(The characters from "Silk Stalkings" are copyright by Stephen J. Cannell Productions. No infringement is intended. For "Silk" fans, this would have taken place between "Partners - 2" and "Glory Days". For my own "To Serve and Protect" series, this would be somewhere in the last half of "S&P: Mike and Pat", after the incident at the Senior Citizens' Center but before the end. As for airport security, this story is set long before 9/11.)
"Lance! Lorenzo! In my office. Now."
Sergeant Chris Lorenzo cocked an eye towards the open glass door the summons had issued from. "Wonder what Cap is excited about?"
Sergeant Rita Lee Lance shrugged, an action that caused her entire body to move in a way that Chris found wonderful. She rose from her desk and started towards their commanding officer's office. She looked over her shoulder "If you come along Sam, you'll probably find out."
"Right," Chris said sheepishly, tucking his momentary appraisal of his partner into the back of his mind. He followed Rita into Captain Harry Lipschitz's office. Even as he did so, he couldn't resist the opportunity to enjoy the way Rita's legs moved under her short skirt.
"Close the door and sit down," growled Harry. He raked through the papers on his desk.
"What's up Cap?" asked Chris as he and Rita settled themselves in the two chairs before the over-burdened desk.
Harry found what he had been looking for. He looked at the papers he picked up, then peered over the top of his glasses at the duo.
"You recently arrested a bunco artist going by the name of Roland Shelby, real name Edward Green.
"Yeah," nodded Chris.
"A real piece of work," Rita added. "He was running a 'Detective Agency' that purported to check on cheating spouses. Only he didn't have a P.I. license, a business license and his so-called 'operatives' were just muscle. He discovered there was more than one way to make money out of the job. If the partner was really cheating, he'd blackmail them by threatening to reveal the affair and promise to keep it quiet for large sums. If his half-assed investigation showed that the partner was innocent, he'd manufacture evidence that they were playing around. He found the clients paid better when they thought they were getting something for their hard earned bucks."
"He surprised us," recalled Chris as he leaned back in his chair. "Most con artists come quietly when they're caught, protesting their innocence to the end. Green pulled a gun and tried to make a fight of it. Not a good one, but a fight never the less."
"Well, this is why," Harry waved one of the pieces of paper he had been holding. "Green is wanted in Georgia for murder. Apparently he ran the same game up there and one of his attempted blackmail victims ended up dead."
"So what's that got to do with us?" inquired Rita.
"Murder is a good bit more serious than flim-flam, even with Blackmail thrown in. Green just lost his attempt to fight extradition. Two deputies from the Jackson County Sheriff's Office are flying down late this afternoon. They'll take charge of him and carry him back to Georgia. You were the arresting officers so I want you to meet them, walk them through everything and get them on their way with happy memories of Palm Beach."
Harry rummaged through more papers. "Here's the complete file, including copies of the extradition order as well as descriptions and photos of the Georgia cops. And be careful. Green's bully boys have probably fled the area but keep a lookout for them anyway."
Rita and Chris left Harry's office. Rita got her pocketbook from the desk drawer she kept it in and Chris donned his jacket.
"Your car or mine?" asked Chris.
Rita eyed Chris' car with her usual uncertainty. "Let's take my Jeep. We want to be at the airport before the Georgia cops arrive, not after they've left again."
"Sam, you wound me. And my car." He checked his watch and frowned. "We've got plenty of time. What's the hurry?"
Rita smiled and opened the passenger door. She sat down slowly, deliberately allowing her short skirt to ride up her shapely legs. Chris pursed his lips in a silent whistle as it became apparent that Rita's underwear was basically nothing more than a couple wisps of black lace. Regaining his composure, he closed the door and sprinted around to the driver's side and climbed in. Unable to be more affectionate in the parking lot, their hands crept together for a moment before Chris started the car.
"Your place or mine?"
"Your loft. Its on the way to the airport. We'll be able to spend an extra ten minutes together."
Two hours later, two happy detectives pulled up to the terminal at the Palm Beach Airport. Flipping down the visor sign that read "Police - Official Business", they parked in the "Reserved" area and went into the terminal. They scanned the arrival/departure board until Rita pointed.
"There we are. Flight 218. On time and arriving at Gate number 7."
