Private: Teddy Palmer
February 26th, 2022
Las Vegas, Nevada
Grady’s nervous pacing is a major buzzkill. His feet drag along the floor, kicking empty Moosehead cans every which way. His hands are on his hips and his head shakes with disappointment. His bowler’s cap has become dislodged from his crown, the tuft of hair peeking out from its brim wavering back and forth with each jerking motion.
“What the fuck were you thinking?”
“That tonight’s lineup at Brad Garret’s Comedy Club is kinda underwhelming,” I say with a mouthful of Doritos. “So out of fairness to Collin Moulton, I’ll give him a fighting chance at tickling my funny bone.”
“LSD is a Schedule I drug in Nevada,” Sheldon chimes in, white as a ghost.
“That doesn’t apply to me, I’m Canadian.” I say with confidence I shouldn’t possess, wiping my cheesy fingerprints on the front of my pants.
“That’s not how the law works. Possession is a serious offense. You could see jail time.” Sheldon gulps, blinking involuntarily. “Oh God, am I an accomplice?”
“First things first, you’re definitely an accomplice. Second, my citizenship is like a ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ card. Lastly,” I wink, tapping my dusty lips. “I’m no longer in possession of it, am I?”
“Ted!” Grady snaps, beckoning my eyes to look in his direction. “This ain’t no joking matter! They’re expecting you downstairs for a drug test within the hour. How the fuck do you plan on passing?”
“In my defense, I didn’t know I had a drug test today.”
“That’s why it’s called a ‘Random Drug Test’ you fuckin’ halfwit.”
“Hardly seems fair if you ask me,” I roll my eyes, scrounging for the crumbs at the bottom of the bag. “So what are they testing for?”
“Everything!” his voice reaches a higher decibel rating. “You fail this, best case scenario, you’re sent to rehab. Worst case, you’re fired. Either way, kiss the Almasy Invitational goodbye.”
“Mkay, let’s not bring down the room’s mood.” I dart my not so reassuring gaze back and forth between the two panic stricken men. “There’s always a Plan A at our disposal. No need to be so whiny.”
“Plan A was you not doing drugs! It was literally the only thing asked of you before we came out to Vegas.”
“And we both knew that was an unreasonable request,” I shake my head at the idiocy Grady is spewing. “But because you wanna get technical about it…Plan B it is…”
Standing up from the soft, grainy leather chair I’d begun to sink into, I carefully step around various piles of my belongings, not sure what each mound contains or the value hidden within it. As I reach the room’s center, I look down at the glass coffee table and the papers scattered about its surface. With a vigilant scan of the documents, my crosshairs zoom in on two colorful strips of cardboard that I quickly snatch.
“Aha! Right here boys,” I temptasiouly wave the items pinched between my fingers. “I’ve got an extra ticket to tonight’s show. Who wants it?”
Grady immediately rips the tickets from my hand, shredding them to itty bitty pieces as my jaw scrapes along the dirty floor. Tossing the remnants of my night’s plan in the air, they fall like colorful snowflakes. With an aggressive step forward, his finger digs deep into my pectoral muscle.
“Enough of the shit,” the height differential has him looking up at me literally, but down at me figuratively. “Plan B. What is it?”
“Rude,” I mumble, swatting his poker away. “I have a Whizzinator, if you must know.”
Grady’s eyes widen, whereas Sheldon looks on in confusion.
“It’s a multipurpose sex toy,” I brag.
“That,” Grady taps his chin, the wheels in his head spinning. “That just might work. So long as we get clean piss, and the lab assistant doesn’t take a real good look when you give the sample,” Grady finally lets a smile creep underneath his stubble, a shred of excitement growing within. “Well where is it?”
“It’s around,” I reply with an outstretched hand swaying around my personal landfill.
And just like that, Grady’s smile is gone.
6 Minutes Later…
Having retreated to the clutter scattered about my hotel room’s floor, I’ve crafted the perfect garbage angel to reveal the black and gold plush carpet underneath. Sliding both hands behind my head, I interlock my fingers and cross my left foot over the right. Grady scrambles through the room, tossing my belongings around with little respect or regard. Staring up at the ceiling fan, it spins hypnotically, its blades forming one transparent circle of centripetal force.
I would have guessed Mount Perdition was in Montana, because it’s a known fact that Montanians are out of touch with reality.
Much like Anna Daniels.
So I started typing it into my google search bar to gather some intel on the stereotypes of said ‘butt fuck’ population, and lone behold, ‘Gallifrey’ auto populated.
My geographical expertise was a continent askew.
Now I’ve gotta brush up on my Gaelic Culture, cause I’m about to wage war with a Celtic Warrior. In hindsight, watching her performances against The Grappler and The Teacher should have indicated as much.
