Log Title: Ron and Judy
Location: The Home of Judy and Ron Witwicky; Autobot City
Date: March 25, 2016
Summary: Concerned about Sparkplug's health, Judy and Ron Witwicky travel to Autobot City to visit Ron's brother, possibly for the last time.
As logged by Ron - Friday, March 25, 2016, 3:05 PM
Earlier this month
It's 7:30 p.m. Judy has a yoga mat in the back yard. She is laying down in corpse pose. Breathing, soaking the serenity of the retired life. Inside, Ron is getting brief. And it's not a great briefing. (when Sparkplug was sick) After nearly 70 years of solidarity (against their father) , bitter fights (the War, Sparkplug handling the Autobot/Buster situation), 'bury the hatchet' moments, and far too many memorable moments between the two to count...it looks like he will be living the rest of his life without his brother in the next few weeks.
- Ron sighs, pausing to squeeze the tear ducts on either side of the bridge of his nose. "Thanks for telling me all this, Buster," he says at last, with genuine appreciation. "Should we come to Autobot City?" Ron turns to look out the window at his wife, smiling. Even after all these years her mere presence brings him strength in trying times. Ron listens on the phone, nodding, mentally making plans in case he has to drop everything and head to Nevada.
Buster, on the other end, finally chokes and sobs "I think it'd be a good idea."
- Judy finishes a pose and says "Namaste" to one in particular. She gets a towel and pads away some light sweat. She's in one of those middle-aged, but 'hip/earthy' sports bra/yoga pants getup. She doesn't know the severity of the call, yet. So she goes in to the fridge and gets some water.
- Ron's eyes widen a bit at Buster's choking sob, and he's glad he's alone in the living room so he doesn't have to hide his crushing empathetic hurt at his close nephew's pain. "Hold on, Buster," he says. "I'll grab my overnight bag and be on my way. Is there anything else I can do, man?" he asks sincerely. This is so hard for him as Sparky's brother, but he can't even imagine what it might be like for Sparkplug's son - especially after finally reconciling with his dad after years of strained distance.
They may have reconciled, but Ron's tutelage over Buster through his formative years still has an impact. Buster breaks down, and talks to Ron as if he's still reaching out to his own father for help. "Just please...come. Soon."
Judy leans against the wall and breathes out, enjoying the workout. Now, for some TV. Ahh...the life of retirees. She walks to the TV room, passing Ron, but she pauses, looking at Ron's reaction. Her eyes widen in concern, but she stands, away, giving her husband some privacy.
- Ron nods, even though Buster can't see him. "I will, Buster. I'll be there soon. Take care." He says goodbye and waits for a response before hanging up, and then turns to his wife, looking ashen. "Sparky isn't doing well," he explains. "I think I should go to Autobot City, just in case. This may be it."
- Ron looks around the living room, compiling a mental list of everything he'll need for a trip to Nevada. Used to be he could just jump on his bike and go, but now he need to pack medications, etc. - getting old sucks, although in this case it really beats the possible alternative.
Judy nods and says "Absolutely" - without hesitation. She then looks over at Ron and sighs, going over and slowly pulling him into a hug, letting it stay for a few moments. She lets out a sigh and says "We've been dreading this, I know."
- Ron hugs his wife back for a long time. "Yeah. I mean, some days it seems inevitable, and then other days it seems like he's immortal - I mean, it's Sparky. North Koreans couldn't stop him, Doctor Arkeville couldn't stop him, Decepticons couldn't stop him - and now simple age is doing him in? Just doesn't seem right." He smiles in spite of the situation. "Death is going to have one hell of a time claiming Sparky, even if it's time," he insists.
Judy smiles and wipes a few tears from her eyes. She sniffs, "Buster...how is he?"
- "He's taking it pretty hard, as to be expected. It must be even worse for Spike - he has Carly, but he doesn't have as much of a support structure as Buster does. Bumblebee, maybe, but I'm not sure how good immortal robots are at providing care for aging and grief. I hope he'll open up to me if he needs someone, you know?" Ron frowns in empathetic pain, worried more for Sparky's boys than for his own feelings of loss.
