I'd like to thank you for your comments on the HTML format I started using for Chapter 15. Generally, it seemed well received, but the reviews were mixed with regard to the white text/black background format. As a result, I am going to continue with the HTML format, but with a more traditional black text/white background format. I still think it's much easier to read, and more flexible by far, than the ASCII format. As always, if anyone has any comments regarding the format or the story, please feel free to write. I want to thank everyone who has written for your kind words of encouragement and appreciation. I'm very glad that you've been enjoying the story.
And now, without further ado:
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There was a little hemming and hawing as Ron cleared his throat, took another sip of his Sambuca and studied the floor as he shifted uncomfortably in his chair. He had the awkward look of a child who was on the hot seat for some transgression.
“Well?” I said, expectantly. “Don’t keep us in suspense.”
“Yeah,” Jon said, taking another swallow of the syrupy fire in his glass. “You’re among friends here. What’s on your mind?”
“Well….it’s just that….,” Ron began, trying to find the right words. We waited as patiently as we could. “….You guys have been really great to me….”
“Dude, it’s no probl…,” Jon interjected.
“Wait,” Ron said with a touch of quiet emphasis. “Lemme finish,” he asked.
“Sorry, man. Go on.”
“You guys have been really great to me, like not many people have been….” he continued.
I looked at Jon with a raised eyebrow that Ron didn’t see because he was addressing this little speech to the floor. Jon replied with a discreet shrug and a slight shake of his head. He didn’t know what Ron was going on about, either, but it was taking a lot of Ron’s strength to push these reluctant words out of his mouth.
“…..and I appreciate it, I really do,” he said, his voice becoming noticeably coarser. “But I think I’m feeling something here that I…..I don’t know what to do about,” he continued, stiffening his spine with a small jolt of Sambuca. Jon quietly poured him a splash more.
Looking up only once before returning his gaze to the floor, Ron continued. “I just…..it’s…..,” he stammered.
Ron’s train of thought appeared to be quickly derailing. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t stand to see him suffer like this and presumed to pull the words out of his mouth.
“Ron,” I said quietly, leaning in towards him, his eyes darting up to meet mine. “If you’re trying to tell us you’re gay, it’s not a problem,” I said, pausing a little for effect. “So are we,” I said, letting my index finger dart back and forth between Jon and me.
Ron paused for a long moment, taking in the full measure of what I’d just said before he spoke. “I kinda thought so….but… what I was trying to tell you is that I’m straight,” he said quietly, his eyes glancing quickly over to Jon before dropping back to the floor again.
My eyes widened; this was really not what I was expecting and, like a fool, I’d just shown all of our cards. I felt like a total idiot. Jon coughed from the surprise.
“Nice going, Captain ESP,” he said, throwing one of the extra fortune cookies at me. It ricocheted of my ear before breaking up on the floor.
“Chill out,” I said to Jon, scowling. I was quickly trying to run everything over in my mind that Ron had just said and study his body language. He now knew we’re gay and he’s not getting all fear-threat defensive. He seems embarrassed for not telling us he’s straight. This was certainly a switch. There was one of those pregnant pauses, each of us wondering who was going to speak first. The odd popping of one of the candlewicks snapped me out of my trance.
“So when did you first suspect we were gay,” I asked, leaning over on my elbow, trying to be nonchalant.
“Well, I didn’t put it together until later, but it was after we introduced ourselves and got our names all straight and I realized your were wearing Jon’s football jersey,” he explained. “I figured there was more there than just a couple of buddies out for burgers, you know?”
“Hmm,” I said. “But what about the vibes I was getting when you’d bring us the beers without carding us ‘n like that?”
“I dunno about your vibes,” he said. “You just seemed like likeable guys and you didn’t impress me as troublemakers, so I cut you some slack.”
“Hmmm,” I said again, nodding at his explanation. I really felt like a fucking jerk.
Except for beaning me with the fortune cookie, Jon had been quiet, not quite knowing what to say. “But you’re not just, like, completely repulsed by us now that you know for sure,” Jon asked.
“Hell, no,” Ron said immediately and emphatically. “Absolutely not. I’m not a homophobe. Never have been. A person’s private life is his own; it’s nobody else’s business, and like I said…..I mean, you guys are great. You’ve been better to me than my own family, such as it is. I wish there were more people like you guys.”
