It’s the Friday night before April Fool’s Day, on Saturday April 1st, 2017. And the exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage and his various incarnations/characters are kicking back with his brethren for a guy’s night out into early morning that will live long in their memories—unfortunately.
The gathering is being held at a Safe House—since many of Richard Armitage’s roles have a spy element to them— in the North of England that is colloquially known as Spark House. The men are ushered into a converted barn—with more emphasis on the barn aspect than any renovation looking like it had taken place.
John Standring: At first startled (above), to seethat so many of the guys have turned up, Standring then regroups. “Thanks for coming blokes.” He smiles shyly but warmly, him having changed into his Sunday best coveralls to meet with the guys. “Sit anywhere ye like—the hay bag chairs, the hay lounger, or even the hay couch.” All are covered in durable canvas tarps with a distinctly fuzzy sheep patterned theme. The man lives, eats, and breathes sheep.
Gary Fuller: “Thanks for having us! Well! I can see that Standring went all out to create this man cave of his.” The American jokes, but it falls flat—as most American jokes do. Fuller frowns (right, via Armitage Angels). Yet, he is the only guest to thank their host for inviting them. So there is that. “Where do you want the cheese wiz? I brought the large economy size?” Fuller holds up what looks to be a magnum size of cheese under pressure. One would think a man hailing (pun intended) from the tornado center of the United States would shy away from explosively swirling masses—like Cheese Whiz. Guess not.
John Thornton: “I’ll take that and put it next to the ale in the hay icebox over hear.” He points in the direction of Harry Kennedy, who stands up sheepishly.
Harry Kennedy: “Well, that explains why my backside was feeling chilled. Ha ha ha!” Kennedy (right, via TeresaA) laughs a bit self consciously, wondering if any of the guys need their taxes done for them. Fuller does, but he always waits till the last minute anyway—evidenced by him spending a weekend in England when he should be organizing his receipts. Kennedy plops into a lumpy hay bag chair, then he tries to punch it to reshape it so he can sit without leaning to one side.
Ever comfortable in high powered business offices, spy command centers, or desert terrain, John Porter lounges on the hay lounger.
John Porter: “I could get used to this hay lounger. It’s nice and firm—and relaxing. But how are you getting it to vibrate? I don’t see the power cord?” Just then, the wriggling ceases as a tumult—not sure how many that is, but let’s say a couple of dozen—barn mice burst out of the back and sides of the hay lounger, leaving it considerably altered in shape. “Bloody vermin!” Porter swats at the mice as they dash over his legs.
John Standring: “Now be nice, Porter. The mice are my friends.” Standring smiles fondly at the mice. Then he rounds them up by clanging two metal potato chips and pretzel bowls together—really dog watering bowls. “Foods on!” He calls cheerfully and the mice do a 180 and head en masse toward their favorite corner of Standring’s Man/Mice Cave—an empty horse stall converted into a mouse palace. Then Standring sets the bowls down on the hay coffee table in front of the guys. “Eat up! I have plenty of pretzels and chips to go around.”
Daniel Miller: Picking up a pretzel from the bowl, examining it for other species, then seeing there are none and gamely popping it into his mouth, Miller smiles. “Good pretzel! Though if you really want a man sized pretzel, you have to go to Berlin, Germany.”
Sir Guy of Gisborne: Gingerly leaning upon haphazard sacks of grain in his leather ensemble (right), Gisborne ruminates. “Yes, I know of this Germania you speak of. Our Middle Ages escapades were filmed in nearby Hungarian forests. Bleeding hot I was in this leather costume of mine.”
John Thornton: “Then why not switch to wearing cotton blend fabrics? They breathe better, especially in warmer climates.” Of course, Thornton is a cotton fabric manufacturer—and never one to miss a sale.
Glaring at the warm woolen suit and cravat clad undertaker looking man—Thornton—Gisborne is dubious.
Sir Guy of Gisborne: “I thank you for your suggestion, Sir.” Gisborne sneers. “But my métier, my ouevre is leather—which has its benefits in attracting the ladies.” He smirks.
John Standring: “I like my oeuves scrambled!” Standring butchers the French word for egg, oeufs.
Lucas North: “Oeufs, my good man, oeufs!” North corrects Standring.
John Standring: “Yes, but I like more than one egg.” Standring surmises that if the plural of a Hobbit Dwarf is Dwarves, then a plural of egg oeufs is oeuves. Too bad that King Thorin isn’t here to clarify it for him.
Daniel Miller: “Anyway, since the others could not make it—and our fearless leader is also missing in action—we should lose no time deciding on our April Fool’s prank on Richard Armitage is this year.”
Harry Kennedy: “Why is Miller in such a rush?” Kennedy looks around quizzically.
