or Malloy's Mishap and the Misadventures It Caused
by Stacy W.
©Stacy W, December 2000
A few minutes later, Pete heard his partner and someone else returning to the car. "Pete, y'know, I could have used some help out there. The other one got away." Jim was obviously annoyed, and talking without looking around. "Pete? Where are you?" soon followed in a more concerned tone.
"Down here," Pete called from the ground beside the driver-side door. From his perspective on the ground, he saw Jim (or more accurately, Jim's feet) put the prisoner in the car before he hurried around the back of the car to find his partner lying face down in the dirt.
"Pete? What..." Jim's voice trailed off as he scanned the area for whatever threat had sent Malloy to the ground. When he couldn't find anything hinky, he turned his attention back to Pete. "What are you doing down there?" Jim asked as he offered his partner a hand up off the ground.
"I liked the view from down here," Malloy snapped back. "I tripped over the car, okay? And as much as I'd like to shake your hand, I can't. I think I broke both my arms."
"You didn't," Jim said in disbelief as he knelt down beside his partner
"Reed! Yes, I did," Pete responded as Jim continued to stare down at him. "Now do you want to call me an ambulance, or should I do it?."
"I'll get right on it," Jim said, his voice muffled as he reached over Pete into the car for the microphone and called dispatch. "Okay, Pete, they're on the way. You doing okay?"
"I'd be a lot better if you'd help me up," Pete informed his worried partner. Stupid shoelaces...
By the time Reed got Pete sitting up against the squad car, another unit arrived on the scene. Mac's car. And Pete had thought this situation couldn't get more embarrassing.
"Hello, Reed, Malloy. Heard your call and thought I would come see what happened," Mac said as he got out of his car and walked toward Adam-12.
Reed jumped up and met Mac halfway. "He's okay, mostly. Tripped over the car and fell down, busted both his arms," Reed told him.
Mac squatted down beside Pete, who was sitting against the car, covered in dust, both arms resting limply in his lap. "That what happened, Pete?" he asked.
"That's about right, Mac..." Pete said, nodding slightly. "Think I caught a shoelace on the seat somewhere."
Mac laid a hand on Pete's shoulder. "Got to watch out for those shoelaces, Malloy. They'll get you every time," Mac remarked, then stood up. "Reed, I'll take your purse-snatcher in for you. Why don't you follow Malloy to the hospital and make sure he gets home okay."
Much later, after hours of delays at the hospital, the doctors finally got around to getting a cast on Pete's broken right wrist, and a splint and bandage on his badly sprained left wrist. By the time Jim noticed the time, he was already a half-hour late getting home. Seeing Pete was being taken care of, he ran to the nearest phone and called his wife. "Honey, I'm going to be a little late," he began.
"Yeah, we're at the hospital? How did you know?" Jim swore his wife should have joined the police department with him. She'd be a detective by now.
"I'm fine. Really. Not a scratch." Why did Jean insist on worrying so much?
"Yeah, Pete tripped, fell and busted his wrists. Both of them. I'm going to drive him home, and then I'll be heading home myself. . . . I'll ask him if he wants to come. You cooked enough food for him? . . . . I dunno. I hadn't thought about how he's going to eat with both arms banged up . . . . okay, honey. See you in an hour."
Jim walked down the hall to the room where the doctor had just finished getting Pete's right arm in a cast. "...and if you want the bones to heal properly, you won't use your right arm for anything at all for a couple of days. Keep it in the sling, and do nothing at all with that arm," he heard the doctor instruct Pete.
"Nothing?" Pete repeated back to the doctor.
"Nothing," the doctor repeated again. "No driving, no pulling out your gun, no lifting anything heavier than a feather, no..."
"Uh, Doc," Pete interrupted. "What about the other arm.?"
The doctor looked down at Pete's left arm, splinted and wrapped from mid-arm to fingertips in layers of Ace bandages. "No broken bones. That's just a bad sprain and maybe a bruised bone, so it's not as serious. But you still shouldn't be putting any stress on it for a few days. That's why we've got it splinted. If you don't have any other questions, I'll go get your paperwork finished, and you can go home." With that, the doctor left the room.
