John From Cincinnati
His Visit: Day Six

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Mr. Sobell: C+ | Grade It Now!
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Are You There, God? It's Me, Weirdo

Speaking of someone who's not happy, not at all, Freddy is lying in bed wide-eyed when an idea manages to burrow through his eight layers of skull and plant itself next to his brain. He sits up in bed, thinks some more, doesn't pass out from the strain, grunts, and walks purposefully toward the bathtub. I think someone's about to get unwanted medical advice from an unqualified party.

Outside, Dickstein has finally arrived and asks Cissy if she's managed to tell Dr. Smith what's going on, vis-à-vis the hospital's plan to hang him out to dry; Cissy's still pretty stricken by her wordless exchange with Butchie. "No," she tells Dickstein as she walks toward her car. "Go ahead." Cunningham sidles up to Dickstein: "About the ass-fucking?" he asks helpfully. And how many other shows do you hear a line like that? Besides Full House, I mean, where it was Bob Saget's catchphrase.

Here comes Freddy, bursting out of the motel room, and he's got Palaka with him, much to Dr. Smith's general irritation. "Don't do nothin' stupid, Doc," Freddy warns, as he carries his underwear-clad henchman toward his rental car. Dr. Smith suggests forcefully that this is not a very good idea, as Palaka needs to be back in the ice-filled bathtub and that they can't waste valuable treatment time getting him admitted to a hospital. Freddy respectfully disagrees, instructing the doctor to get out of his way. Dr. Smith slaps Freddy but good -- "Another county heard from," Palaka observes -- and Freddy observes that the doctor's lucky he's got his hands full. Not for long he doesn't -- now they've both got their hands on Palaka, and they're pushing and pulling him in opposite. directions. "Thanksgiving," Palaka says woozily. "Make a wish." But now we get to the source of Freddy's agitation: "All your smart-ass fucking talk," he spits at Dr. Smith. "It was me that broke his fucking wrist." Freddy, you see, thinks that the broken wrist is the cause of Palaka's unfortunate state, not the dirty needle from the tattoo parlor. Dr. Smith suggests that he stop acting out of guilt and start letting the doctor treat Palaka. Freddy relents, as Cunningham -- whose been holding the IV tube all along -- runs up with a blanket to swaddle Palaka.

Back at Bill's place, Bill reproduces the book on dealing with death from the cushions of the couches and rifles through the pages in front of Shaun. "Quick review -- how to put people at their ease?" Bill offers. Shaun politely declines. When there's a knock at the door, Bill whispers to Shaun, "Upstairs, talk amongst yourselves." As Bill scrambles toward the stairs, he gestures toward the kitchen: "Twinkies, soda, and the like." He is really hoping to move those Twinkies. Anyhow, the knock at the door was Butchie, as you might have guessed; Shaun invites him in and has him sit down. "Pretty pissed?" Butchie asks after a moderately pregnant pause. Shaun shakes his head no. "Hit me, buddy, come on," Butchie says, offering his son a clean shot. Taking a swing at his old man is not on Shaun's wish list, however; rather, he would like things to go back to normal. Presumably, that means pre-accident, pre-surfing competition, only, you know, without his father being hopelessly wasted on drugs all the time. Butchie agrees that all that would be nice, but "as much it pisses you off, the hand you were dealt ain't going anywhere. Mine. Your gram's. Gramps." "My mom's," Shaun points out. "Or your mom's," Butchie continues. "Or any-fucking-body else's. So fighting it only gets your ass kicked. So if you can learn that now, instead of 20 years from now...fuck." Which is oddly eloquent, especially considering the source, but Butchie nevertheless gets flustered and frustrated dishing out advice. "Just smack me on the back of the head," he exclaims. Shaun puts his hand there, and strokes his father's skull -- it's tremendously touching. It's also sort of funny, watching Bill, hunched over and trying to shield his eyes, but watching all of this from his spiral staircase. "I've been thinking about getting back in the water," Butchie says. "Getting in the way I used to." "Competing?" Shaun asks. "I don't know," Butchie says. "I guess. Maybe." Anyhow, the two of them decide to go surfing together and engage in the sort of friendly father-son competition that family members have used to humiliate each other for generations. "Thanks for the room, Bill," Butchie calls up to Bill, who is still crouched in his "I can't hear you, I can't see you' position on the stairs. "Shaunie and I are gonna go get wet." "Fine, good," Bill responds, not changing his position. Don't ever change, Bill -- though you might want to stretch your legs some before they cramp up.

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John From Cincinnati

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