“Stop it,” I said to Ron. “Yer gonna give Jon a swelled head…..and I’m talkin’ about the one with the blond hair.” That did it. The tension hanging there in the air was dispelled as we broke into laughter. Even Jon laughed, thankfully. Our smiles were starting to return.
Jon was the first one to stand. “C’mon, guys,” he said extending his arms. “I know it’s dorky but it’s time for a group hug.” We didn’t argue, we just followed Jon’s lead and formed briefly into a backslapping kind of circle. Ron’s tension was ebbing away. That’s one feeling I was certain was right. My embarrassment, however, was still hanging around like the smell of burnt toast.
“Now that that’s over with, can I get my massage now?” Jon asked unabashedly.
“Sure,” Ron began. “If you don’t mind taking your shirt off in front of a straight guy,” he grinned.
“Tha’s never been one of my problems,” Jon slurred a little as he peeled away his shirt, revealing that wonderful, smooth chest of his. I couldn’t help noticing that Ron seemed to be admiring it as much as I was.
“C’mon and lay down on the cushions,” Ron said. I watched nervously as Jon navigated carefully over to the cushions. All the liquor he’d drunk was definitely starting to catch up with him but he was trying not to show it. “What’d we do with the stuff you got?”
“It’s here,” I said, moving to a side counter. “Which do you want?”
“Lemme try the rubbing alcohol.” I tossed him the plastic bottle, which he snagged easily with his left hand.
Jon closed his eyes and let his arms rest out in front of him, unfurling his lats. Ron knelt on Jon’s backside, straddling him to get the best positioning for his massage. I brought over more candles, trying to give them as much light as I could, and then plopped into a chair next to Jon’s head. Ron poured just a small amount into his palm, like he was dribbling out after shave, and rubbed his hands together. Jon sighed as Ron firmly ran his hands up and down Jon’s back.
“Oooooooooh, God, that feels good,” he said, his words slurring.
“Careful he doesn’t melt,” I joked. Ron smiled, seemingly pleased that Jon was enjoying it.
Ron slowly worked his hands around, then ran them over Jon’s lats, causing him to jump.
“Whoa!” Jon yelped, pulling in his elbows in defense.
“Oh, I forgot to tell you: He’s ticklish,” I said, grinning.
“Sorry, man,” Ron said.
“No prob,” Jon said. His eyes were starting to turn into slits. I gave it another half hour, forty-five minutes, tops, before he was in La-la-Land and I’d have to carry him upstairs. Jon resumed his position and I handed Ron his glass for another sip before continuing. He drained half of it and sucked in air from the burn and bite as it slid down his throat. He shook his head as a shiver went through his body from the jolt.
“You might wanna go easy on that stuff yerself, guy,” I cautioned.
“Thanks, I’m okay,” he said, handing me back the glass and pouring a dab more of the alcohol in his hands and returned to Jon’s back.
“Nice job,” he said to Jon.
“On what?” Jon mumbled, slurring as he started his slow descent into sleep.
“Your back,” Ron said. “You must work out twice a day from the looks of it,” he continued, a slight chuckle in his voice as his hands ran downwards to Jon’s narrow waist where he began to work more with his thumbs, slowly and firmly. I knew exactly what Jon was feeling and I, oddly, smiled with a dash of envy. “You’ve got a few knots, here and there, but it’s not too bad.”
Jon immediately groaned from the new sensation, then he sighed and burrowed into the cushions a little more. He was enjoying himself immensely. Personally, I was amazed that he could feel it very much what with all he’d drunk, but, hey, he was happy; that’s all that mattered. I was positive that I’d have to pour him into bed, though. I hoped Ron wouldn’t mind helping me. Jon was solid and heavier than he looked. I also found it interesting to watch Ron’s reactions to Jon’s reactions. Ron seemed to be enjoying himself damned near as much as Jon.
Ron continued for almost a half hour in the silence of the room, broken only intermittently by Jon’s groans and sighs. Finally, Jon spoke, “You’re staying tonight, right?” he mumble-slurred from the midst of his near trance state. “Brad, tell him he’s staying tonight,” he said, slowly jerking his thumb back in Ron’s direction.
“I…..wouldn’t want to be a pest,” Ron said, looking back and forth between us.
