Charlie knows that David is a clever bloke. He'd be blind not to spot it, it's trumpeted from any rooftop he'd care to glance at in a scathing way. There's banners in papers - 'David Mitchell in Clever Bloke Shocker' - there are little old ladies, and young intellectuals alike, who gather together online to nod sagely over how clever a bloke he is precisely. Charlie knows this - he Googles himself shamelessly, and David too, just recently, for idle amusement, for work ideas, and for extra self-loathing material. Never let it be said that he's not a hard-skiving layabout.
But this... This takes David's cleverness and just about takes it up from clever and into the possible realms of pure genius. Charlie doesn't think he's exaggerating - he personally has a great deal of time for Ben Goldacre, and he'd hit that in a minute if he thought Dr Brian Cox would be interested. So David's genius may be disputed by others, but not by Charlie, because he's compared them, ok? He's sat down and thought about it hard. That's about as good as it gets in modern journalism, after all. And Charlie isn't even a proper journalist.
So the fact that he's spread-eagled across the make-up bench in a theatre dressing room without a stitch on, and tied securely to the bench legs, may provide a clue as to his appreciation of David's genius. Charlie hadn't intended this to happen. He, in fact, hadn't expected anything at all. He'd only popped by to say hello. But that's him all over - Innocuous Charlie, they call him, Devil-may-care Charlie. Well, they fucking don't, but they could. Right now, he might be Laughing-stock Charlie, if anyone walks in - but they won't. The door will be locked, because David is a fucking genius, remember? But the frisson, the knowing that it might not be... That anyone could walk in. It's doing more to Charlie than the rest of the set-up, and that's saying a lot.
So here he is - the poor sap who's just walked into the lair of David Mitchell, Evil Genius. Can a dressing room be described as a lair? Probably not, but he's going with it. It's a good metaphor, he likes it. He even has the image to go with it, given it's David who dresses up as Blofeldt on his sketch show, and it's Robert who's the minion. Although David as himself is considerably smarter and hotter, it has to be said. So there Charlie is, popping in to say hi to his... fuck-buddy? Not insignificant other? Uneasy squeeze? Jesus bloody fuck, Charlie's meant to be the one who can talk for a living, and not fumble around like he's afraid of shitting on the pot of life. Anyway. So he's dropping by to see David before he records 'The Unbelievable Truth', in a supportive girly kind of way, and there they both are in the dressing room, sort of stumbling around things, because David may be a genius but he's got all the social skills of a rabid guinea pig, and Charlie's a bull in a china shop who's trying to actually not knock over the shepherdess for once. That means they're not getting anywhere, of course, and Charlie really wants a pint, while David's all Big Eyes, and they're going to call him out for the recording in a minute, when David solves the whole ruddy issue by just shoving him back onto the make-up bench and kissing him hard.
Charlie quite likes that. He always likes it when David takes charge. David's invariably sharp and funny but if you corner him he's at his most inventive best. Charlie didn't know David would feel cornered, here in his own dressing room, but he's happy with the result. He thinks he is. He's feeling the strain now, it's true, but still. He doesn't want to let David down. He promised he could wait, and he will.
The evil genius part is coming now. They had been kissing hard, and Charlie's hands had wandered, and David had taken off a significant number of Charlie's clothes, and they were just about getting to the point where he thought that a quickie beforehand would be just what David needed, when he noticed that David had stopped. Which was not part of the plan. Not that there'd been a plan. Not a plan.
David had then pushed the whole pile of pots and potions away in a great sweep - which was hot, no doubt about it, but also practical, which is pretty much David all over, particularly if you add funny to the list, and Charlie's now gushing like some kind of ponce, so he's going to stop. David shoved things away and Charlie no longer had stuff poking him in the arse, which can only be a bonus - except that David had then grabbed something soft and strong, and very, very long. No, not Andrex. Or his cock. What kind of kinky shit can be achieved with toilet tissue anyway? Don't answer that. No, it was a cord, a silky twisted old-fashioned cord, knotted at the ends, that usually went round David's favourite old ratty dressing gown. And then David bent down and raided Charlie's trousers - which normally he'd have no problem with incidentally - before seizing his belt. And that's when Charlie got a bad feeling about things.
It's not like they haven't done kinky shit before. Of course they have. But not in the bloody dressing room at the Shaw Theatre, basically in public. Charlie thinks of himself as a liberal kind of a bloke, but there are limits. Except there aren't, not if David is looking at him like that, all flushed and slightly rumpled - and how come he's still dressed and Charlie's virtually buck naked? - and then he says the word please. Evil. Genius. The clever fucker.
So that's why Charlie's in this position. Roped like a steer - he's seen Bonanza - on the bench, under the mirror with all the lights blazing away, on display like he's some kind of buffet. It's hot here in the depths of the Shaw, so he won't freeze, and David's asked him to wait for him. He's virtually dared him, in fact. Charlie hates backing down, and he hates losing. He could get out of the bindings; David's not tied him that tightly, partly he was in a hurry, but mostly he likes to be safe. But that wouldn't be the point.
Charlie's feeling self-conscious, right about now. His flabby pale flesh is on full display. It's not attractive, not really, it can't be. He's not even hard, not any more, but despite everything there's a tingling awareness, through the faint humiliation, that he could be, that he will be - soon.
How long can the recording be anyway? Two hours? Two and a half, tops? He can last.
It's the longest recording of 'The Unbelievable Truth' they've ever had, as it turns out, but it doesn't matter. Charlie wriggles a bit, but he doesn't give in. He's a stubborn bastard but David likes that about him. And Charlie likes him back. Dammit. The thing is... that David never asks for much, despite his evil genius - and Charlie is a sentimental twat.
He still wants that pint though. Afterward.