TheTable

The Table

By Mady Bay – [email protected]

Written - May 29, 1999

Disclaimer – No, I don't own any of the CHiPs or Emergency! characters. If only…

The Table

"And last, but not least," Gatraer continued the briefing. "We all know what this weekend is."

"No vacation and no time off unless you're one of the old timers," Ponch groaned.

"Yeah, but we'll be the ones making the big bucks," Bear added.

"That's right, folks, it's Memorial Day Weekend," Gatraer continued. "Make sure you check the overtime board at the back of the room so you know which shifts you'll be working."

"Who's got the after party this year?" Bonnie asked.

"That would be me," Bear said, standing up with a flourish and walking over to the overtime board. "The party starts at," he continued, pausing to check when his last shift of the weekend ended. "Eight o'clock in the evening at my place. Be there or be square!"

*********

Bear made the rounds at the party, making sure everyone was having a good time and had enough to eat and drink.

"Bear!" Sindy called.

He made his way around several people dancing to get to her and put his arm around her shoulders.

"You gotta tell Bonnie about that DWI you got yesterday," she told him.

"Which one?" he asked, though he knew exactly which one she was referring to.

Sindy gave him a knowing look before prompting, "The kid with the fake ID."

Bear started laughing as he began, "This kid was so trashed, I swear I don't know how he got behind the wheel to begin with. Every question I asked him – his name, his address, where he was going – he answered with the DOB on the fake ID – 'ten twenty-one fifty-six,'" he said, slurring the birth date answer.

Sindy and Bonnie laughed as Bear continued his imitation of the intoxicated youth.

"Who's car are you driving? 'Ten twenty-one fifty-six.' What did you have to drink? 'Ten twenty-one fifty-six.' I think I finally got him to admit to drinking three six-packs at his buddies' house," Bear finished.

"That doesn't beat the chick I stopped today," Turner put in, joining the group. "She wasn't wearing a shirt – she had an American flag painted on each breast!"

"No way!" Sindy exclaimed.

Turner crossed his heart and put his hand up, "Scouts honor," he swore.

"Well that beats the guy I had with red, white and blue hair," Bonnie said, disappointed.

"The top weirdo, though, is still that guy last year who said he could punch us all out because he'd 'been dead before,' Turner added, twirling his finger near his temple.

"Johnny Gage still hasn't forgiven me for that one," Bear chuckled, remembering having to call the paramedics on that call.

"So where'd Ponch find his date tonight?" Bonnie asked, motioning to the petit blonde dancing circles around their fellow officer.

"Another entry from his 'little black bimbo book?'" Bear whispered.

Sindy elbowed him in the ribs at the remark, despite the fact that she was laughing at the joke with the others.

"She looks like one of Johnny's old girlfriends," Sindy said.

This time Bear elbowed her.

"Actually," Jon, joining the group, began. "She's one of the new dancers for that show, 'Solid Gold.' He met her last week at one of the dance clubs," he finished.

"Well, I don't know about any of you," Sindy started. "But I could use another drink," she said, changing the subject and heading for the kitchen, with Bear not far behind.

Bonnie watched the pair head off.

"They really do make a good couple, you know?" she remarked to the others.

"Wonder if they'll get married," Turner mused.

"Sometimes you'd think they already were," Jon put in.

**********

Bear was about to grab some chips from the table when a foot stepped into the bowl. He looked up to see Ponch's date, Jodi, dancing on the table.

"Uh, Jodi? Do you mind?" he asked.

"Oh, come on," Jodi admonished. "We gotta liven up this party somehow! All I hear people talking about is police stuff. How boring!" she exclaimed as her hips gyrated in front of Ponch and Bear's faces.

"Well, we are police officers," Ponch said through gritted teeth, thoroughly embarrassed by his date's actions.

Before anyone could say another word, the table and everything on it, including Jodi, came crashing down.

"Oh, shit," Bear cursed, ducking for cover.

Ponch looked even more embarrassed as he wiped onion dip off the front of his pants.

"Oopsy," Jodi apologized, meekly.

Ponch pulled her up off the broken table, saying, "I think it's time to go home," to her. "I'm really sorry about the table, Bear," he added.

"Don't sweat it, Ponch," Bear replied, starting to clean up the mess. "I got it in college. In fact it replaced a kitchen table broken a party we had back then," he added, smiling at the memory.

As Bear picked up the pieces of the table, Sindy watched. She saw a hint of sadness in his eyes.

"What's up?" she asked, wondering about why he would be sad.

"I guess I'm gonna miss this table, I guess," he replied.

She looked at the scratched up, dented, magic-markered table and wondered.

"Obviously it's got some sentimental value to it?" she asked.

