Disclaimer: The Sentinel, Blair Sandburg, Jim Ellison, Simon Banks, and all other characters are property of Paramount and Pet Fly. No copyright infringement is intended, and no money has exchanged hands.

The Agony of De Feet

(Or 79 miles from Georgia to North Carolina)

By Leesa Perrie and Jayne

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Part One

"Ow"

"What's wrong?"

"Blisters, man. Ow, ouch, ow."

"I told you to wear your old hiking boots, not your new ones."

"Ouch, ouch, ouch. These are my old hiking boots! Ow, ow, ouch, ow. Man, I've gotta sit down and get these boots off."

"Not a good idea, Chief. Your feet will swell if you take your boots off and you won't be able to get them back on."

"Thanks, Dr. Ellison, for that information!"

"No need to be snarky about it."

Sigh. "Sorry, Jim. This just sucks, you know?"

"Yeah, Chief, I know. Look, we've only got a mile to go before the next shelter where we can stop for tonight. Take your boots off then, and I'll do some first aid for you."

"Okay. But can we at least sit a while before moving on?"

"Sure, just for a few minutes."

"Thanks."

"I don't think we're going to make it to North Carolina if your feet are already hurting."

"Maybe it'll be better in the morning. I'd hate to have to give up."

"I know, but…"

"Let's just see how we go, okay? I mean, we've got to walk for a bit tomorrow before we come to a road, let alone get to a town, so we'll have plenty of time to see if I can manage or not."

"Okay."

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Part Two

"Let's move on, Chief. The sooner we get to the shelter, the sooner I can look at your blisters and put some cream on them."

"Okay. Ow, ow, ow, ouch, ouch, ow, ow!"

"You gonna make it?"

"Sure. This is nothing compared to a bullet wound in the thigh."

"Chief…"

"Sorry, sorry. Just feeling rotten. Why don't you have blisters too? It's so not fair, man!"

"You really want me to be in pain too?"

Sigh. "No, I guess not."

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Part Three

"At last, the shelter. Man, I can't wait to sit down."

"Looks like we've got the shelter to ourselves tonight. Go and sit down and I'll make our beds, well, bed rolls up."

"Thanks Jim. Oh man. That feels good. Wow, who'd have thought taking your shoes off could be so blissful?"

"Is that what that smell is?"

"Oh, ha, ha, very funny. As if your feet don't smell after umpteen miles of hiking!"

"Good thing I can dial it back."

"Yeah, it's alright for some. Ouch. And yuck. Oh man, my feet are more blisters than not."

"Let me have a look Chief. They're not that bad. Just a blister on your left big toe, a blister on each heel and a really small one on your right little toe. Bad, but I've seen, and had, a lot worse in the Army."

"Still hurts like mad."

"Yeah. Okay, let's clean them up and put some cream on."

"Ow, ow, ow, ouch, ouch, ow!"

"Stop wriggling Sandburg! It'll be a lot quicker if you keep you feet still!"

"Sorry, but it hurts, you know?"

"I know, I know. There, that's better. Okay, just need to put some band-aids on and you'll be set for the night."

"Ouch. Sorry, sorry, I know, keep my feet still. Sorry."

"It's okay. Look, all done now. Let's get some clean socks on."

"Hey, I can manage that myself, thank you very much! I'm not a kid, you know!"

"No comment."

"Hey! What's that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing, Chief, nothing. I'll get us some food organised, and then we can turn in for the night. Got a long way to go tomorrow whether we quit or not."

"Yeah, I know. Sorry about being a grouch."

"That's okay, Sandburg. Just don't complain next time I'm feeling grouchy."

"No guarantees, man, no guarantees."

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Part Four

"Rise and shine, Chief."

"Mumf."

"Chief. Sandburg. Come on, we're burning daylight here!"

"Hmf. Mmf."

"Okay, Chief, you leave me no choice."

"Hey, it's cold. Gimme back my blanket!"

"Nope. Time to get up."

Mutter. "Fine. I'm up. Happy?"

"Very. Here. I've made some coffee. Better come and get it before it gets cold."

"Okay. Ouch."

"Blisters still hurting then?"

"What do you think?" Sigh. "Not as bad as yesterday though."

"That's good. Do you think you can make it to the end, or shall we head for the nearest town?"

"Nah, I'll be okay. Not gonna let a few blisters stop me."

"You sure, Chief?"

"Yeah, I'm sure."

"We're going to have to make a slight detour onto a Blue Trail to get water from a river. The spring here has dried up."

"Okay. Guess it's a good thing we brought the water purification tablets, even if they do make the water taste yucky."

"Better that than catching something nasty from it."

"Yeah, yeah, I know."

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Part Five

"I'm gonna sit down here, man. Rest my poor, aching feet."

"Okay, I'll start on filling the water bottles then."

"Thanks. Hey, why are you walking on those rocks into the middle of the river?"

"The water's fresher in the middle."

