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a completed TSFF round robin by various listsibs
Disclaimer: The characters of Jim and
Blair don't belong to us..if they did, they'd have more fun.
All things Sentinel related belong to PetFly. FireFly Buzz Juice is produced by VoodooRain.
We're not making any money off of this -who'd pay for this lunacy???? - so please don't sue. Thanks and enjoy!
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Part 1 by
Shycat and Angie
Part 2 by Nancy
Part 3 by TAE
Part 4 by Hephaistos
Part 5 by Allison Witty
Part 6 by Bonnie Stargazer
Part 7 by Becky
Part 8 by Cat
Part 9 by Impala
Part 10 by Robyn
Part 11 by Ronnee
Part 12 by Wolfshy
Part 13 by Hephaistos
Part 14 by Robyn
Part 15 by Becky
Epilogue by Kilimanjaro
Part 1 by Shycat and Angie
Jim was standing with the refrigerator door wide open. He *really* needed something cold to drink after his run.
Milk? No..no milk. Cola? No..didn't have a taste for it. Wait..what is that? *Energy beverage - contains all natural ingredients.... Jim reached for the bottle and popped off the cap. The liquid was yellow and smelled of citrus. Well, all natural. Couldn't be a bad thing.
He took a swig and the liquid slid down his throat, immediately quenching his thirst. He didn't know where the stuff had come from, perhaps something Sandburg had bought, but it really wasn't that bad.
A little bit later, Blair walked into the loft. And stopped. And looked around.
"Jim?" he called out, looking at all the furniture, which was pilled into the middle of the living room. And at the rug which was hanging over the balcony..and at the paint cans sitting by the stairs.
He stopped, his backpack dangling from one hand, keys in the other. He thought he heard... singing?? Jim...? Singing? No. He had to be hearing things. He threw the keys into the basket by the door and shut the door behind him without turning. He walked further into the loft. Yeah... that was singing all right. But Jim??
The words slowly filtered down to him...
*Oh a sailors life is the life for me, How I love to sail on the *Something or other* sea. da da dee dee da da dee*
Blair's bookbag dropped from his hand.
Part 2 by Nancy
"Jim?" he questioned, hesitantly climbing up two stairs toward the loft bedroom.
"Uh. . .Jim. . .feeling all right?"
"Feeling GREAT, Chief! Come on up and grab a brush. . ."
He sounded. . .happy. Upbeat. Very unJim like. Blair sniffed. He smelled paint.
Okay. Jim was painting his bedroom. . .and rearranging the furniture, and beating the rug. . .that was Jim like. But he was singing and he was happy. . ."Where is the pod and what have you done with my roommate?" Sandburg laughed as he made it to the top of the stairs.
He couldn't quite believe what he saw.
Part 3 by TAE
"Uh, Jim? What color do you call that?" Blair asked, shading his eyes from the pain of the reflected light from the walls.
"It's...pink?" Jim suddenly seemed to realize the oddness of the color.
"Um, yeah. It's pink all right. Just about the same shade as Pepto Bismol. You, uh, want to tell me what brought this on?" Blair stood at the top of the stairs, unwilling to get any closer to the hideous color.
Jim shook his head and climbed down the ladder, careful not to spill the paint. "I'm not sure, Chief. I got back from my run at..." He looked at his bedside clock, "Ten this morning, it's now almost one, and I can't seem to remember asking the guy at the Home Depot for paint this color. I was going for a light blue..." He stared at his friend. "Uh, Blair? What was in that stuff, anyway?"
"What 'stuff' would that be, Jim?" Blair asked cautiously.
"That stuff I found in the refrigerator. Kinda yellow, citrusy...?"
Blair paled. "Oh, *that* stuff. Uh, it was..." He searched his memory for what it was and where he had gotten it. "Well, one of the other TA's gave it to me to try. It's supposed to be all natural and give you energy...Oh, man. You didn't react to it, did you?" Then he took a good look at the half-hot pink wall and realized the answer. "Uh, I guess you did."
Part 4 by Hephaistos
Jim wasn't really paying attention to Blair's words. He was glancing at the paint and the wall, and seemed to come to a decision.
"Forget the painting for now," he said, as if it were Blair's idea to begin with. "Let's go catch some bad guys."
"Yeah, bad guys. It's too nice a day to waste indoors. Come on Sandburg, you're the nature nut around here. Let's go for a drive. Outdoors in the fresh air. I mean, Cascade IS the most dangerous city in America. There must be someone out there getting mugged, some house being robbed."
"Uh, Jim --"
"White collar crime, blue collar crime, embezzlement, littering..." Jim's face suddenly brightened. "Maybe a bank robbery! Yeah, that would be great. Or a gang war!" Jim sighed, a look of pure rapture on his face.
"Jim, I think you should sit down, or maybe go to the gym and work off some of that extra energy. What do you say? I'll go with you, maybe even let you show me some of that self-defense stuff you've been trying to get me to learn."
Jim nodded thoughtfully, staring at some point on the Cascade skyline through the balcony doors. "Okay Sandburg, it's settled." He grabbed his coat off the coat rack and tossed the other jacket to Blair.
"Good," Blair mumbled in relief.
"We'll drive around the Skudder Park area until we notice something. It should be dark in three, four hours... yeah, we'll find action then.
Blair, for once, was at a loss for words. His mouth hung open as if the hinge mechanism had broken off and no one bothered to fasten it shut again. Seconds later he found his voice. "Skudder Park!" he all but squeaked, incredulous. "Jim... that's... it's... man, *Skudder Park!*"
But Jim was already out the door and bounding down the stairs. Great, just great, Blair thought. He had to find out what that drink was, and identify whatever ingredient was messing with Jim's mind. 'Ingredient X and Its Adverse Effects on the Modern Sentinel,' by Blair Sandburg. Save the city and screw the safety of the Guide. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!
Blair finally did the only thing he could do -- he put on his jacket and followed his Sentinel into the bowels of hell.
Part 5 by Allison Witty
Blair leaned back against the head rest and tried unsuccessfully to rub some to the throbbing out of his aching temples. He didn't know *where* Jim had gotten a tape mix with the theme from Mortal Kombat and the themes from old police dramas, most prominently Dragnet, played over and over and over, but when he did find out he going to destroy the place, B&E and Arson be damned.
