Not much in the way of a need for them on this one... I'm not pokin' fun at anybody else's copyrighted material that I know of. Of course, there's that picture down there where I used someone else's images... I suppose I should disclaim those. Im not making any money off them, I promise. And those are two exceptional photos, arent they? Kudos to the folks that took them. Talented people. Lucky people...
Creepy, but true alert: I wrote this a couple of months ago, before Id heard squat about the last episode of X:WP. Theyre unrelated.
Angst ahoy: I know you thought youd probably never see such a thing on something that came off my keyboard, but its true. People are hurting in here. But thats life and theyre handling it.
Those of you who are under 18 and/or cant be exposed to homosexuality for whatever reason (dainty flowers that you are) - surf elsewhere. There be sapphics in this here prose.
Everyone else, thanks for stopping in. And thanks for sending me such terrific e-mail. Y'all are super cool.
Thanks again to Ume, beta chick extraordinaire!
The Hapless Romantic
by Creme Brulee
Ive been in love from the moment I first set eyes on her. Since the beginning of time. Or since the beginning of the rinse cycle if you want to get picky about trivial, irrelevant details like facts. That was ten minutes ago. But I dont do things by halves. Some have gone so far as to call me an extremist. I dont know about that, but I know a looker when I see one.
She keeps checking her watch like shes got somewhere to be. Shes not doing her laundry. Shes not dressed for laundry either. Unless all of her clothes are dirty and all shes got left is a $500.00 suit. Im not complaining about her choice in clothes, but Im sure Id love her in rags just as much. And thats another pipe dream because a woman who looks as sweet as that isnt going to want anything to do with me. Hell, I dont want anything to do with me a lot of the time.
So whats she doing in the laundry at six thirty in the morning looking beautiful and nervous? Waiting for someone? Carpool? Probably.
Im a neighborly kind of person who notices things. Ive been told that I notice too much for my own good. It comes in handy in my line of work. Maybe shes got some big meeting today and is sweating the result. Maybe shes lost. Ive never seen her around the neighborhood before. Dressed like that, theres not much chance shes the girl next door.
Im giving into my overblown sense of responsibility and maybe the need to hear her voice. If youre going to love someone to your dying day, you should know what their voice sounds like, right? So I walk over and sit beside her and say, Hi. I ask her if shes lost or needs anything. She gives me a cursory glance, maybe pauses a hair as she looks me over. Interested? I doubt it. She smiles the sweetest smile Ive ever seen and shakes her head. No, thanks, Im fine. Just waiting for someone.
That was all I needed to die happy. I lie. Ill be miserable for the rest of my life because damn it, her voice completes the picture. Shes an angel. An angel whos as interested in me as a busted harp. She checks her watch and clears her throat. I take the hint and go back to my machines. Ill never be the same.
My laundry has finally made it into the spin cycle and I wish it would hurry on through the rest so that I can get out of here. Being around this woman is making me giddy. Something has come unhinged in my mind and I think my hearts been hijacked. Even through the delectable haze of such an immediate and unrequited love I acknowledge that this probably isnt normal behavior, not even for me.
A car pulls up outside and she glances at it. She stands, looking more nervous, and smooths the wrinkles from her jacket and skirt. Then she bends over and removes a briefcase from beneath her seat. A prickling sensation makes itself known at the base of my neck. I hadnt seen the briefcase. I try not to look obvious as I glance at the car that shes headed toward as she opens the door. Theres a single occupant, caucasian male by the looks of it.
She gets in and they sit there talking for a minute. Then theres shouting. I cant hear any of it, I can only see it from where Im standing. Its when he grabs her by the hair that Im jolted into action. I cant figure out how I got from where I was standing to his window, but thats where I am. Im looking at him, holding her by the hair, shaking her head as he shouts at her. Even standing right next to the car all I can hear is muffled noises. My blood is rushing in my veins, Im acting on pure instinct. I tap on the window. Not too loud, but enough so that hell hear me.
He spins in his seat, like a startled animal. He looks back at the woman and then at me. I make the sign for rolling down the window. For some reason, he complies with my request.
Im glad, it saves me the trouble of smashing it in. He doesnt leave me a lot of room to manoeuvre, but just enough to shoot a fist through the opening and knock him cold. I lean down to look through the window. Are you alright? I ask the stunned and disheveled vision staring at me, mouth agape.
