68: relief.

68: relief WOE.BEGONE


we’re on vacation.

Sudden noise timestamps:

15:42 – 15:50

26:29 – 26:37


Episode 68: relief.

[We hear the knocking on a door, then the door opening.]

Mikey: Here to relieve you from duty, soldier. 

Mike: Mikey! Huh, I thought it was going to be another little old Latvian granny. Why didn’t you use the calculator to let yourself in?

Mikey: I didn’t want to make a lot of noise. Latvian granny…?

Mike: [overlapping] Come in, come in. [the door closes] How are ya, man? 

Mikey: I’m good, man. A lot better than I have been since I can remember… why does it smell so good in here? 

Mike: Michael told Boris that he got shot and people haven’t stopped coming by with food since. Help yourself. Karbonade, Pelmeni, soup. We have every type of soup that has ever been made. Cold soup, warm soup, bread soup, beet soup, pork soup with extra pork from the freezer. Boris dropped off another whole hog, fully butchered thank God. Please, have some pork. 

Mikey: That’s all very sweet, but he shouldn’t have told Boris. 

Mike: He tried not to, but it only took a couple of days until Boris caught wind that something was off with Michael. They’ve got a psychic link or something. He showed up at our door looking for him and wouldn’t take no for an answer. So the cat’s outta the bag.

Mikey: How’s he doing? 

Mike: Better… better. A little bit at a time. A little hopped up on pain meds and stubborn as always. A long road with a full recovery at the end. He’s going to drive you up the wall, though. 

Mikey: I can only imagine. What’s the worst thing he’s done so far? 

Mike: Collapsed in the middle of the kitchen trying to make himself a bowl of cereal. Scared the shit out of me, made a mess in the kitchen, damn near opened up his wound again, and we have so much fucking soup, Mikey. If he wanted something liquid he could have warmed up some soup. Your main job will be to keep him in bed.

Mikey: And what do I do with this?

Mike: We lock it in a safe under my bed. We’re not letting him do some time travel shenanigans where we wake up one morning and it’s been a month for him and he’s been on his own  trying to heal himself up and the wound heals wrong. 

Mikey: I can picture it vividly.

Mike: Which is why he can’t know where we put it. There’s a decoy safe in my closet. It’s a shame he knows that you have it at all, but retrieving it was part of your mission going home. How’s Edgar doing? 

Mikey: Good… good. The situation is confusing, more for me than for him I think. He only remembers things they way that they actually happened. It’s more difficult for me. Sometimes it’s hard to explain to him why I might react to something the way that I do. And I’m different than the Mikey who just left, but for him nothing has changed. But, that aside, I missed him so much, Mike. I bawled like a baby when I got home and saw him. 

Mike: I think that I’m going to, too. It’s been even longer for me. Michael and I have been here for awhile. Did you talk about what’s happening?

Mikey: Yeah. He wanted to know everything. I wanted to lie in bed and watch movies with him. We settled on a compromise: one movie for one question and answer session. 

Mike: Thanks for that. With any luck, your little Q&A will propagate to my Edgar, which means I’ll have more time for relaxation. 

Mikey: Hey… is he supposed to be up?

Michael: You little snitch. 

Mike:  Michael! Get back in bed. Tell me what you want out of the kitchen and I’ll get it for you. 

Michael: I wanna stand up and walk around is what. 

Mike: …you’re not propping your wound up over your heart. You know you’re supposed to do that. It brings the swelling down.

Michael: And just how do you know exactly what I have and haven’t been doing, pilgrim?

Mike: Because you can’t lie in bed with your cowboy hat on and have your lower half raised above your heart. The brim wouldn’t let you lay your head down. 

Michael: I put it on when I got up. 

Mike: Did you?

Michael: … Are you gonna let Mikey in past the damn doorway so I can see him? We got some catching up to do.

Mike: Get back in bed and we’ll meet you in there. 

Michael: Alright, partner. That’s a promise. 

Mike: And take the damn hat off. 

Michael: 10-4, boss. 


Mikey: Looks like nothing much has changed. 

Mike: Are you sure you want to take over for a week? 

Mikey: No… but you deserve to see Edgar again. Michael isn’t the only one who needs rest. 