They had been circling Skudder Park for three hours now with the torturous tape blaring and Jim showing no signs of flagging. The Sentinel alternated between staring intensely into the surrounding Park and clamping his hand over Blair's mouth whenever his Guide tried to say something, and drumming his hands on the steering wheel and singing along to the songs on the tape, complete with fake siren noises. At any other time the sight of James Ellison bopping around and making screeching noises as he turned the wheel, would have caused Blair to collapse in hysterical laughter. At the moment all he wanted to do was figure out a way to knock Jim out so they could both go home and his partner could sleep off the effects of what he had drunk.
This had got to be an all time record low for crime in Skudder Park and if a criminal didn't show up soon, Blair was seriously considering committing some crimes of his own......if he could get Jim to let him out of the truck.
Suddenly Jim braked the truck to a stop. He was eyeing the parking lot in front of the abandoned carnival grounds they'd passed at least 200 times already. The Detective had a gleam in his eye that was making Blair very nervous. With an expression of utmost seriousness on his face, Jim turned to Blair and proclaimed, "Well, Chief, as the bad guys seem to be hiding out at the moment, I think we should use this time to do some practicing."
"Practice what Jim?"
Jim didn't answer. The truck leapt forward as he slammed down on the gas pedal.
"Jim, what the hell......OH. MY. GOD!" The words were barely out of Blair's mouth before he was forced to grab onto the door handle for dear life as the Hayseed truck began doing full speed donuts in the middle of the abandoned parking lot.
Part 6 by Bonnie Stargazer
As Blair screamed, Jim laughed maniacally, having the time of his life. As the truck straightened out, he headed for a dirt field at 80 miles per hour, to do more donuts. Just as the front tires hit the dirt, the truck stereo blasted the opening drum beats of Hawaii Five-0, Jim slammed on the breaks. Blair flew forward, airborne, just barely restrained from hitting the windshield because of his seatbelt. He felt like he had been cut in half with the sudden deceleration.
"Hey!" yelled Jim, pounding out the to the Hawaiian cop show theme song, "Wanna see me lay rubber and squeal the tires in the dirt? They always did it on Hawaii Five-0!"
As Ellison proceeded to stomp on the accelerator Blair yelled, "Jim! Will you stop! This is giving me a headaaaaaache!"
Blair was slammed to the left as the truck swerved to the right sharply, bracing himself with a hand on the roof. Jim helped right the little guppy with a quick shove. Hey! Two hands on the wheel, McGarrett!"
Blair thought about reaching over and turning the ignition key off, but wasn't sure what would happen to the hyperactive Sentinel, especially if he was denied his fun. Blair really wanted all this madness to end, but with all the enjoyment Ellison was getting out of it, he waited to see how far this was going to go. He offered up a quick prayer to all Blessed Protectors in every realm to make sure that, at least, he, Blair Sandburg, came out in one piece. Amen! then slammed on the brakes. He really, really needed to check out those ingredients on whatever Jim had drunk earlier in the day. He couldn't believe how long the after effects were hanging on!
Blair was happy that his head had stopped doing the Tilt-A-Whirl because Jim had finally slowed down, driving normally, or so it appeared. The guppy blanched when he thought he heard Jim say, "Ooooh, yeah!"
Blair shuddered as he yelled, "Oh, no Big Guy, you're NOT, please, please, please, tell me you're NOT going to play like a huge pin ball in those trees?" Jim looked straight ahead intently, gauging the distance of the trees. The anthropologist yelled, "Oh, no. Nononononononono......Jiiiiiiiimmmmmmm!"
Part 7 by Becky
The yell echoed through the truck cab. Jim ignored it and hunched down over the wheel, a wild grin on his face, mirrored by the slightly crazed look in his eyes. He revved the engine a few times.
"You ready, Chief?"
Jim cackled. "Too bad. I am." He pressed down on the gas pedal, felt it hit the floorboard, then released the brake. With a screeching squeal and the stench of burnt rubber, the truck jerked forward, headlights flashing off the trees. The engine roared...
...then stalled out and died.
Panting, Blair pried open his eyelids and stared at Jim, finding the big man frowning and ... pouting ... rather mournfully at the dashboard.
Ellison turned his head toward Blair. "It ran out of gas."
Blair whispered a quick prayer of thanks to every god or goddess or greater power he'd ever heard of plus throwing in a few "unknowns" for good measure. They would have to walk home, but maybe the weird aftereffects of the drink would wear off by then.
Jim suddenly perked up, his head cocking a little, eyes lighting up in delight. "I hear something."
"What? What do you hear?" Blair held his breath, the reality that they were in Skudder Park -- alone -- unarmed -- after dark -- with no phone-- *Wait, maybe, maybe I have my cel.* He started patting his jacket pockets. *Oh, please, please, please, don't tell me I left it in my backpack.* His right hand found it just as Jim decided to get out of the truck. "What? Jim? Where're you going?!?"
"To get the bad guys, Sandburg. Hurry up."
Muttering under his breath, Blair snatched the truck keys from the ignition, then left the truck, jogging after Jim in the darkness. "Jim! Slow down! Jim!"
Part 8 by Cat
"Wait!" Blair gasped, stumbling along behind Jim as he raced through the darkness under the trees. He clutched his cel phone tightly in one hand while trying to keep an eye on his errant partner and avoid the trees at the same time. He saw a flash of movement as Jim reached the edge of the stand of trees and ran into a lighted area.
At the edge of the trees, Blair leaned over, clutching his knees and trying to catch his breath. He looked out over a children's play area. Oh God. Jim was nowhere to be seen. He gazed frantically around. The trees were behind him, in front was the children's play area, complete with teeter totters and a small merry-go-round. Across from the play area was a basketball court, and -- Blair's eyes widened. He took off again, running flat out.
Jim bounced the ball twice. Feinted right, then left. Turned around twice before shooting the ball high and over the heads of his opponents. "Three points!" He pumped his fist in the air. "Hi, Chief," he called as he sailed past his partner to intercept the ball.
"Uh." Blair waved his hand a couple of times, panting, trying to get his breath. I can't believe this! he thought, swallowing hard and glancing at the large teenager leaning on the fence next to him. "Good game?" he asked.