Judy nods and smiles sadly. "Buster... I hate to say it, but given their history, I think he's going to be OK. But Spike...this is going to devastate him." Judy sighs "He may say he has Optimus and Bumblebee, but his dad's his world, I know that."
- "Yeah. I hope that his robot second dad can make some time for Spike if Sparky dies - I don't know if he'll turn to us when he needs us. I hope so. If not - Buster'll be there, and Carly'll have it together. Buster said they'd been discussing end-of-life plans, so at last that won't be a shitstorm." Ron sighs. "Did you want to stay here, or come with the Autobot City?"
Judy frowns and pinches Ron's elbow. "Oh, shit, like you have to ask..." She rolls her eyes at Ron, and then gives her husband another hug. She sniffs, and then looks back at her husband, a few tears coming from her eyes. She sniffs again, and takes a chest breath of courage and glowers at Ron. "I'm jus' sayin' - if this is the end, he's had a wonderful life..." she pokes Ron's stomach, "But I'm not allowin' you to leave for at least another 15 years. God can wait on you."
- Ron smirks. "I'm sure as hell not going anywhere. Clean, danger-free living - that's for me. I plan to live forever," he grins, eyes red. "I've got kind of a Sparky-emergency bag packed already, so let me just check I have everything I need and then we can get going as soon as you're ready." He pokes Judy back playfully, and then again for good measure.
Later in Autobot City
Spike sees Ron finally arrive. As Ron gets out of the car, Spike walks up, trying to be composed. "Heyah...thanks for coming" - his voice is weak, either from recovering from Dr. Arkeville's choke job, or breaking down a few times today, or both. He extends a handshake to his cool uncle.
- Ron shakes Spike's hand firmly, and then pulls him in for a hug. "Hey, Spike. How're you holding up, man?" he asks with true concern.
Spike smiles and tries to act professional, but when Ron pulls him in, Spike loses it, sobbing. He gives Ron a pretty tight bro-hug, choking up, "Thanks so much for coming."
- "Of course, Spike, of course," Ron comforts Spike, making no attempt to end the hug early. "Judy and I are here for your brother and you any time you need us, OK? I'm glad Buster called. I'm glad I can be here." He increases hug strength to Over 9000!! Just in case it's needed.
Spike walks Ron toward Sparkplug's room. He clears his throat. "Now...I'm just going to prep you. It's been awhile since you've seen him..."
In Sparkplug's room, on a recliner, sits Sparkplug. Helperbot, like the most dedicated dog in the world, is next to him. On the recliner is a tray with Sparkplug's lunch, which isn't much. A few pureed sweet potatoes, some applesauce, some coffee, and juice. But Sparkplug's emaciated form is leaning back on the recliner, eyes closed, mouth agape. Not responding to any of Spike or Helperbot's earlier interactions.
- Ron steels himself for the worst. When he enters the room, it feels like a bowling ball has been dropped on his chest from a great height. To see his brother like this is crushing. Ron hurries over to Sparkplug's side, and kneels down next to him, close, but seeming almost afraid to touch him. "Sparky?" he says quietly, close to his brother's ear. "Sparky? It's Ron." Ron looks up at Spike as if wondering what he should expect.
Spike looks at Ron and smiles sadly. He gently places a hand on Sparkplug's shoulder and raises his voice. "DAD...look who came to visit you! It's unc' Ron! He wanted to make sure you were staying out of trouble!"
Sparkplug 's mouth continues to open agape. His eyes open weakly and they scan the room, but then, they unmistakably lock on to his brother.
Spike looks on at Ron and gives an encouraging nod. "Hyeah, pops - you must be starving. You haven't eaten since yesterday... just try this..." He smiles, trying to keep the mood jovial. He looks over at Ron and raises his voice again, "It's not Ethiopian or Indian food, but it's still pretty damn good."
Spike gives a non-verbal, 'try feeding him' gesture, hoping to stoke even a pissed off response from his dad.
- Ron looks near-panicked. Emotional support he's ready for, but feeding his brother like a baby? That might be too much for him. He's just not ready to put his big brother in the same category as baby Sam. Looking between Sparkplug and Spike, Ron says, "Uh, hey, Sparky. It's Ron. I came for a visit. How are you feelin', man? You look great," he lies. He gives Spike a 'help me out here, bro' look, as if Spike isn't already doing his best.
