Second Fiddles

Episode 15 - Adjustment Period

June 16, 2022 Second Fiddles Season 2 Episode 2
Second Fiddles
Episode 15 - Adjustment Period
Show Notes Transcript

Max is finally home after acquiring his new powers. Buck is pretty bucked up!

15 - Adjustment Period

MACGUFFIN
Previously, on Second Fiddles: Sophia and Ren were supposed to be sent up into space, but wires got crossed somewhere, and Invisidude went up in Ren’s place. That sucks. Max was all set to return home from his extended stay being monitored by Doctor Healy after his transformation, but, without any knowledge of the teleportation snafu that sent his new boyfriend off to another solar system. I feel like these are totally first world problems. We pick up one week later. Let’s begin!

MAX
Episode 15, Adjustment Period.

MAX
Welcome back, Ren!

REN
Umm, I didn’t go anywhere.

MAX
I know, but after being told that I wouldn’t see you for months, it’s nice to see your face earlier than expected!

TAMMY
Even though your face looks awful. What happened to you?

REN
Thanks, Tammy. You know what? I’m not even gonna disagree with you. I worked both jobs today, so I’m exhausted. Max, how did you do it?

MAX
I drank a lot of tea. The pick-me up lasts longer than coffee. So, I heard you officially took over my old job at Pet Universe. Are you still in training?

REN
Yeah, this was only my second shift. I was mainly doing modules on the computer to learn stuff like the benefits of grain-free dog food, and why I should wear gloves while handling rats.

MAX
You’ll be doing those for weeks. They’re not too bad!  What? Why are you staring at me?

REN
Your antlers are… distracting.

TAMMY
Hey, don’t pick on him, that’s my job.

MAX
Oh shut up, Tammy’s just jealous I have a bigger rack than her.

TAMMY
Har har har.

MAX
I...  I know, I kinda look like a freak now.

REN
No! They’re actually really cool. They’re bigger than I thought, and, no lie, they’re like, uhh, what’s the word... majestic!

MAX
For real?

REN
Yeah, you’re like a cute, gay Mr. Tumnus, but, you know, part deer instead of goat.

TAMMY
Okay, I’m proud of you for knowing a Narnia reference, but it’s redundant to say “a gay Mr. Tumnus.” He’s already pretty gay.

MAX
Yeah, that goes without saying. Super gay.

REN
The Narnia books were my mom’s favorite from when she was a kid, so she read them to me when I was little. I have an old stuffed lion named Aslan.

TAMMY
Jesus!

MAX
Hey, Tam, don’t be rude.

TAMMY
No, Aslan was written to be a Christ-like character, like how he died and was resurrected and everything.

MAX
I knew that already, I just didn’t know that you knew.

TAMMY
You used to talk about those books all the time when we were little. You loved everything with talking animals.

MAX
Yeah, I know, how ironic, right?

REN
I didn’t know about the lion-Jesus stuff. My family used to be pretty religious, before–  Before my dad died.  We weren’t, like, creepy-Christians, though. Like, I was allowed to read Harry Potter and listen to music with bad words in it. Hey, guys, if I fall asleep on the couch here, just let me sleep, okay?

TAMMY
You said you were doing computer work for most of the day. Did it bore the energy out of you?

REN
No, that wasn’t too bad. Pet Universe was chill, but I worked all morning with Lucid Lucy. She was dreamwalking an entire group of henchpeople for a case we’re working, and I had to take a ton of notes when I wasn’t dealing with her screaming.

TAMMY
Yuck, henchies. Anyone I would know?

REN
It was the Christmas gang AGAIN.

TAMMY
Oh god, I hate them. Gingerbread used to taunt everyone with “You’ll never catch me!” but then I caught him, because, well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

MAX
Hey, that was a “me” joke.

REN
Yeah, he was there, with Eggnog, Garland, and Nutcracker.

TAMMY
Oh.  What about Missile Toe?

REN
Who’s that?

TAMMY
She used to run with the Christmas gang sometimes. She’s a cyborg who literally has missiles for toes.

MAX
That sounds like it would be hard to walk.

TAMMY
Yeah, when she walks, she always kinda looks like she’s wearing a poopy diaper.

MAX
Huh. Why did you have to go back to work with Lucid Lucy?

REN
Well, since I’m not sidekicking for Sophia in space, the B-league decided I should stay where I was. At least she let me keep the name Lullaby. She still doesn’t like it, but the alliteration amuses her.