"Yeah," the kid said, pushing a toothpick around in his mouth. "The old guy's got some moves." He settled the bandanna more firmly on his head.
"He does, doesn't he. One against five.... "Hey! Hey, Jim! Whaddya doin', man!"
Jim made a 'T' with his hands and ran up to his partner. "What's it look like? I'm playing basketball."
"Yeah. But -- Umph!" he cried when Jim shoved the ball into his stomach.
"C'mon. You're on my team."
Blair's eyes almost popped out of his head. That's all they needed: playing B-ball, at midnight down in the 'hood with a gang of street toughs.
Part 9 by Impala
Blair's brain was working *way* overtime. How was he going to get out of this? He held the ball out to the kid and said, "Man, my friend's forgotten this like, real, important date he had. So, uh, do you mind if we take a rain check on the game? His girlfriend is going to be *so* p'd off if he doesn't get to her place. OK, guys?"
The kids merely stared at them, obviously wondering what two grown men were doing walking to a girl's house at that time of night, in *this* part of town.
Blair took the opportunity and grabbed Jim's arm and shoved him in what he thought had to be the direction of home. Jim glared at the younger man for a moment then broke out in a quick jog........In the wrong direction!!!
"Hey, Jim!" yelped Blair. "Hold on, man......this can't be right!" But Jim simply picked up his pace, swiftly leaving Blair in danger of being left alone in that park, at night, with thugs. Blair quickly slipped in that all too familiar panic mode and broke out in a dead run after Jim.
Blair sprinted up beside Jim who was still jogging at a deadly pace, and wheezed, "Where are we going this time?" It took everything the smaller man had to keep up with his partner >> and it wasn't long before he felt on the verge of collapse. <This can't be happening....this has got to be a dream, this is not real> the words jangled in Blair's mind as he concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other in his effort to keep up with the relentless Jim.
"WHERE <puff, wheeze> are <pant, cough> WE <splutter, hack>GOING???" Blair did his best to demand. But the man pounded on, seemingly oblivious to Blair's agony.
The mantra had diminished to "This s**ks, This s***ks, This s***ks" in time with each laboring footfall. Then, miraculously, in the distance , Blair spotted the familiar shape of a Cascade PD car.
<Please, OH puhleeez...> Sandburg prayed as he felt the last stores of strength leave his aching body. <Please let that be someone we know>................
Part 10 by Robyn
"Thank God!" Blair mumbled under his breath, his eyes brightening into a wide smile of relief as the police car approached closely enough for him to get a look at who was driving. With renewed energy, he broke into a jog, waving his arms in the patrol car's headlights as he ran toward the car. "Stop! Hey guys, stop!"
The car slowed to a stop as Blair reached it, and the driver -- someone with a beret, earrings, and an Aloha shirt -- punched the button to automatically roll down the window, and the well-dressed man in the front passenger's seat looked toward him as well.
"H! <pant> Rafe! <pant> Am I *glad* <pant> to see <pant> you guys! <pant>" huffed the anthropologist as he bent down to speak into the window. But just as the words left his mouth, a sick feeling came over him. Something was wrong. Very wrong.
"WHAT didja say, Hairboy!?!" yelled Henri.
"I can't hear you!" yelled Rafe.
Blair rolled his eyes, forced to step back from the car as the intro from Dragnet blared ominously from the car's tape deck, followed by the theme from Hawaii Five-O, blasting so loudly he was sure his eardrums had suffered permanent damage. *When I find the perp responsible for distributing that inane tape of cop songs there WILL be PAIN involved -- LOTS of pain,* he grumbled to himself. Exasperated, he threw an arm into the cab of the car and punched the stop/eject button, abruptly silencing the deafening music. "You gotta help me, guys," he continued immediately after stopping the tape and before the other men could protest. "Something's happened to Jim. We've gotta get him home." He gestured to the tall cop who was currently running circles around the car, laughing to himself and pounding on the car's hood and trunk when he passed them.
Henri and Rafe looked silently at each other. Then they burst into guffaws, alternately pointing at Blair and mumbling unintelligible phrases hilariously to each other.
Desperate, the younger man racked his brain, trying to figure out what he should do now. He had a potential mode of transportation now, but how to get himself and Jim into the car... *Wait a second.* "Who is *he*?" Blair asked the laughing detectives as he pointed to the back seat, only now noticing that there was a man sitting in the back seat of the patrol car, hand-cuffed. He looked a little geeky, short with thick glasses and looking scared out of his wits. He was wearing a neon yellow sweatshirt with the logo "Voodoo Rain" emblazoned on it.
"Ha-ha-ha -- oh him? We picked him up -- there was a warrant out for his arrest, hahaha.." explained Brown between his paroxysmal laughter. "Some kind of illegal substance trafficking. He had the evidence on him when we picked him up. Hahahaha! Why can't I stop laughing?"
Blair frowned. The man in the back seat didn't look like any typical criminal he'd ever seen. Suddenly, the man leaned forward, looking desperately at Blair. "P-please! I didn't do anything! These guys are crazy! P-please, h-help me?"
Blair paused for a moment, but quickly concluded that something was wrong with Rafe and Brown too, as well as his partner, and he had the sneaking suspicion this man might have something to do with it. He also noticed two empty bottles of Firefly Buzz sitting in the drink holders in the front seat of the car where Rafe and Brown had put them after downing the yellowish liquid. *Shoot. They drank the same stuff Jim did!* "Lemme talk to him, H," he said.
"Sure, kid -- knock yourself out," Rafe laughed again, rolling down one of the back seat windows, his lack of concern further evidence that neither man was totally normal tonight.
Blair leaned down to hear the suspect a little better.
"You gotta help me," pleaded the geeky man as he searched Blair's face. "I didn't do anything wrong! It's all a conspiracy started by somebody at the National Police Union -- N - PU. They're mad because they claim a lot of detectives drank my Firefly Buzz drink and are acting really weird. It's not true -- they spiked those drinks with something else! They're trying to blame me when they're just trying to rack up excuses for firing certain detectives that remind them too much of how bad the rest of their line up really is! Plus it's the official drink of the main antagonist organization against the NPU! You gotta help me!"