Spike has been here, throughout everything, since Sparkplug moved from the nursing home into Autobot City. He nods at Ron, seeming to 'get' Ron's look. Spike gets a small glass of water and gently holds Sparkplug's back, and tries to get him to take a few sips. But today, the water seems to fall from Sparkplug's mouth, collecting on his PJs. The gesture though seems to wake Sparkplug up though as he looks at Ron with widened eyes.
"Aarhhhonnn" Sparkplug mumbles out, it SOUNDS like Ron.
Spike doesn't bother with nuance. He grins. "That's right!" he says loudly, "It's Uncle Ron!"
Ron forces a grin. "Hey, Sparky. Judy and I came to see you. How've you been, man?" He tries to act like nothing's wrong, stealing glances at Spike to follow his lead.
After a few moments of trying to get Sparkplug to respond, Spike looks at Ron and gestures him outside, whispering "I think we're just upsetting him..."
Sparkplug continues to close his eyes and mean/groan to no one in particular.
Ron frowns, and nods, standing up, and following Spike back outside. "Oh, man," he says, once he's out of Sparkplug's hearing range. "Buster told me he'd taken a turn, but I had no idea. To see him like this..." Ron closes his eyes tightly a moment, and tears streak down each cheek. He takes a moment and a deep breath, and then opens his now-red eyes again. "Anyway," he says, trying to get himself together. "What can we do to help?"
Spike looks over at Helperbot and says gently "just try to get him to eat a few bites of sweet potato. We'll be back..." Spike smiles sadly and shakes his head. "I don't think we can do anything more, Uncle Ron." He then gives his uncle another hug, this time weeping pretty hardcore. He coughs, "I know I keep saying 'one more year' - but I'm not ready...but I think he is." Spike looks at Ron, utterly lost.
- Ron takes another deep breath, and nods, crying pretty much openly now as well. "Yeah. We knew it was coming, but it doesn't make it any easier."
A Week Later
Ron arrived when Sparkplug was at his lowest. To the point where he thought that after one night's rest-cycle, his brother would be gone. Now, a little more than a week after that encounter, after Sparkplug got treated for a deep bruise, Sparkplug now walks into the TV area where Ron is, before the Oregon basketball game is on. Sparkplug turns around to Helperbot and waves a finger "You just best remember to bring those western DVDs, I still gotta teach you the classics" he says with a wink, and then hobbles over to the large couch.
Sparkplug flops down opposite Ron, already exhausted from the day. He looks at his brother and sighs "I'm sorry, but could you do your ol' brother a favor an' get a beer out of the fridge?"
- Ron jumps up, still flummoxed about how quickly Sparkplug's recovery's been. "Are you allowed to have beer?" he teases, limping over to get Sparkplug a drink (maybe he leaped up a little too quickly - Ron isn't exactly a spring chicken, either). "Don't leave me in suspense - what did First Aid say?"
Sparkplug grins/scoffs "He said I'm fine. We leave tomorrow." He gestures to the TV, "Hopefully I'll see Oregon make it to the Elite 8 when I come back!" Sparkplug looks on tiredly and takes a few labored breaths, but compared to a week ago, he's like Lazarus right now. He looks at the beer and lowers his voice, "The beer'll be our lil' secret."
Spike walks in after driving an hour - round trip, to pick up a pizza for all of them. Spike looks at his dad - and his dad's brew and says in a teasing tone, "You're not supposed to have that..."
Sparkplug nods and looks at the game, "Well, you're not supposed to be watching the game when you should be studying every line of Ratchet's surgery procedure, after all, unlike First Aid, you can't download that stuff," He looks over at his son and gives a teasing wink.
- Ron laughs, and gets his brother a drink as well as one for himself. "What? That's great!" He comes back to the TV area with the beverages. "Don't tell Judy or she'll kill me," he says, clinking his bottle against Sparkplug's before settling down heavily in a nearby chair. "Man, what does your doctor have you on that you recovered so quickly? You're up and down faster than a paper-shaker's skirt!" He looks up as Spike arrives with pizza. "Hey, Spike! Drive OK?"