Pete sighed. "Great. Home." And just what am I going to do there?
Jim took the opportunity to speak up. "Hey, Pete, I just talked to Jean. She wants your to come over for dinner tonight. Maybe we could work it out so your could stay at our place for a couple of days..."
Dinner that night was an experience none of them could forget, no matter how much they wanted to. It started off well--Jean had made chili, which Pete didn't think required much manual dexterity to eat, something he should have been able to manage on his own. Those thoughts lasted only until he tried to get a fork to his mouth. His first effort resulted in the bandage on his left arm hitting his fork and sending it and the chili on it flying across the table, hitting Jim square in the chest. Surprised, Jim dropped his own fork onto the tablecloth. "Pete! Careful over there!" he admonished as he swiped at the mess on his shirt. Jean sighed quietly and offered her husband an extra napkin. Unlike his parents, little three year old Jimmy found the flying food hilarious and howled with laughter.
"Whoops," Pete remarked as Jim tried to clean up his formerly white shirt. Maybe a sip of water from the glass and straw Jean had provided for him would stop the embarrassment. Maybe not. Pete misjudged the location of the glass, and ice water flooded over the table and into Jim and Jean's laps. Oh well, might as well go for the comedy routine, thought Pete. "Thought you might need a little water to clean up that shirt." he joked out loud. Jimmy chose that moment to emulate his "Uncle Pete," flipping his own bowl all over himself and then knocking his cup over. He howled with glee at the mess he was making.
Eventually, Jean got both "her Jims" cleaned up and settled back down. After watching Pete's continuing struggle to get a bite of food in his mouth, she finally suggested it might be easier if he just let Jim or her feed him. "Okay, but no airplane noises," Pete conceded as his stomach growled. He was getting too hungry to care about being embarrassed.
But Jim couldn't resist an opportunity to needle his partner. Talking to his son, who sat on his father's knee watching the whole process with complete fascination, he said, "Hey Jimbo, remember when you used to eat like that? Back when you were still a little baby? But you're my big boy now aren't you?"
Jimmy giggled and then yelled, "Uncle Pete is a BIG BABY!"
Jim snickered, earning himself a glare from both his partner and his wife. Jean at least had the decency to look embarrassed. "Jim, honey, why don't you to get your "big boy" ready for bed. I think it's his bedtime," she suggested, pointing toward the door.
"Hear that, buddy? Mommy thinks you should go to bed." Jim told his son as he stood up. "Yeah, Mommy's just no fun, is she? A real stick in the mud." Jim's voice faded away as he carried the boy out of the room and down the hall. "Can you say 'stick', Jimmy?"
After Pete had finished his dinner, Jean took advantage of Jim's absence to apologize for Jimmy's outburst. "He's in this phase right now--he'll yell out whatever he thinks. It doesn't help that Jim puts these awful ideas in his head."
"Don't worry about it. I've been called a lot worse, by people I like a lot less." Pete responded. "And by the way, thanks for your help here. These next few days are going to be interesting. Got to figure out how to get by without my arms..."
"Hey Pete, you know you're welcome to stay here for a couple of days, until things settle down," Jim spoke up from the kitchen doorway. "I'm sure Jimmy would love to spend a few days with his 'Uncle Pete.' Oh, if it's okay with you, hon," he added to his wife.
The next day...
Pete awoke with the disoriented feeling he always got after sleeping in a strange bed in a strange room. The ache in his wrists helped clear his mind. That's right. I'm at the Reed's and off work for a couple of days. Stupid shoelaces. From the sounds in the rest of the house, it sounded like Jim was getting ready to go to work, with Jean's help. Deciding he might as well get up too, Pete grabbed the clothes Jim had loaned him the night before. Sweat pants and a tee shirt. Jim had made some smart remark about those clothes being easier for someone "in his condition" to handle, as if they both hadn't been embarrassed enough when Pete discovered last night that his fingers couldn't reach around the cast or the bandage far enough to undo buttons or zippers.
