Date: 12/08/1999, copyright Red Soprano
Warnings: BAC, otherwise none.
Disclaimer: The usual disclaimers apply. Simon, Jim, and Blair belong to Pet Fly and Paramount. I'm not going to make any money off this. It's just great fun.
Dedication: This story first appeared on the Sentinel Angst List, October, 1999, and is dedicated to Julie.
My thanks to Dana and Hephaistos for the wonderful beta job and to Cat for giving me a home. <g>
Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut
by Red Soprano
Tap! ... tap! ... tip-tip-tippy-rrrrrrrollllllll....
Ristle ... ristle-ristle-ristle....
"Hmm ... running out of blue ones...."
"Ah.... peanut blue one...."
Tap! ... tap! ... tip-tip-tippity-tippa-rrrrrrrrollllllllllll....
Ristle ... rist --
"What are you doing?"
"'m eatin' M&Ms."
"Would you mind eating them a little more quietly, please?"
Blair peered at Joel from around the tall stack of case files on Rhonda's desk and favored him with a loopy grin. "Sure, Joel." He then blithely resumed picking through the bowl of M&Ms next to the administrative assistant's pencil holder.
"'nother blue one...."
Joel watched in tired fascination as Blair tossed the little candy up in the air and leaned his head back to try to catch it in his mouth. Once again he missed....
Tap! ... tap-tap-tippy-rrrrrrollll....
....and the candy bounced off Rhonda's desk to join its dozen or so companions on the bullpen floor.
"Sandburg, we're trying to work here," came an irritable voice from behind another tall stack of files at Rafe's desk. "Which is what you should be doing...." The detective's head appeared over the stack and he looked pointedly at the case files next to Blair.
"You know, Hairboy, I don't think Rhonda's going to be happy with you when she finds you've eaten all her blue M&Ms." Henri closed the file in front of him and reached for another one from the top of his stack.
"Nah, Rhonda likes me. Besides, I haven't eaten that many."
"That's true," Rafe agreed, "most of them have ended up on the floor."
"Red ones are easier to catch," Blair said philosophically. "I've eaten a lot of those. And green ones. You guys know what they used to say about the green --"
"Sandburg! Would you please quit fooling around and get back to work! Simon wants these case audits done and ready for the commissioner's review by 9:00 in the morning."
Blair blinked in surprise at Joel's outburst. "Sure, man. Sorry."
Joel sighed. "It's all right, Blair. Let's just get these files done so we can all go home."
"Okay." Blair meekly took a file from his stack and opened it.
"Dum dum dah dum dada dum...."
"Yes. Stop it, please."
Silence descended on the bullpen as the four men worked. After a few moments, a vaguely tuneful humming resumed from behind the stack of files at Rhonda's desk.
"Dum dum dah dum dada dum...."
"Sometimes you feel like a nut...." Sandburg crooned softly.
Clinkity clinkity whish ...
"....sometimes you don't...."
"SANDBURG!" three annoyed voices chorused.
"WHAT?!" The candy bowl tipped to its side under the startled man's groping fingers and a handful of brightly colored candies skittered across the floor. "Aw, man ... look what you made me do."
Joel sighed heavily and rubbed his hand over his eyes. "Blair. I pride myself on my patience."
"You are indeed a patient man, Joel." Blair nodded in solemn agreement. "Patience of a saint --"
"Even patient men have their limits."
"Oh." Blair smiled in understanding. "Gotcha."
He dutifully returned his attention to the folder in front of him.
"Remind me again why we have to do this?" Rafe asked. "I mean, just who put the bee in the commissioner's butt about this whole project?"
Joel closed his folder, tagged the tab with a piece of red tape and set it aside. "What can I say. It's an election year."
"What's the red tag for, Joel?" Blair asked.
Sandburg stared blankly at an open folder in front of him. "You just put a red tag on your folder. Am I supposed to be doing that, too?"
"Sandburg...." Joel said, a subtle hint of warning in his tone.
"Weren't you listening earlier, Hairboy?"
"Uh ... listening to what, H?"
"Sandburg, you'd better be joking," Rafe muttered.
