In His Charge
Published: March 7th, 2005
A/N If you've read this before, I wouldn't bother re-reading I just because I updated. I just made a few minor changes in spelling, grammar, etc. But, if you haven't read it, I hope you'll take the time to!
Gary glanced at the Paper again. He was waiting for the article about the convenient store robbery to change. He had been preventing robberies all week; and all from the same robber. The robber's name was Carney Sam Dupree and Gary was considering the idea of letting the man make a robbery one day, as long as no one got hurt; that way the police would take care of him and he'd be out of Gary's hair.
Eventually the article disappeared and he let out a sigh of relief. He couldn't take this guy anymore. Lately, just about half of the saves in the Paper everyday were ones that Dupree caused.
Gary left the store and started for home. It was 3:15 PM and the hot July sun was beating down on his back. The convenient store robbery was supposed to have been the last save of the day; as long as Dupree didn't try anything else.
As he walked, he looked around at all the people around him. They were all bustling about and talking among themselves. He was pretty sure that a lot of them were thinking about a nice, air-conditioned building.
When Gary pushed open the door to McGinty's, he saw that a lot of people were inside sitting around tables; probably to get out of the heat.
He went to the kitchen and poured himself a glass of cold water and sat down on a stool at the bar. Marissa came and sat down beside him.
"How's it going, Gary?" She asked him cheerfully.
"Well, it's not." He replied, "I'm about ready to throw Dupree into Lake Michigan. The guy just doesn't know when to quit."
Marisa grimaced, then changed the subject. "Um, Gary, I have two things to tell you."
"What?" Gary asked her.
"You got a phone call from some guy. He said his name was David Hobson." Marissa informed him, "He wants you to call him back."
"Did you say 'David Hobson'?" Gary asked, astonished.
"Yep." Marissa replied simply.
"I've got to go." Gary said, standing up and heading for the office. Then he came back and asked, "What was the second thing you were going to tell me?"
"Chuck called." Marissa stated.
"Chuck?" Gary replied.
"He said that he's coming to visit. He's going to leave on tomorrow's plane and he'd be here by noon tomorrow." Marissa said.
"Tomorrow?" Gary asked.
"Oh, boy." Gary said, and dashed into the office.
Gary hung up the phone. What did he just do? Why did he do it? Those were the thoughts running through his mind right about now. He had called his cousin, David, back and when David asked a favor of him Gary told him 'yes', he would do it.
Shaking his head tiredly, Gary left the office and walked back out towards the bar.
"Well, did you call him back, Gary?" Marissa asked him when he sat back down beside her.
"Yep." Gary replied.
"Who is he?" Marissa tried.
"He's my cousin from Ohio." Gary allowed, "He said that he and his wife, Jennifer, are thinking about breaking up."
"Oh, no." Marissa shook her head, "And what'd he want to talk to you for?"
"Well, he's got two kids and he was hoping that I would take them for about two weeks while they tried to mend things up a bit." Gary told her.
"And you said that you would, right?" Marissa asked him, expectantly.
"Well, of course I said 'yes'. What was I supposed to say?" Gary replied, "But how am I supposed to watch two kids and manage the Paper at the same time?"
"I'll be glad to help you out, Gary." Marissa told him.
"Thank you." He replied, somewhat relieved.
"And Chuck will be here." Marissa said.
"So, Gary, how old are the kids?" Marissa asked.
"I think he said that Michael is eleven and Christy is six." Gary replied, "I haven't seen Michael since he was about two and I've never seen Christy at all."
"Gary!" Marissa exclaimed.
"What?" Gary asked alarmed.
"How can you just not see your own cousins?" She asked him.
"Simple." Gary replied, tapping his fingers on the bar, "Number one, me and David, well, we've never gotten along too well, number two, they just moved to Ohio from Tennessee a year ago, and number three... well, I just didn't!"
"When are they coming?" Marissa asked him.
"I've got to pick them up at the airport the day after tomorrow." Gary informed her.
"Will you be able to fit that in with your schedule with the Paper?" She asked him.
"Hopefully; as long as Dupree can stay out of trouble for about an hour or two." Gary replied, disgusted.
A few minutes later, Gary stood up and said, "I'm going upstairs to clean up a bit. I'm sure Chuck is going to want to crash for at least one night."
He jogged up the stairs and began to tidy up. He wouldn't have time to later. He decided that he would fold out the couch into a bed when the kids got there and they would sleep there.
Chuck, well, he could get a hotel room somewhere after the first night. He wasn't going to stay there every night. Gary then realized that he had one busy schedule ahead of him.