The Medieval Fighting Style. The Sexual Howling. The Robe and Headdress.
When it comes to those Scots, the theatrics and fashion are just as, if not more, important than the actual battle.
Look Good, Feel Good. Feel Good, Fight Good. And damn does she look good. I mean fight good.
Is that proper grammar?
It really doesn’t matter, Wallace was beheaded, which is great news for me.
Anywho, I thumb tapped enter.
SHOCK! AWE! DISBELIEF! Somebody call NASA stat, cause I’m outta this world!
And so is Anna Daniels!
The whole “We’re a time traveling alien with magical powers” quote from her news release makes a bit more sense now. I wasn’t going to question it, because you know, in a galaxy far away, a man wanted to boldly go where no man has gone before because he believes the truth is out there.
Or something like that.
But then I dug. And I dug a little deeper. And unfortunately, dug a little too far.
Who the fuck is Doctor Who?
So let me get this straight. Anna Daniels is from the fictional universe of a British television series? IMBD told me otherwise, however, because I didn’t see an acting credit. Could it be possible she’s a method actor preparing for a future role? Or is it more likely we’re witnessing ‘to be used evidence’ in an eventual copyright infringement case, all in the name of being ‘unique’.
Does it really matter?
What a fucking letdown that was. A complete waste of time and resources, and by resources I mean using my data plan to read that shit. I could have saved the gigabytes for a lonely ‘xvideos’ kind of night to stroke my vessel, and reserved the open space in my noggin for something useful like phone numbers at the bar.
More importantly, I wish my knowledge of Doctor Who was limited to my starring role as Sexton Hardon in the adult film ‘Doctor Whore’, set in Mount Seduction, Gangbang.
Not to brag, but I was nominated for ‘Male Foreign Performer of the Year’. Apparently Canada is a great unknown down south.
Regardless, all isn’t lost. I’ve learned all I need to know.
The sobering reality is I’m dealing with a cosplayer, the mentally ill of the Geek Universe.
The somewhat socially acceptable sufferer of a Multiple Personality Disorder, yet still equally rejected by society as a whole. Hey! Wanna convince your therapist his diagnosis isn’t that big of a deal? Tell him you attend Comic-Con conventions annually, and he’ll send you on your way, sans happy pills and poorly muffled giggles.
Regardless, I really do hate the fact I gotta stomp a face so pretty into fuckin’ oblivion. It’s a conundrum that isn’t enviable, but as always, a silver lining can be found if you look hard enough.
And they don’t call me Teddy Globetrotter for nothing.
So hear me out…
With enough force and proper downward trajectory angle, I’m most certain I’ll be able to banish an identity or four into the great unknown. I have the opportunity to be her hero. I can free her from the asylum between her ears.
But on second thought…
One of those identities might be the promiscuous type.
The conundrums of the multiverse are never ending…
“Ted! You’ve been staring at that fuckin’ fan for like three minutes,” Grady’s shrill voice rudely interrupts my internal monologue. “Where the hell is this thing?”
“Somewhere over yonder,” I point towards one of the piles in the corner of the room. Rolling onto my side, I tuck an elbow into the carpet, pushing myself up slightly to look at Sheldon. “Say, you think I’ve got a shot with Anna?”
“I wouldn’t underestimate her if I were you. She’s more than proved her mettle inside the ring against capable competition,” Sheldon’s words are on point and analytical, but his mind elsewhere. “But I think you have a good chance.”
“No,” I wave off his opinion with slight irritation. “Not ‘against’ Anna. No. I’m more than confident there, partner. I’m talking about ‘with’. You know…”
Pushing myself up into a fully seated position, I criss-cross applesauce my legs as if I were in a Kindergarten show and tell circle. With a slight swipe of the tongue to moisten my lips, I pucker and raise my brows simultaneously, letting juvenile smooching noises fill the room.
“She’s married!” Sheldon protests in monogamous disgust.
“I think there’s a technicality to be explored here,” I hold up my ‘wait one second’ pointer. “Are all of ‘them’ married? Ask yourself that, Sheldon.”
“I found it!” Grady exclaims from the mountain top of my belongings unsafely stacked against the room’s window.
Excitedly, he slides down to safety, tossing the package onto the foot of the bed. I hop to my feet to share in his excitement, whereas Sheldon approaches the ‘wet sex simulator’ with reservation. I reach forward, and stroke my hand along the package’s script that reads ‘Whizzinator’.
“Ain’t she a beaut? Told you not to worry,” I smugly spit out of the side of my mouth towards Grady.
