by Kimberly

©November, 2001

The break room of the Los Angeles Police Department's Central Division was a busy place. Several officers were seated around tables eating lunch or blowing on cups of too hot coffee.

Officer Jim Reed watched his partner Pete Malloy toss a can of half-eaten beef stew into the trash. "Whatza matter, Pete, aren't you hungry?"

Pete suppressed a small burp before answering. "Not really. It tasted like a tin can. I think I've got a little case of heartburn or something."

Jim nodded and turned to listen to another one of Ed Wells' unbelievable but entertaining stories.

Ed's story was interrupted by a ringing telephone. "Hey Reed, you got a phone call. I think it's your wife," Bob Brinkman managed between bites of a huge sandwich he was working on.

"Thanks, Brink." Jim picked up the receiver and pressed the button, "Officer Reed."

"Hi, honey, it's me," Jean Reed said. "Are you busy?"

Jim looked around at the room full of fellow officers. "Well of course I'm busy. You don't think we just sit around drinking coffee and gossiping all day, do you?" he joked.

"I wouldn't put anything past you guys. Listen, I just thought of something. Ask Pete what he's doing tomorrow. It's Thanksgiving and he doesn't have any family in town. Invite him to eat with us."

"Good idea. Hold on a sec." Jim covered the phone's mouthpiece with his hand. He turned to Pete. "Pete, Jean wants you to come to Thanksgiving dinner at our place tomorrow, if you don't have other plans."

"Oh don't worry about me. I'll just find something in my fridge. But, thanks anyway." Pete waved Jim off.

Jim spoke into the phone again, "Jean, he said thanks, but no thanks."

"Oh for heaven's sake, Jim, put him on the phone."

"Here, Pete." Jim extended the phone to Pete. "She wants to talk to you."

Pete rolled his eyes at his partner and took the phone. "Hello."

"Pete, it's Jean and unless you have other plans I'll see you at our house at noon tomorrow," Jean Reed spoke without compromise.

"Jean, that's sweet of you. But, really, you don't need to worry about me. You and Jim and Jimmy should spend Thanksgiving together. It's kind of a family holiday."

"Exactly!" Jean forged on, "Pete, you are family. I won't take no for an answer. It's all settled. Noon tomorrow. Got it?"

"Yes, ma'am." Pete threw an exaggerated salute and winked at Jim. "I'll see you tomorrow. Thanks, Jean. Goodbye." Pete replaced the receiver back on its cradle.

"Hey, Pete, how much longer are you and Jim going to be on 7?" Sergeant MacDonald said from in the doorway.

"Just finishing up, Mac. Why? What's up?"

"A call just came in from a lady on Garden Cove Road. She discovered some of her jewelry missing earlier today. Can you cover it?"

"Yeah. We'll stop by the desk and get the address. Let's go, Jim." Pete jerked his head toward the door.

"Wow! Garden Cove. Those are some pretty ritzy homes," Jim commented as they stopped at the front desk and then continued on to their patrol car.

"Well, let's just say if you plan to move there and keep drawing a cop's salary, Jean needs to be bringing in a hefty second income," Pete said as he slid behind the wheel of Adam-12.

"Yeah," Jim agreed. "I guess we'll just stay where we are."

Pete turned the car onto the tree-lined drive. He blew out a long low whistle. "Not too shabby," he declared as they first caught sight of the majestic three story home.

"I'll say." Jim craned his neck to get a better view of the house and surrounding outbuildings. "This is some spread."

"Uh-huh. Just make sure your shoes are clean and don't do anything to embarrass me," Pete joked as they stepped up on the porch and rang the bell.

"Good afternoon, officers." A man in his early sixties opened the door. "I'm Huntington Sheffield III. Please step in." He opened the door wider as the two officers entered the immaculate home. "May I present my wife, Dorothy."

"Hello. I'm Officer Malloy. This is my partner, Officer Reed." Pete gestured toward Jim.

Jim nodded and pulled his notebook from his breast pocket. "You have some jewelry missing?" He directed the questioned at Mr. Sheffield.

