OK, I mentioned the beeper on the list and that my musae were running wild again. I now only need to finish and post eleven more stories by 6 January 2000. I may very well beat that number, as the musae seem to be flowing rather violently at the moment (not with particularly violent ideas, just lots and lots of bashes, it's enough to give a writer a headache). Anyhoo, I just thought that I'd be more than willing to follow the bashes to their natural (or unnatural) conclusions.

The disclaimers are, of course, still in effect. I still make no profit, I still don't own anything but this story. My bedroom's still a mess, but oh, well. That's life. At least I've managed to pack away some of my binders full of other people's stories. Now, if I only had someplace to keep them...

Once again, my thanks to their creators for creating the characters, the producers for providing the money to bring them to us (to Sci-Fi for allowing us to continue to watch them in reruns), and the actors (most of all) for bringing them to life.

And, as always, to Wolfpup, for giving me a home for these ramblings (shall I quit after the eleven? Heh, heh, heh.)

I'm going to add a dedication. This is for Iris and Emerald, as well as anyone else who gets stuck in long, boring, pointless meetings. I think I'll stop off at MarVac on my way home to see if they have a kit...

Button, Button, Who's Got The Friggin' Button!


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You'd think that grown men would know better. Well, then again, maybe not. It would have been expected of Sandburg, as the youngest member of Major Crime, but he was as surprised as the rest of them. Brown would have been a prime suspect, with his devil-may-care attitude when it came to having fun and pulling pranks. Even Jim Ellison made the suspects list, but he wasn't in on it, either. None of them were even anywhere near, when it happened. They, like the rest of the department heard about it through the usual channels, the rumor mill.

It started out, innocently enough, with Simon's son, Daryl. He'd found the plans in an old textbook and decided to try his hand at it. It was certainly easy enough. A few transistors, a miniature speaker, a switch and a nine-volt battery, all nicely in a little plastic box. Perfectly harmless. You'd think. But oh, what trouble it caused.

Simon picked his son up on Friday, after school. The young man was a senior, and still trying to convince his father that he just wanted to be a cop, like him, rather than going off to college... even though he'd earned a full academic scholarship. Luckily, he couldn't enter the academy until he was twenty-one, so that gave his dad the chance to convince his son to take the opportunity to further his education, first. Daryl, also being bombarded by his mom, as well as his dad's friends, was weakening.

As Daryl headed for the car, he noticed that his dad had someone with him. He broke out in a big smile when he recognized the passenger. "Hey, Captain Taggart? What's up?" He opened the rear door and tossed his duffel bag in, quickly following it, himself.

"My car broke down and your dad was kind enough to offer me a ride home. How've you been, Daryl? I hear you won a scholarship." Joel turned in his seat to look at the teen.

"Yeah. We're still discussing whether or not I take it. Mom and Dad are pretty convincing, though." He grinned at his father in the rearview mirror. "Things have been good, though. How about you?"

"Just fine. If only I didn't have to go to so many meetings," Joel grumbled.

"Amen to that," Simon concurred.

Daryl nodded and took a small, plastic box from his backpack. He opened it up and began fiddling with it. There was a chirping noise, which drew the attention of the men in the front seat.

"What do you have there, Daryl?" his father asked, a slight frown marring his brow as he reacted to the annoying sound the box made.

"Oh, it was something I found the plans for in one of those old science books you got me. It looked easy enough, so I just tried it. Now I'm trying to adjust it to make a different sound. I got it to sound like a beeper going off, but no one would even notice that." The device made a rude, belching noise. After the initial startlement, the three of them laughed.

"Well, that's certainly a different noise," Joel chuckled.

"Yeah, let's see what else it can do." Daryl probed some more, making further adjustments. The next sound was like the cheep of a bird; with further adjustment, Daryl was finally satisfied when it made the sound of someone breaking wind. "That's it!" he declared, laughing. "Perfect."

His father caught his eyes in the rearview mirror, "So, now what are you going to do with it?" he asked, concerned.

"Well, once I get the timing down, I'm going to plant it in the locker room and see what happens," Daryl admitted.