Several minutes later, Pete studied his reflection in the mirror. It was a good thing the sweats had elastic ankles, otherwise they would be dragging on the floor. The tee shirt, which was probably loose on Jim's skinny frame just fit around Pete's stockier body. His hair was sticking up at funny angles where he'd been unable to smooth it down with the cast (he'd given up on picking up the comb). Studying his reflection in the dresser mirror, he mumbled, "Maybe I should just go back to bed." A loud growl from his stomach and his hurting wrists convinced him that wasn't the best idea. He needed food. And some of the pain medicine the doctor had prescribed.
Pete walked down to the dining area where Jim and Jean were getting breakfast together. Jean greeted him with a cheerful "Good morning," Jim with yet another snicker that was cut off by a sharp jab in the ribs and whisper from Jean, "Behave yourself."
"You had better eat up, partner," Pete remarked. "You're just too skinny. Jean, you need to put some meat on those bones of his."
Jim started to respond, but Jean jumped in, "Can I get you anything, Pete?"
"Whatever you two are having is fine, Jean. Oh, and could you bring me those pills the doc gave me?" Pete had handed the medicine over to Jean the night before, just to make sure it stayed out of his godson's reach.
Jean collected an extra plate, a cup of coffee, and the pill bottle. "One pill or two, Pete?" she asked him.
"Two." One for each wrist..
"You sure, Pete? Remember last time? I've seen drug addicts that weren't as high as you." Jim almost snickered again, but a glare from Jean stopped him.
"The doctor said that was just a bad reaction to that medicine." Pete defended himself. "This is something entirely new. That doc said it's guaranteed not to have any side effects."
The rest of the breakfast conversation revolved around Jean and Jim's plans for the day. Jean had a few errands to run, and she invited Pete to come along with her. As boring as that sounded, it was probably better than sitting around the Reed's house all day, watching the soaps on TV. "So partner, what's your plan for today? Going to spend it behind the desk?" Pete asked.
"I think Mac wants everyone he can get out on the street. Y'know, for the traffic violations crackdown. He'll probably put me in a L-car," Jim replied. "I might get to actually drive a car today, Pete."
"Somebody better warn the citizens of L.A.," Pete teased his partner. "What are you going to do without me there to do the driving and watch out for you?"
"Probably be a lot safer, the way you drive," Jim shot back.
Jean suddenly slammed her glass down on the table, hard. "Gosh, look at the time! Jim, you're going to be late if you don't get going," she said. Jim got up and followed his wife into the kitchen. Pete heard bits of their good-byes. "...promise me you'll be extra careful if you end up working alone," Jean's voice filtered in from the kitchen door.
Oops. Maybe we should have been more careful about the joking in front of Jean, Pete thought.
"Always am, honey. Love you." Jim replied before giving his wife a quick kiss and departing.
A few minutes later, Jean came back into the dining area, once again the cheerful hostess. Taking a look at Pete's ragtag condition, she offered to help him. "Looks like you could use some help with your hair. And those clothes aren't going to work. Why don't we stop by your place on the way to the grocer's and get you some clothes that fit?"
"Thanks, Jean, you're a real treasure. I feel like a badly dressed clown in these clothes."
Jean smiled, "That's what you look like too. Why don't you go watch TV for a bit while I get Jimmy ready to go."
Several hours later...
Officer Jim Reed gave the door handle on the L-car he'd been assigned another tug. Still locked. He walked around to the passenger side. That door remained locked up tight too. In frustration, he kicked the tire. That accomplished nothing but smudging his shoe and making his toes scream in pain. The first half his day had gone so well...
As he had suspected, Mac assigned him to an L-car. Working alone was different, and not something he really wanted to do all the time, but he'd handled the calls that had come his way that morning well, he thought. They were all mostly routine--the usual mix of traffic violators, purse snatchers, backing up other units. He had met Mac for lunch at the local hamburger joint, enjoying the first real human contact of the day. Somehow, a voice on the radio just wasn't the same as in-person conversation. After Mac finished his lunch and left, Jim had walked back to his car and found it locked up tighter than a drum, apparently his own doing. He was sure Mac would have some words about this.
