Simon came out
of his office and surveyed the almost empty bullpen. The police captain had sent
Rhonda, his assistant, home hours ago, suffering from the first signs of the flu.
Simon had ulterior motives for sending the ailing woman home - he didn't want
to catch the flu or chance any of his detectives coming down with it either. After
all, it was the day before Thanksgiving. The rest of the detectives had left within
the last hour to try to avoid the rapidly falling snow.
The lone occupant
was busily typing up the last report as Banks walked up behind the younger man.
"Aren't you done yet, Sandburg?" demanded the captain gruffly. Blair
jumped and accidentally hit a wrong key.
"Oh, man, Simon! You scared
me!" the newest detective turned back to the computer screen and grimaced.
"Aw, geez! Now look what you made me do! I deleted everything!"
peered over Blair's shoulder and grimaced. "Is that the Stempler case?"
Off Blair's nod he added, "Finish it on Monday, Sandburg. Go collect your
partner and get out of here. I want to get home, too, you know. And it doesn't
look like this snow is going to let up at all."
Blair quickly shut
down his computer then wrote himself a note to re-type the Stempler case on Monday.
He grabbed his coat and Fargo hat from the coat rack, jamming the hat on top of
his head. Simon burst out laughing at the sight.
"Laugh all you want
to, Captain, but at least MY head will be warm on the way home!" Blair snagged
Ellison's coat and gave his superior a jaunty wave, jogged out of the bullpen,
and headed for the elevator. He met Ellison just as the older man was stepping
off the elevator. Blair tossed Jim's jacket, steered him back inside the elevator
and explained, "Simon's kicked everyone out. We're the last ones left besides
him. Let's go while the getting is good."
Jim pulled out of
the parking garage to a snail's pace traffic. They heard and saw large wet glops
of snow hitting the windshield. Jim flipped on the windshield wipers to try to
clear the snow. The wipers barely kept up with the on slaught. He finally got
the truck out into traffic only when a patrol car was trying to pull into the
garage. Jim waved to the officer in thanks.
"Oh Man, the day before
Thanksgiving and it snows! Man this really sucks, ya know, Jim? Like, the WHOLE
city just shuts down for an inch of snow!" groused Blair. "We are NEVER
going to make it to the store before it closes at this rate, Jim."
your shirt on, Junior. We'll make it. We just have to get out of the downtown
It took them twice as long as usual to reach the supermarket.
They hurried through the store, along with other last minute shoppers. Just as
they were rounding the corner to head to the check out lines, a young boy was
running with a cart full of food. He was making vroom vroom noises and ran smack
dab into Blair's cart. The boy's cart was so heavy that Blair was knocked off
his feet, landing sideways into a display of Pampers diapers. The diapers came
crashing down on the fallen Guide. Blair threw his hands up to protect himself
from the hundreds of packages. Blair heard a small "Uh oh" from the
little boy as he watched Blair become totally engulfed up by the packages.
woman's voice was heard from down the aisle. The voice came closer as she cried
out, "Bobby! What on ear happened? Are you hurt?"
The woman looked sternly at Jim who was trying to pull packages
off his downed partner.
A disembodied voice came from inside the mound of
diapers. "Somebody? Anybody? Get...me...out...of...here!"
on, Chief! I'm working as fast as I can, here!" replied Jim. He continued
to throw packages behind him so he could get to Sandburg. As he grabbed a couple
of ripped packages, diapers flew in all directions, fluttering down, with one
landing on top of Jim's head, just as he cleared out Blair's own head from the
wreckage. Blair burst out laughing at the sight as Jim clawed at the offending
"Hey, Jim," guffawed Blair, "at least it's a clean
Jim shook his head as he mouthed the words back at his friend.
He grabbed Blair's hand and pulled him to his feet. Blair pushed packages out
of the way and finally was clear of them.
"Oh, man! I thought I was
a goner! Where is that little boy who caused all this damage?" asked Blair
looking around for the crying child. The mother pushed her son behind her as Blair
stalked over to the child. He bent down and tried to talk to Bobby, but his mother
kept herself between Blair and her son.
Bobby's mother demanded to know
what Blair was talking about. He tried to explain but the mother just gave Blair
a steely look that said "my son is innocent". Jim stepped into the fray
as Blair opened his mouth to retort. Ellison flipped open his badge and stuck
it in front of Bobby's mother.
"Jim Ellison, Cascade PD. Excuse me,
man, but my partner is correct. Your son had commandeered your grocery cart and
was going at unsafe speeds in a controlled zone. He recklessly rammed into my
partner's grocery cart, knocked him down and into the display. Now, unless you'd
like me to take official action here, I'd suggest you have your son apologize
to Mr. Sandburg and to the store owner. Mr. Johnson, by the way, is standing right
over there and also witnessed the events."
"That's right, Detective
Ellison," replied the owner, emphasizing Jim's official title.
mother deflated, mumbled an apology, grabbed her son's hand, and manhandled her
grocery cart away from the area.
