Tales from the Sparrow School
Author's note: This might possibly be the most ridiculous non-crack chapter I've ever written. Bonus points for those of you who identify the motorcycle gang and the Bartowskis' next-door neighbor. Also, yes, some of you will notice that in this chapter, I introduce a character who came from one of my OTHER AUs. Enjoy!
John Casey's P-P-P-Poker Face
CAST (in order of appearance):
John Casey – Adam Baldwin
Sarah Walker Bartowski – Yvonne Strahovski
Chuck Bartowski – Zachary Levi
Maya McCarthy Casey – Christina Hendricks
Morgan Grimes – Joshua Gomez
9:15 AM, Pacific Daylight Time
Wednesday, March 6th, 2019
California Highway 111, about fifty miles south of Coachella, California
"COME ON!" Colonel John Casey roared at his young protégé. The Crown Vic was in sight – a black monolith of 1980's American automotive might, rising from the sands on the shore of the Salton Sea.
"Uncle John, I've been running for ten minutes!" John Bartowski complained. "I'm only eight years old!"
Casey stopped in his tracks and turned around. "We're in a hostile situation here, John! We've got to keep moving! The Crown Vic's RIGHT THERE!"
John gave his godfather the most pitiful look – and then did something that made John Casey prouder than anything he had ever seen before. The eight year old's eyes took on a gleam reminiscent of one that Casey had often seen in his mother's eyes, he stood up taller, and straightened his shoulders. "Yes, sir!" he bellowed in his most commanding voice – which, given that he was only eight, was still pretty high.
Nonetheless, the eight year old moved out, and had it been a day when Casey's old football injury was bothering him, John Bartowski probably would've beaten the man he was named after to the car. However, Casey was feeling good that day, and reached the Crown Vic in just enough time to unlock it for little John to climb in.
"Buckle up and HOLD ON!" Casey roared, firing up the Crown Vic's thirty-five year old 351 cubic inch Windsor V8 engine. Never mind that it was manufactured in Canada, it was the heart of an American car, goddammit!
Sand spun from underneath the Crown Vic's rear tires as the former California Highway Patrol car shot forward and onto the highway. "Alright, our mission here is to beat your mother back to Studio City and fortify our defensive position," Casey informed his namesake. "If we can do that, we may be able to convince her of the value of these training sessions."
John Bartowski looked at the dashboard and frowned. Biting his lower lip the same way his father did when thinking, he pondered Casey's statement for a moment, and then turned to face the NSA agent. "Uncle John," he said, "in our current position, we're more than one hundred twenty-five miles closer to the house than Mommy is. Given that, we should have more than enough time to conduct our operations."
Casey couldn't help it. Throwing his head back, he roared with laughter at what sounded distinctly like the voice of Chuck Bartowski coming out of his son's mouth. "That is an EXCELLENT analysis, young man," he told John, shaking with laughter. "However, there are a few factors you haven't considered."
John raised an eyebrow. "Such as?"
"First of all," Casey replied, "we're currently on a non-divided, two-lane highway. The bulk of your mother's drive will be on Interstate 5. Secondly, your mother drives a Porsche 911, and as fast as this old girl is, she will never be able to run with a 911." He paused for a moment, wondering whether the next statement would get him in even further trouble. Ah, what the hell, Casey decided. "Third, and finally, your mother develops a condition that we in the Air Force like to call 'batshit crazy' when she gets onto an open stretch of blacktop."
A moment of silence passed, as John Bartowski processed this information. Finally, he looked up at Casey, and very matter-of-factly said, "We're completely screwed."
Los Banos, California
It was a beautiful March morning – the perfect day for a motorcycle ride. And on this particular day, a northern California motorcycle gang was headed down Interstate 5, bound for a patch-over party in Bakersfield.
To look at this gang of motorcycle riders was to look at a group of men with whom you would never, ever want to mess. In fact, one glance at the logo on their cuts – that of the Grim Reaper holding an M-16 – told most of the general public everything they needed to know about these men.
That was why, even though they had their riders spread out across all three of the southbound lanes on I-5, not a single motorist or trucker dared antagonize them. Of course, it helped that the pack of motorcyclists was traveling at just a hair over 80 miles per hour.
And so, it came as something of a surprise to the leader of the group when he heard a horn blaring behind him. Looking in his mirror, he saw a black Porsche approaching him from behind – and FAST. "Fuck off, bitch," he muttered at the slightly insane looking blonde driving the car. Lifting his left hand, he gave her the universal salute of the state of California.
