DISCLAIMER: None of the characters save Slouchy is mine.
RATING: K (I'm so bad at this)
SUMMARY: Tony runs into an old adversary. TAbby at the end; ever so slightly Kibbs-ish
A/N: With apologies to Stephen Crane. Heaven help me - William Faulkner and now Stephen Crane. I need help.
A thank you to all our LEOs...who deal with the smart and the ridiculously dumb criminals.
Slouchy Sanford had decided long ago that goals and New Year's resolutions and such were overrated. Most people never kept them and just became depressed when they couldn't, and so he'd decided quite early on to dispense with the entire matter, save himself the time, and not bother making goals in general.
He had only one goal in life, and it couldn't really be called a goal but rather a hobby.
Yes, a hobby was a far better term than anything else to describe it. It wasn't something that was all consuming, but he enjoyed it when he did it and it was immense fun. He didn't live for it, but it sure brought a rush when he got around to it, and of course his adversary's face whenever they met was more than worth his trouble.
Baiting Anthony DiNozzo took a master, and Sanford 'Slouchy' Sanford ran the school for masters.
It wasn't that Slouchy didn't LIKE Tony. Rather, he thought that he and Anthony DiNozzo were like twin brothers separated at birth. Peas dumped out of the same pod. The red and the orange of the red-orange crayon in the Crayola box. (Slouchy still likes that analogy. He still can't figure out why his senior high school English teacher didn't.) Over the years, they'd found they both liked fast cars, beautiful women, lots of action and horror movies, pranks, and video games. It's just that Tony was always on one side of the bars and he was on the other.
(Well, he was never inside a jail cell long. Gram never believed her dear sweet Sanford Sanford could be that bad and always bailed him out.)
And it wasn't that there wasn't anybody else to annoy. He had an old cop in San Francisco who always got appropriately mad, so whenever he dropped by 'Frisco, he'd do something dumb like moon drivers on the bridge and get dragged into jail just to annoy the old man. There was also a cop in Tulsa who was such stickler about meters, he'd go down there and pop in tons of quarters into all of the meters to bug him.
But Tony was certainly the most fun. Slouchy had managed to get him dragged out of three dates already (all different girls) to come down to the jail. Conversely, Tony hadn't caught him on one date, although he'd come close to catching him off-guard once when he was about to pull something. Tony zip, Slouchy three.
He had always looked on this like one of 'em old West rivalries or those good-guy bad-guy movies. All 'em marshal-deputy types and all the bad guys. Batman vs. Two Face-Joker-Catwoman-Mr. Freeze-Penguin-Poison Ivy (just without all the freezing and weird suits). Napoleon Solo/Illya Kuryakin vs. THRUSH (just without the killing). Jack Potter vs. Scratchy Wilson (just without the marrying). He and DiNozzo would go at it forever, two single bachelors dukin' it out, like always on 'em shows. He knew DiNozzo. Despite what Gram said - that men like him and DiNozzo just needed a special gal to settle them down - Slouchy knew that neither man would ever get married. They were just like that.
It had started a loooong time ago, when Rookie DiNozzo had just started a month in at the Peoria Police Department. Slouchy didn't know him then, but he'd decided his pool partner's face looked better smushed into the felt of the pool table than upright, and for some reason nobody else felt this was an appropriate thing to do. Stupid moralists. It felt good to him to bash whiny Tommy T's face into the pool balls, but for some reason the same people he saw marchin' in every fill-in-the-blank rights parade sure didn't think he ought to have his freedom to shut up Tommy T.
Anyhow, Rookie DiNozzo had come running in with his gun drawn, and when all he saw was a bar brawl, he started mumbling something about wasting his time and all that and cuffed them all and dragged them downtown. He'd rolled his eyes at him and Slouchy had gotten pretty insulted. Wasn't that dumb cop being paid to do this?
Then a couple months later he saw DiNozzo being the meter maid, and he decided he'd play a big joke and took one of the tickets and signed it and everything and put it on the windshield of DiNozzo's little meter-maid truck.
To this day he wished he'd had the foresight to take a picture of DiNozzo as a meter maid.
o x o x o x o x o x o
The next year, he'd seen DiNozzo by fluke in Philadelphia. Well, more than seen. He'd decided to borrow a jet ski and zip down the Delaware. He meant to RETURN it, but the Philly PD sure didn't see it that way and told the judge it was theft. DiNozzo had come roaring up alongside of him on another jet ski and dove off his, across the small bit of space between them, and took both of them flying into the water. When they came up by the police boat, all the people on shore were cheering and all DiNozzo was doing was complaining about was his ruined Rolex.
