“Just Call Him Cupid X”
Authors: lcopperfield and Janee Rutledge
DISCLAIMER: All SPEED RACER characters are property of Speed Racer Enterprises, Inc. This is a comic follow-up to “Challenge of the Masked Racer, Revisited.” Again, kudos to my co-author/editor, Janee Rutledge, for helping me set the body of this slice of Racer family comic chaos---including a few of Spritle's pranks on Speed! Some more Rex/Spritle and Rex/Speed brother-bonding in later chapters...
Chapt. 1 Going Home
Boy, am I ever glad to be out of that hospital bed! If I don't see another IV line or have to deal with any more shots for the rest of my life, that'd be fine with me---I HATE hospital stays. What I hate even more though, is being told to stay in bed even when I know I'm perfectly ok.---But hey, I'm a Racer. And I guess we Racer men just don't make very good patients. (Just ask my mom and Trixie about that!!!)
---Speed Racer, on hospitals, IV lines, and staying in bed longer than necessary----
The day after the Trans-Country Race Speed was sent home from the hospital, under strict orders from his family physician to rest in bed for the next three to four days. No overexcitement, nothing strenuous...And definitely, no driving. Just complete bed rest.
Not that Speed could squawk much about it. He was still too wiped out from yesterday's events, to put up much of a fight---although he did protest loudly in front of his family and Racer X last night, that much he did remember. Thankfully, the physical damage from the kidnapping/fire/race was minimal: some nasty rope burns, a small amount of smoke inhalation, considerable dehydration and an extreme case of exhaustion. Mentally, however...
...That was a different story.
It hadn't been an easy night for the young racer after his family and friends had left his hospital room. Encouraged by his nurses, Speed had tried to go to sleep on his own, and for a while had succeeded in doing so---until his sleep was disrupted by a terrifying nightmare around one in the morning.
It wasn't the actual kidnapping that bothered Speed, although he could still feel the achiness and tightness in his wrists long after Racer X had set him free. He also could still hear the cruel taunts of his guards rattling his mind. It was the fire in the basement---the accidental inferno that nearly cost both him and Racer X their lives---that terrified him the most. The brutal images kept assaulting his mind like a set of sharp daggers, twisting over and over. The dream sequence was so vivid and disturbing, his screams could be heard all the way down the corridor outside his room to the nurses' station. Shortly afterwards he'd been given a mild sedative, and back to sleep Speed went.
So it came as no surprise the next morning, that he was still a little groggy when Trixie came to take him home. “Knock, knock!” a smiling Trixie called out, entering her boyfriend's hospital room. She carried with her a bag containing a fresh change of clothes for Speed, and a small tape recorder. “How's my favorite racing star?”
A groggy Speed looked up from his breakfast. He was sitting up in bed, no longer hooked up to the IV---it had been removed an hour before, once Dr. Wilson had given him the okay to go home. He grinned tiredly when he saw his favorite girl walk in. “Hey, Trixie. I see you got my message,” he said, reaching over to hug Trixie. “Other than still being sore and awfully tired, I'm a lot better than I was last night.”
She laughed. “That's putting things mildly. Your mom was a little surprised when you called about seven-thirty this morning to say you were coming home,” Trixie said, her eyes sparkling as she set the duffle bag on the bed. “And yes, I did bring the tape recorder. What'd the doctor say when you asked him about taping your testimony for that meeting today?”
“Actually...he thought it was a good idea. Thought it might help me get over what happened, quicker. He even offered to ask the questions.” Speed paused, then pushed aside his breakfast tray. He swung his feet over the edge of the bed and stood up, albeit rather shakily. Trixie held onto him, trying to steady him. “Now, let me at my clothes, will you?
Trixie giggled. “Not until I give you...This.” She gave a startled Speed a quick kiss on the cheek.
Speed blushed. A quirky grin crossed his face. “Okay, that...That makes me feel a lot better. But I think, something's missing.” He proceeded to sweep Trixie into his arms, surprising her with an unabashed long kiss.
Trixie looked a little stunned. She hadn't expected that...! “What was that for, Speed?”
“That...was for standing by my family yesterday. And this...is because, I feel like it.” Speed kissed her again.
Uh, huh. Your typical teenage romance. So what else is new?
Just then, there was a knock at the door. It swung open, and in walked flame-haired Mrs. McAllister, the head nurse on the morning shift. She had come to do one last vitals check on Speed, before his doctor came to see him. As the fifty-something woman was the old-fashioned sort when it came to romance, one could just imagine her reaction to the two teens sitting on Speed's bed, locked in a very romantic embrace and generally acting like a pair of lovebirds. “Mr. Racer!” the nurse exclaimed, a look of shocked disapproval registering on her face when she saw what was happening. “I know you're happy to see your girlfriend, but this is not Inspiration Point. Nor is it some cheesy motel room. This is a hospital, which is most certainly NOT a place for public displays of affection! I suggest that you save the romance for when you get home!”