The two Homicide detectives strolled down the concourse and settled in at the waiting area. It was only a few minutes before they heard the announcement that the flight they were waiting for had landed and was at the terminal.
"Sam, do you think we should have made some kind of sign?"
"I don't think so Chris," Rita replied. "After all," she flipped open the folder, "We have pictures right here."
"So we do." Chris craned his head over Rita's shoulder. "Say, she's kind of cute." Rita made a sharp movement with her arm and Chris gave an "Ouufff" as her elbow jammed into his stomach. "I just meant it as a general comment Sam, give me a break."
"Deputy Pat Morrison," read Rita. She turned the page. "Well, well, who do we have here? Sergeant Michael Gibson. Speaking of cute..."
"Well, not bad if you like your guys tall and muscled and dark," replied Chris, for lack of anything better to say.
"Oh I do," purred Rita. Before Chris could come up with a better comeback the passengers began to deplane and the partners stepped up to examine them.
"There they are," Chris gestured towards a duo coming down the jet-way.
"Quite a contrast," commented Rita.
Chris nodded. The male topped 6 feet by a couple of inches. His black hair was cut in a very short, military style. Around 200 pounds, his body gave the impression of strength. He was neatly, if conservatively, dressed in dark blue slacks and sport coat.
The female was a good eight inches shorter than her companion, just slightly taller than Rita. Her dirty blonde hair was also cut short, although certainly not as severe as the guy's was. She wore fairly tight jeans, black running shoes and a white man's shirt under a leather jacket.
"Hmmmm," Chris muttered under his breath as the couple, apparently recognizing Chris and Rita as fellow officers, waved and began to work their way towards them.
"Looks like Deputy Morrison might be the kind who would think you are cuter than me."
"Now Chris, don't jump to conclusions. We've worked more than one case involving lesbians and there was hardly a butch among them. Besides, what difference would it make? They're here overnight, they'll be gone tomorrow, I've got you and I don't lean that way anyway."
"Oh, I don't know. I remember Solange giving you that back rub once when you were hung over. Seemed to me you enjoyed her hands on you a lot."
"Fully clothed, in public and if she was trying to seduce me, well, it would have been with you thrown in too, even back then."
By then they had reached the two out of state officers. The male removed his sunglasses, revealing large dark brown eyes.
"Hello, You all must be the Palm Beach PD officers." His voice was deep but controlled. His Southern accent was obvious. "I'm Mike Gibson and this is my partner Pat Morrison."
"I'm Rita Lance and this is Chris Lorenzo."
"Hi," the female officer smiled. "Nice to meet you both." Her voice, although definitely that of the South, didn't have the deep accent of Mike's.
Rita noticed that both Georgia cops looked them over, as Chris and she were doing to them. Mike seemed a bit dubious about Chris' outfit. Apparently pink shirts were not de rigueur in their department. His examination of Rita was quick and approving, although no more than she would expect of a polite man.
Pat had also looked over Chris. Rita thought that wasn't too bad, Chris was definitely worth looking over. But then the woman spent a bit longer examining her than Rita felt comfortable with. Rita turned abruptly to Chris.
"Let's get down to baggage claim."
"Good idea," Mike said. "We need to reclaim our sidearms. I feel about half naked with out mine."
"But you're cute anyway," said Pat. Rita felt surprised. She had wondered if perhaps Chris was right, but then that comment seemed more like something Chris would say to her. It bespoke familiarity and friendship and perhaps a bit more. She shrugged.
The two Georgia cops each had a suitcase and a garment bag. Mike carefully snatched up the locked metal case with the red "Unloaded Firearms" tag on it that most cops referred to as "Steal Me First" tags. Mike opened the case and deftly passed Pat one holstered weapon before slipping out of his sport coat and donning a shoulder harness. Pat undid her leather belt and ran it through the slits of her pancake holster and resettled her leather jacket.
"So what's on the agenda?"
"Well," replied Chris. "We thought we'd take you on a quick tour of our operation, run you by the jail to see Green and then get you settled at your hotel."
"Sounds good," said Mike. Pat nodded her agreement. "We're supposed to have a rental car waiting for us. How about we pick it up and then follow you out to your station?"
"How about this?" suggested Rita. "Pat, you ride with me and Chris can go with Mike."
"Sounds good," replied the Georgia cops, almost in unison. Rita hid a grin at Chris' hang-dog expression. He found a moment to slide up next to Rita as the foursome walked to the car rental counter.