Blair's brow furrowed again. Maybe this guy *was* crazy. But he sure didn't look like he could do anything *that* harmful. "Okay, I'll try to help you," he answered. "But first we've gotta get these detectives back to normal! You know of anything that can reverse this --" he stared at the three cuckoo cops -- "effect?"
The Voodoo drink man rocked back and forth as he thought hard. Then his eyes lit up. "Yeah! I've got some samples of a new drink I'm developing -- haven't decided on the name yet, though. Maybe Sloth Slurpee or Zebra Zen. Guaranteed to calm anybody down. What do you think?"
"Never mind the name," Blair said, trying not to sound impatient. "Where's the stuff?"
"The cops put all my drinks in the trunk, I think. It's the bluish liquid in the unlabeled bottles."
Blair nodded. "Brown!" he turned back to the cops in the front seat who were now bobbing to the tune of "Mission Impossible" and imitating the familiar eight note theme out loud. "I need to see those drinks in the trunk!"
Brown shrugged and popped the trunk, then went back to singing.
Running around to the back of the car, Blair immediately spotted the cases of drinks -- there were at least five. Four of the cardboard boxes contained unlabeled bottles of blue liquid. Grabbing one bottle, he unscrewed the lid and sniffed the stuff. *Calming,* he decided. "Oh Jiiiiiim," Blair called to his partner who was still running circles around the car. The anthropologist wiped the corner of his mouth, pretending like he'd just drank some of the drink. "You must be thirsty! This stuff really hits the spot!"
Jim screeched to a halt as he reached his partner, reminding Blair faintly of the way the road runner stopped on cartoons. The tall man wiped his brow. "Yeah, I *am* thirsty, Chief. Thanks!" Jim lifted the bottle to his lips and downed its contents in one gulp. "Ahhh. That really hits the spo--" his words broke off, and a change in expression came over his face. His eyes fell closed. "I am *so* relaxed...."
"Yes!" Blair whispered to himself. The drink had worked faster than he could've hoped for. Just as he was going to usher his partner into the car and give Brown and Rafe a drink of that calming potion as well, the roar of several souped-up motorcycles suddenly came up. At least ten single headlights glared on the pavement as a hoard of black leather-clad Hells Angels came thundering down the alley.
*Oh NO!* Blair thought frantically. Now that he finally had his partner "relaxed," he was probably *too* relaxed to be of any help if these bikers wanted to pick a fight. The bikers slowed to a stop in front of the patrol car which had essentially blocked the alley. The leader, a big man with a big scraggly beard and a big bike, dismounted and stomped toward the car in his big leather boots, stopping in front of Blair and looking down at him. He did *not* look happy.
Blair looked up at the big man and swallowed. Slowly, he took something out of the trunk, holding the bottle up to the bad guy. "Wanna drink?" he asked timidly.
The biker glared down at him, then snatched the bottle. He took a sip, paused, then took a long swig. He glared at Blair again, then broke into a large, magnanimous grin that made him look very innocuous. "This stuff is *great*! Ya got enough there for the rest of my gang? I want them all to feel the peace -- yeah, the peace -- it's incredible..."
"Help yourselves," said Blair, handing out the cases. He went around to the front of the patrol car and gave drinks to Rafe and Brown. By the time he looked back towards Jim and the bikers, he couldn't believe his eyes. But then, none of what had happened tonight was exactly believable, he reasoned.
Jim was leading all the biker people in some Tai chi.
*Whatever,* he thought, shaking his head. If this wasn't the Twilight Zone, he didn't know what was. Blair almost didn't hear the small voice coming from the back seat of the patrol car.
The Voodoo drink man was speaking again. "I don't think that calming drink has as long an effect as the Firefly Buzz...."
Part 11 by Ronnee
Blair looked over at him in horror. "How long do we have?"
"I don't know." The man muttered, running his hands nervously over his brightly colored T-shirt. "It hasn't been tested yet."
*Okay, I know that Jim can metabolize most sedatives if he uses pain. Otherwise they seem to move through him faster than normal, at about twice normal, or was that three times normal?* Blair's thoughts flashed over his sentinel research, seeking a solution or at least a timetable that he could use. Nothing came to mind. *Guess I'll have to wait and see...*
He looked back at the truck of the police cruiser. Rafe and Brown were happily passing out the blue filled bottles to the remaining bikers. He looked again and realized that the basketball playing gang members had joined them. As he watched, one of the bikers opened the last of the cases of the calming drink. Within moments, it was empty as the young men quickly guzzled the drinks.
"Oh, man, this has all the ingredients for a disaster." Blair whispered to himself. He raised his voice as he approached the other detectives, "H? Is Simon at the station?"
"Na. He's out looking for you and Jim." Brown answered with a sappy smile.
"Oh, yeah, that's right. We were supposed to tell you to call him." Rafe commented quietly and then shrugged. "He was upset when no one could find you and no one answered the cell phones."
Blair pulled out his cell phone and looked at it in frustration. He knew it hadn't rung all that afternoon. He'd forgotten to turn it on when they'd left the loft. Of course, it had never rung. *Of all the stupid*, he glared as it rang the moment he turned it back on.
"Blair Sandburg." He answered.
"Sandburg!" Captain Banks' voice roared over the tiny speaker. "Where the h%$# are you and Jim?"
"Skudder Park, sir." Blair straightened reflexively, knowing now was not the time to push any of the other man's buttons.
"Skudder Park? Why are you at Skudder Park at this hour of the night? Where is Jim?" Blair could hear the frustration in the big man's voice.
"Jim's teaching Tai Chi to some bikers." Blair heard silence on the other end of the line. "Rafe and Brown just joined him with some gang members."
"Don't go anywhere. Don't let them go anywhere either." Simon's voice was soft, almost gentle as he spoke.
"Um... sir? That might not be the easiest thing..."
"Tell them stories, tie them up. . . I. Don't. Care. How. Just keep them there!" Silence rang over the cell phone as the irate captain hung up.
Part 12 by Wolfshy
Blair returned the phone to his right jacket pocket and sighed, "Oh god, what am I going to do? He says to keep them here--that's easy for him to say -- he's not here. He hasn't been in the truck all night with Jim driving and now I have to deal with a bunch of street kids, bikers, 2 people with guns. Ohmygodohmygodohmygod............Jimmmmmmmmmm."
