tried to eat the safe banana (thefourthvine) wrote,
tried to eat the safe banana

165: Travel Is Education and Experience

Yesterday afternoon, I had a nurse demonstrate for me how to take something up the ass. Okay, no. What she was actually demonstrating was how to get your partner to give you a shot in the butt ("Go for the meatiest part!" she said cheerfully. I badly wanted to say, "Have you seen my ass? There's no meat shortage there!"), but she bent over in a position that is, shall we say, extremely familiar to me (and to every slash writer or reader on this earth) from other contexts, grabbed the desk firmly with both hands, and said, "Okay. So you say, 'One, two, three, BAM!' And right then he sticks it in you. On 'BAM!'"

I tried to be mature about it. I really did. But I disgraced myself badly, to the point where I had to put my head down on her desk because I was laughing so hard I was light-headed. It was whole minutes before I could breathe well enough to tell her the name of my pharmacy. And for the entire time, she stood there, smiling like someone who totally does not get the joke. It's a shot, she seemed to be thinking. Why is this woman laughing so hard? Shots aren't funny.

I don't think they like me very much at that medical office, and frankly, I really understand why. We're just not compatible. After I recovered - to the extent you can recover from something like that - she said, "You know, you're lucky. Some people, they have to do it for themselves. It's a lot harder to get the angle right if you don't have a partner." Now, I totally take her point - I am lucky that I have someone else to stick things in me and get the angle right. It's what life partners are for! But, but, okay. I can't be the only person ever to hear that and not be thinking about medicine, can I?

Except I'm afraid I actually am, at least at that office. Like I said, we're not compatible. Mostly because I'm apparently 12, whereas they seem to be set up to treat actual grown-ups, not incurably low-minded people who are just faking this adulthood thing.

Anyway. Obviously my reaction to this incident is going to be to post some recs. (My other reaction, sadly, is going around the house saying, "One, two, three, BAM!" to Best Beloved. Over and over. I cannot help myself. In my defense, Best Beloved is saying it right back to me. Maturity is thin on the ground at Chez TFV.) What choice do I have? None. But, in an attempt to ascend to greater grown-up-ness, I am not going to make the theme of this set "bending over a desk and taking it up the ass." No. Really. Not.

Instead, I am going with travel. See how grown up I am?

Yeah, I know. I'm fooling no one. On with the set.

The One That Made Me Sniffly About a College Football Play Made by People Who Appear to Be Wearing Gold Lame Headgear. I'm Usually a Bit More Stable Than That.* Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead, by Speranza, aka cesperanza. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

How can I not have recommended this story already? Oh, right, because I just naturally assumed that everyone with any kind of sense and even a vaguely reliable internet connection had read it already. But it has come to my attention that there is a person out there who has not read it, and I cannot in good conscience rest until I have done my part to rectify that. It would be against the Recommender's Code. (Yes, there is a Recommender's Code of Ethics. The first item is "Don't let recommending make you crazy," but the second is, "If someone, somewhere, has missed out on a good story, it is ALL YOUR FAULT." Recommenders are deeply conflicted people with angst and emo and suchlike coming out our (meaty and suitable for poking with a sharp stick) butts, and never let anyone tell you otherwise.)

So. Vacationing on earth - fun for the whole extra-terrestrial family! Except for how it is totally not fun for anyone currently living in Atlantis, because let's face it, they all left the planet for a reason, and that reason wasn't, "To get some really good stories to tell the kiddos at night as we roast marshmallows over the campfire." And it's not like a year in Atlantis makes you more suitable for life on earth. So this story takes that old theme - the stranger in a once-familiar land - and gives it a lovely, Pegasus Galaxy twist. And adds gay sex. But most of all, it adds a jersey so meaningful that the first time I read this, I seriously started searching the internets for such a shirt. If I'd managed to find one, I'd have bought it, people, and I still want one, and it's only through steadfastly reciting "I have no need for a football shirt" that I have managed to resist the temptation thus far.

