Be It Resolved - New Year's Ficlet
Written for the Sentinel Thursday prompt of 'Five Resolutions'
Content: Gen ficlet of 2260 words, warning for language (mild)
Story Notes: Post TSbyBS; Kindly beta'd by Starwatcher on short notice.
Be It Resolved That…
"Oh, no." The tone was emphatic. "I don't do resolutions." Jim turned restlessly in his chair at the table, not enjoying the direction this relaxed conversation was now taking.
"Jim, man, the Grinch thing belongs to Christmas, not New Year's. Now be a good sport, and get with the theme of the day. It's January first, the time for resolutions over lunch with good friends, as we all nurse our hangovers." Blair gestured at their guests, who were looking decidedly wary at having an irritated Jim Ellison in their midst.
"What hangover? You only had cider last night." Jim was grateful for any change of topic and pursued this one as if it were a lifeline.
"If you hadn't been downing all those beers, you'd have seen the Irish Coffee I drank. But, as the designated driver, I kept it light."
"Was I that drunk, Chief? As I recall, you didn't drive us home last night." Jim smirked, knowing what was coming. Three, two, one and …
"I didn't drive because I couldn't start the damn thing. And you weren't so drunk that you don't remember that! You just like humiliating my car."
…we have lift-off! Jim began pondering possible resolutions, since he knew he'd be giving in sooner or later. As penance, at the very least.
Simon laughed while Joel attempted to make some sense out of the dialogue. "Blair, how can your car be humiliated? It's not like it knows Jim insults it."
"Well, how would you like it if people insulted your, uhm, say your tie?"
"What's wrong with my tie?"
Simon laughed louder and helped himself to more coffee. "Okay fellas. Let's do the resolutions because this conversation is rapidly deteriorating for lack of them. But since Jim is understandably reluctant to make resolutions, him being so perfect and all, let‘s go about it another way." He paused for effect and to allow the echoes of Joel and Blair's laughter to subside. Jim maintained an affronted silence.
"Thank you, gentlemen. Now, I strongly suggest that each of us make five resolutions for another person here. We can pick names out of a hat to be fair about it."
Jim found his voice. "Simon, that has to be the dumbest way to go about making resolutions that I have ever heard!"
"That's how my Momma had us do it when I was a kid. You dissing my Momma, Jim?" Simon hid his amusement as Jim spluttered his denials. Like shooting fish in a barrel. "Fine. Blair, get a hat or bowl or something, and four slips of paper with our names on them."
Blair swiftly collected his winter hat, complete with earflaps, figuring that would at least provoke some spark of amusement on Jim's part. It didn't. He then gave each man a paper and pen so resolutions could be drafted for each proposed 'victim'.
Jim tried one more time. "You know, our working relationships may suffer because of this little exercise."
"Duly noted. You pick first." Simon extended the hat towards his prickly friend before offering the remaining slips to the rest of the loft's occupants. Glancing at the name written on his own selection, he then set pen to paper. After ten minutes, everyone appeared to be finished, and even Jim was grinning.
Blair wasn't sure that was a positive sign, but took the plunge anyway. "Okay, I'll go first. Joel, you are one of the greatest guys I know, so it was hard to come up with resolutions for you. But, maybe some of these will help you out a bit too. First, you've made incredible strides in your health with weight loss, so I suggest you start to work out occasionally with me and Jim at the gym." A glance reassured him that the suggestion was well taken.
"Next, you're a Captain and are pretty involved with other cops at the station, even on unofficial levels. I suggest you start doing your own work in the mornings and wait until the afternoons to help everybody else who needs you. Then you might be able to put in less overtime. The people you volunteer to assist are sure to want to stop at a reasonable hour."
A meaningful glance at his buddies conveyed the clear message that they ought to warn others not to continue taking advantage of Joel's amiable disposition. Nods all around indicated the popularity of Blair's second recommendation.
"Third, you should stop contributing to the ‘Blair text book fund' by folding when you hold some winning hands at the poker table. I'm financially stable now, thank you."
"How the heck did you know about that? I mean that really wasn't the case…" Joel rose to bring his own empty coffee cup to the kitchen sink simply to avoid eye contact with the others.
"I started noticing how you often won big, right after I was dealt out of a game to cook or leave early, whatever."
Simon snorted. "You mean when Ellison would send you to bed because you were about to fall asleep over your cards."
Blair contented himself with a dirty look in Banks' direction before turning back to Joel, now retaking his seat at the table. "Anyway, I appreciated it, just in case it actually happened, you understand." He winked at his frequent advisor and sometimes benefactor, who looked away in embarrassment.
"Fourth," Blair continued, "your generosity in providing us at the PD with comfort foods during tough meetings ought to take a slightly healthier turn than doughnuts."
A special, air delivery of crumpled napkins met Blair's face as Jim and Simon objected to that resolution. Joel just groaned. "Hey, you trying to get me killed, Blair? I'm not handing out carrot sticks to a room full of cops. Much more dangerous than diffusing bombs, take my word for it!"
Blair chuckled and retrieved the paper missiles from the floor. "Okay, since you all insist, resolution number four is scrapped. But I still say you could at least try some banana-nut or blueberry muffins." When studied silence met this suggestion, he forged ahead.
"Lastly, you ought to ask for the assignments you like most at work, not just the ones no one else wants to do. A little more of pleasing the self, doesn't make a body 'selfish'."
"Amen," Simon chimed in meaningfully. "Sorry if I haven't kept a closer eye on that, but I will in future. Well done, Blair. Joel, why don't you go next?"
"Okay, but I want some assurances that Jim's service weapon isn't in reach here."
"Oh, God." Jim shook his head, but knew Joel was the best man for the job of making his resolutions. Joel was a good friend.