Who are you? She asks, her voice still rough from the shouting and what must be shock from witnessing such an awesome physical display. I do deliver a spectacular jab.
I pull my wallet from my pocket and show my badge, Officer Susan Little, maam. People call me Little. Are you okay?
She shakes her head as if trying to regain her senses. Ive overwhelmed her with my rescue no doubt. Mac? She asks. But she doesnt seem to be talking to me or the guy slumped in his seat. Her voice has a no nonsense tone to it, kinda edgy. Are you getting any of this?
Then she looks at me with anything but thanks or gratitude in her eyes. She keeps shaking her head. Well Little, Im Sandy Kline. People call me Agent Sandy Kline and youve just fucked up my drop. Mac! She yells. What are we going to do with Supercop here? How do we fix this? Boris is out cold. He looks dead.
She pauses as if she were listening to something and places two fingers at Boris neck. No, hes not, just unconscious. I need some help here, any ideas?
A van comes screeching around the corner and stops next to the car. The large door at the side opens and two big guys drag me from where I stand backward into the van. Its a tidy manoeuvre. They throw me in a seat and the van takes off again.
Theres yelling and a lot of shushing as they talk with the agent in the car. Sandy, her name is Sandy. I dunno, I would have thought Alexandra, or Penelope, something more fanfare-like, maybe Gabrielle. Sandys a fine name, but kind of dull when youre thinking trumpets, you know?
Ive been told to zip it and not move a muscle unless I want to be audited through the next millennium. I cant help my nerves from jangling, thinking about her out there all alone with Boris. He was a big guy. But I shouldnt doubt her, shes obviously a woman of substance. And were not all that far away... This is a small consolation when my beloved is in danger.
Weve moved to another parking lot. Down a couple of blocks, behind the grocery store. Sandy has had to do some fast talking, but seems to have convinced Boris that she was able to fend off the attacker sent by a mutual enemy and get him to safety. How could anyone doubt a word that comes out of that mouth? Apparently, Boris does, but is somehow mollified by the contents of the briefcase hes given. The drop goes down and out.
Several minutes later, the door to the van is flung open. A voice I recognize harkens to me, perhaps louder than necessary in the intimate confines of the van. Where is she?!
Everyone in the van turns and looks in my direction. They look as though they feel sorry for me. They have no idea how lucky I really am. I stand, in as much as thats possible, and walk to the door. Youre okay! I say as I step down and take her into a hug. Shes a petite thing, barely comes up to my shoulder. She gets miffed and pushes me away.
Whats wrong with you? You nearly got me killed, you ape! What kind of dumbass goes around smacking people in the head she doesnt even know? Do you have a history of brutality on the job Officer Little? You showed absolute disregard for any procedure Ive ever come across in any manual of law enforcement. Mac, run her badge. She puts out a hand indicating that I should give it to her. I do, with a smile.
Ive been known to act before asking questions on the job, but Ive never acted out physically like I did this morning. Something in me had called strongly for the direct approach. Did he hurt you? I ask.
Are you sane Officer Little? Im curious to know this because since our acquaintance you havent exhibited the kind of behavior that gives me confidence in your ability to carry a loaded weapon.
Mac returns. Seems like Little here... He eyes me the way a lot of people do when they hear my nickname. Its not exactly an accurate description. Im just over six feet. Is a supercop. Highly decorated.
Sandy starts shaking her short, mussed tresses and she grumbles. Small town incompetence.
Actually boss. Littles from the city.
Sandy squints at me. What precinct?
She gives up, recognizing that shes obviously mistaken my abilities. It also looks like the adrenaline surge shes been riding is leveling out. I can see her pulse has slowed and her eyes look more normal. I smile a dazzling smile at her, Sorry I got in the way.
Oh forget it. We managed. She huffs and turns to go.
I smile again. Least I can do is buy you all breakfast. Theres a great place a few blocks from here.
She turns back and gives me that exasperated look again. Do you work? Some people are on a job here. She gestures at the rest of her team. When she spares a glance at them she sees as clearly as I do that the idea of actual food, not crap out of containers, isnt something they think should be passed up.
