Well, here it is 1 March 2000. Are you all used to writing the date, yet? I had a bit of trouble remembering that it is now March....however...
At 0730, I got my delivery. One dozen assorted boxes of...that's right, Girl Scout Cookies! I guess that means that I can take the ones left over from last year and set them out to share, eh?
Soooooo, in honor of the occasion...
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The urgency in the fierce whisper, no doubt inaudible to anyone not a sentinel, caused the Sentinel's head to come up and his intense gaze to seek out the source of the voice. There, peering cautiously around the door into the bullpen was his partner, doing his best 'invisible man' impression. As soon as Blair realized that his partner had spotted him, he made a beckoning gesture. With a puzzled glance around at the other occupants of the room, Jim non-chalantly rose and sauntered out.
Exiting the bullpen, he spotted his partner disappearing into the break room. Curious, he followed, only to be grabbed by the arm and jerked through the door and the door slammed and locked behind him.
"What the hell is the matter with you? What's going on, Sandburg?" Despite his confusion and annoyance, he kept his voice down.
Blair cautiously opened the door and peered out, checking the hallway. Pulling his head back in, he again closed and locked the door. Looking up at his partner's puzzled face, he began his explanation.
"They're here, man. I didn't want to get mobbed, but I got them and everybody's going to want them and I figured that if I got you to help me, they wouldn't be able to just, you know, maul me for them..."
"What are you talking about, Chief? Who are 'they', why would anybody want them, and why would they mob or maul you for them?" He was totally lost in the Sandburg zone on this one.
Blair looked up at his partner in amazement. "Jim, man, come on. It's March first, man. Don't you remember what that means?"
"The official start of kite flying season?" Jim's eyebrows rose as his amusement at his partner's behavior kicked in.
Blair stared, then his eyes narrowed and his gaze turned to a glare. "No, Shecky, it's not... well, it is, but that's not what I'm talking about. Don't you remember?" His voice rose on a plaintive note.
"Use you senses, man. Specifically, your sense of smell." The smaller man crossed his arms across his chest and leaned back against the locked break room door, waiting for his oblivious partner to figure it out.
Sighing in exasperation, Jim looked around the break room and noticed several large boxes... boxes with labels on them... labels that said things like 'Trefoils' and 'Thin Mints'... he extended his sense of smell, but due to the air-tight packaging, he was unable to smell them. Still, he couldn't keep the delighted grin from his face.
"Girl Scout Cookies." His voice took on a blissful, dreamy, positively reverent quality.
"Yeah, man. Girl Scout Cookies. Now, I wrote them one check for the whole lot, but this time, I want to make sure I get reimbursed. I figured I'd just kind of set up shop here through lunch and everyone could just come and pick up their... hey! What do you think you're doing?" He bounded across the room to stop Jim from delving into the cases of boxed cookies. "No way, man. No one is going to get any until I get reimbursed... that goes for you, too. Just as soon as... what's that for?" He looked puzzledly down at the fistful of bills Jim had thrust into his hand.
"Jim, I need your help, man, not you gorging on cookies."
"Where are those chocolate chip ones? You know, the ones with the pecans? Or what about the ones with the coconut? I like them, too. If you need more money, I'll either write you a check or go to the ATM, later..." His voice trailed off as he found the Samoas and Striped Chocolate Chip and Pecan cookie cases. "How many of these did we get, Chief?"
"Jim. These aren't for us." The disappointment in his friend's expression made him continue, "Ours are at home, Jim. Well, except for three boxes. The rest are already in the freezer in the basement. Waiting for you whenever you want them. Oh, and did you know that we still had some left from last year? Those were the ones I brought. Now, take your money back, you can pay me for your share when we get home, but for now, I really need for you to go and get the rest of our guys, so I can get them taken care of before the mob hits, once the word gets out. And since Brown ordered himself more than a case of cookies, I want to make sure he gets all of them, OK? Then, if you'd be so kind as to stand guard and keep everyone from killing me or each other, we can get this over with before the end of lunch, OK?"
Jim nodded, finally listening. Which was helped by the box of still cold Thin Mints that Blair had thrust into his hands. Munching away happily, Jim set the box down and, with several cookies in hand, slipped out the door to go and make the quiet announcement.
Five minutes later, the line of cookie monsters was out the door of the break room, down the hall and clear to the stairwell at the other end of the building. Luckily, Jim had first gone straight to the Captain with the information. Simon had immediately grabbed his checkbook and headed for the break room. For once, only the members of Major Crime happened to be in the bullpen, so Jim simply made the announcement. Brown was out of his seat, out the door and down the hall at a dead run before Jim even had a chance to say anything more than "Sandburg has your Girl Scout Cookies..." The others were close on his heels, heading for the break room for their own annual fix of cookies. Shaking his head, Jim followed along after his colleagues, amazed to find the line had grown to more than thirty people in the less than the minute it took him to walk from the bullpen to the break room. Easing his way past the line, despite mutterings of 'hey, no cutting in line' (which earned the mutterer a growl and a glare), Jim took up his position as guardian of his partner, munching on Thin Mints and Samoas, while he did so.