"First," Joel began, "Jim needs to make at least one, social-type comment to anyone who stops by to chat with him. No freezing them out with that stare."
Should've realized he‘d take this seriously! "I like to work at work. Tell him, Simon, that the less socializing the better, right? You don't want me wasting time on the job."
"No, you already do enough of that with Sandburg. Stop laughing Blair; I'm making your resolutions, you know. It's about your interactions with the auxiliary staff. They may no longer be afraid of you, but many of them still exhibit more reserve than is good for a team. Good choice there, Joel."
"Thanks, Simon." Joel looked relieved.
Jim scowled, but didn't have the heart to ream out someone as good-natured as Joel. I'm getting soft. "Okay, what's next on your list?"
"Jim will work faster at his reports instead of dawdling so someone else, who shall remain nameless, completes them."
Even Jim broke up at that. "Okay, busted. Next?"
"Jim will take more personal time for himself instead of losing some of it at the end of the year. Spreading out the breaks across more of the year would be good for him."
Another grudging nod was directed at Joel. "Fine, I can live with that."
Joel cast an amused glance at Blair before setting off on his next sojourn into Jim's business. "Next, Jim will admit to his very special abilities…" Joel paused for effect and was gratified at the result. Three appalled looks greeted his mischievous smile. Point made, he mercifully resumed his statement, "…exercised in the service of local high school boys who need some direction."
"Shit! Joel, how did you know about that?" At least it isn't about the senses, but how the hell did he find out about the volunteer work?
"I happen to be a detective, Detective. Got a badge to prove it and it didn't come out of a cereal box."
"I want the name and address of your source, Captain Taggart." Jim's attempt to have that demand sound as if he were joking fell distinctly flat.
"Nope. That might contribute to a rise in the murder rate for our fair city." Joel grinned, quite proud of himself. It wasn't easy to shock Ellison, for reasons best not spoken aloud.
"Don't look at me! I didn't even know." Blair looked dazed at the success of Jim's deception.
Simon's brows climbed. "Okay, Jim. Fill us in so we can gossip about you over the water cooler with something more than complaints about your attitude."
Disgruntled, Jim helped himself to the last sliver of pie left on the table. It was small consolation. "Don't you people have anything better to do than talk about me?"
Blair nodded. "Sure, but you're much more fun to discuss than little things like war, pestilence and wild orgies. Well, maybe not the orgies. Ouch! Joel, I want a resolution added to your list that Jim'll stop beating me."
"Fair enough. Jim, you will cut down on the frequency with which you pound on your partner."
"How about simply stopping?" Blair demanded.
Jim answered that himself. "Because one should never resolve to do the impossible. Am I off the hook now for resolutions?"
Smarting somewhat over the well-kept secret of his friend's volunteer work, Blair rose to move out of reach before replying to that question. "Well, Joel didn't suggest we start working on your memory problems."
Jim looked confused. "What memory problems?"
"See what I mean?"
Jim stood abruptly and began stalking his roommate.
Blair backed up slowly, laughing. "And you all know how he calls me and other people, 'Chief''? A hip bumped the end of a couch and Blair winced, changed direction. "Well, that's because he can't remember names for shit!" The reckless joker raised his hands and made a cross out of two index fingers. "Back, I say. Keep back!"
"You have to sleep sometime, Junior." Ellison caught his tormentor and administered the required noogie. "First of the year," he admonished. "Just to remind you to watch your step!"
Simon cleared his throat. "I'm next and my vic… uhm, subject, is one Blair Sandburg so both of you sit back down. Thank you. Blair, you will resolve to move at something less than the speed of light around the office. My budget won't stand for all the broken bric-a-brac."
Blair solemnly made his promise, still rubbing his head.
"Second, you will remember to disconnect the hose between your car and the gasoline tank, BEFORE you drive away from the gas station."
"You TOLD." Blair's finger pointed accusingly at his partner.
"No, I swear."
Simon broke up the impending altercation. "I was actually a witness, pulling into the station as you were pulling out."
"I was attending the academy at that time and was running late, after dropping Jim off at the station. His truck was in the shop, probably getting bullet holes plugged or something." Equanimity restored, Blair threw the teasing back at Jim.
Simon moved on to his next line. "Coming out of the men's room, you will check for paper."
Blair blushed, recalling last week's trail of toilet tissue dragging behind him from its point of attachment to his heel. "I can get behind that one."
"Actually, I think it got behind you. And next, 'Blair will buy sweaters of some thickness and make do with no more than three layers of upper body wear at a time'."
"I told you those shirts were all layered because my warm coat was being cleaned!"
"I rest my case. Get some sweaters, kid. The Bullpen isn't a Fortune Five Hundred corporation, but we do have some standards."
Jim ended the dialogue handily. "No problem, Simon. I bought him a bunch of sweaters for Christmas."
Blair sighed. "Are we done with me yet?"
"Not yet. Last, but not least, Blair promises to continue his education in all things related to life for the continued benefit of his friends and colleagues." Simon watched his young friend think that one over, looking for the catch. He saw the moment in which Blair realized he wasn't being teased and said, just in time, "Ah! No hugging!"
Blair managed to plant one on his forehead as he rose and circled the table in his delight with the appreciative comment. Getting a 'thank you' out of Simon Banks was even harder than getting one from Jim. "You've got it, man. Thanks."
Simon turned to Jim, wearing one of his most dangerous looks. "Now, Ellison, what are my resolutions going to be?"
Jim smiled, teeth bared in acceptance of that challenge. He made a show of studying his paper carefully and turned to his audience. "Simon Banks has no resolutions to make for this New Year. He is perfect, just as he is."
"I knew you were capable of sound judgment there, Jim."
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