Blair, catching sight of Jim on one of the bikes, had to think fast if he was going to stop Jim from leaving. As soon as he got near Jim , Blair thought of the perfect solution. "Hey, Jim. How would you like to go to FunCity up the street?" The owner "owed" him, so he shouldn't have any problem getting into the place.
Jim raced the engine one more time and then asked, "Who wants to go to FunCity?"
From the peanut gallery, you could hear, "Goodie-goodie! I do -- I do! I get to play with the rollercoaster! I want the bumper cars ! I want the tea cups! Funnnnnnnnnnnn! Let's go."
Jim, who was grinning from one ear to the other, looked at Blair and said, "Hop aboard, Chief, and hold on tight."
While climbing aboard, Blair said, "One second, Jim, I need to
call Simmmmmmmmmon ............
Jimmmmmmmmmmmm..............ohmygodohmygodohmygod." Blair tightened his grip around Jim as the front rear of the bike's tires went two feet off the ground.
"YeHaw----Ride'em-----Cowboy," Jim yelled while making a circling motion with his right hand. "Look-- Mom--no hands."
"Oh noooooooo....... Jim, Please put your hands back on the handle bars."
A few minutes later they safely arrived at their destination which Blair was thankful for. Blair told everyone to follow him. They walked over to the security guard's booth. Blair told the guard to call Chuck, the owner, and tell him that Blair was here for his payment. The guard called his boss and relayed the message that Blair had told him.
"Yes Sir. I will. No Sir. He's not alone. What? O.K. Sir. I will tell him. Bye." The guard hung up the phone and looked at Blair. " Mr. Watts wants me to let you in and to tell you that this should be the final payment."
Blair just nodded and followed him inside.
Part 13 by Hephaistos
By Blair's count, he had 3 Major Crime detectives, 5 street kids, 3 biker dudes, and one geeky questional-substance-drink salesman to deal with. They kept more or less together, which was good, following Jim as if he were the Pied Piper of Hamlin. They were loud, obnoxious, and frightening other customers, which was bad, with the unlucky salesman handcuffed to the oblivious Rafe. Blair needed a plan to keep them together and out of harm's way until Simon got there.
"Oh Ji-im," Blair called out, jogging up to his partner. Jim was now leading the group in his version of Richard Simmons' Sweatin' to the Oldies. Any other time, it would have been quite funny, but Blair would have to fondly reminisce later, once this entire night was tucked safely into the past.
"Yeah, little buddy?" Jim asked, patting Blair on the head in the middle of a high stepping exercise.
Blair leaned forward and whispered. "I never knew you were terrified of Ferris Wheels, man. Geez, that's tough."
Jim stopped. "Who said I was afraid of Ferris Wheels?" He looked at the crowd around him as if the bigmouth were wearing a sign.
Blair pointed discreetly to the biggest biker dude. "He did -- whoa, whoa, easy there," Blair stopped his raging partner with two palms to his chest. "Take the high road, Jim. Show him you're not afraid. If, in fact, you're not," Blair added quietly, looking at the ground.
Jim glared at the biker. "I'll show *him* who's afraid," he said as he marched toward the Ferris Wheel, the others following in confusion.
"Where are we going?" asked one of the street kids.
"Oh," said Blair casually, "Jim issued a challenge to all of you, to see who could sit at the high point of the Ferris Wheel the longest without freaking out... But you guys are probably above stupid street challenges," he added, waving his hand dismissively.
"Ain't no skinny old man going to challenge me and get away with it," said one of the other street kids, and they all quickened their pace. Ironically, the biggest biker dude actually turned a ghostly shade of white as he looked up at the giant Ferris Wheel, but he was pushed on ahead by his buddies. As Blair had hoped, all the other customers shied away from the ride while the Skudder Park Groupies were near. The skittish attendant strapped them in pairs, Jim and Brown, Rafe and the salesman, and the other eight until six of the 15 cars were filled. Bets and challenges were flying fast and furious amongst the riders as Blair pulled the attendant over to the side.
"I'll handle it from here, kid," he said, quietly flashing his Observer's Pass. The attendant blinked; Blair was probably younger than he was. "These men are wanted drug dealers, and we have back-up on the way. Got it?"
The attendant nodded and backed off.
"Not a word to anyone," Blair warned. "We don't want a panic."
Again, the attendant nodded and disappeared into the crowd. Blair turned back to the controls. "I can do this, I can do this," he told himself, flipping a few switches, then pulling the lever. The gears ground together noisily and the cars started to move in a herky jerky clockwise motion until Blair got the hang of the thing. He spun the riders around a few times, then, after a few spastic stops and starts, managed to stop the wheel with the six occupied cars in the top most positions. Satisfied, he dialed Simon.
"SANDBURG," came the captain's angry voice. "This better be you."
"Um, yes Simon... Captain."
"Where the hell are you? I'm near Skudder Park and I found an empty police cruiser -- an unlocked empty police cruiser with its doors wide open!"
"Yes, sir, we --"
"And the ground is littered with empty bottles of that Energy Stuff that we've been trying to round up, along with moterbikes, regular bikes, a basketball, and one Police Themes cassette with all the tape pulled out!"
"Yes, Captain, I --"
"Well, Sandburg! I'm waiting!"
"You see, sir, we're at FunCity, and --"
Just then, the big biker dude, swaying in the gathering night winds at the top of the Ferris Wheel, totally, completely freaked out.
Part 14 by Robyn
"MOMMMMMMMYYYYYYYY!!!!!" screamed the big biker dude in a surprisingly high-pitched voice.
"He's rocking the car! Make him stop!" pleaded the questionable drink salesman sitting next to the black-leather- vested, silver-chained quaking behemoth.
"This is pretty fun, ain't it?" Brown giggled, elbowing Rafe in the ribs.
"Heh. Heh. Heh," Rafe giggled back.
"WHEEEE!!! This is FUNNNN! You gotta see the view from here, Chief!" sang the detective, who luckily (or unluckily) had a seat all to himself. "Eh-hem!" Jim cleared his throat dramatically, taking a deep breath. "High on a hill lived a lone-ly goat-herd, YO-DO-LO-DO-LEH-HEE-HOO!!!"
