"Is he back yet?"
Byers paced. "Not yet."
Langly sat down on his desk. "I can't wait."
"He'll be back as soon as possible, I'm sure."
Langly looked horrified at a sudden thought. "What if he can't get them?"
"Don't even talk like that. Mel's totally reliable."
"Yeah, I know. But where is he?"
Finally the door buzzed. Langly threw open the door, and Frohike stumbled in, clutching a small bag to his chest. "That place is a madhouse," he complained.
"But you got it, right?" Langly demanded.
"Both of them?" Byers asked anxiously.
Frohike nodded and threw himself into a desk chair with great melodrama. "I got almost the last ones."
Byers held out his hand. "One, please."
Langly nudged him aside, hand also outstretched. "Two. Right now, Fro."
Frohike grinned evilly. "What's in it for me?"
The two of them thought it over.
"I'll do the dishes for the rest of the week," Byers volunteered.
"Big deal," Frohike commented. "It's the kid's week."
"Oh, that's right."
"I'll back up your hard drives," Langly suggested.
Frohike considered it. "Byers?"
"I'll clean the bathroom for three days on your next week."
"Now that has promise," Frohike said, toying with the bag. "Langly?"
"I'll make dinner for you."
"The hell you will," Frohike declared. "I might give you Two if you promise not to cook for me."
"Done," Langly grinned, reaching for the bag.
"No, you don't," Byers said, pushing his hand away. "I'll write your next editorial."
"That'll do it. Byers, One is all yours."
"Hey, no way. I got one more to try." Langly grinned. "I was saving it for your birthday, Mel, but… I got you the Aliens model you've been looking for."
"Hot damn," Frohike announced. "We have a winner."
"Wait," Byers said. "I have another one, too."
Frohike regarded him curiously. "It's gonna have to be good."
Byers leaned over and whispered something in Frohike's ear for several moments. Frohike turned beet red and a wide smile split his face. Byers finished saying whatever it was, and straightened up, smiling innocently. Frohike took a couple of deep breaths and handed the bag to Byers. "It's… all yours," he croaked.
Langly glared. "No fair."
Byers smiled sweetly. "I didn't offer him anything you couldn't have. I just thought of it first."
Langly looked from one to the other. "Someday, one of you is gonna have to tell me what it was."
Frohike grinned. "Or show you."
Byers chuckled as he headed upstairs. "Don't make me start without you," he called. Langly and Frohike scrambled after him.
"Langly, get the beer," Byers said, trying to find the remote. "Fro--"
Frohike laughed. "The ceremonial headwear, I know."
Lined up on the couch with a beer in each right hand and a silver plastic "H" on each forehead, Byers turned on the DVD. Langly, as per tradition, read aloud the FBI warning, finishing with a salute to Mulder and Scully.
"God Bless America," Frohike intoned.
"Hey, it's got commentary."
"No way, Byers. We're watchin' all the episodes first."
"I wasn't proposing we do anything else, Ringo," Byers said stiffly.
Frohike grinned and nudged him. "First things first, right?"
Byers blushed faintly as the first voice came from the speakers.
"Fairly straightforward. If you want to start it, press start. You can work out the rest of the controls yourself."
"Holly!" Langly shouted. "Drink!" They all raised beers and took a swallow.
"You heard the man, press start, Byers."
Another voice from the screen: "Red Dwarf is run by Queeg 500--"
"Queeg!" They yelled in unison.
"'The End'," Byers read solemnly.
They became quickly absorbed.
"I-Am-A-Fish," Byers chuckled at the appropriate place.
Langly was waiting for something specific. "'Smeghead'! He said 'smeghead'! Drink!"
Beers were raised.
"See ya later, alligator," Frohike sang. "After a while, crocodile…"
Byers-as-Lister: "Why don't you turn your body in and let them grade that?"
Langly nudged Frohike. "We should try that."
Several minutes later:
"Petersen!" Frohike crowed. "Finish your drinks, everybody's punished!" Mostly full bottles were downed as quickly as possible, and new ones were grabbed off the table.
"To George!" they all hollered with the actors, requiring the first sips of the new bottles.
