Fandom: The Rockford Files (specifically, The Queen of Peru episode)
Characters: Ginger Townsend, Lou Trevino
Prompt: Table 3, Prompt #60 - That Don't Impress Me Much
Word Count: 5,226
Warnings/Spoilers: Slice-of-life conversational. Extremely opinionated Ginger, and written because of my own irritation with the subject Ginger is ranting on.
Summary: Ginger rants about locations for receiving shots. Then, he and Lou start discussing various media.
Ginger and Lou were settled in on the couch watching television one evening when a scene came up of a character in a hospital in need of a shot. Without so much as asking where the person wanted it, the nurse forced it into their backside as if that was the only thing to do.
Lou could instantly sense Ginger’s eye-roll without even looking to him. “What?” he asked.
“Why do they do that?” Ginger grunted. “I would say it’s a cheap way to an immature laugh, if it wasn’t that dramas such as this do it as well.” He folded his arms. “There’s not even any need to give a shot in that location. Most can be delivered in the arm as well. And if they’re too powerful for the arm, it is certainly possible to give it in the thigh. The Netherlands does that. They feel that there’s some risk of doing it in the backside because of the large nerve in that area.”
Lou shrugged and shook his head. “I’ve always kind of wondered about that,” he admitted. “I never personally ran into that situation and that suits me just fine.”
“I experienced it once,” Ginger mused. “Just like that nurse on the telly, mine was insisting that I take it where I didn’t want it without even asking me and insulting me by acting like I was a naughty child if I didn’t comply. And I already knew it could go in the arm.”
Lou blinked. “What did you do?” He could hardly believe Ginger would have given in and rolled over.
“I kept sitting on the bed and held out my arm to her,” Ginger replied. “I told her that I wanted it in the arm and I had already made that clear. I said that if she did not comply with my wishes and tried to force it into my backside, I would complain that I had been given a shot without my permission. They’re not supposed to do that, you know.” He smirked devilishly.
“That’s true,” Lou agreed. “But did she do what you wanted?”
“She didn’t want to, because she already had the other kind of needle and she’d have to fill the smaller one for the arm,” Ginger replied. “I told her that the only other place I would take it was in the thigh, as the Netherlands does. I also said that I would complain of sexual harassment if she absolutely refused either request, both of which were perfectly reasonable, and tricked or forced me into taking it in the backside instead.”
Lou stared at him. “You really said that?!” he gasped. “And meant it?!”
Now Ginger shrugged. “I know it sounds harsh, but I look at it this way: I will not allow anyone to touch me in that location unless it is absolutely necessary. And there is never a case when it is absolutely necessary to have a shot there. If I have already said No and offered acceptable alternatives that were ignored in favor of what they wanted to do, then yes, I believe I would be in my rights to complain of harassment.”
“I guess,” Lou said slowly, still not sure what to think. “I’ll agree with you that I don’t think it would be right of anyone to force you to take a shot there, especially if they could use the thigh.”
Ginger nodded. “To force me to take it in the backside is a complete violation of my rights and my privacy. I shouldn’t have to give those up just because I’m in the hospital.
“For some reason she seemed even more reluctant to give it to me in the thigh, so she finally filled the smaller needle for the arm. And she told me I was every bit the terrible patient everyone warned her about. I replied that if I were, I would have refused the shot altogether. I was willing to take it if they felt I had to have it; I simply wasn’t willing to have my dignity violated to do it.”
Lou finally chuckled. “Yeah, you’re never willing to let that happen. I guess she was probably also upset that you wouldn’t wear the hospital gowns?”
“Naturally.” Ginger leaned back. “I told her that hospitals really seem to be intent on destroying people’s dignity by forcing them to wear those bloody things even when they’re capable of getting up and going to the loo by themselves. And I also said that forcing shots in the backside only furthered my low opinion of hospital practices.”
Lou was further amused now. “You really gave it to her with both barrels, like always. Do I dare know what else you told her?”
“I said that I could only think of three reasons why any hospital would insist on shots there when most can also be taken in the arm and when there are alternatives such as the thigh for the more powerful drugs. One, that it was simple laziness. Two, that some of the doctors and nurses were perverted. And three, that they thought if they gave the shot in that location, someone who was fighting it tooth and nail wouldn’t be as easily able to prevent the receiving of it.”
