Sentinel Fan Fiction Page || Fanfic -- Everyday Life Series

Traffic Jam III
by Robyn
May 1998

"KSCD news time 9 am. Let's go to our Traffic Man in the Sky, Ron Harris. How're the roads looking this morning?"

"We've got a big slow-down on the incoming traffic on the 74 northeast of Cascade. It's bumper-to-bumper for about 20 miles. Seems a big rig jack-knifed and spilled a truckload of tomatoes..."

"Yuk!" exclaimed Blair.

Jim groaned, thinking of the prospect of yet another few more hours of stop-and-go traffic before they would get home. His legs were getting tired, and the hayseed truck certainly didn't have automatic transmission. Then a smile played on his lips.

"Maybe the semi heard you were coming and wanted to make preparations. Isn't tomato juice what you use to wash off skunk smell?"

"Hey!!!" Blair swatted Jim's arm for the umpteenth time.

Pretending to ignore the swat, Jim decided to take advantage of their current position on the road -- they were at the crest of a hill, and the crisp morning air obliged with a clear view of the rest of the highway stretching almost all the way to Cascade itself. Jim scanned the highway as far as his senses would let him. With a little effort he spotted the cock-eyed truck a few miles ahead standing over a tell-tale red stain. However, Jim was searching for something else. And he found it.

"Guess what I see, Chief?"

"Uh, a limo with a jacuzzi in the back and a couple nice girls soaking in it?"

"You would think of that, Sandburg. No, it's an off-ramp, about a 1/2 mile from here." At the rate they were moving, it would probably be about 15 minutes before they reached it.

"An off-ramp? Cool!" Blair paused, craning his neck. But as he contemplated the prospect, his enthusiasm was dampened slightly. "Leading to where, Jim? We're not even really in the foothills yet. You think there's a road that runs along the highway or something that would be faster?"

"No, Chief, not likely. That off-ramp's good because it has food off it."

"Food! Oh, goody, that's almost as good. A big stack of pancakes sounds good. . ."

"They don't serve pancakes there, Sandburg," Jim said, amused.

"What do you mean? What kind of restaurant is this?"

"Only the best. Wonder Burger."

"WONDER BURGER!!!" The response was deliciously incredulous as Jim had expected, and he laughed.

"What do you mean? I thought you were hungry."

"Jim, I would never eat a greasy hamburger for breakfast. Do you know how many algae shakes I'd have to drink to cancel that out?!?"

"Ugh!" Jim shuddered melodramatically. "Please, anything but that!"

A pause in the conversation ensued, but Jim broke the silence. "So you sure you don't want any Wonder Burger for breakfast."

"Man, no, Jim! I just couldn't."

"Okay, whatever you say, Chief."

***********************

Ten minutes later

"Would you tell your internal organs to keep the racket down, Chief? I'm trying to listen to the radio."

Blair shifted around uncomfortably. The secret was out -- in the past couple minutes he had just been seized with a terrible attack of hunger pangs.

"Okay, fine, it's past nine o'clock and I haven't had anything to eat since dinner yesterday. I can't help it!"

"Thought you weren't hungry," was the casual response.

"Yeah, yeah, give me a break, Jim. . . . It's your fault anyway, you ate all the beef jerky and didn't save any for me," Blair accused in mock seriousness.

"That was because the jerky was insulted when you called it dead cow hide," Jim shot back.

"Uh, fatal mistake," admitted the anthropologist.

"Hmmm," Jim mused aloud, "only three more car lengths and we'll be at that off-ramp. Who knows how far away the next place to eat is..." He rolled down the window, and the smell of the fast food floated into the truck cab and proceded to work its torture on the helpless victim. "Mmmm, hot food, so yummy -- too bad we have to pass it up..."

"All right, all right! We can go to Wonder Burger for breakfast, Jim," Blair surrendered.

"Oh, no, I wouldn't want to make you eat that awful greasy food, even if it does taste good. No, that would probably be considered partner abuse," Jim shook his head solemnly.

At that moment, Blair's stomach growled especially loudly and the young man winced from the accompanying twinge. Pride was beginning to take a back seat rather rapidly to more basic needs.

"C'mon, Jim. I said it was okay."

"Oh, really, I couldn't, it would be so selfish of me..."

"Jim."

"Yeah, Chief?"

"Please. I want to go. Can we go to Wonder Burger?"

Jim looked over at his starved and rather desperate-looking friend and grinned. "Well, if you put it that way. . ."

"JIMMM!"

Flipping on the truck's right blinker, the sentinel leaned towards the door as another whack landed on his arm.

**********************

As the two guys pulled into the driveway of Jim's not-so-distinguished favorite fast-food joint, Blair was rather relieved that there was no one else in front of them at the drive-thru.

"So what'd you want, Sandburg? They do have a breakfast menu here, I think."

"Oh, yeah, come to think of it, I guess I have been with you to Wonder Burger once before for breakfast."

"No getting the breakfast burrito again. Last time you spilled it all over the floor."

"That was because you did one of those evil U-turns just as I'd started to eat it!" Blair said, righteous indignation in his voice. Jim laughed.

"I'll have an English muffin sandwich and some tater tots."

"Okay, Chief," Jim said as he pulled up to the speaker and rolled down the window. He was already feeling trepidation at getting blared out some obnoxiously out-of-control speaker.

However, after what seemed like more than five minutes, no blaring voice had welcomed them to Wonder Burger. Blair was shifting around as much as he could with a seatbelt on.

"They're ignoring me! What do they think I am, dead?" Blair said impatiently. He leaned across Jim toward the open window. "Helllooooo there! I'm alive in here! . . ." he called, but a muscled arm belonging to his partner gently moved him back over to his side of the cab.

"No caffeine for you, kid. There are people in there all right. I can see them. Looks like they're fiddling with the microphone. Maybe it's broken."

"Great. Maybe I will be dead by the time they get to us."

"Wara rahgh wah!" the speaker suddenly blared. Jim winced and Blair rolled his eyes at the incomprehensibly harsh noise. Luckily, Jim was able to make it out.

"Uh, yeah, I'll have two" -- he looked mischievously at Blair -- "hot dogs with plenty of sauerkraut."

"HEY Jim!" Blair protested, leaning across Jim's lap again. "No! I don't want sauerkraut! I want an English muffin sandwich!"

"Two waragh raghg sauerkraut?"

"No, no, an ENGLISH MUFFIN..." Blair yelled back. The detective was now trying to control the convulsions of laughter that had come upon him. Using his right hand he gently clamped it over Blair's mouth.

"Mmmm mmm!!!" his victim protested.

"Wargh?" said the speaker, a hint of confusion in the garbled voice.

"Let's start over. That'll be one double cheese burger and one Wonder kid meal. Don't forget the toy, too." Jim barely got the sentence out between laughs.

"MMMMM!" The victim was struggling more now, gripping Jim's one hand with both of his own in an attempt to peel off his gag.

"I'm sorry, sir, we were having problems with the microphone. Could you repeat the order again?" Suddenly the person's voice was surprisingly clear.

Swallowing the last few laughs, Jim repeated, but this time correctly, that he wanted a double cheeseburger with fries, an English muffin sandwich, tater tots, and two coffees.

"That right, Sandburg?" Jim said to his partner.

"Mm hmmm!" The kid was still struggling, but he nodded.

- The End -

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Go to Traffic Jam IV...