Basically, I love this story so much it made me want a souvenir t-shirt. I don't usually want souvenirs from stories. (I don't even usually want souvenirs from trips, although I do have a strange desire to buy unfortunate hats while away from home. I resist this. Hats that seem like a good idea on vacation will be too humiliating even to give to Goodwill when sanity returns.)

And if that doesn't tempt you to read it - Souvenir! T-shirt! - well, I just don't know what to do for you. (But I'll still try to think of something. The third entry in the RCoE is "Never give up, never surrender," and I want to be an ethical recommender. I really do.)

The One That Uses Talking Heads Song Lyrics. Really. And Is Also Brilliant. I Bet You Didn't Think That Was Even Possible. One for the Road, by katallison. Highlander, Duncan MacLeod/Methos. (Um, Highlander fans, if you're out there - does Methos actually have a given name, or a family name, or whichever name Methos isn't? Or was he born before that new-fangled multiple names malarkey?) Warning: Animal harm. If you need to avoid it - well, I never read the segment that mentions a "Deer Crossing" sign, and you don't have to, either.

So. Te recommended this story to me, and she said it strongly influenced her characterization of Methos. I can, um, see why. It basically created mine; I had no conception of Methos as a character before I read this. And now I really, really do. (By the way, if you haven't seen Highlander, no problem. Here's what you need to know to get this story: Methos is immortal! He's really old! MacLeod is also immortal! But not as old! There, now you're set. Everything else you need, Kat will give you. Oh, wait - there's also some funny business with swords. Okay, now you're totally set.) As soon as I read this, I knew this was always going to be the Methos in my head, and not just because Kat is worryingly good at getting into the head of an immortal who has been around since, you know, the dawn of time. (Has anyone checked Kat to make sure she's aging? I'm just saying. I have suspicions, people.) Not even because Kat is so good at writing. (And, now I think of it, isn't that also kind of suspicious? I mean, if she's had several centuries to hone her craft, that would make so much sense.)

No, it's because - okay. We've all read Borges, right? (If you haven't, oh my god, don't tell me. Just go and purchase all his short fiction immediately. If you haven't read Borges, how do you even know for sure that you're alive?) This story makes me think of "Funes el memorioso"/"Funes the Memorious," where Borges writes, "We live by leaving behind." In that story, someone who can't forget essentially can't live, because he can't move on. And I'm not going to sink into literary analysis - really really not, for the Recommenders Code of Ethics part eight states, "Don't get all literary if you can help it, but don't, like, use the word 'rediculous,' either" - but. Well. I'm just saying. The Methos of this story - the Methos in my head, in other words - would totally get Funes, and furthermore he'd probably think Funes had the worst curse man has ever known.

So, what is this story about? Methos on a road trip. And it's got a lot of things I don't generally like in a story: first person, an entirely mental narrative, the thing I warned for up there, certain, um, themes. (And I adore Kat and her writing, but oh how she hits those themes. There's a line in this story about love being a trap, the kind of trap that kills you unless you get out, and the first time I read this, I said, "Oh, Kat." Because she just encapsulated, perfectly, the thing she's said in so many stories, you know?) But it doesn't matter, none of that matters, because this is one of the most right character pieces I've ever read. Just - read it, okay?

The One That Will Give You an Inexplicable Nostalgia for Your Days Running Train Cons and Working on a Chain Gang, Which Is Strange, Given That You Never Actually Did Either. (And Aren't You Glad?) The Buried Treasure Racket, by Dorinda. The Sting, Henry Gondorff/Johnny Hooker.

I expect you've all The Sting. If not, my god, why? What is wrong with you? It's got a caper, con men, and the slashiest on-screen pairing since - well, basically, since ever and ever amen. There's sparkling dialog! There's period clothing! There's con men in love! What else do you need? Okay, Ms. Hard-to-Please, try this: Paul Newman and Robert Redford are in a class by themselves when it comes to not-entirely-subtextual sexual chemistry. And, yes, I'm going to repeat the story, since it is my favorite - Newman's wife once said that if he ever left her, it'd be for Redford. (RPSers, why aren't you already on this? It would do my heart good to know Newman/Redford was out there. In volume. There's newford - thanks, giglet, for pointing that one out - but there should be lots of this stuff, people.)

