She looked at Hunter with her icy-blue eyes, “Hello!  Yeah no It turns out I could come, so here I am!”  She tugged off her multi-coloured crochet toque and her silky, chestnut coloured hair flowed down to her shoulders, framing her face.

Hunter was stuck for a moment, locked in her gaze, “Well there’s a coat rack over here,” he pointed to portable chrome rack with a couple of jackets already hanging on wire hangers.

“Oh, no thanks, I’ll hold on to it.”

“Ah, well… lets get you a drink then.”

“Oh, yes lets.  That sounds like fun!”  She looped her arm around Hunter’s and they made a bee line for the drinks table.   Half-way there, Hunter noticed that Bill seemed to have taken up residence behind the table, and was currently mixing drinks for a group of people standing before him.

Hunter pounded back the remainder of his drink, all thoughts of pacing himself vanished from his mind. 

“Oh, Hunter sweetie, your tag seems to be on upside down!”  Doris commented as they brushed past her. 

Hunter looked down at the tag on his golf shirt, “Nope, I can read it just fine!”

“Who’s that?”  Rachael wanted to know.

“Building manager.  She lives down the hall from us.”

“Ah!  So that’s the one that Bill likes to fuck!  You told me about her!”

“Uh, yeah… maybe... I don’t know if he exactly likes to, he just sort of does… on occasion.”

“What can I get you,” Bill said, without looking up, “Oh it’s you Hunter!  You can pour your own damn drinks!  What can I pour you Rache?”

“Oh, I’ll have a gin and tonic please!”

Hunter poured himself another dark rum, this time sans lime, took a sip, then almost spat it out.  Ami had just crossed his vision as she walked past the long, plate glass window at the front of the lobby!

“Oh shit!  Uh, hey Rachael, I gotta show you something, uh… this way!”

Bill handed Rachael her drink just as Hunter spun her around and rushed her towards the corridor leading to the mailbox room and the Manager’s Office.

Rachael took a hurried sip of her g and t, “Oh!  Where are we going?”

They rushed through the growing crowd of revellers, Hunter nearly spilling his drink twice, before ducking around the corner and into the mailbox room.  The door was propped open with a rubber wedge that Hunter kicked loose, and out into the corridor.

“Oh!  This is nice,” Rachael said, “In my building the mailboxes are all out in the open.  This is cosy.”

“Sorry tootz, but I’ll be right back.”


Hunter shut the door and jammed the wedge back under the door, then walked quickly back to the lobby.

Ami was standing by the “bar” talking to Bill, who was serving drinks with speed and flair.  Tom Cruise in Cocktail was a clumsy amateur with Parkinson’s next to Bill tonight.  Ami was wearing a black corset under a black men’s sport jacket, a long tie-dyed skirt and a pair if short, 8 hole Doc Martens.

“Who was that girl with Hunter?”

“Who said what now?”  Bill was pouring a couple of rye and gingers for the elderly gay couple from the 15th floor.

“That girl with Hunter!  Who was she?”

Bill looked down at the short girl with the flowing ringlettes of golden hair as if seeing her for the first time, then thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick,  “Oh hey Ami, that was, uh, Sally from the tenth floor…” his eyes rolled up to the left,  “she was having trouble with her mail key, so Hunter was going to show her a little trick we use to help jimmy the mailbox open.”

“Okay, do you know if he’s going to be long, because-“

“Hey Ami-chan!”  Hunter was suddenly standing right next to her.

“Oh, hey Hunter!”

Bill handed Ami a vodka and tonic with a twist of lemon, “I was just telling Ami about how you were helping Tenth Floor Sally with her mailbox.”

Hunter was silent for a second, “Oh, yeah those things are sticking all the time…”

Ami wasn’t interested, “Look, I just came by to tell you I can’t stay long, I’ve got a family thing to go to tonight, could we maybe talk upstairs?”

“Up in the flat you mean?  Yeah sure, okay.”  Hunter turned to Bill, “We’ll be right back.”

“Don’t rush on my account!”

*                                                           *                                                           *

Hunter and Ami were kissing and clawing at each other on the Giant Sofa.  After a few minutes they came up for air.  She tasted of honey and lemons, her hair smelled of strawberries.

