‘Oh my,’ said Judy.
‘Pardon?’ I answered, thinking it odd that Judy appeared to be talking to her mid-morning crumpet.
‘I said “oh my”.’
‘Ah,’ I returned and went back to polishing my instrument.
Five minutes elapsed before my mind had partially recovered from the brass cleaner fumes I’d been inhaling all morning. I suddenly understood the significance of what Judy had just said and why it had so clearly upset the large purple mongoose sitting at her feet.
‘So why did you say “oh my”?’ I asked, still slurring my speech but clearly curious about the crumpet.
Judy didn’t even bother to look up and neither did the mongoose. ‘Oh, for no reason,’ she answered. ‘Just something I read in the paper. It’s not important...’
‘Fine, fine,’ I replied. The crumpet exonerated, I set my elbows back to polishing the bugle I’d been preparing for a morning gad about the shire with Fry.
Only I knew my mind wouldn’t settle. Another five minutes passed before Curiosity leaped out with a lead pipe and cracked Mr. Tiddles across his left cranial lobe. It was left to me to dispose of the body.
‘I don’t believe you’d say “oh my” if something wasn’t important,’ I said. ‘There must have been something profound in that magazine of yours that made you say it.’
‘No, no, nothing in particular,’ said Judy who then flushed the same crimson as a well cudgelled cat. That’s when she shrugged. ‘It’s just something I was reading about Jennifer Saunders. It’s from a couple of months ago. I don’t think you’ll be interested...’
Interested? The purple mongoose vanished and my head was suddenly clear. Naturally, I tried to look indifferent but, as many as you know, I hold the opinion that Jennifer Saunders possesses the sexiest upper lip in the business. For that lip alone I was happy to cast aside my bugle. I literally snatched the magazine from Judy’s grasp and I was soon admiring the lip on page 17.
‘Oh my!’ I said as I began to read the article from April of this year in which Jennifer had made some strange confessions regarding events in the Madeley bedroom. I had to read it out loud just to allow my ears to double check what my eyes were seeing. ‘Jennifer Saunders has revealed that she can't watch Richard And Judy because she keeps thinking about the pair in bed. Says Jennifer: "I hate watching them and thinking that they might touch each other's genitals." She added that she thought husband and wife TV teams were "icky".’
‘Sticky?’ asked Judy.
‘I said “iky” but what does the woman expect when she’s talking about handling people’s genitals?’
‘Oh Richard!’ cried Judy. ‘Stop it. I can’t believe they’d publish something as tacky as that in my favourite magazine!’
‘Listen, Jude, don’t lecture me. Talk to the people at Creative Concrete Monthly. I just can’t get over the fact that Jennifer Saunders is so obsessed with my naked body.’
Judy raised an eyebrow. ‘Yes, I’m quite sure you’re quite shocked, Richard. In fact, I suppose that smile on your face has nothing to do with carnal thoughts about Jennifer’s top lip?’
It’s times like this that I regret having ever revealed my lip fetish.
‘Listen, the woman keeps having dreams about you and me in bed and that’s just wrong. I mean I don’t go around thinking about Jennifer and that husband of hers. I don’t start imaging him getting all sexy in that high pitched voice of his and then hitting her across the head with a frying pan. Which, I might add, was hardly the high point of 1980s comedy.’
Judy nervously stroked her neck as she blushed. ‘Isn’t he the one out of Bottom who wears the big underpants?’
‘You’re thinking about Rik Mayall,’ I explained. ‘Jennifer is married to Adrian Edmondson.’
‘Didn’t he discover the south pole?’
‘I think he did but probably not in his big underpants.’
I threw the magazine to one side and expressed my disgust with a silence that lasted until Judy nipped out. It was the day she was due to have her earlobes realigned ahead of our move to satellite TV. No sooner was she out the door than I was on the phone to our agent demanding the private phone number of Ms. Jennifer Saunders.
‘Hello, Saunders,’ said Jennifer Saunders ten minutes later. ‘Now available for pantos and voiceover work. And I’m also happy to do vicars...’
‘Hello Jen. Reverend Dick Madeley here,’ I joked.
‘Oh my!’ she gasped.
‘Oh my, indeed,’ I said, holding the magazine on my lap for reference. ‘I’m ringing to have a word about this interview you gave the April edition of Creative Concrete Magazine. You know... The one where you’ve been fantasising about me in bed with Judy? What can I say? It’s very flattering...’
‘Dear me,’ she answered breathy like one of her witty sketches. ‘I admit, Richard, that I did go through a period when I couldn’t stop thinking of you but I got over that a long time ago.’
‘Did you really?’ I tried not to sound too disappointed.
‘Of course I did.’
‘And might I ask how you managed that? I would think that thoughts of me in bed with Judy are very potent. Not something that you can easily erase from your mind.’
‘Surprisingly easy,’ said Jennifer. ‘The habit wasn’t hard to break at all.’
‘Really? Well colour me surprised with the tinted ready mix on page ninety seven. So how did you manage it? ECT? Aversion therapy?‘
‘Actually,’ she said, ‘I just sang "bring me sunshine".’
‘You sang “Bring me sunshine”?’ I had to laugh. ‘And why would singing “bring me sunshine” de-programme you from lusting after one of the finest bodies on British television?’
‘Well it’s the old theme song to “The Morecambe and Wise Show”,’ explained Jennifer. ‘Once I thought of you as Eric and Judy as Ernie, the whole business of you two sleeping together seemed quite normal. I had a few bad nights when Dr. Raj became Des O’Connor but I’m over it now. I can go days now without thinking of you in the buff.’
I think the cruelty of a sexy upper lip stings deeper than any. I hung up the phone quite taken aback by the strange psychological games that Jennifer is willing to play with a man’s who’d been sniffing brass cleaner all morning. I was still confused when Judy arrived home.
‘I rang Jennifer,’ I explained as I sat in the poorly ventilated living room silently polishing my buge.
‘Really?’ asked Judy. ‘I hope she apologised.’
‘In a way she did,’ I replied, eying the purple mongoose.
‘Well, that’s good. At least we can now forget all about it.’
‘Suppose we can,’ I answered.
‘Fancy a cup of coffee?’
‘No, no. Don’t want to get too excited ahead of the show.’
‘Orange juice, then? Milk? Hot chocolate.’
‘No, no,’ I said.
‘Well how about a nice cup of tea?’
‘Why not?’ I sighed. ‘You really can’t beat a tea, Ern.’
Judy looked at me as I fell about laughing. The mongoose just shook his head. But then, purple mongoose are like that.
Thursday, 10 July 2008
Sex And The Purple Mongoose
‘Oh my,’ said Judy.