Jim glanced down at his watch as he limped back around to the driver's side of the car. It's been fifty-five minutes. I was supposed to clear from seven ten minutes ago. He jerked on the door handle again, and once again, the door stayed locked shut. Maybe I could pick the lock. Is there a coat hanger around anywhere? No, that would look too strange. Jim sighed. Guess it was time swallow his pride and call dispatch. He walked to the pay phone by the side of the restaurant and dialed their phone line.
"Dispatch, this is Officer Reed, 1-Lincoln-15. I, uh, don't have access to my radio. I'm locked out of the car, at Bob's Burger Barn." Jim could almost hear the laughter over the phone.
"O.K., thanks. I'll look for him." Jim replied as the dispatcher told him someone was on the way to unlock the car. He wandered back over to his useless vehicle, just in time to hear the tail end of a radio announcement: "..needs assistance. 1-Lincoln-15 is locked out of vehicle at the Burger Barn..." Oh no. Now everyone will know. Jim slumped against the car with an embarrassed whimper as he imagined the ribbing he was going to get back at the station. At least Pete's not listening to the radio.
Jean closed the passenger-side door of her car a little harder than she meant to, then stalked around the car to the driver's seat. She was beginning to regret taking Pete on her errands with them. For that matter, she was beginning to regret offering Pete a place to stay. At this point, she was almost regretting ever having even heard his name. Ever since that new, 'no-side-effects' pain medicine had kicked in, and he got back into his own clothes and got himself "spiffed up," he had been in high spirits. Jean tried to convince herself that it was just the pain medication...
Their first stop of the day had been at the bank, where Pete had done his best impression of "swaggering security guard," marching around in line with his thumb hooked in the waistband of his sweatpants and his nose in the air, staring at other customers like they were about to rob the place. The real swaggering security guard had not been amused. He had all but tossed them out of the bank.
Then it had been on to the dry cleaners. Jean had run into a friend there, and Pete and Jimmy both got bored. Pete had sat down on the floor next to Jimmy, and the two of them had discussed (rather loudly, Jean thought) how much fun it would be to ride the moving clothes rack around. Then Pete had discovered getting off the floor wasn't so easy with both arms out of commission.
A quick stop at the drugstore provided another opportunity for the babies, as Jean was beginning to think of them, to misbehave. Pete had said he could watch Jimmy; five minutes later, she found the two of them in the toy aisle. Jimmy was pushing one plastic car down the aisle, and Pete was kicking a little plastic police car after it and making siren noises. Then it was on to the grocery store... Guess it was time to find a new place to shop, because she sure couldn't show her face around there again. Who knew there were so many ways to get into mischief at a grocery store?
Now they were heading back home, and not a moment too soon, in Jean's opinion. As they drove by Burger Barn, Pete was the first to see the patrol car and the back of the man leaning against it. Jean noticed too. "Pete, isn't that Jim over there?" she asked him.
"Sure looks like him. Wonder why he's standing outside his car like that," Pete thought out loud. "Why don't you pull into the parking lot for a minute."
As Jean got Jimmy out of his child seat, Pete got out of the car, and approached his partner from behind. "Off-ic-er Reed," he drawled, "shouldn't you be out patrolling the streets of this fair city?"
Jim spun around in surprise. Then the surprised look turned to disgust. "Oh, it's you. What are you doing here?"
"Glad to see you too, partner. Your family and I were out running errands. What are you doing?" Pete responded as Jean and Jimmy walked over.
"Uh, I, uh forgot the keys. They're in the... locked in the car." Jim winced as Pete laughed outright and Jean tried in vain to repress a snicker.
Jim was spared further laughter as Mac's car pulled back into the parking lot. Mac poked around on the front seat for a minute before getting out of the car and walking over to Jim, Pete, and Jean. "Here ya go, Reed," Mac said as he tossed a key to Jim. "Afternoon, Mrs. Reed. How ya doing, Malloy?"
"Can't complain. Jean's taking good care of me," Pete replied. "So, how's Jim doing out on his own?"
