Of course it was Greg who started it.
They were stuck in the break room, gathered for a long uncomfortable stay while the power was out. Las Vegas, city of a million lights was still prone to the occasional blackout, but the federal budget didn't include back up generators for the lab, only the morgue. With no electricity throughout the building, nothing could be processed with any accuracy, hence the wait in the dark.
Nick had a few of the bigger flashlights out, and there were others at strategic points along the halls and labs. People did paperwork or restocked kits or hundreds of other little jobs that didn't require power, and through it all came the cozy connection of companionship. Catherine had the coffee going on an old paraffin heater, and people stopped in to chat and pass the time. Ecklie was out town, and Grissom kept a tolerant eye on the crew.
Greg and Sara were at the table, presumably sorting files but in reality, just talking.
"It goes like this—to find your porn name, you take the name of your pet when you were a kid, and the name of the street you lived on. Combine the two, and voila! You have your perfect pseudonym for the adult entertainment industry." Greg explained to a bemused Sara. She blinked a little and propped her chin on her hand, looking at him over the beam of a flashlight.
"And so . . . what's your porn name, Greg? Give us the example here—" came her taunt. Caught for a moment, he ducked his head and blushed.
"Oh boy, okay, to lead off and because I'm a good sport, I'll go first. My porn name would be . . . Schatzi Buckaroo."
The break room exploded with laughter; Warrick, Nick, Archie snickered heartily; Catherine had to grip the counter to steady herself. Greg glared around the semi-darkness at his unsympathetic co-workers. "Hey! It's not my fault my mom had a dachshund named Schatzi, okay? And we lived in this terrible development where all the streets were named on a cowboy theme, so Buckaroo isn't my fault either!"
"Schatzi, huh? I think I can GUESS what sort of films you specialize in, Greg. Lot of spanking involved?" Warrick snorted, making Nick crack up again. Greg thrust out his chin.
"Yeah, okay, let's hear YOURS then Warrick." He challenged firmly. Warrick crossed his arms and managed a grin as he cocked his head.
"Okay, according to your system then, MY porn name would be Killer Hammerman, which actually has a nice ring to it. Carries some serious . . . implication, you know?"
A few admiring 'Oooohs' rang around the room, most of them feminine. Warrick preened a little, and Greg scowled.
"Killer? You had a dog named Killer?"
"No, I had a cat named Killer. A Maine Coon, weighed about fifteen pounds and took out most of the dogs in our neighborhood."
"A cat?" Catherine asked, bemused. Warrick shrugged.
"It's all the apartment manager would let us have. Hey, she was a great cat."
"A GIRL named killer?" Nick laughed, "You've got to be kidding, man—a GIRL?" Warrick scowled a little.
"Yeah. Sometimes I think she took the spaying personally. So what about YOU, Nick? What would be your everlasting alter ego in the world of sex films?"
Nick hesitated, and seeing it, Greg hooted.
"Come on, Nick, it's only fair to share—"
"Shit. I'd be Cooter Bluegrass—" he confessed, rubbing a hand over his face. Everyone laughed again, and Nick finally joined in. Sara spoke up after the laughter had died down.
"Nick, what the hell is a cooter?"
"It's southern slang for a turtle. My first dog was an old bloodhound my grandpa gave to my dad when he was retired from the ranch. The dog I mean, not my dad. And his name was Cooter because he was slow. We lived out on Bluegrass Road at the time."
"So you'd be the Southern Stud in our Porn movie—sort of the Midnight Cowboy." Sara teased. Greg broke in with a grin.
"No, he'd be the Midnight Cooter—" That set everyone off again, and in the lull, Greg grabbed a clipboard, scribbling on it.
"What are you doing?" Nick asked suspiciously, coming around Greg's shoulder to peer down at the paper.
"Getting the cast list of course—our epic is now starring Schatzi Buckaroo, Killer Hammerman, Cooter Bluegrass—Yow! Gotta get some women in here or this is going to be a gay film—" Greg observed. He turned to Sara and smiled.
She rolled her eyes. "Fine! If you're adding me to the cast, then I'm Mitzi Pumphouse."
Another round of Oooohs greeted this, most of them masculine. Warrick sighed lustily.
"Talk about insinuations—Pumphouse, Sara?"
"Pumphouse Road in Tamales Bay, okay? Could have been worse—we lived one street over from Diddledoo Lane."
"Now THAT I like—Mitzi Diddledoo—" Nick grinned. Sara shook her head firmly.
"Didn't live there, lived on Pumphouse, Cooter—"
"Now, now kiddies, let's play nice—okay, that's one female." Greg chided. "Catherine? Porn name, please?"
She sighed, gripping her coffee cup with both hands. "God. Lived out in the middle of nowhere Montana on Ryder Road, and we had an Irish Setter named Rusty. So—Rusty Ryder."
"I love me a cowgirl, Wooo!" Greg chortled, scribbling the name down. "Maybe you and Nick could do a western together—Cooter Bluegrass and Rusty Ryder starring in Bone on the Range—"
"Greg!" Catherine growled, even though her lips were twitching in a smile, "That's not only perverted, I think it's already been done. Sara, when we were on that snuff film case, wasn't there one called Bone on the Range?"
