John From Cincinnati
His Visit: Day Three

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Someone Got Mad -- AND They Got Stabby

And now, Dr. Smith has his second-weirdest doctor-patient interaction in the last seventy-two hours as Palaka tells him, "For no reason that you'd realize, but last night when you were talking to Butchie? I was under that half-pipe." Dr. Smith is not sure if that means he and Palaka have already been socially introduced, and he asks, "Do you want me to examine your wrist?" Channeling his inner ingénue, Palaka goes wide-eyed and asks in charming innocence, "Oh, do you do informal diagnoses?" Even from several yards away, Freddy can catch this act. He rolls his eyes.

Meanwhile, Ramon is busy asking Barry exactly what he means. Barry explains, "Let's consider we're permanently associated. Oh, is that too overtly gay?" Barry, nearly anything you utter -- including lines like, but not limited to "Gimme my thirty-ought-six and some bullets," "I don't care what you say about Peyton Manning, Heath Schuler's the best damn passing QB the Vols ever saw," and "Nice tits!" -- will sound too overtly gay. Anyway, the upside to this is that Barry envisions a working business partnership. Bill's sudden arrival cuts off what could have been a promising monologue about equity and vesting.

Bill walks over to Freddy and says, by way of greeting, "Butchie Yost." Freddy blinks and says, "In his room." Bill adds, "Apprising him of the results of a search. No cell phone. Suppose you gotta explain these days." Freddy replies, "I could give less of a shit." Bill turns to go, and Freddy softens a little, adding, "He's with that strange-haired girl." Bill turns around and asks, "Doin' what"' and Freddy's hardened again: "How the fuck would I know?"

Dr. Smith tells Palaka to get his wrist x-rayed and set. Palaka ripostes, "I should file tax returns too, Doc, but the government--" We are all diverted by Vietnam Joe's arrival. Bill speaks for us all: "What is this nonsense now?" Dr. Smith excuses himself. Joe gets out of the car and says, with some asperity, "I fuckin' touched him and he fuckin' healed." Dr. Smith comes over and introduces himself as a doctor, asking, "What's the problem?" Joe replies, "No problem at all, medic. Let him make a fool out of you." As Dr. Smith moves in to examine the patient, John says, "You helped me, Joe." Vietnam Joe blusters, "You keep mouthing off like that, frat boy, and I am liable to knock you out." Dr. Smith establishes -- sort of -- that John's not in pain. Joe shakily asks, "It's bullshit, right?" Dr. Smith replies, "It's a healed wound with fresh blood. I don't know what it is." Joe replies, with less conviction, "It's a phonied-up gag." Across the lawn, Bill angrily says, "It's a bunch of goddamned nonsense." Dr. Smith gently pulls John to his feet. Vietnam Joe immediately gets in his face and channels his outrage: "I guess it's time to find out which warped, rear-echelon asshole at the VFW bar where I drink thought something that I confided to him about events in-country was worth the abuse for a fucking chuckle!" John says, very gently, "You didn't leave me behind, Joe." As Joe grabs John by the collar, Dr. Smith impotently tries to pull him off. Joe swears, "You listen to me, frat boy. You're going to tell me who it was! And then I am jumping in that van and driving to that gin mill, and I am going to do some damage!" John looks at him with pity, and replies, "Tomorrow is another day." Joe stares back, as if struck by revelation. However, he blusters away, "I'm undertaking inquiries tomorrow!" John gives Dr. Smith a smile like "People afraid to believe -- whaddya gonna do?"

Meanwhile, Kai is busy devouring Butchie's tonsils. Oh, lord, I don't even want to think about Butchie's probable tooth decay owing to heroin-related dry mouth, or how it would make his breath smell or taste. Anyway, something catches Kai's attention, and she hops down. Butchie gallantly apologizes, "I haven't been high in three days. I'll get hard over mud." Both of these geniuses miss the fact that Butchie's gone three straight days without getting dope sick, and Kai overlooks the fact that, by the property of transference, Butchie's equated her charms with those of a hog wallow. Instead, she invites him to her place. Bill interrupts the moment by knocking. Butchie hollers through the door, "We just completed our quadrants." He opens it, and Bill shares the news that John's safe. Then he casts his eyes down, as is his wont, and blurts out, "My God, you have an erection. He's right outside. Jesus Christ!" Bill hastily sees himself out. Butchie heads back over to Kai and coos romantically, "I wanna bring the hammer down back at your place." Kai asks, "What if it's now or never?" Both of them agree that they'll do a drive-by check up on John, then hit the sheets at Kai's place. But before they head out, Butchie fiddles with his jeans, saying, "Let me just fix this unsightly bulge."

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John From Cincinnati




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