Scribed by Jonathan Young and Melaine Blagg.
What do you mean you want top billing? Oh, all right then.
Scribed by Melanie Blagg and Jonathan Young
(Hey are you trying to make me look bossy or something? Me?)
This story follows on directly from the episode Parallel Universe where Lister took advantage of himself, got himself pregnant and was told that he was going to be pround mother (father?) of twins. To say that he was a little confused at this would be like saying the Cat is a little on the conceited side.
I WAS GOING TO CALL THIS STORY “TWIN DILEMMA’ BUT BUDDING SCI-FI FANS WILL KNOW EXACTLY WHy I DIDN’T
(well, will someone tell me then? I’m only a secretary. I don’t’ know about such things. He made me put it in. Brute force.)
Lister had a first thought that there was nothing worse than being stranded on Mimas under the official name of Emily Berkenstein. Lister had subsequently beaten this with the thought that there was nothing worse than being in the Space Corps in ‘Z” shift, under the command of Rimmer. Lister then actually managed to top this with the thought that there can be nothing worse than coming out of stasis to find yourself alone and three million years away from a home that probably didn’t exist. Now this, he thought, could not be topped. Now that he was going to give birth to twins, though, he began to see things differently.
He cursed himself for not using one of the three million-year-old embroidered condoms in Rimmer’s room. On the other hand, this could possibly be the better option. He justified himself in the way that most people justified themselves in this situation.
“I never thought it’d happen to me!” of course in this case Lister did have a point, because he was male and this wasn’t the usual kind of thing that happened to males. It had happened though and now he had to live with it. There was too much for him to think about.
“Ah, Listy. I completely sympathise. Strange things happen-tell you what, we’ll all pull together and help you through it.” Rimmer brayed with laughter. “There’s nothing I like better than a bit of afternoon sarcasm to perk me up.”
Rimmer was enjoying himself. Lister was going through an immense amount of pain, and the best part of it was he would be around to watch it all take place.
“Look Rimmer, it was hardly my fault was it? Lister protested.
“You’re just not responsible enough. Shape up Lister, you’ve got to look after kids now! It’s your slobby attitude that gets you where you are, that’s what I’ve always been telling you and now something like this happens to prove me com-smegging-pletely right.
Lister lay on his bunk silently for a while, looking at the photograph he had taken of his future echo. He looked at the twins and thought about his life. He had been fed up with his lonely existence aboard Red Dwarf, and it had not been that much better when there was a full crew on board. He spent a lot of time brooding about how he wanted a real life, with a home and a wife and a family, and a wife.
He gazed at the photo and smiled, knowing that one out of three wasn’t bad. This didn’t put him totally at ease, because he was still a bit uncomfortable about the way he was going about getting his family.
“This can’t be happening.” Lister protested. “This has got to be some kind of crazy dream. I mean, it’s just not plausible.”
“It is plausible and it is going to happen. It’s just…..probably going to be different from any normal kind of birth that’s all.”
“Different? I’m a man about to give birth to twins and you say it’s going to be different?!”
“I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about. We’ve already seen the future; we know that you and the babies come through the birth okay. The photograph proves that. And, well you’re bound to be confused. And who wouldn’t be apprehensive of the painful agony of childbirth?” Rimmer took a pause to gloat. “All expectant mothers feel like that. What you must do is take your mind off it. Think about trivial decisions like what sort of wallpaper you’re going to have in the nursery. That’s why mothers do.”
“I can’t stop thinking about it.” Lister insisted. “I’m a man, men can’t give birth.
“Are you going to breast feed them?” inquired Rimmer, suddenly.
“You what? Don’t be daft.”
“Oh, it’s very healthy, It helps prevent bone swelling and disease.”
“M-A-N, Rimmer, I’m a man, I can’t breast feed.”
“Oh, I don’t know. You’ve got quite a bit of flab up there. I’m sure they’d tuck in if you’d let them.”
“I’ll feed them out of a bottle!” Lister shuddered, thinking about it. “Will you shut up? You’re grossing me out, man.”
