Sunday, July 7, 2013

12/19/12 - Leads You Here Despite Your Destination

The secret to good Pad Thai (or so my handsome man tells me) is in the !@#$ing ginger.

Some people apparently swear by the tamarind sauce, which can be hard to find if you don't live somewhere like !@#$ing Neo York City, where there's cookie-cutter Asian markets every 2.5 !@#$ blocks. But he says that's bull!@#$, because, apparently, the Thai themselves didn't use it until they got it from China.

(Kind of like how Chop Suey, made by immigrants in America for their restaurants, eventually filtered back across the Pacific. You asked some fellow in Beijing what Chop Suey was and he'd wonder if you were !@#$ing propositioning him, or something. Never worked for me, though...)

But no. You can get by just fine without tamarind paste, but you abso!@#$inglutely have to have the right ginger. He uses a big !@#$, deflated-!@#$-sized hunk of galangal, which can also be bought at the cookie-cutter asian market store, and gives it a whole different flavor. He also marinates the chicken in soy sauce and lime juice, too, rather than just the soy, which he says is what makes it his.

He's possessive like that, my man.

Other than that, it's the usual mix you get on the "Long Wang and Hung Well Can !@#$ing Cook for Fat White Idiots That Watch Us" shows on what passes for the Food Network, these days. Marinate the chicken, make the sauce, cook the noodles until they're just south of firm, throw the other ingredients in the pan and stir-fry the !@#$ out of them, and then add the chicken, the noodles, and drip the sauce in a little at a time until it's gone and the noodles are perfect.

That and some limes, onions, crushed nuts, and a couple cold Singhas, and we're eating.

(Oh, and maybe a jar of chili sauce for !@#$holes like me who like it so hot my toes curl, snap, and want to secede from my !@#$ feet. He just laughs at my need to bake my !@#$hole, and I promise to bake his later, after dessert.)

He says he learned how to make this from his first serious boyfriend, who he met when he was just in the service. Young, blonde, corn-fed American man-boy, stationed in Southeast Asia, where the nights are hot and sweltering, and the local men who like non-local men have that drowsy, luscious look about them as they preen and sweat in the heat of the city, and the shoreline...

Of course, he kept his love for a local man quiet. That was the military culture, back then, especially in that branch of the service. But he tells me he figured people !@#$ing knew, but just chose not to say anything. Probably because those lovely man-boys had most of his fellows !@#$ing questioning themselves, too.

(And we all know how that goes, right?)

But then came another !@#$ posting, and it came !@#$ sudden, too, which is also part of the culture. He had to say goodbye quicker than he would have liked, which left hurt feelings all around. So by the time he made it back there, years later on a visit, things had changed, and not for the better.

But at least they got to say goodbye properly, that time.

And he still remembers him, now and then, when he makes this dish, which he hasn't been able to do for the longest !@#$ing time. And all that's thanks to the substandard cooking facilities on Deep-Ten, along with how rarely they could actually get proper !@#$ing galangal, to say nothing of fish sauce, fresh spring onions, and chicken that wasn't !@#$ing pre-cooked for safety's sake.

(Figures that his super-high-tech robots could fix him a decent !@#$ drink in his chair, but he couldn't really rock out in the !@#$ing kitchen.)

And now all that's gone, son. No more big, beautiful, super-amazing weapons platform keeping us safe from galactic invaders, star gods, weird weapons from beyond the frontiers of space, and !@#$ like that. Just a big !@#$ cloud of debris and dust !@#$ing floating around the !@#$ing Earth, well outside the Moon's orbit.

No more Alpha Base Seven, either, thanks to what sounds like a major cluster-!@#$ of poor choices on their acting commander's part. But it's the loss of Deep-Ten that's really going to !@#$ us, when a certain problem comes along.

(And it's coming, son. Boy is it !@#$ing ever.)

In the end, it was my love who had to pull the !@#$ plug on the thing, himself. And it should have killed him, too, thanks to the "if I die, it doesn't work" sort of precautions they stopped using back in the 1980's, when it became readily !@#$ing apparent just what a stupid !@#$ plan that really was.

But boy, was he ever surprised to learn that I'd known all along...

* * *

Mount Sinai Medical Center

"... ask why, just !@#$ing do it," SPYGOD shouts into his communicator as he kicks his way through another set of swinging, metal doors: "I want to hear directly from that !@#$ vampire hunter, and I want to hear from him !@#$ing yesterday. With noodles.

"What? How the !@#$ should I know?" he continues: "I've only got half the entire free !@#$ world on my plate, now. Go see if he's !@#$ing hiding back in !@#$ing Poland, or something. Jesus."

He sighs and hangs up, and then, for good measure tosses the phone into the air and shoots a hole right through it.

"!@#$er," he mutters, as much to who he was yelling at as to himself, and kicking through one last set of doors as he finally arrives at the hospital's world-renowned Cybernetic Prosthesis Surgery section.

"Sir, you can't shoot off guns in here," one of the harried doctors says to him, coming up with a large pile of papers on a clipboard: "Please tell me how I can help-"

"Tell me what's !@#$ing going on with Director Straffer," SPYGOD answers, getting right in the man's face: "Right the !@#$ now."

"No use asking him," one of the other ones says, getting up from her chair and walking over to SPYGOD: "We just keep him around to change tubes and things."

"Can I go now?" the man says, inching away and trying to conceal that he's !@#$ed himself.