He couldn't believe the number of people who came. Jim quietly kept count, amazed to discover that one hundred and eighteen people stood in the line for up to an hour to get their cookies. As the cases emptied, Jim broke them down for recycling, stacking them neatly next to the trash can, grateful that the cleaning crew would be in that evening and pick them up. When the last person departed with the last box of cookies, he looked at his partner.
"So, how'd you do?"
"Well, I made back exactly what I paid out for the cookies. Just like I was supposed to. So, since it's almost noon, would you like to go somewhere for lunch?"
"Uh, I don't think so, Chief. I'm kind of full, to tell you the truth."
"Did you save me any?" Blair asked, mildly, quirking up an eyebrow.
"Yeah. Actually, I did. There's still a whole tube of Thin Mints, and a row of Samoas, and I didn't even open the Striped Chocolate Chip with Pecans... here, you want some?"
"Uh, no, thanks. I'm kind of 'cookied out' right now."
"But, you haven't eaten any at all..." Jim replied, confused.
"No, but I had to sit and watch grown men and women behave like little kids at Christmas or birthdays, snatching up their treasures and tearing them open to scarf them down like they were starving, or something. Me? I want a nice, big salad. Lots of greens, some tomatoes, onions, feta cheese, maybe some tuna, or turkey... come on. Go with me? We can go to the deli just down the street. You don't have to have anything, just don't eat any more cookies, okay?"
Jim put the leftover cookies back in their boxes and closed the flaps. "Sure, Chief. Hey, if we walk, maybe I can work up an appetite for one of those really great sandwiches they make there!" Jim's enthusiasm for more food on top of all the cookies he'd eaten already amazed his friend.
"Well, I suppose. Good thing your metabolism is so high, or you'd be built like Taggart used to be... by the way, he didn't buy any cookies at all, this year... wasn't he there?"
"Yeah, he was there when I announced that you had the cookies in. Come to think of it, I think he told Rhonda to go ahead and get hers and he'd watch the phones for her until she got back."
Curious, the two men headed back to the bullpen to drop off the rest of their cookies and to grab their jackets before going to lunch. There in the bullpen, everyone was lounging indolently about, munching on cookies and sipping coffee. With one rather notable exception: Joel Taggart. He was at his desk, working away at his reports, not even looking up or at anyone at all. Jim and Blair exchanged a look. Nodding at each other, they headed for the intent detective.
"Hey, Joel?" Jim asked softly. When the older man looked up, he continued. "We were just gonna head down to the deli for lunch. Would you care to join us?" Blair grinned and bounced a bit.
"Thanks, guys. That'd be great. Maybe by the time we get back, they'll all be in a sugar stupor or at least have put them away for a while." Joel smiled and stood. "Let me tell Simon and we can go."
While the burly cop headed across the bullpen to let their captain know that they would be gone, where, and for approximately how long, Blair exchanged an understanding look with his partner.
"He's determined to keep off all that weight he lost," Blair declared, softly.
"Yeah," Jim agreed. "Must be hell for him, what with everyone else chowing down on all those cookies... I'm surprised he hadn't already gone somewhere for lunch."
"I think he was fighting the need to overindulge. By keeping his head down and working, he was ignoring what was going on around him. We just gave him the right excuse to escape," seeing Jim's question in his eyes, he continued, "We're going to the deli, where he can still keep to his diet, but still enjoy himself, you know?" Jim nodded his understanding and Blair continued, "So, you want to buy him lunch?"
"Hey, you're the one with all the money, Rockefeller. Why don't you take us to lunch?"
"Huh. You kidding? We've still got two dozen boxes of cookies at home that I got for you, man."
"Two dozen boxes? That's... seventy-two dollars?!?" Jim's jaw dropped in shock.
"Hey, it's a year's supply, man. Works out to six dollars a month, or twenty cents a day..."
"Well," the tone was begrudging, but thinking about it, Jim had to agree that the price wasn't all that bad.
"Besides, Jim, do you have any idea how much the Girls Scouts made from those cookies?"
Surprised, Jim shook his head, "No. What, fifty cents a box?"
"Well, the local troop made fifty cents per box, but the National Council made a buck and a half. The other dollar goes to the company to produce the cookies and their packaging. It's a great deal for the Girl scouts, and it's a relatively painless way to support them, don't you think?"
