Disclaimer: I own nothing but words =(


Manny looked around his new home. So this is where he was staying? Well it wasn't too bad, apart from one problem.

The problem wasn't the shop; Manny liked the job (anything was better than accounting), and it definitely wasn't the people. Fran made him feel so welcome and Bernard… well besides the alcohol and the hostility, Manny didn't think the Irishman was too bad.

No, the thing that bugged Manny the most was the mess. The pure filth! The floor was covered in a sticky ooze of some sort, there were countless empty bottles of wine and packs of cigarettes scattered across the room – some stuck to said ooze – and he didn't even want to think about that downstairs toilet! He'd start the clean-up tomorrow; it was too late in the evening to start now and he needed to unpack anyway.

"So, Bernard… which way to the spare room then?" asked Manny, directing his question to the man sitting behind the desk, book in one hand and wine in the other.

"Manny, I barely know where my room is, let alone one I haven't seen since 1990!" He said, not once looking up from his 'Book of the Day,' "Why don't you scurry upstairs and go and explore the surroundings like a good little Hobbit… go on, get scurrying!"

Manny stomped past him, muttering a string of cusses and curses under his breath as he climbed the stairs, taking extra measures not to touch anything that was sticky or growing – which ruled out the whole banister. After trekking up the flight of stairs Manny figured, out of the three doors there, the door straight ahead would be the spare room, since the one nearest had to be Bernard's – as little exercise as possible for the Shopkeeper – and then there was the bathroom which only left the one door.

Walking gingerly across the creaking floorboards so as not to agitate Bernard – who by this time was on his second bottle of the night – he got to the spare room and carefully unlocked the door… only to be buried by an avalanche of books clothes, cutlery and all manner of junk, crashing to the ground with a loud thud.

"Manny stop being noisy, it sounds like you're throwing an angry elephant on the floor. Was it the elephant from the spare room? It's mine I saw it first, hands off my elephant!" The drunken man rambled, staggering up the stairs to rescue his theoretical elephant. Manny was just sitting – none too impressed – on the floor, arms and legs crossed in a sea of meaningless items of junk and a rubber duck resting on his head.

"What are you doing on the floor?" Bernard asked, "Go back to bed you overgrown Monkey-Man!"

"I haven't even been to bed yet Bernard because the room is filled with all your useless CRAP!" Manny replied angrily, the duck falling onto the floor with a squeak.

"It's not useless! I always use my funny-shaped egg frying thing" he replied as he picked up something from the pile.

"That's a cookie cutter Bernard not a novelty frying pan, besides you said you haven't been in here since the 90's, so you can't use it all the time"

"And your point is?"

"Oh this is getting us nowhere! Can't I just sleep in your room tonight?"

"There's a perfectly fine sofa downstairs"

"But it's all the way downstairs!" Manny whined while pleading with his best puppy-dog eyes impression. Bernard's eyes softened just for a moment before returning back to their scowling. More wine clearly needed.

"… Fine but the left side is mine. It's closest to the door which is closest to the wine, and you can't be trusted with such precious alcohol"


Manny lay awake staring at the ceiling. It was 11:23pm and Bernard was just settling down with a nightcap – meaning half a bottle of wine, on top of the other three of that night – roughly tugging the covers from Manny's side of the bed, gaining the most of the fuzzy warmness. Just as his eyes were beginning to feel the weight of sleep pressing down on them, Manny bolted upright. There was a sound coming from under the bed. It was a rustling, gargling sort of sound; like a rat with indigestion.

"Bernard! There's something under the bed… something living under the bed" shaking the dark haired man by the arm to grab his attention.

"Get off, you bearded embarrassment to mankind! I know already, just throw that half eaten chocolate bar under the bed." Manny did just that and to his surprise, whatever it was calmed down; it actually worked! With a sigh of relief he settled back down under his rationed portion of duvet and turned towards Bernard.

"What was that?"

"That was William Thingmuss III, The Thing for short. He had a wife and a few children, but they died in the 'Great Falling Wardrobe Incident' last year, except one who ran away and is now living in the underground somewhere… Piccadilly station I think. It's a pity really, I always liked Brenda; she was a good wife to The Thing rea-"

"Yeah but what was it? A cat, a hamster or something?

"I don't know! It's a Thing, no more questions… and stop breathing so loud, I'm trying to sleep"

Manny stayed awake a while longer, listening to the sounds of chewing underneath the bed until it faded off into light snores as well as the sound of Bernard's rhythmic breathing. It was calming. Very calming in fact, he was starting to drift off himself.

He let sleep beat him, and wondered if the arm snaking around his waist was real, or just an element of his mind's eye.

Note: Ok, I didn't expect much from this one 'cause I left it half finished for like 5 months =S... anyhoozles hope it was ok =)