However, unlike most people, this woman didn't seem to be fazed in the least by the morbid logo, the motorcycle, or the finger. Rather, she narrowed her eyes, held her left hand out the window of her car – and a second later, a .45 caliber slug blew the mirror off of the leader's bike.
"WHAT THE FUCK?!" he roared, bringing the bike skidding to a stop in the middle of the freeway. Around him, fifteen other Harley-Davidson, Yamaha, Honda, and BMW bikes followed suit, their riders drawing guns and preparing for battle.
Before he could even get his helmet off, however, the driver of the Porsche was out of her car, advancing on him very quickly, her Colt M1911 up and pointed directly at his – no, not his head – oh, SHIT –
"Your nuts are next!" she roared. "Get your GODDAMN BIKE out of my way!"
The leader raised an eyebrow. Oh, this had just gotten amusing. "I'm sorry," he replied, "my what?"
And what happened next came as a shock. Instead of becoming more antagonized, the blonde instead put her hands on her hips, blew out an exasperated sigh, and rolled her eyes. "My apologies," she drawled sarcastically. "Get your GODDAMN 2008 HARLEY DAVIDSON FXD DYNA CUSTOM out of my way!"
So shocked was the leader by the fact that the blonde woman in the tailored black business suit knew exactly what his bike was that he could think of no response but, "Okay…"
Still stunned, he wheeled his Harley out of the way. The woman got back into her Porsche, brought the engine roaring to life, and took off down the freeway, leaving black streaks on the road and a cloud of smoke as the only evidence she had been there.
One of the other riders looked over at the leader. "Holy shit, boyo," he said, his Scottish accent more pronounced than usual. "I don't know what to say other than… that was REALLY hot!"
Carrie Rozelle had a smile on her face as she brought the old UH-1W Huey helicopter in for a landing on the Academy's helipad. She hadn't seen her half-sister in several years, and so she was looking forward to surprising her.
However, as she flared to land, much to her consternation, an old Dodge Magnum station wagon came sliding onto the helipad. It stopped a perfectly safe distance away from the descending Bell aircraft, but that kind of pad incursion was never, ever a good idea.
As she watched, a tall, skinny man with curly brown hair climbed out of the Dodge and ran toward the helicopter. Wrenching open the door, he climbed into the co-pilot's seat. "You got enough fuel to get to Los Angeles?"
Carrie looked at the man in confusion. "I have enough fuel to get to Ensenada if I so desire," she replied, "but I'm landing here."
"The hell you are," he shot back. "Get this bird in the air. I have to get to the Valley before my wife does."
Carrie shook her head. "Forget it. I'm here to see my sister, and I'm not going anywhere else."
The man sighed and looked at the ceiling. "I'm sorry," he said. "That was rude. I'm Chuck Bartowski, the director of the Academy, and I would really appreciate it if you could get me to Studio City as quickly as possible. I promise I'll make it up to you."
"Your wife?" Carrie asked, confused. "Why do you need a Huey to get to Los Angeles before your wife?"
Chuck smiled wryly. "Because she's driving a Porsche 911 and, according to my security people, she's been gone for nearly an hour."
"Ohhh," Carrie said. "Okay." Then she narrowed her eyes. "You'll make it up to me? How?"
Chuck shrugged. "You said you were here to visit your sister," he replied. "I'll make sure she has a few days off from training."
Carrie snorted with laughter. "Training? Oh, my sister's not a student here. My sister's barely old enough to legally have sex."
"Huh?" Now Chuck was confused. "Who's your sister?"
"Mackenzie Montgomery," Carrie replied. "She's the daughter of –
"Of Roan Montgomery, of course," Chuck interrupted. "I know exactly who she is. I think she's actually going to be starting in a side program I might be running for the CIA."
Carrie's eyes widened. "This side program better not have anything to do with your Academy, or you can get the hell out of my helicopter RIGHT now."
"No, no!" Chuck assured her. "Of course not! I don't even necessarily like the mission of this Academy. No, this is something different." He frowned. "But Roan never mentioned having an older daughter."
Carrie's eyes widened. "I'm only 35!" she shot back, offense in her voice.
"Christ," Chuck muttered. "Can I do anything right today?"
"And I'm not Roan Montgomery's daughter," Carrie went on. "My name's Carrie Rozelle. I'm the daughter of a pair of traitors, to put it mildly."
Chuck buried his face in his hands. "Jesus, not another daughter of the woman I shot and killed," he moaned.
"She had it coming," Carrie replied tightly, without even the slightest sign of shock that Chuck Bartowski had been responsible for Diane Beckman's death.