The next day, Gary was surprised to find out that he wouldn't have any saves until two o'clock that afternoon and Dupree wasn't even on the agenda until four. He was sitting at the desk in the office, reading over the piles of bills when Marissa came in, smiling.
"Um, Gary. Chuck's here." She announced.
"What? Already?" He exclaimed, dropping the bills in surprise.
Suddenly, Chuck walked in. He looked pretty much the same as when Gary had last seen him, except this time he was wearing a light-weight t-shirt instead of a coat and hat.
"Hey, Gare!" Chuck greeted him.
"Hey Chuck, how're you doing?" Gary replied, standing up and shaking his friend's hand.
"Pretty good, pretty good. What've you been doing lately, buddy?" Chuck asked, looking around the room. "Been doing anything besides saving the world?"
"Gary's going to babysit." Marissa spoke up.
"What?" Chuck looked at Gary like he had committed a crime.
"Say, Chuck, where's Jade? Did she come with you?" Gary tried to change the subject.
"Oh, she's at home. Said she didn't want to run around the country with me, acting like she had nothing better to do. Can you believe that?" Chuck replied, "Now, what's this about you babysitting? Are you out of your mind?"
"Well, no. You see-" Gary got cut off.
"-Why would you want to baby sit, anyway?" Chuck interrupted, "Where are the benefits at?"
"My cousin's kids, they're from Ohio, are going to stay with me for a little while." Gary explained, "They're staying for two weeks."
"Cousins? Two weeks? That's even worse, Gare!" Chuck looked disgusted, "Little cousins aren't supposed to stay with their older cousins. They're supposed to stay with Grandma and Grandpa. That way they can hear all about the good 'ole days."
"Well, maybe David and Jennifer didn't want their kids with my dad's brother and his wife." Gary told Chuck, making it sound complicated, "Maybe they would rather have them here... with me."
"I guess they don't know about the Paper then, do they?" Chuck said to Gary sarcastically.
"No, they- Look, don't you have anything better to do?" Gary asked desperately.
"Yeah," Chuck nodded, "I'm going to go get something to eat. The stuff they serve on that plane is terrible. I wouldn't feed it to the pigs."
Marissa, who had listened silently the entire time, was smiling as Chuck headed for the kitchen.
"The guy's only been here for five minutes and he's already driving me crazy!" Gary exclaimed, sitting down, "Maybe I'll throw him into Lake Michigan too."
"Oh, Gary." Marissa laughed.
"What's so funny?" Gary asked her. He wasn't laughing.
"Well, it's just that you and Chuck are such good friends, but you're both totally different." Marissa explained.
Gary mumbled something, and then glanced down at the Paper. As he read, his mud-green eyes got really wide.
"Oh, no, I've got to go!" He said urgently, as he jumped up from his chair.
"What?" Marissa asked, alarmed by Gary's action, "What's wrong, Gary?"
"Chuck!" Was the only answer he gave her as he dashed into the kitchen.
Once in the kitchen, he saw Chuck standing at the stove, giving "tips" to the cook on how to properly cook a steak. Gary grabbed Chuck and pulled him back, just as a large flame shot up towards the ceiling.
Gary grabbed a fire extinguisher and sprayed its contents at the stove until the fire was smothered. His face was covered with soot as he breathlessly sat the fire extinguisher back in its proper position on the shelf.
"Chuck!" Gary exclaimed, obviously annoyed.
"What?" Chuck asked, innocently.
"Chuck, what did you spill on that stove?" Gary asked accusingly.
"I have no idea what you're talking about, Gare." Chuck said solemnly.
"Oh, yes, you do." Gary informed Chuck, "You spilled something that would make that burner burst out in flames!"
"Oh, and how would you know, Mr. Smarty-Pants?" Chuck asked him.
Gary pulled Chuck into the office. "I'll tell you how I know. I know because the Paper said that you were going to get your entire face burned," Gary told him, "and that you were going to burn down the kitchen too!"
Chuck sighed, "There's never solitude in a lie, is there, buddy?" He said to the Cat, who was sitting on the desk, washing himself.
The cat meowed and Chuck gave him a disgusted look.
"That was a rhetorical question, you flea bag." Chuck informed the feline.
"Look, I'm sorry I got mad at you," Gary apologized, running his fingers through his dark hair. "But do you think you could be a little more careful next time?"
"Sure, buddy." Chuck said, patting Gary on the back, "No problem. For now on, I am, 'Chuck the Careful and Cautious'."
Gary shook his head as Chuck left the room. This was going to be a long visit.