I don’t know if this was a Gremlin law, but I’m pretty sure the deal was that you shouldn’t get a Gremlin wet or they start multiplying, fat balls of fur flying across the room like ping-pong balls projected from a p*ssy. Not my law; don’t blame me.
So, I’ll go ahead and say it. I was crying during The Bachelorette finalle. That’s just what I do—admit not only that I watch it, but that I weep like a fat school boy whose lunch was just taken. Given the Gremlin law, I knew better than to let my tears flow all willy-nilly, especially around the Gremlin in our family: Ted. Not TedTalks, because he doesn’t much, but Ted, Phil’s step-father, my father-in-law. Yes, the one from Straight Up and Dirty, whose parents were Stephanie and Philip.
That’s right, I was watching “The Final Rose” and “After The Final Rose” with Philip and his mother Barbara in our living room. Ali Fedotowsky had narrowed it down to Roberto Martinez ad Chris Lambton. The scene at our house went something like this:
“If he seriously mentions his mother again, that’s it, he’s out.”
“No, for real, that guy needs to let it go. He shits rainbows over his mother. Enough already, dude.”
“I agree,” Barbara says. “He needs to let it go. Every other sentence is about his mother.”
“Okay, both of you. Shut it! You’re totally right, but shut it!”
“And landscaper, what kind of fake job is that? Yeah, yeah, I know it’s a job, but please. The guy moved home, still lives at home; he works for his younger brother and father, ‘landscaping,’ which I’m sure isn’t what he actually does. They just didn’t want to put ‘unemployed’ under his title card.”
“Man, that Roberto sure can sweat. Bet if we invited him over he’d make sweat angels out back with the kids.”
Then Phil heads to the kitchen to load up on ice. I’d made Sauvignon Blanc soaked peaches. He flips on the lights, and there’s Ted, in the dark, just standing there beside the refrigerator.
“Jesus!” And the rest you can imagine, talk of sneakiness, of “What in the hell are you doing just standing there in the dark?!” To which Ted says nothing. Phil turns off the kitchen lights, and we return to watching “the most dramatic final rose ever.” And Ted, we assumed, returned to the New York guest room to watch the rest of the Mets game.
“Stephanie,” Barbara asks me during ‘After The Final Rose,’ “Is Ali in pain?”
“What, because her dress is cutting into her, giving her total quadra-boob?”
“Uh, I meant do you think it’s hard for her to face Chris.”
“She’s spilling out of that dress, you’re right. But, would it kill the producers to tuck in the tag on her dress? And why does she have to laugh so much?”
“They make her,” Phil says. “The producers get her to talk in complete sentences, repeat the questions when answering during interviews, and they tell her to laugh.”
“Holy balls, you two! Shut it!” I finally say, getting up to refill the Peach Punch. I flip on the lights to the kitchen, and there’s TED. Sitting in the dark! Alone. On the love seat.
“Holy crap, Ted! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!”
“Oh, piss off,” he tells me, “I’m listening to my stories.” It is then that I see he has ear buds tucked in. He’s listening to an audio book, in the dark of our kitchen. Despite this knowledge, I think, this is still very creepy. I resist crying on him because there’s only enough room in the world for one Ted.
“Hey,” he says, “At least I don’t sweat like that Martinez kid.” And indeed, I had underestimated his sneakiness.