"You're going over to Beverley's tonight, right?" Nightingale asked me. We'd just gotten back from Birmingham - yes, magic sometimes happens in Birmingham, I was surprised too - and it had been a long day.
"Oh, right, I was," I said. Putney seemed like a long way away right now. "When I can find the energy to stand up again."
"You should, you haven't seen her since last week," said Nightingale. I do not ask how he and Beverley communicate about these things. It's weird enough that they do.
"No, I want to, don't get me wrong," I said. I felt my mobile vibrate in my pocket. "Hold on."
It was Beverley, but it wasn't good news, which Nightingale easily read in my face. "Something wrong?"
"Lesley's in town," I said. "I'm still invited over to watch a movie, though."
That actually was about all I did have the energy for, but I wasn't sure I had the energy to drive to Beverley's to see her and Lesley. Lesley and I are friends again, basically, which is helpful when you're seeing the same person, but I'm not dating her. And, you know. The taser thing.
Sometimes I wonder what the me of ten years ago or so would have thought of this situation, and then I remember that Pratchett quote about the road to being you now going through being an idiot before, so I stop wondering.
"That hasn't happened for a while," said Nightingale. Despite the fact that he’s not actually going to try and arrest her anytime soon, Nightingale and Lesley absolutely do not get on. Everybody involved in the overly complicated diagram that is my love life - do not ask what my mother thinks of it - conspires to make sure they're never in a room alone together. So far it's worked.
"No, it hasn't," I said. "Trying to decide what I'm going to tell Bev."
"There's no reason they couldn't come over here," Nightingale said; I sat up just to look at him disbelievingly. "We have a television."
"Uh," I said. "Thomas. Are you sure that's a good plan?"
"I didn't say I was going to involve myself."
"Don't be ridiculous, we're not kicking you out." I considered this. As a plan, aside from the obvious pitfalls, it had its merits. "Really, are you sure?"
"Honestly, Peter," he said. "We're all adults. Establish a few ground rules and it'll be fine. Besides - one or both of them might not want to."
"Okay," I said, typing on my phone, "but I'm blaming you."
"And I'm not suggesting it as a regular thing," he added hastily; yeah, there was no way he wanted Lesley back in the grounds of the Folly, even outside the actual building, regularly. "But this once. Why not?"
"Famous last words," I said. My phone buzzed. "Too late to take it back; they're coming over."
PETER GRANT, BEVERLEY BROOK, THOMAS NIGHTINGALE, AND LESLEY MAY'S RULES FOR MOVIE NIGHT
- No magic
- No phones
- No picking a movie you know somebody else hates
- No picking a snack you know somebody else hates
- No needlessly pointed comments
- No death glares
- No running commentary
- No complaining about historical accuracy
- No complaining about scientific accuracy
- Not limited to but especially including accuracy about the laws of physics
- No complaining about police procedure
- Especially when it’s not even set in the UK, do you lot even know anything about American law
- No complaining about environmental accuracy
- No putting anything in anybody's drink
- No joking about putting anything in anybody’s drink
- No more than two drinks per person, because that got weird
- No talking about the time it got weird
- No debating conspiracy theories
- No debating time travel
- No sci-fi for more than two nights in a row
- No romcoms
- Seriously, no romcoms
- No movies where the dog dies
- The person who chooses the movie is responsible for verifying whether the dog dies
- There’s a website for that, I’ll show you later
- There’s a website for a lot of things these days
- No movies older than fifty years
- Movies older than fifty years are allowed but only if they're shorter than three hours
- No DVD commentaries even if they're shorter than three hours, Peter
- No filmed versions of plays, because that's just pointless
- Shakespeare doesn't count for rule 30
- No period Shakespeare, though
- The Baz Luhrmann one is the best Romeo and Juliet, what is your problem
- No weird art-house movies
- Just because it has subtitles doesn’t mean it’s a weird art-house movie, Lesley
- It does have to have subtitles for those of us who don’t speak every language in Europe, Thomas
- No commentary on whether you’ve been somewhere the movie is set
- No requests to explain foreign customs
- That applies to everybody in the room, even if we are watching a Nigerian film
- Rule 38 is rescinded
- No arguments about Marvel versus DC, because nobody cares, Peter
- No debates about which superhero would win even if they’re from the same publishing house, because NOBODY CARES
- No debates about whether anybody in this room could beat a given superhero, because very seriously, nobody cares
- Of course any of us could take Iron Man, why are you even asking that
- No arguments about Star Trek versus Star Wars
- Star Trek and Star Wars are not ‘basically the same thing’
- No spoilers even if the movie came out before the three of you were born
- No pretending you didn’t see the movie in the theatre before we were born just to troll us
- No pretending you don’t know what trolling is
- No complaining the snacks are too spicy
- No adding extra chilli powder to the snacks when nobody’s looking, Beverley
- No complaing about book-to-movie adaptations
- No more book-to-movie adaptations
- Unless nobody’s read the book
- No lying about whether you’ve read the book
- We don’t believe you forgot, Peter
- Running commentary rule exception: when the movie is urban fantasy
- No urban fantasy unless everybody is in the mood for a comedy
- Of course this is a fucking comedy, did you see those vampires
- No more than one Tolkien-based movie an evening
- Even if it’s not the extended edition, Peter, there is no way you’re making us watch the extended edition
- No director’s cuts if they’re longer than the original movie
- No spoilers if you work out who the killer is halfway through the movie
- Even if it’s really obvious and you couldn’t help yourself
- No explaining how you’d recreate the heist in London in front of the serving police officers in the room
- No, not even hypothetically
- No, not even if you ARE a police officer
- Explaining how you’d do it in other countries is acceptable, fine
- No trying to recreate stunts using magic, see rule 1
- No trying to recreate stunts without using magic
- No doing anything that might require a movie time-out in the blood bin
- Because it upsets Molly, that’s why
- No upsetting Molly
- No falling asleep
- No falling asleep on other people
- Especially people you’re not dating
- No leaving Thomas and Lesley in the room alone together even if they ARE both asleep
- And even if there is a surprising lack of explosions
- NO PHOTOS
- Even if the only person you show them to is Molly
- No horror movies if Molly is watching as well
- Because she might try to reenact them and I live in the same house as her, that’s why
- If you do want to watch this NON-HORROR movie with us, no livetweeting
- Yes, all forms of social media are considered covered under ‘livetweeting’
- What part of “no phones” wasn’t clear, honestly
- Sorry, Molly, we do like having you here
- No impressions of movie characters
- Even if it’s really quite a good impression
- No impressions of other people who are watching this movie with you
- Especially if it’s a good impression
- No cancelling movie night for pointless reasons
- Murder is not a pointless reason
- Immediate threats to life and limb are not a pointless reason
- No threatening to cause one of the above two to get out of a movie you were outvoted on watching
- Having the flu is a pointless reason
- Look, we’re all going to get it eventually anyway
- If I have to deal with that horrifying thought, so do the rest of you
- We’re stopping that train of discussion right there
- No trying to explain movie night to other people
- It only confuses them.