Summary: A night on the town, in heroic couplets.
Characters: House, Wilson, Cuddy
Fandom: House M.D.
Warnings: May leave you thinking in iambic pentameter. Otherwise, none.
Word Count: 2,600 (ca. 330 lines)
Original story: Three Sheets to the Wind by joe_pike_junior/Armchair Elvis
Notes: Thanks to synn and no_detective for cheerleading as this came together bit by bit, and to joe_pike_junior, in whose story this one lurked.
A Princeton Odyssey
An Heroi-comical Poem in Four
Canto I: Invocation to Calliope (May She Forgive Me)
O Muse! do sing to me of 'Ventures grand,
The great and glorious Exploits in the Land
Of Princeton, where resides our Hero true:
A Man with Razor Tongue and Eyes of Blue
Who makes Fun of the Morons, heals the Sick,
Outwits Disease with Mind and Med'cine quick,
Annoys his Friends by acting like a Dick,
Delights in fig'ring out what makes Men tick,
Lives by the Credo that Ev'ryone lies,
And swells with Pride each time a Patient cries.
O Beautiful of Speech, do heed my Plea
To tell the Tale with Grace and Honesty,
In measur'd Verses sweet and Rhyming pure,
Of Greg'ry House, the Genius of the Cure;
How one dark Night, with his Companion true—
James Wilson, young and fair, Doctor and Jew—
He vanquish'd Enemies, one-two-three-four,
Caroused, and joked, and many Ales did pour,
Then cross'd the Town until he reach'd the Door
To Cuddy's Home and knock'd, hoping to Score.
(The Outcome of this most daring Foray
Will be reveal'd in our Poem today.)
Sing of this brave Adventurer, kind Muse!
His Valor and his Talent for Abuse!
His handsome Face, his slowly thinning Hair,
His Brain's Dexterity exceeding rare!
O, sing of House and Cuddy! Wilson too!
Breathe Life into these Lines, our Heroes' Due!
Canto II: The Hero Is Armed and Fights his First Battle
"What ho!" cried House unto his faithful Friend,
Who lazed upon the Couch, Head on one End
And Feet propp'd on the other. Beer in Hand,
Fair brown-eyed Wilson raised an Eyebrow, and
Inquir'd as to what was on his Mind.
"What ho!" repeated House (for he did find
The Phrase a Joy to speak in Poem-land).
"Methinks this Eve we should go hear the Band
Playing at Ivy, shoot some Pool, and drink
'Til we can't stand." He grinned. "What do you think?"
"Uh, isn't that a Bar from which you're banned?"
Asked Wilson. House replied, "Banning be damned!"
So valiant House and Wilson armed themselves:
Hats, Gloves and Scarves rescued from Closet Shelves
(And Floor, and Couch; it really was a Mess),
Draining their Beers as they proceed'd to dress
Against the wild, dang'rous Princeton Night—
Teeming with College Students, at whose Sight
Ill-temper'd House would oft retreat. No Cane
Took he (for this was pre-Infarction; Pain
Did not yet rule our Hero's Life); instead,
House donn'd his Leather Coat with Stripe of Red,
Thick Armor to protect him from the Drip
Of Alcohol lest lightweight Wilson trip
Bringing back Drinks, as he'd been known to do.
(He swears it was some Gum stuck to his Shoe.)
Thus thick-'browed Wilson and sure-footed House
Ventur'd deep into Town for to carouse.
No Obstacles did thwart them 'long the Way,
For many Folk had long since learn'd to stay
Out of the sharp-tongued Doctor's Path. Hence they
Unchalleng'd gained the Ivy's Door, and gaily
Stepped inside and conquer'd Stools. Three Rounds of
Ale they down'd before the College Boys who
Loung'd nearby, perhaps drawn by the Sounds of
Pink-Cheek'd Wilson's snorting Laughter, turned to
Face our Heroes square, a Challenge shining
Bright in one Frat's Eyes. "O, quit your Whining,"
House warn'd Wilson when the latter sat up
Straighter on his Stool and look'd the Frat up
And down to gauge his Threat, then said, "This may
Not be the best—" But what he meant to say
Was lost in House's Interruption neat.
