Guilty, By Association

If there was one thing that Bobby really hated, it was his annual psych exam. The "Fitness For Duty Exam" is what the Department called it, but what it boiled down to was the fact that yet another shrink was trying to delve into his head in order to determine if he was sane enough to keep his gold shield and gun and be unleashed upon the City for another year.

How many times over the years had he heard the words "...and don't come back until you've been cleared by psych services!" --but he always was cleared; he always made it back. Wasn't that proof enough for them? Not to mention his six months' of therapy and counseling with Dr. Olivet during his suspension. I'm not crazy. Moody, quirky and tempermental, maybe, but crazy? No. Never.

Bobby had already completed the multiple written questionnaires and his verbal interview with Dr. Cardona (who, ironically, had taken the place of Dr. Charles Webb as the resident shrink for the PBA). He fidgeted in the chair, toying with a paperweight on the Doctor's desk, crossing and uncrossing his legs as he impatiently waited for the Doctor to return to the office.

Finally, the door opened and Dr. Cardona resumed his position behind his desk.

"Well, Detective, just a few more minutes and you'll be done," the Doctor said, as he reached for a paper from his drawer.

Bobby nodded and smiled, putting on his best act. Geez. I just wanna get the hell outta here.

"This is just a brief 'association' test," the Doctor cheerfully said. "I'm sure you're familiar with it. I say a word, and you tell me the first thing that comes to mind," the Doctor smiled.

Bobby nodded. This is ridiculous. But, I suppose it's better than last year when they gave me the Rorschach and all I could see was Alex's ---

"Okay. Ready?" the Doctor smiled.

"Ready," Bobby nodded.

"Okay. Here goes -- FLOWER."

Alex. The roses I gave her for her birthday. She loved them. "ROSE."

"PAINTING."

Alex. I remember how she made me laugh when she said 'I guess Madame Monet dropped some green beans in the bucket.' She's so sarcastic. "MONET."

"DIAMOND."

Alex. She couldn't fathom why Gia DeLuca didn't take all those diamonds and run. I told her that diamonds don't keep you warm at night. "BASEBALL."

Dr. Cardona stifled a chuckle and glanced up at Bobby. "Most people say 'engagement ring'. Okay, let's continue.

"BEAUTIFUL."

Alex. Inside and out. The most beautiful woman --person--I've ever known. "UGLY."

"GOLD."

Alex. When she smiles at me and her beautiful tawny gold eyes actually twinke. "MEDAL."

"QUESTION."

Alex. In the beginning I used to question myself how long she'd stay. And after a while, I questioned why she stayed. And now...there's no question. She's here to stay." "ANSWER." Alex is the answer to everything in my life.

Bobby watched as the Doctor jotted some notes.

"Okay, Detective. We're finished," Cardona said, as he tapped the papers on his desk to straighten them, then slipped them into the folder. He then stood and extended his arm across the desk to shake Bobby's hand. "The Chief and your Captain will have your clearance by the end of the week," he smiled.

Bobby relaxed, glad that it was over. Thank God he doesn't know my real responses to every word...he probably would think I'm crazy. Nah, I'm not crazy. Just guilty. Guilty of being in love with my partner. That's bad enough. "Thanks, Doctor. Have a good day."

X X X

Dr. Cardona smiled as Dr. Olivet answered the phone. "Hi, it's Jerry. Yeah, he just left. Of course you're right --he's totally in love with his partner, but, yeah, I cleared him. This weird relationship seems to work for these two. See ya at the seminar on Saturday."

X X X

Bobby happily exited the office, bounding down the stairs and heading to the deli to grab a pastrami sandwich. He smiled smugly to himself, glad that his evaluation had gone so well. I've been dealing with psychologists since I was seven...they think a stupid 'association' test is actually gonna reveal something-- ha!, he scoffed.

Bobby took a window seat in the deli so he could people-watch while he ate. He was on top of the world. As he bit into his piled-high sandwich, he thought, I wonder how Alex did on her test.

THE END.