So. Here is your program for your immediate future:
  • If you have already seen The Sting, proceed directly to this story. Read it. Revel in it. (If you decide to print it out so you can roll around in it, know that I understand and am entirely supportive of your lifestyle choice, but I will not sympathize with any paper cuts you might incur; those are just the risks you take when you enjoy great fiction.)

  • If you haven't seen the movie, rent it, borrow it, buy it, steal it from your best friend, whatever. I don't care what you have to do. Watch it. Be slightly stunned at the slash coming off the screen in waves. Then read this story, and make happy squeaking noises as you do. (Entry # 6 in the RCoE: "If you can communicate with dolphins using just the power of your squee, you're doing it right.")
Whichever course you take, I think you'll find that this is the only acceptable sequel that movie could ever have. I mean, I do think there was some kind of actual, filmed sequel to this, yes. I would wager it sucked, because it wasn't this, and this - this is what actually happened after the movie ended. I truly believe that.

elynross got this for Yuletide 2006 - and I think we can all agree she richly deserved it - and my heart just about exploded when I read it. This is one of the stories I've been dreaming of since the day I found out about slash fandom. I can say no more.

The One That Features Maybe the Best Non-Conversation About Incriminating Underwear That I Personally Have Ever Read. And, Wow - I Think Only Sorkin Characters Could Even Have a Non-Conversation About Incriminating Underwear. Scenes from a Route, by Epigone, aka likethesun2. Sports Night, and I consider this gen, but it's labeled as having Casey/Dan undertones, so, really, anything you like.

I am having a Sports Night renaissance. It's official. Admittedly, this is more because suddenly there are, thanks to sn_playbook and csc_memoand the efforts of many crazed Muskrat Jamboreers, Sports Night stories available for me to read and link to than because I've suddenly fallen back in love with Sports Night. Because the thing is, my love for the fandom (and the show) never left. But now I actually have stuff to love, as opposed to just sending Dan and Casey random "Hey, I love you! And I miss you! But you'll always be in my heart! *sniffle*" postcards. (Not that they don't appreciate the postcards. I'm sure they do; in fact, they probably read them out loud to each other and argue over which one of them their mysterious correspondent is stalking. It's just, it's not the most productive fannish outlet, is all.)

And I really love this story. It's delicious, it's gorgeous, and I was completely paralyzed when I attempted to leave feedback for it, because really, "gorgeous" is about as coherent as I can possibly get about this. I just - oh, Dan. Oh, Casey. This story reminds me of how helplessly I love them both.

This story is Dan and Casey before the show - the route they took to get to the show, with all the detours and sideshows and unfortunate incidents with bad map reading and people pulling over to the side of the road to be sick, and, okay, I'm working the trip metaphor too hard. Going to stop now.

Instead, I'll just say that this story is not exactly how I pictured Dan and Casey in the pre-show days. And that doesn't matter at all, because I read this and loved every word of it and believed every sentence. And when someone writes a story that contradicts your personal, irrational, deeply-held-to-the-point-of-insanity convictions about a character's pre-canon history, and you love it even so, then that is a fabulous story. Which is what this is.

You go read it. I'm going to sit here and be incoherent and thrilled and totally in love with Sports Night, okay? You can join me after you're done.

-Football Footnote-

* You can see this play here. You can also see the deeply unfortunate helmets. I suggest you click through for two reasons (or three, if you like to see people with shiny things on their heads):
  1. The announcers totally lose it and start shrieking. It's hysterical. Sports reporting apparently does not have "dignity" as a prerequisite.

  2. If you're me, you'll start wondering if all college football is, um, quite that hands-on. You take the handsy-ness, you add the emotion - it all starts to seem kind of - well, slashy. But that could just be me.

    I'm betting it's not, though.
Tags: [rec theme: travel and transportation], highlander, sports night, stargate: atlantis, the sting
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