After that, Slouchy made it a point to bug Tony every year. DiNozzo sure didn't make it easy. Just a couple more months in Philly and then he was in Baltimore on homicide. Slouchy sure wasn't about to kill nobody - that was too messy - but he did enough to get DiNozzo called out of a date each year. Slouchy was pretty proud of that record.
o x o x o x o x o x o
There was one time DiNozzo and his pals brought him in for a line-up. The police said that he'd run over a poor little old lady with his new motorized scooter. That was entirely untrue. She was no poor little old lady. He'd called out a warning, and she'd still whacked him with her purse and her cane! She was an ol' meanie.
In the line-up, DiNozzo told them all to shout, "Move over, old lady!" Slouchy, being a stickler for facts, shouted, "That's not what I said! I said, 'Get outta my way, old lady!'"
Slouchy still can't figure out how Tony knew he did it.
o x o x o x o x o x o
The next time out he heard that Tony had gone to work for some group called NCIS. Slouchy thought it was radio station at first, and then maybe a disease. When he googled it, he found it was a TV show. Sure didn't help much.
When he'd discovered that Tony now investigated the Navy, Slouchy 'bout gave up. H-ll, how was he supposed to find something to bug the Navy with? Them MPs could be pretty mean. He'd run into some grouchy ones before. His pa had been tossed in the slammer once by a grouch of a MP named Leroy Jethro. Who in their right mind named their kids Leroy Jethro? They must have hated their kid.
The first year all he did was get arrested by the MPs, who soon threw him off to civilian court. The second year, he got arrested and got DiNozzo pulled out of yet another date. He was hootin' and hollerin' in the jail, and there was some old gray-haired guy drinking coffee and sitting there looking at him, while this lady with curly red hair down to her shoulders just sat there and rolled her eyes. When Tony showed up, he looked pretty mad - he'd been on a date.
"So, who was it?" the redhead had smirked. When he didn't say anything, she just grinned. Even the gray-haired man looked slightly interested now.
"Abby and I went to Chuck E. Cheese," he mumbled. "I promised her dinner if she'd rush the blood results for the Mansfield case," he explained.
"Chuck E. Cheese?" the redhead had exclaimed in disbelief. "You made her go with you to Chuck E. Cheese just because you like to whack groundhogs?"
"Hey," Tony defended himself. "I didn't pick it. Abby did." When the redhead looked at him in complete disbelief, he insisted, "She picked it."
"On the Rabb case she chose Cafe Atlantico."
"And this time she said Chuck E. Cheese."
Slouchy couldn't understand what was wrong with Chuck E. Cheese. Sure, women he dated never wanted to go there, but he loved playing with those whack the groundhog games, like Tony, and he liked pizza. That was fun.
"Only you and Abby," the redhead had chuckled.
Slouchy wouldn't mind meeting somebody like Abby. Any gal who liked whacking mechanical groundhogs and skeet ball was cool. "Can I come?"
At that, all three turned to glare at him. The gray-haired man told Tony to take care of 'it'. Slouchy was pretty insulted - he was not an 'it'. Tony groaned and turned to the redhead: "Viv?"
She wasn't going to help, neither.
o x o x o x o x o x o
The next year, Slouchy found a picture of Tony on a "We hate Tony" website of gals he'd dumped (or had broken up with him when they'd found him dating somebody else at the same time). One of the girls had posted this huge honkin' picture of a baby Tony in the tub, and posted that his mother had told her that his childhood name was 'Chippy' because his cheeks puffed out like a chipmunk's.
So he blew it up, put it on a big poster board, and went to the Naval Yard and climbed up on the huge guns in the front of the building. He turned on his bullhorn. "MOOOORNIN', CHIPPY DINOZZO!"
All the agents at NCIS were soon standing outside and by the window. Some came out, and he could hear them laughing. Tony came out, followed by that gray-haired man again and this time, a brunette with straight hair down to her shoulders. She took one look at the picture and began to laugh and laugh; she laughed so hard she had to lean against the light post for support. Tony glared at her, then glared at Slouchy. Even the gray-haired man was grinning, and Slouchy was pretty sure the man didn't know how.
"Where did you get that picture?" the brunette asked with a devious grin. "?" She pinched Tony's cheek. "Look at cute little Chippy," she chirped teasingly.