Ami put her hands over Hunter’s and licked her lips, they tasted like rum and cheap cola, with just a hint of lime, “Hunter, I’ve been thinking and I would like us to be exclusive.”

Hunter was surprised, but not unhappy by this news, “Oh!  Okay, that sounds good to me.”

She put a finger over his lips, then moved in close and whispered in his ear, “I’d also like for tonight to be the night for us to finally… you know.”

He did.  And he wasn’t one that had to be told twice,  He smiled, looked into her green eyes, and moved in for a kiss.

In the lobby, everyone who wanted a drink had one, Madonna was on the stereo squeaking away her rendition of “Santa Baby.” And Bill finally had time to grab another drink for himself.  He pulled a can of Canadian from the cooler at his feet.  He had no sooner opened it when Doris suddenly appeared beside him as if through some kind of dark magic.


Bill choked on his beer, nearly sending it cascading through his nostrils.  “Oh, hey there darlin’ what can I do you for?”

“Oh Billy sweetie, could you give me a hand with something?”  She was swishing around a half a glass of white wine that Bill knew for a fact was not her first, or her fifth.

“Sure, Ms Ehm, what do you need?”  He took a proper swig of beer, and this time spilled nothing.

“You know you can call me Doris, and it’s easier if I show you, come with me to my office will you?”  She took his hand and they walked across the stone tiled floor, past the small, sparsely decorated Christmas tree near the corridor, past the mailbox room and to the Manager’s Office. 

Bill had no illusions about what was going to happen next, and normally he would have protested, at least a little, but he was still pissed at Sara for standing him up.  It wasn’t even as if they were actually seeing each other, not would that ever be the case according to her.  Bill just thought it would be fun for them to hang out, and the idea of free booze and snacks didn’t hurt either.  Oh well, he thought, that ship has sailed…

Once they were inside, Doris shut the door and reached out, taking hold of Bill’s skinny black tie, “Come here you, I’d like to thank you personally for taking over the bartender duties tonight.”  She reached down with her free hand and ran it over Bill’s fly to find he was already hard.

In the mailbox room, Rachael slipped out of her coat, and let it fall to the floor.  Where the hell had Hunter gotten to?

Up in flat 1401, Ami and Hunter were laying in various state of undress, staring at each other from opposite ends of the chesterfield.  Ami was smoking a More Menthol and blowing the smoke out the open patio door.

“I only dream in the wintertime…”

“Where’s that from?”  Ami inquired, her already large green eyes wide with curiosity.

Hunter hadn’t even realized he said it out loud, “It’s from me.  It’s from the book I’m trying to write.”

“What is it?  A title?”  She took another deep drag on her cigarette.

“Yeah, actually one of a few I’m kicking around right now.”

“What about the other ones?”

“ ‘I Sing the Equator’ and ‘No Ticket.’ “

Ami butted out her cigarette in the “Pied Pickle” ashtray on the floor beside the couch, “ ‘No Ticket’ for sure.  It’s like that funny scene in The Last Crusade!  So what is this book about?”

The door buzzer interrupted them. 

“Should get that,” Hunter stood up, pulling his ripped, black jeans on, and walked to the intercom.

Ami was tucking her milky white breasts back into her corset, “It’s prolly my dad…”

Bill’s voice crackled over the tinny speaker, “It’s me!  There’s a guy here who say’s he’s Ami’s dad?”

“We’ll be right down,”  Hunter said.

*                                                           *                                                           *

Hunter watched from the glass vestibule as Ami got into her dad’s black Mercedes ML350.  She gave him a quick smile and a wave and was off.

Bill met him with a beer.  Hunter opened it and took a long draught.  Someday, he thought, someone is going to make the holes on these cans bigger…

Bill was dishevelled, his long, dark hair pulled free of it’s ponytail, his shirt was un-tucked and the tie askew.

“Party’s startin’ to break up,” he looked up at Bill and did a double take, ”What happened to you?”


Hunter began to laugh.

Bill spoke, “That’s right, laugh it up fuzzball!  I have a question for you though; where’s Rachael?”