Joel shook his head and rolled his eyes heavenward. "I don't believe this. What have you been doing over there this whole time?"
"Besides training for the Olympic trials in candy tossing, that is."
"I've been working! I just sort of lost track of what we're doing here." Blair's hand trailed uncertainly over the top of his stack of files.
Joel studied the young man a moment. Blair didn't look quite right. He looked, for want of a better term, 'dopey.' Sort of glassy-eyed and lost.
"Are you feeling all right, Sandburg?"
Blair stared at him dumbly for a moment before answering. "Uh-huh."
"'Cause I know you've been fighting the flu bug all week so if you're not feeling up to this...."
"I feel good, Joel. I been taking some of my niktabi root. Nipped it right in the bud." Blair frowned at the folder in his hand then flashed him a lopsided grin. "I just got a little sidetracked here is all."
"All right, then. If you're sure." Joel took a deep breath and patiently re-explained their task. "We're supposed to be going through all of these case files from Major Crimes' drug busts for the past three years, remember?" He gestured to the piles of folders scattered about on the desks in the bullpen. "We're looking to see if there is any evidence of irregularities in the arrest procedures, particularly the ones involving underage or college-age kids."
"Right." Blair nodded. "Why?"
"That's what I'd like to know," muttered Henri. "Isn't that what we have Internal Affairs for?"
"The Commissioner wants to see if we catch the same irregularities that IA has caught. Sort of a 'keeping the boys honest' kind of thing."
"Like we don't have better things to do than spend all night doing quality assurance for city hall," Rafe grumbled.
"Okey-dokey." Blair smiled and settled back in his chair with a contented sigh. "No more jokey," he added softly. He scrutinized the folder in front of him. "Gonna find out who we locked in the pokey...." He snorted in amusement at his own joke. "Good one Sandburg ... 'locked in the pokey....'"
The three other men exchanged curious looks. Joel shrugged in response to Henri's "what the hell's up with him" gesture.
Abruptly, Blair sat forward in his chair. "Guys?"
"Where's Jim? Why isn't he helping us?"
Joel frowned slightly at the young man's anxious expression. "Jim was just here, Blair. Remember? He went out for sandwiches."
"He's coming back?" Blair asked hopefully.
"Yes, Blair. With sand-wich-es...." Joel enunciated the words slowly as if speaking to a dim-witted child.
"Cool." Blair grinned and reached for his coffee mug. "So us guys are gonna pull an all nighter, huh. Better have me some more of my wonder tea." He gave Joel a congenial wink and lifted his mug as if in a toast. Lukewarm tea sloshed onto his hand. "Oops."
Joel's eyes narrowed in suspicion. "Sandburg, what's in that tea?"
Blair lowered his mug and clutched it protectively to his chest. "Nothin,'" he said, his wide blue eyes conveying the absolute innocence of a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
"Nothin'! Honest. I always used to fix this tea in school when I was tired and had to pull an all-nighter. Jus' ask Jim. He'll tell ya. 's completely natural. 's made from the palamamna root. The palamanamana root. The palamm -- this root I buy at the health food store. 's good for you. Honest." He favored the three wary detectives with a brilliant smile. "Jus' ask Jim." His smile wavered a bit. He looked at the mug in his hand then back at the detectives. His smile abruptly faded and was replaced with a look of consternation.
"What is it, Blair?" Concerned at the sudden change in Blair's demeanor, Joel got up from his desk and walked over to the other man's desk.
Blair didn't respond but simply stared at him, his brow furrowed in intense concentration as if trying to fathom the answer to a particularly troublesome and frightening conundrum.
"Blair," Joel repeated gently, "what is it?"
"I think I screwed up," Blair whispered earnestly.
"What do you mean?" Joel whispered back.
"What did you forget?"
Blair considered this question a moment before answering. "Huh?"
"Blair," Joel asked calmly, "what did you forget?"
"You're not s'posed to drink this tea when you're takin' niktabi." Blair leaned forward. "It causes *side* effects," he hissed secretively.
"What? Jesus, Blair! Are you telling me you're having some sort of drug reaction?"
