For preceding Group Therapy installments, work backwards from here.
Ted nearly had to floor it to catch up with the black Escalade, but he eventually settled in about a half block behind. Everybody was tense with the chase for the first couple of miles, but when they hit the highways and just kept going, everybody relaxed.
Julie spoke up. “How far are we going to follow them?” She waited a couple of beats and spoke up again. “I think we should follow them for as far as we can, unless something weird happens.”
Ted said, “I’m fine with that. But what do we do when we catch them?”
“Catch them?” Julie sneered. “What are you, Gargamel? Am I Scooby Doo? We’re not going to ‘catch them’. We’re going to ‘follow them’. Then we find out if he’s a vampire and learn more about his life as we keep doing that more and more.”
Randy poked his head head up from the back seat. “Who is talking about Gargamel?”
“Wait a minute!”, Ted said loudly. “Wait a minute here, Randy.” He swiveled to face Jule. “I hope you don’t think this is going to be like some regular mission that we go on all the time so you can become one of those vampire stalkers.”
Randy sighed. “It does seem like you are trying really hard to be like Buffy. Which is totally fine as long as I can play Willow.”
Oh, the hilarity that ensued in that car intermittently for the next 10 or 15 minutes. Eventually they reached the beginning of the desert. All three of them anticipated having a conversation about ending the chase once they hit the flatlands, but nobody brought it up, and they kept on driving.
They were all deep in a driving and AOR radio trance when Randy said, “Ooh! I saw a really great movie the other night called ‘Logan’s Run’. That was so good.”
Ted looked in the rearview mirror and squinted. “Do you mean the one where everybody has to die at age 30 by flying upwards into an electrified trapeze obscured by a fog machine? That ‘Logan’s Run’?”
“Oh, yes, that’s the one! I don’t blame them at all for running. I mean, who wants to die at 30? That’s not much time to reach self-actualization. And those outfits they wore in the city were awful. Those people needed to wake up.”
Julie mentioned she hadn’t seen it, and Ted said, “Oh, you’d love it, Julie. People are mandated to die at 30, but they get to have great sex with anybody they want until that time.”
“I pretty much get that right now without having to die at age 30.” she said.
“Plus you have so much more style than anybody in that movie.” Randy said.
Ted moaned. “You think the costumes were bad? How about those setpieces of the city? I’m certain I saw one of those used on a Mork and Mindy episode. I mean, the whole film represents the end of a special effects era. In 1976, that movie’s special effects budget was big-time. It was considered leading edge. And the story was supposedly ‘heavy’, so they thought they were making the Science Fiction Epic.”
“He’s such a dork.” thought Julie as she watched Ted, who became more animated as he continued.
“But then it’s 1977, and here comes Industrial Light and Magic and Star Wars, and Logan’s Run just looks like shit compared to that. At least we get to see Farrah Fawcett’s incredible range as an actress.”
Julie shrugged. “Who?”
“Farrah Fawcett.” Ted said sarcastically.
“Oh my God.” said Randy. “Do you not know who Farrah Fawcett is?”
Julie paused, then nodded emphatically. “Oh, no. Right. Yeah, I know her. I know who that is.”
Ted said, “Oh, really? Can you tell us one thing about her?”
Julie shot back, “I know who she is, OK? She was married to that guy and he beat her up a bunch, and then she turned into a singer and had that TV show with her sisters. Then she got anorexia, and died. Is that her? That’s her, right? She did eventually die, didn’t she?”
Randy popped his head in front again. “What about Star Wars? You know about Star Wars, right?”
Julie smirked. “Please. I’ve developed sex fantasies for all the characters. It’s the first movie series I ever did that with.”
“Mmm-hmm”, hummed Randy. Ted was beside himself with curiosity. “Oh, really? Let me see if I can guess who you liked the most. I bet you liked…Han Solo! Totally Han Solo. But probably Luke, too, maybe.”
Julie shook her head slowly. “Really stretching the possibilities there, Ted. Maybe you could try to contribute to this conversation by choosing one of the other 200 characters in the original three movies, OK? Open your mind to the possibilities, here.”
