Title: "A Hard Game To Win"
Author: Pirate Turner
Rating: G
Summary: Becker manages the impossible!
Warnings: None
Disclaimer: John Becker, Linda, and Margaret are & TM their respective owners, not the author, and are used without permission. Everything else is & TM the author. The author makes absolutely no profit off of this work of fan fiction, and no copyright infringement is intended.

"It's the same old thing every day! You can't tell me any differently; you know it is! Rashes, colds, flus, diarrhea, kidney blockages, the occasional cancers, pregnancies -- the same thing day after day after day after day after day -- "

John Becker glanced at his watch as his youngest nurse prattled on. After five minutes, she finally got pass the continuous "after day"s and resumed. He hoped it wouldn't take her long to finish her latest little Drama Queen speech.

Linda finally took a big breath, then continued almost without missing a beat, "I'm not old like you and Margaret! I'm young! I'm in the prime of my life! I need excitement! I need fun! I need new things! I need -- "

"You need excitement?"

"Yes!" she cried, throwing up her hands.

"You need fun?"


"Okay," John said cautiously, steepling his fingers together in front of him as a thoughtful expression settled over his tired face. "Let's play a game."

"A game?" Linda repeated excitedly, her eyes shining with interest. At his nod, she asked, "What kind of game?"

"It's a fun game," he told her carefully, "but it's a hard game. Only the best players win it."

"Oh, I'll win it all right!" she exclaimed enthusiastically. Her brow then creased with confusion. "How do you play?"

"Simple," he said. "Just put your lips together and don't blow. The first person to give up and let anything out of their mouth is the loser. We'll begin . . . " He raised his watch again and made a show of looking at it.

Linda spat her gum into a nearby basket. Becker made a face at the myriad of bright colors but managed not to say anything. "Okay," she spoke. She was almost jumping up and down in place when she turned to face him again, her joined hands swinging in front of her. "I'm ready."

"We'll begin now."

Grinning from ear to ear, Linda swayed out of the door and was remarkably silent for the first time in her life. Five minutes later, John left his office and returned to the front office, where Margaret slipped him a five dollar bill while shaking her head in amazement.

Becker grinned. "Told ya I could do it."

Linda was coming back to the front at that very moment, and she squealed in delight. John, his back to her, winced visibly. "Five minutes is five minutes," he quickly told Margaret, slipping the bill into his pocket even as Linda chanted in delight.

"I won! I won! I won!"

Grimacing, John reminded himself. She may think she had won, but he had truly won over her, for the first time getting a little piece of treasured peace in her presence! He plastered a smile over his face as he turned around. "Want to play again?" he asked eagerly.

"You only want to because you want to beat me!" she cried.

"I don't know if I could beat you," John offered. "You're so good at the game! But I did have fun! Didn't you?" He looked imploringly at her, and Linda bobbed her entire body up and down in agreement. "Good."

"We start now!" she exclaimed eagerly, her eyes shining.

Becker only grinned in return and spoke silent thanks to whatever God had finally taken pity on him and given him a way to shut up the most annoying chatterbox he'd ever had the displeasure of knowing.

The End