Here's the birthday fic I wrote for myself, in a fandom that I think maybe three people on my flist have heard of: Cabin Pressure. It's a very funny BBC radio comedy, and you can get a very good, very brief summary here, download my favorite ep (2x04, "Johannesburg") here (or read the transcript here - there's a growing list of them here), or just look further down the page at the pretty picture of Benedict Cumberbatch as Captain Martin Crieff. Look at his little face! Not going to lie - this fic was written to fulfill my own desire to have Martin and Arthur do more of what they did in "Johannesburg" (sing and have adventures together) because I needed some cheering up. I hope it does the same for all of you.
In case it's not clear from the fic itself, the movie the boys see while in New York is Some Like It Hot. It is incredibly funny.
(Martin says happy reading! Who knows what Benedict Cumberbatch would say in that lovely voice of his.)
MARTIN: If only New York weren't so hideously expensive, it might be nice to stop here.
ARTHUR: But we're covered for lodgings, Skip!
MARTIN: Really? Oh, no, what house of horrors has Carolyn booked for us? No doubt someplace run by a proprietor by the name of Bates.
ARTHUR: No, it's on Central Park.
MARTIN: Oh, excellent!
ARTHUR: No, sorry, it's in Central Park. Mum marked it on this map.
MARTIN: Oh, let me see? I know there's a rather posh boathouse, and a charming little castle, but I didn't realize there were accommodations actually inside the park! That's lovely!
ARTHUR: Ah, here it is. "Bench furthest from the bins."
CREDITS: This week, Cambridge!
CAROLYN: You bellowed, Martin?
MARTIN: Yes, I damn well did! You cannot honestly believe that it's appropriate to suggest to your only captain, your only first officer, and your only child that they sleep rough in New York City just because you're too tightfisted to spring for decent accommodations! There are limits!
CAROLYN: That child could have grandchildren of his own, as you very well know. We can only be thankful that he has not gone that route. (sees Douglas and Arthur approaching) But Arthur dear was so very excited about going camping. Are you really willing to deny him one of the few joys of his life?
ARTHUR: Oh, Skip, can we not do it? I've been watching this brilliant documentary to learn all sorts of clever things we can make out of newspapers while we wait for the sun to go down.
DOUGLAS: Ah. Martin, really, what's all the fuss about? Either you get a few hours of fresh air, or you use some of your generous captain's salary to find lodgings that meet your expectations.
MARTIN: You're on her little map as well, you know. Tramp #3, I believe.
DOUGLAS: That won't be necessary. I shall sleep on the plane. The seats in row five are looking particularly comfortable, I must say.
CAROLYN: Oh, no, you aren't. The Americans are entirely too security-conscious for that. The plane is being emptied, searched, and then locked up. You won't get away with it by standing in the lavatory and making sounds like an out-of-order toilet, either. So, I'm afraid it's the wilds of New York City for you as well, Douglas.
DOUGLAS: What? And where, may I ask, are you planning to rest your weary head, Carolyn? Surely not in the gutter with your crew?
CAROLYN: No, I've a dear friend who married a wealthy American, and her spare bedroom is always open to me.
MARTIN: You could at least take your son along with you!
CAROLYN: No, I prefer to keep Arthur as . . . my own beautiful secret, actually.
ARTHUR: Aw, thanks, Mum!
DOUGLAS: Back to the important point - you are legally obligated to provide lodgings for us, Carolyn!
CAROLYN: Fine. Use what's in petty cash to find yourself accommodations for the night. Report back here tomorrow morning at seven sharp. I need one of those amusing oversize margaritas the Americans seem so keen on.
ARTHUR: So does that mean no newspaper hats to wear as we float newspaper boats down a little stream?
MARTIN: We'll make it up to you, Arthur.
DOUGLAS: Oh, God. Who knew that petty cash really would be so . . . petty?
MARTIN: I can't believe that we could only afford a hostel room with two beds. We'll have to push them together and all three sleep sideways just to fit, like sardines.
ARTHUR: Do they have a lot of sleepovers, sardines?
DOUGLAS: Yes, very sociable fish, never happier than when tucked up all together in a little row . . . about to be devoured.
MARTIN: Still, at least we'll be indoors, with access to a toilet and sink, not just some bog somewhere.
