Slings and Arrows

Written by Spinner

Frank Pembleton's voice rose up through the bowels of the station house even before he and Tim entered the squad room.

"--seen someone act that unprofessionally at a scene in all my life!"

"Oh, man," Lewis said. "He sounds pissed!"

"Uh oh," Kellerman said, ducking down in his seat a little. Munch began to grin brightly, sitting up straighter in his chair. Kay came through the archway at the coffee room, smiling to herself.

"Frank's on another tear, hm?" she commented calmly.

Pembleton burst into the squad room through the door by the Aquarium and right next to his desk. The door swung back and nearly caught Bayliss in the face.

"It was a slip of the tongue, Frank! I apologized like a MILLION times already. What do you want from me?" Tim shouted, trying to match Frank's volume and falling short. "I'm only HUMAN!"

"You put your personal feelings aside; that's what I want from you. That's what I would expect, and RECEIVE, from any other officer or detective, goddamn it!"

"That'll be twenty five cents please," Munch said, scooping the cuss jar off the corner of Meldrick's desk. He cautiously stepped between Tim and Frank and rattled the change inside the mason jar around.

"Frank, there's no way you didn't find that distracting," Tim said.

"I don't care if she puts on pasties and starts doing a lap dance, you've got to keep your mind on your work," Frank snapped. "You are not going back with me when I interview her again."

"You're cutting me out of the case?" Tim gasped, appalled.

"You're lucky I don't--- "

"You can't tell me you didn't notice!" Tim hollered, interrupting him.

"Of course I NOTICED!" Frank shouted back, dropping a quarter into the container, then adding another. "You damned well should know by now that you have to maintain your professionalism no matter the situation or circumstances."

"FRANK!" Tim defended miserably. "I TRIED!"

"I don't wanna hear it," Frank dismissed him with a wave of his hand.

"What did you do this time?" Kay asked Tim from the archway of the coffee room.

"We're at the scene, right?" Tim said, talking with his hands moving constantly.

"Right?" Munch said.

"Our main witness at the scene is the dead guy's wife, girlfriend, tart of the month whatever," Tim said. "She was drop-dead gorgeous. You should have seen her."

"Oh," Lewis said, nodding. "You were picking up on the bereaved widow, weren't you? Have you no shame,Timmy?"

"No, Meldrick, I was NOT," Tim insisted. "She's standing there, hardly shedding a tear. All she's worried about is that she has to get ready for work. And she starts taking off her clothes!"

"What?" Mike asked, blue eyes sparkling.

"Yeah, that's right. She started taking off her fucking clothes there in front of Frank and me!" Tim exclaimed. Munch rattled the jar. Tim dug in his pocket and scooped out the contents. He dropped two dimes, a few pennies, and a hunk of pocket lint in as well.

"You neanderthal!" Frank spat. "How can you be that goddamned stupid!? That was a ploy to distract us from asking her questions, and it sure as hell worked on you, didn't it?" Frank shouted, taking off his coat and throwing it over the back of his chair. Munch edged the jar at him, and Frank put in two quarters. "Shit, Tim! She knew exactly what she was doing, and that she was getting to you! Why do you think she kept SMILING at you like THAT!? Batting those big blue eyes?! You're so fucking transparent!"

"Oh! Oh! Fuck you, Frank! One slip of the tongue, and you're ready to have me flogged!"

Tim took a dollar out of his wallet and slid it into the jar when John shook it at him.

" 'We'll do our BREAST to solve this case for you'!?!" Frank shouted. "Maybe if you could have taken your eyes off her tits for ten seconds, you might have registered the fact she couldn't have cared less about the guy's death!"

"I noticed, Frank. I NOTICED!"

"She's getting ready for work, and the man hasn't been dead for two hours. Doesn't that strike you as a bit peculiar?"

"Damn it, Frank. I was paying attention."

"Were you? Really? I couldn't tell. You were standing there openly drooling over our prime suspect, and you have no excuse for such juvenile, immature, and rookie actions at a crime scene! You didn't see me acting like a school boy who'd never seen a naked woman before!" Frank screamed, getting louder and louder. Kellerman covered his ears. Tim was becoming scarlet.

"That's what this is about, isn't it?" Tim whispered.

"What?" Frank seethed. Tim began to smile.

"We all aren't as contained as you, Frank. I'm sorry I'm not perfect like you, okay? Why don't I just gouge my eyes out or get myself chemically fixed, and then it won't matter when a luscious piece of tail like that starts taking her clothes off in front of-- "

"This is NOT about me! Don't you dare MAKE this about ME!" Frank warned.

"-- me!" Tim snapped at the same time, continuing on when Frank fell quiet. "Would that make you happy, Frank? Why don't I get myself neutered? Then I won't be the least bit distracted! Frank Pembleton--Mr. Perfect! Mr. Unemotional! Mr.--- "

"Don't make this personal," Frank growled. "You don't want me to get ugly."

"Fuck you, Frank," Tim bit off the words.

"Maybe if you didn't think with you dick so much, you wouldn't be so uncontained, Tim. Maybe you need to learn a little discipline!" Frank replied hotly.

"Uh oh," Meldrick said, ducking down a little as Tim visibly flared up from head to toe.

"Is that so?" Tim whispered in a little voice that crackled with anger.

"Yeah," Frank said arrogantly before turning his back. Tim yanked off his coat. He took out his wallet, and put a twenty dollar bill in the cuss jar.

"Oh shit," Meldrick gasped. Tim took a deep breath and walked out into the Aquarium.

"Where's he going?" Mike wondered.

Pembleton glanced over his right shoulder as the other three guys and Kay rolled in screams of laughter. Then Frank turned back around to the window of the Aquarium.

Bayliss had dropped his pants and boxers, and was flashing Frank a very round full moon in the window. After about ten seconds, Tim pulled up his clothes, flipped Frank off, and walked out smiling.

"Oh! That's great!" Frank shouted, shooting up out of his chair and pounding on the window. "REALLY MATURE, TIM! THAT DOES NOT QUALIFY AS THE LAST WORD ON THIS! YOU COME BACK HERE! RIGHT NOW!!"

"Frank, that should qualify as a last word," John put in, patting Frank's shoulder and walking away laughing still.

"This isn't over, Tim Bayliss! You come back here!" Frank hollered, pounding on the window again.

Pembleton scowled at Mike and Meldrick to get them to stop giggling. Kay went to her desk, shimmering with amusement.

"Let it go, Frank," she advised.

"Yes, Frank, let it go," Gee said from his office, where he had been silently standing in the doorway for who knows how long. "Round up Tim, come into my office, and discuss this calmly with me instead of making a spectacle of yourselves in front of the rest of your workmates."

Reluctantly, Frank stepped away from his desk and went in search of Tim. As he stepped out into the Aquarium, he could hear Gee mutter something deeply, too softly to carry through the glass. Mike and Meldrick erupted into chuckling again, and Kay put her head down on her desk, quivering with laughter. Munch set the cuss jar on Meldrick's desk and returned to his own desk, grinning broadly.