Authorís Note: This is a multiple crossover. Chapter One: Bewitched. Chapter Two: The Pretender. Chapter Three: Invisible Man. Chapter Four: The Dukes of Hazzard.
Jim sighed as he took a drink of the too-sweet lemonade. His grimace told the tale. "Why you for a partner?" he sighed. "Not that I'm complaining, but..."
His partner at the police department booth chuckled. "People are more likely to come to a woman cop for help with children...." She spread her hands. "So, I'm Sandy for the day."
"Long as you don't hurt yourself," he cautioned.
Sandy smiled. "Why d'you think I was Blair all morning? I'm fine!"
Just then a little boy walked up and tugged on Sandy's sleeve. "Excuse me?" he asked politely. "Can you help me find my mommy?"
Sandy crouched down in front of him. "Of course, honey, are you lost?"
"No, but my mommy is. She became a cat to try to cheer me up cause my cat runned away but she got losted and now I can't find her!"
"Uh-huh. Your mommy...became a cat..." Sandy said slowly, wondering what had really happened to the boy's mother and why he was pretending this now of all times...
He nodded, about the time an older woman jogged up. "Seth! Here you are..." She hugged him, then looked up at Sandy. "Thank you, we were looking all over for him..."
"G'an'ma," the boy sulked. "I can't find Mommy. She's stuck as a cat and...."
The older woman chuckled tightly. "Ah, such an imagination." She scooped up the boy and handed him off to a tall gentleman, graying at his temples. "I'm sorry he took up your time, officers."
Jim stepped in. "Ma'am, if someone is missing..."
"No, nobody's missing," the older man said with a smile. "Seth, your mommy is safe at the van. We were worried about you!"
"Darrin, we better get back," the older woman said. "Tabitha is probably worried sick about her boy." She turned back and smiled. "Thank you again, officers, I'm sorry to have bothered you."
"Come on, Sam," the man she'd called Darrin said, stroking his grandson's back as the child's eyes closed sleepily.
As the couple moved off, Sandy noticed Jim's expression. "Jim?"
He shook his head. "Somethin' odd about that family...."
"I felt it too," Sandy sighed. "Can't quite figure out wh---"
"Shh," Jim said, holding up a hand. He left the police tent and followed the strange scent and sound to the edge of the fairgrounds.
"Hey!" Jim bellowed.
The pair of kids who had been playing with the firecracker gasped and dropped it.
Jim groaned as he saw they had already lit it. "Get away!" he bellowed. Stunned into obedience, they ran away from the firecracker as fast as they could.
"Jim!" Sandy cried.
Jim whirled, racing for her. "Sandburg, get ba---"
And behind him, the world exploded in a terrific cacophony of noise and heat.
A wail brought Jim back to full attention. His back stung a little and his ears were ringing like hell, but he appeared relatively unscathed.
She was sitting beside him, rocking back and forth, her hands pressed to her eyes. "....hhuurrrtttzzzz...."
"Aw, damn, Chief...." he helped her to her feet and took three steps toward the medical tent, when a tall dark-haired man jogged up.
"I'm a medic," he said. "Let me have a look at her...."
Jim spilled out, "The firecracker exploded.... I don't know how far away we were...."
The medic looked behind Jim. "Your shirt's ripped and your back's scalded and cut. I need to look at you, too."
He smiled. "Jarod. Doctor Jarod Quien."
Jim frowned. "Doctor Quinn?"
A chuckle as he moved Sandy's hands away from her eyes. "No, Quien. Spanish." He looked at her eyes, and then smiled. "Well, her eyes were irritated by dirt flung up into them and possibly a bit of debris. A bit of irrigation and some painkillers and she'll be fine."
Jim and Sandy both relaxed.
Jarod tested her and the results made them all smile. No visual damage. He irrigated her eyes and handed her two Excedrin and some bottled water, then turned his attention to Jim. As Jarod cleaned the cuts and put iodine on them, Jim bellowed, "OOUCH! What'd you do, get your degree off a Cracker Jack box?"
Jarod couldn't resist the smile at that one. Sandy shook her head. "Jim, be nice. He's doing the best he can."
