By Fire Frog.

The idea had been to dress up for Halloween and go round to Mansells to watch "London After Midnight". Kent wasn't sure how that had ended up with him at a costume shop with Miles being smiled at by four female assistants in a way that did not bode well. He didn't know how it happened - but he had known it was a bad idea from the start.

For one, Miles had made them stop and buy the drinks before they picked up the costumes. This was okay for him - he'd already pre ordered his costume, but it left Kent on the busiest night of the costuming year with an option of only two outfits that fit him.

"Come on, we're going to be late!"

Kent ignored the voice on the other side of the curtain and adjusted his headpiece. Actually, now he thought about it he was glad they had done the shopping first - there was no way he was getting out of the car to shop looking like this.

"Come on!" Miles, the bastard, had a great costume, he was dressed as a devil with a cape, horns and a tail. The horns especially suited him really well.

"Kent, we're late enough already and there are people waiting to use the booth."

Kent looked at himself in the mirror. Oh well, it could be worse. The other costume had been Snow-White - Miles had made him try it on.

What he had wanted to be was a pirate. A sorcerer would do. Anything but ... this. With a heart felt sigh he pulled the curtain aside and stumped out into the aisle - to a welcome "oooh" of appreciation from the four shop assistants.

"Perfect," said Miles, and Kent could have sworn a glint of red shone from his eyes for a moment. Then the Lord of the Flies led the way out to the car, followed by a forlorn but cute giant pink teddy bear.

"Oooh, come and sit by me, I can squeeze you during the scary bits," laughed Riley. She was dressed as a schoolboy with bandaids on her knees and a mock slingshot in her back pocked, for which she had already received many a hilarious jib for carrying an unregistered lethal weapon.

The group of mainly detectives were fairly conservative in their costumes - there was a cowboy, ghost, jester, someone dressed up as that girl from that ad that everyone was talking about and an Asian Spiderman.

Ed had come as Sherlock Holmes (surprise) and Mansell was dressed as a rather scary clown. And Joseph Chandler, of all people, was dressed as a Milk Maid, complete with yellow straw plats and a frilly apron.

"I never thought I'd wear this again," he confided - patting at his flounced frilly skirt. "I made it in Home Economics back in the day - I'm surprised it still fits me."

Miles and Riley gave each other 'I'm going to be sick' looks, while Kent confirmed again that there wasn't anything that his boss couldn't do.

He wished that he'd had the kind of education that taught you how to hunt foxes, dance, draw, shoot, box, sew, sword fight, dress well and socialise. Or at least dress well. He'd settle for that.

They all crowded into the living room for some group photo's everyone wanted to hug the 'Teddy', even Chandler wasn't adverse to throwing his arm around him in a friendly way. Kent was getting a hold of that photo if it was the last thing he did. Actually, he would try to get all of them, but the others he would burn. There was only one that he wanted to keep.

"It's time!" Mansell called and the assembled guests fought for sitting space. Kent got on the couch, and as threatened, Riley sat beside him. To his disappointment Miles got on his other side and promptly fell asleep, using a handy teddy bear shoulder to lean on as he did so.

To their knowledge nobody was driven insane by watching the movie, although as Ray said - it would be hard to tell the difference.

And somehow of all the photos taken that night it was the one of Kent being used as a pillow that got stuck up on the notice board at work the next day.