A/N: I'm a new writer to this show but I love the cast and think Cloris Leachman as Maw Maw is so perfect. Martha Plimpton is lovable as Virginia the mom – and who doesn't have a crush on Burt? Jimmy and Hope are my favorite characters and this story is for Jimmy.
Jimmy's Last Chance
Virginia put her hands on her hips and sadly shook her head. Her son Jimmy, left Maw Maw to babysit poor little Hope again. Today Virginia's grandmother was reliving her experiences with Barnum & Bailey and Tickles the Clown. Baby Hope had red lipstick eyebrows and her tiny puckered lips were covered with blue eye shadow. Maw had tried to glue a tiny maraschino cherry on the baby's nose.
Virginia picked up the seven month old and set her in the walker. "Maw Maw, the baby is not in the circus. Jimmy is going to pitch a fit when he sees what you did to his daughter!"
Maw Maw was putting flour over her face with one of Jimmy's paint brushes. "Oh honey, you could use some pancake makeup your self. Your nose is a little shiny."
Ginny grabbed the bag of flour and the brushes. Her grandmother was slowly losing her marbles but it was interesting to say the least! "Go wash your face, I'm starting dinner."
Jimmy took the bag of groceries out of the back of his van. He whistled as he walked up the rickety porch stairs and stepped over his dad's old yellow skateboard. "Mom, I got the milk and the potatoes." He shouted from the front door. Maw Maw smiled and looked like a ghost that tried to look like a circus freak. "Oh Timmy! Are you going to watch me swing from the trapeze?" She pointed to the miniature chandelier that hung from the dining room ceiling.
Jimmy Chance knew Maw Maw was off her rocker but it wasn't unusual for her to try something crazy like that! "No Maw Maw, I'm Jimmy, remember? Your granddaughter Virginia's son? I don't think the trapeze is working today. Where's Hope?"
"In the kitchen honey!" Virginia yelled. Jimmy sidestepped the little wind up monkey that clapped his cymbals together and tried not to watch while his great grandmother removed her dentures to pick her teeth with a paperclip. He set the grocery bag on the table and his mouth fell open.
"What happened to my baby?" He said in astonishment. Virginia leaned a hip against the sink and replied, "Well, her mother was executed for being a serial murderer or did you mean Maw Maw thinking your daughter was a clown?" Jimmy reached down and pulled little Hope out of the walker and kissed her pink stained cheek.
"I told her I was only going to be gone for a minute. How could she paint my baby like this? Sabrina's coming over later to watch TV with us and I can't have my baby looking like a circus performer!"
"Give her a bath and I mean Hope, not your wanna be girlfriend!" Virginia muttered. The back door opened and Burt staggered in tired as a dog and opened the fridge looking for anything cold to drink.
"Yeah, I fell in the pool again so you don't have to tell me I smell like chlorine." He groaned. "Mrs. Hazelwitch or witch hazel or whatever that bitch calls herself got a new Rottweiler! Do you have any idea of how hard it is to clean a pool with a devil dog in the backyard?"
Virginia tried not to laugh but her poor husband looked so pitiful. "Oh sweetie, just be glad she got rid of that huge Saint Bernard! You complained for weeks about the Frisbee sized dog crap you had to pick up."
Burt nodded, "Yeah…that was bad. Luckily, I chased the Rott with my lawnmower and he jumped the fence. I hope he didn't follow my scent home because we don't need no dog."
Virginia smirked, "Yeah, cuz we got Jimmy."
"I heard that!" a tinny voice said over the baby monitor. "Don't think I didn't hear you compare your son to a dog!"
Virginia turned off the baby monitor. "It's your turn to drive Maw Maw to the retirement home."
Burt flapped his arms in the air. "Why me? I worked all day! I'm the pool man."
"And I clean rich people's toilets and I'm complaining? Anyhow, Mr. Snizer is going to be there and you know how Maw Maw always wants to steal his walker."