"Doing fine so far," Mac remarked. Then, seeing Jim approaching to return the extra key to him, he added, "if he can just keep from locking himself out of his car." Jim flushed red with embarrassment, much to everyone's amusement. "Well, Reed and I should get back to work. See you in a couple of days, Malloy. Good day, Mrs. Reed."
"See you guys later. Bye-bye, Jimmy." Reed gave his wife a quick hug and then he left also.
Pete couldn't resist one more taunt. "Don't forget your house keys tonight!" he called after his partner. Jim decided not to dignify that comment with any kind of response.
Dinner that night was much more successful than the previous evening's meal. Jean served hamburgers, which Pete could manage on his own with a little effort. Tonight, no food was going places it shouldn't, and Pete and Jimmy had kept their drinking glasses upright. Jim was entertaining them with the story of one of the afternoon's traffic stops. "This car was speeding--way over the limit. So I pulled them over, and the driver's nine months pregnant and in labor. She was about to have the baby right there in the driver's seat!"
"Where was her husband?" Jean asked.
"That's the funny thing," Jim replied. "He was in the passenger seat, hyperventilating. He was too nervous to drive. The ambulance barely got there in time." Jim looked over at Pete. "I wasn't that bad when Jean was having Jimmy, was I?"
Pete smirked, "No, buddy, you were worse. You had everything 'organized.'" Pete paused, remembering that day. Jim had tried to hide his nervousness under a cloak of organization. It might have worked, too, if he'd remembered to put his socks on. Those bare ankles had been a beacon to Mac and Pete that Jim didn't have things as under control as he thought he did. "Next time, you're staying with your wife, if I have to handcuff the two of you together." Jim gave him a annoyed glare, but Jean nodded in approval.
Later that night, Jim and Jean finally had a moment alone as they got ready for bed. "Everything okay, honey?" Jim asked. "You seemed kind of tense this evening."
"It's nothing. I just didn't get much done today, between Pete needing help and Jimmy following him around and imitating everything he did. I think it's worse than having two toddlers running around," Jean said as she begin to brush her hair, jerking the brush through her hair and wincing as she hit a few knots. "I don't want to complain. I mean, Pete really does need help. And Jimmy doesn't mean any harm. But if they keep it up tomorrow, you're going to come home and find your buddy dead because I'll have strangled him." She quit brushing her hair and drew the brush across her throat, indicating what she would do to Pete.
Jim had to laugh at his wife's comments. "Don't do that. You wouldn't look good in a prison uniform."
"Yeah, and I don't really like that silver jewelry you carry around. Too gaudy," Jean joked back.
Jim took the brush out of her hand and started to brush her hair himself, much more gently than she had been. "It's just for a couple of days. And maybe tomorrow Pete will have gotten used to getting around better."
"Maybe..." Jean mumbled sleepily, feeling some of the tension that had been building all day slip away as Jim ran the brush through her long reddish-blond hair. It had been a long day, and besides, having her hair brushed made her so sleepy.
The next day, Pete let Jean get Jim off to work before trying to get breakfast, not wanting to interrupt the Reed's quiet time together or add any more to Jean's work. He had a blurry impression that he'd been something of a chore yesterday. "I'm sticking to aspirin today. Don't like that new stuff." Pete told himself as he struggled into his clothes. A few minutes later, he headed down the hall to find Jean getting little Jimmy into his booster seat. At Jean's insistence, Pete slid into a chair at the table, and let Jean bring breakfast to him and Jimmy.
"So, Jean, what's up today?" Pete asked as he finished his breakfast.
"Household chores," Jean replied. "I've got to get some laundry done today, or no one in this house is going to have clean clothes tomorrow."
Pete remembered his contributions to the laundry--Jim's and Jimmy's shirts and the tablecloth stood out most prominently in his mind. "Sorry if I added to your load. Jimmy and I will stay out of your way today," Pete said before turning to his godson. "Jimmy-boy, how about we go and watch some TV? Isn't it about time for that man with the sweater?"
Jimmy giggled. "Misser Roger," he corrected Pete.