"Hey," Langly sniped. "You don't drink for Kochanski."
"Since when?" asked Frohike belligerently.
"'Since always'," Byers quoted Lister.
Frohike chuckled. "It'll all be the same in an hour or two, boys."
"He's got a point," Byers said mildly. "Holly!"
"'Everybody's dead, Dave'," said Frohike, playing Holly.
"'What, Todhunter?'" Langly replied, as Lister.
"'Everybody's dead, Dave.'"
"'What's it feel like'," Langly said, as Lister.
"'Death? It's like being on holiday with a group of Germans'," Byers replied. "How come I have to be Rimmer, anyway?"
"Suits, uniforms," Langly grinned. "'Yeah, I quit for quite a while, but I'm back on them,'" he recited.
Frohike nudged Byers. "I can't believe you made me quit, Johnny. Didn't I look hot with a smoke?"
"Call me boring, but I prefer you alive, with both lungs," Byers retorted.
"You guys missed two 'smegheads' while you were arguing," Langly interrupted them. "Catch up." He added, "'Better make myself look *big*!'"
"Holly!" Frohike yelled. Bottles were raised, again.
"'It's cold outside, there's no kind of atmosphere," they all sang together. "'I'm all alone, more or less'…"
Still more minutes later:
"'Makes me feel like a man'," Frohike quoted
"'Yeah, and you're gonna get one, too, looking like that'," Langly giggled.
Byers laughed a little and started to loosen his tie.
"And the tie comes off!" Langly teased. "It's a miracle!"
Frohike grinned. "It doesn't take a miracle, Kiddo. It just takes the right kind of mood."
"And two beers doesn't hurt," Byers deadpanned.
"Talkie Toaster!" Frohike said happily, as Byers leaned against him.
"'There's an emergency going on'," Langly offered.
"'You can't whack Death on the head'," Byers said.
Frohike snickered. "'If he comes near me, I'm gonna rip his nipples off.'"
Byers moved conspicuously away. Langly snorted.
"Cheese!" they yelled in unison as another episode ended. Then they sang the theme song again.
Three hours later:
Byers had shed his tie and jacket, Frohike was sprawled across the center of the couch, head in Byers' lap, legs under Langly's, which he'd tucked up in front of him on the cushions. The table was a forest of beer bottles.
The door had buzzed a few minutes ago, and they'd all ignored it because, as Frohike explained while still pinning Byers to his seat, "'It's Saturday night, Rimmer. No one works Saturday night.'"
"It's Tuesday," Byers had replied, but hadn't pushed it.
Whoever it was had buzzed twice more and presumably gone away disappointed.
"Probably Kimmy," Langly had said dismissively.
"I call Cat," Frohike announced suddenly.
Byers and Langly glanced at the screen.
"Rats," Langly said, grinning.
Frohike was singing. "I saw you 'cross the dance floor…"
The other two joined in with "Dancin'…"
"I thought of birds and bees," Frohike sang happily, slurring a little.
"Reproductive system, baby," Langly and Byers chimed in with Lister and Rimmer.
"And when I tried to speak to ya…"
"My tongue unraveled to my knees!" Cat and Frohike sang out.
"Flippety flippety flop," sang the four men (three men and a hologram?) enthusiastically.
They'd gotten as far as "'Cause you make me tongue-tied (tongue tied). Tongue tied, whenever you are near me (near me)…" when a noise behind them made them all look up.
Mulder stood there applauding. Scully had her hands over her face and was red and shaking from trying not to laugh out loud.
They stopped singing abruptly, as Scully dashed through the doorway and headed downstairs. They could hear her laughing hysterically. The three Gunmen scrambled fairly drunkenly to their feet in varying degrees of embarrassment.
Mulder started laughing himself. "Day off, boys?"
"We were--" began Frohike.
"We just--" Langly started.
"We, uh--" stammered Byers.
They all came to a stop. Mulder swiped at tears of laughter, collapsing against a wall and pointing weakly with one hand. "You--you--"
Frohike gathered all his available dignity to deliver one well-chosen line. "You're a total smeghead, Mulder."