"What?" Rafe and Henri exclaimed in unison. They got up from their desks and hurried over. // "What's wrong, Sandburg?" // "What'd you get yourself into, Hairboy?" //
"Hey, chill, guys! 's okay! 'm fine. No big deal." Blair's reassurances were undermined somewhat by the subtle slurring which was beginning to creep into his speech. "Jus' that mixin' these roots c'n mess with your short term memory a li'l. Tha's all." Blair gave them what was probably supposed to be a reassuring smile. Instead he came across looking like an intoxicated version of the cat that ate the canary.
"How could you forget a thing like that, Blair?" Joel asked.
"Well, gimme a break, man ... It's been a while since I pulled 'n all-nighter. Not countin' stake-outs. Okay, so maybe with stake-outs I still pull a lot of all-nighters, jus' not fer school 'nymore.... But I never, never, *ever* drink the tea when I'm takin' the niktabi stuff." Blair nodded once for emphasis then absently brought the cup to his lips to take a sip.
"Dammit, Sandburg, what are we going to do with you." Joel grabbed the mug away before Blair could take a drink and set it aside on the corner of the desk.
"You think maybe he should see a doctor?" Henri asked.
"That might be a good idea." Joel stepped around the desk and placed his hand on the young man's shoulder. "What do you think, Blair? Think you ought to go to the hospital to get checked out?"
"Nah," Blair waved him away. "I'll be fine. It'll wear off."
"It will?" Joel pulled Blair's chin up to examine his eyes. "When?"
Blair batted his hands away, "C'mon, Joel, cut it out."
"When?" Joel repeated insistently.
"When will it wear off?"
Blair blinked. "When will what wear off?"
"Oh for the love of...." Joel threw up his hands in exasperation.
"Jim is gonna kill us," Rafe moaned.
"Why would Jim kill us?" Henri asked. "What'd we do?"
"I don't know, but I bet he'll think we had *something* to do with this. After all, Sandburg was fine when he left and now he's all...." Rafe waved vaguely toward Blair, who was staring in dazed confusion at the bowl of M&Ms, "....goofy!"
"Why don't we put him in the break room," Henri suggested. "Maybe he'll sleep it off."
"I don't know if that's such a good idea," Joel said, "what if he wanders off?"
"Joel?" Blair interrupted plaintively.
"Promise me somethin', Joel?'
"Tell me if I start actin' weird, 'kay?."
"You're going to have to fill us in on your definition of weird, Sandburg," Rafe snorted.
"Yeah, Hairboy," Henri said, "when it comes to weirdness, you sorta blow the whole grading curve."
"Blair," Joel confided, "I hate to tell you this, but we passed weird some time ago."
"Oh.... Bummer ... Joel?"
"Have I been eating M&Ms?"
"Yesss," Joel responded warily, "Why do you ask?"
"What uh-oh? Don't say uh-oh, Blair. We don't want to hear uh-oh."
"Sorry." Blair offered him a weak, apologetic smile.
"Should you *not* have been eating M&Ms?"
Blair shook his head gravely. "Huh-uh."
Joel closed his eyes and braced for the worst. "Why not?'
"Ah, dammit, Sandburg. Not with the forgetting again...."
"Don' be mad, Joel." Blair's eyes filled with tears and his lower lip trembled slightly.
"I'm not mad, Blair." Joel gave the young man's shoulder an awkward pat. "This is just ... frustrating."
Blair's face brightened. "Hey! I 'member now! Something t' do with the choc'late! No wait...." he shook his head and reconsidered, "maybe i's the peanuts.... No!" he nodded emphatically, "'s the choc'late."
"Ah, hell, Blair, are you saying you're allergic to chocolate or something?"
"So we *do* need to get him to the hospital," Rafe said.
"No, no ... nothin' like that. But when you eat choc'late with the panamamama -- the pamanamm --"
"The 'wonder' tea?" Rafe supplied helpfully.
"Yeah. If you mix choc'late with wonder tea --"
"Let me guess," Henri said, "you get 'side effects,' right?"
"Right! Wow, you guys're *good*!" Blair beamed at them.
"So, Blair," Joel prompted, "do we need to take you the hospital or not?"
"Nah." Blair dismissed this with a vague wave of his hand. "I'll just be kinda loopy for a while. Y'know...."