Come on Sandy, lets do it. Mac says. Besides, the way you eat, you could even the score by making her broke.
I decide, without hesitation, that Mac and I are true friends.
Oh alright. But you people are not putting this on your time cards, that much I can tell you.
Breakfast at Murphys is always good, but this morning its divine. Im sure the company is helping to improve the food. Sandy hasnt said another word to me, shes busy talking to the redheaded guy who looks about twelve but obviously has a handle on all of the toys in the van. Their team is out here in the burbs helping the local law enforcement with a drug cartel whos decided that white flight isnt just for the middle class.
Mac seems interested in me and has asked a lot of questions. Guys generally do, until I make it clear that Im batting for the other team. I dont think anyone at this table could mistake who Im batting for now. I cant stop looking at her. Not that Ive ever been accused of being a cool customer with the ladies. I have a string of girlfriends longer than my arm wholl claim just that.
As a matter of fact, I lose a lot of them because they sign on expecting the cool attitude and are disappointed when I dont dress up in leather and boss them around. One girlfriend said she couldnt understand how it was that a woman who had to carry a gun and wear those boots for a living had all of the sophisticated cool of a boiled egg. And the ones that sign on for the big loveable lug find that Im lacking in that department as well. They also find it difficult to deal with the stress of having a girlfriend who might not come home at night. Theyre not worried about infidelity, but a hole in my head.
All of my musing gets me no closer to Sandy Kline. She and her crew of high tech spies are from the city too. My heart soars at that news. When Im back in town after visiting with my cousin Fred and hanging out with my brother, I may have to look into this outfit. In the meantime, weve finished our fine repast and I have to return to my now empty and lacking life. Oh, and I have to get my laundry.
We all stand to go. Everyone says goodbye and it was real and stuff like that. Theyre a pretty fun group. Sandy looks irritated that they seem to like me. She walks over and looks up at me. I hope youre through playing knight in shining armor Susan.
Call me Little, everybody does.
It doesnt really matter what I call you, because were leaving. I doubt well have an opportunity to make use of nicknames. Stay out of trouble and try not to barge in on anyones ops in the meantime. Okay?
I smile, but my heart has broken. Who knew all of this could happen to a person so fast? Sure.
Sandy turns and walks out the door. Mac lags behind and approaches me. What if hes fallen in love with me the way Ive fallen in love with Sandy? Fate can be so cruel.
Hey! Little! Hes waving his hand in front of my eyes. Its making it hard to see Sandy as she walks out of sight. When shes passed the window, I turn to look at him. He hands me a business card. I dont have much time, but this is Sandys card. Why dont you call her?
I must look confused, because he hastens to explain. She likes you. I can tell. She also hasnt been on a date in years and you can probably guess why. Shes not always so abrasive. Shes had a tough time of it. But shes a special lady, and I think you might have a chance.
He smiles and dashes off. My heart soars yet again.
It takes me two days to get up the guts to call my beloved at work. She pretends not to remember me, then she says she wishes she didnt, but I can tell that she doesnt mean it that way. She also tells me that shes booked solid until the end of the year and I should look elsewhere. I feel that she might be exaggerating, its seven months to the new year, but I get the point. I apologize for taking up her time and hang up the phone, once again a broken woman.
I am so tired of fast food, take out food and any other food I find myself eating while standing or walking. Im too tired and or busy to do anything about it so here I am again walking out of Jimmies Sub and Sandwich Shop stuffing my face. Im also trying to tell June what we need for this afternoons meeting. Shes trying to follow me, take notes and not spill the latte thing she got next door.
We get to the corner and I stop, only because the traffic is going, and turn to look at June as I tell her not to forget something. I dont know what, because thats when I see her. My stomach drops briefly at the sight of her in her patrol car staring at the light waiting for it to change. I hop backward, putting June between us.
Dont move. I tell her.
What, Sandy? Why? June looks at me with interest and scans the area. But shes moving while she does it.
Stop moving! I move to stay behind her until she finally gets a clue and stops.
Who is it? She asks.
No one. I tell her and hope, hope the ever observant public servant Little has not seen me.