“Oh boy.” Lou snickered. “What did she say to all of that?!”
“She said that I have no respect for hospital procedure and that she was only doing what she was taught to do. I said that even though American hospitals do not tend to give shots in the thigh, she should certainly ask me if I would prefer the less powerful shots to be taken in the arm instead of determining on her own which option she would use. And for that matter, she should have paid attention to the fact that I already said I wanted it in the arm or the thigh and would not accept it anywhere else.”
“I’ll agree with that too,” Lou nodded. “That’s disgusting that they didn’t pay attention to what you said you wanted when it was a completely reasonable thing.”
Ginger looked pleased. “By that point, she apparently felt that after so much quibbling and arguing, she should have the right to ask me why I was so dead-set against taking it in the backside. I told her what I already mentioned about refusing to let anyone touch me there unless it actually was absolutely necessary and that I wasn’t some bloody sex-crazed pervert who enjoyed exposing myself. I said that it destroys a man’s dignity to take a shot there, not just because so many idiotic jokes are made about it but also because it’s a vulnerable part of the body. I also pointed out that if something went wrong and the point of entry hurt for hours or days afterwards, as can certainly happen with any shot, I wouldn’t even be able to sit without pain. Lying down would likely also be painful. I’m not sure what it says about her that only that final reason was something she could understand.”
“Me either,” Lou said. “But at least you insisted on your rights and got them. I’ll have to remember all of that if I ever end up in a mess like that. The nurses I’ve had just gave the shots in the arm without me having to ask.”
“Then you have certainly been luckier than I,” Ginger grunted. “Although I consider myself lucky to have only been faced with that situation once.”
“Especially considering how much we’ve had to go to the hospital the last several years,” Lou sighed.
Ginger waited until the next commercial break to speak again. “Do you think it was wrong of me to threaten to complain of sexual harassment if she forced the shot on me?”
Lou regarded him in surprise, but was touched that Ginger honestly wanted to know. “I don’t know,” he said. “You’re right that it wouldn’t be right of her to force you to have the shot where you didn’t want it, but she probably would just be doing what she thought she was supposed to. Would you have really got her in big trouble over that?”
“I certainly wouldn’t have shouted it from the roof-tops,” Ginger grunted. “I would have only ended up looking foolish while she would have been made the victim. And no, I really wouldn’t have wanted to get her in serious trouble to the point of her losing her job. What I really had in mind was quietly complaining to either her direct superior or the administrator of the hospital, and that either way, she would be present as well so that they would hear both sides of the story at once. It should be on the record that I already said what I wanted and it was ignored.”
Lou relaxed. “That sounds fair enough,” he said. “I guess from your point-of-view, it would be like sexual harassment if you kept saying what you wanted and they just wouldn’t listen and actually forced your clothes down to give you the shot where they wanted. Heck, maybe I’d even feel that way if it happened to me.”
“Exactly,” Ginger nodded. “As long as I am of sound mind and capable of making my own decisions, they have no right to disregard them.”
“Yeah. I don’t know that I’d ever take as strong an approach as you did, but I’d sure do something,” Lou declared.
“You very rarely take as strong an approach as I do,” Ginger pointed out. “And that is very likely a good thing.”
“Sometimes you have to take a strong approach to get stuff done,” Lou said. “I usually respect that, even if I don’t think I’d do it myself.”
“Which is one of the things I like about you,” Ginger said.
Lou smiled a bit.
They watched the rest of the episode before Lou grabbed the TV Guide and flipped through it to see what was coming on the other channels. “Are we even still actively following any of these shows?” he wondered.
“We both finally gave up on Once Upon a Time,” Ginger grunted. “This time, hopefully for good.”
“Yeah.” Lou cringed. “That Underworld arc . . . oh man, the show’s never been as bad as that. Redeeming Cora because she gave her daughters a one-hour play date when they were kids?!”
Ginger’s eyes darkened. “Redemption is something you have to work for, as we both know all too well. It’s never handed to you on a silver platter. Just getting our jobs back at our company wasn’t enough to make all of our problems go away after getting out of prison. It still isn’t. And after all the wretched things Cora did, a one-hour window could not make all of that go away.”