"Yes. Dottie and I are going out this evening. She planned to wear her ruby broach, but when she went to get it from her jewelry box it was gone."

"Is that the only piece missing?" Jim asked as he jotted down notes.

"Oh my no," Dorothy Sheffield shook her head. "Its all gone. Every piece of jewelry that I kept in that box is gone." She looked as if she might cry.

Huntington Sheffield patted his wife's shoulder. "There, there dear. These officers are here to help."

"Yes, ma'am. We are." Pete took a step closer to the Sheffields. "Could you tell us approximately how much jewelry we're talking about?"

Dorothy Sheffield gained control of her emotions and quickly recited an inventory. "Several diamond rings, four emerald necklaces, two sapphire bracelets, various pendants and broaches, not a rhinestone among them, and a diamond tiara. Our daughter has won several beauty pageants. I'd estimate the dollar value at several thousand. Perhaps close to one hundred thousand. Would you agree, Hunt, dear?" She looked at her husband.

He nodded and continued to pat his wife.

"And of course, the sentimental value is priceless," Mrs. Sheffield added.

"Of course," Jim agreed. "Now, please tell us what happened today up to the point where you noticed the items missing."

"Now let me think. Hunt left early this morning to play a round of golf. I had my bridge club over for brunch. The weather was so nice we ate in the garden out by the pool. No one from my bridge club came inside the house. After everyone left I went upstairs and that's when I found the empty jewelry box."

"When did you last see your jewelry?" Jim looked up from his note pad.

"Last night. We went to dinner. I wore a bracelet. I put it in the box when we came in. Everything was there."

"Mr. Sheffield, do you employ domestic help?" Pete asked.

"We have a girl that comes and cleans twice a week. But she's out of state, visiting relatives for the holiday. We have a cook that we hired about six months ago. He prepared the brunch for my wife."

"Could he have taken the jewels?" Jim asked.

"Well, I suppose its possible, but we've never had any reason to suspect Reggie. He's a tad eccentric but a wonderful cook."

"Actually, dear," Dorothy Sheffield interrupted her husband, "I don't see how it would be possible. Reggie's car was parked in the drive near where we were eating. I don't believe he could have walked past us with that much jewelry without being noticed." She turned to Pete, "Reggie wears the traditional chef's hat and jacket when he works, but he changes before he leaves. He was wearing a long sleeved shirt and blue jeans when he left. No, I think he would have been a little conspicuous wearing a diamond tiara." Mrs. Sheffield smiled slightly and continued, "He did the brunch and also set out the turkey to thaw for tomorrow. The house has a small room off the kitchen with an outside entrance. Reggie has a key to that door. He's coming in very early in the morning to put the turkey in the oven. I'll be preparing all the other food. Thanksgiving is the one time of year I enjoy cooking for my family."

"We'll need to take a look around. Could you show us the jewelry box?" Jim asked.

"Yes. I left it on the bed upstairs. This way, please." Dorothy Sheffield motioned toward the winding staircase ascending to the second floor. The three men followed. "It's there on the bed." Mrs. Sheffield pointed. "Feel free to look around. We have something to attend to downstairs, if you'll excuse us." The Sheffields exited, leaving Pete and Jim to investigate.

Jim walked over and peered into the jewelry box. "It's empty, all right."

"Let's leave it for now. We may need to have it dusted for prints later. But I just have a hinky feeling about that cook. Let's look around," Pete suggested.

"Man, this house is huge. He could have hidden the loot anywhere. Any ideas for narrowing the search?" Jim asked.

"Yeah. Let's start with where the cook would most likely be - kitchen area, food pantry, those type places," Pete said as they descended the stairs. "I'll take a look around the kitchen. You check that small room off the kitchen," Pete directed.

