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.

Knit one, purloin

by Shedoc

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'This is nuts' I tell myself as I photocopy the pages from the bright green velvet bag. I take a quick note of the contents and put everything back, dropping the bag on the table before Jim and Simon can catch me fiddling with the evidence.

We finally catch the guy who plans all those robberies - getting into major security and out again with millions of dollars worth of goods.

Jim and Simon have him penned in his apartment. They read him his rights and Simon hits him with the 'you'd better tell me the truth or I'll barbecue you' glare and asks the question.

"Where's the next target?"

Because we know, you see, that he plans the heists and someone more athletic carries them out. Our suspect is a heavy weight and not because he works out.

So the guy points at the neon green velvet bag - so bright it hurts my eyes to look at, even though I don't have Jim's eyesight - and grins at the two very pissed off cops.

"Figure it out for yourself," he sneers and Simon yanks him out of there.

Inside is a bundle of wool, two needles and a knitting pattern. Jim's instincts tell him there may be some kind of code or something in there so he brings it along, but after an hour going over it, all they can find is knitting instructions. They throw the bag on Jim's desk and go down to interrogation to have another go at the infuriatingly smug mastermind.

I scribble a quick lie down on a piece of paper and tape it to Jim's screen, then hurry out with my photocopy. A quick stop at the mall and I'm down in the basement, going through Jim's storage space for the box that has the stuff that I never unpacked; knowing for a fact that Jim would throw the stuff out the balcony window in a week.

I settle the bag over my arm and read the instructions as I walk back to the bus stop. It takes thirty minutes by bus from the loft to the station, because I have to go to the interchange. That gives me time to finish casting on and a good start on the main border. When I was thirteen the old lady next door taught me to knit - we used to walk along the village streets, talking and knitting. Naomi has a picture of it somewhere.

However, the sound of the needles and wool got on my roommate's nerves at college and I stopped knitting. I figured the sound would get on Jim's nerves too - after all he's a Sentinel and therefore that much more sensitive. I'm not embarrassed to be seen knitting by the men in the bullpen - it keeps my hands busy while I talk to them about everyday stuff that we hardly ever get to discuss. The weather, the last Jags game, the latest exploits of children or partners.

All through it my fingers fly in familiar activity and I glance at the pattern lying on the desk next to me. After a while, I think they forget what I'm doing - accept it in that cop way they have of ignoring any behavior that would be considered eccentric by outsiders.

Jim and Simon storm back from their third crack at our thief and slam into Simon's office with the neon green bag for another go at the knitting pattern. They don't even notice me.

It's getting on for midnight when they emerge and Jim catches sight of me sitting in my usual spot at his computer, though the screen hides my hands from his sight.

"Sandburg!" he calls, "We're going to make a dinner run - come on!"

I get up and follow him out and down the stairs, not missing a beat as I knit and purl through the pattern. It's not until we're in the truck he realizes my hands are busy and the look on his face is priceless. I wish I had a camera to record it, but even if I did I'd have to put the knitting aside to take the picture.

"Where the hell!" he explodes and I frown at him before he can get started on messing with evidence.

"Calm down - I copied the pattern and brought my own gear. I'm nearly finished, then you can have it," I look down at the multi-coloured thing in my hands and wonder what the pattern will say - I've been too busy knitting quickly to absorb what I'm doing - not the way I like to knit, but this is an emergency.

He clenches his jaw - one day he's gonna fracture his molars - and starts driving. I watch the road too, glancing occasionally at the pattern as we drive. We go through the drive through at Wonder Burger and I brace the bags of burgers between my feet. Jim has to fish them out before heading back up in the lift, I follow behind with my knitting. The bag is getting heavy now, but I'm almost at the end so I leave it hanging from the crook of my arm.

Jim goes into the break room and I sit back at his desk, plopping my bag in my lap and putting my feet up to get comfortable. I've got another ten rows to go and then the final border - it should take me a couple of hours max.

Simon comes out of the break room to stare at me and then goes back in, shaking his head. I can guess what he's saying and grin to myself - not at all offended.

Oddly enough I'm enjoying this - knitting is soothing and allows me time to think. I once dictated a forty-page assignment while knitting - then had to type it out afterwards, listening to tape after tape of mumbling interspersed with knitting instructions.

I finish the last stitch and cast off, trim it up and drop everything into the bag. Simon and Jim are in Simon's office now and I knock as I enter. I pull the large square out and spread it over the conference table.

It's a detailed schematic and set of instructions. Simon cheers, slaps me on the back real hard and grabs the square to go taunt our mastermind. Jim gives me an unreadable look and follows.

Some judicious changes to the pattern and we set up a sweet little sting. Bad guys get caught and everyone's happy. I get a little ribbing in the bullpen about my knitting, and everyone goes home for a much-needed rest.

End of story, I think and return my gear to storage. Life goes on as usual and I rapidly forget the whole thing.

A fortnight later I come home late and find my bag sitting on the kitchen table. There's a pattern inside for a thick cable knit jumper in natural tones, with Jim's size circled. He's brought all the wool I'll need and tagged a little note around the needles.

Would you mind? No rush.

I grin and read through the pattern - it's one I've made before. I wonder if Jim knows how soothing I find it to knit and then mentally kick myself.

The guy who can smell a lie at one hundred yards would have picked up on knittings affect on me. Maybe he's trying to find a way to zone me out in revenge for all the zones he's had to endure.

Or maybe it's his way of accepting my many strange habits and me. Whatever it is the jumper will be ready in a fortnight at the most. I sit down and get started.

End

Authors note: I cannot knit - it's a physical impossibility. My deepest respect to those of you who can. I do know someone who knits as they walk and work - this is dedicated to them. J

Comments, criticism, suggestions? Please e-mail Shedoc.