Mike: And after we get some rest we can get to work. 

Mikey: …are you scared?

Mike: Yeah. 

Mikey: Me too. 

Mikey: Yeah, we’ll see when you get back. I just got back, Mike. It doesn’t feel the same anymore. I don’t know that I can go through with it.  I can still smell him on my clothes. I can still hear his voice in my ears. “Love you bear, take care of the cowboy for me.” That’s how recent it was. We’d be killing him all over again. That’s what Michael was screaming at me when I was trying to get Matt to do the correction. “You’re killing Edgar.” Not the most comfortable conversation to have with him about why I was muttering that in my sleep. Look, I was on the same page as you– I still am. I think. But if we’re going to do this we have to be sure. I don’t know anymore and I don’t think that Michael can handle it. We both have a week. Think about it, okay? 


Michael: And then he jumped up on the bed, real gentle-like. Well, as gentle as he could. He’s not fully in control of his limbs just yet. He could tell I was hurtin’ by the way I was layin’ there. But he jumped up and he put his head on my chest, right above where the bullet hit and just layed there while I pet ‘im. He was warm and soft. That made me feel better than the painkillers did. Bruno saved my life. He’s one fine pup.

Mike: Bruno was much better behaved than Boris. 

Michael: [laughing] Yep, I told him that I didn’t see who did it, but that’s not going to stop him. Boris gonna get to the bottom of this. “I will find who shot my cowboy and he will be in bed like this.” 

Mike: I’d never heard an ornery Ukrainian landlord get choked up about enacting revenge on behalf of his tenant before.  

Michael: He’s good people. 

Mike: You can tell he’s good people because he’s terrible at profiting from being a landlord. No rent until Michael is up on his feet again. 

Michael: C’mon, you’re taking a shine to him. 

Mike: I didn’t say that. He’s still a landlord. And he’s not as nice to me as he is to you. 

Michael: You gotta meet him halfway, is all. He likes you fine, but he’s blunt. Whole reason he let me bring Bruno over was to cheer you up. He’s got you gainfully employed now, too. Mike’s a professional dogwalker now. 

Mikey: A landlord and a boss? Sounds like the total package. 

Michael: Walkin’ Bruno don’t count as work. And Miike gets some spendin’ money. He’s saving up for a Stetson so he can be a cowboy just like me. 

Mike: Profoundly and absolutely untrue.

Michael: Whatever you say, pilgrim. Mikey boy, did you do your check-in like we talked about?

Mikey: It was the last thing I did before showing up here. Unfortunately, you guys were right. The reason Matt isn’t picking up his phone is because he isn’t there anymore. I don’t think he ran away from home, either. 

Michael: He didn’t chicken out. Something went wrong. 

Mike: That’s what I’m thinking, too. The calculators are dangerous, we knew that. 

Mikey: What do you think happened?

Mike: He either is in the vacuum of space, in the ocean, some field in the middle of nowhere, half-consolidated with himself, he could have transported to halfway into a tree. There’s really no telling. 

Michael: I would say a good half of those scenarios end in death. The remaining make you wish you were dead. Turns out waking up to your upper half being separated from your lower half by some drywall ain’t pleasant. 

Mikey: Huh? Are you speaking from experience?–

Michael: [cutting off] Not the point, pilgrim. We gotta issue a correction. 

Mike: Using the same technology that probably got Matt killed. 

Mikey: We don’t know that he’s dead. 

Mike: We don’t know that the sun will rise in the morning, either. 

Mikey: That would mean that we killed him, Mike. 

Mike: No, it wouldn’t. Matt is our friend and he was brave enough to take a risk for us and we are seeing the consequence of that risk. Just because it hurts doesn’t mean that it’s someone’s fault. 

Michael: We killed him, Mikey boy. If Mike and I hadn’t shown up on his doorstep, he’d still be alive and we’d still be in the mess we’re in. We handed him the weapon and told him to fire. 

Mike: I don’t think that’s the appropriate way of looking at it. 

Michael: I wouldn’t have done anything different. But Matt’s dead and he’d be alive if we hadn’t given him the calculator. 

Mikey: So, we’re issuing a correction. Problem solved, right? Assuming that nothing goes wrong. 

