“I see you’re watching the teevee,” Eugene said. It had taken a while for him to think of the proper opening line. Inquisitive, open ended, observant, interested, slightly probing, obviously pertinent, most likely mutual. And still, not quite a question. Great work, Eugene, you nailed this one. A whopper. Bang. Pop. Hello fence and good-bye. So long park. He did his best not to smile too wide lest he show off just how confident he was feeling inside. No sense letting the victory cat out of the bag just yet. No sir. He could stroke off to that feeling a little bit later, dip into his stash of championship award lotion and let the right hand of man full of confidence do the rest. It had only taken him one full day and two hours to come up with his ultimate opening line. Most of it spent before the mirrors. First the bathroom: groin up, brainstorming, getting the facial expressions right. Bedroom: total body, working that body language hard. Oomph, yah. That’s it. Here I am, right here, check it out. All of it. Inside and out. Another solid chunk of time getting his wardrobe sorted out. Settled, so successfully he knew, on Bermuda shorts, flip-flops, t-shirt with ‘jazz music’ silk-screened so seductively over the awesome silhouette of the tropical sunset on it. Everything about him said warm sensual intelligent and romantic breezes on offer. Of course now he was regretting not wearing the visor. To imply that he had been to Six Flags. Which of course he was planning on doing. Soon. There was that confidence again. A little heat rode with a bit of extra blood to his peepee place. Oh man, if he had actually been to Six Flags and could talk more knowledgeably about it than even the brochures allowed, oh man. Still, no one had to know, and the brochure was one of the most informative he had read. In fact, now that he thought about it, it may be the most informative one in his whole collection. But, was he going to include the pamphlets in this? Because the one with the instructions on what to do if a baby sticks a bean or Lego or bullet up its nose, while being diagram heavy and text lite, was pretty darn informative. He decided to keep the brochures and pamphlets separate for the time being. Wouldn’t it be something if Six Flags had a brochure and pamphlet themed ride. Oh man, wouldn’t that be a blast. He envisioned himself at Six Flags, having just conquered the unconquerable roller-coaster for like the fifth time that morning, and was just strutting off to grab a chocolate milk when a hysterical mother bursts from the crowd with a baby three shades of beet. People are screaming, running in all directions, fainting. Pure panic. But Eugene, halts her calmly, and everyone just knows. They all just stop. And watch. And he removes the nasal blockage, which turns out to be an Africanized Bee, and the baby lives. Multiple crises averted. And the mother, whose husband just happens to be the president of NASA, collapses right there at his feet, practically making love to them. Another bit of hot flow to the peepee place caused him to shift his stance a bit, to shade the steeple from the congregation as they say. Anyways, she’s all over him, but he’s too awesome for that. He needs no thanks, but still, she owes him the life of her only child. And when she calls her husband at his corner office on the top floor of NASA, well, the next thing Eugene knows is Miss Universe is kissing him goodbye and the world is watching him on the teevee as he waves so long and steps into the rocket ship that is going to make him the first man in the history of humanity to find the aliens. Because the aliens are super serious and deadly and have no knowledge of comedy it will be up to Eugene to quite literally get them out of their shells. Or rather what was it the science expert called it on the teevee? Exo-something or other. Anyways, he’s being counted on to bring his best material, which of course no one needed to tell him, because all his material is grade A. Which still sticks him a bit in his craw because Missus Cutterbridge never thought so, time and again literally grading it D or less, which was just so stupid, because obviously she was joke blind or deaf or whatever the science expert would call it. Stupid is what Eugene always, and still, did. Anyways, she never got it, but now, here was Eugene on the far side of the cosmos letting his premium boffola stave off the imminent threat of interstellar war and obviously Missus Cutterbridge was back home on earth watching it all unfold on her teevee and realizing just how stupid she had been to give Eugene those D’s and F’s and letters to take home to be signed by his parents. In fact, right then she called the commissioner of education himself and had him change all Eugene’s grades to A+’s across the board. And now that Eugene had the marks, he was easily accepted into the teevee making program at the community college that had so impersonally informed him that he was not welcome there, even though teevee was something Eugene knew all about, more probably than anyone except maybe some of the people on the teevee who he counted as equals, co-conspirators even, with whom he could talk so casually and knowledgeably and matter-of-factly about what shows were on what channel and when and what happened last time on the show and what probably might happen next show and that he, Eugene, for sure probably knew already what was going to happen but don’t worry he wasn’t going to ruin it for you unless you begged him and even then maybe not because even though his superior knowledge of what was going to happen on the teevee was making his peepee place just boil with blood he knew that people loved surprises including Eugene himself which made it tough being so in the know about all that was going on on the teevee—
“What’s that?” She said, staring the through the space between the door and the jamb offered by the chain.
“I see you’re watching the teevee,” Eugene said. Peering in by her, seeing the screen glow in. In the background, the sound low but not low enough he couldn’t hear it in his apartment even. He knew the show. It was a good one. As soon as he could he’d mention that he knew about it and—
“Wha—oh, yeah, no, I’m not really,” she said, “I don’t really go for television. It’s just to have something on in the background.”
“You don’t g-g-go for the tee-tee-teevee?” He gaped, his mind swirling about trying to grasp this deep unfathomable development.
“No,” she said, “I don’t enjoy television. It’s kind of mindless, really. So can I help you with something?”
Eugene spun on his heel and stalked off. His flip-flop caught in the rough carpet in the hall and he stumbled, stubbing his toe. It stung up his leg and his peepee place curled up and back into flaccid hibernation. His shins were cold. His mind was grey. All that time, wasted. Thank God he hadn’t worn the visor. She didn’t deserve it. And to think he was going to offer her his knowledge and sensuality and pamphlets.
This would never happen on the teevee.