An Inconvenient Teal'c

"What purpose does a 'gulp' serve, and why should it be big?"

O'Neill paused in his efforts to put the lid on his cup and threw a look over his shoulder at Teal'c. The big man looked out of place standing at the drink station of the convenience store, holding his red and white cup. He'd been staring at the vast array of soda options for several minutes, and still had yet to choose anything beyond cubed ice rather than crushed.

Before the Colonel could say anything, though, Teal'c spoke again.

"Is this beverage meant to be consumed in one single swallow?"

"No, T—it's just saying that it's a big drink."

"Then perhaps the better name for the serving would be 'Many Gulps Within One Large Cup'."

"But then it wouldn't sound as cool. 'Big Gulp'. It's a great name. Easy to say. Alliterative."

But still the Jaffa stood there, unmoving, cup full of melting ice in hand. Jack reached for and withdrew a long straw from the stainless steel dispenser near the lid rack, ripped the top off and blew the bottom half of the paper directly into the hole in the counter that served as a garbage receptacle. As he slid the denuded straw into the opening of his cup's lid, he heard Teal'c shift behind him.

"Perhaps it should be entitled the 'Medium Gulp'. Much as the 'Medium Popcorn' at the theater where we venture to view motion pictures."

"Why do you say that, T?"

Teal'c indicated the cup dispenser, where the bottoms of cups protruded from different sized openings. Above the 'Big Gulp' cups, were two other sizes of containers. "Because it appears that the 'Big Gulp' is not as voluminous as either the 'Super Big Gulp' or the 'Mega Big Gulp'."


"So, therefore, the larger sizes of the other two containers render the adjective 'Big' in the title 'Big Gulp' somewhat impotent. The serving size is no longer 'big' if there are two others which are larger. Their relative size would then make 'big' seem 'small' in comparison."

Jack tapped the straw down, shaking his head. "Teal'c—just choose a drink. Fill the cup, stick a lid on, get a straw, and let's go. We're going to be late."

But Teal'c had taken a step back towards the tidy rows of flat white cup butts.

"Considering the prospective length of the soccer match to which we are in transit, and the ambient heat outside, I believe that the 'Mega Big Gulp' may be a more advantageous choice, O'Neill."

"You can't do that."

"Why not?"

"Because you've already put ice in that cup. You can't put that one back."

"But ice is merely water. I have not dirtied this cup in any way."

"Teal'c—just fill the cup." O'Neill indicated the row of drink machines. "Choose one and let's go."

Still Teal'c didn't move. He stood, staring at the bright colors of the display from under the low brim of his Colorado Rockies baseball cap.

Jack sighed heavily. He pivoted to stand beside the Jaffa at the drink station. "What are you in the mood for? You like citrus, right? There's Orange Crush, or Lemonade, or Lime Coke. Or Mountain Dew is kind of citrusy—or Sprite, or 7-Up. If you're in the mood for cola, there's Coke, Diet Coke, Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Dr. Pepper. You can have all of those without caffeine, if you like. Root Beer. There's Root Beer. You like that, don't you? Iced Tea? You've had that. And you can add cherry flavoring to any of those if you want—or lemon. Or look—there's one of those energy Monster drinks. You can have that if you'd prefer."

And still Teal'c stood, silent, unmoving.

"What's the hold up?"

Jack looked towards the voice to see Daniel came around a unit of shelving to stand near Jack, holding two bottles of some kind of canned sweetened frou-frou coffee. "Sam's done already. We're going to be late."

"I've been trying to convince Teal'c of that, Daniel." Jack raised his empty hand to indicate the Jaffa beside him. "He's having a bit of a problem deciding on which drink he wants."

"What're you in the mood for, Teal'c?" Daniel surveyed the long line of fountain dispensers.

"I've already asked him. He doesn't know." Jack took a long draw from his cup. He himself had chosen diet, but he'd mixed in just enough of the real thing that he could say it wasn't diet. Soda choices were squirrely, if you asked him. Choose diet or caffeine free, and it was like drinking a wine cooler. Girly. He figured that two-thirds diet and one-third real made the whole thing real by default. Too much sugar to be considered good for you, not enough that it would negate the crunches he'd done that morning.

"Well, come on, Teal'c. Sam's already at the register."

Teal'c sighed, his massive chest expanding with the effort. He bobbled his hand a little, and the ice shook in the cup.

"I believe that this is not a choice to be taken lightly, Daniel Jackson."

Jack gestured with a flattened palm. "I was just thinking that exact same thing. And yet here I am. Soda in hand."

But Teal'c continued as if O'Neill hadn't spoken. "We will be engaged in viewing this soccer tournament for several hours. If my beverage of choice is too large, then I will need to leave the field of play in search for a lavatory. If it is too small, I will perhaps be left desiring more to consume, without any manner of accessing it."

Crap like that always sounded better in Teal'c's deep, melodious voice. Jack sighed and shook his head at Daniel, offering a slight shrug.