“I was just thinking about their health that’s all. You have to consider these things. It’s no good you eating curries all the time now, Lister, you have to think about the babies. You’re going to need a well-balanced diet. You have to be very careful in your condition, you know.” Rimmer continued his lecture. “You’ll have to get plenty of rest, make sure that you don’t stay on your feet for too long. Not that it should bother you too much all you ever do is slouch around the place anyway. No, don’t you worry Lister. Me and the Skutters will make good nursemaids.”
Lister almost choked at the thought of having Rimmer and the Skutters looking after him for the next nine months. “No way Rimmer, you and your metal menaces can keep right out of it. It’s bad enough without me having to put up with you. Now get out and leave me to think.”
“Don’t be silly Lister, You’re in capable hands! Now, what time do you want your first Le Mars class? Lister threw a pillow at Rimmer and he ducked despite the fact it would have gone straight through him.
Lister spent the next couple of hours hell-bent on the taxing task of thinking. Finished, he yawned, stretched his arms and felt his stomach; it seemed to be a lot larger than normal. He thought at first that he was blown up from the curry he had the night before-and then he felt something kicking inside. This is silly, he thought, I must be imagining things. It was only last night that I got pregnant, the birth won’t be for another nine months at least, so no way could he feel anything kicking this stage. Kick Kick. He felt it again! Now he couldn’t dismiss it, he definitely felt a kick. He could see his stomach was a lot bigger than usual. He began to get a little worried.
Lister called out as he felt the kicking increase.
“WHAT…? What is it?” Rimmer rushed into the sleeping quarters.
“Look at my stomach!” Lister gasped, worriedly. “It’s massive.”
“So what’s new about that?” Rimmer said, calming down after being wildly shouted for. “That’ll be all those poppadums. It’s nothing to get in a state about.”
“No, it’s all swelling up, look at it!” Lister became panicky; he could actually feel it increasing now.
“Well, it can’t be the pregnancy.” Rimmer dismissed it. “It must be just gas or something.”
Lister cried out in pain as he felt all his muscles starting to contract.
“Oh God, now my muscles are contracting!”
“What’s happening?!” Rimmer blithered. “What’s going on?”
“It’s called labour you goit…….
“Aren’t you supposed to have twelve months left?”
“It’s nine months, Rimmer.” Lister shrugged feebly in the aftermath of pain. “Or at least, it’s supposed to be.”
“Well hadn’t we better do something?!” Rimmer ran around the room in a pointless frenzy. “Where’s the manual?”
“What do you mean, ‘where’s the manual?’” Lister felt another contraction. “There’s no manual to giving biaaarrggghhhhh!”
“Skutters, we need Skutters! Skutters!” Rimmer stopped dashing around in circles and hurtled off into the corridor. “Follow me!” he shouted back.
Lister got up and ambled over to the medical bay, very slowly, pausing for the odd self-indulgent scream here and there. He realised that here was not one to help him and tried not to think about what might happen. Rimmer was waiting with three angry skutters. Lister managed to heave himself onto the bed, and then felt another major contraction.
“A A A A A A A A A A A A A R RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Hold my hand, hold my hand someone!”
“I can’t” Rimmer cried. “What about the Skutters?”
Lister reached out and grabbed a trembling Skutter that was in the process of retreating.
“A A A A A A A A A A A A A R RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” The tendons in his arm stood out like ropes as he tightened his grip.
“Fzzt ffttt fzzzzt” The Skutter moaned in response, and shut down forever as mashed circuitry tumbled out of its crumbled head.
“Breathe deeply! Relax! Push! Push!” Rimmer urged, sure that this was the kind of thing he expected to say.
“Push?! AAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH! This is a caesarean Rimmer, I can’t push.”
“Just relax, I’m going to put on some soothing whale music, it’s supposed to help the birth by linking you telepathically with you child.” Rimmer continued to tell Lister the benefits of playing the whale sounds in the background. The more Rimmer went on about technique and exercise, the less helpful he became. While he was telling Lister to breathe in with his left nostril and out with his right to keep his pulse steady, he idly picked up the wrong tape and placed it into the deck. The sound of Reggie Wilson’s Sounds from the Supermarket began to drift in, in unbearable stereo.