Michael: I got another week before I can use the calculator and I can tell Matt not to try to help us. 

Mike: What? Michael, you aren’t doing this. Mikey is. 

Mikey: I am? I’ve never issued a correction before. Besides, well… you know what I mean. 

Mike: And you’re gonna be so much better at it than I was when I started making corrections here in Latvia. You know how to use the calculator. You’ve got the coordinates to this apartment memorized, you’re not going to mess up longitude and latitude. All you have to do is show up, collect the calculator from him, and head back. 

Michael: You’ll be fine. This ain’t near as hard as a connectivity strike. You’re part of the team now, Mikey boy. We trust ya. 

Mikey: That means a lot to me, Michael. I know that wasn’t always the case. 

Michael: Apologies about that. You were in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Mike: Welp, this has been fun, but I think it’s time for me to hit the old dusty trail. 

Mikey: Michael is really rubbing off on you. 

Mike: Don’t say that. But come with me, Mikey. I’ll show you the instructions the doctor left on how to dress his wounds and other aftercare stuff. He shouldn’t need too much help at this point, right big guy?

Michael: Yup. 

Mike: Alright, I’m heading out Michael. Take care of Mikey for me, will ya?

Michael: See ya in a week, partner. 

Mike: See ya, Michael. Mikey?

Mikey: Be back in a minute, Michael. 

[door closes]

Mike: Alright, I’ve pinned the aftercare instructions to the fridge. I don’t think you’ll need them. [quieter] The safe is under my bed. The code is 12 2 28. Say that back to me three times. 

Mikey: 12 2 28. 12 2 28. 12 2 28. 

Mike: As soon as you send me home, put the calculator in the safe immediately. Sleep in there with the door locked and take it with you any time you leave the apartment. Michael is never to be left alone with the calculator, even if it’s in the safe. Do you understand?

Mikey: I understand. 

Mike: Attaboy. Welp, it’s been good to see you during peacetime, Mikey. We should do it again sometime. 

Mikey: Likewise. Hope your vacation provides you some relief. Take care of Edgar for me. 

Mike: [gleeful] I’m so excited. Do you have the coordinates put in for my time?

Mikey: Yep, can you confirm them for me?

Mike: Yep, those are the ones. Edgar will send me back a week from today.

Mikey: And then the holidays will be over. 

Mike: Yep. Savor it. 

Mikey: You, too. 

Mike: Alright, I’m ready. Send me home. 

Mikey: Alright. Call me when you get there safe and sound. 

Mike: Will do. Bye, Mikey. 

Mikey: Bye, Mike. 3… 2… 1… 

[Time travel noises.]

[Scene transition.]

[Sound of laying down cards]

Michael: Read ‘em and weep, pilgrim. I’m going gin. 

Mikey: Michael, a card can’t be part of a run and a set. You can’t even knock. I… don’t know what happens now? I mean, I undercut you but you couldn’t actually knock anyway? [Laughing]

Michael: [laughing] Guess you win. I forfeit. You sure you don’t want a painkiller? Might put us on the same level. 

Mikey: I’m good, thanks. 

Michael: I got whiskey in the cabinet, too, if that’s more your speed. 

Mikey: No, really. It’s fine. I’m supposed to be supervising you. 

Michael: Mike would be furious you let me sit at the kitchen table for so long. He’s been keeping me in that bed day and night. I hate it. I have to get up or else I’ll get bedsores. It feels like being in the Flinchite compound but worse. 

Mikey: I’m more like the substitute teacher. I’ll let you do some of the stuff that you’re not supposed to do, but you have to promise not to get me in trouble. If you tattle on me, no early recess next time. 

Michael: Yes, sir, Mr. Walters. I’ll be a good boy. [laughs.]

Mikey: Well, if you’re really good, I’ll wheel out the TV cart and we can watch a movie.

Michael: Hey, you wanna watch a movie, bud? Actually watch one? I found Grizzly Adams on youtube the other day. The whole thing. For free.

Mikey: Hmm.. maybe if you lay on the couch and I take the chair. That way we’re following at least some of the rules. 

Michael: Maybe when I’m ready to lay down again. Deal me another hand. Wanna make a bet?

Mikey: Fuck it, sure. What’s the bet?