Hunter blanched, “Oh for fuck sakes!”

Hunter kicked the rubber wedge from the door to the mailbox room and stepped inside, “Geeze Rachael, I’m so sorry I-“

“Oh!  Hi!  You’re back, lets get to it then.”  She began unbuttoning her blouse.

“Ok…”  Hunter was a little confused, but still of a reasonable enough state of mind to pull the door shut, and twist the lock to the closed position.

Rachael dropped her shiny, white bra to the floor, then unzipped her bright green denim pants.

As she stepped out of her pants, Hunter noticed she had come to the party commando.   Well Hunter thought, I guess she means business.  He un-tucked his golf shirt.

*                                                              *                                                *

A warm, westerly wind was whipping around through the trenches of inner city buildings as Bill and Hunter sat out on the “Jimmy Hoffa” sofa on the concrete patio of flat 1401.

Hunter was a third of the way through the Cuban Montecristo #4 Tubo he had been saving in the freezer for the last three months.  It burned fast and seemed a little dry to him, though he had no idea why.  It would be years before he learned to properly care for, and keep cigars properly.  He blew out a cloud of smoke as Bill to a swig of Drummond Dry.

Bill lit up another cigarette, and took a long drag, “So you know that stuff I said back in the spring about Rachael?”

Hunter was swallowing a mouthful of lager, “What?  That she was a high functioning MRF?  How could I forget!”

Bill was smiling a crooked smile, “Yeah, I was just pulling your dick.”

Hunter looked over at Bill, “What?”

Bill was shaking his head and almost laughing now, “I was just joshing you, she's actually not retarded.  She’s just a little odd is all.”

This was actually a huge relief to Hunter, who had been secretly sleeping with her for the past couple of months, and was just too embarrassed to admit to it.  He had long suspected that Bill might be lying to him about her, but had no proof until now.

Hunter shook his head, “You are such a fucking asshole.”

Bill took another drag, chuckled then said in his best impersonation of their friend Paco Villa-Lobos, “Yeah, well whadareyagonnado?”

Hunter rolled his eyes, “Yeah, thanks Paco.”

Bill took another swig of lager, finishing his tinnie, “Shit.  Isn’t that just like a beer to run out of itself in the middle of being consumed.”  He looked up at the sky, straining to see what might be beyond the light pollution, and past the cloud cover that enveloped the city at night.  “How long do you think this’ll last?”  He asked, almost to himself.

Hunter blew out another cloud of fine cigar smoke, “What, the Chinook winds?  A couple more days I think the weatherman said.”

Bill shook his head, “No, not the westerly, I mean all of this,”  He waved his hands in an all-encompassing gesture, “Lond Ho, us living here.  I mean are we gonna still be sitting here in twenty years, smoking and drinking on the deck, fighting off pigeons…”

“Who knows man.  I don’t know about you, but I love this place.  I could live at Lond Ho forever.”

Bill looked down at the cigarette he was holding in his hand, “I don’t doubt that you could.  Anyway, who the fuck cares!”  He grabbed another tin of Drummond Dry from the small lunch cooler that sat on the sofa between them.  “It’s the holidays!  More than enough time to think about this shit in the New Year!  Chin chin!”

They touched cans.

Hunter took a swig, “December 26th.  The wheel of the season is turning.  We’re now half-way out of the darkness…”

“If you say so,” Bill said, and lit up another smoke.


50 Years of Doctor Who

Reflections on 50 or “How I Learned to Relax and Love the Omni-Rumour”

It was June of this year that I got my first sniff of the so-called Doctor Who “Missing Episodes Omni-Rumour,” when a twitterer calling himself “Rogue Cyberman” offered a pile of cash for information leading to the recovery of any of the missing believed wiped episodes of 1960’s Doctor Who.  Indeed, he claimed to be in contact with someone who had most of the missing stories in his possession and was planning viewing parties.  Ultimately, Rogue turned out to be a hoaxer, but through him I discovered the missing episodes forum on Gallifrey Base, a place I would lurk almost every day, and occasionally even write a post!  

