Mar 13 2012
A heavy sigh escapes my lips as I gaze out the office window and over the afternoon cityscape, a 12-year-old single malt clutched painfully in hand. Another sigh. Well, it had to happen sooner or later, didn’t it? I tell myself. It was only a matter of time. After all, trying to keep the whole group squeaky-clean until July was like trying to keep a forest dry in a thunderstorm: not super likely. If you’re good, however, you can mop up the water before anyone even realizes it had been cloudy out.
But every four years, it seems like I’m always caught in a downpour.
A whisper of a knock, and the door creaks open. Though my back remains turned, already I can imagine her timid entrance: the hesitant steps; the pursed lips, the shimmering corneas. Composure, I remind myself with a mildly frantic slug of scotch. Composure. Summoning my inner Debra Messing, I spin around and flash my best “don’t-worry-I-promise-I’m-not-going-to-scream-at-you…much” smile.
And there, cowering at the other side of my desk, sits Ms. Peach.
“Hello, princess,” I intone, setting my scotch down with a satisfying ice-splashy sound. “I suppose you can guess why I called you in, right?” She nods a meek nod. “I mean, is it so much to ask that you stay out of trouble for a little while? The summer Olympics are only a few months away! Look, I know you guys have gotten comfortable around the kingdom over the years, but have you seen the Angry Birds manor on VH1 lately? Have you been keeping up with the news? I’m telling you, those ill-tempered puffballs could overtake Super Mario Land by 2018 if you’re not careful. Which you’re not. If you were, I probably wouldn’t have caught these on TMZ this morning.”
I casually hurl a stack of 8×10 photographs into Peach’s lap, and she immediately begins to sob.
“I-I-I’m sorry, mista F!” she wails. “I forgot these were even on my phone—they’re f-from like two years ago!”
“When Bowser kidnapped me and took me into outer space, I-I was able to smuggle my cell phone through Koopa security in my…gloves. Mario kept texting that he was on some starship to rescue me, but also that ‘TOGTFO.’ I didn’t know what that meant…”
“Oh,” I offer. “It means ti—”
“I know what it means now!” Peach’s cheeks grow even more fruit-toned than normal as she regains her composure. “Anyhoo, I was way the hell out in space. What could I do?”
Those are the jaded eyes of a fetishist.
“Try locking your doors, for one,” I grimace. “Or get your damn boyfriend to hire a bodyguard. You’re easier to abduct than a dead cat. That little explanation doesn’t make me feel any better, by the way. How am I supposed to spin this in the press?” I start pacing the room, muttering to myself, replenishing my drink mid-stride as I pass the Scotch Wall (custom-built, thank you). “He’s a pervert, you’re a skank—or you both are. How the devil does a princess lose her phone, anyway…”
“It was hacked,” Peach hiccups, straightening her posture.
“What?” I feel a PR snarl coming on.
“I didn’t lose my phone. It was hacked, like Olivia Munn’s. Some…some nerd stole those pictures from me!” Peach starts to tear up again.
I raise one eyebrow as dramatically as possible. “Oh?” I condescend. “It got ‘hacked,’ did it? Snookums, I’m going to get a little Mark McGuire on you for a second…”
“A little who?”
“Listen, help me help you, OK? Did your phone seriously get hacked?”
Peach resumes her sheepish demeanor and adjusts her octave level to Whine. “Nooo…?”
“As I thought. And why didn’t you delete these pictures after that bozo rescued you? I feel like you were just itching for these to leak eventually. Well, guess what? I’m going to save your asses again, just like the time I covered up Birdo’s gender reassignment surgery. Because that’s what I do.”
Your secret’s safe with me, sweetheart.
I emphatically open a nearby drawer. “But until then, you’re dropping off the radar. I’m rescinding your cell phone privileges until further notice.”
“Wuhh-aaaahhhhhttt?!” Peach daintily screeches. “Not my cell! Don’t take away my Angry B—I mean, how am I supposed to be the mayor of my castle without Foursquare?”
“I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that,” I warn, snatching up Peach’s smartphone as a python might snatch up a cornered rat. In its place, I hand over an old pager from my knife-selling days.
I didn’t accept PayPal back then.
“Anyway, this is not a negotiation. Head back to the castle, lock the goddamn doors, and get your ass to practice. I heard you’re shit in equestrian, and even worse in badminton and gymnastics. Savvy?”
“‘Savvy’?” Peach squeaks.
“Savvy, savvy, that’s from Jack in the pirates of the—you know what? Forget it,” I groan. “Buzz me on your landline if you need me. Better yet, have Toadstool do it for you.”
Staring glumly at the pager, Peach rises to shoot a dejected, puffy-lipped frown my way. That’s my cue:
“Peach, babe, you know I love you, right?” I coax. “And I’ll bet there isn’t an app for thaa-aaaaat…” Despite herself, the princess allows a reserved chuckle. “That’s better. OK, off you go.” Peach sighs the sigh of a royal orphan and sashays toward the door. “And princess?” I call after her.
“What’s our new mantra between now and the summer Olympics…?”
Peach rolls her eyes. “Party less, eat fewer mushrooms, and make good decisions.”
“Good decisions, yes,” I smile and trace a heart on my chest. “I love you?”
Peach shyly rolls her eyes again. Those things must be dizzy. “I love you.”
As the door clicks behind her, I idly spin the princess’ phone across my desk. Hmm, might have to pull a Christina Hendricks on this one: “Some of those sexy pics are of me but those naked boobs are imposters!” Maybe I should check her call log and such, I venture. Get a sense of the shitstorm to come.
Within seconds, it’s clear I should have Big Brothered that doe-eyed little minx years ago. First off, she consistently goes over her anytime minutes—by at least 2,300 minutes each month! How is that even possible? And as for the risqué cell phone pics, I think some of the blame lies on a certain Facebook friend Peach describes as “new bestie for life <3” (whatever that means):
Lara Croft. I should have known. I’ve been telling these guys for years not to hang with the T for Teen crowd, but apparently the message never sank in. Believe me, Lara’s got a history of promiscuous behavior (NSFWish), and I’m not talking about Eskimo kisses. Plus that woman just scares the ever-loving shit out of me.
This changes things, but I’ll be damned if that she-demon’s going to f**k with my athletes during preseason. They’ll all head into the London Games with Ken-doll abs and a polished public image to match, or I’m not Replyto:email@example.com, dammit. I seal this vow with four measured gulps and reach for the phone.
My hands tremble during the first two rings, but he picks up on the third. “Hello?”
“Hello, Mr. Bill,” I cautiously reply. “I think I have a job for you.”
“Please,” my contact’s voice is menacing, metallic, and cold. “Call me Bullet.”
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