Evil, thy name is Tom

by Nita
For the Week of August 1, 2005
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Evil, thy name is Tom
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Despite his shellacked veneer of respectability and civility, it was obvious that hunkered down inside reformed bad boy Michael was a man who could still be roused to rage if the proper pedal was stepped upon.

Despite his shellacked veneer of respectability and civility, I just knew that hunkered down inside reformed bad boy Michael was a man who could still be roused to rage if the proper pedal was stepped upon. And his imprudent stepparent wasn't content to just tread lightly on it, no; he chose to jump up and down on it with all his might. And he was immediately and richly rewarded for his ill-advised action with a solid, never saw it coming, full fisted whack, right in the middle of his taunting tirade. Now, while I in no way condone choosing physical force over butter-coated conciliatory syllables, that brief beat down couldn't have happened to a more deserving mutt, I mean man. I was quite proud of Michael. Though it happened long ago, I still remember the four fingers and a thumb Michael failed to form into a fist to keep Paul from using his face as a punching bag. See what could have happened to you, Paul, had Michael been so inclined? As Tom discovered, to his great dismay, the present was not a repeat of the past when facing off with his enraged stepson. No longer the fearful, inexperienced 18-year old Tom recalled chasing away from home, this time it was Tom who was forced to tuck his flea bitten tail between his cowardly legs and crawl sheepishly away. Making full use of my rewind button, I wrung every last drop of personal satisfaction from Michael's victory, gleefully watching Tom tumble to the floor again and again and again. I thought it might be prudent to commit it to memory, since it could be the one and only time Michael catches the Tomcat with his mug unprotected and his dirt-encrusted claws sheathed.

Things should certainly start heating up now. Tom doesn't seem to be the type to let bygones (or blows) go unpunished or to swallow a slight. Things could easily shape up to match my plot preference: a good old fashioned murder mystery. Michael, Kevin and Gloria would unquestionably be early suspects, but I'm sure by the time Tom has finished alienating Genoa City citizens, the list could lengthen by two or even three. Because despite the fake "no hard feelings" face he pulled over his real one for Ashley and Paul's benefit, I can't imagine he wouldn't like to repay Ashley for storing him on the high, hardly ever gets dusted friendship shelf. Especially after watching the woman who supposedly "just isn't ready for a serious relationship" playing tongue tag with the likes of Paul. I bet that had to stick like dry, burned toast in Tom's craw.

Yes, having quickly grown bored with walking on the wild side, Ashley has returned to the safe side of the street where predictable Paul has been waiting patiently. Now I know many fans find Paul and Ashley together boring beyond belief, but while they aren't the most captivating couple I've ever seen, I actually don't mind this duo. The Paul/Lauren/Chris and Ashley/Victor/Brad pontoons of passion have thankfully been put into dry dock, so there aren't too many other romantic possibilities open to either of them. Genoa City can be such a near incestuous city; it's a nice change to see a fresh couple instead of just another recycled romance between prior pair-ups. For those fans who can't stomach them solo, let alone in tandem, at least they'll get two for the price of one fast forward.

But getting back to Tom. Choosing for the moment not to try to discover whether Michael was just a one punch wonder or had more ferocious fury left in his fists, Tom aimed his next stream of venom at smaller, presumably weaker prey. I'm not quite sure why Tom would subject himself to the hassle of periodically pestering Gloria for what to him would amount to little more than a paltry pile of pocket change, which more than likely would be all Gloria could coax from her indulgent spouse, no matter how creatively she cloaked her requests. Michael was offering him much more, though his generous settlement offer did have an expiration date. But perhaps Tom realized after Michael's less than welcoming reaction, that that particular rowboat had sprung irreparable leaks and was now nestled in the muddy depths of some Genoa City body of water. I guess in Tom's reddened eyes, trying to keep his tummy taut on Gloria's crumbs would still be better than working for his own.

