Categories > TV > Red Dwarf > Forwards0 Reviews
A look back at one of many formative events in Rimmer's childhood.
Bertie Franks nodded. He turned and spat, a perfect projectile of phlegm and saliva that smacked the small frog that was its target. "You said it, Stinky. The man's a smegger."
Stinky sat on a small stone and grinned, an evil rictus grin with no humor. "I heard me dad talking to me mum about him. Said that he talked to the bugger, and swears up and down he's gay."
All of the other boys sniggered, which should have been Arnold's clue to snigger right along. Instead, he said, with the social ineptitude that was his hallmark, "What's gay?"
Bertie turned his unmatched spit-targeting skills to Arnold's shoes. "/You're/ gay, Bonehead."
"No, I'm not!" Arnold piped up, catching the clue too late, and trying to surreptitiously wipe the quivering pool of mucus off of his shoe and onto the grass.
Even someone of Stinky's limited mental capacity could find the flaw in that statement, and he grabbed it. "How do you know? You just said you didn't know what gay is, twonk!" he jeered. Bobby Darroch laughed and pushed Arnold onto his arse.
It took them about a minute and a half to tire of laughing at Arnold's newfound gaiety, and to make unflattering comparisons between him and Tibbons. They moved on to making a toad smoke until it exploded, using a cigarette Stinky had lifted from his father's night-table. All in all, Arnold thought, he got off fairly easily.
He was not going to get out of algebra that easily, he thought later that evening. The numbers danced and spun in front of his eyes, making no sense at all. Mathematics was just not his subject, Arnold decided, throwing it into the mental bin that held languages, history, geography, music, painting, and sports. The bin was getting quite full, and there was little left outside of it. Perhaps it would help if he took one huge source of puzzlement out of his head. He had been gnawing at it all afternoon, and his teeth were sore.
"Mum," he asked, putting the book down and turning in his chair, "what does it mean when a bloke is gay?"
Two hours and a good-sized bar of soap later, Arnold still did not know what being gay actually was. But he had a very good grasp of the practical notion that it was a very bad thing to be.
Lister twiddled his fingers as he lay on the top bunk, the lights dimmed for sleep. He was finding it very hard, lately, to fall asleep without hearing the whiffle of Rimmer's sleep-breathing below. He hated to think about what the hologram was thinking, or what he might do after Lister was asleep. Yes, he was an incorporeal hologram, but fears do not have to be rational to keep you up at night.
He had been too long without a woman. That was part of it. Only a few years if you counted the Backwards world, but backwards-sex, with the complete knowledge of its will-have-happened that came with a sore cock and sweaty sheets, squirts of come jumping into his cock with shudders of orgasm, horniness slowly ebbing as foreplay came to a beginning - well, that was hardly satisfying. So it was over half a lifetime since he had experienced real sex. Good sex, where you're not sure if it's going to happen, and the thrill of the tongues meeting, when you finally know/, makes the rest of it that much better. Yes, far too long. Combine that with his sixteen-year-old nonstop sex drive, and he was willing to forgive himself the oddities that intruded into his sexual thoughts. Masturbation lost its thrill when it was /all you had, so it only made sense that his subconscious would try to spice it up a bit. Kryten was sexless (and by god, the very idea was disgusting), and Cat was too close, too /possible/, so of course said subconscious would fixate on the two impossibles, the hologram and the dead man. His wet dreams and masturbatory fantasies were therefore rather full of Ace, and Rimmer, and Rimmer as Ace, and Ace as Rimmer. Even so, he could not stand the thought that Rimmer was beating his light-projected tadger to thoughts of /him/, any smegging version of him.
The sleep-breath still hadn't started.
Lister sighed, and leaned over the side of the bunk, looking into Rimmer's face, barely visible in the dim light. Rimmer raised one eyebrow.
"Oi, smeghead..." Lister trailed off as he realized his mind was completely blank. Smeg, say something. "Dija love him?" Oh, hell, anything but that.
Lister was started at the intensity of disgust that crossed Rimmer's features. "Of course I didn't smegging love him!"
Lister flopped back on his bunk. He hadn't expected an answer like that. It didn't jibe with what he remembered of the photograph. He wished he had kept it, to check his memory - but no, he had burned it for a reason. A damn good reason. This.. oddity had nothing to do with /him/-him. Just some long dead not-him him who was not in a position to care anymore. He didn't even know how that not-him him felt about all of it. He probably preferred it that way.
Lister found himself slipping to sleep, to his irritation. Falling asleep before Rimmer always brought on his least favorite of the wet dreams - the ones where Ace turned into Rimmer. Petulance was the last thing he felt before his eyes closed of their own accord.
Rimmer shivered below him, wondering where that bloody question had come from. Love Lister? Had he loved Lister/? For fuck's sake, he wasn't smegging gay. Yes, they had fun. It was rather enjoyable to have someone who actually found him /interesting/. Yes, Lister had not been the sharpest knife in the drawer, but that was part of why. This Lister wasn't quite so simple (although still a grotty, classless bastard, make no mistake) and did not feel at all the same way. Certainly, Rimmer might wish it were otherwise. But that was perfectly normal; he deserved respect, he did, and it was just that teenage other-Lister's own stubbornness that made him not /see that very basic fact.
Rimmer shrugged, wiggling against the sheets, annoyed, as always, that he did not sink comfortably into them. Love. What a smegging concept. What a smegging insult.