“No, he’s right,” I said. “You’ve had more than your fair share to drink tonight, too, although not as much as SOME people,” I said only half joking as I leaned down closer to Jon’s ear. He just waved me away without looking. “If you think we’re gonna let you out on the road, yer crazy. You can crash in that room next to ours where you changed.”
“I am feelin’ kinda wasted,” Ron slowly began to agree. “You’re sure it’s no trouble.”
“Positive,” I said. “We’re not taking ‘no’ for an answer.”
“Ditto,” Jon mumbled from the floor.
“Cool!” Ron said. “Thanks guys, I appreciate it.”
“Excellent,” Jon murmured.
“Are you still awake,” I asked, leaning down towards Jon.
“No,” he replied softly. Ron and I couldn’t help but smile.
“C’mon, big boy, it’s time for beddy-bye,” I said, pushing myself out of the overstuffed chair. “Ron, could you help me with him? I think the liquor’s finally taken hold.”
“Sure, no prob,” he said as we started to pick Jon up by his shoulders.
“I can walk!” Jon protested. He started to shrug us off and take a step but couldn’t find his footing and fell sideways into the chair.
“Yeah…right,” I said. “C’mon, Jon, let us help you.” He was in the middle of trying to pick himself up and, in a brief, very brief, moment of clarity, realized that his body was not going to obey his commands because it couldn’t understand what his Scotch and Sambuca soaked brain was trying to tell it.
“Okay,” he acquiesced, pursing his lips and holding up his arms, which we took. He was clearly unhappy with himself for getting this drunk and was glad to have friends to help him out. “Ron,” he slurred. “I’m really sorry ‘bout this, man. I really apologize. I…..”
Jon continued his apologies, more like rambled, really, as we pulled his arms up around our shoulders and put steadying hands around his waist. I grabbed the flashlight on the counter. Ron patted him reassuringly on the stomach, giving it a rub. “Don’t worry about it, Jon. It’s okay; you didn’t insult me or anything.” Jon nodded, his head drooping a little.
Foot by foot, step by step, we juggled Jon up the stairs and into bed. “Thanks, man,” I said. “That woulda been more than a chore without your help….thanks,” I said as I patted Ron on the shoulder. “I’ll take it from here. I just hope he doesn’t throw up.”
“No, I don’t think he’s that far gone. He’ll probably pass out in a couple of minutes, but I think he’ll be okay,” Ron said. “I hope you got plenty of aspirin, though….he’s gonna need it big time. And save some for me, too,” I nodded in agreement, smirking…we were all gonna need some. “Well, I’ll see ya in the morning, and thanks again,” he said.
“No problem,” I said, clapping him on the shoulder again. Ron playfully punched my shoulder in that way of his and was turning to go back to his room when Jon called out.
“Hey, Ron? C’mere for a second, will ya….,” Jon called, weakly waving Ron back to his side.
“What?” Ron asked as he sat on the edge of the bed wearing a quizzical expression and looked into Jon’s bleary eyes.
“I really wanna thank you….,” Jon began, his words slurring. “….for that eeeeeeeeexcellent massage.” Ron opened his mouth to respond just as Jon pulled himself up slowly with his remaining strength, his abs straining, and placed his hand around the back of Ron’s neck, pulling him into a deep, open-mouth kiss. Ron froze; he was stunned. He obviously didn’t have the faintest idea of what to do and as near as I can think, his brain must’ve gone on overload for just a split second before it told him to back away. I sprang to his side and helped gently peel him free. Jon began a slow collapse back down on to the bed.
“You’re welcome,” Ron said, wide-eyed, wiping his mouth with his palm, his expression more one of surprise than anger.
“Ron, I’m sorry,” I said, begging forgiveness. “He’s wasted, man; he didn’t know what he was doing.”
“It’s not a problem, Brad,” he said. “Don’t worry about it.” I could tell by the look in his eyes that he meant what he said. “I’ll…see you in the morning,” he said, not knowing what else to say at that awkward moment, and turned for his room.
“G’night,” I called faintly after him.