Michael earned another "good for you" for calling Lauren on her double standard of expecting full disclosure and honesty from her fiancé, while reserving a strict code of silence for herself. And for the umpteenth time, I found myself wondering just what in the world is up with her. For someone supposedly so madly in love, she's dragging her feet worse than an exhausted tot whose eyes can barely stay open, but still refuses to take a restful nap. What's so hard about at least setting a wedding date? A wedding she hasn't bothered to tell her son about. All this closemouthed-ness is so unlike Lauren. She's made a big mystery where there needn't be one. While I agree the Sheila saga is long and unpleasant, it's very, very old news which shouldn't be that difficult to disclose. Of course, in Genoa City, one seldom recites a tall tale when the time is right. No, they typically like to wait until all Hades has broken loose before spitting it out.

Speaking of Hades, also known as Sheila's presumed birthplace, I am definitely not a Sheila fan and reacted with disgusted dismay when I learned she was boarding her broom and preparing to swoop back into the City after wreaking havoc on the unfortunate citizens residing in several other soap cities. I was around for her first term of terror and quickly tired of her evil antics, antics she never seemed to have to pay the piper for. Though this wicked witch has been absent for years, I'm guessing she's constantly kept the fire beneath her cauldron of cancerous hatred for Lauren stoked. And in the bottom of her sorcerer's sack, beneath the eyes of newt, and vials of assorted blood, I'm certain there are all manner of intricate implements designed to inflict the maximum amount of damage to Lauren and her new life. With Tom on one side and Sheila on the other, the Baldwin-Fisher-Abbott-Fenmore faction are going to have their hands full just holding on to their sanity. Can there be any doubt that if they aren't already in cahoots, Tom and Sheila will soon find it to their benefit to join malevolent forces? And where does Scott's piece fit in this puzzle? Has all Lauren's subterfuge been in vain? We are talking about knows-all, does-all, sees-all Sheila. She probably not only knows where Scott is, but has already befriended him. And if she hasn't, once she and he are residing in the same city, I'm sure she'll hurry to make his acquaintance. As I said, initially I wasn't eager to renew my TV/sofa relationship with Sheila, but as the day of her return had edged ever nearer, I've started to hum another tune. With Michael, Kevin and perhaps even Gloria aligning themselves with Lauren, maybe just this once the demon will be roundly defeated. Watching how all this will play out should make for some entertaining viewing. By the way, I got a good look at the Sheila promos. That darn woman doesn't even look like she's aged a day! Meow!! I swear, if I have a next life, I'm coming back as an eternally youthful looking soap star!

Lily has now learned what many GC adults have figured out the hard way about consorting with never looks before she leaps Phyllis. That throwing your lot in with hers can put you on the fast track to trouble. But, multiple-life feline that she is, Phyllis usually manages to land solidly on all four sets of sure-footed claws, while her unfortunate co-conspirator usually falls right in the vat of uncomfortably hot water. This time was no exception. And to make matters worse, the despicable disguise diva let Lily bear the brunt of the blame on her frail frame. I guess Lily should have been more careful about begging a magic genie for her wish to see Daniel. Or maybe she should have consulted Brittany for better disguise tips. A funny-colored wig and glasses? Why, she looked just like Lily, with a funny-colored wig and glasses. By the way, I howled like a hyena when Weber yanked that wig from her empty head! Anyway, thanks to Phyllis, her wish was Phyllis' command, and she's about as close to Daniel as she's going to get, considering his current incarcerated status. For her sake I hope the young females in Juvie are gentler toward her than their incorrigible male counterparts have been to Daniel. Or she could very well find herself snatched nearly bald, that lovely, perfect complexion marred by jealousy-fueled bruises of black and blue. Lily's brave "I am strong woman, hear me roar" facade quickly crumbled as Daddy prepared to leave his pampered princess in the indifferent hands of the law, and I almost felt sorry for the lass as she mewled pitifully about her desire to spend the coming nights in her own soft bed. But I couldn't quite summon more than a scant bit of empathy at her plight. Because I doubt Lily has actually learned any lessons of importance from the consequences of this latest escapade of backward-thinking behavior. No, if given even a quarter of a chance, Lily will undoubtedly prove her detractors correct by pulling one more dumb stunt after another. Having said that, though, you have to admire the girl's perseverance and loyalty. The song, "Stand By Your Man" must be her motto for loving. But if she doesn't learn that she's not the boss of herself, the next tune she's likely to be crooning might be something like, "I'm leaving on a Jet Plane, don't know when or who I'll look like when I come back again."