Joel and Simon exchanged startled glances. "Won't you get in trouble?" his father asked.

"Nah. I wouldn't do it in class. But in the locker room, that's another story." And with that, he put his toy away.

Two weeks passed until Daryl again spent a weekend with his father. This time, he met him downtown at the station. He'd matured a lot from the angry fourteen-year-old boy who had resented his father and having to visit him at work. Upon arrival, he bopped his way to his father's office, smiling and greeting the men and women who worked for his dad. Time had taught him, also, to knock before entering. When he was given the word, he opened the door and went in.

"Hey, Dad. Captain Taggart."

"Hey, Daryl," Joel replied, smiling at the teen. "How are you?"

"Oh, I'm great. I tried that beeper thing out today. I swear, the guys in the locker room were all but falling over themselves trying to accuse and deny. It was great," the young man enthused.

Joel and Simon exchanged a calculating glance. Both men began to smile, "Uh, Son, do you think I could borrow that beeper thing of yours?"

His brow furrowed in confusion, Daryl asked, "I suppose, but why?"

"There's a meeting we have to go to, one of those interdepartmental task-force type meetings. The Mayor, the City Council, heads of all major departments in the Police Department, Fire Department, even the Garbage Collectors have to be there," Joel explained.

"So, why do you want my 'fartmaster'?" Daryl still didn't get it.

"Why did you want to set it up in the locker room?" his father asked.

"To drive everybody nuts," was the honest reply.

"Well, we've been to a number of these meetings and they never get anything accomplished, except to point fingers and call each other names. I'd like to liven up the proceedings a little, if you'll let me borrow it?"

Looking at his father and his friend and seeing the pleading expressions on their faces, Daryl couldn't help but hand over the device. "Knock yourselves out."

Normally, the general meetings were long, boring, nothing decided, nothing accomplished, bull sessions. Everyone hated them, but they'd been mandated by the Mayor and City Council twenty-five years before. No one had ever had the audacity to suggest the meetings were of no value and that they should be discontinued. At the next meeting, on Monday, Joel and Simon arrived early and tried to decide where to hide the beeper. Finally, they took some duct tape and stuck it under a chair. When the rest of the group began to assemble, Joel bent down and turned the little device on. Then they waited for everyone to quiet down enough to hear it go off. Wisely, they sat a couple of rows behind the device and prepared to be entertained.

About thirty seconds after the meeting was called to order, everyone heard the noise. There were a couple of titters but, for the most part no one really seemed to notice. When it went off again, about a minute later, a few people looked around, but that was all. Before long, people were looking accusingly at one another. Eventually, the accusing looks became verbal accusations; and from there, it degenerated into chaos.

Finally, when the Mayor realized that he'd completely lost control, he stood up. Banging his gavel, he had to shout to be heard over the uproar. "ENOUGH!" he shouted. "Good heavens, people. Whoever it is, just own up and lets get on with this." No one admitted to having a problem. As the noise again made itself heard, the Fire Chief finally spoke.

"You know, this is how these meetings always go." There were instant protests, "No, hear me out. Someone makes a big windbag speech, then everyone starts accusing each other, we all get louder and angrier until finally, the Mayor has to break it up. We never accomplish anything, so why on earth do we still have these meetings every month? To make ourselves feel better by blaming someone else for our problems? Why don't we just lay out our problems and let everybody have a crack at offering a solution, instead?"

The little device chose that moment to make itself heard, yet again. This time, it was ignored.

"You know, that's not a bad idea," Chief Warren said. "Instead of blaming each other, we should be working together to solve our problems. I think the first thing we need to do is stop having these idiot meetings with every division and unit head having to be here. I know what's happening in my department. Why can't we just gather the information from our organizations, sort it out and bring the problems that are beyond us to these meetings? It would save all of us a lot of time and grief. I don't know about you, but I certainly get tired of my Captains telling me how much they hate these worthless meetings."