House asked, "What do you want?" "Bet I can beat
You in a Contest of Endurance" (well,
The Phrasing was less formal, but to tell
The Tale in Language plain is not as fun),
The Frat declar'd, and thus the Deal was done:
A Battle of the Drinks.
Shaking of Hands,
Meeting of Eyes, shuff'ling of Seats; the Brands
Of Ale discuss'd between the dueling Men;
The Friends look'd on; after a grueling ten
Seconds (or maybe three; Time stretches strange
When one is drunk), a Coin was found; the Change
Wink'd bright as Steel as 't flipp'd End over End
And spun to rest upon the Bar. "O, lend
A Gent in need some petty Cash," House said
(The Coin had landed Tails, while he'd pick'd Heads).
Long-suff'ring Wilson reach'd into his Purse
To pay for Skirmish One. Nary a Curse
Nor Roll of Eyes appear'd as he obeyed.
Habit and Drink combined; he sighed, and paid.
And so! the Men began their Battle fierce.
They took their opening Shots—Grey Goose, weak Beers
Having been scorn'd as fit for Sissy Boys—
And prov'd an even Match: our Hero's Ploys
Aim'd to outwit; the Frat relied on Bulk.
(Intimidation, too; his Cronies hulk'd
Behind the Warriors, tho' th' Effect was lost
On Doctor House, who daily yell'd and boss'd
Around People more powerful than he.)
Lo, as the Men fought hard for Victory,
The Fray o'ertook the Hall with Sounds of War:
Deep Grunts, foul Swears, and Brave Men shouting, "More!"
The Slaps of high-five Hands, and Bills on Wood,
The Barkeep adding Fuel fast as he could,
The Glass striking the Bar like Weapons' Clang,
And underneath it all the Band's Songs rang
Out o'er the Crowd with Pipes and Drums to spur
The Men (who had imbib'd enough to slur)
To ever-greater Feats of Guts and Strength.
By Midnight, People'd gather'd down the Length
Of that fine Bar to see which of the two
Combatants would emerge on Top; a Queue,
Indeed, had form'd for Folk who'd wager'd on
The Bout. House fought, Frat held, their Balance gone,
Their Temples slick with Sweat, their Wallets spent
(Well, Wilson's was)—then came a Cry that sent
A Startle through the Crowd: the Frat had tipp'd
Backward out of his Seat; it seemed he sipp'd
One Vodka more than he could handle. House
Then raised his Arms to cheer, but he was soused
As well, and had to grab the Bar or fall.
Still, he had trounced the Frat, and that was all
He cared. A Truce was call'd—the Bets were paid—
Opposing Sides shook Hands, then caref'lly made
A Beeline to the Back to take a Pee.
When House emerg'd fresh-faced, he cried with Glee,
"Let's we two celebrate my Triumph here
By dropping in on busty Cuddy dear.
But first, to fortify us on the Trek,
A Drink, I do declare!" "O, what the heck,"
Said Wilson, laying out the Dough, mellow
Enough to not e'en flinch when House bellow'd
For one more Round, and then one for the Road.
At last, brown Paper Bags in Hand, they towed
Each other out into the cold Air sweet,
And started on their Journey down the Street.
Canto III: Journey to the Underworld, with Many Opportunities for Single Combat
Bold House and Wilson wander'd across Town
With some Detours and Breaks for sitting down.
In Truth, they did not walk so much as weave,
And sometimes House bent down as if to heave,
But Stomach proved as strong as Brain and Will
And they continued on against the Chill.
Along the way, they met a watery Foe
Called Fountain, whose treacherous Undertow
Near vanquish'd House before he 'gained his Feet.
Yea, in the Battle's Splash he took a Seat
Upon his Bottom sore without Intent;
Great Fountain's slipp'ry Floor and Walls oft sent
Him sliding while his trusty Pal just laughed.
But rare-defeated House employed his Craft
And Cunning to discern the winning Trick,
And soon he clamber'd out onto the Brick.
"You were a worthy Foe!" came House's cry.
Kind Wilson used his Scarf to pat him dry.
