Act one: A quick game
It’s 1:14 P.M. on December 13th. It’s extra chilly out today so I had on my trusty hoodie. I walk inside the hospital, looking forward to escaping the bitter cold. The heater’s busted. Crap. It’s Sunday but it feels like a Monday. Something about this job makes every day feel like a Monday. I’m supposed to visit a woman named Samantha Crew in Room #307 at 1:54 PM. I get to the third floor and head towards the lobby. With thirty-six minutes to kill I figure I can catch some of the Pats game. I get to the lobby to find two families and, to my surprise, Pete waiting for me with a grin on his face and a chessboard in front of him.
“Feel like losing?” He said.
“But then you won’t get to lose.” I shook my head smiling and pulled up a chair. Pete was a dick but he was good company.
“You know,” I said, “I get seeing you upstairs and all but since when can you take breaks?”
“You’re not gonna believe this- interns.”
“You are shitting me. He’s making you use interns?!”
“I swear it man, interns.”
“Jeez… You cannot be okay with that.”
“Oh, I’m not. I needed a break from their whining so Francis is filling in for me for a while.”
“Oh my lord, you should hear the word diarrhea that comes out of their mouths. ‘What form should I give them? What if they’re lying? Do I get breaks? There’s no Wi-Fi here, I don’t get any service here. My cell phone has no bars, I should have double the bars, see Verizon merged with Sprint so I should be getting double the bars but I’m not, I’m getting no bars, I hate it here!’ I had to have Francis cover for me before I lit them on fire and send ’em to hell.”
“Hey speaking of Francis, have you noticed he’s been acting a little…?”
“Bitchy.” Pete said, apparently knowing full well what I was referring to.
“Well… Yeah, bitchy.” Pete chuckled to himself.
“It’s okay, you can say it. He has been a bitch as of late.”
“What’s going on with him?” I asked. Pete sighed.
“The um… The Big Guy is a huge Ryan Reynolds fan and with Deadpool out-”
“I’m gonna stop you real quick. I get that this is probably going to be funny, but I haven’t seen the movie yet so I might be lost on the reference.”
“Okay, then quick spoilers. The plot revolves around Reynolds going to this black site to get his powers and he mocks the British bad guy who runs the site-"
“Always a Brit for the villain.”
“I agree. See he makes fun of the British dude’s name, which is Francis too, so the Brit tortures Reynolds and keeps asking him to tell him his name. Then he escapes, shenanigans ensue, and a lot of henchmen end up dead.”
“Okay… So what does that have to do with the Big Guy?”
“Every time the Big Guy sees Francis, he gives his best Jason Statham-y ‘what’s my name?’.”
“What does Francis say back?”
“He says ‘who fuckin’ cares.’ But Big Guy thinks he’s playing along and doesn’t realize Francis is very, very, very, very, very close to giving him a throat punch.”
“Oh I feel bad at how much that makes me smile.” I said, giggling like a schoolgirl. Pete snickered.
“I know. I want to sympathize, but Francis is just such a boner. Knowing it pisses him off makes me laugh from a good, healthy place. But yeah, that’s what’s going on in my neck of the woods. Oh and by the way, check.” He was smirking from ear to ear. Dammit, I forgot we were playing. Cocksucker got me too engrossed in the story. Nicely done Pete, but two can play at that game. Payback time.
“I couldn’t help but notice you said the big guy was a huge Ryan Reynolds fan.” Pete’s smirk went away and he focused on the board. He knew of my devilish plot to make him super uncomfortable.
“Yep, your turn.” Oh, no Pete. You do not get to get away with that weak ass response.
“Now, when you say he’s a Ryan Reynolds fan, you mean he’s a fan of his superior acting method or a fan of his…” I let that last part linger for a while to really amp up the awkwardness. Pete slumped back in his chair, shaking his head in irritation. “Pete, Peter. Come on, Pete. Share with the class.” Pete looked at the ceiling and took a deep breath.
“Oh I hate you so much. Look, there’s a sex montage scene in Deadpool with Reynolds and Morena Baccarin.” I moved to the edge of my seat. This was going to be stupendous. “I caught him masturbating to it.” I could not breathe I was laughing so hard. “Yes yes it’s very funny. You did not hear it from me. Homosexuality is sort of a don’t ask, don’t tell type of deal upstairs.”
“Oooooh goodness.” I said after I finally took a breath and wiped the tears from my eyes. “Just goes to show no man has the will to resist Canada’s sexy Ryan manufacturing industry.” That one got Pete laughing. I wasn’t done having my fun yet. “Pete?”
“Yes?” He said through gritted teeth. With the flood gates open, he knew where I was headed.
“How much, Pete?” I said.
“How much for what?”
“Come on, Pete. Come on. It’s me. It’s your friend. You know for what.”
“I’m not doing this.”
“Yes you are. You brought up Ryan Reynolds, not me. Now. Pete. How much you go down on a dude?” I was so close to saying it with a straight face. Pete got riled up.
“Okay this game is stupid and I’ll tell you why. First of all there is no dollar amount, no friend who’s cancer I could cure, no number of old time-y vaults full of gold coins I can dive in Scrooge McDuckian style, and no number of Tahitian Islands full of Anna Kendricks I can bang and have snappy dialogue with that would make me want to blow a guy. Second, let’s say there was a dollar amount, let’s say I’ll blow some dude for ten million. Now, I’m a good lookin’ man. Got a little gray in the whiskers, bit of a silver fox type look. It’s classy, it’s distinguished, and dammit I think I pull it off with style and grace. I’d STILL like to hope that a rich gay man can do a little better than me. If we’re being realistic he’ll probably go for somebody from that CW show about the young people with the abs.” He shook his head and looked at the board to find I had him in checkmate. He looked up at me with an exhausted look on his face. “I hate you.”
“Well aware. Last question,” I said.
“How much to fuck Ryan Reynolds.” He responded instantly without any hesitation whatsoever.
“Forty bucks and a lift home.” We were both on the floor, dying of laughter.
“So this is what you do with your breaks, huh?”
“Screw off, it works for me. Aren’t you supposed to be working soon anyways?” I checked my watch. 1:44. Pete was right. Ten minutes left till I had to work. And just like that, all the fun, laughter, and good spirits of the last half hour was gone. Almost as if a vacuum had sucked them all from the air. Time to switch gears. I got up, pushed my chair in, and turned to Pete.
“Look, you can stay, but this works better if it’s just me at first. Wait until the commotion dies down and then you can make your way in slowly.”
“Sure, no problem. What commotion?”
“You’ll know it when you see it.”