“Great run, Charlie!” I said as we finally finished our 10k run around Regent’s Park in the posh part of London.
“I really struggled to keep up with you there!” He gasped, bent over, hands placed above his hairy knees, his flawless hair flawed through sweat. I’d been running quite hard. I’d been trying to impress Charlie and so for the last kilometre I’d kicked on. I could hear Charlie panting behind me as he gamely tried to keep up.
“I’ve been running for years, Charlie,” I told him so he wouldn’t feel too bad about himself. I’d read in his column that he had started running fairly recently. That’s why I’d been hanging around in London parks, so I could ‘accidentally’ bump into him and run with him. In fact he’d only spoke about running for a few weeks. I reckoned he’d given up so I could hardly believe when I finally found him and struck up a conversation with him.
I checked my Garmin Forerunner 305. Scratch that, I was with Charlie Brooker! I had a Garmin Forerunner 610 on! The expensive one. I looked at my fabulous running watch and nodded. Not too shabby, we’d completed the ten kilometres in a respectable 42 minutes, not bad for a training run and it was very hot.
“Does that tell you your heart-rate?” Charlie asked and I explained that it would if I wore the chest strap but I didn’t wear it because we were just going for a run and I wasn’t bothered about keeping to a specific heart-rate zone. “Well my heart’s going mental!” Said Charlie finally standing straight.
“You’ll be okay,” I told him.
“Here, feel this,” He said grabbing my hand and holding it to his chest. I was sort of cupping it because Charlie Brooker is a real person with a real person’s body. No pecs.
“Yeah,” I said, uncomfortable, but I wanted to remove my hand and so as he relaxed the pressure with which he was holding my hand to his chest I did.
“let me feel yours,” He said placing a hand on my chest before I could protest. I tensed. Charlie felt the tensing and nodded appreciatively and so I tried to tense my pec even more. “How do you do that?” Charlie asked.
“I don’t know actually, you sort of…” I tensed all around my shoulder area and upper arm, but not my pec. It was a fluke. “Hey, Sherpa Tensing, there’s probably a joke in there that you could use on your show, The 10 O’clock Show Live.” I licked my lips. Charlie’s hot hand was still on my chest. He didn’t laugh at my suggestion. I should stick to running, there’s a reason why he’s on TV. I tried again to tense my pec. “I don’t know.” Charlie withdrew his hand but he was looking at me with a smirk. That smirk. The Charlie Brooker smirk. Captivating. The smirk he did at the 2009 video game BAFTAs.
That look seemed to say, ‘you know exactly how to tense your pecs.’ But it’s the God’s honest truth that I didn’t. He smirked at me for a while.
“Let’s get out of this wet kit,” Charlie said, finally, still smirking. My kit wasn’t actually that wet but his was sopping. “I need a drink,” he said. He’d stopped panting but just the look he was giving me was causing my heart-rate to rise more than the running had. “Have you ever been to the Ivy?” He asked.
“The Ivy? That’s somewhere Sara Cox from the radio goes sometimes isn’t it?”
“No, I’ve never been, I don’t think I’m dressed for it,” I said gesturing to the running gear I was wearing.
“You’re not dressed for it.” He laughed.
“Oh,” I said, feeling foolish. I sensed Charlie was trying to make me uncomfortable, he clearly liked being in charge.
“Listen, we’ll go back to mine and after some sex you can wear some of my clothes.”
“Sex? I don’t know about this,” I told him. I was worried where this would lead. We were both jazzed because of the great run plus I’m straight although Brooker would be my… what’s the word? Where you get bummed without being gay. Happens in films.
Charlie saw my unease.
“I’m not going to bum you,” He said. I was relieved but also slightly disappointed.
“Phew!” I lied wiping sweat I didn’t have from my forehead.
“No, me and you aren’t going to have sex.”
“Let’s roll!” Said Charlie and we walked to his car in silence.
Charlie drives a Volkswagen Passat with a personalised number plate.
In the car Charlie asked me if I had all my badges.
“My badges?” I said, thinking about how I’d never been in the scouts.
“I’ll got all mine,” Charlie said as he drove casually. “My pink badge. My brown badge. My black badge…” Charlie looked over at me and smiled.
“And your Blue Peter badge?”
“Bingo,” he said shooting me with finger guns before turning back and looking where we were going. “We are getting on well,” he said.
Again there were a few more moments of awkward charged silence. I tried to think of something to say but I was struggling. “So, do you-” I managed before Charlie cut me off.
“Sorry, just gonna CB the wife,” he said.
“You’ve got a CB? CB radio?” I looked around the dashboard.
“I call my phone a CB. Charlie Brooker.”
Charlie then hands freely contacted his wife, the delectable Konnie Huq. He was on speaker phone but didn’t tell her. He started by asking her what she was wearing and then things got serious. He elbowed me every time he made her say something despicable. This went on for 20 minutes right until we pulled up outside Supernova Heights.
“I’m outside now, I want you to go into the bedroom we have with no windows or light fittings,” he was telling Konnie. “Get in bed and wait. I’ve a surprise for you,” and then he ended the call. He looked at me and smirked but I read the meaning and what I was supposed to do. This was better than getting bummed by Charlie by quite some margin. Still, it didn’t seem quite right.
Charlie made me take my shoes off outside the house and we tiptoed through until we were outside a door.
“Okay?” Asked Charlie.
“Okay,” he opened the door. I went to step inside but he grabbed me. “Where you going?” He hissed.
“Stand there and shut up and listen,” he said. He went in and closed the door. I stood in the hallway for 40 minutes. I couldn’t really hear much. I thought about knocking on the door but instead I had one more look at the self portraits of Charlie that were everywhere and then I walked home to Holborn.