They ambled forward, damp and cold yet pleased,
And through the r'maining Barriers they breezed:
Over the Shrubs, across the Campus Green,
Into the Neighborhood that housed the Dean.
One Driveway at a time they wander'd past,
Until the One they sought appear'd at last.
At the Conclusion of their Odyssey,
They'd reached the Home of fair Penelope.
(Or so the Heroes' drunken Logic said;
Reality might turn that on its Head,
For Cuddy was not holding out for House;
She took Offense when he gazed down her Blouse,
Grew frustrated with his Rule-breaking Ways
And balancing the Censure with the Praise.
But None could argue that she did not care.
As she and House and Wilson were aware,
There was a Soft Spot in her Heart for him.
If Rumors are believed, back in the dim
Old College Days they had a torrid Fling,
But Neither of them will admit a Thing.)
Point is, House met the Sight with a thrill'd Shout
And started up the Path without a Doubt,
Dropping his brown-bagg'd Bottle as he strode,
Which hit the Pavement but did not explode.
They stood innocent in the Porch Light's shine,
Though House, in leaning, squash'd the Climbing Vine.
The knocking Wilson did, for they did think
That Cuddy would less likely make a Stink
If the more charming Male presented first.
A second quiet Knock—a Giggle burst
From House's Lips, quickly subdued—and then
Some telltale Movement came from Cuddy's Den.
A Moment more, and she cracked ope the Door
And saw him there, a Sailor washed ashore,
Hair muss'd, Cheeks flush'd, apologetic Eyes,
Which oft evok'd in Maidens longing Sighs.
Then Cuddy shut the Door, drew back the Chain—
And very nearly shut it once again
When she saw who was standing there beside.
But, too polite, she wav'd them both inside.
"I can't believe you brought him here!" she cried.
House seized the Opportunity to slide
Out of the Living Room into the Hall
While Cuddy yelled at Wilson for his Gall.
Their Argument was Background Noise to him
As he stumbl'd along the Hallway dim;
He knew that dark-haired Cuddy loved him true—
One Day she'd yield to his Attempts to woo—
And would provide a Couch where he could rest,
No matter that she swore he was a Pest.
An urgent Matter call'd to him meanwhile:
This time, the Hero's Awe-inspiring Trial
Was Contest against no less than a God.
House lurch'd into the Bathroom, grabb'd the Rod
Above the Bath to brace against Light's shine,
And turn'd to face his Enemy divine.
'Twas Kohler, mighty God of Porcelain,
The Bane of Men who drink Vodka and Gin.
This Deity 'twas House's Fate to meet.
He raised his Chin—then raised the Toilet Seat—
Unzipp'd—unsheath'd—and carefully took Aim—
(In his Reflection, Kohler did the Same—)
Then let loose with a Volley strong and hot.
Some struck the Target—most of it did not.
Too difficult when Kohler seem'd to sway;
Both Sides would live to clash another Day.
House flush'd, then gave the Tank a humbled Pat.
A Casualty of War, the Pink Bath Mat.
House left the Room where awesome Kohler dwelt,
Striving to conquer wily Fly and Belt
While beige-carpeted Floor struggl'd to throw
Him off his Feet by pitching To and Fro.
Against all Foes he managed to Prevail
With Naught to hurt his Pride but one brief Flail.
He reconnoiter'd in the Kitchen bright
While Cuddy lectur'd Wilson to his Right;
He sought fine Victuals to chew and bite,
An Epic Feast to sate his Appetite.
Yes, here! he found a Loaf of Wonder Bread
Whose Twist-Tie clumsy Fingers did unthread.
Two soft white Slices from the Bag he seized,
Then scarf'd one on the Spot, feeling quite pleased.
Some Jam the next Slice needed, just a Smidge,
So House turn'd to confront the gleaming Fridge.
He reached out for the Handle, firmly tugg'd,
But Nothing happen'd; he ponder'd, then shrugg'd,
And tried to pull and push and twist and nudge—
Still, General Electric wouldn't budge.
No Matter that House wanted Jam on Toast,
Stoic Fridge Door would not give up the Ghost.