Michael: For every hand that you win, I tell you a story about something from the future. Stuff that won’t happen anymore. Just the fun stuff, I swear. And if I win a hand, you have to do a shot of whiskey. I’m all fuzzy tonight. I need you to be fuzzy with me, at least a little bit. It’s making me feel slow. [pause, sound of bottle and shot glass on table.] Deal?

Mikey: [sighing] Fuck it, I’m on vacation. And it’s not like I’m going to lose, anyway. 

Michael: That’s the spirit. 

Mikey: Plus, I want to know some of those stories. You got one about Marissa?

Michael: I have a hundred funny stories about Marissa, pilgrim. But you gotta beat me first. 

Mikey: [punch hand] Bring it on.

Michael: Anyway,  I love that movie, Grizzly Adams. It’s really gay. 

Mikey: Is it? I don’t even think I’ve seen the movie since I was a little kid. I remember the TV show for sure. 

Michael: It’s all about how the tension between society and the self drives Grizzly to seek freedom to be himself in the wilderness. He rescues a native American fella who got hurt and they end up becomin’ blood brothers and wrasslin at one point. Even after they catch the criminal they mistook him for, he don’t go back. He’s found a life where he can live without scrutiny from society. Just him and his pet bear, Ben, living out their days in peace. And about half the movie is a big burly bearded man playing with forest critters. Maybe even more than half. 

Mikey: That does sound pretty gay. 

Michael: It’s great. Relaxing, too. Makes ya feel like you’re gonna be okay. Just you watch, when we put it on I’ll be asleep by the time Nakoma shows up. And I don’t go to sleep very easily. 

Mikey: I’m sure the painkillers help you sleep some. 

Michael: Edgar being alive helps me sleep some. Not as much as I should, but some. 

Mikey: I’m glad you’ve found some relief. On the other hand, I’m knocking. I got 4 deadwood. Get wrecked, cowboy. 

Michael: Shit. I can’t play on any of that and I’ve got 30. 

Mikey: 26 points and a story about Marissa for me. 

Michael: Fair and square. Deal me back in and I’ll tell you the story about how Marissa almost got me and her killed in a bar in Wyoming. 

Mikey: Hell yeah. Keep talking. 

Michael: It was me and her out on a mission. Can’t tell ya what for. I’m already breaking protocol as is. But we were tailing a guy and he went into the bar. I wasn’t a cowboy back then, so I didn’t fit in as well as I could have. We were already sticking out like a couple of sore thumbs and Marissa got the bright idea that we should play darts and watch our guy from across the bar. I hate darts, Mikey. I can’t get the wrist flick right for shit. 

Mikey: Yeah, I know. I’m you. I’m better at darts when I’m intentionally aiming at the wrong spot. 

Michael: Right. But she finds these 2 guys sharing a pitcher of beer over by the darts and challenges them to a 2 on 2 match. They’re both pretty average, about the same skill level. Meanwhile I’m lucky if I hit the board and Marissa is both immensely better than them and getting lucky over and over again. It’s a squeaker, but we end up winning the thing. 

Mikey: I would be so mad if I lost that way. [laughs.]

Michael: Yeah, they had some words for us, especially Marissa. Considering we were in Wyoming, they coulda been worse words, but they weren’t pleasant. I’m going gin, by the way. Drink up, Mikey boy. 

Mikey: Well, shit. 

Michael: Yep, bottoms up, then start dealing. You know Marissa. She don’t take shit. She’d whoop my ass any day and I’m bigger than these fellas were. So, she calmly collects her darts. Darts that have been handled by about a hundred greasy hands that night, mind you, walks over to them, and drops all of them straight into their pitcher of beer. 

Mikey: And this is the part where Marissa almost got you killed. 

Michael: They didn’t even run at her! I guess they ran at me because I’m a man, but I was innocent in the whole affair. Hell, I woulda stopped her, even if they deserved it. But I grabbed Marissa and we got out of that bar fast as lightning. Got around into an alley and had to be extracted to safety by Edgar who was not happy with our antics to say the least. 

Mikey: [laughing.] I bet. Did you find your guy again?

