Sentinel Fan Fiction Page || Fanfic -- Humor

Summary: A bit of western melodrama with our favorite team...

Dedication: To that wild and crazy bunch at Cascade Times... Remember -- You asked for this! I don't really know where this story came from...well, that's not exactly true...left field maybe?....no, really, it's appearing as a result of my wanting to use Munchkin and Tall Folks (don't ask!) in a fic...me and my big mouth. You'd think I would know better than to throw out these off-the-cuff remarks, but no....

Kid Sandburg and the Infamous Major Crimes Gang
by Becky (with input from Robyn)
March 1999

It was a hot dusty summer day when Kid Sandburg strolled into town, heralded only by the arrival of the weekly stagecoach and greeted by a tumbleweed dancing across the dirt road to bang into his tall brown riding boots. Wiping one sweaty hand across his brow under the brim of his hat, he took a breath and headed across the wide road, long brown duster billowing out behind him, spurs jangling with each step. After tossing the reins of his horse over the nearest hitching post, he hooked his thumbs over his belt and stared with blue eyes at the swinging doors of the Three Dog Saloon. Piano music and loud laughter poured out, mixing with the clangs of the blacksmith making horse shoes down the street.

Still the same. Nothing ever seems to change around here.

Sandburg glanced up and down the street, noting with a practiced eye the small bank and the general store, people milling on the wood walkways, a few horses, children playing in the streets and dashing among the adults.

Definitely the same.

Returning his gaze to the saloon, he pursed his lips, pondering a few moments, then he nodded. Just as he put a foot on the first step, a burst of raucous laughter made him wince, but didn't change his decision. Straightening his shoulders and lifting his chin, he went up the short steps, then stopped before the swinging doors to push them open and step into the darkness of the saloon.

Sandburg waited a few moments, letting his eyes adjust, listening to the doors swish shut behind him. Caught up in the noise of various games of poker or watching the female entertainment (in the form of several busty barmaids) or just plain drunk, no one noticed his entrance. Well, none of the patrons, at least.

Dan the bartender raised an eyebrow when Sandburg strolled toward the counter along one wall. "Haven't seen you in awhile. What'll it be?"

"The usual." Sandburg settled himself onto a barstool and leaned against the counter, removing his hat to reveal dark curly hair pulled back into a short ponytail. "Been gone. Just got..."

"Kid! You came back!" The high-pitched loud voice made him jump, as did the hands that suddenly wound around his neck. A pair of female lips glued themselves to his and all he could do was squeak and stare wide-eyed at the red-haired vixen trying to suction the air out of his lungs. Reaching up, he managed to pry her hands and arms away and finally got enough space to move and yank his face away from hers.

"Cassie! Uh, yeah..." He ignored the quiet chuckling from Dan. "I just got..."

"Well, well, well, look who just decided to show his face in town again." The voice, slightly derisive, came from very close by, just behind him, echoed by a few surprised grunts and the sound of chair legs squeaking across the floor.

Uh-oh... He stiffened and slowly swivelled his stool around, releasing Cassie, all thoughts of the busty barmaid vanishing when Sandburg looked up to see the Infamous Major Crimes Gang beginning to gather around him, trapping him against the bar counter.

Cassie pouted at the lack of response. A moment later, she flounced off in the direction of a rather lonesome-looking cowboy in the opposite corner.

The piano man stopped playing abruptly, ending on a sour note. Voices rose among the patrons for a moment or two, then settled back again. Slowly the piano man started again, pinging out an upbeat song.

Ellison, the one who'd spoken and the leader, stood in front of them, arms crossed over his chest, a half-scowl decorating his features. To his right stood Banks, the co-leader of the gang, and Taggert, their expert in dynamite and safe-cracking. To his left stood Brown, the fast-talking one, and Rafe, the suave always-snappily dressed one.

Banks took a step forward, drawling out slowly, "Kid Sandburg. When did you get back?"

Sandburg swallowed. "Today. Got into town just a few minutes ago. Rode along with the stagecoach."

Rafe pulled out a pocketwatch from his inner coat pocket. "It's early."

Brown nodded once, but didn't remove his eyes from Sandburg. "Doesn't explain why the Kid here is back."

Taggert agreed, stepping forward to bring himself even with Banks and Ellison. "Yeah, Kid, what do you have to say about that?"

"I don't want any bloodshed in my saloon, boys." Dan spoke up from behind the counter, eyeing the Gang who slowly closed in on the Kid.

Ellison growled. "If it comes to that, we'll take the munchkin here outside, Dan, don't worry."

The what?!? Sliding off the stool, Sandburg protested. "Who are you calling a munchkin?"

Ellison loomed over him, his lips turning upward in a wide grin, showing even white teeth. "Us Tall Folks, that's who. You got a problem with that?"