"I wanted to ride with you," he whispered.
"It will be good for you Chris," Rita answered with a straight face. "You can do some male bonding and all. Harry told us to be nice to them."
The drive to the station was without incident. By the time they arrived, the two females had learned a good deal about each other. Both were single and making their way in a business that still tended to look at females a bit dubiously. Both accepted that was how things were and were willing to go the extra mile to prove themselves every day. Both of them tossed off any thoughts of romantic relationships although both admitted past affairs that had not ended well. They discussed their partners and found each thought they had a great one. Rita told Pat about Chris' parents and his ex's and Pat revealed that Mike was a widower raising two young daughters. They both agreed that maybe someday, someday not being anytime soon, they both would like to have children of their own.
As they pulled into the Homicide Building parking lot and climbed out, Rita was struck by something. The casual tones she had used to hide her relationship with Chris had seemed to strike an echo when the other female officer declared the same lack of interest in romance.
Rita's considerations were swept away when they all entered the station. Captain Lipschitz was yelling for them the moment they passed through the office doors. There was a hasty introduction as Harry told them not to bother getting comfortable.
"I can't believe I have to tell you this," he said to the Georgia deputies, "But your prisoner is gone."
"Escaped?" blurted Mike.
"Worse and someone's head is going to roll over this. Somehow, the upgraded charges never made it to the jail. Therefore no one knew that he was charged with more than Fraud and when someone showed up and posted bond for that offense they simply released him."
"I'll be damned," observed Chris.
Harry pointed at his detectives. "You two hit the streets right now and find Green. The airport is covered as are the highways. He's not the kind to take the bus but the depot is being watched anyway. More than likely he's gone to ground and is hoping to wait it out until the heat dies down some."
Turning his attention to Mike and Pat, he continued. "I've been in touch with your Sheriff and he says not to come home without your prisoner. I don't mind you going along with Lorenzo and Lance. You're out of your jurisdiction but you are sworn and certified peace officers and you can act under color of their authority as long as you are together. Let me remind you that on your own you have no more authority than any ordinary citizen. So be careful."
Upon leaving the office, Rita went immediately to her desk and grabbed the phone. She was lucky on the third try. After a short conversation, she hung up and motioned to the other three.
"We're going to meet a snitch of ours, Cotton Dunn. He's a con-man from the word 'go', but he would never dream of hurting anyone. He's the kind that just baits the hook and lets the suckers line up to let themselves get taken."
Pat laughed. "I've known a couple of those, both in Jackson County and where I used to work before that."
"Oh, so you're not originally from the coast?" Chris noted.
"No, I first started out as a city officer north of Atlanta."
"How did you end up on the coast then?" Inquired Rita.
"Actually," Pat laughed, "I was on my way to Jacksonville where I had an interview with the PD there." She looked at her partner. "I got stopped for speeding, forgot I still had my sidearm in the glove box and got myself arrested. Fortunately a certain Sergeant managed to straighten everything out before I spent the night in jail myself."
"Yep," noted Mike. "The first time I ever saw her she was in handcuffs."
The foursome shared a laugh, then sobered.
"Guys," Chris said. "Rita and I will have to go to this meet alone. Cotton might clam up when confronted with people he doesn't know. "And really, Cap is right, you shouldn't go poking around here in Palm Beach."
"I agree," said Mike immediately. Pat nodded. "We'll go to the hotel." They exchanged cell phone numbers and Mike promised to call with their room numbers as soon as they were checked in.
"You might as well relax for a bit," said Chris. "We have to stroke Cotton and even he is going to have a time finding this character."
Chris and Rita met with Cotton, who declared that people like Green were a menace and caused trouble for everyone else. He would look into it. The two Palm Beach detectives began checking known haunts without success, fielding a call from Mike giving them the hotel information.
About dark, the twosome decided to break and eat. Since they were near Rita's apartment they went there and she fixed them supper. They snuggled together on the couch, reviewing the mostly negative information they had accumulated do far. they were still discussing their notes when the phone rang.
"Uh-huh, uh-huh," Rita made notes on the pad of paper she always kept by the phone. "Thanks a lot, Cotton." She hung up and turned to Chris. "Cotton came through. Our Mister Green is hiding down by the waterfront while he negotiates for a late night boat ride out of the country."