DOUGLAS: Well I for one have no intention of spending a moment longer than I must in this dump.
MARTIN: Just a moment, Douglas. We need to divide the rest of the cash up before you run off with all of it.
DOUGLAS: Oh, you caught me, about to abscond with my vast haul of . . . eighteen U.S. dollars. Gosh! The night out I could have had!
MARTIN: We're in the same boat, you know.
DOUGLAS: I can't believe Carolyn is being wined and dined by posh townhouse-owning richies while we're trying to scrape together the cash for enough hot dogs to fill our stomachs.
ARTHUR: Hot dogs? Brilliant!
CAROLYN: Well, my chickadees, do you indeed love New York?
DOUGLAS: At some point, Carolyn, I will wreak my vengeance on you.
CAROLYN: Oh, how very alarming. Martin? What did you get up to? Nothing to sully the uniform, I trust?
MARTIN: Nothing that sullied it past having to wear it whilst in bed with these two.
ARTHUR: It was brilliant, Mum! We went to a free showing of a documentary in a nearby park, ate hot dogs, and then played Sardines all night!
CAROLYN: Not one more word about any sort of nocturnal games, if you please. Arthur, go and put the coffee on. I can't have these two yawning over the controls.
DOUGLAS: You, on the other hand, look sickeningly well-rested.
CAROLYN: A day at the spa being pampered to within an inch of one's life, a night on six hundred thread-count sheets, and a breakfast of Italian Roast and freshly baked croissants will do that for one.
MARTIN: Then you can take over suggesting new things for Arthur to try to make out of the newspaper.
CAROLYN: Yes, I meant to tell you, that hat is rather fetching on you, Martin. Black and white and inky smudging suits you.
ARTHUR: Chaps, do you want more coffee?
DOUGLAS: No, Last of the Borgias, we do not.
MARTIN: Never mind him, Arthur; the hot dog Douglas apparently saved for this morning's breakfast did not agree with his stomach. I'd like another coffee, when you get a chance.
ARTHUR: No problem. I'm making a fresh pot for Robin anyway. She's lovely.
MARTIN: Ah, is that our passenger's name? How come there's just the one?
ARTHUR: Don't know. But she's ever so nice, and she said she needed to stay awake so she could finish working, and so I offered to fetch her more coffee, and then she laughed -
DOUGLAS: Say no more. It's like we were there.
ARTHUR: If you don't want coffee, do you want some cake?
DOUGLAS: Nothing, thanks.
ARTHUR: Right. Back soon with your coffee, Skip. (hums a tune as he leaves the flight deck, makes coffee, and proceeds to the main cabin) Miss Robin, here's your extra coffee, two sugars and a cream.
ROBIN: (American accent) Thank you, Arthur. I'm sorry to create more work for you - wait, did you already make my coffee exactly the way I take it? Oh my God, have I been that big a pain?
ARTHUR: No, it's no problem. You looked like you had enough to be getting on with, and I like fixing coffee just the way people like.
ROBIN: You're wonderful, Arthur.
ROBIN: Really. And if I didn't have a stack of paperwork to get through, I'd ask you to sit down and have some coffee with me.
ARTHUR: Well. I've got to be getting on with my own work, if you'll excuse me. Just press the service button for me when you're ready for your next cup. (goes back to crew area, humming again)
CAROLYN: What song are you butchering?
ARTHUR: You know. (hums more loudly, as if the problem is volume)
CAROLYN: Never mind. Run along. I've got important nail-filing to do.
ARTHUR: Right-o! (departs, still humming loudly)
CAROLYN: Arthur! (long pause) What on earth could be keeping him? (gets on intercom) Arthur!
ARTHUR: (hurrying back) Yes, Mum?
CAROLYN: Can you not hear that one of the passengers - excuse me - our one passenger has rung for you?
ARTHUR: Oh, has she? Right! It's coffee she wants, I expect.
CAROLYN: I do hope you'll remember us when your psychic abilities make your fortune.
ARTHUR: (leaving crew area with cup of coffee) Here you are, then.