"But it wears off, right?"
"How long what?'
"How long before it wears off?"
"How long 'fore what wears off?"
Joel sighed and patted him on the head. "Never mind."
"Guys?" Blair turned pleading eyes on the three detectives. "Promise you won' tell Jim?"
"Uh...." the three men looked at each other uncertainly.
"You think Jim'll notice?" Blair asked, his eyes huge and round with worry.
"I don' wan' him t' see me like this ... He'll think I'm ineebihlated. Ineebreelated ... innee --"
"Drunk?" James Ellison suggested.
The startled detectives whirled around to face the man behind them. Instinctively, they moved together in a guilty effort to hide Jim's view of his pie-eyed partner.
"Yeah, what he said," Blair continued, oblivious to the arrival of his friend. "I don' wan' Jim t' think I can't handle my roots 'n' verbs. Herbs 'n' boots ... you know."
Jim placed a large box from Bruno's Deli on his desk and stepped over to where his colleagues stood an uneasy guard in front of his partner. He paused briefly when his feet crunched over a few stray M&Ms. "What the hell?" he muttered. He frowned at the three men leaning nonchalantly against Rhonda's desk.
"What's going on here, guys?"
"Nothin'" responded the trio of detectives innocently. // "Nope." // "Nothin' going on here, Jim...." // "Just taking a little break." //
"Riiigghht. Would you care to explain how my partner got drunk?"
"I'm not drunk!" came an indignant voice from behind the desk.
Joel stepped in front of Jim as he moved to go around the side of the desk. "Now look, Jim, before you get all excited, there's nothing to worry about here. He's acting a little odd but he swears it'll wear off."
"What will wear off?" Jim moved to the other side of Joel only to be intercepted by Rafe.
"The tea," Rafe hurried to explain. "Or was it that ninja-tah-bee thing?" He looked helplessly at his colleagues. "Help me out here, guys."
"It was the ninja stuff *and* that pajama tea," Henri informed him. "Just, please, Jim ... don't go off the deep end here --"
"JIM!!!" Blair spotted his partner through the shifting line of defense in front of Rhonda's desk. "Hiya, Jim!" He beamed delightedly at the detective. "How's it hangin'?"
"Fine, Blair," Jim answered affably. "What's up with you?"
Blair pondered this a moment. "Dunno, man. I'm thinkin' maybe I shoulda skipped the wonder tea."
Jim nudged Henri aside and picked up Blair's mug from the corner of the desk. He sniffed tentatively at its contents.
Henri reached up and hastily put his hand over the top. "Uh, Jim you haven't by any chance had any of Blair's cold remedy lately have you?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact I have. I thought I might be coming down with something. Why?"
"Well, I'd stay away from the tea if I were you."
Jim's eyes narrowed and he asked icily, "Why?"
"Hey, Jim?" Blair asked anxiously, "Am I still gonna get to be a 'tective? This i'n gonna hurt my chances is it?"
"Blair, you're already a detective."
"Yes. You got your shield three days ago. Don't you remember?"
"I did? Cool! ... Am I on the payroll?" he asked hopefully.
"Guys?" Jim glared at each of the uneasy-looking detectives in turn. "Tell me what's going on here."
"Won'er if it's too soon t' ask for a raise...." Blair mused.
"Did one of you bozos put something in Sandburg's tea?"
// "No! Jim!" // "Hell, no!" // "What makes you think we'd do something like that?" //
Jim silenced the trio with a stony glare. "Considering all the practical jokes you guys have pulled on my partner in the three days since he made detective, it wouldn't surprise me in the least."
Henri shrugged. "We just wanted the little guy to feel like part of the team, Jim."
"....should ask for m'own desk," murmured their new teammate.
"He's been part of the team for four years, H. Why the rookie treatment after all this time?"
"Because, Jim," Joel explained reasonably, "It's a rite of passage. You can ask Blair. He'll tell you...."
"....'tective oughtta have his own desk...."
"Although maybe not at the moment," Joel admitted ruefully.
"This isn't our fault, Jim," Henri said. "You gotta believe us."