"Oh, yeah. Mister Rogers. And then that other show comes on. Says-a-you Street."
"No," Jimmy giggled again. "SESAME Swreet."
Jean smiled at the two of them. Pete needed to have kids of his own--he was so good with them. If only he weren't so scared of getting married. Maybe he just hadn't met the right girl yet. Maybe that Judy that Jim had mentioned as Pete's latest girlfriend was the right girl. Maybe there was some ways she could help that relationship along...
The sounds of some alphabet song drifted into the laundry room an hour later as Jean started a big load of laundry. So far, Pete had sat and watched Mister Rogers take them on a tour of a real police station and visit the Land of Make Believe to help King Friday deal with the rulebreakers of the Land. Then it was on to learning the alphabet with Big Bird. It even sounded like Jimmy and Pete were singing along. Jean smiled to herself as she filled the washing machine and then opened the box of detergent. Empty. "Jim, hon, you throw out the box when it's empty," she muttered to her absent husband. Oh well, I really shouldn't complain. Not every husband helps out with the laundry. Remembering the extra box she kept around, up on the top shelf, she pulled out the step stool and stepped up onto it. As she started to reach for the box, the back leg of the stool broke. Jean gave a small cry of alarm as her right ankle hit the floor and twisted beneath her. A second later, her head hit the doorframe, silencing her cry and leaving her unconscious on the floor.
In the living room, Pete and Jimmy heard the sound of something hitting the ground. Pete thought he had heard something else right before, but he wasn't sure; he and Jimmy had been singing pretty loud. Jimmy didn't seem concerned by the noise, but Pete thought he better check it out. "Hey Jimmy, I'll be right back. When I get back, I want to hear how Bert solves this problem, okay?"
"'kay, Uncle Pete." Jimmy was totally absorbed in Bert and Ernie's latest antics.
Pete walked toward the laundry room as fast as he could without doing anything to alarm the small boy. "Jean?" he called quietly, right before seeing her lying on the floor in the doorway, unconscious and bleeding from a gash on the right side of her forehead.. He ran to her side and grabbed her hand, "Jean, can you hear me? Are you hurt anywhere? Jean?"
Jean moaned and stirred slightly. Her eyes opened, just a little. Not focused. Pete thought. "Ji... Pete?" she mumbled, still trying to focus on him.
"Yeah, Jean, I'm here. What happened? Are you hurt anywhere?"
"Fell off stepstool. My leg hurts... the right one. My head hurts." Jean replied. She was starting to sound more coherent.
"Okay, Jean. Just relax and don't move. I'm going to go call an ambulance." Pete said as he grabbed a towel out of the laundry and used it to make a pillow for Jean's head. "I'll be right back."
Pete ran back to the telephone in the living room. With the casts on his arms, it took him several tries to pick up the headset. He tried to dial the number for an ambulance, but his fingers kept hitting the wrong buttons. Stupid cast. Jean didn't have time for him to be messing around like this. Guess I could run next door to the neighbors, but that would mean leaving Jimmy alone. Can't do that. But... maybe Jimmy can help.
"Jimmy, come here for a second," Pete called to Jimmy. When Jimmy got up off the floor and ran across the room to his "uncle", Pete squatted down in front of him. "Hey Jimmy, do you know what number to dial if someone needs to go the hospital?" Pete asked the young boy.
"Uh-huh. Mommy and Daddy showed me," Jimmy replied.
"You want to show your Uncle Pete how it works?" Pete asked.
"'kay. But Daddy said I can only do it in a 'mergency."
"Well, let's make this a practice for a 'mergency', okay Jimmy?" Pete said, turning the phone dial toward Jimmy.
"'kay," Jimmy agreed, as he began to carefully pick out the numbers on the phone. Pete watched in amazement. He'd always known his godson was smart. For a three-year-old, the kid had a great memory.
"All done!" Jimmy announced proudly as the phone begin to ring in Pete's ear.