But wait, lets go back a bit, to a better time.  A time before the internet, before DVD, before rumours could spread around the world in a matter of minutes, a time when I first learned about a quaint little British science fiction programme called Doctor Who, lets go back to the early 1980’s…

The long, winding path weaved through the dark, gloomy, shadow mottled park, that I walked everyday on my way to and from school.  On one of these protracted hikes I was joined by a school chum who told me about a TV show he had just discovered, a “cool science fiction show from England on PBS.”  He waxed eloquently , or as eloquently as was possible for a seventh grader, about this curly haired alien with his crazy-long, multi-coloured scarf who travelled through space and time in his blue police box.  I was intrigued.  I always enjoyed science fiction, and back in the 1980’s this was not something one usually mentioned out-loud, as the “geek-chic” revolution was still a good twenty years away.  To say you were a sci-fi fan in the ‘80’s was like giving the assholes and bullies an open invitation to ridicule and attack, and I already had my hand’s full at that school from the bullies, (and even one particular teacher) as I was the “new kid from the States,” and didn’t need to give them another excuse to hate and assault me.  

The rest of the walk home I found myself thinking about it, determined to catch an episode that very night if I could.  That evening I raced through my homework, and when the time came I pushed in the chrome power button on the 1970’s era Zenith colour television.  I twisted the knob to channel 2 and sat back.  From the creepy opening theme, to the final musical sting of the cliff-hanger, I was hooked.  I wanted more, and more I would get.

Over the last 50 years (as of 23 November 2013) there have been 799 episodes of Doctor Who produced for television and of them there are currently 97 episodes missing from the BBC archives.  During this 50th anniversary year, from Nov. 2012 to Nov. 2013 I have tried my best to watch every story, skipping serials that exist only as audio recordings, and tele-snap recons, but it was still a daunting task indeed.  Like any long running TV series it’s had it’s ups and downs, you don’t get to nearly 800 episodes without having a few stinkers in the pile, and it’s certainly not my intention to review every story I sat through, that would be insane, I will however over the next few weeks, give my “expert” opinion of the highlights and lowlights of each incarnation of the good Doctor.  Next week begins with a review of the William Hartnell era, which brings us back to something fandom has dubbed “The Omni-Rumour.”

Back in July I found myself lurking on the Gallifrey Base forums and I found the “Missing Episodes Megathread” which at the time was 11 parts long (it’s now well into its 36th part).  The buzz on this tread was the rumour that 90 previously missing episodes of 1960’s Doctor Who had been found.  The rumour stated at the time that all missing William Hartnell stories and most missing Patrick Troughton stories were now complete.  To a fan like myself, who had long since accepted the fact there were some Doctor Who stories I was just never going to see, this news was absolutely mind blowing.  It was too good to be true.  Which was why, after the initial shock, and excitement had worn off, I didn’t believe it.  I mean how could I?  Nearly every episode of ‘60’s Doctor Who back in the archives?  At worst someone was playing a massive, cruel hoax, at best maybe someone got the wrong end of the stick.  But slowly, and surely the more I read, the more cautiously optimistic I became, especially about the part of the rumour that seemed the most consistent; that Marco Polo, The Enemy of the World, and The Web of Fear, the missing believed wiped 4th, 40th, and 41st serials respectively, had been not only recovered, but were being prepared for a DVD release before the end of the year!  I checked the thread every day, obsessively for any scrap of information about when these stories might be in my hot little hands, but the more I read, the less I believed.  The amount of real information was few and far between, and the amount of anger, back biting and geek on geek violence seemed to be at an all time high when I finally gave up and abandoned the Missing Episodes thread lurking, for the sake of my own sanity.  If real information was coming, I would sit back and let it come to me.  At last I could relax.  This was the beginning of October.   Less than two weeks later the BBC announced that the previously missing stories, The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear (sadly still missing it’s 3rd episode), had been returned to the BBC archives and would be released exclusively on iTunes that very week.  Suddenly it was real, rumour was fact, and that very weekend I found myself watching something I never thought I’d ever get a chance to see. 