"All right," Jim conceded. "Maybe I jumped to conclusions there for a second. But, for Pete's sake ... I leave my partner with you guys for twenty minutes and I come back and he's ... he's all...."
"Goofy?" Rafe offered.
"Yeah!" Jim agreed. "Damn. Look at him."
Blair gazed up at them and smiled sweetly.
Jim sighed, "Okay, so which one of you wants to explain how he got like this?"
"It was the pajama tea --"
"No, H," Rafe interrupted, "it wasn't *just* the pajama tea, it was the tea and the ninja root together, remember?"
"Pajama tea? Ninja root? Joel, what on earth are these guys talking about?"
Joel held up a placating hand and explained, "Blair apparently forgot that he shouldn't be drinking this 'wonder tea' of his at the same time he's taking that niktabi root thingy. He just had a slight reaction is all."
"What? Like a drug interaction? Then we need to get him to a doctor...."
"Jim, he says it's harmless. The combination just makes him a bit, uh, absent-minded for a while."
"This is a little more than absent-minded, Joel. This is downright...."
"Could you maybe come up with another adjective besides that one, Rafe?" Jim snapped.
"You know, Jim," Joel continued, "we might not have noticed anything was wrong at all if it hadn't been for that other thing."
"*What* other thing?" Jim asked, his tone taking on a slightly dangerous edge.
"Well...." Joel hesitated.
"Well, what? What aren't you telling me, Joel?"
"Apparently he also wasn't supposed to combine chocolate with the wonder tea --"
"I thought it was the peanuts," Henri said.
"No," Rafe corrected him, "it was choco --"
Jim held up his hand for silence. "I know I'm going to regret asking this, but what happens when you combine chocolate with the wonder tea?"
"Well, that's sort of where the goofy part comes in," Joel answered sheepishly. "But, hey! That wears off, too! Blair said so. We just have to keep him away from the M&Ms for a while and he'll be right as rain."
... ristle-ristle-ristle ...
"Ah hell...." Joel muttered.
The four men turned in dismay to the young man lounging in Rhonda's chair. Blair was sifting contentedly through the bowl of M&Ms on his lap.
"Sandburg, give me that!" Joel reached over and grabbed the bowl of candy out of his hands.
"Hey! I woulda shared, man...."
"C'mon, Chief." Jim walked around the desk and took his friend's arm to help him up from the chair. "We'd better get you out of here before Simon gets back."
"Oh, geez," Joel slapped his forehead in dismay, "I forgot all about Simon!"
"Uh-huh. And you saw the mood he was in earlier. I really don't want to have to explain *this* to him." Jim readjusted his grip on his unsteady friend.
"Simon's my friend," Blair cheerfully informed no one in particular.
"I know, Chief," Jim sighed, "but right now it would help if you'd remember that he's also your boss."
"Riiight.... So, he's the one I should ask for a raise?"
"Trust me, Sandburg. Now is not a good time."
"Oh, hey! Sam-iches!" Blair pulled free of his friend's grasp and made a wobbly bee-line for the large carton on Jim's desk.
"Sandburg...." Jim started wearily after him.
"Actually, Jim, maybe food's a good idea," Joel said. "A little something on his stomach could help."
"Or we could have another 'side effect' on our hands," Henri snickered.
"Funny, H. Real funny." Jim stepped over to where his friend was buried elbow deep in the take-out box. "C'mon, Chief, you're making a mess here. Why don't I get our sandwiches; you get your coat on."
"Okey-dokey, Jim," Blair gave him a fond grin and headed for the coat rack, a grease-stained bag still clutched in one hand. He appeared not to notice when Jim reached out and deftly retrieved it.
"Jim, you *are* coming back aren't you?" Rafe asked. "After you drop Sandburg off?"
"I don't see how that's possible, guys. I mean, he's obviously not safe to leave on his own."
The four men looked over to where Blair was engaged in an industrious search through the coats. He hummed softly as he tossed Henri's parka over one shoulder and Rafe's overcoat over the other.
"Oh great," Henri moaned. "Now we're stuck here doing Sandburg's work and yours, too. We're going to be here all night!"