When Chief Warren sat down, another took up the cause. Fifteen minutes later, they had an agreement. The only times the division and unit chiefs would have to be present, would be when they were actually needed, freeing up three-quarters of the attendees to actually be able to work, instead of wasting their time in useless meetings. The noises still issuing from somewhere in the room were ignored, while the real issue of how to run the meetings was worked on. They ended up with a solid agenda for the next meeting and the promise to release all the lower echelons to remain in their own bailiwicks and working, instead of wasting time at an unprofitable meeting.

When the meeting was finally adjourned, Chief Warren happened to catch the eyes of Banks and Taggart. His eyes narrowing, he approached them. He'd noticed the two men had moved up a couple of rows and that Simon had stooped down to get something.

"You want to explain yourselves, gentlemen?" The Chief of Police asked softly.

Joel and Simon, with expressions remarkably like a pair of schoolboys who had been caught in a prank, glanced at each other, trying to decide what to do. Sighing, Simon handed over his son's device.

"Come with me to my office, please, gentlemen." Chief Warren turned and led the way from the room. Joel and Simon exchanged glances, their matching expressions indicating that they were well and truly caught. Sighing, they turned and followed their boss back down to his office.

Once they were in private, Chief Warren flicked the switch on the little device. Immediately, a very familiar sound issued forth. He tried to glare at the two men who had silently followed him and were standing, heads down like two little boys who had been caught and sent to the principal's office. He couldn't help himself, there was absolutely no way for him to keep a straight face. Chuckling, he tossed the little device on his desk blotter and sat down.

"All right, gentlemen. What brought this on?" He leaned back in his chair, waiting for an explanation.

"I'm sorry, Sir. It was my fault," Simon began, only to be interrupted by Joel.

"No, Simon. It's as much my fault as it is yours." Chief Warren realized that they could easily turn this into a blame-taking party if he didn't intervene.

"I don't really care whose idea it was. That's not what I asked. Where did you get this thing and what made the two of you decide to bring it to the meeting?" Again, the two men exchanged glances, sighing, Simon began again.

"A couple of weeks ago, my son showed us this thing. He built it and said he was going to set it up in the locker room at school. After he'd done it, he told us about it. We just got the idea in our heads to have a little fun and set it up." Simon shrugged. "It really was kind of amusing, nobody knowing where it was coming from. Maybe we should have had him set it to make a different sound," Simon suggested.

"It makes different noises?" the Chief sounded even more interested.

"Yeah. But I don't know how he did it. He'd have to do it, I think," Simon replied and Joel nodded his agreement.

"Do you think he could make me one and show me how to adjust it?" Chief Warren asked.

"I'm sure he could, Sir, but...?" Simon's expression had gone from concerned to confused.

"Good. When he has it done, send him over, would you? I have a few plans for such a device." There was a cunning, gloating expression on the Chief's face, one that Joel and Simon were careful not to comment upon.

"Uh, yes, Sir," the two men chorused.

"Here, you can have this one back. I don't expect to have anything like this at our departmental meetings. Is that understood, gentlemen?"

"Yes, Sir," they again chorused.

"Good. That's all, then."

Joel and Simon wasted no time making their escape.

"I wonder who he's planning on using it on?" Joel asked as the rode down in the elevator to the garage, where they would pick up Joel's sedan and head back to the station.

"I don't know, but I'm sure glad he wasn't angry," Simon replied.

"Wouldn't you like to be the fly on the wall at his meetings after he gets his own gizmo?" Joel began to chuckle. Glancing over at Simon, he saw the smile slowly spread across his friend's face. Catching Joel's eye, Simon began to laugh as well, degenerating into guffaws as the two friends thought about the havoc to be wreaked by such a device in the hands of a truly Machiavellian mind, such as Chief Warren's.

"Oh, yeah. I just hope it doesn't get out that we started it," was all Simon could say.

Arriving back at the station, both men were still chuckling as they made their way back upstairs to Major Crime. For the rest of the week, the detectives kept giving them strange looks and worried glances when the two men would suddenly and for no apparent reason burst out laughing, particularly when Simon's son Daryl would come by.

Of course, once the rumors came down about some sort of noisemaker device, the detectives, being detectives, put two and two together, but none of them believed that the two captains could have had anything to do with it. Both men were too professional and stolid to stoop to such a thing... weren't they?

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