DISCLAIMER: The Sentinel and its characters are the property of Paramount Studios and Pet Fly Productions. These stories are offered for the enjoyment of the fans. No money has exchanged hands.
Captain Outrageous and Wildeskind
Blair looked down at the pitiful collection of wizened donuts. "Oh man, what is this, stale donut week? I've seen better artifacts on digs."
Jim sighed and poked through the box looking for something edible. "Sorry Chief. The Feds are in town for that interagency co-operation seminar. They've been hijacking the deliveryman before he can deliver them. All we have are last week's donuts."
Picking up a sugar donut, Jim knocked it experimentally against the table. It broke into little hard pieces. Grimacing, he tossed what was left into the trash can and dusted off his hands. Things were getting desperate around the Major Crimes bullpen.
Blair snorted. "Co-operation Seminar. There must've been a misprint on their flyers or something. Instead of a co-operation Seminar it probably reads 'co-opting' seminar. Co-opting our donuts!"
Grabbing their mugs they walked back toward their desks. Today was Blair's first official day as a detective of the Major Crimes Unit. He had dressed up a little, wearing a suit jacket and tie. The tie had a stylized wolf on it, the muted blues blending well with the blue of his cotton shirt.
Blair continued ranting. "This can't go on. We have to do something about this! Maybe we could lay a trap or something. What about a net? We could cover it up with forms and when those sneaky Feds go to steal our donuts, whoosh, they'd go up in the air with all the paperwork!"
Jim rubbed his chin, considering the plan. "It wouldn't work. Feds can smell paperwork a mile away. Maybe we could --" He was cut of by the harried voice of their captain.
"Sandburg, my office." Blair and Jim looked at each other. It wasn't even 8 o'clock and already he was being called into the office.
He shrugged and marched into the lion's den. "Yes, sir?"
Simon opened his drawer and pulled out an unmarked envelope. "I have an important assignment for you, Detective."
"Sure, Simon -- I mean, Captain -- what's up?"
"As you know, the Feds have been stealing our donuts."
"Yes sir. Jim and I were just discussing tactics on how to catch them."
"Don't bother. I've decided to cut off our supply lines and establish them somewhere else."
Simon held out the envelope. "I want you to take this money and go find us some fresh donuts."
Blair grinned and grabbed the envelope. "Yes, sir, Simon!"
"Quit with the sirs and get out of here. We've been without any real donuts for three days now. If we don't get some soon, there'll be a mutiny!"
Blair tucked the envelope into his back pocket and backed away to the door, saluting. "Consider it done, Captain!"
He walked out and grabbed his coat from his chair. Jim looked up from his computer. "What's up?"
"It's a top secret mission. All information is on a need-to-know basis. I'm sure you understand." He grinned. He remembered when they were starting out as partners the time he and Jim had gone to the state line to pick up 'a package.' No matter how he wheedled and begged, Jim had made him wait until they were aboard the train before telling him "the package" was actually a state witness. Payback was sooo sweet.
Simon opened his door. "And don't forget to get some Bavarian Creme ones, too."
Jim grinned as Blair's face fell. "Top secret, huh? Time to get the donuts."
Detectives swarmed around the desk shouting orders. Blair held up his hands.
"Quiet, quiet! I already know what everyone wants. Rafe, you want apple filling with powdered sugar. Brown, you like the sugar donuts. Taggart, I'm getting your French Vanilla Twists, and Megan, I have your blueberry bagels covered."
The bullpen stilled in shock silence.
Brown was the first to break it. "Man, how did you know?"
Blair smiled secretively. "I'm a detective. It's my job to know these things."
Rhonda came up to him. "Blair, here's that coupon I was telling you about. Now, I've already called the order in and you have that list of everyone's favorites. Make sure they're all there before you walk out the door. And no sampling the goods till you get back." A tide of red covered the young detective's face.
Brown snorted. "I can see who's the detective around here."
Blair grabbed the coupon from Rhonda's hand. "Hey, don't harass the donut guy. I just might not come back with them." He walked around to his desk and slipped into his jacket. Winter was definitely on its way. Patting his pockets for his keys and his wallet, he turned to go.
Jim called out to him. "Uh, Chief?"
Blair turned around. "Yeah?"
"Aren't you forgetting something?"
He patted his pockets again. Keys, wallet, badge, pager, phone, coupon, list. "No, I don't think so."
Jim held up Blair's gun, in its new nylon holster. Blair hesitated before excepting it. "Oh yeah. That." He slipped the holster under his jacket into his waistband.
Jim shook his head. "That doesn't do you any good in your desk drawer, you know."
Blair shrugged and adjusted the gun again. "Yeah, well, it's uncomfortable. I can't sit at my desk with it on. No matter where I put it, it digs into me."
Jim looked at him for a long moment. "A bullet is going to dig into you a lot worse. That gun could save you life or the life of another person. You don't go out without your sidearm, you dig?"
Blair rolled his eyes. "I dig." He turned and walked away, muttering. "Sheesh, I'm only going to the bakery...."
The aroma of freshly baked donuts wafted up from the plain white box. Man, I can't believe they went three whole days without any fresh donuts. The fasting probably did wonders for their arteries, but still... I can see why donuts are so addictive to cops. Compact, portable, and chock full of simple sugars and saturated fat. An instant sugar rush when they need it most. I wonder if anyone makes whole-wheat donuts? If they fried them in soybean oil, the fat content might not be so bad... Blair stopped when he reached his car.
Leaning against the driver side door was a scrawny looking guy in his early twenties. His long dark hair trailed out from beneath a baseball cap in a scraggly ponytail. He had buckteeth and a long pointy nose. Man, this guy looks he crawled straight out of the sewer.
