Number 81- to boldly go…..


Number 81- to boldly go…

In fairness, Paul’s always liked a challenge, enjoyed a bit of DIY and even if he says so himself, over the years, he’s been able to turn his hand to most things.

He’s managed to fit a new boiler, re-wire complete houses, tile kitchens and bathrooms and slap more emulsion on walls that are perfectly smooth once he’s finished prepping them than he can keep count of.

He’s made 2 perfectly nice houses, sold them on for a decent profit, but somehow, it’s never felt satisfactory, he’s never really felt that he’s made his mark on a house, made it his home.

Or at least, that was true,that was where he was just 3 years ago, Mr Nowhere, living in his nowhere land with nobody….la la la la.

He leans back in his chair, stretches his legs and looks upon his work and smiles.
No more Mr Nobody and you might not like what he’s done with number 81, but you couldn’t call it nowhere land.

The living with nobody, well, it’s a work in progress, in fact, it’s all about to get sorted, he’s totally on it.

And then, and then, here he will be, mR Somebody, living in his somewhere special land with somebody very special indeed.

He lifts up his cup from the cup holder he designed himself and fitted perfectly into the arm of his special chair.

“Tea” he thinks and smiles, enjoys that Friday evening feeling, 2 whole days of peace and quiet and time to get on with some routine maintenance and, he takes a very deep breath here, time to prepare for a very special Saturday night. This may turn out to be the best weekend of his life and let’s be honest, he’s had some cracking weekends over the last few years.

His Q and A session at midlands scicom.
The web based virtual tour that rocked the annual starship and time travellers festival.
His appearance in Grand Designs – the tiny designs and far out ideas show.

Yeah, this weekend has some fierce competition, but and it’s a big but, this one has something extra special going for it.
He’s going to keep his fingers crossed, but he can’t help it, in his deepest soul, he knows it’s all going to be great.

But, he’s not going to let it get to his head, he’s not going to lose his Friday programme. Routine maintenance before he lets his imagination run riot.
He stands up, stretches, pauses for moment to admire the way his uniform trousers hang exactly right, stopping just above the black Chelsea boots, originals and with provenance too, worth every penny and they were pretty much every penny in his savings account when he bought them
He likes to get it right,likes to be authentic, won’t countenance crappy rip offs, cheap copies.
In his head,that’s cheating. If you don’t do it right, why bother doing it all?
It’s worth waiting for the right thing to come along and this weekend is proving that. He’s waited so long for a Saturday night like this one is going to be, it’s going to be worth every effort, all the work he’s put in.

But now,he needs to get on.
The transporter bay still needs some finishing touches, that sound effects CD isn’t quite right, isn’t playing quite true and there’s a few chips of paint off the control panel. It just needs a little touch up.

Two hours later he is satisfied. The new app he downloaded looks fantastic on the screens in the bridge, perfect images of a Klingon war ship, you can almost imagine that the FS Enterprise is engaged in a game of cat and mouse with the Federations most deadly enemy.

He sits back in the captains chair, flicks open his tri-corder and enjoys for the 200th time,,the satisfying bleep and nods over at James T Kirk ( and yes, he does know that it’s not the real James T Kirk, he does know that it’s a life size cardboard figure, bought a great expense on a very vicious ebay auction )
“ star date November 2015, captains log” and he pauses for a moment, before continuing
“ it is mans nature,when he views the stars to feel alone “ he pauses again and nods to himself, he feels as if he channelling all those captains that have gone before him and will come after him
“ man is not by nature solitary, he seeks love, understanding and tomorrow, it is the turn of this captain to boldly go and look for love.
End of log entry”

He sleeps well, not in the bedroom he has lovingly fashioned to be an exact copy of Jean Luc Picards sleeping quarters. That room is set aside for special occasions.
Tonight, he sleeps in the small back bedroom,the room that still looks like a small back bedroom, if you can ignore the packed floor to ceiling shelving, the floor plans covering every inch of the walls and the precious, hard fought for memorabilia that is still waiting to be placed somewhere else in his home.

It all started small,a few shelves of boxed, untouched collectible figures, a poster or two, a dictionary of Klingon and then, almost by chance, he bid on and won a perfect facsimile of Kirks captains chair from the original Tv series and when it arrived, it looked so out of place,so unhappy, that he felt duty bound to give it a proper home and so he started to remodel his sitting room into the bridge of the FS Enterprise.
Of course,he made lots of mistakes early on, his first attempts make him shudder now,but he got better, more careful,more authentic and once he’d done one room,he just kept going.
And it’s changed his life, he is somebody now, he’s been on telly,well loads of times,he’s been on platforms at conventions, given master classes to wannabe builders and he’s the go to guy for anyone who’s anyone in the wonderful world of serious star trek fandom, not Trekkies, never Trekkies.

