Disclaimer: No matter how much I may love the show, I do not own Red Dwarf. Please don't sue me or steal my story! Thanks!
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
A scattered collection of scenes and stories that never were, inspired by and in tribute to the British TV series Red Dwarf.
By Rowena Zahnrei
#1: Four Missing Days
Inspired by "Thanks for the Memory," Series 2, Episode 3
NOTE: Any excerpts from the episode that appear below were quoted from the Scripts page of the PlanetSmeg website. The superglue story was inspired by Series 3, Episode 1 of The Brittas Empire: "The Trial."
The Story So Far…
After a drunken night of celebrating Rimmer's first deathday, Rimmer confesses his desperate loneliness to Lister in a fit of inebriated sincerity. Similarly drunk, but more practiced at it, Lister hits on the idea of uploading his memory into the computer and pasting eight months of it into Rimmer's mind, thereby making Rimmer think the romance Lister had shared with his ex-girlfriend, Lise Yates, back in Liverpool was really his. Rimmer wakes up the next day believing he'd once had a caring, passionate relationship with a beautiful woman who'd honestly loved him, flaws and all—a belief that adds a drop of fabric softener to his normally over-starched and prickly personality.
While Rimmer reminisces about his days with Lise, he begins to realize he (really Lister) had treated her rather badly, ultimately ending the relationship with some "wishy-washy twaddle about not wanting to get tied down." Rimmer has trouble understanding this. He had always dreamed of a steady girlfriend who would encourage his career, but Lister had wanted to "play the field." Hearing Rimmer tell it makes Lister realize what a fool he was to ever let her go. Rimmer, misunderstanding his reaction, thinks Lister's making a dig and starts to get annoyed, which is where the scene begins…
Rimmer sank down onto the bottom bunk, his expression wistful. "She was a lover, and a friend."
"And beautiful," Lister added from the bunk above.
"Gorgeous." Rimmer said.
"Great sense of humor."
"The sex was fantastic."
"Oh, primo dynamite sex!"
Lister was getting carried away now, forgetting this was supposed to be Rimmer's memory. "Fantastic sex! Stupendous sex!"
Rimmer frowned up at him suspiciously. "Lister?"
But Lister was too engrossed in his reminiscences to hear the change in his bunkmate's tone. "The way she used to— Oh..."
"Oh, the sex. Brilliant sex!"
"Lister, Lister!" Rimmer shouted, finally breaking through. "How do you know?"
"I'm just having a guess."
"Kindly don't," Rimmer said archly, rising to his feet and striding to the table, where loose bits of Lister's jigsaw puzzle were scattered all over the metal surface. "No one will ever know how beautiful the relationship between me and Lise Yates was."
Lister rolled his eyes. "Yeah. Right, man," he muttered sarcastically.
"Right!" Rimmer retorted. "So, I'll thank you to leave it alone, if you please."
Rimmer straightened his wrinkled shirt, satisfied his authority had been successfully reasserted. "In any case, enjoyable as a trip down memory lane may be, the morning is a-wasting, laddie! I feel like doing something. How about heading down to the cinema with me to catch a film?"
Lister had been starting to get up, but at that he fell back against his crumpled pillows once more. "No thanks, Rimmer. I know the sort of films you like. If I wanted to spend six hours watchin' Napoleon's army march through Russia, I'd hike the two thousand floors down to the refrigeration unit and stare at the frozen stores."
Rimmer seemed lost. "What are you driveling about, Lister?"
"That endless documentary thing you always watch," Lister said. "And what's that other one: Patton: A Genius In His Own Mind. I'm tellin' you, Rimmer, never again."
To Lister's surprise, instead of getting all uptight and priggish, Rimmer actually chuffed a small laugh. "No, no, you've got it all wrong," he said. "I meant a proper film. You know, like that one with the actress you like from the twentieth century, Marilyn Monroe. Or, better yet, something with that cute brunette, what's her name, Audie Murphy."