"Yeah," he said. "Lots of good times back in college. See that dent right there?" he asked, pointing to one corner. "John Dyer hit it when he was running from one room to the other hiding from his girlfriend when he had another girl at the party. And those dents there?" he said motioning to the center of the table. "Russ Petrie used to bang spoons there, shouting 'Don't defy me!' to anyone who crossed him."

"John Dyer? Isn't he with the fire department?" Sindy asked.

"Yeah, that's him," Bear replied, still smiling at the memories the table brought.

Bear's trip down memory lane was interrupted when Joe and Betty Gatraer arrived at the party and everybody cheered.

"Gee, I didn't know you were so popular, Joe," Betty remarked.

"I've got what they want," Joe replied, holding up an envelope. "What are the prizes this year, Bear?" he asked, calling out to the party host.

"Two tickets to the Dodgers-Mets game next week," Bear replied.

"Oohs" and "Aahs" filled the room at Bear's reply.

"Okay," Gatraer began, opening up the envelope. "The officer who had the most DWI arrests this weekend is none other than Officer Bonnie Clark, with eight," he announced.

Bonnie took her bow and received her prize tickets from Bear.

"And the officer with the DWI arrest resulting in the highest BAC is none other than this year's party host, Officer Barry Baricza," Gatraer continued. "His arrestee, 'Mr. ten twenty-one fifty-six,' himself, blew a point two-two," he announced with more applause resulting.

Bear took his bow as well, giving the baseball tickets a quick kiss before putting them back into his pocket.

"We know who Bear will be taking to the game," Jon called out. "But who's Bonnie taking?" he asked.

"That's for me to know and no one to find out," Bonnie replied mischievously.

The party lasted a few more hours. Bonnie and Sindy acted as designated drivers for several department members, making sure everyone got home safely.

And while they were gone, Bear thought about the table again. And about having to get a new one.

**********

"Ready to go?" Bear asked as Sindy got into his car.

"Sure, but where exactly are we going?" she replied.

"Gotta get me a new table," he began. "Can't eat those seven course meals you cook me on the couch, now can I?" he teased.

"No, I guess not," she replied easily.

They checked out several furniture stores, without luck, before Bear finally found what he was looking for.

"What do you think of this one?" he asked, pointing to an oak veneer dining room table.

"It's nice. I like it, but you're the one buying it," Sindy replied.

"Well I want to make sure you like it, too. After all, it might be yours someday," Bear said.

Sindy looked up sharply at the comment, only to find Bear underneath the table, checking out the table's structure.

'Did he just say what I thought he said?' she thought.

Bear didn't look back at her or comment again. He stood up and called the salesman over and told him that he would take the table.

Sindy was starting to question her hearing. He seemed so matter-of-fact about the subject. Sure, they'd talked about the future together, but not in detail. Certainly the big "M" word had never been uttered. She decided to play it cool and see if Bear brought it up again. He didn't. But God! She had to call Bonnie anyway!

**********

"No way!" Bonnie exclaimed.

"Yes! That's what he said," Sindy replied.

"So what did you say?" Bonnie asked.

"I didn't say anything. I didn't know what to say," Sindy said. "I mean, it's not like he actually got on his knee and asked me, you know."

"So when are you gonna see him again?" Bonnie asked.

"He invited me over for dinner tomorrow night," Sindy answered.

"On the new table?" Bonnie asked, in a knowing tone.

"Now that you mention it, it is getting delivered tomorrow morning," Sindy replied.

"Well, call me tomorrow night!" Bonnie practically ordered. "Unless, of course you're too busy to call," she added mischievously.

********

"The table looks really nice in here," Sindy said as she sat down to dinner.

"Yeah, I'm glad I found it," Bear replied, somewhat distractedly.

"You still miss your old table?" she asked, seeing his distant look.

"Yeah, it had its memories," he replied.

"You should take a picture of it, send a copy to John and Russ," Sindy laughed.

"I did," he replied, somewhat sheepishly. "But here we have a new table, with new memories to carve into it," he added, picking up the steak knife.

"Bear! No!" she shouted, grabbing his hand. "You're not going to carve up my brand new table!" she cried, not even thinking about what she said.

"Oh! So, you did hear what I said yesterday," Bear responded, looking at her, eyebrows raised.

Sindy opened her mouth, ready to reply, but couldn't.

"Does that mean you'll marry me?" Bear asked, closing her mouth and caressing her lips with his thumb.

Sindy smiled and said, "Yes."

Fin! (Or will there be a part 2, including men in bras, doing the Time Warp and the Worm and bowling shoes under the wedding dress?)

Author's notes – Some of the events in this story are absolutely true! Mainly, eleven years later, I still have my 'engagement table' in my dining room (with its own set of dings and dents and magic marker marks)! Hope you enjoyed this little romp. - Mady