"Home pizza delivery," Ford said, frowning down at the puddle jumper's control panel. "Hot and fresh in thirty minutes or
"Good one," Sheppard said, nodding. "My CD collection."
"Oh, yeah," Ford sighed.
"I refuse to participate in this," McKay snapped. "It's completely pointless. Listing all the things you miss about Earth
won't bring them to you, you know."
"Yeah, but it's important to talk about them, Rodney," Sheppard said patiently. "Otherwise, you start to forget things."
"I sincerely doubt that. And I hope you two aren't going to play this stupid game all the way back to the Stargate."
"Are you forgetting stuff, Major?" Ford asked, glancing across the cockpit.
"Well, just little things." He frowned at the viewscreen's depiction of the empty stretch of space between them and the Stargate.
"Or, other people would say they're little. They're important to me."
"Like what?" Ford gave up pretending to be interested in the instruments and turned to face Sheppard.
The major tapped at the panel with exaggerated nonchalance. "I've...lost some of the words to 'Thunder Road.'"
There was a moment of very loud silence in the puddle jumper.
"Springsteen," Ford said uncertainly. Sheppard nodded.
"Why would you listen to him?" McKay demanded. "Some beer-soaked muscle-headed rowdy from New Jersey...oh, I think I just
answered my own question."
"Nothing wrong with Bruce, sir," Ford said, either recovering his equanamity or making a split-second decision to oppose McKay's
opinion just on general principles. "Losing 'Thunder Road,' huh?"
"Yeah, well, that song doesn't really have a chorus, and there's a lot of tricky wordplay in the verses, and some of
it's getting away from me."
"Well, let's see." Ford stared up at the ceiling for a moment. "It starts with that harmonica solo."
"There's a piano, too," Sheppard corrected, brow furrowing in concentration. "Little bit of an intro."
"Screen door slams/Mary's dress waves," Ford sang softly, eyes unfocused and still fixed on the ceiling. "Like
a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays."
Those lines always made Sheppard picture Susan Pritchard, the first girl who let him get to second base, racing from his car
in the driveway to her house in the thirty seconds before she officially broke curfew. He grinned. "Roy Orbison singin'
for the lonely/Hey that's me and I want you only-"
"Dear God," McKay moaned, slumping down in his seat. "This is worse. You're going to sing all the way to the Gate."
They ignored him, working their way through the rest of the first verse with reasonable confidence. "Show a little faith,
there's magic in the night/You ain't a beauty but hey, you're all right-"
McKay rolled his eyes. "He says that and he honestly expects this girl to sleep with him?"
"He's the Boss," Sheppard said, his eyes tightly closed. "His raw sexual magnetism cannot be denied."
"There are no words for how disturbing that statement is," McKay muttered.
"And who says it's about sex anyway?" Sheppard demanded, opening one eye to glare at him.
"All songs are about sex." The way McKay said it suggested that this should have been the most obvious thing in the universe.
"That's what popular music is for."
"I take it you only listened to the unpopular stuff, then?" Ford asked innocently.
"All right, all right, that's enough," Sheppard said as McKay sputtered indignantly. "This next verse is where I'm running
into trouble, so help me out, Lieutenant..."
They stumbled through the next verse, with McKay providing a backing track of questions like "What's the point of this, since
you can't check if you're getting it right or not?" and "Couldn't Mr. Springsteen work out his issues of faith at church like
Their voices rose with more confidence as they got to "Hey what else can we do now/Except roll down the window and let
the wind blow back your hair/Well the night's bustin' open, these two lanes can take us anywhere-"
"I find the imagery stale and uninspiring," McKay mumbled.
"We got one last chance to make it real/To trade in these wings on some wheels-"
"Climb in back, heaven's waitin' on down the tracks," Ford sang, with a grin that suggested he had a memory of his
own attached to that line. Sheppard tried to drop his voice low enough for the next part.
"Oh oh come take my hand/We're ridin' out tonight to case the promised land-"
McKay frowned. "Wait, Springsteen's Jewish?"
They stared at him. "Not- that- Promised Land, Rodney," Sheppard said through clenched teeth.
"Oh. Well. How should I know?" McKay shrugged irritably.
"Is it because he's Canadian, sir?" Ford asked, studying their pet physicist with a mixture of bewilderment and pity.
"Could very well be, Lieutenant," Sheppard said, with a look that leaned much close to outright disgust. "Where were we?"
Ford's voice met the low notes much better than Sheppard's had. "Oh, oh oh oh Thunder Road, oh Thunder Road, oh Thunder
"How very deep and meaningful." McKay folded his arms and shook his head. "You'll have to do a concert for Teyla. She won't
want to miss out on one of the true poets of our people."
They ignored him and moved on to the bridge. "Well, I've got this guitar and I've learned how to make it talk," Ford
sang, with what was either a full-body spasm or an effort at playing air guitar.
"And my car's out back if you're ready to take that long walk," Sheppard supplied. "From your front porch to my
front seat/The door's open but the ride ain't free-"
"Wait a minute." McKay sat up, brow furrowed in confusion. "Just a verse ago he said to get in the back seat. What,
can't he make up his mind?"
"Come on, sir," Ford said, rolling his eyes. "She can ride up front until they get where they're going, and then-"
"Seriously, what makes you two so sure this is about sex?" Sheppard asked. "There are other things in life! Maybe he's just
looking for a little companionship, for cryin' out loud."
"What is wrong with you?" McKay demanded.
"I have no idea." Sheppard slumped down in his seat.
They sat in grumpy silence for a moment. "I can't remember the next line," Ford admitted.
"Me either." Sheppard poked halfheartedly at the controls.
"Isn't the last line It's a town full of losers/And I'm pulling out of here to win?" McKay asked suddenly. They turned
to stare at him, and he shrugged. "Some guy used it as his quote in our senior yearbook. I remember I thought it summed
up my own thoughts on graduation pretty much perfectly."
"Nice to know you're not a complete heathen, Rodney," Sheppard said. "Do you know any of 'Born to Run'?"
"Do I look like I run, Major?"
"It's about motorcycles."
"Do I look like I do that, either?"
"In the day we sweat it out in the streets of a runaway American dream," Ford sang, writhing through some more air
guitar as McKay rolled his eyes.
"See, there's your problem right there. Fundamental difference in point of view. Nobody's ever sang about a runaway Canadian
"I can't imagine why," Sheppard said. Ford grinned and glanced at the control panel.
"Still two hours out from the Stargate, sir...I think we have some time to further Dr. McKay's education..."