Lister's eyes widened and he snorted helplessly into his hand. Rimmer's ignorance of classic cinema was nearly as complete as his ignorance of astronavigation theory. Audie Murphy was a male actor, a decorated veteran of World War II, who had starred in numerous war pictures. "I think you mean Audrey Hepburn," Lister corrected, once he could trust himself to speak.
Rimmer snapped his fingers, oblivious to his mistake. "That's the one. Come on, will you? It's not much fun going to the cinema by yourself."
Lister hopped down from the bunk and looked Rimmer over as if he were inspecting a container of leftovers from the back of the fridge that may or may not have gone off. This was something strange, Rimmer actually wanting to spend time with him in a social setting. Yet, he seemed sincere, even anxious Lister might turn him down. Deciding to test him, Lister asked, "What about your clothes, man? Are you seriously goin' out lookin' like that?"
"Like what?" Rimmer glanced down at the crumpled, half-buttoned uniform shirt he was still wearing from the day before. "Oh, right. Well, it's not like there's anyone out there to impress, is there? I reckon this'll do until Holly wakes up."
Lister's eyebrows raised. "You mean, you're gonna let Holly sleep and go out there in a wrinkled uniform with your hair lookin' like Tom Baker after a wind storm?"
Rimmer squinted at him. "What is this? Since when do you care about my appearance—or your own, for that matter? I can ask Holly for a fresh uniform when I see him." As he spoke, he moved toward the mirror on the wall over the sink, where he caught a glimpse of just how frizzy, uncombed, and unkempt he looked. "Unless…" He ran a hand over his rough chin. "Hm, yes… Maybe I should—"
Lister was quick to interrupt. "No, no, it's fine, man. Let's just go and leave Holly to have his rest."
Rimmer still seemed puzzled, but he shrugged and soon brightened. "Well then, matey boy, what are we standing around here for? Let's not keep Audrey waiting."
The cinema was a shabby, average affair with rows of seats arranged on a slight slope. The picture was cast onto the wide front screen in the classic fashion, from a small, Skutter-operated projection room at the back.
As it turned out, Rimmer was as unfamiliar with Audrey Hepburn's filmography as a Justin Bieber fan, so it was left to Lister to make the choice. Being a life-long admirer of Humphrey Bogart—particularly his performance as the American ex-patriot café owner Rick Blaine in Casablanca—he told the Skutters to run Sabrina, then went to join Rimmer in the center row.
Despite his strange behavior earlier, Lister had felt certain the story of a young girl's infatuation with her father's young, playboy employer would provoke a flood of snarky comments from the hopelessly unromantic Rimmer. And there were a few sarcastic groans at the beginning. Yet, as the movie went on, he seemed to grow more and more interested, until now he sat engrossed, staring at the tennis court scene playing out on the screen as if he was living it right along with the characters.
Curious to know just how far this strange new attitude of his went, Lister decided to try for the ultimate test. Plucking a cigarette from the brim of his hat, he made a show of lighting it, then took a long drag, deliberately blowing a thick plume of smoke toward the screen. He sat back then, waiting for Rimmer's reaction.
After a moment, Rimmer leaned back in his seat and sighed. "She really was lovely, wasn't she," he said. "Graceful, like those showgirls in that bar on Mimas who dance in half-gravity. That David Larrabee git doesn't deserve her."
Lister stared, not understanding. "Rimmer, aren't you gonna say something?"
"About me cigarette?" He held it up, waggling the smoking end next to Rimmer's face. Rimmer tore his eyes from the screen just long enough to shoot the offending object a cursory glance.
"What about it?"
"Well, I'm smoking it, aren't I? Right here, in the Non-Smoking Section."
Now, Rimmer was annoyed. "So? Is the theater packed with people? Has the smoke alarm gone off? No? Then shut-up, I'm trying to watch this."
Lister sat back, stunned. "Right."
He settled in to enjoy his cigarette, and the movie, but he found he couldn't relax. Rimmer wasn't behaving the way he always did. While normally that would be a cause for celebration, Lister couldn't help feeling a twinge of guilt. He'd meddled with the man's mind, altered his memories. Could it be he'd inadvertently altered his character as well?
Up next: Day Two. Stay Tuned!