"PUT ME DOWN!!!! I WANT MY MOM-MYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!" screamed the biker dude again, not calmed at all by Jim's off-tune, albeit passionate rendition of the goatherd song from *The Sound of Music*. Now the biker dude was shaking so hard the entire ferris wheel seemed to sway with the large man's weight. Ominous creaking noises emanated from the ride's metal frame.
"Just HOLD ON!" Blair yelled back.
"SANDBURG!!!" yelled the all-familiar voice on the other end of Blair's cell phone.
"Just a second, Simon -- we've got a problem, man -- just a panic attack, nothin' I can't handle," Blair blurted as he set the phone down on the semi-greasy console of the ferris wheel.
"SANDBURG!!!! WHAT'S GOING ON?!?!" the voice yelled from the abandoned phone, but Blair's focus had already fully shifted to the problem at hand. He didn't need a physics degree to know that if he didn't do something soon, the entire infrastructure of the metallic beast might buckle under the sheering forces generated by a certain obese motorcyclist having a panic attack at the worst possible moment. Besides, the anthropologist was starting to feel some empathic fear and sympathy for the big biker dude, since he obviously shared Blair's fear of heights.
Already feeling a little nervous himself, Blair released the braking mechanism and seized the metal gear rod with both hands. "HANG ON!" he called up to the occupants. Carefully, he pulled the gear rod toward himself.
The machine started up with its herky-jerky movements again, resulting in another startled scream from the big biker dude.
The beast ground to a final-sounding halt, having rotated the riders only a car's height from their former positions.
Frantically, Blair yanked at the control again, pulling and pushing on the rod, but to no avail. The ferris wheel nor its gear mechanism budged another inch. "Uh-oh," he moaned under his breath.
"Uh-oh? What do you mean ‘uh-oh'?" demanded the voice inside the cell phone.
The grad student finally picked up the phone again. "Um, slight problem, Simon -- I think the ferris wheel broke... but don't worry, I've got it under control!" Blair ended, trying to sound his normal cheery, confident self.
"What do you mean it BROKE?!?!"
"It's just stuck, man. Don't worry, I think I can get it to budge..."
"SANDBURG! Now you listen to me! *Don't* touch those controls -- get someone who's actually QUALIFIED, you hear me!?! I'll be there in a couple minutes! Don't DO ANYTHING!!!!"
Unfortunately, Blair wasn't listening again. "All this thing needs is a little extra brawn," he muttered to himself. "MMRRRRRMMMMM!!!" he grunted, straining every muscle and using his whole body weight to budge the gear shift.
The awful noise and Blair's body flew backwards, the metal rod in his hands but no longer connected to the rest of the control box. He landed on the asphalt with a "Omph!"
"SOMEBODY HELP ME!!! MOMMMMYYYYYY!!!!" the screaming recommenced from the car.
"SANDBURG!!!! Was that what I think it was!?!" yelled Simon.
Before Blair could answer the captain (not that he really wanted to), his gaze was drawn upward from his spot on the ground where he'd landed so rudely. The first thing he noticed was that the big biker dude was latched onto the geeky drink salesman, squeezing him with all his might so that the smaller man looked positively pale. However, that image fled from his mind the moment he heard Brown and Rafe yelling and saw something else that horrified him worse than anything he'd seen in a *long* time.
Jim had apparently grown tired of yodeling and was now *standing* -- yes, standing -- up in his precariously swaying seat, grasping the metal frame of the ferris wheel so he could pull himself up toward the panic-stricken biker. "Don't worry, Chief!" he called down to Blair. "I'll save him!!!"
"JIIIIIIIMMM!!! SIT DOWN!!! *Please,* man!!!" Blair screamed and begged, bounding to his feet at the same time while never taking his eyes off his partner. Unfortunately, Ellison had turned into a-cop-with-a-mission and didn't seem to be listening to his partner's frantic calls. He was now entirely out of his seat, swinging from the ferris wheel as if it were a set of monkey bars, inching his way to the car above him.
"WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY BABY!!!" yelled another voice, and Blair whirled around to see the ride's attendant glowering at him, a suspicious unopened drink bottle in his right hand. "YOU AIN'T NO COP, ARE YOU?" If it were possible for the attendant's look to be any more horrified, he then noticed the missing rod dangling in Blair's hands. "WHY YOU... YOU.... IDIOT!!! GIMME THAT! I'LL SHOW YOU...." The irate man lunged successfully for one end of the rod, while Blair hung on to the other end for dear life. The tug o' war which ensued was brief, since it ended in one violent moment as Jim and Blair would later remember.
In slow motion, the attendant's forgotten drink in a familiar glass bottle dropped from his hands during the tussle, landing with a terrific crash on the console, breaking into a thousand shards. Helplessly, Blair watched as the yellow-orange liquid oozed slowly into the hole and inside the control box, a familiar citrusy smell emanating from the droplets....
The ferris wheel sprung to life with a monstrous noise, all its gears suddenly working in perfect rhythm, accelerating faster and faster and faster.
"I can't stop it!!!" cried the attendant, yanking haplessly on the other gears after his momentary split-second of shock.
Jamie Lee Curtis had nothing on the biker's scream -- and this time Blair was screaming too. So was the geeky drink salesman, the other two bikers, Brown, Rafe, the 5 street kids, and the group of on-lookers who had gathered around the ride.
The only person who *wasn't* screaming was a certain detective who was still hanging from the ferris wheel, definitely *not* in a seat.
"HANG ON, JIM!!!" Blair yelled, hoping and praying with all his might that his friend would be able to hold on.
As Jim flew by Blair on the downward arc, the younger man heard two words above the racket of the gears and screams.
Part 15 by Becky
Blair, still grasping the broken-off lever, watched in a horrified, somewhat dazed state as the ferris wheel spun around. The attendant stood next to him, mouth open in shock, eyes wide, watching his "baby" whirl to the tune of the Skudder Park Groupies' screams and one very loony detective's song about goatherds.
The two voices surprised Blair, startling him into twisting around to see both Megan and Simon staring past him toward the ferris wheel. Megan stepped closer, eyes narrowing a bit.
"What is Jim doing? Hanging on a strut or something?"
Blair glanced backward, watching his partner go on another rotation. His voice echoed by as well. "Hey, Chief, this is fun...."