The light changes, the traffic moves forward, no one has jumped from a car and belted anyone, so I must be safe. For reasons I do not wish to contemplate, Im slightly disappointed. Someone ought to tell Little that if she wants to be in the white knight business, she ought to be more on the ball. Right now for instance, Id give anything not to have to be eating this sandwich. She could do her hero thing and swoop down with a poached trout and a nice bottle of wine. Id settle for a simple salad. Why do our offices have to be in the middle of her precinct?
Were a block from work. I dread going back in. I know I wont see the light of day again. Thats why Im out here now. June and I cut across the street while the traffic is light and make our way past our favorite stationery shop. There's always a great window display. I cant calculate the amount of money Ive blown in this place. June is gesturing at the window when we hear it. Someone is making a tsk, tsk noise behind us. I turn to see her standing there with a pad of tickets. She smiles a perfunctory smile and says, Ladies. as she writes something on the pad.
June looks at me. I look at Officer Little. All of her, from her polished boots to her immaculate cap. Im distressed to see that shes wearing mirrored aviator glasses. I hate those things. Though I admit, they probably come in handy in her line of work. Now for instance, I can barely get a read off of her. By way of greeting I say, Officer.
You do know, dont you, that its illegal to jay walk in the downtown area?
June looks as though shes going to laugh. I jab her in the side. I dont want to give Little ammunition. She could be a jilted psycho for all I know. Yes, we did. Were very sorry and we wont do it again.
June looks at me in shock. It wasnt the reply she was expecting.
Little continues to write in her pad, though at this point shes got to have the damn thing written out. Not a whole lot to a walking violation. Poor thing has a great body, but I fear shes not all there in the brain department.
Well okay then. She says, but keeps writing in the pad.
Arent you going to give us a ticket? I ask. My finite patience showing its edges.
She looks up from her pad. If you want, sure. But for now Im trying to figure out a seven letter word for also anthropomorphic. Any ideas?
Hominid. June answers in a heartbeat. She can do those things in her sleep. Acrostics too.
I reach over and pull the pad down where I can see it and theres a neatly folded crossword puzzle tucked in there. So thats what my hard earned tax dollars are paying for?
She shrugs, No more than mine are going to pay for that. I may not be able to see her eyes, but I have no problem seeing her sneer as she points at the remains of my sandwich with her pen.
Youre on lunch? I ask.
She nods, then, looking as if shes just remembered something, she takes off her glasses and smiles. She has a lovely smile. Im guessing she knows that.
Hi Sandy. She says, once again reminding me of the guiless puppy who jumped from a van and squeezed the air out of my lungs three weeks ago.
Hi Little. I say and introduce her to June. Junes all fascination at this point. I can hear the wheels in her head turning from where I stand.
I thought Id come over and tell you, you didnt have to hide on the rare occasion you see me here in your neighborhood. This is my beat.
Im thoroughly embarrassed and not sure what to say. I smile what I hope is an apologetic, smile and say, Okay.
She smiles again and says it was nice to meet June, goodbye and shed see us around. June turns to me as she goes and raises her eyebrows in question. Im feeling like a complete ass. Against my better judgement I tell June to go on to the office and I go after Little.
It takes me a minute to catch up. The woman has long legs. Susan, Im sorry.
She looks surprised when she turns around.
Look, I begin to explain. Im, well, Im sorry that I was rude. Its not that I didnt want... I didnt mean... Oh, hell, I was being a jerk.
She smiles again. Dont sweat it. But thanks.
I can tell from her voice that Id hurt her feelings, and I hope that she finds the apology sincere. Can I buy you a coffee or something to make it up to you?
The wattage in her smile increases exponentially. No, Im back on shift in a minute. But I appreciate the offer.
I dont know whats come over me, but I press on. How about after shift?
She blinks at me thoroughly unprepared for this turn of events. I get off at 9:00, thats kind of late. I dont want to put you out.
I probably wont be done here until 8:30 or 9:00. Sometimes I catch a late dinner at The Bughatti over on 65th. We could meet there.
It hadnt occurred to me that after hours attire for cops wasnt the same as for the agents, lawyers and the other professionals that infest The Bughatti on a weekday night. Little has shown up looking under dressed for the occasion. Even if the occasion is only coffee or a late meal.
I, for one, am not complaining. The woman fills out jeans and a t-shirt to great effect. She looks a hell of lot better than I do in my tired suit.
