I don't own these guys. Get no money. They belong to someone else.

PG 13 for two crude words and exposure to a bunch of drunks. Blair is the designated driver on a poker night. A snippet of an idea that somebody else has probably already had. (I hope not.) Humor.

Joanne and Shallen helped beta all these stories and I better mention it here, because I forgot on the other stories. Never the less, all mistakes are mine alone.


DESIGNATED DRIVER



crowswork






The poker game was winding down and a good time was had by all. Megan had given Joel a case of Australian lager, and most of the large bottles of imported beer, along with a six-pack of local brew, had been consumed. But the conversation hadn't suffered.

Much.

"So Sandburg. When you say that Pinky and the Brain are seminal characters. "Does that mean you... err... come when you watch them?" Henri blinked at the groups designated driver.

Simon, Jim and Rafe howled as their host, Joel, looked flustered and embarrassed.

Blair just raised the stakes and shook his head as he continued. "You see, Brain was a lab mouse, and they made him the smartest creature on the face of the earth." He paused long enough to collect his winnings after the others folded their hands. "But it doesn't matter. He can never rule the world. He is still a MOUSE!"

Jim took another pull on his beer. He hadn't had as much of the powerful Aussie brew as the others, but he could still feel the effects. "Now you did it." He glared glassily at Henri. "You got him started on sumthin'. It'll be Tounces the Cat all over again."

Brian Rafe, being drunk enough to dare entering The Sandburg Zone, asked, "Tounces?"

Blair sighed as he slipped into his professor mode. OK, second grade teacher mode. "You see? The Joke wasn't that the cat could drive a car. The joke was that the people were dumb enough to ride with him. He was a CAT!"

"He's right," Simon entered the fray. "Cat wouldn't care if he drove off a cliff."

"He can land on his feet," Henri pronounced too carefully. "Cats would be bad drivers."

"That explains everything." Simon seemed to reach an epiphany. "You shouldn't ride with him anymore, Blair."

"Tounces?" Blair was dealing and trying to listen at the same time.

"JIM!" Simon boomed as though he had figured out the secret of the universe. "That's why he wrecks so many..."

"You know, I think I'm getting kind of tired here." Blair put down the cards and kicked Simon under the table. "Maybe we should call it a night?"

"Ouch!" Simon looked wounded. "Why'd you kick me?"

"My foot slipped," Blair said levelly as he tried to get Jim's attention. "Lets get this show on the road."

"That's OK." Simon captured his newest detective's head in the crook of his arm. "I love the little guy." He patted Blair's head hard enough to make him see stars.

Jim discreetly rescued his Guide, and designated driver, from their captain and helped to herd the others to the car. After a few stops to convince Henri that he couldn't sleep in the elevator, and to discourage Rafe from jogging the fifteen miles to his home, they got them loaded into Simon's four door sedan.

It was a tight fit. Simon took the front passenger seat and Jim ended up squished between Rafe and Henri in the back. Blair started the car and announced, "We aren't moving until everyone fastens their seat belt." It took several minutes of shifting to find the middle back belt and sort out the three different, and rather too short, lap restraints.

"I hope your happy, Hairboy," Henri grumbled. "I think I have to marry Ellison now."

Blair tried not to laugh. He didn't want to encourage them and have four big rowdy drunks to contend with. "I'll drop Simon off first, OK?"

"Cause, I'm the captain!"

"And your house is first on the way," Blair assured him and pulled out.

They were almost there when it happened.

Passing through an intersection in the deserted shopping district, Blair spotted a SUV barreling toward them, blowing through the red light and heading for his passenger door. He stomped the gas and almost made it through before the heavy vehicle slammed into their rear end. The sedan spun and jumped onto the sidewalk, careening toward a closed Donut Dickie's Donut Shop. Pumping the brake, Blair threw his right arm rather futilely over Simon's chest and prayed as they plowed through the plate glass window. He heard Jim shout 'Chief' and then nothing.

"...his feet. Come on, there's gas everywhere." Blair woke to Jim's impatient voice and a blinding pain in his shoulder as he was pulled from the car. Rafe had his legs and Simon was supporting his back.

"Put me down!" Except for his shoulder, he was uninjured and it hurt more to be carried. Besides, there was nothing like the smell of gasoline to get you on your feet after a car accident. With Jim's supporting arm and Simon's unorthodox grip on the back of his belt, Blair's feet hardly touched the floor as they raced out seconds ahead of the explosion.

"DAMN!" Rafe watched as Donut Dickie's went up like a torch.

Blair gave Jim a pointed look. "Grease." He gestured toward the fire. "Think what that does to you body."

Jim caught his slumping Guide and steered him toward a bench a safe distance from the flames. "My partner, folks. Saving the world from donuts, one shop at a time."

Of the men in the car, only Blair was injured, a dislocated shoulder from trying to protect Simon. It was the same shoulder that had been injured twice before. Jim had instinctively used his sensitive touch to diagnose it and, without warning, had eased it back into place. "Sorry, Chief," he said when Blair yelped. "But it just hurts worse the longer you wait."

"That...that's OK. Nothing like getting an orthopedic procedure from a snockered Sentinel."

Soon enough the street was filled with black and whites, and an ambulance. The uninjured, but inebriated college boys in the SUV were taken to the hospital to be checked out.

Blair and the others were transported to the hospital, where he was X-rayed and braced as the others waited and sobered up. The doctor growled, and threatened him with surgery if the damaged shoulder was injured "one more time".

Megan, who had been in Seattle to testify, came home just in time to hear the news reports. She showed up at the hospital and offered to take everyone home. She also, rather belatedly, reminded them that the Aussie beer was stronger than what they were used to drinking. "Where I come from we say American Beer is like making love in a canoe. It's fucking close to water."

"I'm not riding with her. She has a potty mouth." Jim was willing to use any excuse to avoid being driven home by Megan. It took his guide and his captain to get him into her car.


The accident was recorded on several security video cameras, and Blair was widely praised for his skill in preventing more serious injuries.

One copy of the tape made it to the Fox network as one of the World's Wackiest Car Crashes. Something about a truck load of drunks crashing into a car filled with five detectives, who then almost get blown up inside a Donut shop, struck some studio execs as wacky.

Who'd have thought.

Simon was very understanding about the car this time. He thought the bruise on his leg came from the accident.

Blair saw no reason to clear up that particular misconception.

Rafe and Henri seemed to remember Simon saying Jim drove like some cartoon character named Pinky.

Joel vowed never to serve foreign beer again.

And the greasy smell of donuts frying made Jim so nauseous that he had to sacrifice and switch to cinnamon buns for weeks and weeks.

The End


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