With the Southern sassiness for which she is known and feared (“Paula Deen is one of my idols”) the little girl from East Nowhere, North Carolina is the pride and joy of her one-horse Smoky Mountain alpine hamlet. “Twern’t real sure if li’l Feera might amount to right much” says her beloved grandpap as he rocks in his handmade chair, “but dadgum if she tain’t dun got herself a license to cut while still fine’n time to defeat a type-4 demon on the 12th level of Ravensmore. Winnin’ that ol’ T-cup thingy should be as easy as if she be makin’ possum stew.”
“Actually winning the Trinidad shall be no more dangerous a quest than a Halfling of Mystarra with a quiver of havoc orbs slaying a Chaotic Orc Wizard upon the Plains of Eberron” exclaims former bonehead Faera “Lady of Greyhawk” Byerly. “The strategy is elementary and wouldst rely upon Metapsionics and a teleportation spell to achieve a victory much as was seen in the Great Battle of Cthulhu. Simple, really.”
Renowned among D&D aficionados for her 12 day survival within the sewers and steam pipes of New Jersey campus of Harvard in Derm, NC while on role-playing RuneQuest journey, Byerly has shown herself to have the tenacity and resourcefulness to be a winner. A small but vocal Byerly fanclub of IT and biomedical engineers in the Research Triangle and at MIT sees her triumph in the 2008 Trinidad run as a certainty and reportedly has written a Unix program to Google-bomb Vegas at race time to sway the odds and beat the house. The ATF and FBI are investigating. Hollywood is interested in the movie rights.
Friend and mentor David “Wetlook” Ollila, sees a potential Byerly win as sweet vindication. “When everyone else saw a misguided o-pod, me and Benny (“Okiedokie” Calvo) believed she could rise above the powertools.” Calvo smiles a knowing Bolivian smile and nods in agreement, “She’s such a prima donna, how could she not make a great surgical oncologist?”
Barring injury, Vegas odds stand at 7 to 1 for Dr Byerly.
Trinidad Cup history hangs heavily upon Raghid “The Lebanese Laparoscoper” Bitar as he sullenly recalls the spectacular and unexpected Trinidad victory of fellow Beiruti Samir “Smear” Fahkry that rocked the sports world in 1986. Knowing that the eyes and the hopes of his countrymen are pinned to his success in this year’s cup, Bitar has become nervous and irritable with this burden. There is concern that this anxiety-- not an organized pre-race exercise and conditioning plan--accounts for his sudden and dramatic weight loss. More alarming are whispered reports of late night MO surgical “simulations” in the LINC Lab to achieve a more aerodynamic body habitus. With shock in his voice, Mark “Famous Japanese surgeon” Koruda retorts that while he’d certainly like to see the GI Division finally front a winner, “c’mon, we’re not that desperate and unethical.” Standing nearby, Tim “The Landscaper” Sadiq fumbles for a response before mumbling, “I really have to go lube my tractor now, there’s a lot of bushes to trim back at the farm.”
Nervously playing with his cellphone, Bitar seems resigned to face the little remaining time before the crucible of raceday with a Middle Eastern fatalism. “Samir is such a hero to the Lebanese people, how can I ever come close to what he achieved. He’s like Seabiscuit, the 1980 US hockey team and Tiger Wood’s come-from-behind win at the 2006 Buick Open all rolled into one. Alas.”
Onetime skeptic and now bigtime Bitar fan JDunk “Brain on a Stick” Phillips quickly defends and supports his MIS protégé. Flailing his arms like a schizophrenic Sicilian on RedBull, Phillips exclaims, “Rags’ll be fine, he’ll be FINE. Everybody just STOP, HE’LL BE FINE.” Maher “I’m quieter than Angie” Younes agrees: “ Before the race I will carbo-load him on pita and babaganoush and he will run with the speed and endurance of a hot zephyr across the desert.”
The betting line is not as certain and has Bitar at 20 to 1.
“Little House on the Prairie” Katie Baerman approaches the 2008 Trindad raceday with the pragmatic, can-do spirit of her farming and ranching ancestors. “It’s just a dang race bygosh and ya do what ya gotta do,” she opines. “I mean if I have to kick and scratch or just glide and weave, I do it. No different than playing a string concerto in a mucky barn so as to get the cows to drop their milk. Might have to clean some manure off the bow, but it gets the job done, right?” she rhetorically asks, her distinctive laugh echoing down the hall. Role model and mentor Anthony “Big Tony” Meyer chuckles knowingly, “I’m very familiar with that pioneer spirit that broke the sod of the Plains; no surpise that Baerman isn’t afraid to get a little dirt under her fingernails.”