Chuck slowly looked up at Carrie, his eyes widening even further. "Wow… no love lost there?"
"I never liked Diane Beckman, or that Iran-Contra piece of shit who fathered me," Carrie said bitterly. "I spent my childhood living with my grandparents. In fact, as far as I'm concerned, the only good thing that Diane Beckman ever gave this world was Mackenzie."
"Right," Chuck replied in disbelief. "Look, I would love to talk about this with you further, but seriously – if I don't get to Los Angeles before my wife does, there's an NSA agent who is going to have his nuts in a jar."
"NSA, huh?" Carrie asked. "Well, if he's anything like Diane Beckm-"
"John Casey is NOTHING like General Beckman," Chuck snapped, suddenly feeling defensive. "He's a good man!"
"Well, why didn't you say so in the first place?" Carrie's voice still had a sarcastic tone, but she nonetheless pulled back on the collective, lifting the old Huey off the pad. "Monterey Tower, this is River-One, requesting emergency takeoff."
"River-One, didn't you just land?"
"That's affirmative, but I have suddenly found myself in the middle of a national security situation."
"Roger that, River-One. You are cleared for takeoff."
Chuck raised an eyebrow. "A national security situation?"
"A necessary embellishment," Carrie replied with a shrug. "Now let's go stop your wife from castrating this John Casey."
Studio City, California
Lawrence Michaels stood in his front yard, smoking a fat cigar. Life was good. This house in Studio City – it was a far cry from his old days of doing drywall at McDonald's franchises in Texas.
As he puffed on the no-longer-illegal Cuban tobacco, Lawrence heard the distinctive noise of a stressed Ford V-8 engine approaching from the north. "Christ," Lawrence muttered. "Will John Casey never learn how to do the speed limit?"
It did not seem that this would be the day that Casey would learn the speed limit, as his Crown Vic did a powerslide in the middle of St. Clair Avenue, and then rocketed into the Bartowskis' driveway, stopping just inches from the garage door. "GO GO GO GO GO!" Casey roared as both he and John Bartowski bailed out of the old Ford.
"Howdy, Casey!" Lawrence called.
"Lawrence," Casey grunted as he swept John into the house, where he found his wife, his daughter, and the two Bartowski girls sitting on the couch – a grin the size of the Queen Mary on his wife's face.
"Oh, you've done it this time, John," she said in amusement.
"Maya, you've gotta help us out," Casey begged his wife. "Walker's gonna come charging through that door any minute. You have to stall her somehow."
Maya snorted with laughter. "Why in God's name would I do that? This is going to be HILARIOUS."
"Aunt Maya, Uncle John's afraid that Mommy's going to rip his balls off with her bare hands," John Bartowski interjected, a deadly serious look on his face.
"John Casey!" Maya snapped, the look of amusement on her face turning to one of disbelief. "What have I told you about vulgarity in front of the kids?"
Casey's face had now taken on a look of desperation. "Maya…"
"We want to play Uncle John's game, Aunt Maya!" Lisa piped up, causing sheer relief to sweep across John Casey.
Maya rolled her eyes and turned away from her husband. "And how do you propose we do that?"
As if they had planned it, the three girls all shouted in unison. "DANCE PARTY!"
As Sarah Walker Bartowski sped down St. Clair Avenue, two things became immediately obvious to her – one, her asshole neighbor, Lawrence, was standing outside, smoking a goddamn cigar, and two, John Casey's Crown Vic was in her driveway. "Dammit," she muttered. Not only had Casey beaten her here, but with the garage blocked, she was likely going to be subjected to one of Lawrence's lascivious remarks before she got into the house.
"Bite the bullet, Walker," she told herself as she brought the Porsche to a stop by the curb. Steeling herself, she opened the door and stepped out, making tracks for the front door as quickly as she could and trying to ignore the leer that Lawrence was casting her way.
"Looking good, Mrs. Bartowski!" he called, making Sarah's skin crawl just a little bit – but only for a second. What was that noise?
It sounded familiar. It was some kind of thumping – a rhythmic thumping coming from the house. "The hell?"
Pulling open the front door, Sarah was met with an almost physical wall of music.
"CAN'T READ MY, CAN'T READ MY, NO HE CAN'T READ MY POKER FACE!"
Sarah looked at her daughters and Becca Casey in disbelief. The three girls were thrashing about as if they were having seizures, while Maya McCarthy Casey observed them with a look of sheer amusement on her face.
Before Sarah could say anything, her daughters noticed her. "MOMMY!" Lisa and Alex both shouted, running toward her. "COME DANCE WITH US!" Each girl grabbed a hand and dragged Sarah to the middle of the living room.
