Red Dwarf characters owned by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor. Set before they are lost 3 million years from Earth.

With thanks to Cmar for beta reading this for me!

Also thanks to Sunrise over the Tango Factory, Cmar, Radar-rox and JosieSPRX for the reviews so far! All very much appreciated!

All reviews welcome!

Chapter Five – The Diary of Arnold Rimmer, or how to get a girl friend in a month – The Arnold Rimmer way!

Set before they are lost 3 million years from Earth.

January 23rd

This is a crisis! I just have eight days left to get a girlfriend or I have to give Lister (hereafter called 'smeg for brains') a hundred dollarpounds (hereafter called not a chance)!

Have decided to take out an advert in the Red Dwarf Times. They have a lonely hearts column here. Right after the items for sale. Let's see what bargains they have - "Chair for sale. Missing three legs and the back. One dollar pound. Also the seat needs re-padding as well, and a seat."

One dollarpound for that?

Are they mad?

What a bargain!

A bit of work and I bet I could sell it for two dollarpounds! Some of the stuff I have bought here has been amazing! True, I still need to work on some of the things. But as soon as I've got a few tools like a lathe, a saw, an adze (sounds dangerous, is it a snake?) one of those smoother things, a workshop, and learn advanced carpentry I can make a fortune!

Anyway back to these adverts. Lonely hearts.

Just a few lines?

Tag line needed – "It's your lucky day, ladies!"

Excellent.

Need a decent picture. That one Lister took of me playing Risk will do. It especially looks good since I had put the mirror on the desk and was playing against myself. Very artistic. Look at my furrowed brow! Look at my masculine hand holding my stately chin! Look at the label on my back saying "Smeg head!"

Hmmmm. Hadn't noticed that before. No wonder he took a picture of me, the smelly baboon-faced goit.

No problem, no problem. Let me get a pen. Change the e to an o and voila! "Smog hoad!" Sounds like some ancient Gaelic name, possibly an ancient Irish warrior! Or I could be completely wrong, but no matter, it's a conversation piece.

What do other people write here?

"Fluffy sheepikins seeks shepherdess for sheering fun."

Hmmm. No, not really me, that.

"Forty-five years old, bald, hugely overweight, with a halitosis problem are all words that don't apply to me! To find out what does contact Box 3232."

Weird.

I don't have time to bandy words. Let's make it plain and simple. "Arnold Rimmer seeks partner. Part time position only. No experience required. Interviews January 24th. Please supply two references. No time wasters."

That should do! I'll send it to the paper today!

Plus, I need a backup plan as this is getting serious. I'll take out a full-page ad just to be sure!

On the front page.

In luminous green.

Will let you know how it goes tomorrow!

January 24th

You know, I might have been quite wrong about Lister? He was really kind this morning! He found out I was putting out an advert in the paper and he offered to deliver the advert in person!

And there I was, thinking he was a useless, know nothing, bottom faced, rectal discharge of a man.

I was surprised! Anyway, will write more later today!

My team meeting was rather curious today.

Some of them asked when are the interviews taking place and if they could watch. They also asked about what angle the photo was taken from? I just said it's only of me playing Risk. They said it was a rather risky picture - or is that risqué? My French has never been that good. Well, after that advert my French kissing will improve!

Looking forward to seeing the picture of me in the paper later!

January 30th

You might wonder where I have been the past few days. Let me explain.

I had a lot of interest for the part of my partner!

A lot of interest!

Sadly, I should have been a little bit more specific, as opposed to just 'partner'.

I mean, I have nothing against men, nothing at all. Some of my best friends are men, or at least they would be if I had any. I mean, let's be honest, I'm a man myself! But to be honest I don't want to have anything against men, especially myself. I also had a couple of replies I'm sure are not genuine…

I mean sheep can't write, can they?

I also had a slight shock when I saw the picture Lister had submitted. For slight shock read minor coronary. I went the same colour as a beetroot and I'm sure steam came out of my ears. Lister had taken a picture of me after my Christmas drink. The one where I said "I'll just drink lemonade" and someone had spiked it with vodka. And brandy. And tequila. And whisky. There might have been a dash of lemonade in it, but I doubt it.

When I collapsed naked on the bunk afterwards he took a picture of my wedding tackle surrounded by holly, a little red hat and a label saying it was Santa Claus.

The security guards had words with me.

Quite a lot of words in fact. You know, I didn't realise there were so many swear words in the English language!

They weren't best happy with pornographic images of me being distributed throughout the ship.

I have just got back from five days in the brig where the punishment was to paint over every picture of my front bits from every paper on the ship. Over 10,000 of them!

I also have to keep a ten-metre distance from all women on the Dwarf. For six months!

I have one day left to win this bet! It is now physically impossible. I've got more chance of Napoleon dressed as a hula hula girl hand delivering my officer's pips in the next two days than getting a girlfriend.

What would Hitler do in this situation? Probably have Lister executed in some horribly ironic way. I expect involving curry.

Good plan, but might have to put it on the back burner for now. Have to hide now until the heat dies down. In about six months time.

January 31st

Have officially given up on trying to find a girlfriend. Will get a hundred dollarpounds out of the bank today.

There is absolutely no point to it at all. I have an official ban on meeting women, for a start!

This whole thing was just a puerile pointless exercise. Besides which I have now taken to wearing a false moustache out and calling myself Norman to avoid the comments. That advert Lister put out was quite one of the worse things that has ever happened to me. In fact, on my list it is now number four. My previous number four (at a school camp when I found I accidentally packed my Mum's overnight bag instead of mine and had to sleep wearing a frilly pink nightie) has been demoted.

Anyway, some of the goits, mentioning no names but probably Lister, had glued some of those pictures of me about the Dwarf. I phoned in sick today. For the first time ever I phoned in sick and have spent hours scouring the ship for those pictures.

Later in the day I had another appointment with the medical bay about my yoga incident so had to trundle down there, and I got idly chatting to a girl there.

I was so fixated with this search for those pictures and calling myself Norman that I completely forgot all those lines.

And that hypno stare.

I just talked to her.

Curiously, it felt good being in her company as we waited in line for our appointments.

Normally I find it difficult to talk to women; I mean, how do people keep up conversation for hours on end? Even with a wealth of knowledge of telegraph poles, trains and spoons you get dry bits in conversation and start trying to make up conversation like "Gosh green painted walls, how fascinating." Normally after that they have to dash off or move to Pluto or something. With her it was simple. There were no uncomfortable silences, only comfortable ones. Several times I glanced at her and caught her looking at me and giggling when I made a face at something or a stupid comment.

Giggling with me, not at me!

I asked where she was going afterwards. She just said the Pizza Palace.

I never thought of myself as being unhappy before, but my god I was happy then!

We went to Pizza Palace and picked up a pizza. Anchovy and salami, I'll never forget it. Somehow we ended up in her place giggling and laughing together and let me tell you, it's nothing like the films.

It's better.

Far better!

However, I got there under false pretences. I didn't want to lie to her; I called myself Norman. But Arnold Rimmer has to keep a ten-metre distance from all women on the Dwarf.

Her name was Yvonne McGruder, by the way, and she was an athlete! Well, the ship's female boxing champion, she was there for possible concussion apparently, some goit dropped a winch on her head.

It is a name I will never forget.

Saying goodbye to her afterwards was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

Ever.

I don't think I can ever get over it.

Ever.

Still, I won a hundred dollarpounds off that smeghead Lister!