“No kidding. When they did that, I thought maybe the whole arc was going to be in Emma’s mind and she’d cracked up or something. It just seemed too nuts to really be real.”
“So did Regina forgiving Zelena for all the torture, murder, and rape she committed and proceeding to trust her, just because of said one-hour play date. They were children then. That makes it a pity that she grew up to be so wicked, but it certainly doesn’t excuse what she did in the present-day. If she wants trust, she’ll have to show she deserves it.”
Lou made a face. “That was just so wrong. I’m all for redeeming villains, but they have to go about it in a logical way. I’m not sure this show even knows how to be logical any more.”
“They don’t. Let’s not forget such bizarre oddities as Hook being granted a second chance for destroying Hades when he wasn’t even responsible for doing it.” Ginger scowled. “And killing off Robin Hood body and soul, supposedly. Of course, I never liked what they did with him. Killing off Maid Marian was sacrilege. So was having Robin fall in love with her killer. And now Robin won’t even get to be with Marian in the afterlife.”
“Maybe.” Lou frowned. “I can’t believe that the soul or spirit could really be destroyed. Maybe the characters just think it without knowing it’s true. In any case, I don’t wanna think of it as being true even in a fictional world.”
“Well, they’ve contradicted themselves enough times that it could certainly be retconned later,” Ginger said dryly. He rolled his eyes. “And I must have picked that term up from Michael.”
Lou chuckled. “. . . And then that awful finale, with Regina wanting to separate herself from her dark side and Emma and Snow White actually encouraging her. . . . What the heck?”
“Do they have no brains at all?” Ginger’s voice dripped with sarcasm. “Don’t they even remember what happened the last time they tried to pull someone’s darkness out from them?”
Lou shook his head. “It’s sad, really. The creators started out with such a strong show and good characters and now it’s degraded into this.”
“If you recall, I was ready to throw in the towel at the half-series mark in series three,” Ginger reminded.
“Yeah.” Lou gave a half-smile. “And I wasn’t ready to give up on it yet. But I sure am now. It’s just got worse and worse since that point.”
Ginger grunted. “I wasn’t terribly impressed by the revival of The X-Files, either. It started out strong enough, but quickly degraded into nonsense. You’d think with only six episodes, they would spend more time on a connecting storyline instead of silly things of no consequence or other disconnected episodes.”
“A lot of the fans like those episodes best, so I guess they wanted to accommodate them too,” Lou said.
“I suppose there was actually an underlying depth in that third episode,” Ginger mused. “The supposed monster was actually a peaceful creature and only started behaving badly when he was turned into a human.”
“That kind of hits you right between the eyes,” Lou said. “Humans really are the worst monsters sometimes. And just because something looks creepy doesn’t mean it really is.”
“And yet at the same time, the episode was so light-hearted on the surface that it was difficult to fully take it seriously.”
Lou chuckled weakly. “Also true.” He sighed. “That show always makes me think of the awful things we go through these days. At least the stand-alone ones usually do.”
“And of course, we had that one encounter with aliens, both good and bad.”
Lou didn’t want to think about that. “. . . It ended so crummy too,” he frowned. “I wasn’t expecting that the big thing would be some awful plague. That just felt like a letdown somehow. We don’t even know if Mulder’s gonna be okay or who the heck was flying the spaceship thing.”
“Not to mention that The Cigarette-Smoking Man was actually one of the most intriguing antagonists on any series and that finale ruined him.” Ginger looked annoyed. “The way he treated his sons was repulsive and abhorrent, but barring that, what was fascinating about him was how he was perfectly sane and always working towards protecting humanity from being destroyed by aliens. No matter what treacherous things he came up with, that was always the end goal.
“In the mini-series finale, he acted completely off his trolley. I suppose one could argue that he was killing off the weak and only leaving the strong to face off against the future attack, but he didn’t give that impression and did not make such an explanation to anyone, as he might have in the past. He simply acted delighted to be playing God and wiping out the majority of the human race. He admitted he was thrilled to make people over the way he wanted them to be. He reminded me of a bloody mad scientist.”
Lou shuddered. “And even if he was trying to leave the strongest to build up a new race, that is just sick.”