Poor Devon. Like his foster sister, Lily, perhaps he too might need a house to fall on his head in order for the message sent by his Mother to penetrate his rock solid skull. Dismissing out of hand all warnings from his foster folks that when it comes to fixing an addict that has long been broken, change won't be easy or quick, Devon decided he was just the cable his mother needed to jump start her sobriety. Unfortunately, his hopes were dashed to dust when Yolanda refused to even glance at his meticulously researched papers touting free rehab for rock bottomers. For choosing drugs over him, Devon angrily vowed to never shadow her sunny park path with his presence again. Important newsflash my dear Devon, Yolanda chose drugs over you long, long ago. However, before I give up all hope that mother and son can one day live happily ever after together, I'll give Yolanda just a little more time. Upon sober reflection, she may yet decide to change her crack-smoking ways.

I don't hold out near as much hope of Nick changing his uncooperative ways, however. At least not quite yet. I'm surprised that Chris thought he might, though. Did she really expect him to voluntarily assist her in absolving her client of blame? Luckily, Sharon's denial doesn't run nearly as deeply as Nick's, and though it may enrage him, it may be her cooperation that eventually winds up being the key that unlocks Daniel's cell.

So what's a seductress to do when an early evening sexcapade has little effect on her beleaguered beau? Such was the unprecedented case in the little Newman house down the lane from the big one. Instead of a long, lazy hour during which each party smilingly praised the other for their prowess in love play, Nick barely waited for his breathing to slow, let alone waste time taking a shower, before announcing his intention to bound from the bedcovers, okay, sofa sheet, in order to fetch Noah from a friend's. That proves he's really nestled deep in the depths of depression. Sure makes one wonder whether he took Sharon for a tumble solely to turn her attention from the subject of Cassie's clothes. I can't help but wonder, though, whether their rather unsatisfying sexual sojourn will result in a brand new little Newman girl who could fill all the cracks in the Newman marriage and make it just like new again. But that, if it happens, is for much, much later. For now, despite her claim of how good it felt to be back in her husband's arms, Sharon seemed to derive much less satisfaction than usual from their act of mid-evening delight; her face transparently telegraphing something was missing for her as well. If Nick doesn't start paying attention, he may lose his wife ... to Abby.

Which brings me to Abby's adoptive daddy. The more I see and hear of Brad's rather low-class characteristics (I know it's beating a dead horse, but on a good taste scale from 1 to 10, marrying your ex-wife's sister comes in at about a zero), the less I like him. Choosing to sample the forbidden fruit of his wife's best friend didn't raise my opinion of him any higher. Nor did urging Damon to cozy up to his then brother-in-law's wife. And let us not forget his involvement with that other insecure daughter of a former employer (the one who captured him and kept him in a cage). Or the woman who became so infatuated with him, she drugged him into matrimony then left him rich when she met an untimely end almost immediately. Knowing he hadn't planned on remaining Mr. Cassandra Rawlins didn't stop him from reaping the harvest of the fortune earned by Cassandra's former husband. Yes, Brad has proven to be quite the opportunist who sees no shame in riding on the luxurious gravy train on a ticket someone else (usually a female someone) has paid for. So even though I don't often agree with Smilin' Jack's assessments, in this case I wholeheartedly concur with his warning that all at Newman would do well to guard their backs, lest they awaken some morning to find a jewel-encrusted dagger sticking out of it. The female someone Brad may use to get what he wants this time is a pint-sized Abby, who turned up with him on the Newman ranch doorstep, purportedly to discuss a little Newman business after hours. Though he claimed to want to run something by Victor or Victoria, Abby's presence was definitely more for the father rather than the half-sister. Brad probably hoped Abby would be a softening solvent he could apply to Victor to get him to see Seasons his way. If Neil and Dru don't soon corral their willful daughter so they can concentrate on their careers, they are likely to find themselves on the outside of the Seasons circle, looking longingly inside at Brad directing the show and deriving all the praise.