"And you are?" SPYGOD asks, waving the pants-peer away with a wave of his hand.

"Doctor Langley," she says, shaking his other hand: "I think I need to prepare you for what you're going to see."

"How much of him is left?"

She blinks: "Did someone tell you...?"

SPYGOD smiles, weakly, and taps his eyepatch: "I know what color your tampon is, doctor. Let's not play !@#$ing games, shall we?"

She coughs and nods, walking him down towards the isolation room.

"Apparently one of your Strategic Talents found him in what was left of a lunar escape craft, two days ago," she says as soon as they're out of easy earshot: "I didn't catch her name-"

"Brightstarsurfergirl," he says, getting a little testy: "We had her looking for anything we could use, up there. Not a whole !@#$ lot left, to hear her tell it."

"Well, when she found him, he was in a self-induced coma. He'd hooked himself up to the power unit of the craft, and made some heavy modification to his own power plant. It seemed to be in perfect working order, but he wasn't using it."

"If he did, it would have !@#$ing killed him after he blew up Deep Ten," SPYGOD says: "Safety precaution to stop him from falling into the wrong hands and compromising his !@#$ mission." 

"Oh," she says: "That's-"

"Top black !@#$ing secret, that's what it is," he interrupts, putting a hand in her face to push her off as they get to the door of the isolation room: "Just be glad you didn't have to agree to a full body prosthesis to be able to work in this joint."

"Don't expect too much," she says as he strides into the room: "He's a little loopy..."

SPYGOD doesn't give a !@#$. He walks on up to the bed they've got him on, doing his best not to cry. And the moment he gets up to it, and sees what's there, he snaps his fingers at the few med-techs in the room, and gestures pointedly to the door he just came through.

He doesn't need to say anything. They're gone in seconds. And then it's just him and what little they could salvage.

His head. 

"I look terrible, don't I?" Straffer says, trying to smile. His skin is leathery and dessicated, and his eyes are unfocused and red. Tubes are running into and out of the ragged stump of his neck, bringing oxygen and nutrients straight into his brain.

"You look like you," SPYGOD says, grabbing a chair and sitting down in it, close enough to reach out and touch his lover's cheek.

"You know, for a spy, you're a terrible liar."

"Only when I want to be."

"So you knew, all along?"

SPYGOD smiles: "I did. Why do you think I didn't hold back in bed?"

"Oh, well that's disappointing," Straffer says: "I was kind of hoping you were holding back."

"You catty little !@#$," SPYGOD snorts, and then laughs, not trying to stop the tears, anymore. 

The head smiles, and closes his eyes: "I missed you."

"I didn't know you were alive," SPYGOD says, trying not to choke up through his tears: "I thought you were dead. I thought when they had another you, that meant you were dead."

"They just missed me," Straffer says, opening back up again: "Idiots attacked me when I was in a spot that needed repairs. I shot out the windows and spaced them. Then I launched myself at the Moon."

"You..." SPYGOD blinks a few times.

"Good use of time, making alternate escape plans," Straffer says, smiling at how befuddled his lover is: "I think you might have told me that, once."

"Yeah, maybe I did," SPYGOD says, tousling his hair: "And you wanted this all to be a surprise?"

"I did. That's why I told the leader of the resistance not to say anything, when he visited me at Alpha Base Seven. I see he kept his promise."

"Yeah, he's good at that," SPYGOD sighs: "Usually..."

"What's wrong?"

"Oh... !@#$ing nothing, !@#$ing everything,"  SPYGOD replies, putting his hands in his lap: "I made some... !@#$ it, I made some bad choices. I !@#$ed up pretty bad and now it's about to come crashing in on me."

"Is the world free?"

SPYGOD nods: "Yes."

"Are we safe for now?"


"Then tomorrow can go suck itself, love. We'll figure it out when we get there. And we'll do it together."

"Together?" SPYGOD asks, putting his hand back on what little remains: "You mean that?"

"Oh God, yes," Straffer says: "All through that fall through space, this moment's what kept me going. I don't want to spend another cold, empty night without you. I want you in my life, (REDACTED). I want you in my bed. I want you in my future, now and forever. And if I have to be a head on a pillow, then !@#$ it."

"Actually, I don't think that's going to be a problem," SPYGOD says, leaning in and winking: "I can hear them talking about your new body, right next door. Just like the old model, only better."

"I didn't think they'd give me one after how I blew up my job."

"Well, I sort of talked to the President about that, before we came over," he says, smiling: "As soon as we're back up and running, we're going to need a new space-based defense system. And you're the right man for the !@#$ing job."

"Your opinion?"

"His words. Exactly."

"He's changed a bit."

"He has, yes," SPYGOD says, hitching a little when he thinks about what that changed man might do in a few days, when an uncomfortable truth comes out.

"I'm surprised you didn't want me for the COMPANY."

"Naah. You got your job, I got mine. We'd drive each other !@#$ing mad if we worked together."

"We might do it living together, too."

"Yeah, but good mad, I think," SPYGOD says, tousling his hair again: "I love you."

"I love you, too," Straffer says, closing his eyes: "We don't have to talk, now. Just stay here with me?"

"Forever," SPYGOD promises.

And for that night, at least, it's kept.

(SPYGOD is listening to Under the Milky Way Tonight (The Church) and having a Singha)

No comments:

Post a Comment