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"What's Good for the Goose" (Better Off Ted: Dr. Bhamba, Veronica, Linda, Ted, Lem, Phil, Rose; PG)
better off ted: viva lem!
innie_darling
And here is my last fic for Yuletide 2013, which comes with a little bonus story of my ineptitude. On Christmas Eve, I took a train from New York to DC (where my dad lives) and got to his place in the late evening. We ate dinner and watched Little Shop of Horrors - my all-time favorite musical - together and then decided it was late enough to go to bed. I checked my phone and saw that there were a few very last-minute pinch-hits going out, one of which included a Better Off Ted request, and as BOT is one of the shows of my heart, I thought I would give it a whirl. The only problem was that I didn't know the WiFi password, and my dad couldn't remember it either (after I woke him up because I am a terrible daughter). So I wrote this ficlet on my phone in about 30 minutes and when I went to post, AO3 informed me that it was only 860 words, which is not enough for a Yuletide story. My phone also decided that there was no such thing as a Yuletide Madness collection, and so I ended up posting this, unbetaed and below the minimum word count, to the main collection anyway just so I didn't lose the fic.

faviconfiddlingfrog's prompt was: My wife and I absolutely loved this show; unfortunately, we didn't discover it until it was already off the air. We watched the entire first season on Netflix in one night. When the second season became available we watched it over two nights. We loved the fake commercials that opened each episode, we rooted for Ted and Linda to finally get it together and get together, and we loved watching Veronica do, well… whatever it was she was going to do. Be awesome, usually. I asked for Ted and Linda and Veronica and Dr. Bhamba because I think there's no end to the stories you can tell with those four characters. They can be in a meeting. They could be in the lab. They could be crawling through ventilation ducts trying to escape the violent cyber-duck that Dr. Bhamba accidentally unleashed. If you want to include some romance or sexual tension I think it goes something like this: Ted is attracted to Linda, Linda is attracted to Ted, Veronica isn't actually attracted to either but she likes to play power and/or mind games, and Dr. Bhamba is a horrible lech. I saw that faviconfiddlingfrog listed Sherlock as an interest, so I threw in the famous Christmas case as a bonus, given that the prompt mentioned a threatening bird. Well, I had fun writing it, so that's that. There's an angry goose at Veridian. But there's a reason for that.


"What's Good for the Goose"


Little as they thought of themselves as a team, the four of them jumped back in unison when the goose hissed malevolently and emphatically in their general direction.

Ted tried to make a shield out of his body. Then he tried not to care that Dr. Bhamba was the one taking advantage of the protection he offered, not Veronica or Linda. Veronica had landed sooner than the rest of them, and was considering the goose with an appraising eye. Linda, meanwhile, had discerned that the bird looked to be in some distress, and thus was advancing gingerly toward the unhappy fowl and crooning what she hoped were goosey sounds of compassion and empathy.

Ted reached for her but was hampered by Dr. Bhamba's flailing. Veronica appeared to be willing to let Linda act as the canary in the mineshaft. And so Linda was the one to get a faceful of precious stone when the goose let loose one last castigating honk and coughed up what had been lodged in its throat.

*

It probably should have struck the others as suspicious that Dr. Bhamba recovered his equilibrium so quickly. "Ahhhh, " he intoned, "a blue carbuncle."

Linda scrunched up her face at the unfamiliar term, vaguely thinking that the word sounded unpleasantly biological. Like the thing that had nearly put her in an eyepatch for a week was a goiter instead of a really pretty jewel.

Veronica's mind had also strayed to the anatomical. "That thing?" she scoffed. "It's nowhere near as impressive as Ted's carbuncles." This pronouncement caused Ted to feel both staggeringly virile and a little like a piece of furniture marked by a housecat as part of its territory.

"Wait," he said, turning to face Dr. Bhamba. "Are you quoting Sherlock Holmes?"

"Nooo," said Dr. Bhamba. For such a seasoned scapegoat, he had a surprisingly terrible facility for telling lies convincingly. "Why would I want to bring the joy of the Great Detective's celebrated Christmas case to our place of work? Why would I wish to bring a smile to the faces of these lovely ladies?"

Linda, torn between comforting the still-wheezing goose and smiling at Dr. Bhamba, laid a hand on each of them. Veronica, meanwhile, stepped forward and crushed the gem under one of her awe-inspiring heels. If the other three (and the goose) incidentally happened to appreciate the vigorous and yet sensuous movements of her silk-over-steel calves, only the goose was brave enough to let loose a sound of approval.

"Are carbuncles supposed to grind down to a fine powder like that?" Ted queried.

"Yeah, no," said Linda.

Veronica looked triumphant. "Explain yourself," she ordered Dr. Bhamba. "And do it without any Seuss."

*

"You remember that accident in the lab a few weeks ago?" Dr. Bhamba asked, settling in and setting the stage like a seasoned raconteur.

"The one that left Lem without any glasses frames and turned Phil blue?" Ted clarified.

"We'd been searching for that blue for years," Veronica said dreamily. "Just the perfect shade to connote soothing skies, calming waters, and the inevitable necessity of erection-boosting drugs."

"Instead of hauling poor blue Phil in front of the board that froze him to color-match his skin, you could have just turned on the TV," Linda pointed out. "He was the color of a smurf."

"I'm sorry, did you say TV or time machine?" Dr. Bhamba said, thrilled to be joking around with his colleagues. It was not his last mistake. It was, however, the one that got the ball rolling.

*

"You did what?" Ted asked.

Linda needed no clarification. "You force-fed this poor goose a blue carburetor just to impress the bigwigs?"

"Yeah, what was the endgame here?" Ted wanted to know.

"Not all the bigwigs. Just her."

"I'm not wearing a wig," Veronica said. "And I no longer require suitors to devise some byzantine method of murder if they want my phone number."

"I wasn't trying to kill it!" Dr. Bhamba protested, aghast.

Linda caught on the quickest. "Oh. You were gonna wait for the bird to poop it out. Like the stupid version of the goose that laid the golden egg. Eww."

"Well, let's set the record straight," Ted said. "You prefer your jewels not to be smeared with excrement, right? Or have I misjudged you all these years?"

Veronica was glowing. "I like them clean, alimentary-canal free, and cheap to manufacture. I want a detailed outline of the process you used to make the carbuncle on my desk by the end of business today. Every jewelry store in every mall in America's going to stock Veridian gems. Every manicurist is going to press them into the nails of the bored and wealthy. And they have the right consistency to act as a meal-replacement powder. Good work, team!"

But that was when the goose, tired of waiting for the speeches to end, flew at Dr. Bhamba and initiated some payback.

"Looks like his goose is cooked," Ted said, hustling the ladies out of the room. Linda laughed, but Veronica lingered to watch the beatdown. Ted smiled at them both, then wondered how he was going to explain any of this to Rose.


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As always, I'd love to hear what you think.

This same entry also appears on Dreamwidth, at http://innie-darling.dreamwidth.org/434310.html.

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