It’s made actually living in number 81 a little challenging.
The kitchen is now the transporter bay, complete with the correct soundtrack,but he’s not a great cook and he’s managed to squeeze a microwave and a tiny fridge into the back bedroom.
The bathroom is in mid transformation, by the end of the year it will be a perfect Klingon control deck. At the moment it’s still got a sink in, so he’s washing there and he’s sure that something will occur to him when that’s removed too and the outside loo is just fine, really fine.

When he wakes up, he lies on the blow up mattress for a moment and then he remembers and would, if it was possible to leap from a blow up bed, leap out, ready for the day.
Instead, he rolls onto the carpet and grins to himself.
Today is going to be a big day,maybe even the big day.

He needs to make sure that the bedroom,the other bedroom is perfect and pausing only to grab some breakfast, half a bag of Doritos and the leftover chocolate Swiss roll, saved from a late night snack,he is on task.

He pauses when he enters the room, he has had to make some compromises here. The flowers are silk and he finally settled for white lilies, but the bat-leth is perfect, hanging on the chimney breast, its blade shining under the bright halogen lights.
The tri-dimensional chess set is mid game, the moves recreating a game from his favourite episode and a Klingon version of Moby Dick is open on page 45.

He hasn’t really discussed Star Trek with her, he’s kept the surprise of his house close to his chest, wanting to amaze her and anyway, Mary at work, who found the web site and wrote his profile and read all the girl’ profiles, Mary has been very firm about this
“Don’t talk about Star Trek, ask her questions, find out about her, don’t talk about Star Trek”

So he knows a lot about her, Kayleigh, his date. He says the words outloud again,enjoys the feeling of them in his mouth
“his date”
She is 27, works in a pound shop, says she likes it, the maths are easy and when she types this she adds
And he likes that,because he knows it’s a joke, so he types LMAO, so that she knows that he knows that it’s a joke.

They have been taking on line for a little while now and tonight she’s coming here for a drink.
When they arranged it she typed
“Hope you’re not a serial killer”, but she didn’t type LOL, so he wasn’t sure if she was joking or not,so he just typed back
“No, I work in an office in a paint company” although he knew that he had told her that already.

He has two lists to get through today. His list is easy, just lots of little touches to make sure that everything is as perfect as possible.
The second list is from Mary, she wrote it on Thursday and numbered all the things she says he needs to do before 7pm.
He likes lists, even when it’s someone else’s list, so he has a look and makes a start at number 1
“ wash all over and use hot water”.

By 6pm, he is ready, he’s got to number 8 on Mary’s list

“ put biscuits on a plate and don’t use Trekkie mugs”
At 6.30 he puts on his favourite ever episode, the one about The Borg and he watches it to calm himself. He looks over to James T Kirk, James would know what to do, James always knew what to do.

At 6.46 he remembers that he hasn’t finished Mary’s list, number 9
“ don’t forget deodorant “

At 6.53 he is standing at the front door, waiting.

At 6.58 he is standing in the front garden, looking down the street, trying hard not to make eye contact with the group of men standing outside the corner shop. For a terrible moment, he wonders if they, the knot of drinkers, have scared her off.

At 7.09 he logs on, checks her profile, she is offline, he messages her anyway
“ R U on YR way”

He checks her profile again at 7.15, 7.34, 7.56 and 8.12.

At 8.31 he discovers that she has blocked him and deleted him from her homepage.

At 8.42 he piles all the biscuits onto a tray, chooses his Dr Scot mug, makes a milky coffee and sits on his captains chair, dunking wagon wheels into the mug.

At 9.08 he makes a log entry
“ loneliness is what comes with the responsibility of steering this noble vessel, these brave crew members through these distant stars.
Seeking out new lands, new peoples, new challenges”

He dips the last biscuit into the almost empty cup and licks the melting chocolate, careful to make sure that no drips land on his crew member uniform.

About cathi rae

50ish teacher & aspiring writer and parent of a stroppy teenager and carer for a confused bedlington terrier and a small selection of horses who fail to shar emy dressage ambitions. Interested in contemporary fiction but find myself returning to PG Wodehouse when the chips are down View all posts by cathi rae

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