What Did You Say?

Napoleon Solo was sitting alone in the canteen, waiting for his partner to show up and join him for lunch. Before he settled in for the wait he'd had to stop by medical, grudgingly. His ear was bothering him, and the doctor had given him some antibiotics and drops. He had some kind of inner ear infection, so had required the medication. He still had the cotton in his ears to prevent the liquid from running out and soiling his suit.

"Hello Napoleon. Sorry to keep you waiting" . Illya brought his tray over and settled in next to his friend.

"So, how are your ears? That can be very painful; I remember having a warm poultice inside a muslin bag placed on my ears when I was a child" . He was very sympathetic, thinking his friend would need the boost, he so disliked being ill or hampered in any way.

It was a tad difficult to hear with the cotton in his ears, but Napoleon didn't want to remove it; especially not over lunch, so he muddled through the conversation with the damper on his hearing. Still he didn't understand how poultry could help an ear infection. Some strange Ukrainian remedy, he supposed.

"Yes, well that's interesting. Better than steak, probably" . Reading lips isn't so hard. No wonder Illya likes to use this technique.

Hmmm? Illya didn't get the connection, but it was lunchtime. Napoleon might be distracted.

"So, have you talked to Mark?" Illya had heard a story from him, and wondered if Napoleon might have as well.

"No, I haven't. Spent too much time in medical today" . So far, so good.

"He was telling me about his new apartment. He's really chuffed, he said. I take it that's a good thing. April is going to help him with it" .

Napoleon would have to be careful how he responded to that. It sounded a little too intimate

"Isn't he going to get something for it?" Napoleon wondered how April would help him with that.

Illya looked at his friend quizzically. What a curious response to Mark getting into a new apartment.

"Perhaps. I guess they're used to doing those types of things for each other sort of like us . He smiled at his friend, raising one eyebrow".


"I don t remember helping you with anything chapped. And, besides, I think April should be careful. It could be contagious ".

Now Illya was really confused.

"Oi, mates. There you are. We've been looking for you two" . April Dancer and Mark Slate appeared from the other side of the room, hailing their friends as they approached with their lunch trays.

"Say, my apartment will be ready for a friendly gathering. I am really chuffed about this. April is being such a doll and helping me out with it" .

Napoleon blanched at the conversation, willing himself to not visualize the treatment, whatever it might be.

"Mark, I was just in medical. Maybe you ought to let the doctors take care of this problem" .

The other three stared at him as their forks were held in midair.

"Napoleon, what on earth are you talking about?" April didn t have a clue what that remark was about. Mark was equally puzzled, especially since they were talking about his new apartment, not an ailment of some sort.

"Well, all of this talk about chaffing and April helping you I mean, we have doctors for that you know" . Napoleon sort of half winked, hoping to lighten the mood. He understood how painful a bad case of chapped ...something could be.

Illya took a closer look at his partner and then began to laugh in an uncharacteristically loud howl. That was almost more shocking than Napoleon's nonsense.

"You, my friend, have your ears stuffed with cotton! You've been missing most of the conversation and trying to act as though you could hear perfectly ". Now they all three were chuckling at their superior as his face reddened slightly and he pulled the cotton from his ears.

"Yes, well I guess that didn't go as well as I had hoped. What was it exactly that you said Mark?"
The English agent was teary eyed from his laughter, and almost hated to tell his friend the word that had been misheard.

"I said I was chuffed over my new apartment ". Napoleon's expression told him he still didn't understand the meaning of the word.

"Chuffed. Happy, pleased... I'm glad for my new place ".

"Ohhh chuffed. I thought you said chapped ". Now he got it, and he laughed at the faux pax he had created.

There was no more cotton in the ears, but he still wondered about Illya's chicken.