TAMMY
Lucid Lucy and Lullaby.  Hey, it’s better than Snoozy Susie.

REN
You’re tellin’ me.

MAX
I’m sorry you’re stuck working two jobs. I feel your pain.

REN
It’s okay. My sister’s 16 now, so she’s looking for a job. That should help a little bit.

TAMMY
Didn’t you say you were going to teach her to drive?

REN
Oh, yeah, she’s got her learner’s permit. My mom can’t do it, so I need to start teaching her. I’m putting it off for a few days.

MAX
What’s your sister’s name?

REN
It’s Cassie. Cassandra. I’ve never told you that before?

MAX
I don’t think so? Maybe you told Sophia, but you haven’t really told me much of anything about your family. Like, I don’t know why your mom can’t help your sister learn to drive. Is she sick or something?

REN
Oh. Well, umhh, she’s on disability because of damage to her spine from the accident, and she’s in pain like all the time. Her disability payments are obviously not enough to support a family of three.

TAMMY
Ugh, that’s rough. Sorry, kid. I’m a good driver, if you need some help.

REN
 I mean, Cassie doesn’t need to drive, with the buses and subways and whatnot, but I still think she should learn. Since the accident, Mom avoids driving at all costs. I think one of the reasons we moved to Rose City was because of the public transportation. She doesn’t trust herself behind the wheel anymore.

MAX
Sorry, Ren. I had no idea about your mom. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help. Not the driving thing, obviously, because I can’t fit into cars anymore. Which is super convenient, by the way.

REN
Yeah… You have enough going on for yourself right now, Max, but thank you. At least I have my power, which brings in some money, and it helps my mom a little. Between her injury and her night terrors, I have to sing her to sleep almost every night.  I was worried how she’d cope with me being gone for so long with Sophia, so I guess I’m glad I don’t need to stress out about that any more.  Let’s talk about someone else’s unfortunate life, okay? Tammy, how’s that boyfriend of yours?

MAX
Ha! That was a great segue.

TAMMY
Linus is, well, Linus. He’s still cocky and entitled, but he’s… softer than he used to be.

MAX
Softer? Like, in bed? I think they make pills for that.

TAMMY
Don’t be gross, Maxi. No, I mean, softer, like, he talks about his feelings a little, and he’s really sweet to me.

MAX
Well, he probably knows he’s super lucky you didn’t break up with him after his family, ya know, kidnapped me and murdered the Stag. That’s just a guess, though…

REN
I don’t get why you’re still with him. How can you trust him? Is the sex seriously that good?

TAMMY
Oh my god, it’s even better now. He’s so focused on me, that he always–

MAX
Ew, no! No, no, no, noo. Not another word.

TAMMY
What? Too much?

MAX
Yes.

TAMMY
Hey, at least when he’s been over since you got home, he puts a sound-proof forcefield up so you can’t hear anything.

MAX
Small miracles.

REN
Has Linus been in touch with his family at all?

TAMMY
Kinda. His dad and sister have been on the lamb ever since the Stag’s death, but Linus did get a few texts from them. I’m guessing they’re not actually on the run. They’re probably hiding in a secret lair underneath their mansion.

REN
What did the texts say?

TAMMY
The last one was them asking him to meet them in a few days for a family dinner, to talk through their problems and blah blah blah.

MAX
Do you think that’s safe?

TAMMY
He said he can use his forcefields to keep himself from harm, but he’s not too worried about them hurting him.

MAX
I wish I could be a fly on the wall for that conversation.

TAMMY
I don’t. I would probably kill them, but I’ve been told that killing your boyfriend’s family isn’t one of the building blocks of a strong relationship.

MAX
What about his mom? Is she around?

TAMMY
Whenever I ask, he just says that she’s gone. Not away, not divorced, not dead, not vacationing in Fiji, just… gone.

MAX
Is it a touchy subject?

TAMMY
Yeah, he puts up a wall whenever I bring it up – I mean, not literally a forcefield wall– so I stopped prying. He’ll tell me when he’s ready.

REN
Are you serious?  For him, you’ll wait and be patient, but you didn’t hesitate to pressure me into spilling the secret about my dad–

MAX
Hey, my life was at stake! Not that that’s a good reason for her to treat you like that, but–

REN
Uh, I know, I know. I’m not mad, I’m just… annoyed.

TAMMY
Yeah, what he said! His life was at stake! Also, Linus is way prettier than you.