Within minutes, Pete had an ambulance on the way. There was one more phone call he needed to make. He called Jimmy back over from the T.V. "Jimmy, can you dial this number for me?" Pete pulled Mac's number at the station off the bulletin board Jean kept by the phone and showed it to Jimmy. Slowly, carefully, Jimmy dialed that number too. "You're such a smart boy, Jimmy." Pete congratulated the little boy before sending him back to the television.
Mac answered the ringing phone on the second ring. "Police. Sergeant MacDonald."
"Mac, this is Malloy."
"Hey Pete, what's up?"
"Mac, Jean just had a little accident. I think she may have broken her leg. Can you find Jim and bring him to the hospital?"
"Jean? Pete, what did you do to her?" Mac demanded, only half in jest.
"Nothing. The step stool Jean was standing on broke. Just get Jim to Sunnybank Hospital now." Pete obviously wasn't in any mood for jokes.
"Okay, Pete. We'll meet you there as soon as possible," Mac replied.
Pete sighed quietly as he hung up the phone, imagining how his partner was going to react to this. Jim didn't react well to possible threats against his family, as he and Mac both knew from experience. How would he respond to a real problem? He'd have to trust Mac to keep Jim calm. Right now, all he could do for his friend was make sure Jean got to the hospital as quickly as possible.
Pete put the phone down and ran back to Jean's side. "Jean?" he called. She looked at him groggily. Eyes still aren't focused, Pete thought. "Listen, I've got an ambulance on the way, and Mac's going to bring Jim to the hospital. Everything's going to be okay."
"Jimmy..." Jean said, almost in a whisper. "Go stay with Jimmy."
Pete shook his head, "Uh-uh. You need me here."
"No.... Jimmy needs someone to watch him."
So do you, sweetie, Pete thought. He was saved from having to make a decision by a knock on the front door. "Must be the ambulance," Pete said as he hopped up and ran to the door. It was. "Through the kitchen," Pete directed the attendants. Now that Jean had help, he went to the living room to look in on Jimmy. The little boy had quit watching the television and was now standing, thumb in his mouth, watching the events at the door, looking like he was about to burst into tears at any second. Uh-oh Pete, should have listened to Jean, he thought.
Pete ambled over and squatted down in front of his godson. "Hey, Jimmy, there's nothing to get scared over. Mommy just had a little accident, and we're going to the doctor to make sure she's all okay." Jimmy continued to stare at him with those big, scared eyes, which were now brimming over with tears. "Why don't you help your Uncle Pete get the house locked up, and then we'll go get in the ambulance, okay?"
Again, Jimmy didn't say anything right away, just stared at Pete and continued sucking his thumb. "'kay" he finally replied.
"That's my big boy." Pete scooped him up in his semi-functional left arm, and together they checked the doors and windows. By the time they got back to the front door, Jean was already loaded in the ambulance. As soon as Pete and Jimmy got in the front seat, they were on their way to the hospital.
Jim had been easy to find; along with several other officers, he had been taking witness statements at a relatively minor multiple-vehicle traffic accident. Mac grabbed another officer before heading over to Jim. "Sorry to interrupt. Reed, why don't you let Thompson here finish taking this statement. I need to talk to you for a minute."
"Sure thing, boss," Jim said as he handed his notebook to the other officer and followed Mac over to his car.
Mac tried to think of a good way to start, but nothing came to him. "Jim, Pete called a few minutes ago. Jean fell and hurt her leg and Pete's taking her to Sunnybank Hospital right now," he blurted out.
"Jean?" Jim repeated as his face turned about the same stark white as his t-shirt.
"Jim, relax. Pete said she's okay. She just hurt her leg. She'll be fine, as soon as a doctor gets a look at her. Okay?"
Jim tried to say something, but all he could manage was a nod.
"Get in the car and I'll take you to the hospital," Mac ordered, opening the passenger side of his car and almost shoving Jim inside.
They rode to the hospital in silence, except for Mac's quiet mutterings about L.A. traffic as he drove the car as fast as legally possible. As Mac pulled into the hospital's emergency entrance, Jim didn't even wait for the car to stop before jumping out and running inside. Seeing his partner and his son sitting in the waiting room, Jim ran toward them. With a cry of "Daddy!" Jimmy jumped off Pete's lap and ran to his father's arms. Jim stopped long enough to pick him up before walking over to Pete. Before he could talk to Pete, a doctor walked in their direction.