Ginger nodded. “I could, perhaps, see him doing that, but when he didn’t behave as though that was his goal, it doesn’t seem that it was. Actually, when I think of it, he acted daft in the series nine finale as well. Perhaps being kicked down the stairs finally shook his brains loose.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised,” Lou said. “And then I didn’t really like what they did with Agent Reyes.”
“She was never a favorite of mine,” Ginger proclaimed. “She was far too perky and superstitious for my liking. What happened to her in the mini-series seemed to grow her up into more of a realist. And at least she didn’t turn against the protagonist side. Apparently she was always secretly gathering information for them while working as the Smoking Man’s assistant.”
“I guess you can look at it that way,” Lou conceded. “I can see why you would.”
Ginger nodded. “I like to see characters mature.”
“There’s a lot of ways she could have got a different kind of outlook, though,” said Lou. “Doing it the way they did seemed pretty sad. I mean, jeepers, she was pretty much in Hell ever since season nine ended.”
“True,” Ginger nodded. His eyes darkened. “And I detested them killing off Scully’s mother.”
“I didn’t like that either,” Lou frowned. For Ginger, though, it hit much harder than it had Lou. He personally understood what Scully went through.
“There was no real reason for them to do that. It was nothing more than a stunt to get ratings.”
“Maybe they thought it would help Scully grow more or something,” Lou suggested.
“It didn’t particularly seem to in the two remaining episodes that followed,” Ginger pointed out. “It was likely just an excuse to lead into Scully worrying even more about William. Whom, incidentally, we didn’t even see except in fantasies of hers and Mulder’s.”
“I guess they left that open-ended in case FOX would ask for more episodes,” Lou said.
“Most likely, but there is no guarantee they will. As far as I know, they still haven’t.
“And you’d think they could do more with fan-favorite characters like The Lone Gunmen instead of just having them briefly appear in a hallucination of Mulder’s. Their return was hyped up as though as it was going to be something very eventful. What was done was just an insult to them and to their fans.”
“It always bugged me that they were killed off anyway,” Lou frowned. “Mike told me that there’s a season 10 comic book that has nothing to do with the mini-series and the comic has it that they faked their deaths and are okay.”
Ginger slowly nodded. “That certainly sounds more satisfying. They were all odd ducks, but I appreciated the close bond they shared.”
“That was the best thing about them,” Lou agreed. “I guess it was nice that they all died together and could stay together, but there really wasn’t any reason for them to have to die in the first place.”
“It was probably just another of the creator’s attempts at something sensational to get ratings,” Ginger said flatly.
“I wouldn’t be surprised there,” Lou agreed.
“. . . I still like Gotham,” Ginger offered.
Lou smiled a bit. “Yeah, you would. I still do too, but less than I did. I’m still kind of disappointed they made The Riddler a psycho. The Penguin too. I’m not sure what to think of how they characterized Jim Gordon in season two, either.”
“I don’t particularly like how the majority of the villains are psychotic, particularly if they originally were not,” Ginger agreed. “As for James Gordon, showing how struggling to be the only public light in a city of darkness eventually took its toll on him was an intriguing character study to me. It was disturbing, perhaps disappointing, but can we say that we wouldn’t have eventually descended into the filth if it was all around us? I can’t even say he wasn’t justified when he killed that wretch. As I recall, the victim fully intended to kill Bruce Wayne. A child. To my memory, he had already tried and failed. Should James Gordon have waited for him to actually be in the act again before taking action himself?”
“I don’t know,” Lou sighed. “That gets into that same sticky situation we were talking about when it came to Florence. If you’re getting rid of a real, active threat, are you really committing murder or are you defending the innocent?”
“You felt that I wouldn’t be committing murder,” Ginger pointed out.
“Yeah, because I know you and every in and out of the situation. And . . . I don’t know, I guess sometimes we hold fictional characters to a higher standard. We want them to find better solutions than we do in reality sometimes. I always thought of Commissioner Gordon as more of a stalwart than to kill a guy, no matter how deserved, and then try to cover it up. Maybe it was actually the covering up that bothered me the most.”
“I can understand that,” Ginger said. “For me, this is my first real exposure to the character, so I have no prior standard to hold him to.”
“That’s true,” Lou agreed. “And then you like the more realistic treatment of the situation.”