REN
Yeah, yeah, I’ve seen him, I get it. I have to ask, is he even hotter with his glasses off?

TAMMY
Surprisingly, no. The glasses kind of do it for me. I make him leave them on as much as possible.

REN
Huh. He’s still not my type.

TAMMY
What is your type?

REN
Well, I’ve never dated anyone, really. After my power manifested, I hadn’t even allowed myself to think about boys that way. Luckily, all of my friends are girls, or gay, so that helps.

MAX
I miss boys.

TAMMY
You miss one boy, stupid. One invisible, unlucky boy.

MAX
I really wish I knew how he was doing.

TAMMY
Well, he’s in a stasis pod, so he’s doing as fine as someone unconscious can, I guess.

REN
When he wakes up, he’s probably going to freak out.

TAMMY
More or less than his parents did?

MAX
What do you mean, his parents?

REN
Oh, um, I stopped by to see his parents to explain the whole situation. They were not happy. Since they were heroes before they retired, they understand the importance of what he’s doing and where he’s going, but he’s their only child. They’re really concerned.

TAMMY
Are you implying that if he wasn’t an only child, it would be better, because at least they’d still have one kid left if something bad happens?

REN
Wow, no, that’s not what I meant. He’s like, their whole world, is all. He still lives with them, you know.

MAX
He told me why he still lives at home. In a nutshell, being invisible is hard, and it’s less hard when his parents can help. They even cut his hair.

TAMMY
That’s adorable. Unless he has a bowl cut.

MAX
Thankfully, no.  I hope his family has nothing to worry about. I hope I have nothing to worry about. The last time I thought I met a good guy, he ended up being fake. That’s why I deleted all of my dating apps.

TAMMY
What are you talking about?

MAX
There was this guy. He said his name was Edgar.  We were messaging back and forth for a few weeks, and we really seemed to click. We liked all the same movies, and music, and he was even a vegetarian, too.  In retrospect, I was always the first one to bring something up and he was always like “OMG, me too!” so I probably should’ve picked up on it.

REN
How did you find out he was lying?

MAX
Well, another guy sent me a message, and he had the same exact profile pic, so I accused the guy of stealing Edgar’s identity, so he ended up calling me on a video chat to prove that he was the real one. He was mad at me for the accusation, even though I apologized. Apparently, this wasn’t the first time. This Edgar guy used his photos on a couple different sites.  I told Edgar to leave me alone, and then I deleted all my apps.  I ended up losing a chance to get to know the real guy behind the photo, too, because he didn’t want to talk to me. He was really cute, too, like in a young lumberjack kind of way.

REN
What if that guy ended up using your photo to catfish other people? You’re not on the apps anymore, so you would have no idea, right?

MAX
I never thought of that. Whatever. I don’t need to spend any more time or effort being hurt by a catfishing jerkwad. I don’t have the emotional bandwidth right now. Besides, I have a boyfriend, so I shouldn’t be complaining.

REN
Well, ID is on a spaceship, being sucked through wormholes on a diplomatic quest to a distant galaxy, so, to me, that sounds like a good reason to complain.

TAMMY
You know, I met a henchie named Catfish. It was when I was first sidekicking. I’ll never forget how she smelled.

MAX
Did she smell really fishy?

TAMMY
Uh, no, why would she smell fishy?

MAX
I’m assuming she was like a giant slimy fish lady?

TAMMY
Oh, no, she was one of those girls really into Hello Kitty, and she used a fishing pole to fight people. Hence, Cat-fish.

MAX
You know, I read somewhere that Hello Kitty isn’t really a cat.

TAMMY
Huh. Well, that’s messed up. If she’s not a cat, what is she?

MAX
I honestly didn’t care enough to read any more, I just read the headline.

REN
What’s Hello Kitty? Is it like a cat that says hello to people?

TAMMY
Wow, kid, you just lost your seat at the adult table.

REN
We’re not sitting at a table.

TAMMY
I was being figurative.

MAX
Earlier, I was gonna suggest that you work as Tammy’s sidekick, Ren, you know, to get away from Lucid Lucy, but I don’t think that would work, like, at all.

REN
The thought did cross my mind for like 6 seconds. Alright, more like 4.

TAMMY
Har har.  You would be a step up from the loser I auditioned this morning. I’m pretty sure he’s the one who messed up your teleportation and grabbed poor ID instead.

