Stuck For Words

by Jane Davitt




"Stuck. In the chimney." Blair shook his head, his skepticism plain. "Come on, guys. I know it's Christmas Eve, but enough with pulling my leg, okay? I'm an anthropologist; I know a tall tale when I hear one."

Rafe looked hurt. "I shwear -- swear on my mother's grave --"

"She's not dead," Henri said, scooping up a handful of peanuts from the bowl on the table. "But you will be if you turn up for turkey with a hangover, so better make that your last beer, my friend."

"I'm fine," Rafe said with great dignity. "Unlike some of us at the table, I can hold my liquor."

They all turned to look at Jim, snoring softly in the corner of the booth, his head cushioned on Blair's coat.

"He's had a long week," Blair said apologetically. "You know how it is."

Rafe patted Jim's arm clumsily. "Sure do. Good old Ellison. Good old Jim --"

"Yeah, he's a peach," Blair said, easing Rafe off Jim before Sentinel reflexes kicked in and Jim patted back with his fist. "Go back to the lie -- I mean, story."

"S'true," Rafe insisted.

Henri nodded agreement. "He thought it was the one place no one would look for the money, so he hid it up there. Mildest December in fifty years. Then a cold front moved in and his wife lit a fire. He came in, saw it, and dived up the chimney. He threw a rug over the logs to smother the fire, but he still got burned and half-choked from the smoke --"

"And then he got stuck," Rafe chimed in, "because he was still wearing the Santa Claus costume with the padded stomach. Great cover when you're selling drugs to kids, see? Asshole. So when we were called out, we caught him red-handed with the money from the drugs. Get it? Red, because his hands were all burned and --"

"Got it," Blair said hastily. Cop humor needed a dissertation all of its own.

Rafe shrugged. "So that's how we booked Santa on Christmas Eve. And you can buy the next round for doubting us, Sandburg."

Blair would've put money on Jim being fast asleep, but the snores that followed Rafe's words sounded a lot like 'Ho-ho-ho'.


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