Speed and Trixie looked up, horrified. Quickly, they broke apart when they caught sight of Mrs. McAllister's stern gaze. Busted...!!! “Uh...Hi, Mrs. McAllister!” Speed gulped, his face turning a bright red.
“Now there'll be no hanky-panky or other such nonsense, while I'm in this room,” Mrs. McAllister admonished, pulling a blood pressure cuff from the pocket of her uniform. “Hold out your arm, so I can take your blood pressure.” She wrapped the cuff around Speed's upper left arm, and proceeded to check his blood pressure. She also checked his temperature and pulse as well. “And you may want to get dressed when I'm done here. Dr. Wilson will be down in ten minutes, with your release papers and home care instructions.”
Speed couldn't stop blushing. By now, his face was completely crimson with embarrassment. “Ummm...Yes, ma'am!”
Finally, the nurse was finished charting his vitals. “All right, Mr. Racer. Everything looks good, you're free to get dressed,” Mrs. McAllister announced.
Immediately, Trixie began to help Speed unpack his clothes (how many blue polo shirts, pairs of white pants, and red socks did this kid own, anyways??) from the duffle bag on the bed. “Here. Let me help you with that, Speed.”
Speed smiled. “Thanks, Trixie.”
Suddenly, someone coughed behind them. “A-hem!!”
The couple turned. There was Speed's nurse, standing with one hand on the curtain and frowning at them. “Young lady, I'm afraid you'll have to leave,” Mrs. McAllister said crossly.
Trixie was mortified. “But...But I was just helping Speed get his clothes out!” she protested.
“It doesn't matter! It's not proper for a young lady, to see a young man in the nude. Unless of course, they're married. And I highly doubt, you two are married.” The matronly woman motioned for Trixie to leave. “Now leave the room, miss. Or I will escort you out, myself.”
Speed looked worriedly at Trixie. She stood there, clenching her fists and fuming. “No, I won't leave the room!”
Speed sighed, and shook his head. After all the pleasant nurses who had taken care of him last night...He had to get one whose temperment rivalled Pops'! There had to be a way to end this stalemate...
Suddenly, a solution came to him. “Listen, Mrs. McAllister. I've got an idea,” Speed spoke up, grinning broadly. “Trixie can go sit in that armchair over by the TV set. Then I can close the curtain, and get dressed. Besides---it doesn't take me that long, to change.”
The nurse thought over his suggestion. At length, she grudgingly agreed to it. “Oh, very well!” Mrs. McAllister mumbled, pressing her lips together. “Just be quick about it. And NO funny business!” Pulling the curtain close around Speed, she then walked out of the room, muttering to herself something about “these unchaperoned teenagers nowadays. If she were my daughter, such behavior would be quickly remedied...!”
The room fell silent for a few moments. Trixie went over to the armchair in the corner by the TV set, and sat down. She was still stewing over the nurse's caustic remarks.
Finally, she exploded. “The nerve of that woman! Boy, am I glad she's not my mother!” Trixie pouted. “She's a scary one!”
A moment later, Speed's cheerful face popped out from behind the curtain. “You think that's bad, Trix. You should've heard her lecture me this morning at breakfast, over racing cars at my age,” he called out, wincing a bit at the memory. “She was worse than Pops, on one of his good days!”
Trixie giggled, and relaxed. Speed drew back the curtain a few minutes later and stepped out, dressed and ready to go. “Now, that's scary! But, Speed. With their personalities...If Pops were to be hospitalized again for anything, can you imagine what'd it be like if he had her for his nurse??”
He thought about that picture a moment, then let out a loud, boyish laugh. “Trix, c'mon. You're making me laugh! And right now, it kinda hurts!” Speed gasped, between laughs. “But you're right, I gotta wonder who would drive who crazier. Pops, or 'Nurse-zilla' McAllister!”
For a moment, the two teens just looked at each other, and grinned. Then they both cracked up with laughter over the idea of Speed's dad, trying to deal with the nurse from hell. Speed was laughing so hard, he suddenly went into a violent coughing fit---a painful reminder that he wasn't one hundred percent recovered from the previous day's ordeal. “Speed!” Trixie exclaimed, alarmed. She thumped him on the back once or twice, until he stopped coughing. “Are you okay?”
Speed gasped, and grimaced. “Yeah, I'll be fine. Just a little reminder about that fire...”
Moments later, his facial expression changed into a big grin. “Well, now we wait for Dr. Wilson. Then---I'm outta here, and boy, will it be good to get home,” Speed said, winking at Trixie. “I can't wait!”
Trixie laughed. “Bye-bye, 'Nurse-zilla'!”