She spots me at my table and makes her way through the noisy and crowded room. A lot of heads turn as she walks past. I dont think her lack of professional attire is worrying anyone much.
Im assailed by a feeling of stupidity as I realize that I more or less forced her to meet me here. Shes probably busy dating half of the metro region by now and thinks Im trying to get another chance with her. For the record, I tell myself, Im not. Im trying to make amends for being such an ass.
My palms are sweating. I can see her sitting there at the table and I can barely believe that Im going to get to sit with her. I keep trying to tell myself that shes just feeling sorry for me and is meeting me to assuage her guilt. I know thats the case, but when youre in love like this its hard to keep yourself in check.
Im smiling at her like an idiot before I even reach the table. So much for trying to play it cool. I know theres no way Ill pull that off anyway, so I may as well give it up.
She says Hi and I sit. I order some food though Im not hungry. She apologizes for having started her dinner then explains she hasnt had anything since that sandwich this afternoon that she didnt get to finish anyway. I tell her its not a problem, then I spot something moving toward us that is.
Well, well, if it isnt two of my favorite people. Brett smiles at me, but leans on the table and looks at Sandy. That look speaks volumes. I remember the first time Brett looked at me like that. Back when I thought she was a nice person. Though why I would have thought that a prosecutor for the most corrupt DA on the planet was a nice person I cant remember. I think my brain may have been preoccupied by the assets Brett is busy displaying in Sandys direction. I admit, that if Sandys interested in Brett, I havent got a snowballs chance in hell. Bretts all the smooth, cool, sophistication Ill never be. Shes also not very nice.
You two know each other? Sandy inquires.
Susan and I have made an acquaintance, yes. She testified in a case a while back. Brett smiles.
I nod. Thats part of the story.
Of course. Sandy smiles a polite smile. Im sorry we didnt get back to you Brett, but I cant seem to find that file anywhere. Call June tomorrow, Im sure weve got it.
Thanks, are we on for Friday?
Im beginning to itch at Bretts intimate tone. And shes doing her damnedest to cut me out of the conversation. I hate pissing contests, so I dont bother getting into them. I sit back and let them finish.
Sure, Ill double check with June tomorrow.
Brett slithers off the table, makes her goodbyes to Sandy and gives me a half-hearted smile. I guess she finds it hard to work up real enthusiasm for someone she cant impress with her Mercedes or buy off with thick envelopes.
Sandy squirms in her seat a little, pushes her dish away, then looks over at me. Is she someone you know well?
I shrug. Thats not an easy question to answer. Does having sex with someone qualify as knowing them well? Does refusing a bribe from someone give you insight into their character? Weve had dealings.
Sandy nods and purses her lips. Im not sure what shes made of the tone of my voice. I cant see my angelic Sandy being taken in by the likes of Brett. I can see shes not the sort. I add, by way of clarification. Were not the best of friends, so Im not sure why she referred to me as one of her favorite people.
Ah. Is all Sandy says. But I can see that weve communicated something else. Moved a fraction of an inch closer in the way two people can when a third neither likes shows up. Im relieved that Sandy doesnt like Brett. Bretts assets may look appealing, but theyre not all real and she hasnt got a clue what to do with them. Sandy deserves better. Besides all of that, Bretts as crooked as sin.
Tell me Little, why are you a cop?
After talking law enforcement for a while, we decide to call it a night. Its gotten late faster than I had imagined it could. I dont want to bother her and make her uncomfortable by hanging around, so I say good night and that Ill see her at the traffic lights and if I catch her jaywalking again therell be no second warning, but a ticket.
Thats when she asks me if Im ever serious. I smile and say that there are occasions that I am and I could pencil her in for one if she wanted.
She looks like shes thinking it over. If I were to tell you that my schedule may have opened for a night, would you be interested in taking me up on it?
Im trying not to hug her. I know that if I concentrate really hard I can keep myself from reaching out and doing it. She doesnt look like shes asking for a hug. Shes asking if I want to go on a date. Now Im trying not to faint.
Little? Are you okay?
Oh, sure, must have stood up too quickly. I try to cover, but its lame, so very lame. Id be thrilled. I tell her. And its the truth.
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