Ted struggled trying to come up with something insightful, a pithy response that would show how keenly he had observed her and how dearly he wanted to impress. That’s difficult to do under any circumstances, much less when stoned, exhausted from chasing a Vampire through the desert, and confused about what exactly she meant when she mentioned doing this for ‘all the characters’. He failed to respond in what he considered acceptable conversational timing, and they both felt each other keeping score.
She did him the courtesy of waiting. Finally he said, “So, what about Tusken Raiders?”
“Rape fantasy. Possibly beastiality, I can’t really tell what those things are.”
Ted nodded faintly. “What’s your Luke fantasy?”
“I humiliate him. But only the version of Luke before the prosthetic hand. Then it changes. And I also have a different one for after he’s a Jedi, with that black suit. Except I make him wear like a leather bomber jacket in my fantasy. Plus he’s a real jerk.”
Randy was impressed. “Wow. Which Princess Leia do you like the most? You’ve got to love the Jabba the Hut version, right?” Ted nodded emphatically before Julie answered.
“Actually, I prefer the version from Endor, where they are in the jungle with the Ewoks. She has a real GI Jane thing going on there that’s done really well.”
“What about C3PO?” asked Ted.
“I have sort of a James Bond meets Peter Sellers thing going on there, plus the whole sex machine thing. But the accent is what makes it all work. Plus he’s made of gold. I don’t mean that in a Kanye West kind of way, I just mean that gold is very shiny, so overall he’s a very attractive droid.”
Randy, for the first time, wondered what a combination of James Bond and Peter Sellers would be like. But which Bond?
She continued abruptly. “And I just like the way his eyes light up, you know. You know he’s always awake and paying attention to you and wanting to help you when you can see his eyes light up. Because he’s a protocol droid, and that’s what his whole nature is about: helping you. He’s not there to just fuck you over. He not trying to just game you into giving him something. He’ll give his life for you, and his legs, too. The thing about 3PO is that you can always trust him. Plus he’s so…shiny and gold.”
Randy leaned forward. “What about that silver version of C3PO?”
“I make him the Tinman in my mashup Star Wars/Wizard of Oz fantasy. Chewbacca plays the Lion. But instead of a Tusken Raider for the scarecrow I substitute Lando instead, but not as the scarecrow. He’s just Lando. As I said, it’s a mashup.”
“Look!” said Randy, pointing ahead and to the right. “They’re turning off and heading towards the Mountains.” There was no telling where the road might take them. The mountains were vast and unknown to Ted, Randy or Julie. Ted approached the road the Escalade had turned on, but instead of turning to follow he continued on past the turn.
“What are you doing?” said Julie. “I thought we were going to follow them.”
Ted shook his head. “They’ll see us turning on the same road and they’re bound to get suspicious then. We’re out in the middle of nowhere, and it’s nighttime, and we are chasing a purported vampire. We aren’t exactly in our element, are we? Let’s come back in the daytime and look around then. There can’t be much on this road, right?”
Randy spoke up. “I think we should get some early breakfast on the way back in, then go to a therapy session or two, and then maybe we can resolve this Pat/Vampire/Escalade situation at a later time.”
Julie nodded. “Randy, that’s very sensible, and I’m willing to do that, but I want everybody to understand that we have a commitment to this that extends beyond the right now.” She paused and surveyed the landscape outside her window. She bit her lip in thought as the camera in the movie in her mind zoomed in close. “Because I think there’s something very strange happening with Pat. And I think people are in danger. And I think we might be able to do something about it. But maybe also help Pat get the therapy he needs, by supporting him and being there for him and just generally learning more about him.”
Ted and Randy didn’t like the sound of that, but it was too late. They were already each making note of how they would find the road when they came back next time. Julie had already ensnared them in something they were not prepared for.
But before that happened, another session would take place. Tune in next time, as Pat reveals delusions that he is being followed, Julie reveals unrequited love for someone she can’t find, and Rick recounts his disastrous encounter with local powerbroker siblings Lark and Snow Bunting.