Lucas North: “His series, Berlin Station is in production for season 2—so he has to get back to Germany.” North intones blasely.
Sir Guy of Gisborne: “Well, enjoy it while you can, Miller. Just make sure that if you go to a third season that your contract states: no staged hangings, your not being used as archery target practice, nor almost being buried alive under road gravel.” Gisborne curtly juts his chin out.
John Porter: “Shall we stay on track, gentlemen? Now what can we come up with that Armitage will not suspect, find amusing, and only slightly embarrass him?” Porter unsuccessfully tries to stifle a smile (right, via RAnet).
John Standring: “Well, we could give him a pair of coveralls and seal up the front and back flaps.” Standring grins. “I have a pair like that already. Not these ones, of course.” Then when Standring thinks the other guys aren’t looking, he tests his front flap and sighs in relief. “Hhhh!”
John Thornton: “Thank you, Standring!” Thornton says through tight lips. “Good thought. A bit messy, but it has the embarrassment factor, I will grant you. Let us save that in reserve.”
Gary Fuller: “And pranks are right up our alley—as Yanks. Right Miller?” Fuller claps Miller on his shoulders.
Daniel Miller: “Speak for yourself, Fuller. Being raised in Germany, I have more European sensibilities. I say we send Armitage a lederhosen costume and ask him to wear it to pronounce the opening of a German Cultural Fair. Then when Armitage gets there, he is told that he also has to dance and fight in the lederhosen.”
Gary Fuller: “Well! You have surpassed me in crass/krass, I will say that for you, Miller. I was thinking more like filling his car with water balloons. We love water balloons in the U.S.!”
John Porter: “Guys, guys!” Gisborne sneers at the colloquial use of his Christian name Guy. “I have the perfect prank on Armitage. What is the one thing we share in common?” They stare at Porter quizzically. “Alright, except for Thornton, there.”
John Standring: “Aye! I know. We don’t have pets! So we get him a dog!” The guys stare blankly at him. “Well, er, one that pees in his house?”
John Porter: “Thank you, Standring, but no. I was thinking along the lines of a committed romantic relationship onscreen.”
Daniel Miller: “Hey! I get plenty of onscreen romance.” Miller brags as he puffs out his chest—like he does when he’s bare and wants to showcase his muscles on screen (right).
Gary Fuller: “No offense, dude, but I don’t watch sex scenes to see your butt.”
Daniel Miller: “Hey! The ladies like my bum.” Miller sounds petulantly pouty.
Well, as one of his lady fans, I do have to say that the character Daniel Miller has a very nice and manly shaped bum. Sighhh.
John Standring: “What say we get Armitage one of those there dolls, that blow up like.” Standring grins and giggles, like a little girl—which make the other guys squirm, since their doll days are long since relegated to their early teen years.
Lucas North: “No, no, but thank you for that image. Not.” Then North turns to the other guys and mouths. “He needs a real woman.” And the idea for another prank is born—a la a pivotal MASH movie shower scene with a Hot Lips Houlihan stand in–to be utilized at a later date.
Harry Kennedy: “Now blokes, I have it! Just the thing for a prank on the indomitable Richard Armitage himself. It might take a bit of convincing for a repeat performance, but I think the lady whom I have in mind to help us is not averse to displaying her, shall we say, lusciously sexy side? Especially with Armitage. We could smuggle her into Armitage’s hotel room late Friday night and early Saturday morning—before he flies to Germany to start Miller’s season 2 Berlin Station gig. Then he would wake up in bed to a little surprise.” Kennedy scrolls through his cell phone’s picture archives, stops at one, then enlarges it on his screen and shows it to the guys (see Dawn French image below).
Kennedy becomes visibly flushed with excitement, as do several of the other men while ogling the luscious image of the woman they behold on Kennedy’s cell phone screen. The men’s mouths are open drooling as their jaws drop. Poor John Standring just sits there, completely catatonic—except for one part of him.
And then, of course, the only man in the room in a committed and loving marriage/relationship, leans forward to look at the lovely lady image, then proclaims.
John Thornton: “See Gisborne? This sexy lady is wearing a cotton silk fabric variant. You should try it.”
Then there is a commotion as the barn door opens noisely. Kennedy, turns off his cell phone display and stuffs it into his pants pocket as the Richard Armitage characters men all turn to the barn door to see who it is.
Waving animatedly, Richard Armitage (right) strides into the barn.
Richard Armitage: “Sorry I’m late, blokes! So what did I miss?” Armitage smiles warmly as the rubs his hands together in the chilly barn.
Little does Armitage know that his Saturday, April 1st will be quite the Sexy SatuRdAy for him. Oh dear!
P.S. And what about you? Do you have any fun April Fool’s Day pranks past or present that you would like to share?