The Region 1 Limited Edition DVD Release
So what does this mean for the rest of the Omni-Rumour?  Is it true?  False?  A hoax?  A massive misunderstanding?  Who knows!  However right this minute Doctor Who fans have nine more episodes to enjoy that they did at the beginning of the 50th anniversary year, and that in itself has made this a very good year for fandom indeed.


I still would love to see me some Marco Polo though…But i suppose time will tell, it always does.


50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who

50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who!

Day 50!

Happy 50th Anniversary Doctor Who!  The day all Doctor Who fans have been waiting for is finally here, The Day of the Doctor!


50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who

50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who!

Day 49

Detail from the inside back cover of the recent blu-ray release of Doctor Who: The Complete Seventh Series.


50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who

50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who!

Day 48

2013 is the last year IDW Comics will hold the licence to print Doctor Who comics.  This cover is from the 1st issue of the final series of Doctor Who Classics, reprinting and colouring the black and white stories originally appearing in Doctor Who Magazine in the 1980s.


50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who

50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who!

Day 47

For the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, BBC Books reprinted several of the original Target Books novelizations. These new releases included sharp new covers based around the artwork from the books first Target printings, and featured all-new introductions.


50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who

50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who!

Day 46

For their 4th and final series of Doctor Who trading cards, Cornerstone Communications Inc. reset the numbering, and changed the overall look of the cards. 


50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who

50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who!

Day 45

The “vintage” style poster for the docudrama, An Adventure in Space and Time, coming Friday November 22 @ 7pm MST on Space


50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who

50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who!

Day 44

Another really strange (well downright bizarre and cheesy really) race of Doctor Who aliens are the Monoids.  Their first and only appearance was in 1966’s “The Ark.”  One question; how the hell do these guys eat? Or Talk??  And what is with that hair???


50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who

50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who!

Day 43

The Doctor’s wife, River Song played by Alex Kingston was the only non-Time Lord character to carry a Sonic Screwdriver.


50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who

50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who!

Day 42

The Third Doctor’s de-materialization circuit caused him some consternation in series 8 of Doctor Who’s original run.


50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who

50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who!

Day 41

Certainly one of the best, and most terrifying villains of the new Doctor Who era have to be The Weeping Angels, first introduced in the third series story “Blink.”


50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who

50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who!

Day 40

Susan, played by Carole Ann Ford was The Doctor’s first companion, and contrary to what some retcon, fanfic worshipping fan-boy revisionists might try to claim, she IS The Doctor’s granddaughter, and always will be.


50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who

50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who!

 Day 39

New decade, new logo for Doctor Who.  The 1980s brought us many "awesome" and "tubular" things, one of which was this totally slick “neon tube” style logo.


50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who

50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who!

Day 38

What The Doctor calls the “second control room” of the TARDIS made it’s first appearance in the 1976 story “The Masque of Mandragora” this “wooden” looking control room appeared for a short time in Tom Baker’s era, making it’s final appearance in “The Horror of Fang Rock.”


50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who

50 Pics in 50 Days for 50 Years of Doctor Who!

Day 37

The FINAL Tom Baker story to be released on DVD, 1975s Terror of the Zygons.  Another personal fave story of mine, and not just because the interior of the alien spaceship looks like a giant pizza!


Lond Ho Adventures

The Feast of Stephen Part 1

Joe Cornelius Hunter stretched out length-wise on the huge, puffy, luxurious chesterfield, his nose in a thick, heavy, hard-covered tome with the image of a big chair made of swords on the cover.  He flipped the page excitedly, almost tearing it, getting some quick reading in before the evening’s festivities.  For the third year in a row, the London House Management Corp was throwing a Holiday Party for their tenants, and for the first time in as many years, Hunter and Bill both had the night off.  The Lond Ho Holiday Parties, (according to Doris the building manager from down the hall) were legendary, with copious amounts of free booze to be consumed, and tuck to be gobbled.  Bill and Hunter took this as a challenge, so it was game on as far as they were concerned.

A cloud of warm steam billowed around Bill Williams as he stepped out of the bathroom wearing his way too short, threadbare robe singing,

“Good King Wenceslas looked out,
on the Feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about,
deep and crisp and even;
Brightly shone the moon that-“

Hunter snapped the book shut, “Are you singing fucking Christmas Carols?”

