Boom Goes the Weasel
by Kimberly Workman
Summary: It's time to get back to work, so why isn't Jim happy? #10 in the Broken Spirit Series.
Disclamer: Not mine.
I hate my desk, I hate paperwork, I hate being on restricted duty. I'm fine, I really am. I never use my braces, I hardly ever use my cane, and I only get tired when I can't prop myself up after fifteen minutes. Does that sound like an invalid? Not to me it doesn't, but the almighty Cascade PD insurance clause says that I can't be cleared until I can "present myself as at least 90% capable of my former position and its physical requirements." Translation: I have to be able to run down a perp without having my leg go out on me. My right leg has always been weaker than my left, ever since the Army, but now it's an issue. Wonderful bureaucracy.
But, on the other hand, Sandburg was wrong. He hates that, more than anything. Dr. Hamilton, point blank, said I wouldn't have been this much better if I had continued to use the braces. Being stubborn against Sandburg pays off. It paid off royally because not only do I have him off my back over my rehabilitation, I have my room back. I have room again, I can stretch out. And, not to be downtrodden, I took my first shower last week. Don't get me wrong, baths are fine, but you don't know what you're missing until you haven't got it anymore. Now if I could just go out in the field, the world would be a better place. Major Crimes would be a happier place, I can tell you that. Now, H and Rafe are seemingly fine with it at the moment, but I know it ticks them off to no end to have me hovering around with my fingers into anything they're doing outside the office. Simon isn't so tactful. We all know that he's not the quietest man in the world and that he yells quite a bit, but what once was random yelling has turned into peeved attempts to put me back behind my desk and out of everyone else's hair. He wants nothing more than to kick me out into the field, but he must play the bureaucracy dance as a façade.
And, since I'm not on full duty, I can't carry my gun. Do you realize how naked I feel without a gun under my arm? I've carried a gun ever since I can recall. Throughout my Army days, in Vice, in Major Crimes, and now? I'm so bare that I feel people watching me as they pass. `Look at the poor gimp, can't even carry a gun.' I just want my weapon, nothing more. Sandburg calls it my phallic symbol, but I don't care! Maybe it is an extension of my masculinity, but at the moment you can call it anything you want as long as I can get it back in my holster before this month's over. It's all about the power and I seem to be big on that, go figure.
Anyway, here I sit, doing paperwork like a good little secretary. If only my friends could see me now. And, speak of the devil, here comes Sandburg.
"Hey Jim," he beams as he strolls over to the desk.
"Hey Chief," I smile, gladly welcoming any break in the monotony that is my work.
"Got lots to do today I see," he mentions as he takes a seat. I push all the files over to him. He's my little salvation. He does the work while I stroll around the Break Room. I help him, of course I help him, but he's so much faster when I don't bother him.
"It's all yours," I gladly let him know and get up to make my routine stroll. "Get you anything?"
"Black, two sugars," he mumbles, not looking up.
I leave him to my work without another interruption. Like every other day, I don't have my cane. Once I learned that I could make it to the Break Room without passing out in the floor, no need to draw attention to myself. It gave the perps too much of a thrill to see a cop hobbling around like an old man. Besides, I couldn't carry two cups with a cane in one hand. So, across the Bullpen and into the Break Room without incidence. You shoot for small goals.
Thankfully, I made it once again after passing Rafe in the hall. He and H had been out all morning trying to collar some crook from 9th Street. Right behind him was H, pushing along who I assumed was said suspect. The guy looked ragged, but really nervous, too. I guess his business was shut down for the week.
I got our coffees and started fixing mine too sweet. Sandburg always complains that it's more like sugar water, but it's black sugar water at least. The whole time I was stirring, I kept hearing this incessant beep. It was random though, like someone programming the microwave. I tried to focus in on it, but rule number one is that you never try to pinpoint something that random because the next thing I knew, Sandburg's behind me and talking me out of a zone. "Whoa!" I shuddered and shook my head. "What happened?" "That's what I'd like to know," the younger man said, looking concerned. "I'm in there waiting for my coffee and after twenty minutes passed, I figured you'd passed out dead or something. I come in here and you're stirring your coffee, oblivious to everything."
"Twenty minutes?" I looked at him, not quite believing the fact and my face probably showed my skepticism.
"Yes twenty minutes," he assured me, a little on edge. "What were you doing?"