Sandburg paused a moment, then said, "Actually, yes, I do have a problem with that, now that you ask. I think I'd prefer to be thought of as shorter than average. A munchkin brings to mind something either like a mythological dwarf or maybe a small boy who still wears short pants. Obviously I'm neither--"

Ellison whooped with laughter and dragged Sandburg into bone-crushing, mind-numbing, lung-suffocating hug. "I never thought I'd say it, but I think I've actually missed your jabber, Kid."

The other members of the Gang started laughing as well. Banks tapped Ellison on the shoulder, indicating Sandburg's frantically waving hand. "I think your munchkin buddy here needs to breathe."

Ellison released Sandburg immediately, hands going to catch the younger man's shoulders when he stumbled backwards, inhaling great draughts of air. "Whoa, whoa, easy there, Kid."

"Man..." Sandburg gasped, on hand on the bar stool behind him, the other clenching Ellison's arm. "If I'd known...you'd miss me...that much, Ellison...I would've written...more."

Ellison chuckled and shifted his hand up to pat Sandburg's face. "That'll teach you to head off to some high fancy learning institution for months at a time and then forget all about us."

"Yeah, yeah."

The rest of the Gang moved forward finally and greeted the prodigal, exchanging hugs and back slapping. Their voices mixed and jumbled in a haphazard rhythm of friendship and familiarity. When things started to settle again, Sandburg looked around, frowning. Wait....

"Hey, there's someone missing. Where's--?"

"Sandy!"

Banks and Ellison hurriedly made way for the tall woman who appeared in the swinging doorway. Her long strides carried her across the room to stand in front of Sandburg who just grinned up at her, waving a hand in the air.

"Uh, hi, Conner. I just got--mrph!" For the second time in the past ten minutes, he found a female pair of lips glued to his, bending him backwards slightly against the counter. Oh...wow....

Wolf whistles echoed through the air, but the lone female Major Crimes Gang member didn't give them any heed. Just as Sandburg thought he was reaching the "passing out" state, Conner released him, lifting her head and bestowing him a satisfied smirk.

Sandburg blinked a few times, offering up a smile as well. "Does this, uh, does this mean you missed me, Conner?"

Nodding and still smirking, she jerked a thumb toward Ellison standing just a few feet behind her. "Do you know how hard that man is to get along with when you're not here, Kid?"

Ellison scowled. "Hey! I get along just fine."

Banks rolled his eyes. Joel, Brown, and Rafe covered their mouths, coughing to hide laughter. Conner turned and stared at him, daring him to say more. Sandburg chuckled at the consternation on Ellison's face.

Ellison muttered something unheard under his breath, then snagged Sandburg's coat sleeve, pulling him toward the swinging doors. "C'mon, munchkin, I'm sure you've got bags or something that need to be unpacked."

Stumbling a bit as he snatched his hat from the bar counter, Sandburg trailed after Ellison. "I'm not going through this again, Ellison. I am not a munchkin." The doors swung shut noisily behind them, their voices drifting back inside as the argument continued.

"Are too."

"Am not!"

"Sandburg..."

"Are too."

"Am not!"

"Sandburg..."

"Are too."

"Sandburg!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Am not!" Blair jerked awake, eyes flying open, startling himself with his shout. Blinking he looked around, trying to figure out where he was. Not a bar. Not a dusty western town. He looked down at himself -- jeans, Nikes, leather jacket, backpack at his feet. In the truck. Definitely no cowboy hat or duster in sight. "Oh, man."

"Chief? You okay?" A hand touched his arm and he looked to one side, seeing Jim watching him with narrowed eyes.

"Jim?"

The other man's lips twitched. "Unless I've had a name change recently that you forgot to tell me about, yeah, it's me."

Blair laughed weakly. "Uh, yeah." He rubbed a hand over his face, scooting himself upward in the truck seat. Stakeout. We're on a stakeout. Looking around him, recognizing the parking lot outside the loft, he amended that statement. We were on a stakeout. And I must've fallen asleep.

Jim opened the driver's door, preparing to slide out. "Brown and Rafe caught the suspect at the other location. Simon said for us to go home and get some rest." He grinned, turning to look back inside the cab after stepping outside. "Only I think you got a head start on me, Chief."

"Yeah, sorry about that." Gathering up his backpack, he exited as well, jogging around the truck bed to join Jim as they walked toward the loft, only the streetlights guiding them in the late night darkness.

"That must've been some dream, Sandburg. You kept saying 'am not' at the end there. Sounded rather important." Jim paused in reaching for the outside door to the building. "Anything you want to share with me?"

Picturing rather easily the teasing Jim could get out of knowing he was dreaming about being called a munchkin, Blair shook his head. "No, no, nothing important. Just a dream. Can't even really remember it anymore."

Jim watched him for a moment longer, his eyes shadowed in the darkness. "Hmm...if you say so...munchkin."

Blair stared at his partner as he entered the building. Laughing quietly and shaking his head, Jim punched the elevator button, leaning against the wall, arms crossed over his chest, waiting. Leaning his forehead against the glass door, Blair groaned.

Great, just great.

- The End -