“Technically, it’s a ‘hymn’ written by John Mason Neale in 1853, based on the 13th century spring carol Tempus Adest Floridum,” Bill cinched the belt around his waist, “Are you still reading that gay-ass Fantasy book?”

“Yeah, whatever.”  Hunter was never a fan of Fantasy as a genre.  Truth be told he always preferred Science-Fiction, or Horror as genres went, but three years ago he was at a Sci-Fi convention and a friend of his recommended he read George R. R. Martin.  He was sceptical to say the least.  “Veiled princesses in distress” and “dragons” just did not interest him.  And for the last few years he had been powering through Henry Miller’s catalogue and had little time for anything else.  Two years later he picked up A Game of Thrones at a second hand book-store and was having a tough time putting it down.  He called up his convention buddy soon after and thanked him for the recommendation, who proceeded to tell Hunter it was the first book of a trilogy.

“You know,” Bill grinned, “the only good Fantasy book is King’s “Eyes of the Dragon.”

“So you keep telling me.  Maybe I’ll get around to reading it someday…”

“You know I had a first edition hard-cover copy of it,”

Hunter rolled his eyes, he knew the story, Bill had told it at least a hundred times, and Hunter could probably tell the story by heart at this point.

“And I foolishly loaned it out to my then girlfriend, that bitch Devi, and what did she do?”  Bill didn’t wait for an answer, “Only read it in the fucking bath, warping it all to shit that’s what!”

“The girl was pure evil.”

“No doubts there.  I’m gonna get changed, are you about ready?”

Hunter spun his booted feet to the floor and sat up on the couch, immediately regretting this decision as it put him nearly face to face with the thin, ratty, nearly transparent, barely-holding-it’s-structural-integrity, bottom hem of Bill’s robe.  All that sat between Hunter’s face and Bill’s junk was a thin layer of disintegrating cotton.  He had to say something.  He leaned back on the chesterfield and looked up at Bill.

“Dude, would it kill you to maybe pay the ten bucks and get yourself a new bathrobe, maybe something that wasn’t manufactured during the Laurier Administration?  And maybe something that’s just a touch longer perhaps?”

Bill yanked on the threadbare belt indignantly, “I’ll have you know this robe was cut by Pierre Cardin himself in 1978!”

Hunter doubted that statement more than he could express, but said nothing.  Clearly it was a Pierre Cardin, the sigil on the breast pocket was unmistakable, but sometimes it was better to just let Bill go on.  Which he did.  Usually at great length.

Bill spun on his heel, grumbling back over his shoulder, “Just because the best tailoring you’ve ever seen is above your fucking appendix doesn’t mean anything!”

“You’re quoting Withnail again!”

“Never mind that!  Just get ready!”  He slammed the door to his room.

As far as Hunter was concerned, he was ready.  He was wearing a slate grey golf shirt with “Presson” embroidered on the left sleeve, a Christmas present from his parents, (along with a hard-cover copy of the first edition of Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams, and a stocking full of satsumas).  He had slipped on his least torn pair of black jeans, and his favourite Doc Martens (the 14 hole talls), ran a brush over his hair, and ran some deodorant under his arms; he was good to go.  Just waiting on Bill again.

Bill tended to take long, drawn out, overly hot (in Hunter’s opinion) showers, and took twice as long as any girl he knew to get ready.  Hunter on the other hand liked to get in and get out quick, zip in and zip out, like going to Wisconsin.  He didn’t have time to screw around for hours at a time showering and getting ready, he had things to do, and people to see.  Boxing Day grub and booze wouldn’t crush itself.

Hunter dropped the book on the cardboard box “coffee table” and pressed play on a Pixies disc that was in the CD player.  He clicked ahead to track seven,  Black Francis singing about a monkey gone to heaven, two minutes in the phone rang.  The red, big-button phone sat on the arm of the Huge Leather Chair, ringing it’s crackly, electronic ring.  Hunter hit pause on the stereo and ripped the phone’s handset from the base. 