A few bandages later, Jarod petted Jim's shoulder. "There, you're all fixed." He drew a black T-shirt from a pile and handed it to him. "With my compliments -- that one looks like it's gone for its last ride."
"Agreed," Jim sighed. "Well, thank you, Doctor Qu....uh, Doctor Jarod."
"It's fully my pleasure," the tall man said as they left the tent.
"What?" Jim finally asked after Sandy had chuckled for a full three minutes.
"Just marveling at the universe's twisted sense of humour, man."
"What now?" Jim asked, but he was smiling too.
"The doc's name. Quien."
"Spanish for 'who', so?"
"Didn't you ever watch the British sci-fi shows on PBS?"
Jim frowned. "Doctor Jarod Quien...Doctor...." His eyes widened and he, too, began to laugh. "Doctor Who!"
Both of them resumed their duties at the booth, chuckling as they wondered what other surprises the festivities had in store for them.
"We're bein' watched," Sandy shivered.
Jim scanned all around them. "We are? I cant see anything."
Sandy frowned up at him. "We are being watched. I can feel it."
Jim frowned, but believed her. There was nobody watching them openly, but if she said they were being watched, they were being watched.
After about an hour, Sandy shivered again and relaxed.
"Whoever was watching us, they're not anymore."
"That's good....." He looked around again. "I wonder who it was."
"Not sure.....hope they don't come back....."
"Me too, Chief, me too."
Inside a carny tent, a silver humanoid shape suddenly appeared. The silver burst into fragments and hit the ground, leaving a tall, handsome man in its wake. He lifted out a cell phone. "Fawkes," he reported. "The cops have the faire well in hand. Almost caught me twice. Dunno how they could know I was there through the quicksilver, but....."
Another pause, then he smiled. "No, they've got it well in hand. They'll find the drugs without us." He closed the phone and walked out of the tent, strolling nonchalantly toward a black car waiting just outside the gate.
When it was nearly five, Sandy walked alone into the narrow alley between the restrooms built on the fairgrounds. Blair emerged from the other end, tugging on a black t-shirt to match Jim's.
At the end of the alley Sandy had walked into, a man came out shaking his head and staring at the half-smoked joint in his hand. With a shake of the head and a shiver, he ground it out, then threw the butt into the trash can and walked away, vowing never, ever to touch drugs again.
Not if he hallucinated that badly.
Oblivious to this, Blair walked over and smiled at Jim. "Ready."
"I see this," Jim teased gently, moving so he could walk beside Blair. "Tell me again why you signed up for this thing?"
Blair laughed. "Aw, c'mon, man! It's a tradition!"
"A 'tradition'. Sitting in a car getting your brains pounded out is a 'tradition'."
"Nope, but pounding the hell out of other cars and watching them be reduced to scraps of metal is!" He grinned. "That's why it's called a 'demolition derby'!"
Jim sighed. "I still don't think this is a good idea...."
"And your doing the same out of every truck you've ever owned is?"
An Ellison glare was the reply. "That was different and you know it. That was business."
"And this is going to be a pure pleasure," Blair grinned.
"I'm not going to win this one, am I?"
Blair gripped his chest. "Aaah! Miracle of miracles! He can be taught!" He chuckled and ducked the swatting hand aimed for his head. "C'mon, let's go."
"You got your phone with you?"
"All times," Blair said, patting the pocket of the coverall he was shrugging into.
A black-haired man walked over. "Blair Sandburg, team 12?"
"Yeah, that's me," Blair said, smiling. "And you would be?"
"Your partner," the man grinned and held out a hand. "Luke Duke."
"Hey, a rhyming name. Very much like the---"
Jim put a hand over his mouth. "Nice to meet you, Mr. Duke. Just don't get him started on obscure tribes, or we'll be here all day."
Luke laughed. "I hear that. Since my cousin went to college, she's been about the same way. Well, y'all about ready to get saddled up?" he passed Blair a radio.
"Let's do this," Blair said.
Blair and Luke were in matching white pickups. As the Derby commenced, more and more cars were demolished. Jim was alternately horrified and disbelieving as he monitored Blair's heart rate and found his partner was having an inordinate amount of fun! This was definitely something he'd never suspected Blair would appreciate.
