Living Doll: Epilogue - My Band

"Paula said she'll join. I know her from way back. Axe princess. She'll be lead guitar in the band. In MY BAND!" It felt so good to say 'MY BAND!' that Murdoc said it again. He blew out a lungful of cigarette smoke and grinned.

"What's she like?" asked 2D. They were resting in chairs along one of Nottingham Hospital's corridors. 2D was holding onto a walking frame. Two weeks had passed and he was already much stronger, thanks to Murdoc's insistence that he exercise almost every minute of the day. "I mean," 2D went on, looking at Murdoc with those haunting, damaged, coal-black eyes that Murdoc still found unsettling, "Is Paula easy to get on with?"

"Yes," Murdoc gave his trademark deep, sleazy chuckle. "Very easy to get on with. Very, very easy. I've gotten on with her loads of times."

"Huh? Do you think she'll like me?" asked 2D.

"Paula likes any guy with a pulse who'll fuck her and buy her stuff." Murdoc shrugged and took a drag of his cigarette. "I've found a drummer," Murdoc went on. "Look at this." He held up an article ripped out of a newspaper, which 2D took with frail hands.

2D took the article and read it, saying parts Murdoc had underlined aloud. "Russel Hobbes...drummer...possessed by the spirits of rappers...working in a Soho record shop." 2D looked up. "Why him?"

"Think about it. If I hire him, I'll get one drummer and about twenty rappers for the price of one," said Murdoc. "I called him and he's interested. I'll interview him next week when we drive over to see our new studio."

A look of delight crossed 2D's face and he sat up straighter. "You got a place?" he said.

"Think so. I've been looking on the Internet and Kong Mansions in Essex seems to fit the bill. Cheap and big. Not sure why a place that big is so cheap. Maybe it's the landfill next door?"

"Maybe it's infested with rats from the landfill, or something," 2D suggested.

Murdoc shuddered. "Eww! I can't stand rats," he said. "But there's a graveyard next door to the landfill. If we're lucky the zombies will eat all the rats. So that's OK then."

"Yeah, zombies are cool!" said 2D.

Murdoc stretched out luxuriously on his chair. 2D was a man after his own heart. Every passing day made it clearer. Murdoc thought back to the nasty bad boy crew and compared them mentally to what he had now. "I can't believe how well this is turning out," Murdoc said. "The bands I started before gave this me nothing but grief. I've had keyboard players who couldn't play, I've had drummers who stole money out of my wallet. Every kind of shit you can possibly think of. But everything's easy this time. Must be a higher power involved." He glanced at the floor and grinned, "Hail Satan!"

"You don't even have to steal keyboards this time," said 2D, grinning too. "Because I've got the largest keyboard collection in Nottingham." He gave a happy sigh. "Did you know Uncle Norm called me this morning and wanted me back working in his shop? I turned him down, I told him I was going to be the lead singer and keyboard player in your band." A thought struck him. "That's true, isn't it? Because you haven't asked me yet."

"I don't NEED to ask you, 2D. You'll do what you're told," said Murdoc.

2D bit his lip. "I'd like to hear it anyway," he said.

Murdoc cleared his throat. "Alright, then. So what'll it be 2D? A life of washing windows in Uncle Norm's Organ Emporium or hitting the road for sex, drugs and rock and roll in my band? MY BAND!"

2D looked doubtful, "I prefer hip hop," he said.

Murdoc groaned. "It's just a saying, dullard. OK, hitting the road for sex, drugs and hip hop, in MY BAND."

"Hitting the road? Headfirst again?" said 2D, with a carefully neutral expression.

Opening his mouth to give a frustrated reply, Murdoc noticed the twinkle in 2D's eye and realised he was joking. "Arse first this time. It's about time another part of your body got dinted," said Murdoc.

2D laughed and offered a weak hand to Murdoc, "I'll join your band. It's a deal," he said.

Murdoc took his hand and shook it, squeezing it tight.

Dr Whinge saw them drive off in Murdoc's Winnebago a few minutes later. He looked out the window, at the pair of them sitting close together in the front seat, talking nineteen to the dozen about their plans and their new lease on life and gave his informed, medical opinion of their relationship to himself.

Both queer and hopelessly in love with each other, thought Dr Whinge. I wonder which one will realise it first?