"All right, fun's over," the gray-haired party pooper replied. "Kate, we're going back inside." He then turned to Tony. "Go take care of your friend...Chippy."
Tony shot Slouchy a murderous look.
o x o x o x o x o x o
The year after that, he set off a stink bomb on the sub base at Norfolk, and the MPs were pretty steamed because they smelled like rotten eggs for days after. NCIS got called. There was Tony and that brunette Kate and the gray-haired man, like last year, plus a younger man Tony called 'Probie'. Kate waved to Slouchy, who tipped his hat at her. The gray-haired man just grinned. The younger man just laughed until Tony whacked him in the head.
o x o x o x o x o x o
The third year it was different. It was Tony, 'Probie', and a lady with long curly dark brown hair and an accent - Viva. Liva. Tiva. Ziva. Something like that, he couldn't remember. "Where's your coworker Kate?" Slouchy asked cheerfully while Tony cuffed him. "And that old guy you take orders from?"
"Boss and Kate went to her mother's," Tony replied impatiently. "And Kate's no longer on our team."
"H-ll, they gettin' hitched? He meetin' her family?"
"Ugh." Slouchy shuddered. He'd never get married. Sure, that Kate was a pretty little thing, but that boss must've been head over heels for her to do somethin' like get married.
Slouchy was almost shocked to see Tony that day on the beach in Hawaii, sittin' by some lady under a big beach umbrella. Wasn't the whole lady part. That he expected from Tony. Heck, Slouchy himself and Jenny had come out to Hawaii for some rest and fun.
It's just that Tony never followed him, never tracked him since he went to NCIS. While he was at the PDs, sure. But once he got to NCIS, there wasn't much LOOKING for Slouchy.
But here Tony'd followed him to Hawaii.
"Hey sweetcheeks," he whispered to Jenny. "Why don't we go up and try that restaurant you wanted?"
It'd give him enough time to get out of the way until he thought of somethin' to do.
o x o x o x o x o x o
By the time he saw DiNozzo again, he was all ready. He saw him sittin' inside the window of some Hawaiian touristy eatery with some gal, and he mentally chalked up one more - one more DiNozzo date ruined by Slouchy. DiNozzo zip, Slouchy four.
"Heeeey Chippy DiNozzo!" he shouted with a big grin. "Come out 'n get me 'fore I do somethin'!"
The whole restaurant stilled, and all those turned to look at him. Some waiters started to go out, but Tony got up and stopped them. He didn't look happy, but then he never looked happy when he got pulled out of a date. He came out and came down the stairs.
"So, Chippy," Slouchy grinned.
"You do what you want, Slouchy."
"Huh, and wait for you to arrest me?"
"I don't have my gun or my badge or my cuffs," Tony said.
"H-ll, man, don't kid 'round like that."
"I'm telling you, Slouchy, I don't have anything on me. My cell phone's off, too."
Slouchy blinked. He hadn't followed him here? "You ain't workin'? So what're you doing here?"
Tony hedged, not wanting to tell him. "I'm on vacation," he said evasively.
"Sure," Slouchy laughed. "Does that old guy boss ever let you have vacation?"
Tony managed a small smile at that, then remembered where he was and to whom he was speaking, and sighed. He finally said, "I'm on my honeymoon. I got married."
Slouchy laughed uproariously, then stopped when he saw Tony wasn't laughing. "You're serious? You got married?"
"Married!" Slouchy tried the word on his tongue, not at all understanding. He looked over at the doorway to see a woman with black hair up in pigtails, looking worried and slightly horrified. "Is that her?"
Tony turned to see the woman he was referring to. "Yeah, that's her. Abby."
"You mean the smart one you talked 'bout couple years ago? Chuck E. Cheese Abby?"
"Yeah, she's the one."
There was a long silence, Tony not moving a muscle, Abby looking a little like she wasn't sure what to do, and Slouchy just staring, trying to turn his mind around it. Married! Tony DiNozzo, married! And not to some bottle blonde or brunette model but some brainiac. Married! She had managed to tame the wild...to tame Anthony DiNozzo.
"Well," Slouchy mumbled, still staring at the woman, shocked. "Guess there ain't much point now. It's over."
"If you say so, Slouchy. Only if you say so."
"Yeah. Ain't much point now." He shoved his hands into his pockets dejectedly, then looked back at the black-haired lady standing up there, watching the whole thing with a worried expression. "Married!" He trudged away, his dragging feet leaving deep ruts in the sand.