"Right," Jim nodded and headed out. The room, though small, was well equipped. Jim looked through several cabinets, inside and behind an upright freezer and even stood on a chair and felt inside a light fixture. Nothing. He stepped down off the chair and decided to join Pete in the kitchen. He walked past the sink and counter that held the frozen bird that would be the guest of honor at the Sheffield's Thanksgiving table. Just out of curiosity, Jim poked the turkey to see how much it had thawed. The still-frozen turkey toppled over on its side. Jim stared in amazement as a diamond ring, which Jim would later describe as having a rock the size of his fist, rolled out of the turkey carcass and landed with a plink on the floor. "Whoa!" Jim exclaimed. He picked up the turkey and looked inside. The sunlight from a window caught the bird at just the right angle. A blinding light of dazzling brilliance shone from inside the poultry. Jim turned the turkey on end and shook it. A beautiful array of glistening jewels cascaded from the frozen bird and into the pan. "Hey, Pete, I've got something in here," Jim called.

Pete Malloy hurried to join his partner. He entered the small room and instantly noticed the pan filled with the large shiny bobbles. "Nice find, partner. Where were they?"

"In there." Jim pointed.

"Just laying in that pan?" Pete asked.

"No. In there." Jim pointed directly inside the stuffing end of the turkey.

"You've gotta be jokin'."

"No, Pete." Jim's grin shone almost as brightly as the jewels he had just discovered.

The two officers quickly found the Sheffields and told them of their discovery. "If you'll get us your cook's address we'll see if we can stop by and pick him up."

"What will you charge him with? He didn't actually take anything from the house." Mr. Sheffield asked.

"We can charge him with attempted theft, even though he didn't succeed. There's more than enough evidence to support the charge," Pete explained.

"But what about the tiara? That's missing," Dorothy Sheffield was quick to point out.

"I'll be right back," Jim threw over his shoulder as he sprinted up the stairs to the bedroom. He returned quickly with the tiara.

"Where on earth did you find it?" Huntington Sheffield questioned.

"Under the bed. Officer Malloy and I came straight down here to search. We didn't look upstairs. I think your cook cooked up a plan to hide the jewels and carry them out in the morning when he came to bake the turkey. He knew the tiara wouldn't fit in the turkey but in his haste to get the jewels downstairs and hidden without being discovered by you or some member of your bridge club he just shoved the tiara up under the bed. I'd say his goose is cooked," Jim quipped as he handed Mrs. Sheffield the tiara.

Huntington Sheffield walked over to a small phone table setting in the foyer. He wrote the cook's name and address on a sheet of paper and handed it to Pete. "Well, officers, we certainly appreciate your excellent detective work. I assume once you show up on Mr. Reginald Abernathy's doorstep, he'll figure out that his services are no longer required."

"And I shall prepare the turkey myself," Dorothy Sheffield declared. "Thank you again, gentlemen and happy Thanksgiving," she called as the two officers walked to their car.

"Now that's one for the books," Pete said as he drove away from the Sheffield estate.

"You're right. I bet even Wells won't be able to top this one. Hey, Pete, look at that." Jim pointed to the side of the road.

Pete slowed the unit and looked out the window. A little boy paced back and forth as he peered over the side of the road down a steep ravine. Pete brought the car to a stop.

"Hi there. Whatcha lookin' at, buddy?" Jim walked over to the boy.

"It's my puppy. He got away from me and went over the side. Now he's scared and I can't get him to climb back up."

Jim and Pete looked down and spotted a small brown dog walking around on a rocky area below.

"Can you get him for me?" The small child sniffed back his tears.

"I don't know about that, son," Pete tried to assess the situation. "What's your name?"

"Billy Green. I live over there." The boy pointed to a house across the street.

"How old are you, Billy?" Jim questioned.


Jim looked over the side again. "You know Pete, I bet I could take that rope we've got in the trunk and tie it to the guardrail and rappel down there and get him. It's only about a ten foot drop."

"Jim, have you got a screw loose? It's more like twenty or twenty-five feet. Besides what are you going to do with the dog while you climb back up? I don't think he'll just hold on. I say we radio for animal control and let them handle it."