"Oh yeah, along with Golden Saddles and Hogtied Hotties." Sara managed with a straight face. Nick laughed so hard he began coughing, and even Warrick was wheezing by now. Hodges came in and made a beeline to the coffee pot, and out of sheer perversity, Greg demanded,
"Hey Hodges, what's your porn name?"
The tech froze, glancing at the ceiling in annoyance.
"Oh God, not that shit again. Fine. I thought we were all beyond stupid witless word games in a lab like this but I obviously thought wrong, and since you'll all think I'm some stuck up suck up with no sense of humor if I don't play I'll just get it over with. My porn name is Turbo Fairydust. Happy?"
Sara couldn't breathe, she choked, her face beet-red. Warrick, who'd been in the middle of a sip of coffee, spit it across the floor, and both Greg and Catherine were doubled over as the giggles got the better of them. Hodges spoke over the noise.
"My grandmother had this completely obnoxious black and white Chihuahua named Turbo, who was THE posterchild for hyperactive little dogs, and we were stuck living in a duplex in a complex that some stoned on crack developer thought would be great to name after children's storybook names. Thus we had Prince Charming Drive, and Snow White lane and yes, unfortunately Fairydust Street. And now that I've completely lost any respect I might have earned in the last year I think I'll go back to work-" he strode out in a huff, leaving the chortles and gasps and teary eyes behind him. Sara wiped her face with the heels of both hands as Greg managed to scribble the name down.
"Oh God, and I thought I had it bad. Someone should clue him in about the concept of lying," he groaned. Sara nodded, and Warrick began to mop up part of the floor. Archie managed a soft sigh.
"Okay add me to the list. My Adult film name is Haro Wildwood. Had a pet salamander."
"Oh I BET you did—" Nick snickered, earning a soft punch on the arm. Greg scribbled it down and looked over to where Jaqui had been sitting quietly, trying hard not to be noticed.
"Okay, queen of fingerprints—time to dazzle us all with your secret moniker," he insisted.
"Do I HAVE to?" Jaqui whined gently, earning a round of disapproving groans. She sighed in the dark corner. "Man, this is SO embarrassing. My porn name would be Fluffy Mariposa. Don't laugh—" she demanded even though the snickers had already begun. "It's so—cheesy."
"It's a classic. Fluffy Mariposa in Butterflies after Dark."
"Butterflies after dark are called moths, Greg—" came the sound of Grissom's chiding voice. Startled, everyone looked to see the shadow leaning in the doorway. Sara could see the little smirk on his face.
"Oh hey, Grissom . . . so, care to grace us with your Nom de Porn?" Nick called out. Grissom sighed.
"Get everyone else first and maybe I'll join the list if it's still around. In the meantime, I need you and Sara to handle a DB out at the Monaco, and Catherine, you're with me on a hit and run in Henderson. We may not have lights, but we still have work."
By the time anyone checked the list again by the end of the shift, it had grown by two more names. Doc Robbins had written that he would be Rex Bigelow, and in David's neat almost shy handwriting was the unlikely name of Romeo Apollo. Greg shook his head, laughing.
"Romeo Apollo? Sounds like the lead in a Blacksploitation film to me, but Rex Bigelow, yeah, that's a porn name all right."
"Still gotta get Grissom's you know." Sara commented, looking over the list. Greg nodded. They stopped by Grissom's office and showed him the list. He smiled.
"Fair enough. My name in a game like this would be Ernie Del Oro."
"Woo, Latin loverboy," Greg chuckled. Grissom glanced at him over the tops of his glasses and sighed.
"Greg, because you're young and are sure to run afoul of Ecklie at some point in your career, let's finish your list. I know Conrad's porn name."
Both Sara and Greg gaped at Grissom, who gave a mild little smile. The pause grew until Greg couldn't take it anymore.
"Oh boss, you HAVE to tell me, please!"
"Very well. It's a deep dark secret, and only to be thought of in times of extreme stress. When you're faced with the man in all his anal-retentive glory, when you have to look into that smug self-satisfied slug's face, take comfort in the thought that his porn name would be-Mister Tinkles Peckerwood."
After Sara had helped Greg into a chair, when the two of them could breathe again and not break into spontaneous giggles every time they looked at each other across Grissom's desk, Sara sighed.
"How did you know that, Grissom? How? I mean, it's so—evil!"
"I called his mother." Grissom admitted, looking up from the report he was writing. Greg stared. Grissom shrugged.
"Let me get this straight, you called Ecklie's MOM? In the middle of the night?"
"No, a few years ago. She's quite a fount of information. I got the complete lowdown on how long it took little Connie to get potty-trained, and that horrible acne problem on his back and other areas—"
"Grissom, man, you are Sooo-" Greg trailed off, his voice thick with admiration. Grissom shrugged again, picking up his pen once more.
"Just a matter of having not only the man's number, but also his name."