Waving a hand in the direction of Jim, Blair cleared his throat. "Uh, yeah. One of the biker's--"
He winced. "That would be the one, he sorta freaked and Jim decided it'd be a good idea to go ‘rescue' him, I guess."
Simon glared at him. "Sandburg, I thought I told you to keep them out of trouble. This is not what I had in mind. And what are holding on to?"
"Huh?" Blair held out his hand and realized he was still clinging to the broken lever. "Oh, this. Um, it's the lever from the panel. It sorta broke off--"
Blair ran right over Simon's displeased roar. "And you didn't tell me to keep them out of trouble. You told me to keep them together in one place. You said you didn't care how, just that I do it. I'm doing the best I can, Simon. I mean, Jim's been high on that energy drink all night. And then that salesman guy gave them all that blue Zebra stuff -- or maybe it was blue Sloth -- whatever it was, it calmed everybody down for a bit. But Jim..." He laughed weakly. "Well, you know Jim. He just doesn't react to *anything* normally. I mean, he's, he's..."
Megan chortled. "He's yodeling!" Simon shifted his glare to her, and she covered her mouth with one hand. "Sorry, sir." Her eyes glinted with amusement and didn't look the least bit repentant.
Simon sighed and rolled his eyes. "Never mind. We just need to get this thing to stop. There's gotta be a plug or something..." He moved forward to where the attendant stood, still gaping at the ferris wheel, mouth working silently. "Excuse me, do you know any other way to stop this?"
Simon reached out and shook the man by his shoulder. "Sir!"
The man jerked back to attention. "What? Who are you? Where is that...that...that CRETIN who killed my baby?!?"
Simon plastered a fake smile on his face. "Sir, please calm down. I'm sure it was all a mistake. Mr. Sandburg was just--"
"*Mr.*?!? You mean he ain't a cop." The man straightened, eyes narrowing, jaw jutting out. "I knew it. I *knew* he couldn't be no cop."
Simon turned slightly to stare at the *consultant* standing, no, hiding behind him. "No, he certainly is *not* a cop. As we try to remind him. He has a slight memory problem when it comes to that." Noticing the lever Blair was still clutching to his chest, Simon snatched it away. "Give me that!"
"...high on a hill...." Jim took another turn around the wheel, oblivious to his predicament and the screams of the other "passengers" along for the ride.
On Blair's other side, Megan coughed, turning aside, her shoulders shaking underneath her light jacket.
Simon ignored both her and the falsely innocent, sheepish look Blair was giving him. Turning back to the attendant, he held the lever, which was promptly yanked from his grasp. Blinking, Simon wondered idly if should make sure he still had all his fingers. Shaking that rather odd thought away, he asked, "Can you turn this ride off? Slowly. I don't want anyone to get hurt. In addition, some of my men are up there and I'd like them all back in one piece."
The attendant stared blankly at him a few moments, then nodded slowly. "Yeah. Emergency switch should do the trick. Wait right here." He wandered off toward a larger control booth, his voice carrying back to Simon as he made his way through the gathered spectators. "Anything to get that crazy singing loon off my baby."
"...a lone-ly goat-herd..."
Simon winced and rubbed one hand over his forehead. "What did I do to deserve this? This was supposed to be a nice quiet night, but, no, I'm saving FunCity from a bunch of nutcases, three of which are my detectives," he turned and speared Blair with another look, "and another of which is a *consultant* who--"
Blair held up both hands. "Oh, hold it right there, Simon. This is *not* my fault." He paused. "Well, not exactly, not...directly at least. Jim was the one who drank that energy drink, painted half his bedroom *pink*--"
"Pink? Ellison painted his bedroom pink?" Megan covered her mouth again, snickers spilling out.
"Yes! A rather nasty shade of it too. Reminded me of Pepto Bismol." Blair shuddered. "That would have been bad enough. But then he decided to go out and ‘catch some bad guys' because it was ‘too nice a day to waste indoors' as he put it. I just went along for the ride and to try to keep him relatively safe. But then the truck ran out of gas and then there were these kids playing basketball. And then Brown and Rafe came along, listening to that *horrid* tape. And then the bikers showed up...and...and...oh, man, it's been a *wild* night."
Megan burst out in laughter behind them. "Oh, boy, is he gonna regret this tomorrow."
A bit at a time, the ferris wheel slowed down. Fortuitously, it came to a halt just below Jim and he dropped to the ground and wobbled away from the wheel. Blair rushed up to him, ignoring the big biker who clambered out next to fall on the ground in a crying heap.
"Jim!" One arm went around the taller man's waist to keep him level, the other hand pressed against his chest to keep him actually standing. "Oh, man, are you all right? What were you thinking?!?"
Jim grinned, eyes goggling at him, draping his arm over Blair's shoulders. "Oh, wow! What a rush! Felt like I was flying, Chief. You gotta try it." He tired to pull Blair back to the ferris wheel, but didn't manage more than a stumbling step or two.
Blair yanked him back, herding him toward Megan who waited outside of the ride's gated area. "No, one ride per night is all you get, Jim. Sorry. How ‘bout we go home now, okay? You remember home, right? A nice soft bed. Pink room. Padded cell..."
Smiling benignly and blissfully, Jim's head bobbed once. "Yeah. A bed. Feel good to lie down, I think. Yeah. Have to get my truck first."
Blair paused next to Megan. "Your truck? Uh, your truck ran out of gas, Jim. Remember? After you did all those donuts. And I am *not* going back to Skudder Park at this time of night to collect it, your ‘sweetheart' or not." He glanced over at Megan who had raised one elegant eyebrow at the word ‘sweetheart'. "Don't ask." He swung toward Simon. "Uh, Captain? You brought your car, right?"
"Yes, I did. I suppose the two of you need a ride home, don't you?"
Opening his mouth to answer, Blair yelped instead, grabbing at Jim as the tall detective decided to abruptly pass out. Megan quickly stepped in and hauled Jim's other arm over her shoulders. Blair shifted, adjusting Jim's weight against him. "Uh, that would be a definite yes."
Bright sunlight pricked at his eyelids, sending shards of headachey pain through his skull, proceeding down his neck and across his shoulders. Groaning, he peeled open one eyelid to look blearily at his surroundings.