"Animal control? Ah, come on Pete, have a heart." Jim shot a glance at the little boy then back at Pete. "I've got my jacket in the backseat. I'll wear it down and zip the puppy up in. He hurried to the car for the jacket and rope.

"Reed!" The little boy tugging on his arm weakened Pete's authoritative bark.

"Please get him for me. Please!" Billy Green pleaded.

Jim secured the rope to the guardrail. "What's your dog's name, Billy?"

"Pete," the seven year old answered innocently.

Jim's eyes danced as he looked at Pete. "Now come on, Pete. You know we can't leave your little namesake stranded down there. After all, it's a holiday."

"That mutt is not my namesake." Pete looked at the whimpering puppy and then at the boy. The child's lip quivered slightly. Pete took another look down the deep ravine. It really isn't all that steep. If anyone's agile and athletic enough to do this, it's Jim. He sighed deeply. "I can't believe I'm agreeing to this." He turned to Jim, "You get down there, get the pup and get back up here. I don't think I need to tell you to be careful. If you break your leg, don't come running to me."

Jim laughed at Pete's old joke, but wasted no time tying the rope around his waist. He stepped over the guardrail and started down. He found easy footing on the rocks and moved quickly.

"…Aaaaahh!" Suddenly and without warning Jim swung out and turned slightly to the left. He lost his footing and slid about fifteen feet before coming to an abrupt stop.

Pete stared in disbelief at his friend, twisted awkwardly and not moving. Crap! I knew something like this would happen. He watched as Jim slowly maneuvered himself into an upright position. "Jim, hang tight and don't move. I'm getting an ambulance." Pete started for the car.

"Pete. Hey, Pete. Don't bother. I'm fine," Jim called from below.

Pete stopped in his tracks. He looked back over the edge. Jim sat on the ground holding the happy wriggling puppy. "Are you sure you're okay?" The lecture would come later.

"Yes. I just lost my footing and took a trip on a big mudslide." Jim's reply came in short clipped breaths. "It knocked the breath out of me for a second, but other than that, I'm okay. I'm not hurt but I sure am a mess."

"Can you make it back up?" Pete asked.

"Sure. Just give me a minute to catch my breath and let me put little Pete here in my jacket and we'll climb up," Jim replied as he stuffed the puppy inside his coat and zipped it up.

The climb up occurred without incident. Pete helped Jim over the guardrail. Jim unzipped his jacket and removed the puppy, returning him safe and sound to his owner.

Billy Green had watched this entire ordeal in wide-eyed silence. Once he had Pete, the puppy, in his possession he turned and dashed quickly toward his house. He ran about ten feet, stopped suddenly and ran back to Pete. "Thank you," he said and extended his right hand to Pete in a very grown up gesture.

Pete shook the boy's hand. "You're welcome, Billy." Pete scratched the dog behind the ear. "You know, you and Pete are very lucky. There aren't many people in this world who would do what Officer Reed just did."

"Yes, sir, I know," Billy agreed. He walked over to Jim and hugged him around his sweaty, mud-clad middle, squeezing the puppy between them. "Thanks… a lot."

Jim reached down and patted Billy on the back. "Glad we could help, Billy. Promise me you'll keep Pete in your yard."

Billy Green took a step back and looked up at Jim. "Promise." He turned and ran to his house. This time he didn't come back.

Jim looked at Pete and shrugged. "All in a day's work, I guess." He walked to the patrol car and reached to open the door.

"Freeze!" Pete commanded.

"What?" Jim stared at Pete.

"Just what do you think you're doing, Reed?"

"Getting in the car, Pete. What's the problem?"

"You're not sitting in my car with five inches of mud caked to your backside."

"Oh, right." Jim thought for a moment. "I've got it. There's that newspaper in the backseat that I bought this morning. I'll spread a few pages of that to sit on."

"Okay," Pete agreed reluctantly.

Once settled in the car, Pete reached over and grabbed the mic. "1-Adam-12 clear and requesting 1-L-20 meet me on Tac 2."

"L-20 to 1-Adam-12, go."