Blair shifted the box to his left hand, freeing up his right hand. "Hey man, how's it going? This is my car you're leaning against." He relaxed as the guy crossed his arms on top of the Volvo's roof. At least Blair could see his hands.
"Oh, is this your car? I thought it was my car. It looks just like my car."
He must be lost or something. He doesn't look drunk. "It can't be your car, I just parked it here five minutes ago. Maybe you got turned around? Where did you just come from?"
The man shook his head. "No, no, no, I really think this is my car. What do you think, Jake?"
Blair barely had a hint of danger before a blinding pain exploded in the back of his head and everything went black.
Jake grabbed the unconscious man by his jacket as he went limp, his strong arms easily holding him up. The box of donuts fell to the ground. Nudging it aside, he braced the limp form against the car with one arm. Pulling out a stick of gum, he unwrapped it and popped it in his mouth, which already held an impressive wad. "Hey Willie, why'd you go and use my name? Now he knows who I am."
Willie slunk around the car and reached into their victim's jacket for his keys. "He don't know squat. He didn't see you so he can't ID you. There has to be hundreds of Jakes around here. Besides, we're splitting town anyway. Here, put him in the car. At least we don't have to break in now." He tossed the keys to his accomplice.
Blair slid down, his chin hitting the roof with a thud as Jake let go to catch the keys. Muttering an apology, the large man opened the car door and started to stuff the limp body into the car when a flash of gold caught his eye. "Hey Willie, this guy has a badge!"
"What?!? Lemme see." Willie's face went pale when he saw the badge on the man's belt. "Shit, he's a cop. Of course he's a cop. Who else would be picking up 5 million frickin' donuts." He stared skyward, his hands balled up into fists. "Why does always happen to me?" Pulling back his foot, he kicked the tire in front of him. "Ow! Shit!"
Jake looked at his friend in concern as he hopped up and down, holding his injured foot. "He don't look like a cop, Willie. Maybe they won't miss him or something."
Willie let go of his foot and grabbed Jake's shirt, dragging his face down toward the pavement. "Look at the donuts, stupid. You don't think he was going to eat all those by himself, do you?" He dragged Jake with him as he reached into the car and jerked the victim's jacket up higher. "Not a cop?"
The butt of Blair's .38 police-issue revolver jutted from its holster.
"Get in the car, Jake. We gotta move, now." Whoever was waiting for those donuts was going to miss them soon enough.
Jim closed the file he was working on and looked at his watch. Blair had been gone forty-five minutes. Shaking his head, he picked up the phone and dialed his partner's cellphone number. He's probably met some woman in the store and is standing there talking to her. Better give him a ring and tell him to get his butt back here with those donuts. He counted fifteen rings before hanging up. He knew Blair had his cellphone on him. A feeling of unease ran through him. Maybe he left his phone in the car. Jim picked the phone up again and sent him a text message on his beeper.
Blair, where are you? The natives are getting restless. Time to come back with the donuts.
He waited another ten minutes before picking up the phone again and dialing Rhonda's extension. "Rhonda, can you give me the number of that donut shop Blair went to?"
"Sure." She gave it to him. "Blair's not back yet?"
"No, he's not." Jim sighed. There was a heavy feeling in his stomach. Blair had been anxious this morning to start his first day on the job. It didn't make sense that he was late getting back from this errand. "He probably stopped to talk to someone and got caught up in the conversation. If you see him come in, let him know I'm looking for him. And thanks for the number."
"Sure, Jim. Anytime."
He disconnected the call and then dialed the number of the donut shop.
"Hello, Dilly's Donut Shop. Dilly speaking."
Jim blinked. Dilly's? Was Blair dallying with Dilly? The voice did sound rather young. "Uh, yes. I'm looking for my partner, Blair Sandburg. He was supposed to pick up an order of donuts for the Major Crimes Unit. Have you seen him?" He heard her heartbeat speed up in the background. Maybe something had happened....
"Oh yes. He picked them up a half-hour ago. He left his card here. He said that if they were as good as they smelled that your unit might consider switching over to my place. They were fresh when they left here."
Jim sighed, disappointed. She was just excited at the prospect of more business. "Did you see him drive off?"
A bit of uncertainty crept in her voice. "No, I didn't. I saw him talking with some guy by his car. The timer went off and I went to take the donuts out of the mixer. When I came back, both of them were gone."
Damn. If he already picked up the donuts, then where was he? His hand tightened on the handset. "Did you notice what the guy looked like?"
"Kind of. He was tall and skinny. His hair was long, and he had a baseball cap on. I thought he looked like a greasy rat or something."
"Was he young, old? White, black?"
"He looked kinda young, maybe twenties? And he was real pale like. Ohmygosh!" Her heartbeat rocketed.
"What is it, Dilly?"
"There's a box of donuts in the street. My donuts! I didn't notice them because of all the pigeons."
"Dilly, can you do something for me? Can you go out there and make sure no one touches those donuts? Not even those pigeons."
"Sure, sure. Of course."
"Thanks Dilly. I'll be over there in a few minutes."
Jim hung up the phone. He called dispatch and put out an APB on Blair's car and the man Dilly had described. He looked up as Simon bore down on him.
"Where's that partner of yours? All I've been able to think of is that Bavarian Creme donut."
"He's missing, sir. I put out an APB on his car." Jim stood up and grabbed his jacket.
Simon frowned. "Don't you think that's a bit drastic?"
Jim shook his head. "I called Dilly's. She said he left a half hour ago, and the box of donuts he bought is in the street."
"The donut shop. I tried his cellphone and pager. He didn't answer either of them. Dilly said she saw him talking with a guy before he left. She didn't see either one leave. I'm going down there now."
Simon sighed. Not even one full day on the job yet, and Sandburg was already in trouble. "Wait, I'm going with you."
Continue on to Act II...
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This page last updated 2/2/01.