A series of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons vignettes for Christmas 2003
by Tiger Jackson
Skywatching: Christmas Day
Deep inside London’s Green Park on Christmas day, a man stood and searched the sky, as if trying to catch a glimpse of something. He searched and remembered.
It was almost 10 years ago. He hadn’t known Charles Gray for long but as soon they’d met, they’d become friends. They were much alike in many ways; perhaps that was why they understood each other so well.
Christmastime had come. Both men were alone in the world. No spouses, no children, no parents or siblings. Conrad Turner usually volunteered for duty on Christmas Day so someone could be with their family. But this year, Charles had invited him to come to London and join him for Christmas dinner at one of the city’s finest hotels, and promised a chess match for afters. They were both excellent chess players, so the battle would be a long and challenging one.
They had lingered over the fine meal, talking comfortably about many things, completely at ease with one another. As they finished their coffee, the waitress had hovered uncertainly.
“Is there a problem, Miss?” Charles had asked.
“Oh, no, sir,” she had replied. “I’m just not sure whether I should give the bill to you or your son.”
Both men had looked at each other in surprise. Conrad was only twelve years younger than Charles, but Conrad’s hair was a pure deep black and his face so smooth he looked to be much younger than he was. Charles, on the other hand, with his silver-white hair and his distinguished face did fit easily into the role of Pater. Conrad began to chuckle, then laugh helplessly. Fortunately, Charles also saw the humour in the situation and joined in the laughter.
When he could catch his breath again, Conrad had reached for the bill, saying, “Here, Dad, I’ll take care of it!”
“No, son, I invited you so I’ll pay,” replied Charles.
“Thanks awwwwf’ly, Dad!” Conrad had finished in a pantomime parody of an upper-crust accent.
They had dissolved in peals of laughter again, while the poor waitress simply looked from one to the other, aware that she was somehow the cause of their mirth but quite unable to see why. They did not explain. It had remained a private joke between them for years after.
It was Christmas Day again. Captain Black watched the clouds drift across the sky over London. Watched for what he knew he would not see there. The place he wished he could be today.
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