"Well, yeah. I guess." Jim looked up as Joel returned, chuckling and shaking his head. Reaching his desk, he pulled open a drawer and withdrew a large bottle of antacid. Turning back, he started for the captain's office.
"Joel?" Jim asked, concerned.
"Simon ate a whole box of Samoas and half a box of Thin Mints, with Hazelnut flavored coffee... with the natural side-effect of a really upset stomach. If he's lucky, that'll be all it is. Otherwise, he's probably going to be hurling in another half hour or so." Still chuckling, he continued back to Simon's office.
When he returned, they headed out. Jim had noticed that several other members of the squad had stopped munching cookies and were looking decidedly uncomfortable. Shaking his head, he held the door for his companions.
"Don't be surprised if your stash is all gone by the time we get back, Joel. I think everyone's managed to eat themselves sick on cookies, already." Jim's wide grin punctuated his comment.
"Just as long as they all make it to the bathroom before they have an accident," Blair said.
Joel laughed. "I'm just glad I had the willpower to not get any at all, this year. I can remember gobbling down a box the minute I got them. No more. I lost a hundred pounds and I don't want them back. Thanks for inviting me along, guys. It was pretty hard to avoid fixating on the cookies."
"Hey, I haven't had any and I'm already sick of them, too." Blair said jokingly.
"Well, I just hope that they'll have them all put away by the time we get back. The temptation is definitely one I can live without."
Walking to the deli, the three men joked and teased, jostling each other as they went along. They arrived at the nearly deserted deli and were surprised that the usual crowds weren't there and that they had no trouble finding a table. After placing their order, they sat down to enjoy their meal.
"Blair, whatever you do, don't tell these guys that you're the reason it's so slow here, today," Joel admonished.
"Me? Why would it be my fault?"
"One word, Chief... Cookies." The three men glanced around, realizing that the small group of customers were not from the usual crowd from the PD...
"Gee, I wonder if everyone's eating themselves sick on cookies, today?"
"You'd better hope not, or there could be a real problem," Jim said with a grin.
"You know, if Kincade were to ever get loose again, this would be the perfect revenge. Just doctor up a bunch of Girl Scout Cookies and send them in... I doubt if anyone in the building would be immune to them... well, with the exception of you, Joel," Blair amended.
"Oh, I'd probably give in, too, Blair. After all, they are hard to resist. Which is why I'm so glad you invited me along, today. I really needed to get out of there."
"You're stronger than that, big guy," Jim countered. Looking up, he smiled, "Ah, luncheon is served..." The waitress had their food, Jim had gone for the BLT club sandwich, Blair for a Chef's salad, and Joel had opted for a low-fat turkey club sandwich. Happily, the three men dug in, their conversation turning to other subjects.
Forty-five minutes later, they headed back for the precinct. Entering the building, they noticed that the desk sergeant looked rather peaked, obviously suffering from the effects of an overindulgence in cookies. The entire building was eerily quiet, as the officers on duty popped antacids and other remedies for their foolishness. The three returning detectives had a hard time keeping their faces straight as they all realized what had happened. Finally making it to the elevator, as soon as the doors closed, they burst into laughter.
"Oh, man, they ate themselves sick..." Blair chortled.
"Poor babies," Joel gasped through his own laughter. "I wouldn't wish their misery on anyone, but they did do it to themselves."
"I wonder how our guys are doing?" Jim wondered, as the elevator doors opened onto their floor. His concern was well placed. The bullpen was empty when they arrived, but with signs of recent occupancy.
"You don't suppose..." Joel started, when the captain's office door opened to reveal Simon Banks in all his misery.
"You. Sandburg, you are so dead..." the tall captain moaned.
Blair, who had come prepared, held out the large, economy sized bottle of viscous pink fluid. Simon's eyes, lighting on the offering, widened in hope. "Bless you, Sandburg," the distressed man whispered as he grabbed the bottle, opened it and poured a double dose in the provided measuring cup. "I hope you planned on sharing this with the rest of the crew?"
"Absolutely, Captain. I'm just sorry that I didn't think of it before I brought the cookies in."
"Don't say that word, Sandburg. I don't want to hear anything about Girl Scout Cookies for at least another year, you understand me?"
"Yes, Sir. That should be just in time for the next order."
He smiled as his captain glared, as the youngest detective started bouncing a bit on his toes. Seeing their fellow detectives returning, he took the bottle from the captain and turned to offer it to the rest of his colleagues as they lined up for their own doses of medicine to help them cure their overindulgence.
Joel and Jim, trying heroically, although vainly, to keep the delighted grins from their faces, gave in to the temptation to tease their friends about their condition... even though they were well aware that eventually it would probably come back to haunt them at an inopportune moment.
But for the moment, it was worth it.
TAE (who has Girl Scout Cookies for the next YEAR!)
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