Motivation

 

"If I don't graduate soon I'm gonna shoot someone," Ted growled to his housemate Jim as they walked up the hill from campus.

"And you've only got a semester left, bastard," replied Jim, staring at his feet as sweat dripped from his forehead to the blacktop,"I have NO idea how much longer I'll be." He glanced sidelong at Ted, showing some envy but mostly exhaustion.

The house was now only 20 yards away, but the hill was now at its steepest. Ted and Jim kept their heads down, the weight of their backpacks shifting forward slightly toward their shoulders. Pack mules.

"At least you're closer than Stewie," Ted said. "I wonder if he'll ever get a degree. At least he's trying a little harder this semester."

"He still skipped all his classes today, I think."

Ted chuckled as the pair started up the concrete steps. The dog next door started yapping as they neared the top. "Damn poodles." Jim seemed to be talking from reflex.

As Ted opened the door, he heard Sally Jesse Raphael whining about women who won't eat mustard, and he noticed his other housemate on the couch with a blank look on his face.

"Stewie!" cried Ted, acting much more excited than all three knew he was. "Getting anything important done?" Stewie had a notebook on his lap; it was closed.

"Huh?" asked Stewie.

"You know, like homework."

"Uh... yeah. I... what's today?"

"Wednesday."

"Oh... thanks." Stewie turned back to staring past the TV.

"I think I'm gonna go get some beer," Jim said, heading towards the back of the house, "anyone want any?"

Stewie turned towards Jim. He looked at him for a second, opened his mouth, and turned back to the TV. His lips stayed separated by a few centimeters. Ted began laughing as Jim walked out the door. Stewie seemed not to notice.

"Have you seen my motivation?" Stewie asked, still staring towards the TV.

"Your what?"

"My motiv... never mind."

"Y'alright, Stew?"

"What?"

"Okay. I'm gonna go get... did you say motivation?"

"What?"

"Just now, did you say..."

"Who, me?" asked Stewie. His eyes never left the point 3 feet behind the TV on which they were focused.

"Actually I was talking to Sally. Is she talking about unmotivated mustard and the sandwiches that hide from it?"

"Uh... yeah, I think so..." replied Stewie.

"You sure you're alright, man?" Ted was now staring at the same point past the TV that Stewie was.

"Is it Tuesday?" asked Stewie.

"Uh... ok. I'm going up to get some homework done..."

"Homework... shit, what's today?" asked Stewie, finally looking in Ted's general direction.

"It's Tuesday... wait, no... Wednesday. Dumbass. Did you just say Tuesday?"

"Say what? I... mustard?"

 

Thursday morning Ted stayed in bed until 10:30. His first class wasn't until 11:00, and he had been up late doing something. As he pulled his shorts on he wondered what he had been doing. He decided he must've been on the phone.

Downstairs he saw that no one had started any coffee. Yesterday's cold stuff was still in the pot. Ted wouldn't have drank any anyway, but he was surprised that neither of his housemates had started it... Stewie had an 8:00 class that he usually needed intravenous caffeine in order to wake up for.

Ted heard Jim stomping down the stairs. "Coffee..." Jim muttered, heading past Ted to the pot.

"It's cold," said Ted.

Jim grabbed the mug sitting beside the pot and poured. "Man, I don't wanna go to class..." he said as he lifted the mug to his lips.

"It's..." started Ted.

"God damn!" cried Jim as he spit cold coffee at the wall. "What the hell are you letting me drink this for?"

"Uh... sorry, I didn't know it was cold." replied Ted, headed for his backpack.

"Isn't Stewie up?" asked Jim.

"I don't know... he should be in class."

"Yeah, I know that, but he hasn't gone to that 8 a.m. for a week now, I think."

"Really? I wonder..." Ted was cut off as the door to Stewie's downstairs bedroom opened.

"Hey guys... is it 7 yet?" Stewie asked.

"It's... ten 'til eleven, man. You miss class again?" Responded Ted.

"It can't be THAT late, it's still light out."

"Sure thing, Stewie. What the hell are you jabbering about?" asked Jim.

