Summary: "Slice of life" fiction. What do they do when they're not teaching class, chasing bad guys (or chasing each other)? Humor; Jean - Storm - Scott friendship, Jean POV. Movieverse

Notes: This one is meant to make folks smile, like a satyr play. The Darwin Awards really do exist. I read them faithfully. And what Jean says about gunshot wounds is true.

Afternoon sun streams into the solar though high windows, cutting seven stretched parallelograms over the hardwood floor and Persian rugs. The color is rich like old butter. I'm lying on one leg of the leather L-sofa, an old afghan over my legs, my eyes closed, listening to the sound of kids quarreling over the Playstations. We have the old one and new one, both. Two of the new ones, even. Scott and Ororo stood in line a long time to get them. The kids still quarrel. The top of my head just brushes Scott's thigh and the smooth fabric of cotton khaki. Sometimes, his left hand rests on my hair like a benediction, thumb idly rubbing my forehead. He put Shawn Colvin on the stereo, because he knows I like her: "So wherever you go, you better take care of me. This time, if you're gonna go, remember me and all. This time ­- "

He's reading email on his laptop -­ which he actually uses in his lap ­- and laughing. "What is so funny?" Ororo asks without looking up from her magazine. Elle, in French. The woman is fluent in three languages: English, Swahili, and French. I'm jealous.

"The Darwin Awards," Scott tells her now.

"The what?" she raises her head finally.

"The Darwin Awards. They give awards every year, or every month now, to people who die or get hurt in spectacularly idiotic ways. It's called the Darwin Awards because they've improved the gene pool by taking themselves out of it. Natural selection at work."

I open my eyes a crack to see Ororo's reaction to this. She's very good at mastery of her face. Mostly, it's the result of a deep-seated serenity she achieves by meditation. Yoga's not my cup of tea, but it works for her. Now, however, the mask is strained. "'Natural selection at work,'" she repeats. "And just who is the 'they' giving the award?"

"I have absolutely no idea," Scott says. " But listen to this one. 'Those persons injured or killed during the Michigan firearms deer season include a Bay City man shot in the leg while trying to photograph his dog holding a rifle which accidentally went off.' Or maybe the dog in question was just tired of his idiot owner. Gotta be careful of those mutant marksmen hound dogs."

I suppose the doctor in me should be appalled that my lover finds amusement in the pain of others. But it's just too damn funny. Combination of subject matter and his acid delivery.

"Here's another," he says. "Ro, as the ex-pickpocket and resident soccer nut, you'll appreciate this one. 'Two men were taken to a Liverpool hospital on Saturday night after trying to burgle the house of pro soccer player Duncan Ferguson. Some years ago Ferguson, who earned the nicknames Drunken Ferguson and Duncan Disorderly, served six months in jail for grievous bodily injury to an opponent. This 6'4" kamikaze centre forward is arguably the most violent player in British pro football. The police must have arrived quickly as only one of the would-be burglars required hospitalization.' And the moral to that story is 'Be sure the person you're robbing isn't bigger than you are.'"

Ororo's calm demeanor has taken a hike. Leaning sideways on the couch, she's laughing quietly, the forgotten Elle sliding off her lap onto the floor. Scott's looking very pleased with himself. It's hard to get Ro to laugh.

"Here's another. Logan should hear this one; it's about Canadians. Where's Logan?" He sits up to look around.

Ororo has recovered and is wiping her eyes. "He is probably off to rob Duncan Ferguson for his afternoon entertainment."

Scott smirks. (He really does smirk sometimes; very annoying expression). "Well anyway, here we go, from Ontario: 'Jessica, 19 and Robyn, 21, got lost driving through the aptly-named Douro-Dummer Township. One wrong turn led to another, and the girls found themselves wandering on 'seasonal trails' marked KEEP OUT and NO TRESPASSING. After inadvertently setting fire to their car while trying to dislodge it from a rock, the girls abandoned the vehicle and its survival kit containing a blanket, flashlight, candle, and flares. The two snow bunnies stumbled blindly through the trees for two hours, broke through an ice cover into a stream, and were discovered by a rabbit hunter twelve hours later. Between them they lost two feet, seven toes, and four fingers to frostbite.' They should hire those two for Dumb and Dumber II instead of Jim Carey. It seems impossible that they made it to near-adulthood in the first place."

Closing my eyes again, I pat his knee. "Scott, love, you are a genuinely sick man."

"Thank you, hon. Want to hear more?"

"No. Shut up, please. I'm trying to nap." But I'm grinning.

It's no use; he's like a little boy with a new toy. "But there's one more. It's short, I promise. 'An off-duty Los Angeles police officer accidentally shot himself while cleaning his gun, and was treated for a groin injury at a nearby hospital.' Ouch. Maybe I shouldn't have read that one."

"Are they sure just which pistol he was cleaning?" I ask.

"What?" I think I took him by surprise.

Sitting up a little, I wipe hair out of my eyes and settle against his shoulder. "Gunshot wound to the groin. What time did he show up at the hospital?"

"I have no idea; it doesn't say." He points to the screen and I must squint to read that particular entry. I took my contacts out before I laid down.

And as he noted, it doesn't say. "Well, if it was between about five and eight a-m, I can pretty much guarantee you he didn't get the wound from cleaning his gun. Not the metal one, anyway."

He elbows me. "Jean."

"It's true. We used to have bets on it, when I was doing my ER rotation. Get a report of a gunshot wound between about five and eight in the morning, and we knew what part of the anatomy it would be to. You should have heard some of the stories those guys came up with, to avoid saying, 'My wife caught me trying to sneak back into the house after being out catting around all night, and blew my balls off.'"

He lets out a bark of shocked laughter. "Jean!" Ro is actually squealing and pounding her heels on the floor. The students have all stopped whatever they're doing to see that. The Storm Queen in stitches. "I'm shocked at you," Scott adds ­ when he can stop laughing long enough to get the words out.

"You are not," I tell him. "And I get an extra piece of pizza. I made Ro laugh harder than you did."

"God, woman. Remind me never to piss you off. Not with a gun in your hand, anyway."

I lean in to whisper, too soft for anyone else to hear, "There's only one gun I like to trigger."

It turns him the same shade as his glasses. "Christ!"

I settle back down then on the couch and close my eyes to resume my doze. "Two extra pizza slices for me," and a Mutant Darwin Award for my obviously superior wit. I made Ro laugh and Scott blush.

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