Michael: Classified. And it don’t matter because that never happened. Lots of good memories from that time, all went sour and now they never happened. But, I promised you fun stories, not mass casualty events. We’ll end that story while it’s still happy. Marissa said that she’d gladly do it again and I believe her. Also, I’m going gin again, so it’s time for round two, Mikey boy. 

Mikey: You can’t be serious. There haven’t been enough cards for that. 

Michael: Shuffle the deck better next time, dipshit. [laugh.] Drink up. 

Mikey: I am going to destroy you in the next hand. The next dozen hands. My heart is alive with the fire of a dozen suns. 

Michael: Prove it, pilgrim. 

Mikey: Gladly. Two gins in a row, my ass. 

Michael: You know, I like ya partner. Didn’t know if I would. But you’re good company. 

Mikey: To be honest, I could tell that you didn’t know. 

Michael: I’m sorry about that. Times have been rough. 

Mikey: You don’t have to explain that to me. 

Michael: I treated ya bad at first. Me and Mike had just been through some awful shit. 

Mikey: No, I mean it. You don’t have to explain it to me. Not tonight. Not with you still recovering from a gunshot wound. Only good vibes allowed. We can argue when Mike gets back. 

Michael: If you’re sure, Mikey. 

Mikey: Anyway, I forgive you. 

Michael: You sure?

Mikey: The worst 4 words we ever said were the 4 words that kicked this whole thing off: “I don’t forgive you.” I’d like to think that I’ve learned since then. Maybe I haven’t but I can pretend that I have. 

Michael: That’s mature of you. I don’t remember being so mature back when I was your age. 

Mikey: Yeah, yeah. I’m a regular saint. Just gotta work 2 miracles to make it official. Okay. Big gamble here, but I’m knocking. I got 10 deadwood exactly.

Michael: I got 15 and… let’s see.. I can play… 3. Dammit. 

Mikey: Booyah. I think that should count as one of the miracles. Pay up, cowboy.  

Michael: Alright. You win, fair and square, Saint Mikey. What do you want to hear about this time?

Mikey: One about Edgar. 

Michael: Sure thing. 

Mikey: The wedding. 

Michael: Huh?

Mikey: I wanna hear about the wedding. When you proposed, when you had it, who was there, what you wore, the vows. Everything. 

Michael: Nope. 

Mikey: What do you mean “nope”!? 

Michael: I don’t want to ruin any of that for you. I want you to experience it just like I did, fresh. You won’t know that story until you’re part of it, pilgrim. 

Mikey: [sighs.] I can’t argue, honestly. That’s a good point. 

Michael: What can I say? I’m looking out for you. Hm… how about the time… that me and Edgar went horseback riding on the beach?

Mikey: How romantic. 

Michael: Worst date of my life. Consider this a correction. Never go on that date with Edgar. Save both of you the trouble. It started off on a bad foot. The weather didn’t say that it was supposed to rain but as soon as we got there the clouds started getting dark. The guy who ran the horse riding service told us that it would be fine and we had already reserved our time so we didn’t want to lose out. Well, cut to 5 minutes later and it starts thundering. Loud. The horses weren’t happy. They weren’t buckin’ or nothin’, but me and Edgar weren’t experienced riders. We were riding side by side and his horse got spooked and jumped just a little bit. That got Edgar spooked and he instinctively reached over to grab me for comfort. He ended up pulling us both down into the wet sand behind the horses with him on top of me. [fading out] Luckily neither of us were hurt. The horses kept walking like nothing ever happened. We were both covered in wet sand by the time we got up. We asked the guy for a refund. Worst $70 I’ve ever spent. 

[Scene Transition.]

[We hear the sound of the TV playing Night Of The Living Dead, somewhere over halfway through the movie. We hear one person snoring. After some careful silence, we hear someone sigh determinedly and quiet footsteps across the living room floor.]

Michael: [muttering under breath] Dumbasses thought I couldn’t hear them. 12… 2… 28. There she goes.  

[We hear the clicking of some buttons on the calculator.]

Michael: Alright, Matt. Let’s get you out of trouble right quick. Sorry, Mikey. I’ll be on my best behavior for the rest of vacation, I promise. [inhale, exhale.] Alright. Let’s go. 

[Time travel noises.]

[End theme plays.]

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