ROBIN: I'm being so spoiled. Just press a button and I get a perfect cup of coffee - I'll be like one of Pavlov's dogs by the end of this flight, expecting that little ding-ding noise to mean wonderful, life-giving caffeine is on its way. Isn't that terrible? (laughs)
ARTHUR: Your mate Pavlov has dogs who drink coffee? That's brilliant! My old cat could drink from the tap, but I didn't have to train her to do that.
ROBIN: No - (catching on and changing tacks) you really do make perfect coffee, Arthur.
ARTHUR: Oh, well. Loads of practice. What do you do?
ARTHUR: Oh, pleeeeeeaaaaase!
MARTIN: Unequivocally no.
ARTHUR: But she needs our help! And she's really nice, Skip.
DOUGLAS: Oh, go on, Captain. Help the poor lass out.
MARTIN: Douglas. Do you have any idea what this conversation - which is between Arthur and myself, I might add - is actually about?
DOUGLAS: Don't know, don't care.
MARTIN: So why on earth are you getting involved?
DOUGLAS: Boredom, really.
MARTIN: All post-landing checks complete?
DOUGLAS: The lot of them. Nice try, though.
MARTIN: Arthur, what exactly did you promise this girl?
ARTHUR: Nothing much, Skip. Just that we'd go down to Cambridge to fill in for two musicians who've done a bunk at some contest; she's representing the group.
DOUGLAS: Oh, dear.
DOUGLAS: That sounds suspiciously like the film we took in last night.
MARTIN: Oh, God, you're right. Arthur, look, is there any possibility that you're mixing up what Robin said to you with the film - documentary - that we saw in Bryant Park?
ARTHUR: Um, would you say yes if I said no?
MARTIN: Just answer the question.
ARTHUR: No. Robin really did lose two of her musicians, but it wasn't a girl band, so we wouldn't have to worry about shaving our legs and running away from mobsters.
DOUGLAS: Well, there's that obstacle cleared, Martin!
MARTIN: I don't know how to play an instrument, Arthur.
ARTHUR: Oh, that's alright, Skip. It's singing she wants us for. She heard me when I was cleaning out the lavatory, and asked me if I liked to sing.
MARTIN: And where do I come into it?
ARTHUR: Well, I'd been singing our Spanish animals song - you know, the ♪went to mow a meadow♪ one that that chap Diego sang with us - and mentioned that my friend Martin sang really well, and that's when she started to get a bit excited.
DOUGLAS: A girl got excited by Martin? Good day for me to buy that lotto ticket, I think. (to Arthur) Arthur, will you be wanting to rent your car from me for the trip?
MARTIN: Douglas, must you try to turn everything to your own advantage? Arthur, I'll drive us in my van. Just bring a jumper or something; the heat doesn't work particularly well.
ARTHUR: Thanks, Skip! And . . . maybe you could call me Daphne? Just to get into the spirit of things?
DOUGLAS: Tell the truth, Martin: this will be the saddest cargo your little van has ever hauled.
(sound of a van pulling up and being parked)
ROBIN: Good morning! You must be Martin!
MARTIN: And you must be . . . Robin. Morning, Arthur.
ARTHUR: Morning, Skip!
MARTIN: Sorry, what's going on here?
ARTHUR: You mean with the measuring tape?
MARTIN: Yes, I do mean with the measuring tape and you being in nothing but your pants in your mother's front garden.
ROBIN: Oh! Right! Yeah, I guess this does look pretty bad. So, Arthur explained that you both are going to be filling in for some singers who will never be getting work again for as long as I live?
MARTIN: (slowly) Yeeeeeeees.
ROBIN: So I need to alter their costumes for you, and to do that, I need to take your measurements.
MARTIN: What kind of costumes?
ROBIN: Just tuxedo pants and silver shirts. Nothing too bad, promise. So I need to take your measurements too, and then I'll sew them up as we drive down.
MARTIN: Oh, you're . . . coming with us?
ARTHUR: That's alright, isn't it? We could rehearse in the van!
MARTIN: (surprised but trying to be polite) Of course, yes, that's fine.
ROBIN: Great! Drop trou, handsome; it's your turn.
MARTIN: Ah - (pause, then he unzips and steps out of his jeans) Oh! That tickles!
ROBIN: You know, it's actually ridiculous how adorable you are.