“Hey Hunter, its Sara.”

Hunter put on his goofy ‘Rico Suave’ voice, “Well, how do you do young lady?”

“Oh, I do fine, thanks, could I talk to Bill?”

“Absolutely,” Hunter put his hand over the mouthpiece and shouted towards Bill’s closed bedroom door, “Oi!  Bill!  It’s Sara!  Pick up!”  He listened at the earpiece and hung up after hearing a ‘click’ that told him Bill had picked up the phone.

 Seconds later Bill emerged from his bedroom wearing a white button down shirt with a thin, black leatherette tie, and his best charcoal cargo shorts, he also had his bedroom phone in his hands, and looked to be in a rage.  As he stomped angrily into the living room, the cord went taut, then yanked itself from the bottom of the black and clear plastic phone, as Bill gave it a quick, violent jerk.

“What’s up?”  Hunter wanted to know.

“Ahh-“ Bill growled as he blew past Hunter headed for the sliding balcony doors.  He flipped the lock and wrenched open the glass door, then the screen, took two steps outside, then dropped the phone, unceremoniously off the balcony.  Bill watched it sail, tumbling down to shatter on the deck below, just missing one of the heavy, concrete ashtrays.

Now Hunter was curious, “You know, you really shouldn’t be tossing thing’s off the balcony, they could evict us for it.”

“I’m not going out tonight.  Have fun.”  And with that he flopped down on the plush chesterfield and turned the TV on to CNN.
Hunter didn’t know what to think of this latest development, but knew it must have had something to do with the phone call, “What did she say?”

“She just decided to stand me up for tonight.”


“And, well, apparently she ‘forgot’ she already had plans to go to Fred’s company party or something.  Who knows?  Seems a bit strange to me that his company is having their Christmas party on Boxing Day, but what do I know eh Hunter?”

“Well, I know what you’re NOT going to do, and that’s sit around here all night watching the so-called ‘news.’  Now get your shoes on.”

Bill shook his head, then grumbled something Hunter couldn’t hear.

“What’s that bear?”  Hunter asked, in his best “Mr. Dressup” voice.

“I said ‘I suppose your right!’”  Bill stood up.

“Yeah, eff her if she doesn’t want to hang out with us tonight!”  Hunter said, yoinking the remote control from Bill’s hand and switching off the set.

“Yeah, yeah, eff her.”  Bill said, not sounding entirely convinced, as he grabbed his size 14 Doc Martens from the rubber mat by the front door.  He slipped them on, tied them, and in moments they were out the door and waiting for the elevator. 

“So what’s with the singing anyway?”  Hunter wanted to break the awkward silence, and move the conversation away from Sara, and that was the best he could come up with.

The elevator door opened to an empty lift, and the boys stepped in.  Bill pushed the lobby button five or six times as the doors closed.

“Well, Hunter unlike you I can actually sing, so sometimes I do, if for no other reason than to cleanse my pallet of the off key caterwauling that assaults my senses every time you take a shower.”

Hunter suddenly remembered, “Oh yeah, you were in, like, the Calgary Boys Choir or something when you were a kid!”

Bill nodded, “Yes, It was where I learned to sing properly.”

Hunter nodded, glancing up at the numbers above the door, as they slowly blinked downwards.  The lift was halfway to the lobby, and seemed unusually slow today, he thought.

“Yeah I remember now,” Hunter smiled, “you said that when you auditioned for the choir they asked you to sing something, but you had nothing prepared.”

Bill looked over at Hunter, knowing what was coming.

“And you chose to sing the National Anthem didn't you, but then forgot the words!”  Hunter laughed.

“Yeah, yeah I was young, and under pressure to perform!  Plus it was right around the time that bastard Trudeau had gone and changed the lyrics to shoe-horn ‘god’ into the anthem, so you can almost forgive my confusion at the time.”

Hunter was still laughing as the lift came to its usual stuttering, shuddering, jerky halt.  The doors parted and the bright, colourful Christmas lights sparkled in the boys eyes as they stepped out into the lobby.

The party begins in Part 2 of Lond Ho: The Feast of Stephen!  Coming in December!

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