It became easy to distinguish the white trucks after a bit -- Luke's tailgate catch came open after a hit and a second hit sheared off the drooping tailgate.
Jim found himself enjoying the derby as more and more cars were destroyed. As he stood there, smiling, something hit his ears.
*.....are YOU doing here? where's the Plymouth?*
*Out there, man, getting points!*
*Are you CRAZY? With the stash in the trunk?*
Jim's smile faded.
He looked over and saw two men, looking very strangely toward the pit. One of them said, *Stash? It was THERE?*
*You idiot!* Whap! went the other one's hand, upside the first one's head. *That stuff is worth MILLIONS on the street and he puts the car into a DERBY?*
Jim looked out into the pit. There was one Plymouth there, a navy blue one that was so far nearly pristine. He slid out his cell phone.
"Masterson!" he called to the ATF agent that was prowling the grounds. "Ellison -- at the demolition derby pit, a Plymouth with drugs in the trunk! Two perps -- I'm heading toward them. Do you see me?" At the affirmative answer, he smiled. "Let's get them."
After a scuffle, the pair was being led away by Masterson and a passing-by Rafe. Jim then redialed his phone. "Sandburg!"
"I'm fine, Jim!" came the answer.
"I know you are, that's not it. That Plymouth has millions of dollars of street-value drugs in the trunk!"
A pause. "Are you sure?"
"Positive! Can you ---"
"Leave this one to Team 12, partner!" Blair closed the phone and picked up the radio. "Luke? Blair. What do you do in civilian life?"
Luke stared incredulously at the radio as he absorbed a gentle hit from the Camaro. He finally answered, "My cousin Bo and I are co- sheriffs in Hazzard County, Georgia -- have been since our sheriff was killed in the line of duty in 1993. Why?"
"I'm a detective here in Cascade! My partner just called me -- there's a stash of drugs in the Plymouth's trunk!"
"Dang. Is he sure?"
Luke sighed. "All right, then, hold on." He lifted the microphone on the CB on the seat beside him. "Black sheep two, this is black sheep one, we've got a situation here!"
Jim saw a blonde-haired man with a moustache and a lovely woman enter the official's box. The man flashed a badge at him and talked for a moment. The official nodded and picked up a gun.
Three shots rang out -- the signal to end the derby. Confused participants began to move off the dirt.
The Plymouth didn't get a chance to. A white pickup suddenly smashed into its front bumper, spinning it around. A tailgate-less white pickup smashed into the back, sending it out into the middle of the now-deserted arena. It sat there for a second, then the tires spun and it began to slowly back up.
Too late. Like avenging angels, the pair of white trucks roared from either side, striking both doors -- and sitting there. The driver was effectively pinned inside, and the Plymouth was effectively held in place.
The driver tried to crawl out the window, and Blair held his weapon on him. "Don't move. Cascade PD." The driver sighed and slowly raised his hands.
Luke popped the trunk and looked in. "Nothing here but a spare tire and a jack...." he reached in and shook his head. "....and a false bottom." He lifted the bottom out and whistled. "Your partner was right, Blair. Cocaine, hashish.... bags of reds and blues.... he's a driving drug lab!"
The driver suddenly moaned, "Aw, man, that was supposed to go in the other car...."
"Too bad for you it didn't," Blair grinned, hauling him out through the window. "You have the right to remain silent....."
"Oooh man what a day!" Blair rubbed at his eyes as he walked right over to the couch and sank down.
Jim grinned. "Fireworks and a demolition derby were too much, huh?"
"Oh, no, those were fine -- but add in that kid who thought his mama was a cat, the strange doctor, and the drug runners, and this day's been full!"
"You're the one who said it, Chief -- meet a lot of interesting people at the faire."
"That you do, Jim.... but next year, how about we go just as goers, not running the tent?"
Jim laughed. "I'll see what I can do. C'mon, haul yourself into the shower before you take root there." No answer from the couch. "Chief?"
When there was still no answer, Jim looked over at the couch and smiled. He then lifted the afghan from the back of the couch and draped it over Blair's sleeping form. "Night, Blair," he whispered as he locked the door, turned out the lights, and headed up the stairs to his own bed.
Quite a day, indeed.
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