“For me, Gotham finally makes the characters real and not larger-than-life cardboard cut-outs,” Ginger said.
“I guess it does that,” Lou said thoughtfully. “But Mike won’t touch the series with a ten-foot pole.”
“It is quite dark,” Ginger agreed. “I can’t imagine Michael would enjoy it if he is used to more standard retellings of the franchise. But as I understand it, the Batman creators originally wanted their comic to be dark. It was some bloody nonsense with the censors that forced them to change to ridiculous and light-hearted stories.”
“That’s probably true,” Lou admitted. “And yet that silly 1960s show based on the goofy comics was so popular and made Batman a household name after his popularity had started to fade that I wonder if he’d even be as popular as he is now if it hadn’t been for the light-hearted stuff.”
“You may have a point,” Ginger grudgingly conceded. “But if that’s so, it goes to prove that the masses are bloody easy to please and have very simple tastes.”
“Which you already believed anyway,” Lou snickered.
“Yes,” Ginger grunted. “I feel Batman works far better as a darker incarnation. Adam West himself said that he felt his interpretation really wasn’t what Batman was all about.”
“MeTV would disagree with him,” Lou mused. “They had this article a while back detailing why Adam West’s Batman was the best one.”
“And most of their reasons were shallow and lacking in substance,” Ginger said matter-of-factly. “They seemed to consist mostly of thinking he wore the costume better. The only reason that seemed to hold any weight was that he wouldn’t want to fight Superman. And even at that, I don’t necessarily agree that makes him better. Adam West’s Batman was largely cut from the same cloth as Superman himself. They are both more the idealistic, ‘goody-two-shoes’ types.”
“Of course, this is coming from someone who actually really liked Batman v. Superman,” Lou remarked. “Which MeTV didn’t seem to.”
“I liked the clash of their ideologies,” Ginger elaborated. “Batman should always have a different approach and belief system than Superman. Nevertheless, I still don’t like seeing Batman alongside people with superpowers. Batman was supposed to be rooted in logic, science, and the human psyche, not in the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound.”
Lou snarked. “That’s true,” he admitted. “But it was fun going to that movie with Mike anyway. I think that’s the first time we’ve all gone to the theatre together.”
“That was enjoyable,” Ginger nodded. “I doubt it will happen too often, since our interests don’t tend to meet most of the time.”
“Yeah, you weren’t too keen on seeing that Captain America movie that Mike went to,” Lou remembered.
“Particularly since I heard it was bloody depressing and unsatisfying for him and his oldest chum.”
Lou winced. “I wasn’t too happy about that either. Man, can you imagine how awful that would be? Losing your friend for decades and then finding out he was brainwashed as an assassin? And he can’t figure out how to turn the brainwashing off, so he figures the only solution is to be cryogenically frozen again until they can figure it out?”
“That was a cheap plot device just meant for the angst factor,” Ginger proclaimed. “How are they going to figure out how to fix the problem if they can’t study him in action?”
Lou shook his head. “I don’t know, but man, I hope they will fix it. That would just be too sad to leave it like that indefinitely.”
“I’m sure they won’t,” Ginger said. “Comics always seem to find ways to bring characters back as attention-grabbing stunts. But I am doubtful that things will ever be happy for them. They also always seem to feel that superheroes cannot have happiness because they have chosen a path rife with hardship and sorrow.”
“I would never wanna have a life like that,” Lou declared. “We have enough trouble when we didn’t choose it to happen!”
Ginger didn’t smirk. “Unfortunately.”
Lou sighed. “And it also sounded depressing in that movie that the whole Avengers group split up and there’s a huge rift between Iron Man and Captain America. They didn’t know each other as long, but they were still friends.”
Ginger nodded. “Even worse is that Michael said that even in the comics there was apparently no satisfying resolution to that mess, so one would doubt that there will be in the films.”
“Yeah,” Lou frowned. “It’s kind of interesting, though, that you like dark stuff like Gotham but you don’t seem keen at all on dark stuff for other superhero stories.”
“I suppose Gotham doesn’t really have a lot of friendships splitting apart,” Ginger determined. “I can handle many dark elements, but that is something I do not care to see. And then, of course, you know that I do not care for most superhero stories in general.”