Spike looks at uncle Ron and gives a 'thumbs up'. He proceeds to cut up Sparkplug's pizza, but if no one says anything, maybe Ron won't notice.
Sparkplug frowns and says "I'm fine, I just...was under the weather." He looks over at his brother and says brusquely "so, when are you and Judy leaving?"
Spike looks over at Sparkplug and gives him his cut-up food. "Dad...that's a bit rude." Spike looks over at Ron and gets an idea. "Heyah! You...you and Judy should come with us! I mean, you guys have never been. And you could see Sparkplug's building on Cyb'tron!" (and he could help out with his dad when Spike is in training).
- Ron nearly chokes on his beer. "What - Judy'n me? We're not astronauts. Are you sure?" He looks stunned by the suggestion. "I mean, I've thought about it, of course, but... wow. I'd have to talk to Jude."
Sparkplug frowns and looks over his shoulder "Damnit, son, I already said it ain't no big deal. Those robots dedicate their buildings all the time there. It's not like here." Spike sighs and says "whatever..." and goes into Megan's room to get her out to spend some quality time with her relatives, and grab some dinner, and - maybe, just maybe, get into basketball. Leaving Sparkplug and Ron alone.
- Ron looks at his brother, and then glances towards the door through which Spike left. "Is he serious, Sparky? Cybertron?"
Sparkplug looks at his son and shakes his head, muttering "damnit." He looks at Ron and says weakly, "Both of you should go up there sometime, but not for this damn thing, it ain't a big deal" (yes it is(. Sparkplug sighs and shakes his head, "Yes...it's just a damn building. But...if you and Judy wanna go, I mean..." He shrugs "Not many humans get the chance."
- Ron frowns. "Sparky, for one thing - it is a big deal. If Spike is downplaying it, it's just so as not to embarrass you. Secondly, be honest - we're not getting any younger. If we're going to take a family trip off-planet, it's likely to be now or never. If I'm going to an alien world, I want you to be the one showing me around, not Spike - no offense."
Megan storms in, yelling "pizaaaaaaa!" Spike grins and begins to cut HER food up as well.
- Ron quiets as Spike comes back. He gives a smile to his grandniece.
Sparkplug smiles and makes room for Megan by his side. "C'here, monkey." He looks at Ron and gives a nonchalant shrug. "I mean... I guess it'd be nice. Catch up."
- Ron shakes his head in disbelief. "Cool, I... I guess I'll talk it over with Jude. I can't believe I'm actually considering going to another planet. I'm not really the exciting one in this family, you know," he laughs.
Sparkplug sits with Ron and continues to eat his bite-sized pizza pieces. He looks at Ron and gives a kind smile to his brother, finally dropping the posturing. He whispers to his brother "This will be my last trip to Cybertron." He gives a nod that indicates he's at ease with things. Sparkplug hands shake slightly as he tries, and mostly succeeds in eating, and a bit of white from his adult diaper seems to be protruding from his jeans, indicating his journey is close to an end, but a wry, sage look at his brother, and a click of a beer bottle, indicates he's not quite ready to join his beloved wife.
- Ron nods, cutting up his own pizza in solidarity, and nodding with Sparkplug, respecting him enough not to pretend what isn't true. "No sacrifice, no victory," he says. "One last big Witwicky family outing!" He thinks about his son Sam, and struggles with whether or not to ask if Sam could come along as well. He loves his son, but Sam's kind of a screw-up. Maybe a trip to another planet might be just the thing to kick him into gear? Ron decides to leave the subject alone for now.
Megan continues to happily eat her pizza, giving a few quizzical looks at Uncle Ron, not too sure what to make of the stranger yet.
Spike sits down, Megan quickly goes over to Spike, but her dad makes a move to sit closer to Ron - in between Sparkplug and Ron. Megan then relents and sits next to her dad and Ron, looking up at her grand-uncle. Then, watching the game.
- Ron beams down at his grandniece, and smiles as he sips his beer. He came here for what he thought might be a funeral. That it's worked out like this is well beyond what he could have hoped for, and he couldn't be happier.