"River-One, this is Van Nuys Tower. We cannot clear you to land at Studio City Consulting Services."
Chuck looked at Carrie Rozelle in disbelief. "What the hell?"
He toggled his microphone. "Van Nuys Tower, this is River-One. That's MY landing pad. Why can't I land there?"
"River-One, the landing pad at Studio City Consulting Services is currently occupied by a helicopter registered to Kääntyä Dynamic," the invisible controller replied. "The closest we can give you is immediate landing at the Balboa Army National Guard airfield."
"Crap," Chuck muttered. "That's fine," he told Carrie.
"Van Nuys Tower, this is River-One," Carrie said. "We'll take that landing site."
As Carrie turned the Huey away from Studio City and headed across the 405, Chuck pulled out his cell phone to call the front office at SCCS. A moment later, the phone was answered.
"Studio City Consulting Services, this is Morgan, how may I direct your call?"
"Morgan, who the HELL is Kääntyä Dynamic, and why are they occupying my helipad?"
"Chuck!" Morgan exclaimed. "Dude, how do you know about that?"
"Morgan, I AM still the CEO of the company."
"Right, right," Morgan replied. "Uh, they're a potential client, meeting with Bryce right now."
Chuck sighed. Couldn't very well ask a client to move off the helipad, now could he? "Alright, Morgan, listen," he said. "I'm going to be landing at the Balboa Army National Guard airfield in about five minutes. I need you to get there as fast as you can, and pick me up."
"You got it… pick up Chuck!"
Chuck just shook his head.
In spite of herself, Sarah was actually enjoying dancing around the living room with her daughters and her goddaughter. Sure, the thought of doing permanent damage to John Casey was still present in her mind, but she had been overtaken by the sheer fun of acting completely ridiculous.
Lady Gaga had given way to George Michael, and then to Outkast. And just as Sarah was doing her best to shake it like a Polaroid picture, her tactical mind snapped back into operation.
There was John Casey, doing his best to sneak out the back door.
"Son of a bitch!" Sarah yelped, grabbing her purse and running out of the living room, leaving Andre 3000's howls of "Hey, ya!" in her wake. Reaching into the purse, she withdrew not her Colt, but…
John Casey was almost free and clear. He had spent the last twenty minutes holed up in the Nerd Cave with John Bartowski, and in spite of himself, had gotten extraordinarily nervous when Sarah Walker Bartowski arrived home. Then, the music started up, and a few minutes later, Casey had heard one of the most welcome sounds of his life – Walker laughing with nothing more than joy.
After nearly twenty minutes of the girls' impromptu dance party, Casey had decided that he might be safe to make a break for it. "Alright, Bartowski, you stay here," he instructed John. "Your mother won't take this out on you – it's my ass she wants."
As Casey crawled out from behind the makeshift fortress of couch and cushions that he and John Bartowski had erected, he turned and saluted the younger man. "It's been a pleasure, John."
John stood and saluted back. "Good luck, Uncle John!"
Moving to the back door of the Nerd Cave, Casey slowly eased it open – and was promptly assaulted by the thumping bass of Outkast. "Lord have mercy," he muttered, his eyes fixed on the back door.
As stealthily as possible, he crossed the kitchen, his hand reaching for the doorknob. Just as he was about it to reach it, though, he felt a sharp sting in his neck –
Chuck Bartowski practically dove out of Morgan's Lexus as it rolled to a stop behind Sarah's Porsche. Completely ignoring Lawrence's greeting, Chuck made a beeline for the front door – only to find it locked. He reached for his keys.
"My goddamn keys are in Monterey," he gasped. "Shit!"
Turning, he ran around Casey's Crown Vic and down the side of the house. Reaching the back door, he reached out for the doorknob, hoping the door was unlocked –
And with an almighty crash, the door flew open, and John Casey fell out onto the stoop, a tranquilizer dart sticking out of his neck. His eyes glassy, Casey looked up at Chuck. "Wecom ho', Bowski," he muttered, and then fell unconscious.
Chuck looked down at Casey, and then up into the kitchen, at the figure of his wife walking toward him, tranquilizer gun in hand, a triumphant look on her face. Before Chuck could say anything, three young girls came running up behind Sarah.
"MOMMY, THAT WAS AWESOME!"
To be continued…
Charlie Hunnam as the lead motorcyclist
Tommy Flanagan as the Scottish motorcyclist
Summer Glau as Carrie Rozelle
and Diedrich Bader as Lawrence Michaels