“No, I just can’t stand Reggie Wilson.” Lister moaned and writhed on the table.
“Don’t be son negative!” Rimmer insisted. “You should be enjoying it.” The pain is all part of the bondage process.” Rimmer said, meaning bonding process.
“I’ll bond you if you don’t shut up and get me some anaesthetic.”
Anaesthetic turned out not to be necessary after all. As soon as Lister set eyes on the Skutter that was lumbering towards him, clumsily waving a gleaming sharp scalpel, he fainted dead away. He stayed in the half-coma until the babies had been born. Sometimes when he looked back, Lister wished he had not missed what was probably the most amazing and unique experience of his life. But when he sobered up, he changed his mind without fail.
“Wake up, Wake UP!” shouted Rimmer, directly into Lister’s ear. “Damn.” He cursed that Lister was flat out, partly because he didn’t want him to miss his own son’s births, but mostly because he wanted him to be screaming with pain while the Skutter was cutting a rather wobbly line across Lister’s stomach.
Some of the Skutters were used to performing delicate operations. Like the one who used to rewire parts of the ship, for example. These Skutters ware capable of working accurately to within the nearest tenth of a millimetre. Unfortunately for Lister, the two Skutters leaning over him at present were two that used to help chopping meat in the Red Dwarf’s kitchens and were therefore capable of being as accurate s a blind darts player.
Through the badly cut hole in Listers stomach, Rimmer heard the sound of soft crying. He smiled and leant over to see the babies. At the moment, the twins burst violently out of Lister’s stomach, screaming and kicking blood and skin spattering everywhere.
Rimmer went white with fright and his last thought before he fainted was, “Now I know how John Hurt must have felt.”
The following sight was fortunately not witnessed by anybody other than the two Skutters (who would have written to The Guinness Book of Galazian Records if they’d known the address.) Still connected to their umbilical cords the twins kicked and writhed until they rolled off the side of the bed. Falling towards the floor, the cord stretched and Jim and Bexley became the youngest bungie jumpers of all time.
The Skutters hurried to rectify the situation by grabbing the twins and slicing through the cord. They successfully managed each stage of the operation without any many major mishaps and wrapped the babies in a silver blanket-but they totally failed to stop the loud sobbing noises. Eventually though, Rimmer stopped crying and got over his fright so the kids could get some sleep.
Lister awoke later to find Rimmer standing over him, smiling smugly. Looking down at his stomach, he saw that the skutters had sewn it up rather erratically. He smiled at the beautiful twin boys he held in his arms. He didn’t mind wailing they were his little boys and he was a proud parent. He looked up at Rimmer who was tutting loudly and shaking his head.
“Dear me Lister, it won’t do to faint at the merest sight of blood you know.”
“What about you, then?” Holly interjected. “You fainted as soon as you saw the kids.”
“Well, who can blame me? Two more Listers!” He shuddered. “It was a bit of a shock seeing those baby dreadlocks.”
“Oh smeg, I nearly forgot!” said Lister, jumping up quickly and running over to the medical bay doorway, despite the pain in his side.
He stood in the doorway and held the twins up proudly, one in each arm.
“I can’t see you but I know You can see me.” He said out loud. “I’d like you to meet you two sons. This is Jim and this is Bexley.” The twins were still crying loudly. “Oh stop crying and say cheese boys?” Lister did his best to quieten them as he posed briefly before returning to his sleeping quarters to give the kids a nap.
During all this, the Cat had been busy working on something and now he reappeared to show Lister his creations.
“So how you doing bud?” The Cat slid into his room, cat-style, clutching a little plastic bag.
“I’m okay.” Lister noticed the bag.
“What’s in the bag?”
“You mean the designer carrier? Your presents, buddy!”
“Presents? Wow, thanks man!”
The Cat opened the bag and fished out a set of clothes. He held up a selection of small outfits that he made himself. They were as stylish as the clothes from his wardrobe- in fact, Lister recognised two of the outfits as exact replicas of ones tha Cat had worn (once).