"Great." While Chris laced his shoes, Rita pulled Mike's card from her wallet and dialed first his cell phone, and when there was no answer, his hotel room.
"No answer at either number."
"Maybe they're at dinner, Rita," suggested Chris. "I doubt they've left the hotel."
When the Sams reached the hotel they poked their heads in the restaurant, and for good measure, into the hotel bar. No Mike or Pat. They went to the third floor where the deputies had adjacent, but not adjoining rooms. No response came from Pat's door. Impatiently, Chris rapped hard on Mike's door.
"Just a moment," came Pat's voice. There was a slight pause and then the chain rattled. The door swung open, and both of the Sams felt their jaws drop.
Pat was holding her pocketbook with one hand while digging into it with the other. She produced a twenty dollar bill just as her head came up. But what rocked the Palm Beach officers was that she was wearing nothing but one of the hotel towels wrapped around her. Chris mentally noted that her legs, although not as good as Rita's were worth more than being covered in jeans all the time.
Pat was speaking as her gaze lifted. "Boy, that was fast, we only ordered about 10 minutes..." her voice trailed off as she saw Chris and Rita, rather than the apparently expected room service.
"Ah, Hi!" Pat attempted to smile. She stood there, shifting from one bare foot to the other, even as the bathroom door opened and Mike came out. Like Pat, he was wearing only a towel. Now it was Rita's turn to decide that Mike looked very good, if maybe a little more muscular than Chris, and certainly with a good deal more hair.
"Honey, my wallet's on the dresser if you don't have enough... ohhhhh SHIT!" Mike turned red. He seemed to be considering diving back into the bathroom before he realized that it was a little too late.
"Oh dear," was all Rita managed to say. Chris was speechless. He finally gained enough possession of himself to suggest that they come back in a few minutes.
"How about we meet you in the lobby?" suggested a still blushing Mike. "I assume you have news about Green?"
"Who?" replied Rita, still in a bit of shock. Realizing how out of it she sounded, she hastily rallied and agreed.
Fifteen minutes later, after a quick planning session the foursome headed out. Once again Pat rode with Rita and Mike with Chris. As they had agreed, when they reached the dock area, the guys pulled to the front door and the girls around back. Marked units were standing by around the corner. The hope was to quietly arrest Green and any of his henchmen, rather than create a possible stand-off by an overwhelming show of force.
Slipping through the doors, the two pairs of officers carefully searched the sprawling building. A muffled conversation from an office built into one corner drew them in that direction. Arm signals spread the foursome out in a tight arc as they hopefully closed in on their quarry. Weapons were quietly drawn and safeties snapped off.
Just as they neared the office, the door suddenly swung open and Green emerged along with another man, unfamiliar to Chris and Rita. They had taken no more than two steps before they spotted the officers and froze.
"Police!" commanded Rita sharply. "Hands in the air and don't move."
Neither of the two suspects showed the slightest bit of resistance as they complied. Chris unhooked his handcuffs, a move that Pat matched from the far side of the arc.
Rita's eyes flicked to the doorway behind Green and the other man. Was that movement? Even as the thought crossed her mind she saw the black muzzle of a pistol appear from one corner of the opening. Unable to make out a target, she flung herself at Chris even as she screamed a warning.
The Sams went down in a tumble as Rita slammed into Chris. Shots rang out, fortunately over their heads. The two Palm Beach officers rolled apart, their weapons swinging towards the unseen shooter.
From her angle Pat had the best view of the doorway and could make out the shadowy form doing the shooting. Her handcuffs dropped to the concrete. Her right hand rose, bringing her weapon up as her left hand streaked to take the pistol in a two-handed grip. Instead of aiming, she used the instinctive point and shoot method, firing as soon as her training told her the gun was on target.
There was a loud clatter as the shooter in the office fell, his weapon skittering into view it dropped from his hand. However the danger was far from over. Both Green and the other man produced hidden pistols and began to frantically spray bullets around. Unaimed though they were in the panic the subjects showed, the danger was very real as one shot barely missed Mike as he threw himself to the side and dropped to one knee. Two other shots chipped concrete between Rita and Sam. Faced with the utter recklessness of the two men, the officers had no choice but to return fire. Eight shots, two from each cop, tore into the suspects, ending the gunfight.