Jim shrugged apologetically. "Sorry, guys. Look, if it'll make you feel any better, I seriously doubt I'll get any sleep tonight either. With my luck, I'll have to spend most of the night child-proofing the loft."
His three unhappy colleagues exchanged sullen looks.
"Okay, okay," Jim surrendered. "I'll take a stack of files home with me. If I manage to find some way to corral my partner for long enough, I'll go through them and e-mail you a summary in the morning."
"Oh ... all right." Rafe's tone was begrudging. "But make sure you e-mail the case numbers, too."
"No problem. You about ready, Chief?" Jim placed two sandwich bags on top of a medium-sized stack of files and hoisted them under his arm. "Chief?"
The rack by the door stood bare amidst an untidy pile of coats. Sandburg was nowhere to be seen.
"Oh, God, where'd he go?" Joel hurried to the doorway and looked both ways down the hallway. "I don't see him."
"He couldn't have gotten far," Rafe said, "could he?"
"Shh!" Jim cocked his head slightly to listen. "Oh no...."
He dumped the bags and files back on his desk and hurried out into the hallway, his three colleagues following closely at his heels. They raced down the hallway, rounded the corner and skidded to a halt when they spied their wayward friend. There he was in front of the men's room, wavering unsteadily and speaking in earnest, albeit besotted, tones to their stone-faced captain.
"An' I jus' wan'ed you t' know what an honor an' a pivihlezh 'tis to serve unner yer c'man'." Blair punctuated his last words with a poke to the tall man's chest. "Sir."
Simon stood silent and absolutely still for a moment. Then he slowly and deliberately turned his head and fixed his four hapless detectives with a withering glare.
"Oh, shit...." Henri breathed.
Blair leaned his head back and gave the tall captain his most beguiling smile, the effect only slightly marred by the subtle crossing of his eyes. "I was won'ering, Simon ... c'n I have a raise?"
"What the hell is going on here?" Simon's voice was low and menacing.
All four men tried to answer at once.
//"Simon, I can explain --" // "It's not what it looks like, Captain --" // "It was that damn pajama tea, Simon --" // "-- and the ninja root...." //
Simon silenced them with a fierce halting gesture of his hand. "I don't want to hear about it."
"Ah, ah, ah.." he cut Jim off sharply. "I don't want to hear excuses, I don't want to hear long drawn-out rationalizations. I just want to know what's going on with my newest detective."
"That's what I'm trying to explain, sir."
"Ellison, I do *not* believe this. Sandburg's been a detective for what, a week?"
"Three days, sir, and if you'd just let me --"
"Three days as an official member of this team! I won't even mention the four years as as an *unofficial* member of this team! But only three days since he's gotten his shield...."
"....and you guys have managed to send this poor kid over the edge already."
"Don't be too hard on him, sir, he just -- Excuse me?" Jim gaped in confusion at Simon.
The tall man looked down at Blair, his expression softening briefly, then turned his stern attention back to the other men. "Don't you give me that innocent act. I remember what it's like for rookies. I've seen the way you've tried to run this boy ragged with wild goose chases all week. Poor guy."
Blair stood gazing up in rapt attention as if hanging on every word his captain said. Simon placed a fatherly arm across his shoulder. "I wouldn't be surprised if you haven't had him doing all your case audits for you."
"What?" Rafe and Henri exclaimed indignantly.
"You've got to be kidding!" Rafe protested. "If anything, Blair was --" He stopped short when he caught Jim's warning glare. "-- uh ... Blair was insistent on taking most of the files for himself. Hardly even let us help. Isn't that right, guys?"
Henri and Joel agreed with feigned enthusiasm.
"Yeah, right. You know, I expected this from you two." Simon scowled at Rafe and Henri. "But, Ellison, I'm surprised at you. And Joel, you ought to be ashamed of yourself."
Joel tried to look suitably chastised and Jim mumbled something under his breath about "rites of passage."
Blair looked woefully up at the captain and, in a mournful tone usually reserved for when one's dog has died, said, "I don' have a desk, Simon...." He teetered slightly on his feet.
"Sandburg, I think you need to sit down," Simon said gently.