"Mrs. Harrison, I'll send you a bill
for damages. I know the address!" called the store manager after the retreating
figures. As soon as Mrs. Harrison was out of earshot, Mr. Johnson burst out laughing.
"Thank you, Detective! That was great! I couldn't have planned that better
if I could. Do you know how long I've been trying to catch Bobby Harrison in the
act of destroying displays? Mrs. Harrison always denies that her son is at fault
but ends up paying for damages just to avoid publicity. Maybe now she'll realize
that I'm telling the truth and not picking on her poor little boy."
and Blair smiled at Mr. Johnson's imitation of the woman. "Glad we could
be of help," offered Jim.
"Are you hurt Detective Sandburg?"
I'm fine, thanks for asking," replied Blair. "Would you like us to help
clean this up?"
"Oh, thank you. That's not necessary. But I do
want to thank you putting the fear into that little terror. Maybe now he'll behave
himself when he's in the store. That's one customer I wouldn't mind losing, though.
Between her son and her complaints, I'm surprised I have my sanity!" Mr.
Johnson shook his head with a smile.
As the two friends pushed their cart
away from the destroyed display, Blair stopped Jim with a laugh "Whoa! Unless
you've got a baby I don't know about, I don't think you want the package of Pampers!"
grinned evilly as he took out the package. "I know I don't have any children,
but what about you?"
Blair shook his head quickly and held up his hands.
"Not guilty on ANY counts, man!" He looked down into the cart and moaned.
"Oh, man! The pumpkin pie is squashed! Darn that kid anyway!"
Johnson heard Blair's moan and looked up. "Don't worry about it, Detective.
Just take it back to the bakery and exchange it for a different one. I'll let
check out know it's with my compliments."
Blair smiled at the store
owner. "Wow! Thanks Mr. Johnson. That's very generous!"
the least I can as my way of thanking you both," he replied.
made it out the door with their purchases. Just as Jim was about to close the
door, he cocked his head.
"What is it, Jim?"
back out of the truck and ran down the street. Blair took off after him, jamming
his Fargo hat on his head. "Jim! Jim, wait up!" As Blair caught up to
Jim, he realized they were by a small pond. A little girl stood on the side of
the pond crying. While Blair tended to the little girl, who was covered in snow
and shivering. Jim checked the pond that she was pointing to. "What is it?
Can you tell me what happened? "
The little girl wiped her nose on
her sleeve and looked shyly at Blair. "I'm not supposed to talk to strangers."
okay, honey. I'm a policeman. Now, tell me what's the matter." She eyed him
skeptically and kept looking at his head. He quickly pulled off the Fargo hat.
"Now, would a bad guy wear a hat like this?" She giggled shyly.
knelt down and asked, "Sweetheart, tell us what's wrong, okay? We're here
She pointed to the pond. "My ducky's stuck out in the
pond. He can't swim back in."
"Huh? Jim?" asked a bewildered
Sandburg. He furrowed his brows as he looked out toward the small pond. He heard
a faint quack, quack. "Oh, man, now what?"
"We rescue a duck?"
asked Jim as he used his enhanced sight to zero in on the erstwhile waterfowl.
"It IS stuck in the ice, more like frozen in the ice."
are we going to rescue the duck, man?"
"I'll be right back,"
stated Jim as he took off for his truck. He came back in a few minutes, carrying
his fishing waders. He quickly put them on and broke through the ice. In another
few minutes he was back with a squawking, struggling duck. Blair had asked where
the little girl lived and she told him she was visiting her grandfather who owned
the grocery store. The detectives escorted the little girl back to the store,
clutching her duck to her chest. They handed her over to the Mr. Johnson with
his heartfelt thanks, for the second time that night.
As they climbed back
in the truck, Blair asked, "Jim, can we just go home now? No more rescues,
no more kids?"
"Sure, Chief. Hang on because it's going to be
a slippery ride."
Blair grabbed onto the pumpkin pie and the door handle
as they skidded around the corner. "Jiiiiimmmm! The pie! Watch it!"
Jim turned the wheel into the skid and Blair's head hit the window. He slumped,
unconscious in the seat.
"Chief? Blair? Come on, buddy, wake up! Chief?"
Sandburg felt someone gently slapping his face. He opened his eyes and looked
"What happened?" he asked groggily, slowly focusing
in on Jim hovering over him.
"What happened?" repeated Jim. "Blair,
you fell asleep on the couch. You were dreaming and making weird quacking noises.
WHAT were you dreaming about?"
"I, I was dreaming?" he asked
as he pushed himself upright. He gingerly felt his head for any sore spots. "Oh,
man. I guess I was. Sorry. Man, that was the weirdest dream!" He stood up
and headed toward the bathroom, scratching his stomach.
I'd lay off all the extra helpings in the future if you don't want to have bad
Blair waved his hand at his Sentinel as he closed the door.
Jim cocked his head as he heard his roommate mumble, "Ducks, pampers, pumpkin
pies, oh my!"
Jim quirked an eyebrow and laughed. "This one I
have got to hear more about!"