Waves and waves of pink met his astonished, half-asleep gaze.
Closing his eyes, Jim raised one hand and rubbed it over his face, feeling the stubble and grimacing at the smell of metal and grease on his hands. *Okay, let's try this again.*
Again, he opened his eyes, managing both the second time. Still waves and waves of pink, those the edges peetered out to the normal color of his bedroom walls. He sat up slowly, pushing himself upward. "Sandburg?"
"Yeah, Jim?" Blair sounded absurdly chipper for it being...what time *was* it anyway. He picked up his wristwatch from the bedside table and squinted at it. *Nine in the morning!*
Footsteps echoed on the stairs and shortly Blair appeared on the landing, carrying a mug of coffee and the paper. "Hey, Jim. You feeling better this morning?" He set the coffee on the table and the paper, folded over, next to it.
Jim looked at him suspiciously. "Feeling better than what? Why are my bedroom walls pink? What happened last night? I remember--" He stopped, memory suddenly flooding back with almost unreal clarity. The energy drink. The painting. Skudder Park. Doing donuts. Running out of gas. The teenage hoods. The *other* drink. Bikers. A ferris wheel. And... He covered his face with one hand. "Did I really sing?"
"Yup. Quite loud. At the top of your lungs."
Falling backwards, Jim pulled the comforter over his head, groaning as Blair trotted down the stairs, singing softly under his breath. "High on a hill lived a lone-ly goat-herd..." His voice rung with laughter as he opened the door, calling out, "I'm heading off to the University, Jim. Simon expects to see you in the office by 10. See you later. Have a nice day." The door closed and Blair's voice echoed in the hallway.
After hearing the elevator doors open and close, Jim finally convinced himself to sit up and reach for the coffee and paper, breaking one of his own house rules about no food in the bedrooms. But right then, he didn't care. Moving to sit on the edge of the bed and sipping at the coffee, Jim opened the paper--
--and stared wide-eyed at the front page.
Local Man Risks Death While Yodeling on Ferris Wheel
The headline was followed by a nice still shot of a man, face fortunately hidden, hanging on to the struts of the ferris wheel as it spun. An article accompanied it. Scanning it, he saw that Simon had somehow managed to keep Jim's name out of it, but the comments from both him and Megan...
"...crazy loon...not safe...will be carefully watched for further aberrations..."
"...regrets for letting such a man run loose in Cascade, much less wandering into an amusement park unattended..."
"...will be taken back to his pink padded cell for safekeeping..."
Jim stared at the article and the picture for a long time.
"Maybe I should just move to Canada."
Epilogue by Kilimanjaro
Blair Sandburg glanced up from his laptop at the sound of the front door closing. His partner stood just inside the loft, holding a grocery bag. “Hi Jim, how was work?” Blair asked brightly from his seat at the grey dining table.
“How d’you think it was?” Jim asked sourly, approaching the table. He forcefully deposited the sack on the table, with an audible *clink*. “Simon made me stay in the station and catch up on my paperwork - said he didn’t want anyone to recognize me from that damned photo in the Cascade Times.” Jim mimed puffing a cigar and his voice deepended to mimic his captain’s, ‘Too embarrassing for the Department’, Simon said. The Department, hell - what about ME? Everybody in Major Crimes, heck, the entire police building, was gossiping about me - “that madman” hanging from the Ferris Wheel. I heard ‘em clear down to the lobby.
“Even Brown and Rafe were snickering - and they had *lots* more of that cursed Firebug Juice than I did.”
“Firefly Buzz Juice,” Blair corrected automatically.
“Whatever.” Jim continued to stand by the opposite side of the table from his roommate. “It’s really nasty stuff - makes you act like a drunken loon, but you remember everything that happened on the morning after.”
“Uh,” Blair squirmed, “Everything?”
“Yes, I distinctly remember someone saying to Simon, ‘This is *not* my fault. Well, not entirely, not... directly, at least. Jim drank the stuff’- or something like that. I might’ve missed a few words, I was dangling from a ferris wheel at the time.”
“Jim, I tried to stop-”
“Next time, try harder.”
“Next time -?”
“I was speaking figuratively. There is no next time -” Jim paused dramatically, reaching into the bag and setting two bottles on the tabletop with a flourish, “for me, at least.”
Blair eyed the neon-yellow bottle of Firefly Buzz Juice standing next to the unlabelled bottle of lava-lamp blue liquid. “Jim! You’re not going to force me to drink that?”
“Would I do that, Chief?” Jim asked, a wounded expression pasted on his face. “No. This is about choice - and consequences. Or crime and punishment, if you prefer.”
Blair stared uneasily at his partner.
“What’s the matter?” Jim smirked. “You don’t believe that I’ve read Dostoevsky? That’s beside the point. The point is this: I had to stay in the office, catching up on paperwork, and hearing everyone snigger about the Ferris Wheel ‘incident’. I’ve been punished for my part in this mess, now it’s your turn.”
“Wh- what do you have in mind?”
Jim smiled evilly, drawing the moment out. Then he walked over to Blair and thumped his roommate on the back. “You’ve got to repaint my bedroom wall. I am *not* waking up to a Peptobismol pink room two days in a row!”
“Ji-im!” Blair sputtered, relieved to discover that Jim had been pulling his leg, sort of. “What’s with the Juice, then?”
“As I recall, it took me fifteen minutes to paint the wall - with the juice. You can chug that bottle and do the same, or you can paint it the old-fashioned way, with drop cloths for the floor and masking tape to protect the bricks, the whole nine yards. And it’s got to pass the Sentinel white glove inspection when you’re finished. Good thing tomorrow’s Saturday -it’ ll take the rest of the night that way. Like I said, the choice is yours.”
Blair’s gaze shifted from the two bottles of primary colored liquids to Jim’ s upstairs bedroom. A wide swath of pink wall was visible even at his angle. He shut down the laptop and rose, stepping around Jim. He crossed to the other end of the table and picked up the bottle of Firefly Buzz Juice. Jim trailed him into the kitchen, where Blair opened the bottle and poured the citrus drink down the sink. “All right, man. Where d’you store the paint and drop cloths?”
(and the start of a long night of painting for Blair)
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last updated 9/1/03