"Okay." Blair obliged by dropping down right where he stood, his butt hitting the floor with a solid thump. "'s no chair," he said in vague surprise. His friends watched curiously as he listed slowly and gracefully to the side until he lay curled on the floor at Simon's feet. Out cold.
"Blair?" Simon knelt down and patted his cheeks. "Blair? Look at him," he demanded accusingly of the three detectives, "he's exhausted."
Jim knelt on the other side of his young partner. "Yeah, he sure is, Captain. I really ought to get him home to bed. If one of you guys could help me get him to my truck, I'll take care of him from there...."
"Nice try, Ellison," Simon snorted, "but you're not going to get out of work that easily." He stood stiffly and said, "With Sandburg out of commission, we're all going to have to burn the midnight oil to get these case audits done." Stepping over Blair's sleeping form he headed for the bullpen. "Put Sandburg on the couch in my office where I can keep an eye on him. Then the rest of you get back to work. If the commissioner's going to make my life miserable, I intend to share the wealth," he grumbled as he disappeared around the corner.
The four detectives stood for a moment, soberly studying their sleeping companion.
"Rite of passage my eye...." Joel muttered.
Three hours later....
"Would someone mind telling me whose bright idea it was to let Sandburg sack out in my office?"
Jim looked up from the case file he was working on and peered blearily at his captain. Simon stood glowering in the doorway to his office, an empty coffee mug in his hand.
"I believe it was your idea, Simon."
"It was?" Simon frowned in confusion for a moment. "Well, that must have been before I found out he snores. Jesus, it's like a chainsaw in there. How's a person supposed to get any work done?"
Joel chuckled, "Looks like the wunderkind has fallen from grace...."
"Huh?" Simon gave him a bewildered look as he walked over to Ellison's desk. "Say, Jim, where's Sandburg keep his stash of tea?"
"In here, Simon," Jim said, wearily pulling open a side drawer at his desk.
Simon started rifling through the drawer. "Why's he keep it in your desk? Where's his desk?"
Jim stared blankly at him.
"You mean Sandburg still doesn't have his own desk?
Jim shook his head slowly, "Nooo.... Things are pretty much status quo here, Captain."
"Huh. Could have sworn I did something about that. Remember talking about it earlier...." Simon mumbled, digging further into the drawer.
"Simon, what's up with the tea all of a sudden? I thought you were strictly a coffee man."
"I am. Usually. But Sandburg had me try this great tea that helps you stay alert all night. Terrific stuff. Completely safe and natural."
"Uh-huh...." Jim caught Joel's eye and cast him a questioning look.
Simon paused in his search for the wonder tea. "You know what? You guys can say all you want about Sandburg and his crazy homeopathic remedies, but I'm tellin' you, that nih-ka-wah-bee stuff he gave me knocked my cold right on its butt."
"You took some of Blair's ninja stuff?" Rafe stared at him incredulously.
"Huh? Oh, yeah. Always believe in trying new things. Now...." he gazed in confusion down at the open drawer. "....what was I looking for?
"Tea, Simon?" Jim offered quietly.
"Oh, yeah! Damn. Doesn't seem to be in here. Hmm...." Simon considered this problem for a moment. "Break room! Bet he keeps some in the break room." He stood and started in the direction of the break room when he noticed the M&Ms scattered around Rhonda's desk. "What the hell? I had no idea Rhonda was such a slob." He strode over to her desk and grabbed a handful of M&M's from the bowl.
"Uh, Simon...." Joel said, "I'm not so sure you should --"
"Wha'?" Simon asked, tossing the candies into his mouth.
"Uh ... never mind."
Simon turned and headed for the break room. "Back to work guys," he mumbled around a mouthful of candies, "DA wants the background for those depositions by 10:00. 9:00. Whatever."
The four men stared in silence at the empty doorway for several long moments.
"Joel? What do you think we ought to do?" Jim asked.
Joel responded with an enigmatic smile and returned to his work.
Rafe and Henri each buried their heads in their files.
"Don't you think maybe we should ... you know...."
For a moment his only answer was the soft snores issuing from Simon's office. Then, Joel began to hum quietly. After a few bars, he was joined by Henri, then by Rafe.
"Sometimes you feel like a nut...."
"Sometimes you don't...."