Grady picks up the package, and rips open the top with little care for resale value. Fumbling with the inside contents, he tosses the instructions to the side, grabbing onto the flimsy insert carton and yanking it out. Shaking it with fervor, all the components flop onto the gaudy Vegas bedspread.
Immediately, all three of us notice that something is amiss, and Sheldon feels the need to state the obvious.
“Ted,” Grady scratches the hair above his temple, the beads of sweat on his hairline intensifying. “This ain’t good. No, no, no. This ain’t good…”
“Do you think the ‘pecker checker’ will notice?” I ask with a shrugged shoulder, only to be met with two sets of eyes staring four judgemental holes through me. “Boys, I’m obviously joking. The size is a dead giveaway. Nonetheless, as I always say, when Plan B goes off the rails, Plan D is right around the corner.”
“What about Plan C?” Sheldon asks.
“Don’t be ridiculous! Everyone knows Plan C’s never work,” I laugh, looking to share a giggle with the stone faced Grady. I holster my laughter with a furrowed, serious brow. “Erhm, right. So Plan D. It requires a specific shopping list, and a trip by you, Sheldon, to CVS…”
23 Minutes Later…
“And Voila! Your oil is changed…”
Pressing pause on the YouTube video, I preemptively end Thad Castle’s tutorial on how to change one’s ‘oil’. Stuffing my phone into the back pocket of my jeans, I eagerly snatch the CVS bag from Sheldon. Brushing all the papers atop the coffee table onto the floor, I dump the bag’s contents out atop its surface. Neatly, I line up all three items in a row: baby wipes, a catheter, and a syringe.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Sheldon looks on in disgust. “That’s a television show, and not even a good one. This will never work.”
“Talk shit about Blue Mountain State again, and I’ll end you.”
“It’ll work,” Grady reluctantly agrees, hiding his face in his palms.
“This ain’t Hollywood, so yeah, there’s more science behind it,” I mock Sheldon while picking up the baby wipes. “This will yield one of two results, neither of which is a failed drug test. Scenario One, we get down there quick enough, my body doesn’t produce any urine, and I piss a Golden Ticket. Scenario Two, my body does begin to produce and contaminate the injected urine, and we’re dealt an inconclusive result.”
“What good is an inconclusive result?” Sheldon ponders.
“They can’t reprimand me for it. For all they know, it was a lab error. All they can do is order another test, which by the time I’ll be pissing Aquafina.”
“He’s right,” Grady’s lack of enthusiasm is annoying. “So long as you don’t fuck up again.”
“We’ll cross that bridge when it comes,” I remove one of the wipes, shoving my hand down the front of my pants to cleanse. “That being said, I don’t have the steady hand of a Thad Castle,” I announce, tossing the wipe towards the trash bin. Unbuttoning my pants, I slide them down to knee level, my boxer briefs along with them. “So who is manning the catheter, and who is giving me their piss?”
“What? No! Nuh uh,” Sheldon violently shakes his head, trying to look anywhere but down.
“Cool, you’re the piss guy,” I slap Sheldon on the shoulder. “I’ve drained the main vein already so don’t worry about backflow. I’ll hold him still and guide the catheter in, Grady, you just keep feeding the line.”
Grady already has the catheter in his grasp, this not being his first rodeo with oil changes. As he peels open the packaging, he inhales deeply, and lets out a long, exhausted, ‘what has my life become’ type of exhale, clearing his lungs into suffocation. He slowly reaches for the medical device, but I stop him with caution on my mind.
“Did you wash your hands?” I ask.
“Are you kidding me?” His eye twitches.
“It’s a legit question. I don’t need your germs all up in there.”
“I’m more concerned for the catheter,” the sound of his teeth grinding is unpleasant. “Yes, I washed my hands.”
With a trusting nod, I allow Grady to pick up the catheter, unraveling the lubed up tube. Hesitation being thy enemy, I waste little time feeding my end in, steadying myself as Grady dry heaves. He attempts to close his eyes, but I finger poke his forehead.
“Eyes on the prize, buddy,” I warn. “Last thing I need is a slip up.”
Grady continues, squinted eyes locked onto the task at hand. Sheldon doesn’t hide his gagging nearly as well, the audible rolling in his throat an unneeded distraction. My eyes wander briefly, and I notice the syringe still laying on the table.
“Sheldon!” I admonish the weak stomached babysitter. “I said you were the piss guy. I don’t want this thing stuck in here too long. Have you ever heard of bacterial infections?”
“I uh,” he gulps, frozen in time.
“Pick it up and fill it with your piss! We’re almost in the cavern,” I order Sheldon, who stumbles his way awkwardly around the two of us to grab the syringe.