“Or fantasy stories. Sometimes I wonder why I was watching Once Upon a Time in the first place.”
Lou smiled a bit. “I think you were intrigued by Rumpelstiltskin, someone who’d become a villain for unselfish reasons but then couldn’t control the darkness inside him.”
“Not to mention he was always aware of his own failings and villainy, unlike Regina and others who tried to blame other people for their falls,” Ginger scowled. “But they desecrated the character when they refused to allow him to change as he was trying so hard to do. If I were him and so many horrible things happened to me and my loved ones whenever I tried to do good, I bloody well doubt I could have resisted turning back to my power to keep the rest of them and myself safe.”
“That was awful,” Lou agreed. “Yeah, they should have let him keep growing instead of sticking him in a rut. I can’t figure out why they wanted to do that.”
“They don’t have the long-term vision to think of things like that. Don’t forget how they admitted that they did every bizarre thing they could think of on Lost, without having any intention of resolving any of it. The terrible story-telling they used on that series is obviously what they’re doing all over again with Once Upon a Time.”
“It definitely looks like the same pattern,” Lou sighed.
“Even worse is that apparently a large number of the viewers have no problem with it. Its ratings were good enough that ABC renewed it for a sixth series before its fifth series even finished! That is unusual.”
That brought a wince. “I don’t get why they can’t see how terrible it is.”
“Why couldn’t they see how terrible Lost was getting before it ran for eight series or whatever the bloody devil it was?”
“Good point,” Lou relented.
“They are easy to please,” Ginger shrugged. “They’re hypnotized by the fantasy elements and by every inane twist that happens. The show tries to sell them in a way that makes perfect sense and many of the viewers buy it.”
“Well, I’m sure not planning to tune in for season six,” Lou declared. “But coming back to what you were wondering about why you were watching it in the first place, Ginger, I think a lot of people can get interested in one or two shows that aren’t like what they’d normally watch. Maybe they see a character they like, like you did, or maybe something about the particular plot grabs them. Maybe they have more than one reason. Like how I like The Virginian but am not that crazy about most other Westerns. The Virginian just feels the most well-rounded and deep to me. I guess Bonanza is like that a lot too, though.”
“They both are. And I suppose you could be right about people’s reasoning.” Ginger still looked like he wasn’t sure it made sense, but he didn’t press it.
Lou set the TV Guide aside. “Since everything’s on summer hiatus anyway, maybe we should just try watching some good old-fashioned classic TV.”
“Such as?” Ginger prompted.
“Today’s Wednesday,” Lou reminded him. “Bionic night on Cozi.”
Ginger looked amused. “You really like those ‘cheesy’ series, don’t you?”
Now Lou smirked. “It’s my childhood. I guess I’m nostalgic about them the same way Mike is about the Turtles.”
“Well, they’re probably more interesting than anything else that’s on,” Ginger grunted. “In any case, it’s harmless entertainment. Alright, let’s try it.”
Lou flipped the channel and they settled back to watch the latest rerun of The Bionic Woman.
“You know,” Ginger mused after a moment, “that bloke watching that nun looks a lot like you.”
“Yeah?” Lou leaned forward, staring at the screen. “Maybe a little. It’s weird when that happens.”
“Isn’t it.” They watched a moment more and the man was revealed as a secret agent.
Lou cracked up. “Oh brother.”
“What’s so funny about that?” Ginger grunted. “He seems quite capable.”
“Yeah, but I just got through saying I didn’t want the life of a superhero and now this guy that looks like me is a secret agent.” Lou shook his head. “I wouldn’t wanna be one of those, either.”
Ginger finally looked a bit amused. “I suppose. I certainly wouldn’t want that life, either. But that still isn’t as odd as that World War II film with the chap what looked like me being part of the Medical Corps because he was a non-violent sort.”
“That was pretty weird when thinking of you, alright,” Lou agreed. “These doubles, they look like us, but their lives are completely different from ours.”
“Ours, hopefully, are happier,” Ginger pointed out, “in spite of the messes we keep getting into. The chap in the Medical Corps was killed and this secret agent’s life will always be hectic.”
Lou nodded. “Our lives are definitely happier,” he declared.
The trace of a smile flickered on Ginger’s features before he turned his attention back to the screen. They were indeed.