ARTHUR & MARTIN: ♪Oh, won't you take me home tonight?♪
ROBIN: (laughing) No, stop! I promise, "Fat Bottomed Girls" is not part of the program!
ARTHUR: But it's so much fun to sing!
MARTIN: What is on the program?
ROBIN: Oh, God, these horrible medieval madrigals - you know, the kind of thing you get stuck singing in choirs when they can't do anything actually religious. "The Silver Swan" or "Your -"
MARTIN: "Your Shining Eyes"? I sang that at school.
ARTHUR: Do it for us, Skip?
MARTIN: Ah, well -
ROBIN: Nope, no stage fright allowed.
MARTIN: (gaining confidence as he goes) ♪Your shining eyes and golden hair, your lily-rosed lips most fair; your lily-rosed lips most fair -♪
MARTIN & ROBIN: (harmonizing) ♪Your other beauties that excel -♪ (dissolve into nervous laughter)
MARTIN: I suppose I ought to have expected that you could sing.
MARTIN: Named after a beautiful songbird, after all.
ROBIN: Actually, named after the superhero sidekick, but that's okay.
ARTHUR: Wow, really?
ROBIN: Sad but true. My dad was a pilot, thought flying was the greatest thing ever, but since you can't name a little baby girl "Superman" or "Batman," he settled on "Robin."
MARTIN: That's interesting, because -
ROBIN: God, I hated him. Always flying off to somewhere exciting, never remembering he had a family to come home to.
MARTIN: Ah. But not all pilots are like that. Some of them quite like having someone lovely to come home to.
ROBIN: I'll believe it when I see it. Anyway, Arthur, I think your new shirt is ready. Try it on for me?
ARTHUR: Right-o! You know, I wanted to be a pilot when I was little. And Skip here actually -
MARTIN: (hastily talking over him) Oh, Arthur! If you were a pilot, you'd never have met Robin, and you wouldn't want that, would you?
ARTHUR: Oh, no! (pause) Are we, um, not calling me Daphne?
MARTIN: (in an undertone, as he and Arthur are changing into their costumes in the back of the van) Arthur - Daphne - I don't know how it could come up in conversation, but on the off-chance that it does, on no account can you let Robin know that I am a pilot.
ARTHUR: Got it!
MARTIN: I like this girl, Arthur. And she does not like pilots. Therefore, if she were to find out that I am, in fact, one of that dreaded race, she would promptly not like me at all.
ARTHUR: Ohhhh. Mum's the word - oh, Mum!
ARTHUR: Well, how are we going to explain knowing each other? If we don't say that we both work for Mum?
MARTIN: We're friends, aren't we? Couldn't we have met in a pub, or when you hired me to transport something in my van? Or perhaps I could have been a passenger -
ARTHUR: Can't we just pick one?
MARTIN: Yes. So, we met because you hired my delivery service, and we hit it off, and have been mates ever since.
ROBIN: (voice getting louder as she approaches) So Steve and Luke are out, and these guys - Martin and Arthur - are in. (opens back doors of van) Ah! Wow, you guys look great! Okay, Arthur, Martin, meet Phil and Tony. You've got about an hour before you go on, so if you want to rehearse, find a nice quiet closet and hop to it.
ARTHUR: This will be like playing Sardines again!
(Arthur, Martin, and Robin are all giggling madly as Martin drives them home)
ROBIN: I cannot believe you won! Bravo, boys! (she kisses each of them on the cheek)
MARTIN: (stammering) Surely the wave of food poisoning that hit everyone who stayed at the hotel last night had something to do with our rather anemic competition?
ROBIN: God, I could just listen to you talk for hours. (collects herself) But that's not why you won! It's because you were - Arthur?
ROBIN & ARTHUR: Brilliant!
ROBIN: (sighs) I can't believe I have to fly back to New York tomorrow; it would have been nice to stay.
ARTHUR: Well, maybe you could use part of your prize money to spend some time in New York yourself, eh, Skip?
ROBIN: That's a cute nickname. What's the story?
MARTIN: Um, well -
ARTHUR: (loudly) It's because he's Lord Skipperthwaite! Only he doesn't like people to know he's royalty, so he goes by the name . . . Martin.
MARTIN: (uncomfortable chuckle) No. Can't remember how it started, actually. Possibly something that happened at the pub where we met.