“I’m not paid enough for…”
“Andale, Andale!” I command.
“You better win this fuckin’ tournament,” Grady mumbles.
22 Minutes Later…
“Hand deliver that one to Dr. Fihlguud,” I playfully laugh, looking back towards the receptionist in the Medical Office as I walk through the entrance’s threshold. “And Grady was worried…” I whisper underneath my breath, offering a parting wave.
Having yet to turn my head around, I come to a sudden halt, crashing into a chiseled slab of meat that sends me stumbling backwards. I brush off the front of my shirt out of instinct, and drop down to pick up the sunglasses that were knocked off the bridge of my nose. With a cocked head and quick snort of air, I put my hands out as if to say ‘no harm, no foul’.
“Easy there big fella,” I half joke.
“Long time no see,” his burly voice sends my hairs standing on end, having not heard it in months.
Slowly raising my gaze upwards, the brick wall blocking my path is none other than older brother, Larry Palmer. His forced smile isn’t the least bit inviting, and his crossed arms indicate my welcome isn’t a warm one. With a half step back, I too put my walls up given our falling out back in the summer. With pursed lips and a defensive attitude, I stand my ground.
“Troy Combat Systems,” I begin nonchalantly, acknowledging the ‘TCS’ embroidered on his blue polo. “Nice to see you’ve found your post-retirement second act. It’s a real shame your loyalty didn’t stand beside family though.”
“Yeah, ain’t that one a bitch,” he chuckles, not budging an inch. “And it’s fantastic to see my little brother crawl back to his old habits. Let me venture a guess,” he unfolds his arms, using an index finger to mockingly scan over my frame. “An oil change, perhaps?”
“Wrong!” I reply in haste. “I’m a world class athlete who pisses excellence.”
“And does ‘excellence’ have a name?” He prods. “Hell, I hope you were smart enough to secure some male urine this time around. It’d be awfully embarrassing for those results to come back saying you were pregnant. Again.”
“It was inconclusive!” I defend the faulty result from a decade prior. “I’m as clean as fuckin’ whistle.”
“Is that so? Your pupils are the size of saucers. You’re sweating like a sinner in church,” he reaches out, placing a hand on my chest that I quickly smack away. “And your heart feels like it’s about to burst through your sternum.”
“What the fuck do you know?”
I dismiss the taller Palmer, attempting to push my way past him only to stumble off to the side. I know he isn’t done chastising me, but I’m in no mental state to hear it. I try to pick up the pace to my stride, but to no avail, he strikes, and strikes hard.
“You had everyone fooled this time. Everyone, Ted. We believed in you,” his tone is more disappointment than anger. “And it’s so fuckin’ ironic. The one thing you always feared becoming…”
“Don’t,” I press my tongue into my cheek.
“Is exactly the thing you became.”
“Please,” the word barely escapes my lips.
“You’re no better than dad.”
My heart sinks in my chest. My mouth runs dry. The hallway begins to spin as I stand in place. My fists, once balled up, have released all their tension with a defeated spirit. I can feel the tears begin to well in the corners of my eyes. The lump in my throat begins to develop, swallowing an impossibility.
“If you only knew,” I mumble with a hung head. “It was nice seeing you, Larry.”
Eight Months Earlier…
June 26th, 2021
Colorado Springs, Colorado
The screen of my phone illuminates the cabin of the vehicle. My hands tremble with apprehension, my palms a puddle of sweat. The Instagram post I’ve been fixated on is from half a year ago. His face is a reddish tinge, indicative of a good cry. His eyes are blue, matching the knitted wool cap on his head. The caption announces his arrival to the world.
Felix Edward Moreau – Nov/28/20
We have the same birthday.
I’ve done the mental math every possible way, at least a dozen times now. I’ve backtracked nine months from the date. I’ve counted back 40 weeks. I’ve meticulously ticked off 280 days, one by one. It doesn’t matter how I approach it, the timeline matches up.
Why didn’t she tell me?
“Fuck, fuck, fuck…” I mumble, trying my best to stay in hype man mode versus stumbling into a full on panic attack. “You’ve got this, Ted.
My eyes are fixated on the cedar door beyond the white railed porch. Dusk has fallen in the suburbs, her exterior light lighting the pathway. With a deep exhale, I turn the key in the ignition, killing the engine.
I know I’m not the ideal candidate, but I’m better than nothing.
Exiting the SUV, I close the door gently, careful not to disturb the evening’s silence. With each step I take to cross the street, my knees feel a little weaker. I tug at the collar of my shirt, it’s stitching itchy and tighter than I remember. Upon reaching the sidewalk, I come to a full stop, frozen with fear.
Or am I?