(In Truth, the Fridge was willing to swing wide;
Our Hero was pulling on the Wrong Side.)
Perplexity and Indignation grew.
Who would have thought this House's Waterloo?
"Get out of there!" call'd Cuddy from the Den.
House swiftly reattain'd his Sense of Zen
When, joining her, he met the Squashy Couch.
Munching his Bread, he sank into a Slouch.
Around him, the World went fuzzy and gray;
He dimly heard Wilson and Cuddy say
Something about the Frat Boy he had trump'd,
But tracking Dialogue? That had him stump'd.
Head lolling, he brushed off some scatter'd Crumbs
And into a light Doze promptly succumb'd.
The subsequent few Minutes were a Blur;
He thought he smell'd some Coffee, heard the Purr
Of Taxicab out Front, a Goodbye Peck,
But he was too Comfy to rouse and check.
When next he came Aware, it was to see,
Quite near his Face, the Cleavage of Cuddy.
Most welcome View for House's bleary Eyes!
Their pleasing Shape, their Suppleness and Size!
O Woe, that he Coördination lacked
(For we all know he was not ruled by Tact)
To reach out and enjoy a little Grope.
He conjur'd an Expression full of Hope,
But Cuddy shook her Head and snorted. "Nope."
She tugged his Nikes off; he lay and moped,
Managing but to fondle one sleek Curl,
Lamenting that he did not get the Girl.
"We aren't having sex," she said. "You reek.
You going to throw up?" She touched his Cheek.
Her soft Skin felt like Heaven, smooth and cool.
The Moment, though, was ruin'd by some Drool.
He answered no, then tried once more to sway
His Heroine to lie beside, and stay.
Alas; as he'd expected, she declin'd,
And back upon the warm Couch he reclin'd.
She fetch'd him a Blanket of thickest Wool,
Which o'er his Feet and to his Chin she pull'd.
'Twas Time for all good Heroes to lie down.
Sweet Hypnos closed his Eyes and smooth'd his Frown.
O, what a Night! His Drowsiness ran deep.
He snuggl'd further in, and fell Asleep.
Canto IV: The Hero Greets the Morning After
House woke when rosy-finger'd Dawn slipp'd by
The flimsy Blinds and stabb'd him in the Eye.
He groan'd, raising an Arm to block the Sun,
But 'twas too late; the Damage had been done.
He was Awake, Head pounding like the Drum
The Ivy's Band had play'd. His Leg was numb,
His Cheek was glued to Paperwork with Spit,
His Eyelids felt sandpapery with Grit,
His Teeth a Film of fuzzy Gunk had gain'd,
His Bladder was demanding to be drain'd.
Some Greeting for the Hero's Vict'ry Morn!
For greater Fates than this had House been born.
Such were his Thoughts as he gingerly stood,
Squinting against the Light as best he could.
He made it to the Bathroom, noticed that
Someone had peed all over the Bath Mat,
Vaguely recall'd it had to do with him—
Something about a tricky, moving Rim—
Then sigh'd with Joy as last night's Beer splash'd free.
He found some Aspirin; should he take three?
Or four, perhaps? Or five? Or maybe more?
He took the Bottle with him, Spoils of War.
From now-compliant Fridge he procur'd Juice;
He down'd the Pills, Head throbbing like the Deuce.
'Twas not enough to keep Hango'er at Bay;
He donn'd his Gear, and stepp'd into the Day.
He knew exactly what he had to do
To Crush this Enemy who lurk'd in Brew.
First, Breakfast at the local Workmen's Pub.
Reviv'd by one stout Ale and greasy Grub,
He'd stumble Home for a long Shower cold.
Then, once upon the World he'd regain'd Hold,
He'd wake up Wilson just to be an Ass,
And o'er the Phone they'd trade Insults and Sass.
A second Call to Pester poor Cuddy;
Then Wilson would come o'er for bad T.V.
For Supper, they'd eat Chili from the Can.
Yes: That sounded like a delightful Plan.
Of Deeds like these great Heroes' Tales are sung!
House whistl'd as he walk'd. The Day was young.
* * *
ETA: DVD Commentary