I went back downstairs to make sure all the candles were out. I really hoped they got the power back on soon. The rain and not having electricity was really getting on my nerves. Back upstairs, I found Jon dead asleep, his breathing deep, regular and noisy. I stripped his remaining clothes off and wrangled him into what I hoped was a comfortable enough position, then stripped my own clothes and got in after him. I pushed him on his side and spooned in behind him, slowly, lovingly running my hand up and down his side for a while as I smiled through my own glassy eyes at the back of his blond head. “Well, you’ve had a helluva day, huh, babe?” I whispered, my only reply was Jon’s deep breathing. I turned over and scrunched up the cool pillows underneath my head and tucked my backside next to his. The feel of his tight butt pressing against mine was just wonderful and I felt good despite the liquor and the night’s revelations. I pulled the covers up around my neck; it wasn’t long before I passed out, too.
After doing the morning bathroom thing, I checked up on Jon. Yep, he was still alive. He hadn’t moved a muscle from the night before and was still sawing some serious timber. I was half surprised that he hadn’t woken me up. “At least ya didn’t poison yourself,” I mumbled at him. My head was still swimming around and I popped a couple of extra-strength aspirin and downed a couple of glasses of water to help ease the dull ache. Judging by how I felt, I was pretty certain that Jon was going to be in a very sorry state when he finally woke up. I was tempted to wake him up right then and there, just so he’d experience the full wrath of his actions, but I listened to the better angels of my nature and let him sleep. What can I say? He always looked so damned cute when he was asleep….even when he was sleeping it off. The Imp in me was also giving strong consideration to putting his hand in a bowl of warm water….you know….to see if that old rumor is true. My better angels whispered to me again and I thought, no, that’d be way too mean of me, to say nothing of the fact that it was my bed, too.
I did a quick shower and shave and pulled on some clothes that I’m pretty sure were clean. At least they didn’t smell like day old liquor and sweat. God, what an awful mixture that is! I shuffled my way to the kitchen and was overjoyed to see that Saint Ron had figured out how that Coffee Manufacturing and Production System thing worked.
“God bless and keep you, my son,” I said as I got down a cup and poured more than a couple of teaspoons of sugar in it.
“Mornin’,” he smiled back, sipping at his coffee.
The immediate rush of the caffeine was a godsend and I groaned in satisfaction as it entered my bloodstream, starting to push the remaining traces of alcohol out of my system. I could almost feel the microscopic beads of it forming on my skin. I took a couple more sips, letting the aroma clear my nose as the hot liquid did the same for my scratchy throat. “How’d you sleep?” I asked.
“Pretty good,” he said brightly. “How ‘bout you?”
“I’ve had better nights,” I said, swallowing some more of Columbia’s magical, dark elixir. “I woke up next to a buzz saw; did you hear him?”
“No, I didn’t hear anything. This house must be pretty solid,” he noted. “I’ll tell you what, though….I see what you mean about somethin’ not bein’ right about this house.”
“Oh? What happened? You see somethin’?” I asked, my interest aroused as I took another draw from my cup.
“No, I didn’t see anything,” he started. “….but when I went back to my room, I had that weird feelin’ like someone was watchin’ me, you know?”
“Oh….yeah,” I chuckled. “I know. Believe me. I know.”
“Even this morning when I came down to get the coffee started, I felt it. Weird. Alicia’s gonna have a field day in this place, I can see that right now,” he said. “Of course, it could be one of those power-of-suggestion kinda things.”
“ Doubt that,” I said. It was then that we heard a faint moaning and shuffling coming from the direction of the Dining Room. Ron and I just looked at each other and tried not to laugh. I rolled my eyes, as Jon shuffled into the kitchen, scratching his head, yawning and generally looking like he’d just crawled out of his own coffin. I was glad to see that he’d at least had the presence of mind to pull on his robe and some briefs.
“Speaking of apparitions,” I gibed. Ron couldn’t keep from snickering a little.
“Somebody just shoot me….,” he droned in a deep, raspy, I-drank-way-too-much kind of morning voice. “….and then tell me there’s coffee.”
“Isn’t there always coffee,” I asked with a note of sarcasm but accompanied by a smile.
“Not so loud!” Jon exclaimed, holding a hand to his ear. “My head feels like the inside of a kettledrum.”
“I guess so!” Ron said, trying to be a little more quiet. “You put away a good amount last night.”
“Yeah,” I chimed in, handing him his coffee with a ton of extra sugar, “…you look like two miles wortha bad road, guy.”
“Thanks, Brad… you’re all charm and grace.” Jon said, first sipping, then grimacing at the overly sweet mixture. “Jesus… you like a little coffee in your sugar, or what?!”