"Mac, Jim and I just finished up over on Garden Cove. It turned out to be the cook. We've recovered all the jewelry, but we were going to pick him up on an attempted. We've run into a little problem, Jim … um… slipped in some mud. He's okay, but he really needs to get cleaned up. Could you dispatch another unit to pick the guy up?"

"Roger, Pete. What's the address?"

Pete supplied the information, replaced the mic and turned to Jim. "Well, Mud Pie, do you want to drive around and try to find a little girl with a cat up a tree or would you rather go to the station and get cleaned up?"

"Station. By the way, Pete, you sure gave me a big build up in front of Billy Green. You made me out to be quite a hero."

"Hero?" Pete threw the car into gear and drove off. "I didn't mean to imply you were a hero. I was referring to the fact that there aren't many people crazy enough to do what you did."


At the station, Jim changed out of his uniform. They finished up some paperwork and headed for the parking lot. "Don't forget, noon tomorrow, Pete," Jim reminded.

"Right. See ya then."

"Okay. Listen, we really don't need to mention the puppy rescue to Jean. Like I said, all in a day's work."

"Whatever you say, Jim. You're the boss." Pete waved as he drove off.


"This is without a doubt the best food I've had in a long time." Pete held his fork in mid air and paused long enough to pay Jean Reed a much-deserved compliment. He looked at Jim, "Much better than that tin can I had yesterday."

"Thanks, Pete. Keep eating. There's plenty," Jean said as she spooned a small dab of mashed potatoes on Jimmy's plate.

"Pete, you should have seen Jimmy last night. The first Thanksgiving has never been re-enacted better. We had a program at church. Jimmy played a big ear of corn."

"Not corn, Daddy," Jimmy corrected. "The teacher said call it maize."

"Maize, huh? Did you get to say anything?" Pete asked.

"No. Nobody talked except the turkey. He said, 'Gobble.' "

"We think that was an ad lib," Jim explained.

Pete laughed and finished off his third plate of food. "Delicious."

"How 'bout some dessert, Pete?" Jean offered. "We've got pumpkin and apple pie, carrot cake and brownies."

"Yes," Pete answered.

"Yes, which?"

"Yes, pumpkin pie, apple pie, carrot cake and brownies." Pete patted his stomach. "I'm taking full advantage. I don't get home cookin' very often."

"Great! I love it when my guests aren't shy. That's why I cook the food." Jean stood and started getting Pete's desserts. "Jim?" she motioned with the knife to the selection of cakes and pies sitting on the counter.

"Pumpkin pie, please."

"And?" Jean prompted.

"That's it for me. Just pie."

"Wimp," Pete teased.

"I'll clean up the dishes. I know you guys wouldn't live to see the sun rise if you didn't get to watch at least one football game." Jean started the water running in the sink. "Jimmy, you can go play in your room."

"Okay, Mommy." The little boy scooted from his chair and took off down the hall.

Jim walked over and kissed Jean on the cheek. "Thanks, sweetie. You're the best. Let's get out of here before she changes her mind, Pete."

"Right. Perfect meal, Jean, thanks."

The two men walked into the living room. Jim stretched out on the couch. Pete took the recliner.

Thump, squeak… thump, squeak… thump, squeak.

Pete settled back in the recliner.

Thump, squeak… Thump, squeak… Thump, squeak.

Pete looked around the room. "I didn't know you and Jean were harboring ghosts. What's that noise?"

"I'm not sure, but I've got a pretty good idea." Jim leaned over the end of the couch so his voice would carry down the hall. "Jimmy, are you jumping on the bed again?"

"I'm playin', Dad."

"Son, don't make me get up and come in there. If you're jumping on the bed, stop."

The strange noise subsided momentarily. Jim turned his attention back to the game. "Great, just in time for kick off. We didn't miss…. Pete, are you okay?" Pete sat leaning to one side rubbing his arm.

"Yeah," Pete's answer came out in a breathless sigh. "Just can't get comfortable."