Hartwig “Hernia” Bunzendahl is clearly in the Baerman camp, hoping that another farmkid turned surgeon with a penchant for cello can claim the most renowned trophy of the Southern sporting tradition. “It would be nice to demonstrate that one’s superior musical ability does not preclude athletic prowess, for I fear that Americans believe the two to be mutually exclusive.”
Likewise Aaron “Old School” Garrison will be anxiously awaiting the Saturday running at the fabled Mendes Course in the hopes of a Baerman victory. “I may not be able to make it in person, since Dr. (Mike “Perfect teeth”) Helmrath expects me to me running gels, but I’ll sure be there in spirit hoping Dr. Baerman can win. It’ll show all those chauvinist pigs in the Department that the girls are just as good, and maybe even better, than the boys.” Soon-to-be colleague Woodrow “Woody” Burns, III echos this sentiment from his office in Derm, NC. “Sure would look good to be able to market the practice as the home to the 2008 Trinidad Cup winner; boys at across the street at Duke would be green with envy. I can already picture the billboard on I40.”
Vegas numbers have been dynamic over the last week, but presently stand at 12 to 1.
Clearly dismayed by the lack of a Vascular Syndicate-sponsored winner since the much-contested win in 2002, Mark “Stent-jockey” Farber ponders their most recent disappointment. “We really thought Peter “Mint” Milano was going to be our gravy train this year. But I told the boss (“The Godfather” Blair Keagy) that Milano is like a fragile orchid or thoroughbred; you have to bring him along slowly and carefully. I tried to use a light touch but the boss pushed him too hard and trained him too hard, and….” his voice trails off, “Oh well, maybe next year.”
The aforementioned Keagy sits glumly in his office, half-heartedly playing an online game of Texas hold-em on his double-screen 72” computer monitors. “Damn” he says “I really was counting on capping off my phased retirement with a T-Cup win by Milano so I could go out in style. Would’ve been a nice bookend to MY win back in ’78.” Overhearing this, a visiting OC “Bobby-daddy” Mendes notes that “Blair’s frickin’ delusional, he never even finished the race that year…but he did finish the six-pack looped on his belt that day.”
A non-plussed Milano sits on his condo deck, his face relaxed and philosophical. “I mean look at that sunrise, isn’t it stuff like that that really matters?” Speaking to no one in particular, he continues “I’m in a good place right now. Sure the Vascular guys had their plans for me, but I saw my life working out differently. Farber understood and let me be me, but I think Dr. Keagy still feels betrayed.”
Former housemate—“just friends”-- Kristen “I’m SURE it’s appendicitis” Parker is glad to see her colleague finally at peace. “He’s fat and happy and married to a great gal and should do well with 2 am cholies and draining the butt pus of the Raleigh elite. Uptight NY Italian or not, he never had the YY Vascular Boy’s Club gene.”
Vegas is not impressed and considers Milano a possible no show.
It’s been a strange ride for Surgery goldengirl Lind “Z-money” McPhail as she prepares for the 2008 Race. The impoverished childhood in a dirt-poor Mexican town, the late-night border run to find a job at the Lundy’s lard rendering plant in Spivey’s Corner, NC, studying into the early mornings after the evening shift to gain a renowned Morehead Scholarship at The University of North Carolina and then success after success from there on. Outgoing UNC Chancellor James Moesser jokingly calls her “our little McSuccess” but others are not so sanguine about “the McPale”.
Brian “The Polish Prince” Bednarski acknowledges, “Z has her dark side. For every famed and coveted Outward Bound Golden Bucket you read about her winning, there’s a tearful med student or resident who got crushed by her zeal and ambition.” Fellow resident Tach “My” Bhati nods in agreement, “That chick just plain scares me.”
“I make no apologies” says a defiant McPhail as she stands in front of the large “Hilary for President” poster in her office drinking straight bourbon and slapping her face. “As a female, I have to work twice as hard and besides I have bigger fish to fry. Martha didn’t get to the top by being nice.” Close friend and confidante Nancy “Bjork” Moss notes that the McPhail mean streak has taken her far but quietly whispers, “If she just would marry a nice rich guy I think she’d be much happier.”
“She’s gonna CRUSH the competition” say twins Jennifer “Jenny” Nelson and Elizabeth “Speck” Speck gleefully and in unison. “The others might as well McBail-out since it’ll be such a McFlail for them ‘cause they’ll only see a McTail thru the dust.” adds Speck, amused by her spontaneous hiphop cleverness. GRLPWR legend and international celebrity Cynthia “C-Lo” Diehl has reportedly sent word from her Charlotte compound that she too is hoping for a McPhail victory.
The Vegas line has been swept up in the hype and sees “L-money” as a 4 to 1 favorite.