"Teal'c, she's going to do it again."

"She wouldn't, would she?" Jack narrowed his eyes at Daniel.

"Oh, I think she would—if only to avoid the wrath of Janet."

Jack considered, then nodded balefully. "Daniel's right, Teal'c. Carter would hotwire the truck again and leave us here. She's done it before."

Yet, Teal'c inclined his head anyway. "That is also a factor to consider."

Daniel sighed, flinging an anxious glance at the Colonel. "Teal'c, I don't mean to rush you, but last time we almost missed Cassie's game, remember?"

"I do indeed, Daniel Jackson." He canted his head ever so slightly to one side. "However, I fail to see how the culpability of that instance falls on me."

"You were the one who couldn't decide which hat to wear."

"As I recall, it is General Hammond and the SGC who require me to don head-wear with which to conceal my tattoo. Were it up to me, I would not disguise the symbol of my people's oppression."

"Well, yeah." Daniel conceded, "But that doesn't mean that you have to match each hat you wear to a specific engagement. Sometimes, you just plunk something on your head and wear it."

"One's clothing should always be appropriate for the occasion."

"Teal'c, I'm not saying that it shouldn't. I'm just saying that there are certain times when you just put something on—and it really doesn't matter what."

"And perhaps risk offending the parties with whom you are involved?" Teal'c cocked his brow and frowned sideways. "I should think that would be discourteous."

"No more rude than arriving late everywhere."

"But I am not late everywhere." He sighed, raising his head slightly. "Merely to those places where my choice of head-wear may be a topic of discussion, and therefore requiring of more thought."

"Teal'c. Gah!—" Jack waved his hands, sending a light spray of soda out of the top of his straw. "Come on. Choose a damned drink already."

Daniel lowered his chin and peered at Teal'c from over the tops of his glasses. "Teal'c—just choose one."

From behind them came the click of boot heels, and Jack took an unconscious step sideways. Around the same corner that Daniel had come, appeared an annoyed Carter.

"What's going on here?" She was using her 'Mom' voice.

Silence reigned for a few brief seconds before Jack pointed his free hand at Teal'c. "He can't decide what drink he wants."

"We're going to be late, Teal'c."

"So I have been told."

"So, come on." Sam moved forward, stopping next to Teal'c expectantly, fists on her hips. "Choose one."

"I have been in the process of that decision for quite some time, Major Carter."

"Yeah—I know. I've been waiting up there forever." She held up her hand, from which hung a plastic bag through which Jack could see a few bottles of spring water. "See? All done."

"I am too." Daniel raised his bottles.

"Me three." Jack wiggled his own cup. "We're just waiting on him." He indicated Teal'c with a nod of his head.

Sam turned her wrist and glanced at her watch. "We've got fifteen minutes until the toss. It'll take around seven minutes to get there, five minutes to find parking—and we still have to find a seat. Even if we leave right now, we're still going to be late."

"Janet Fraiser will acquire seating for all of us. That has been her custom in the past." The Jaffa sounded certain.

"Teal'c." Sam pursed her lips, obviously struggling for control. "Pick one. Or I'm leaving without you."

Teal'c turned his head and glowered at her. "As you wish, Major Carter."

Stepping forward, he dumped the now-melted ice into the reservoir, then pressed his cup into the ice dispenser, waiting until it was around a third of the way filled. Then he took half a step sideways and aimed his container at the Dr. Pepper spigot. With a decided movement, he pressed the tab. When the froth reached the top, he stopped, waited for it to subside, and then finished filling his cup.

Sam sighed in relief when he finally turned towards the lid and straw area. He capped the cup, grabbed a straw, and lifted his Big Gulp in a mock salute.

"Thank you." Sam pivoted on the heel of her boot and clicked back around the shelving unit. Jack watched her go, then shadowed behind Daniel as he trailed Sam.

They'd made it to the door before they realized that Teal'c had not followed them.

"Where is he?" Sam raised her eyebrows, surveying the convenience store. "Where did he go?"

"Jack?" Daniel turned to the Colonel.

"How am I supposed to know? I'm not my Jaffa's keeper."

Daniel rolled his eyes and rose up on his tippie-toes, craning his head for a better look around the store. Suddenly, he rocked back on his heels, handed his bottles to Jack, and held up a finger. "Wait here."

He disappeared into the bowels of the store, only to reemerge a few moments later, grimacing.

Jack scowled at the look on Daniel's face. "Do I want to know?"

"Probably not."

"What's he doing?" Sam's voice had transcended 'Mom' and gone straight into 'Junior High School Principal'.

Daniel scrunched up his nose and readjusted his glasses, finally meeting her eye after stalling as long as he could. "He's—uh—he's almost ready."

"What's he doing?" Sam asked again—more slowly.

"Well, the good news is that he's happy with his drink choice." Daniel gave a pained smile.

"And?" The Colonel prompted.

"The bad news is, now he's looking at snacks."