"You want the couch?" Jim offered.

"No. I'll be okay." Pete shifted, and rubbed at his chest.

"It might help if you moved around a little. We could take a walk around the block."

"Sure." Pete pushed himself up out of his chair and immediately fell back into it. He leaned over, clutching at his chest. "Man,… it feels… like an elephant is… sitting on my… chest. Maybe we better … skip the walk."

"Jean, come here quick," Jim called to his wife.

Jean hurried from the kitchen. "Oh my God!" One look at Pete's pale face and pained grimace told her something was seriously wrong. "I'll call for an ambulance." She reached for the phone.

"I'll be okay. It's probably just those four desserts," Pete wheezed.

Jean walked over and felt Pete's forehead. She didn't know why, but it just seemed like the thing to do. "Pete, you don't look good. You're so pale and you're really sweating. Why don't you let me call an ambulance?"

"No. I'm fine, really." Pete tried to sit up straight.

"Pete, Jean's right. You look bad."

Thump, squeak… Thump, squeak…

Jim shot a quick glance in the direction of his son's room. "Jimmy, stop it. Now!" he yelled, then directed his attention back to Pete. "Why don't you let us call for an ambulance? They can take you to Central Receiving and get you checked. Maybe its nothing, but better safe than sorry."

"No." Pete made a half-hearted attempt at a smile. "I'm sure this will pass. Let's watch the game."

"Well, at least move over here on the couch and try to get more comfortable," Jim suggested.

"Yeah, okay." Pete pushed himself from the recliner and took a step toward the couch. He clutched at his chest as he felt a tightness grip under his left shoulder blade. He slumped back in the recliner.

"I'm calling for an ambulance right now." Jean grabbed the phone.

"No ambulance," Pete gasped. "Take me in your car, Jim."

Jim thought about arguing, but knew it would only waste time. "Okay, Pete. I'll drive up close to the door. Can you walk that far?"

Pete sat bent over trying to draw a breath. After a moment, he nodded. "Yeah, but hurry."

Jim rushed for the door.


"Moooommmy!" Jimmy let out a scream and ran into the living room. Blood oozed from his mouth. Jim stopped, not knowing what to do. He started for his son.

"Get the car. I'll take care of Jimmy," Jean instructed as she started toward her crying child.

Pete stood and made his way slowly out to the car.

Jim sped to Central Receiving Hospital and stopped at the emergency room door. He stepped out and ran around the car to help Pete. He saw a young man wearing scrubs leaning against a wall, and smoking a cigarette. "Can I get some help, here?"

The young man dropped the cigarette, stamped it out and walked slowly toward Jim's car.

"Save the attitude and get me a wheelchair over here. Now!" Jim growled.

Something in Jim's tone told the cocky young man the best decision would be to move and move quickly. He doubled his pace and found a nearby wheelchair. Jim and the young man managed to pull Pete from the car and drop him in the wheelchair.

Pete's breath came in short heaves.

Once inside the emergency room, a sturdy nurse, who looked as if she might just have dropped anchor on the S.S. Barnacle, muscled Jim out of the way. "I'll take over from here. You step over to the desk and take care of some of his paperwork."

Jim stepped aside and watched as his friend disappeared behind a partition.

Pete felt nauseous. He thought he heard the nurse pushing him use the words 'possible heart attack' and 'crash cart'. He heard a bell ringing. The crowded emergency room swirled around him, a mass of chaos and confusion.

"Mister Malloy?" Pete felt a strong hand close around his bicep. He looked up at a tall young man with dark hair and eyes. "I'm Dr. Benson." The young doctor pulled at Pete. "Do you think we can get you out of this chair and onto a table? It'd make it a lot easier for me to take a look at you and see what's going on."

Pete nodded. He pushed himself out of the wheelchair and allowed the doctor to help him onto a stainless steel table. Pete lay back against the cool steel. Machines whirred around him. The doctor and two nurses worked quickly and concisely. The doctor spoke calmly, "We're hooking you up to an EKG monitor, Mister Malloy. I want to make sure everything's ticking as it should be."