"Well, don't expect me to come out there, I'm just gonna stay by the edge here, all nice and safe. I'm not risking a dip in this cold water."

"I won't be taking a dip in this cold water either…..Oomph…"

"Jim! Jim! Are you okay?"

"Ow. Damn. My foot is stuck between the rocks….can't move it at all."

"Okay Jim, I'm making my way over. Just dial back the pain."

"That's what I'm doing, Darwin."

"Good. Oh boy, Jim, that's well and truly stuck in there. I'm gonna have to undo your laces and see if we can slip your foot out of your boots. The other option is amputation."

"Sandburg!"

"Hey, just kidding."

Sigh. "Well Chief, on the bright side, it looks like you're getting wet anyway!"

"Oh yeah, thanks for reminding me - not! Next time you want to do something like this, don't! There, I've got the laces undone. Let's see if we can get your foot out. Easy does it…. Careful…There, it's out. Okay, gimme your arm and I'll help you hop over to the side."

"Thanks. Ow."

"Okay, sit here a minute and I'll get a towel out."

"Fine. Any chance of retrieving my boot? I don't want to walk back in my sock."

"Here, take this towel and start drying off. I'll go check on your boot, but I think it's a goner. It was wedged in pretty tight. I'm kinda surprised we could get your foot out of it."

"Any luck, Sandburg?"

"No, the boot isn't shifting. You're gonna have to say goodbye to that one. Sorry."

"Oh great. Nothing like a romp through the woods with only a sock on one foot."

"Let's get you out of those wet clothes."

"I am not taking my clothes off."

"It's alright, we can dry them on the rocks."

"I said I am NOT taking my clothes off!"

"Well I am sure we have something in the back pack that can keep you warm."

"Sandburg! It is NOT cold and I will soon be dry in the sun!"

"I am sure I can find some plants round here, to stop you catching a cold."

"SANDBURG! I. Am. Fine!"

"Are you sure you're okay? You sound very grouchy. Maybe I ought to find something, just to be on the safe side. I am sure I saw some Jimuswinderupper berries with amazing healing properties."

"Jimuswinderupper berries?"

"Yeah! They're real easy to find…"

"Sandburg!!" Laughter.

"Hey, you're sounding less grouchy already. See, they're really are good, aren't they?"

"Yeah, Chief, really good."

"So, how's the foot?"

"I think the big toe is broken."

"Hmm, it's swelling as well. Probably ought to dip your foot into the river, it should be cold enough to keep the swelling down."

"I'll be okay."

"Jim, if it was me, you'd have had me in the water by now!"

"Okay, okay! See, I'm taking my sock off. Can you help me up and over to the river?"

"Sure, man, no problem."

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Part Six

"I think I've cooled my foot long enough, Sandburg. Pass me a towel and a dry sock, oh, and a bandage from the first aid kit. I'll strap my big toe to the toe next to it. Don't know if it'll help, but it's worth a try."

"Here ya go, man. How far are we from a road?"

"About 2 miles. The nearest town is several miles away, but the road looks like a reasonably busy one, so we should hopefully be able to hitch a lift."

"That would be good. Even 2 miles sounds a long way when you're gonna have to hop."

"Should have brought a spare pair of boots."

"Doubt you'd get your foot into one anyway, the way it's swollen."

"True."

"Well, I guess we'd better get a move one. The sooner we start, the sooner we can get you to a clinic or hospital."

"I don't think that will be necessary."

"Hey, they might be able to do something to help. And I'm not gonna take no for an answer!"

"We'll see when we get to civilisation."

"Oh, we'll see, alright. Come on, hop-a-long, put your arm round my shoulder."

"Ha, ha, very funny Chief!"

"I'll just call you Hoppity, then, after the rabbit I had when I was a kid."

Growl.

"So not scary, man!"

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Part Seven

"That was kind of Cindy to give us a lift. Good job you had your police ID on you as well. Hey, did you get her phone number?"

"Yeah."

"Jim?"

"What?"

"You gonna give me it?"

"Sure. Table leg."

"Am not!"

"Are too! Only you can get a lift from a lone woman in the middle of nowhere."

"Well, when you've got it, you've got it."

"Yeah, well, keep it to yourself!"

"Funny, man. So, I take it we're not going to walk any further, then?"

"Only as far as the local motel. Then we'll see about rearranging our travel plans and head back to Cascade early."

"Yeah. Um, about that, Jim; when we get back to Cascade, let's keep a low profile and not tell anyone that we're back. We'll never hear the end of it from Simon and the guys otherwise."

"Gonna be hard to hide a broken toe, don't you think?"

"Yeah, but we could always say you did it on the way to the airport or something."

"Wouldn't that be lying, Chief?"

"No man, just a little obfuscation."

"Um hm? Well, I'm not going to lie, sorry, obfuscate to my friends."

"Okay, okay. Man, we're never going to hear the end of this. I can hear Henri now with some comment about the agony of de feet."

Groan. "Oh that's bad, Chief, real bad."

The End

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