Saturday, October 1, 2016

Better Ted Than Dead

Better Ted Than Dead

Okay, we never intended Ted to bite the big one over the missing Cadillac, if he did. And it definitely wasn't my fault. Here's what happened.


"Jimmy, I got tickets." It was my sister Carol. She had tickets to the Kings game.

"What did you have to do?" The game had been sold out for weeks.

"Hello? You know what, you're cutting out. My battery must be low. I'll talk to you this evening."

It's funny. I hadn't heard the two beeps her phone usually made when the battery was low.


So Carol was going to take her boyfriend Chuck and of course he brought his cousin Ted. This is because Ted had a Cadillac. It was a pretty new one and had a DVD player and GPS unit and all kinds of stuff. Of course none of us knew that a) it wasn't really Ted's and b) the trunk was full of mob money. I totally wouldn't go for a ride in a stolen caddy full of that much stolen money. Even with a DVD player. As it was, we didn't feel a guilty twinge while we watched "Men in Black 4: Last Tapdance in Seoul." We didn't even drink the liquor we found in the refrigerator. Only the sodas. I don't like alcohol, and while Chuck might have wanted to get Carol high the feeling wasn't mutual. And Ted said he was Muslim and they don't drink. I don't believe that, but I can't ask him now.

Ted was the only one with a license and it was his car (we thought) so he drove. If it wasn't for that, none of the rest of the stuff would have happened. That's because, unlike Ted, I wouldn't have parked in the kind of neighborhood behind the stadium where he said we could save the $20 parking fee. Although I agreed that 20 bucks was way too much for parking. It was scary just walking the few blocks to the stadium.

"Okay now all three of those guys are staring at me," Carol said.

Chuck looked over his shoulder quickly. "What's the problem? Three of them, three of us. They won't try anything."

"All three of them are bigger than you, and they are way bigger than Jimmy," Carol said. We all started walking a little faster, even though it was 45 minutes until the game started.

They didn't follow us, and soon we turned the corner and they were out of sight.


"Who knew the Kings could suck so badly!? The goalie acted like he didn't even have hands!" Carol said.

"At least it was free," I said. Nobody could think of anything to say after that. At least, not until we turned the last corner and the caddy was missing.

"Dude, somebody stole your car," Chuck said.

"Oh, man, that's bad," I gasped.

"You don't even know," Ted moaned. "That's not my car!" This is when we found out about his uncle, but not about the money. That came later.


After we got a cab back to Ted's house he called his uncle. Uncle Wally came over and there was a scene. I was glad to just be listening at the door. Although there was no need to be close to the door. Wally wasn't keeping his voice down.

"You don't understand kid," he said. "That wasn't my car. The trunk was full of money. $18 million worth of unmarked bills. You have to get it back. By tonight. Or I'll be swimming at the bottom of the river."

We couldn't go to the police. The car was probably stolen, and the money sure was. We went with Ted for moral support and he drove around the neighborhood near the stadium. After a while it became obvious that what we were doing was hopeless.

"This is hopeless," Carol said. "What time is it?"

"The caddy had a clock on the dashboard," Chuck said.

I looked at my watch. "Midnight."

"Uncle Wally said we had to find it today," Chuck said.

Ted banged his head on the steering wheel and pulled over. "Oh man."

A kind of greenish light shone down in the street beside us. A fat guy materialized in the beam. He looked green because the light was green. The light went out. No, he really was green. Also, he was fat like the Hulk was fat, not like Mrs. Swinson and her size 75 stretch pants. He reached out towards us and he had some kind of doohickey in his hand.

"Get out of the car," he said.

Ted stomped on the gas, but the thing in the guy's hand flashed and the car died. Smoke that smelled kind of like burnt rubber poured out from under the hood.

"Get out of the car," the Hulk said again. We got.

We lined up in the street in front of the car and he stared at us for a minute. Finally, Ted couldn't take the stress.

"First someone steals the caddy," he shouts, "then we find out it's full of money and we need to get it back. We can't find it, and now this happens. It doesn't matter what this guy does to us, because the gangsters are going to kill us anyway." Then he started jumping up and down and pointing at the green guy. "So hurry up and make your move before some Italian guys come back for their money."

"Which one is Ted?" asks the green guy. I guess Ted figured it out before I did.

"You are the gangster," he whispered. "It's your money." It seems earth was a convenient place to pick up some easy cash. I don't know what the guy was buying with it. He sure couldn't use our money on other planets or wherever he was from.

"Bingo," the guy said. "And if I can't have the money, I'll take you. I need something to show for this fiasco."

The green light came down again and we were in it. It felt weird, like worms swimming around inside me. Then the sensation went away and Ted and the green guy were both gone.


It's been two months and Ted hadn't been seen anywhere. I kind of thought they might remove his gallbladder or make him pregnant or something like that, but I thought he'd be back by now. Maybe he is halfway to the next galaxy. If so, enjoy the trip Ted!

the end

Publ.: Beyond Centauri, July 2009

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