After a few moments, Dr Benson checked the monitor readings. "That's fine," he spoke more to himself than to Pete.

"Now, if I could get you to sit up for me, please."

Pete nodded and sat up, swinging his legs around slowly.

"Try to take a deep breath." Dr Benson held a stethoscope against Pete's back.

Pete drew in a breath.

"Good." The doctor moved the stethoscope to another spot on Pete's back. "Ever have a problem with your heart?"

Pete shook his head.

"Another deep breath, please."

Pete complied.

The doctor continued to examine Pete. "Can you describe the pain for me?"

"It's like a tightness in my chest. I'm having trouble getting a good breath. I had some pain in my back and shoulder earlier, but I think that's gone now," Pete explained between breaths.

"Okay. One more… and exhale." Dr. Benson pulled the ends of the stethoscope from his ears.

"Is it my heart?"

"No, I don't think so." Dr. Benson walked over to a nearby sink. He dropped two small white discs into a cup of water. The concoction bubbled up, causing little white droplets to dance above the rim of the cup. "I think you'll be just fine." He walked back over to Pete. "I need you to drink this for me." He handed Pete the Styrofoam cup filled with the effervescent liquid.

Pete took the cup. I can't believe I came to the hospital for a couple of Alka Seltzers, but anything to ease this tightness. He drank the fizzy substance in one big gulp. "Brrruuupph!" Pete's belch rang out loudly. "Sorry," he apologized to the doctor.

"No need to apologize. You produced the desired effect. How are you feeling now?"

Pete thought for a moment. He rolled his shoulders. He thumped on his chest. He bent and unbent both arms. He continued as if he were taking himself for a test drive. Finally he spoke, "Much better, Doc. Thanks. If it's not my heart, what do you think it is?"

"Well, it has a big long medical name, but basically you over indulged at the table today. You're suffering from a severe case of indigestion and you had a little gas bubble in your chest. Not too glamorous, but easily treated," Dr. Benson explained. "We see a lot of it during the holidays. That and men who haven't quite mastered the electric knife and carve their thumbs instead of the turkey."

Pete smiled. "Yeah, I guess I did eat more than my share today."

"We all do. Just take it easy for a couple of days and you'll be fine. If you have any more discomfort, you can pick up an antacid at any drugstore. I'll send your friend in. You're free to go anytime." Dr. Benson left quietly.

A few moments later, Pete sat on the table buttoning his shirt. He looked up as Jim appeared from around the partition.

"Hey, Pete, you all right?"

"Yeah." Man, I wish I had thought to ask the doctor for that long medical name. Jim won't believe I made him drive me down here so I could burp. "It's not my heart."

"I know. The doctor talked me to me. He said it was bad indigestion. I called Jean to let her know it wasn't serious before I came in."

"Is Jimmy okay?" Pete remembered the blood on his godson's lip.

"He's fine. He fell and split his lip."

"Jumping on the bed?" Pete asked.

"Yeah. Jean and I have only told him a thousand times not to jump on the bed. I guess he had to learn the hard way. Jean said he was eating a popsicle when I called."

"I'm glad he's okay," Pete said.

"Yeah." Jim nodded. "What about you? Did the doctor give you any medicine or anything?"

"He made me drink some kind of bi-carbonate stuff and then I belched like a wounded gorilla and…"

"Was that you?" Jim interrupted.

"You didn't hear me… did you?" Pete raised his eyebrows and gave Jim a sideways grin.

"Pete, they heard you in Pasadena."

Pete wasn't sure if Jim had really heard him or not. He smiled and continued, "Anyway, it made me feel better. The doctor said I can leave anytime."

"Great. You know, Pete, we've had a couple of close calls recently."

"True. But, as usual, the dynamic duo came out unscathed."

"Yeah, I guess we have a lot to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving, Pete."

"Same to you, partner. Let's get back to the game." Pete slapped Jim on the shoulder. "And you know, I might have room for one more piece of pie."

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