"That's what I thought," replied Stewie.

"Well, gotta go. Been nice talking through ya, Stew..." said Ted as he walked out the front door.

"Yeah, I guess I'd better get out of here too. Wouldn't wanna miss anything important," Jim added, grabbing his backpack.

"Isn't it Saturday?" asked Stewie.

"Thursday, dipshit." Jim left the door opened as he left.

Jim caught up with Ted, and the two of them heard the door shutting from the house. They turned around and saw Stewie pissing over the railing of the front porch.

"Dude... what the hell happened to him?" Asked Ted.

"I don't know... must of had a rough night."

"He watched TV until I went to bed, man."

"Oh yeah? Well, must be a bad time of the month or something.

 

Ted got home at a little after three. Once he got inside he saw Stewie on the couch. The TV was on. Stewie was still wearing only his boxers.

"Stewie!" cried Ted. He was already looking at the TV to figure out what Stewie was watching. It looked like the weather channel.

"What's today?" asked Stewie.

"Day after yesterday. You getting anything done?" There was an open text book on the floor.

"Yeah... you know, it's not supposed to rain for two days..."

"Yippee! Almost makes you wanna celebrate by putting on some clothes, doesn't it!"

"Who?" Stewie asked, then paused with his mouth open. Ted stared at him. "Have you seen my motivation?" asked Stewie.

"Your motivation? Yeah, it's out in the fridge with your brain. I'm thinking about cooking it with some corn and bacon tonight for dinner. We're pretty low on food."

"The fridge? Fuck, maybe I ate it." Stewie was looking very annoyed. He started to get up.

Ted broke into a loud laugh. Stewie stared at him for a second, then said, "What? Isn't it in there?"

"Man, you're starting to worry me. What the hell... are you ever serious?"

"I am serious, I can't figure out what happened to all the motivation I had at the beginning of the semester, and if it's in the fridge with my brain it's probably too cold to help me today..."

"Dude, try looking at what IS in the fridge, or what ISN'T, I guess I should say, and then at how much money isn't in your bank account, and then at how much money isn't in your gas-tank, and then maybe you'll find some motivation to pass a class or two and get that much closer to getting a job to pay for some... clothes." Ted was half-yelling, half laughing, and staring out the window as he spoke.

"Uh... damn, I'm tired. Is there anything on today?" asked Stewie.

"See you later, man," said Ted as he walked up the stairs to his bedroom.

 

Friday after class Ted and Jim were both sweating as they walked up the steps towards their house. "Did Stewie go to class this morning?" asked Ted.

"I don't think so... coffee was cold again when I got up."

As the two walked through the door, Ted stopped suddenly and stared at the couch. His mouth opened and he made a kind of gargling sound.

"Something wrong, Ted?" asked Jim. He turned to where Ted was staring, and had a similar reaction.

On the couch sat Stewie's upper half. Stewie was watching Oprah. His legs weren't there.

"What... er... Stewie?" asked Jim.

"What's today?" asked Stewie.

"Man, your legs aren't... what hap... Stewie?" murmured Ted.

"Oh, yeah... I think I'm dissappearing. I haven't felt very motivated to be around lately."

"That's... you... motivated? Your legs... did you... what?" asked Jim.

Ted started laughing. Jim turned to stare at him. Stewie kept staring past the TV.

"I'm hungry... I don't think I've eaten in a few days... or... what's today?" Stewie queried.

"Oh, shit... your legs are missing because you haven't eaten, then... dumbass," stated Jim, very matter-of-factly. Ted turned to face him and stared for a second, still laughing. Then his laughter got louder and he grabbed his stomach as he doubled over. "...eaten in a few... legs..." he managed to spit out between breaths and laughs.

"Well, shit, I guess I'd better go get something..." said Stewie, as his torso floated from the couch to a spot two and a half feet from the floor. He walked to the kitchen. Jim stared. Ted fell on the floor, gasping for breath as he laughed. His face was getting wet.

"...who literally starve themselves to death because they were beaten by their pets when they were very young..." said Oprah.