Sirens sounded and tires squealed as the back up units arrived and officers poured into the building. Chris and Rita took charge, arranging for the scene to be cordoned off and preserved, pending the arrival of Internal Affairs and the Shooting Review Team. Quick examinations had proved that the three men were dead.
Hours later the foursome reassembled at Homicide. All were still shaken from the shooting but being the experienced officers that they were, they were holding together. Rita smiled to herself at the aptness of that phrase. Not only had she and Chris managed to hug one another, she had seen Mike sweep Pat up on his arms, holding the petite female officer completely off the ground as he held her tightly, a grasp that she returned with interest.
The Jackson County Deputies had to put off their departure for a couple of days until the Shooting Review was completed. All four officers were cleared, the shooting declared "Justified". Mike and Chris went off to the airport to make new reservations for the Georgia duo. They had announced after they completed that chore they were going to spend the afternoon working on Chris' car. Mike fancied himself a bit of a mechanic and itched to work on the Charger.
Left alone, Rita and Pat chatted about nothing for a bit. When Rita asked the other woman what she wanted to do while the guys were off bonding, Pat hesitated for a moment. She looked Rita over carefully, her gaze lingering on her as it had the first time they had met.
"Can I ask you something Rita?"
"Oh boy," thought Rita. She had sensed something coming on and hoped it wasn't what Chris has thought at their first meeting. She had come to really like Pat and Mike and hoped a budding friendship wasn't going to be spoiled by a pass. Then she relaxed. After what she had seen between the two out-of-town officers there was no way that Pat was interested in her, or Chris or anyone else for that matter.
"Rita, can you take me shopping?" Seeing Rita's jaw-dropping expression, Pat looked confused. She hesitated and then plunged ahead. "Rita, the way you dress. You make it so sexy and yet it seems so effortless and, damn it, practical. You've probably noticed that I'm sort of tomboyish. Well, I am but, I'd really like to be able to knock someone's socks off. The way you do Chris."
Rita smiled. "From the looks of things, I think you have already knocked Mike's socks off."
Pat blushed. "That wasn't the first time we've been together. But we have to be careful. Not only would they split us up as partners, but there's Carol and Stephanie to think about. I don't want to be blatant about what their dad and I are doing and I certainly don't want them to think that I'm trying to take their mother's place."
"You do love him though."
"More than I ever thought I could. And the girls, I adore them."
"I think I understand."
Pat laughed. "I know darn well you do. You might fool everyone else about how you and Chris feel about each other, but you don't fool me. I saw that even before you both risked your necks for each other in the dockside shootout."
Rita opened her mouth to protest, then saw it wasn't going to do any good. Instead, she surrendered. "Okay, lets go knock the socks off your guy."
Hours later the two women finished their exploration of Palm Beach's shopping districts. They arrived back at the hotel with less than an hour to go before the time they had told the guys they would meet them for supper. Giggling like school girls, Rita helped Pat carry her packages up to her room and change. While Pat dressed, Rita called Chris on his cell phone.
"Hey, there. How are you and Mike doing? Everything wrapped up? Good. Okay, meet us over at the Club Rialto for supper." She listened and laughed. "Oh yes, you're going to be surprised. DON'T say anything to Mike. He's the one in for a treat."
Mike and Chris were comfortably seated on a pair of bar stools when Rita came through the door. From the gestures the two guys were using, she guessed they were deeply engrossed in the usual male practice of swapping 'war stories' about their adventures on their departments. Chris, somehow sensing her arrival, looked over Mike's shoulder and smiled.
"Over here, Sam." Chris called.
Mike turned around. He peered past Rita, obviously looking for Pat.
"She's making sure of our dinner reservations," Rita assured him. "Let's go, I'm starved."
The guys each tossed some money on the bar and stood up. Rita took the lead, chatting brightly about completely inconsequential matters. Chris looked at her in puzzlement. When she was sure Mike couldn't see, she winked at her partner.
"What's going on?" Chris whispered from the corner of his mouth.
The trio swung around the corner. Rita had snagged Chris' arm and slowed him enough to let Mike get in front. As they reached the maitre'd, a woman standing there turned around and both Chris and Rita had to slam on the brakes to avoid running into Mike's back.
Rita had never really saw someone's mouth actually fall open in surprise. Mike's did. He stared in amazement at his partner. For it was his partner who was standing there, but a Pat he had never seen before.
