Steve Sloan steered his car into the parking lot of Community General Hospital with one thing on his mind: Revenge.
Spring fever had apparently crawled into Jesse Travis's bones and made the younger man absolutely deviant. That in itself was enough to disturb the detective for two reasons; One, California didn't have much of a winter to begin with, and Second, Doctor Travis should have outgrown such an immature sense of humor. Neither points held any relevance.
Steve grew hot with anger and mulled over the embarrassing (although admittedly clever) prank. After receiving a book entitled 'The Ultimate Guide to Practical Jokes' for his birthday, the doctor decided that it was his self-appointed responsibility to replicate each prank outlined in the 102 page book. He even dubbed himself 'The King of Practical Jokes'.
It had been one of those situations where everything was outrageously funny until the joke was on you.
And boy, had the joke been on Steve.
The detective's jaw was sore from all the teeth-grating he had done in the past 24 hours. Now it was time to get even. He parked his car with forceful, punishing movements and stepped out onto the clean blacktop parking lot. So the young Travis enjoyed practical jokes, did he? Well, Steve had a few up his own sleeve.
Steve strode purposefully towards the hospital's entrance in the same manner one approaches a care-free dog sitting amongst the ruins of what used to be your five hundred dollar couch.
The knowledge of a promising revenge warmed Steve from within as he entered the hospital. It was a Tuesday morning and the traffic was as quiet as Community General ever was. Steve knew from experience that the doctors would be on their down-time while the nurses made routine rounds to check on the patients. It meant that Jesse Travis would, hopefully, be available.
Steve navigated through the halls of the hospital, passing staff and patients with formal regard. There was no time for casual small talk today. He was a man on a mission.
The detective rounded the corner and spotted his pray- Jesse. He rounded the corner and spotted Jesse.
"Hey Steve," Jesse greeted after he looked up from a file.
A sadistic smile itched to show itself. Steve strode to the counter and dropped the small box he had been carrying. It landed with a satisfying thud on the counter top. Jesse looked at it.
"Aw, did you get me a present?"
The corners of Steve's mouth curled much like the Grinch. "Why yes Jesse, I did."
Jesse looked taken aback. "You did?" he asked as he set down the file beside the box. "Why?"
"Just to show there are no hard feelings."
Jesse's eyes narrowed and one eyebrow rose in question. "Really? You're not mad anymore?"
Steve placed a hand on his chest. "Me?"
Jesse turned his attention to the box. "Will it bite?"
"Steve!" Mark called out from down the hall as he approached. "Everything alright?"
Good. An audience. "Yeah dad, everything's great," Steve replied, then looked back to Jesse once his father was at his side. "As a matter of fact, I brought everyone something."
"Everyone? I thought this was mine."
Steve reached for the cardboard box and opened it. "I lied," he said.
Inside were roughly 20 urine specimen cups, their red caps reflecting brightly against the hospital lighting.
A second of silence rang through the air.
"What are these for?" Jesse said finally, reaching in a grabbing one of the opaque cups.
"Random drug tests, issued by the state. Surprise." Steve fought to keep from smiling.
Jesse appeared shocked. He huffed. "Drug tests? You're serious?"
Steve shrugged and felt his father's gaze on him. "Hey, don't shoot the messenger."
"Not just you," Steve said, grabbing one of the cups and tossing it to his father. "As I said, they're random."
Jesse kept his mouth shut for a few moments, his eyes searching the detective's face. Steve only grinned.
"Oh. Um, alright."
Victory sung in Steve's veins. The hard part was done. "Yeah, so, I'm kinda in a hurry…" Steve trailed off, casting his gaze over the Jesse's shoulder, towards the restroom.
Jesse dropped his gaze to the small cup in his hand, then looked at Mark. "Is Mark being tested too?"
Steve shrugged. "Sure."
"Okay then." Jesse sighed. Poor guy looked like he was expecting the ceiling to come crashing down. Steve was ecstatic.
The detective watched as Jesse turned and headed for the bathroom, stopping to flirt with a young nurse as she was delivering breakfasts to patients. Jesse leaned on the food cart for a moment, hiding the urine cup behind his back as he said something inaudible, then the two parted and Jesse disappeared into the men's restroom. Steve shook his head.
"What's this really about?" Mark spoke up, breaking the silence.
Steve attempted to look bewildered. "What are you talking about, dad?"
Mark shifted his weight and raised an eyebrow. "A random drug test?"
Steve shrugged. "Drug test, revenge, call it what you want."
"Ah. I see. This is about the powdered milk in you bed, isn't it?"
Steve reflexively sniffed his jacket. "I stunk for three days. Can you blame me?"
Mark glanced at the restrooms. "What are you going to do to him?"
"It's more like what the good doctors in the psych ward will do for him, to get him over his addiction."
"What? They know it's a prank, nothing will go on his record."
Mark looked only somewhat relieved. He took a deep breath, then said, "You're evil."
"I know." The King was going down.
Jesse was worried.
Steve seemed to have forgotten about the horrible (but hilarious) incident with the powdered milk a little too easily. Nobody forgot about a stench that awful for at least a month.
Jesse was known for being a quick thinker. It was quite possibly the most successful trait he possessed, especially in the midst of an emergency. While this was no medical emergency, Jesse felt the cold seed of doubt growing in this stomach and his mind screamed 'Set up!'. A random drug test, huh? Jesse snorted.
Walking away from Steve, Jesse spotted the nurse's food cart parked in the hallway. He saw his opening and moved in. Jesse sauntered up to the nurse, made some flirty small talk, and discretely snatched a small carton of apple juice. He glanced at Steve, who was watching intently from a distance, then smiled once more at the nurse and continued into the restroom.
We'll see who has the last laugh.
Steve glanced at the clock again. How long could it possibly take to pee in a cup?
Finally, Jesse emerged from the restroom at the other end of the hall. Steve stood a little straighter.
"Took you long enough. I said I was in a hurry."
Jesse came to a stop before Steve. "It's not something you can just 'turn on', you know."
Behind Steve, Mark was watching intently. Steve leaned forward. "So where is it?"
Jesse thrust his arm out rather quickly, sloshing the contents of the covered specimen cup in front of Steve's face. "Here you go, detective."
Steve jerked backwards. "Jeez Jesse, watch were you aim that."
Mark moved forwards now, putting on his glasses and looking hard and the cup still in Jesse's hand. Jesse's eyes seemed to go wide for a split second, but the expression was so quick Steve wasn't sure he'd seen it at all. After a few moments, Mark spoke, "Are you feeling okay Jesse? The color doesn't look quite right."
Steve straightened and narrowed his own eyes at the urine. It looked fine to him, but then again, he didn't study the stuff.
Jesse's gaze dropped to the opaque cup and he brought it closer to his face. "You know, you're right…" he trailed off.
Steve watched in stunned silence as the young doctor unscrewed the red cap.
"Better run it through again," Jesse said effortlessly.
Steve watched in horrified slow motion as Jesse raised the cup to his lips and smoothly downed the cup's contents.
"Oh God," Steve whimpered, feeling the burn of bile surging up his throat. He ran to the restroom as fast as his numb legs would carry him.
Mark and Jesse were left alone, staring at each other in amused silence.
"Please tell me you didn't really-"
Mark closed his eyes for a moment. "You are one twisted little soul, you know that?"
It's good to be the king.