ROBIN: Didn't you meet when he hired you to deliver -
ROBIN: - right, goats, for him?
MARTIN: Ah, yes. (pause) Goats. Right. (pulls up the van in front of a hotel)
ROBIN: Well, thanks for everything. Arthur, I'll see you tomorrow? Bye, Martin, it was . . . really nice to meet you.
MARTIN: And you.
ARTHUR: Sweet dreams! (sound of Robin exiting the van and walking off) Want me to take over the driving, Skip?
MARTIN: Yes, please. And . . . I think I'd rather not talk for a bit.
ARTHUR: Got it.
MARTIN: That means no charades either, please.
DOUGLAS: So, do I take it from your morose silence that Crieff & Shappey will never find the success that was showered upon the Captain & Tenille?
MARTIN: (dully) No, we won, actually.
DOUGLAS: (carelessly) Then why so glum, chum?
MARTIN: Douglas . . .
MARTIN: (clearly trying to work up the nerve to broach a difficult subject) Douglas . . .
DOUGLAS: Is this going to be like that "Candyman" summoning Arthur tried at that ghastly New York hostel?
MARTIN: Never mind. (deep breath in, deep breath out) Holding steady at thirty thousand feet, clear skies.
DOUGLAS: (tentative) Sir . . .
MARTIN: You don't have to call me that; I know you don't mean it anyway.
ARTHUR: (entering flight deck) Morning, chaps. Coffee or tea for you?
DOUGLAS: Coffee, Arthur. Better make it two. And I think the captain would appreciate -
ARTHUR: An apple?
ARTHUR: Right. (exits flight deck, heads for main cabin) Morning, Robin! Coffee?
ROBIN: Yes, please.
ARTHUR: Want me to fetch you an apple?
ARTHUR: They're loads of fun. You know, tossing them from hand to hand?
ROBIN: You mean juggling?
ARTHUR: Sort of, but less complicated. I'm getting one for Skip anyway, it'd be no problem to fetch you one too.
ROBIN: Skip? You mean Martin? Is he on this flight too?
ARTHUR: (utterly unconvincing) Oh! Noooooooooooooo. I just meant, he'd asked me for an apple yesterday, so I thought I'd set one aside for him, and, you know, give it to him when I . . . got back from New York.
ROBIN: Arthur. Is that true?
ROBIN: And the goats?
ARTHUR: Bit of a story as well.
ROBIN: "No goats" makes a lot more sense than "goats."
ARTHUR: (relieved) I know! It was pretty hard to keep track of all the different imaginary goats!
ROBIN: But where is he? I don't see him anywhere, and on a plane this size, he shouldn't be difficult to find. (she starts to figure it out) Oh! I think, Arthur, you should bring me a cup of your world-famous coffee, and settle in to have a nice long chat with me.
MARTIN: Post-landing checks complete. And we're back in bloody New York.
DOUGLAS: Carolyn had better not try any of her usual tricks; my digestive system still hasn't recovered from the Big Apple's last assault.
ARTHUR: All right, chaps?
MARTIN: We're fine, Arthur.
ARTHUR: Can you give me a hand with the cargo, Skip?
DOUGLAS: I think I'll just have a word with her before she runs off to her glamorous "spare bedroom."
MARTIN: Fine. (follows Arthur out of the plane and around to the cargo hold, looking around with some confusion) What exactly needs unloading?
ROBIN: (popping up behind him) Wow, four stripes and a hat. I'd say I'm looking at a captain.
MARTIN: Robin! I - I - I can explain!
ROBIN: You could.
MARTIN: Um -
ROBIN: Or you could just come home with me and show me all about flying the friendly skies.
ARTHUR: Ooh, that one does sound better, Skip!
MARTIN: (dazed) Having someone lovely to come home to?
ROBIN: That's the idea. (kisses him)
ARTHUR: Go on, then.
(Martin and Robin depart in one direction just before Douglas storms over from another)
DOUGLAS: Your mother, to use the politest word I can think of at the moment, has already departed for greener pastures. And she's left the same amount in the petty cash box!
ARTHUR: Same place again, then?
DOUGLAS: God help us.
ARTHUR: (excited) Fancy a game of Sardines, Douglas?
As always, I'd love to hear what you think.