But Victor has no time for business right now or an indulgent-toned tête-à-tête with Abby. Because thanks to the bumbling bunch headed by Marsino and Hellstrom, they've got members of the mob in a most murderous mood. Even though the very backbone of the so-called Marsino plot called for utmost secrecy and total separation, the various parties continued to meet constantly and not so clandestinely together. So it was only a matter of time before one or all of them were spotted consorting with one of the others. Such was the case this week as Brittany was noticed by Nikki, who was herself noticed by Vinny, who had already noticed Bobby with Paul. It was enough to make Vinny's head swirl so suspiciously he demanded a bug be placed in Paul's office. Almost before the stick on glue on the back of the bug had fully adhered to the desk, all Marsino's secrets had been brought out into the open and carefully examined. Thanks in huge part to the busybody referred to last column, who as we all now know, is Nikki. Who just couldn't leave well enough alone and was determined to be one of those who numbered in the know. Well, look where her nosiness landed her. Tied to a chair with a gag so gargantuan it not only muzzles her mouth, but nearly cuts off her air as well. A mob minion with no duck tape in his trunk? Unbelievable! Vinny's choice to take Victor's spouse captive instead of Bobby's just proves to us all how few brain cells still work in his crazy cranium and once again paints a pitiful portrait of a supposedly powerful mob man. But no one's more powerful than The Great and Powerful Victor Newman (who is Genoa City's version of the Emerald City Oz). No time to get to his closet where his suit of tarnished tinplate is stored, Victor is wearing his second favorite hero wear, black tee and blue jeans. All that's left is for him to saddle up his snow white steed and ride to Nikki's rescue. And since I'm a Victor fan, I plan to enjoy every snarl, kick, punch and arm twist.

I admit I'm looking forward to the coming couple of weeks. With Tom, Sheila, the mob madness, the baby, Bobby's departure, Scott, Lauren and Michael, Daniel, Nick and Sharon, and everything in between, there should be plenty of fun and fireworks!

And the fans say:

* * * * * * *

TARA - When Tom lit into Michael about not being a man, I jumped up and yelled at the TV, "Clock his stupid a$$, Christian!" and was pleased as punch when he did and asked if that was "man enough." Sometimes I forget these people aren't real. Tom's actually starting to really creep me out. At first, I thought he wasn't such a scary person and wondered why everyone was so frightened of him. Today, I get it. I'm glad this Daniel thing is coming to an end too. It's made me dislike Nicholas even more. God, remember when he used to be so smiley and carefree? I just want to shake him out of the dark mood he's been in for so long now. It's annoying! Lily is also annoying (I guess that means Christal Khalil is a good actress). She just doesn't seem to get that she's not in any position to keep messing around with the law? At first I was thinking Weber shouldn't have locked her up, but now I'm vacillating. Some people DON'T get it until you drop a house on their head!

SANDI - You and I thought the same thing about Michael - he does need to get 'dirty' like he used to be to deal with Terrible Tom. I think TT is a great actor to get so many people hating him. I am so bored with and FF J.T. and Mac/Brittany and Bobby, Nikki and Vinny. The kidnapping of Nikki is dumb. Nick and Sharon are working my nerves also. Oh, and then there is Phyllis. Silly Lilly, once she is in jail, she "wants to go home and sleep in her own bed." What about when she and Daniel were on the road?

A.W. - Speaking about the "bad boy" lurking just beneath the surface on Michael Baldwin, does anyone remember that back in Michael's bad boy days when he was still obsessed with Christine, he actually murdered an innocent woman in the woods (for no story driven reason) on the way to breaking into the apartment adjacent to Christine's. I'm sure the writers would like for those of us who remember this slight little lapse in judgment to have amnesia with respect to this matter in that Michael was never called to account for this transgression.

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