I thought back. "I had been getting the coffee, then I heard something, a beeping," I paused, listening in and finally picking it up. "There it is again."
"There's a lot of beeping in this place, why that one?" he was trying to be non-judgmental, but really seemed more concerned about his cold coffee, which he picked up and tried to sip, but quickly disposed of it.
I closed my eyes, trying to pinpoint the sound exactly. "This sounded different, too random." Listening closer now, the pattern seemed to emerge in the beeps. It was almost like a countdown, a beep per second or something like that. "But it's not random anymore. It's ordered."
Sandburg looked up. "And, let me guess, we're gonna hunt it down, right?"
Sometimes that kid can really get on your nerves. "You got a better plan?" I asked.
"Jim, we've got a ton of paperwork. Why is this beeping so important?"
"Because, I can't concentrate with it going off every second. Just let me figure out what it is and we'll get all the blessed paperwork done, ok?" I wasn't pleading, I never plead, but this was important.
"Fine," he sighed. "We'll play bloodhound and then we'll get back to what you're supposed to be doing."
Without a word, I started out. First I tried walking towards the stairs, but the sound faded, so I went back towards the Bull Pen. By the time I reached the door, the noise was pulsating and I, in the back of my mind, had an inkling of what it was. Having an inkling and knowing, though, are two different things entirely.
"Stay near me," I told Blair. He probably thought I meant so I didn't fall out, so he went all Florence Nightingale on me. The kid can stick like glue when you want him to.
There was the normal amount of activity in there. Random beat cops were in and out, parading suspects through. Simon was still gone, but H and Rafe were at their desks, trying to question the suspect. I walked towards their desk to see if they heard the beeping too, but as I neared, that inkling became knowing. The beeps were originating from the suspect. I was still standing behind him, so he didn't know I was there. I motioned for Rafe to come over since H seemed to be having his turn with the guy.
"Hey Jim, Blair," Rafe said as came closer. "You need me?"
"Yeah Rafe," I said as I creased my brow. "Did you two happen to pat that guy down?"
"That guy?" he pointed at the suspect. "That's Frank Howard. He's not arrested. We just picked him up as a witness. He's not the guy we're after."
"So you didn't pat him down?" I asked again.
"Jim," Rafe chuckled. "Why would we pat down a witness?"
"Why indeed?" I asked. "You got your handcuffs on you?"
"Yeah," Rafe slowly said.
"Jim, what are leading towards?" Blair spoke up. He'd been watching silently until then.
"Rafe, cuff him to the chair on this side," I said as I did the same on the other side. Rafe obeyed, not voicing any concerns yet. The guy looked taken by surprise, but H was shocked.
"Jim!" H jumped up. "What are you doing?! This guy's not under arrest."
"He may not be," I said as I patted his chest down and found the device. "But I'd feel much safer with him in that chair than running around with this on him." I ripped open the guy's button-down shirt to reveal the source of my zone. Ten sticks of dynamite and a timer that read fifteen at the moment.
"Holy…" Rafe began.
"Whoa," H finished as he sank back in his chair.
"Why do you have ten sticks on you?" Rafe came around to eye Frank. "You weren't even arrested!"
"I have nothing to live for anymore," Frank paused dramatically. "Once they find out I ratted on them, I'm dead anyway."
"What a crock of bull you're spewing," H laughed, breaking the tension for a moment. "You're insane."
"And we're dead," I interceded as I pointed at the timer. "Unless we disarm this thing."
"Can't," Frank piped up, smirking.
"Whaddya mean we can't?!" Blair hurried around to face him, trying to look stern.
"You tell us how to disarm this thing or else," H warned.
"Or else what?" Frank chuckled. "I don't care, I wanna die."
Blair sombered up. "You know, he's got a point."
"Shut up!" Rafe whined.
By this time, our little foursome's secret had leaked or been seen. The Bull Pen was pandemonium with personnel clearing out of there like there was no tomorrow. It was like 11:59 at the OK Corral. There was no one left besides us.
"So glad to know we have brothers in arms!" H yelled into the empty air.
"Where's Joel? The Bomb Squad? Anyone that can disarm this?" Blair started rattling off.
"Conference," I offered.
"Conference?!" Blair was on edge. He slowed his breathing and sounded very deadly. "Are you telling me that the entire Bomb Squad is away at a conference?"