The Cat threw his head back with a beaming smile. “Well, what do you think? I figured someone has got to show these kids how to be cool.”
Lister grinned happily. “Thanks man, these are great.”
AT that moment, the Cat pulled a camcorder out from the bag.
“Oh great, man, you’ve got a camera so we can make some home movies of the kids.”
The Cat shook his head. “No I got this so I could record you thanking me for such amazing presents.”
Lister tried to dress Bexely in one of the outfits only to find that it was far too big for him. He looked at the Cat.
“Don’t worry, he’ll grow into it.” Lister said, and then after a pause to think he said, “God, I sound just like my mum.”
“Parenthood is having an effect on you already buddy!”
The Cat beamed and slid off down the corridor using the camera to film his incredible dancing feet.
It really had been a very strange day indeed, but cradling his twin in his arms, Lister felt complete and contented. His boys had brought meaning into his life, which previously had been one of the most meaningless existences you could have unless you were an amoeba or a maths teacher. Now he had his sons, he had something more precious to him; a future, something he had been totally lacking for some time. He smiled. He was at peace with himself, he was at peace with his surroundings, just by holding them he felt so calm. He sighed in a satisfied way.
“I feel at peace with the universe.” Lister expressed himself.
“WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” screamed Bexley, which in turn prompted Jim to join in with a chorus of “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-AAAAAAAAH!”
“Well, so much for peace.” Rimmer said and left to find somewhere less noisy to sleep.
Lister didn’t mind the crying he was enjoying the whole experience of motherhood. He gave the tots their bottles-both of them had not taken to milk that well, and he had to experiment until he had found that Jim was very keen to suckle on a bottle filled with wicked strength lager, while Bexley liked nothing other than chilli sauce in his. This perfectly illustrates how alike the twins were to Lister. Lister put this partly down to normal hereditary, but also because the other parent had been an almost exact copy of him except she was a female version. The likelihood of them growing up to be exactly like Lister in every way was high as it pissed Rimmer off.
The babies suckled quietly on their unconventional bottles and Lister fell happily asleep, exhausted by the day’s events.
Bexley woke Lister up the following morning by tugging at his arm. “Daddy, I’m thirsty.” He said. “Can you get me glass of water?”
“Sure son.” Said Lister, grinning proudly at his boy. “You and Jim get dressed and I’ll fetch you one.” Lister jumped down from his top bunk and went into the bathroom. He swilled his mouth out and splashed his face with water. He filled a glass up from the tap and then suddenly stopped. He looked at himself in the mirror. A rather puzzled expression appeared on his face. He dashed back at high speed into the sleeping quarters, spilling most of the water on his way.
Jim and Bexely were having a pillow fight on the top bunk. They were giggling away as they hit each other over the head playfully with the pillows.
Lister’s bottom jaw dropped in astonishment. Both of them looked as though they were at least four years old, if not more. Lister looked at them and was speechless.
Rimmer returned from spending the night in different quarters.” And how are we this morning, Lister? Brats stopped crying yet?”
Jim and Bexely gave up their game of pillow fighting as they saw Rimmer and jumped up and down on the bunk chanting. “Smeghead, It’s the smeghead!” Rimmer wasn’t ready for their on slaught, and he panicked wildly as they both ran backwards and forwards through his homographic body, corrupting it’s image. They kept shouting “Bonehead Rimmer!” at him as they joyfully ran through him as if he were a door.
Rimmer got very upset. “Stop it, stop it!” he yelled, and begged Lister to control his kids.
Lister did nothing and beamed a wise grin. “That’s my boys!” he said proudly.
Jim and Bexley stopped their game of pestering Rimmer and chased a passing Skutter down the corridor.
Rimmer recovered from the attack and was about to have a go at Lister for not controlling his kids when he suddenly realised that something weird was going on.
“How come they’re so big?” Rimmer gasped.
“I don’t know…..Something very strange is going on.” Said Lister, in a dramatic cliff-hanger-type way.
They say that kids grow up too fast these days and for Lister this could not be closer to the truth, as you will see when you read the last exciting instalment and see what parenthood is really like.
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