Gone was the leather jacket, the jeans, the assorted t-shirts and men's shirts she usually wore. Instead of her running shoes or leather ankle boots, Pat wore black open-toed high heels, her painted toenails peeking out. Mike's eyes traveled up her legs, covered in sheer silk stockings that showed of her well formed legs. A dark blue skirt, cut two inches over her knees, was topped by a ruffled cream colored blouse.
Nor did the transformation stop with her clothes. Rita had gone all out, taking the other woman to get her hair and nails done, as well as spending time with a cosmetologist that Rita trusted. All in all, the transformation was astounding.
Pat looked at Mike. Unable to resist, she twirled around. "Not bad huh?"
"Wow," said Mike quietly. "Honey, you look gorgeous."
"Thank Rita. She's the one who arranged for the whole thing."
"Thank you Rita. And Chris? Stop staring at my partner and stare at yours."
The four officers laughed and went into dinner. The conversation was enjoyable as they all swapped stories of adventures and misadventures that all cops seem to experience. Pat and Mike contributed spiritedly, although Mike couldn't keep his eyes off his partner. From the way the two Georgia deputies shifted their chairs bit by bit, Rita was willing to bet there was a lot of subtle touching going on under the table. As she and Chris were holding hands under the table cloth she decided it was no one's business but their own.
Supper was followed by a trip to the secluded club tucked away at the back of the hotel. The foursome shared a drink or two and danced to the music provided by a local band. Observing the proprieties, Chris and Rita switched off an occasional dance with Pat and Mike and sat out most of the slow numbers, although they managed two dances together that allowed them to hold each other.
The other pair was completely lost in each other. The Sams understood. Away from home, the visiting partners had an evening when they didn't have to hide their relationship and were determined to make the most of the opportunity. Eventually they all said goodnight. The last sight Chris and Rita had of the visitors that evening was as the elevator doors closed. Mike had swept Pat up in his arms and the two of them were kissing. Chris wanted to bet Rita that kiss wouldn't break until the other two cops were in bed. Rita declined, knowing a sure thing when she saw it.
The Sams arrived at the hotel and, as was now their habit, the girls rode together as did the guys on the trip to the airport. The Georgia visitors checked their luggage, including their sidearms and checked in at the airline counter. On the way to the gate, Mike contrived to drop back with Rita for a moment.
"Rita," Mike smiled. "Thanks for what you did for Pat."
"I enjoyed it," she smiled back. "I'm glad you liked it."
"I did," the tall officer admitted, "But not completely for the reasons you might think." As Rita's questioning look Mike elaborated. "Don't get me wrong, I think she looked incredible last night and I'd love it if she keeps at it. But I think she looks marvelous all the time, no matter what she's wearing."
"It WAS all her own idea, the make-over I mean. She wants to be more what she thinks you want in a woman. More feminine, I guess."
"It gave her a huge boost in confidence and I thank you for that." Mike hesitated. "I don't know all the details, but at sometime in her past, someone really hurt her. Its made her doubt herself. I think she realizes now she is a match for anyone. Its not easy, she feels she's always competing with the ghost of Lori, my first wife."
"Is she?" asked Rita quietly.
"Not at all," Mike declared. "I loved Lori. She gave me our daughters and she'll always be a part of us. But she's gone and now I love Pat. Just like you love Chris."
"Has EVERYONE figured that out?" Rita all but moaned.
"No, certainly not. But two people in the same position as y'all are? Of course we spotted it."
The two of them rejoined Pat and Chris at the gate. Handshakes and hugs were exchanged, along with promises to call, write and visit. Then the Georgia cops were gone and Chris and Rita headed back to the office.
However the story didn't end there. It ended several months later when Chris found Rita with her feet propped up on the bottom drawer of her desk, an envelope in one hand and a square of stiff paper in the other.
"What gives, Sam?" asked Chris, noting the broad smile on his partner's face.
"Its from Mike and Pat."
"Oh? What's up?"
Rita leaned forward, offering the paper to Chris. He took it settled back and started to read aloud.
"Lieutenant Michael Gibson and Detective Pat Morrison invite you to join them when they exchange their vows... Hey! They're getting married! Good for them."
The two detectives shared a smile, then looked away as the same thought crossed their minds. "Maybe SOME day...".