“Just drink it,” I admonished. “It might help some. Did you get some aspirin?”
Jon nodded as he took a longer sip of my steamy mixture, “Yeah, and a handful of vitamins, too. Man, I feel awful,” he said, rubbing his eyes and forehead. “And of all the mornings the sun had to come out blazing, it had to be this one,” he continued, pointing towards the shortening shadows in the backyard.
“Well, let that be a lesson to ya,” I said.
“Yeah, yeah,” he grudgingly agreed.
“Lemme fix us some breakfast. What do we have to work with around here?” Ron offered, clapping his hands for emphasis, causing Jon to flinch. “Oh, sorry, man; I forgot,” he said, putting an apologetic hand on Jon’s shoulder.
“Still a little tender, are we?” I asked, grinning dryly. He only looked at me sheepishly and nodded.
Not being much to speak of in the kitchen, myself, I just showed Ron where everything was and turned him loose. Fortunately, he did have some idea of what he was doing and started fixing a truckload of pancakes and bacon, juice and muffins.
“Thanks, Ron; this is really great of you,” Jon noted, sharing with us his first smile of the morning as Ron set the food down in front of us.
“Yeah, well, you never know,” he said. “I kinda had to learn for myself after mom died a couple of years ago.”
“Oh, Ron,” I started. “I am so sorry to hear that!”
“Man, that’s gotta be rough, I’m sorry” Jon said.
“Hey, it’s okay,” he continued as we ate; voraciously, I might add. He’d done a more than passable job with breakfast. “After mom passed on I moved out ‘cuz my father and I never saw eye to eye on anything…..hey,” he paused. “I’m sorry. That’s more info than what you wanted, I’m sure.”
It was enough, though, I thought. It gave me a little more insight into him and what these odd vibes I’d gotten from him were about.
“Don’t worry about it,” Jon said, mustering his empathy. “Like we said, you’re among friends.” Ron thanked us with a nod and a smile and we didn’t press the issue farther. He just ate quietly for a while. We all ate quietly for a while. Fortunately, breakfast was sliding down very easily and was helping put a dent in Jon’s aches and pains.
“So’re you workin’ today,” I asked.
“Yeah, I’ve only got the lunch shift today and tomorrow, though,” he said.
“What time you get off,” I asked.
“Four, when the dinner crew starts showing up.”
“Cool,” Jon said. “C’mon back, then.”
“And bring a change of clothes with you,” I joined in. “I’ll go get the tanks refilled and we can do some more diving.”
“Oh, excellent!” he exclaimed. “It’s no trouble?”
“None,” I said.
“Yeah,” Jon said, it’d be nice to have someone to dive with who isn’t so preachy,” he grinned.
“Who’s preachy?” I asked indignantly. Jon laughed that laugh and tried sticking his finger in my ear, trying to show he was kidding around. I shied away, putting up my arm. I knew I’d been had. Ron just smiled, he still wasn’t used to our quirks yet.
“Glad to see your sense of humor’s comin’ back,” I noted. “Stupid, though it is,” I added, smiling back at him, tongue in cheek.
“I still feel really ‘bleeeeeeh’, though,” Jon said, mimicking an unmistakably regurgitative sound.
“Just don’t do it while we’re eating, OK? That’s all I ask. I tell ya, last night, I would not have been surprised to see the car come shooting out of your mouth,” I said.
“Yeah, you were pretty fucked up, man.” Ron agreed, nodding as he wolfed down some more bacon.
“Yeah…,” Jon began, mindlessly stirring a piece of bacon around in the small pool of syrup on his plate, having a little difficulty with the eye contact thing. “….I really made a spectacle of myself, huh?”
“It wasn’t one of yer better performances,” I chided. “Could we, like, please not do that again, babe?” I continued, rubbing my hand along his bare forearm. Small though it was, it was the first overt sign of affection I’d displayed towards Jon in front of Ron. I guess I was getting used to him, not caring about it now that he knew.
Jon nodded, “Just remind me of it if I do it again, will ya?”
“Oh, geez! I gotta hit it! I’m gonna be late for work!” Ron exclaimed as he jumped up, looking at his watch. He dashed upstairs to grab his bag.