"I don't think Peggy went," Rafe offered. "But, she's in Ohio at her sister's wedding."
"Does this strike anyone else as completely insane?" Blair was definitely peeved now.
"Welcome to Cascade, sanity never enters into it," H said.
"Excuse me!" I interrupted. "But I think we could do this later since we've only got ten minutes." To emphasize my point, I motioned towards the timer.
"Ten minutes till we die," Frank started singing.
"Were you born this warped or was there a head injury involved?" Rafe tersely commented.
"OK." I had made my way around to look at the bomb by now. "Three wires, red, white, and blue. Patriotic SOB aren't you?" I asked, looking up into Frank's grinning face.
"We're all gonna die," he started singing again.
"You are gonna die if you start singing again," Blair said and at this point I think he really meant it.
"So which one do we cut?" Rafe asked, kneeling down for a better look.
"Can't cut any of them," Frank began. "Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, haaaaa." He started his sing-song again.
"That's it!" Blair finally blew. "I'm gonna kill him!"
I stood up. "Chief, let's just disarm this thing and we can do what we will with him later."
"Fine," Blair sighed. "Why do all the weirdos have to congregate around us?"
"It's our irresistible charm," Rafe smiled as he looked up.
"Seven minutes," H warned.
I knelt back down to see what we could do with the wires. "Which one do we cut?" I asked no one, but looked at Rafe.
"I don't know!" He exclaimed. "Don't you know?"
"Red," H suggested.
"And you know this how?" Rafe asked.
"It's my favorite color."
"No it isn't," Rafe countered. "Burgundy is."
"So it's my unlucky color then," H tried again. "Red goes boom."
Blair started laughing unwillingly. "They teach you so much in the Academy don't they?"
"And you would suggest what Hairboy?" H tried.
"I dunno!" Blair answered. "I'm not a cop."
"He realizes for the first time," I said.
"Well you were in Covert Ops, Jim," Sandburg shot back. "You'd think they taught this."
"I'm gonna guess white," I tried.
"And we value your guess because?" Rafe asked.
"Because we've got four minutes and no one else has made a legitimate guess."
"Well, H says red and you say white, so let's spilt the difference and cut blue," Blair offered.
"Split the difference?" I was getting tired of this dance.
"Sounds fair," Rafe agreed.
"Fine with me," H said.
"Are you all crazy?" I asked. "This is serious!"
"Little Boy Blue, Come Blow your Horn!" Frank started.
Sandburg got ready to lunge, but I gave him a hard glare. "Fine! Blue it is. Do we have any pliers?"
"Simon should have some, for his lures," Rafe said.
"I'll get them," Blair called out.
He made too much noise rifling through Simon's office and finally came out with fishing pliers. Handing them to me, he stood back so as not to strangle Frank. The whole group held its breath as I slowly and tensely pushed onward. The pliers squeezed the blue wire and separated it into two pieces.
"The clock stopped!" Rafe cheered.
"It did?" Blair was less believing. "So we're safe?"
"Looks like it," H smiled.
"Well that was fun," I said as I pushed myself upward and sighed.
"We no go boom," Frank started singing again.
Sandburg lunged at him, but I held him off. "H, Rafe, get this guy down to lock-up."
They took Frank, along with the whole chair, out of the Bullpen. The two of us went over to my desk and sat down. As Sandburg and I were trying to process what just happened, Simon walked in. That man can change expressions faster than a clown.
"What in the world happened here?!" he began. "Where's everybody at and who was that guy in the chair I just passed?"
"Well, Simon, it happened like this…" Blair told the story, with every colorful detail.
"You disarmed a bomb?" Simon asked as Blair finished.
"Yeah, pretty much, that would have been the point of the story, yeah," I said, smiling.
"Well," Simon began as he seemed to be pondering something. "I think this would qualify as job ability. I see no reason why you shouldn't be given your full credentials back."
"You're kidding?" I sat there shocked. "I can go back on the streets…..with my gun?"
"Why not? I don't want you hanging around here more than you have to," Simon smiled. "Let me just get your gun from my desk."
It didn't hit us what his office may look like until the Banks bellow came out. "Who did this to my office?!"
"I think it's your turn to explain," Blair chuckled.
Life is good, back to normal. And Delores? Well, she was right. Hero worship is good, but not something to base a love interest on. Oh well, another day, another time. Right now, I've got perps to bust. Yeah, life is good.