REN
What are you talking about? He worked for one of the leagues?

TAMMY
Yeah. He used to intern with the PR and Communications team, and this was his first time contributing to a mission.

REN
Wait– what? I need way more information.

MAX
Yeah, who is this guy?

TAMMY
I didn’t learn his real name, but he goes by Passport.  The ship’s teleportation system was on the fritz, he said, so they were going to have to delay your departure, Ren, for a day or two. He stepped up and said he could help, and they let him.

REN
Is he an engineer or something?

TAMMY
No, sorry, left out the most important part. He’s a teleporter. He can do it to himself or someone else, if he concentrates hard enough. He teleported Chameleon up to the ship first, and that went off without a hitch, but when it came to teleporting two people at once, he wasn’t 100% confident he’d be able to do it.

REN
Please don’t tell me he’d never done it before.

TAMMY
He was nervous because he’d never done it before. One person was easy enough, but teleporting two people is apparently difficult, especially sending them up through the atmosphere and into stasis pods.

REN
Why did he offer to help if he wasn’t sure he could do it?

TAMMY
I asked the same question.  And I don’t know how to explain this without sounding sizeist.  Okay, so, Passport is like, morbidly obese. I’m not judging, just stating a fact.  He told me that being able to teleport everywhere makes burning calories really hard. Oh, and he has a thyroid thing.

MAX
I guess I wouldn’t really need to walk or run anywhere if I could just pop in and out in the blink of an eye.

TAMMY
Yeah, I guess. Anyway, the Comms team made fun of him a lot. They’d call him things like Teleporker and Porty Pig behind his back, but he totally knew it. I think he was trying to impress them by volunteering to help, so they’d stop bad-mouthing him.

MAX
It’s sad when even the good guys are bullies.

TAMMY
Well, when was the last time you saw an overweight superhero?

MAX
Not ever, really. I mean, we do have to pass a physical and that stupid obstacle course to be able to audition to sidekick.

TAMMY
Yeah, I know. I’m guessing he just teleported to the end of the obstacle course and called it a day.

REN
The obstacle course was really hard. It was like American Ninja Warrior, but with robots. I managed to make it though, but it was exhausting.

MAX
I took it my senior year at the academy, but, to be honest, I failed the first time. I trained for months and took it again, and just barely passed. Eloise was watching from a tree and telepathically sending me some tips. Without her, it probably would’ve taken me at least one other attempt.

TAMMY
I passed it on the first try. I thought it was pretty easy.

REN
You would say that, wouldn’t you?

TAMMY
Hey, when you got it, you got it.

REN
Ew.  So, just to be clear, this guy you auditioned–

TAMMY
Passport.

REN
Yeah, Passport. So, he admitted to you that he accidentally teleported the wrong person, right?

TAMMY
Yes.

REN
To try to get people to stop bullying him?

TAMMY
Double yes.

REN
At the possible expense of his career?

TAMMY
Triple yes.

REN
And he told you this while trying to get you to hire him?

TAMMY
Yeah, it didn’t make any sense to me either. I think he was trying to make me feel bad for him or something, but he had no idea that I was friends with Sophia and ID.

MAX
Tam, did you at least turn him down nicely?

TAMMY
I didn’t use my power against him, and he didn’t cry. Does that qualify as nice?

REN
For you, yeah.

MAX
Aww, I’m proud of you, sis. You’re growing up!

TAMMY
Fuck you both.

SOUND: CENSOR BLEEP OVER “FUCK”

MAX
No, really, I give you credit. If I’d met him, in my current state, I’d probably incinerate his face with my laser vision for what he did to Elijah.

REN
Ooo, tell me everything about your new powers.

MAX
It’s definitely a learning curve. The regeneration happens whether I want it to or not, so I guess I’ll never be sick ever again. I haven’t tried breaking a bone or severing a limb, and I hopefully never will, so I don’t know how thorough it is.  My hearing is a little better than it used to be. I don’t think that’s a new power, though, I think my body just healed the damage caused by having a sister with sonic screams.

TAMMY
I don’t like how everyone refers to my power as “sonic screaming.” Maybe just say sonic manipulation or vocal augmentation. It makes me seem forceful, like I’m always shrieking like a banshee or something.

REN
I think it makes you sound more menacing. Like, henchies, beware! Pitch will scream the flesh from your bones!

TAMMY
Okay, on second thought, stick to sonic screaming. Screaming sounds pretty good.