"Mr. Malloy?" he asked. After Pete identified himself, the doctor continued. "Mr. Malloy, I'm Doctor Simmons. I'm treating your wife..."
Jim interrupted, "Your wife?"
Pete shrugged. "Sorry, paperwork error."
The now-irritated doctor cleared his throat. "Mr. Malloy, your wife sustained a mild concussion, a small laceration on her scalp, and a broken ankle. She's also disoriented--insists her name is Jean Reed, not Jean Malloy, and that her husband's name is Jim, not Peter. We're going to run some more tests in a few minutes, but it's probably just a side effect of the concussion. We'll keep her overnight for observation, then you can take her home tomorrow if the head injury clears up."
"When can I see her?" Jim broke in.
"And just why do the police need to see my patient, Officer...?" the doctor asked, annoyed again.
"Reed. Officer Jim Reed. And I need to see her because she's my wife."
"Then who's he?" the doctor demanded, pointing at the now-embarrassed Pete.
"Uh, doc, things got messed up in all the confusion. I'm just a family friend. He's the husband." Pete said, pointing at Jim. "And your patient's name is Jean Reed."
With an annoyed sigh and a scathing look at Pete, the doctor crossed off some of the information on his chart. "Well, looks like that concussion isn't as bad as we thought. Mr. Reed, we're getting a cast on your wife's ankle and patching up that cut right now. As soon as we're done, I'll come get you."
Two days later...
The day after Jean came home from the hospital, her mother had come over to help care for her and Jimmy, and Jim was going back to work. He'd never been more happy to get out of the house. After less than a day of caring for two invalids and a toddler, Jim knew he'd made the right career choice. I just wasn't cut out to be a nurse. Or a doctor. Or a maid. Or a cook. Or a taxicab driver...
Pete had also decided it was time to go back to work, at least as much as he could. Yesterday, he'd gotten a less-restrictive bandage on his sprained left wrist, and thought he could handle desk duty. Besides, Mac had told him he shouldn't miss the fun the rest of the watch had planned for Jim that morning.
The first hint of the "fun" was the sign taped to the locker room door--a drawing of a key, with words "Required Equipment" in big red letters underneath it. Next up was Jim's locker. A car key, tied to a bright yellow ribbon, was taped to the door. Doing his best to ignore the keys, Jim hurriedly changed clothes, somewhat surprised to find only three more keys hidden in his uniform--one in a shirt pocket, another pinned to the rear of his pants, and one strung through the shoelace of his right shoe. Then, as he pulled his hat out of his locker, he heard the unmistakable tinkle of a several keys hitting the floor. That sound was followed immediately by a round of laughter from the rest of the jokers in the room, including Pete. Some wisecraker, Snyder possibly, yelled out a remark about him needing a bigger keychain. Oh, great. I wonder where else I'm going to find the stupid things, Jim thought.
"Funny, guys. Real funny," he remarked to no one in particular, as he shoved his hat onto his head.
Wells was the first to reply. "We don't want you getting locked out again. It's embarrassing." He seemed to be having more trouble that usual keeping a straight face.
Jim turned to his partner. "Can you believe these guys? One little mistake..."
"One little mistake..." Pete deadpanned back, although his lips were twitching into a smile also.
Jim glared at him and turned to walk out of the room. "See you at roll call."
As the door swung shut behind Jim, Wells turned to Pete. "You think we should tell him?" he asked.
Pete looked toward the door. "About the key that's taped on his hat brim? Nah, he'll find out soon
enough. Besides, it could be a whole new look for the police department."
Thanks to everyone who helped me with this story: Cathy, who edited it for errors both small and large, the members of the Adam-12 Writing Division at e-Groups, who provided valuable feedback on an earlier version, and my sister Kimberly, who had to read the very first version. Also, thanks to the writers, producers and actors of Adam-12 who created the original series that inspired this story.
Editor's note: for more information on Writing Division, email a12patrol.