“Did we sleep THAT late?!” Jon asked. “What time is it anyway? Where’s my watch?” Jon looked around and spotted it on the far side of the island and reached across me to snag it. It was then that he realized that he shouldn’t have just jumped into the pool yesterday with it on. “Aw, hell! What’s up with this thing?” he asked, looking at the cloud of condensation that had formed on the inside of the crystal. “Great,” he said, clearly pissed, tossing it back onto the counter. “I guess that’s ruined now.”
“Well, look at the bright side,” I began. “It’ll give you a chance to get yourself a cool dive watch to go with your cool dive knife,” I chirped, mimicking his own voice.
“Oh, yeah,” he brightened. “Good point.” We heard Ron clattering down the stairs and we got up to see him off.
“Hey, thanks again, guys,” he said as we all shook hands, meandering out onto the front porch as we said our goodbyes. “See ya this afternoon, right?”
“Absolutely,” I said. “I’ll have everything ready for ya.”
“Looking forward to it. And Ron?” Jon began, holding his hands up plaintively, “Again….I’m really sorry about last night….especially about….you know….the, uh….the thing upstairs…,”,” he said with the greatest of sincerity, jerking his thumb back towards the stairs.
“Don’t worry ‘bout it, Jon. Like I said, it’s not a problem,” Ron said, then pausing. “Besides, to be honest….I thought you tasted pretty good.” He winked and dashed off to his beaten up car, leaving Jon and I standing, hands on hips, arms crossed, puzzled by that last remark. We waved as he made his way down the drive. When he disappeared over the rise, we went back in, puzzling to ourselves.
“I gotta wonder if you might not be right after all,” Jon said, pointing in the direction that Ron had just driven off.
I shrugged. “I didn’t think I was wrong about that. We’ll see what happens.”
Jon decided to see if he could get another hour or so worth of sleep to try to shake off that wooziness he was still feeling. I decided to take advantage and go get the tanks refilled and run an errand or two.
Thank God the weathermen are wrong now and then. It looked like it was shaping up to be a really nice day.
I loaded the spent tanks into the back of the Land Rover and set off to Dave’s. While I was there, I rented an extra regulator and got an extra set of fins and a mask so all three of us could dive at the same time. I know it was a bit extravagant of me but Ron was a nice guy and I sensed that he just didn’t have the means for it himself. Besides, I owed him for the massage; my back felt fabulous.
“You openin’ up a dive school on the side?” Dave asked, smiling.
“Startin’ to feel like it,” I said.
I remembered, too, that I’d told Jon I’d lost my dive knife. I knew exactly where mine was but I figured I’d better bite the bullet and get another one so I wouldn’t have a lot of explaining to do about it. I opted for a setup exactly like Jon’s. I still thought it was a little pricey but it was such a cool knife and I could always keep the other as a spare.
Back at the house, I got everything stowed away in the carriage house and went to check on Jon. He was still asleep, blissfully sawing wood. He must’ve really been torn up by all he drank last night to sleep as long as this, even by his standards. I sat down in the chair opposite the bed and just stared at him for a few minutes. Admiring his beauty, feeling the quiet, peaceful energy coming from him as he lay curled in repose. “Dear Lord, thank you for him,” I said to myself.
It was then that it really did hit home to me as I drank him in. There was nobody on the planet that I wanted more and wanted more to be with than Jon. I know that I can be more than a bit of a window shopper, but as I watched him lying there, childlike, I wanted nothing more than to love him and…..I dunno…..protect him. That sounds odd, I know, but it’s the only word I can think of to fit what I was feeling. I wanted very much for Jon to love me, too, but most of all, I wanted his respect. I respected the hell out of him and I hoped he felt the same way about me. I promised myself right then that I would do nothing, to the best of my ability, to ever give him reason to disrespect me. Not Ron, not anybody was going to come between us, not by my doing.
I glanced at my watch. One-thirty. I decided that if he wasn’t up soon, I was going to wake him up….. in a special way shared by special brothers, of course. Neither of us had had contact yesterday and tensions were beginning to rise, at least with me. I was fairly certain that Jon felt the same, or would, if he’d just wake up. What a rack-hound. I remembered that we’d never finished watching our little home movie from the other day. Not that I needed any exterior stimulus to get me in the mood, but I thought it’d be entertaining to watch. I went downstairs, snagged some water out of the fridge and queued it up.