REN
What about your other powers, Max?

MAX
Well, my original power still works fine.  I know that the dog that lives down the hall, that little poodle thing, has to go out to pee, but her owner isn’t home, so she’s planning on going on the kitchen floor. You know, the usual. Other than the regeneration and the antlers, I just have the eye lasers. I don’t think I got any super strength or anything.

REN
Do the antlers do anything?

MAX
Not really! They’ll shed once a year, hopefully, so I can look forward to that. Growing them back is going to itch like crazy.

REN
Can you, like, trim them down a little?

MAX
Umm, I tried, but they grew back. Part of my regenerating, I guess. If they shed, though, that’ll be a normal seasonal thing, so my body might let it happen. I’m just speculating.

REN
How do the lasers work?

MAX
You really have a lot of questions, don’t you?

REN
Yeah. Sorry. Sometimes I imagine having different powers, so I’m trying to live through you vicariously.

MAX
I get it. I used to want to trade my powers in for something useful, like super speed or invulnerability. Now, I don’t know. Sometimes, my eyes glow red when I’m emotional, and I can feel the heat building up in my head– which is an awkward sensation, by the way, like that feeling before you sneeze, but it’s your brain and optic nerve instead of your lungs.

REN
Have you been able to shoot any lasers yet?

MAX
Yeah, one time. When Tammy told me about ID being sent in your place. I reacted before I could think, and I melted part of the wall behind her. When she told me I’d lost my job, it almost happened again, but I managed to reign it in.

TAMMY
Good thing you hadn’t been looking at me, or else I’d be super dead! Or at least deformed.

MAX
I haven’t figured out how to make it happen on purpose, but at least I know what it feels like, now, so I can look away from people if it happens again.

TAMMY
Or look AT people, if they’re trying to kidnap you again.

MAX
I don’t want to kill anyone. I saw The Stag cut through metal and stone with his laser vision before, so I know I have a lot of power, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do the same thing.

REN
Why not?

MAX
Here’s where my animal knowledge comes in handy. So, deer have horizontal pupils that can open up wider to let in more light. They can see really well in the dark. Their eyes are also positioned on their heads in a different spot, and they can barely move them. We can move our eyes back and forth a lot, so that’s different. I think the lasers come out of the pupils, so since mine are smaller and round, I don’t know if I can produce anything as powerful. The rods and cones are different too, along with the field of vision, so it’ll take a lot of research to figure it out.

TAMMY
Wow, you went with the nerdy answer. You could’ve just said that the Stag’s eyes were bigger, or something.

MAX
Whatever.  Needless to say, I’m going through an adjustment period.

TAMMY
Speaking of periods, mine came later than usual. But don’t worry, you won’t be an uncle any time soon! I go through contraception like it’s my job.

REN
Why are you this way? Max, has she always been like this?

MAX
Do you want an honest answer?

REN
No need, it’s fairly obvious.

TAMMY
I’m not going to apologize for speaking my truth.

MAX
Can we please not talk about this right now?  Let’s change the topic.

REN
Wanna watch a movie?

MAX
What? Really?

REN
You guys always judge me for not knowing any older movies, so let’s watch some.

TAMMY
I don’t actually hate this idea. It’s better than listening to him talk about deer eyes.

MAX
Okay, but I’m choosing the first one, okay?

TAMMY
Don’t let him pick, he’s going to make you watch–

MAX
Don’t tell her yet!

REN
Uh oh, maybe this was a bad idea.

MAX
Say yes? Please? I lost my boyfriend, lost my job, and I have huge antlers growing out of my head. I can never wear a hat again. I need this.

TAMMY
He’s not a hat guy anyway, don’t listen to him.

REN
Fine, you win.

MAX
Yes!  Tammy, go pop some popcorn, we’re starting with 80’s fantasy. Ren, flip a coin. If it’s heads, we’re watching Dark Crystal, if it’s tails, it’s Labyrinth.

TAMMY
I hope you like creepy puppets, Ren.

REN
Oh god, what have I done?

MUSIC FADE IN

MAT
Thanks for listening to this episode of Second Fiddles, which was almost named “A cute, gay Mr. Tumnus.” You just heard Liz Thompson as Tammy, Mat Johnson as Max, Kristy Barkan as Ren, and John Pupo as MacGuffin. All of the sound design and writing and what-not was done by Mat Johnson, and the new theme song was composed by Pete Johnson, no relation! Thanks for listening.