Burt smiled into the distance with that expression he got when he remembered something funny. "Yeah….the only 85 year old man with a gold walker. I'd like a walker like that! Not one of those aluminum ones that come with the fancy tennis ball feet."
Virginia smiled and didn't bother to tell her husband that the tennis balls were meant to keep the walkers from sliding. "So, you need to go and restrain her if she takes off running with it again. Besides, its bingo night and you know how you love bingo."
Burt grinned. "Yeah…I did win the five dollar jackpot last month!" Virginia smacked a big kiss on his cheek. "Take a shower el stinko and I'll make dinner."
The knock at the front door startled Jimmy. He had finally got Hope's face cleaned up although her eyebrows were a shocking stained pink color and he really hoped that would fade with time. Sabrina was early!
"C-coming!" he shouted towards the door. "Mom! Sabrina is here! Hide in your room."
Virginia strode out of the kitchen, "I'm not hiding from your little girlfriend Jimmy, open the door and let her in."
Jimmy whispered loudly, "I'm not ready! Do I look cool? Wait, I look like a dork don't I?" He turned to Hope who was sitting in her walker biting on a jelly filled teething bracelet. "Hope, does daddy look like a dork? Man, I wish you could talk."
"Jimmy, I'm opening the door. Get it together son!"
The front door opened and it was like all the streetlights shone brighter and cast the beautiful grocery clerk, Sabrina, in a sparkling glow. Her dark chin length hair was swinging and touching the tops of her shoulders and she wore red lipstick. Wow…she was just so…she was so beautiful. Sabrina stepped into the room, "Hi Jimmy." She clucked Hope under the chin. "Hello baby!"
Virginia motioned for Jimmy's guest to sit on the raggedy green sofa that always dipped in the middle. "Mrs. Chance thanks for letting me come over. Our cable's out and I know you guys have an antenna. I really wanted to see the last episode of the Starsky and Hutch marathon."
Virginia gasped, "Oh my god. I love Hutch! Did you ever hear him sing? David Soul had this single out many years ago Don't Give Up on Us…." Virginia began humming the melody.
Uncomfortable, Jimmy said, "Mom! Don't sing. Please."
Virginia came out of her reverie, "Oh, I just liked that song." She sighed. Sabrina walked over and sat on the sofa. "I like the 1976 Ford Gran Torino."
Jimmy smiled nervously. Sabrina was in his house! She grinned, "Jim, imagine how cool it must have been to go tearing down the street in that car and making donuts in parking lots. I love that car."
Jimmy knew the night was over when he heard his great grandmother shouting about cheaters and bad teeth from the other side of the front door. Maw Maw's dentures entered the house before she did. Burt looked apologetic, "Sorry kids, it was the only way to get her out of the car."
Sabrina jumped up. "Oh wow! I need to get home. Wyatt's supposed to call me later." She brushed popcorn kernels from her pants and patted Hope's cheek. "Look at that, she's falling asleep."
Jimmy looked at his drowsy daughter. Her favorite pink knit cap was falling off and the stained eyebrows were showing. "Sabrina, let me walk you to the door. I mean your car." He looked over his shoulder and saw his mother motioning for him to go.
"I'll put Hope to bed, you two just get along now. Burt, honey…help me get Maw Maw into the bath."
"I am NOT standing in the shower with her this time!" Burt shouted. Maw Maw looked at her grandson-in-law, lucidity finally showing its face. "You are no prize either. If I showered with anyone it would be that handsome Burt Reynolds and you are not anywhere in the same ballpark."
Virginia shrugged but smiled. "Just let her shower solo until she starts singing Tiny Bubbles."
The porch creaked and groaned on every other plank. Jimmy cautioned Sabrina about tripping over his dad's skateboard. "Can we sit for a minute?" He asked.
Sabrina smiled and sat down on the concrete post. "Is this about work?"
Jimmy looked at the ground for a minute trying to muster courage. "No…it's about your boyfriend."
"Wyatt?" Sabrina asked surprised that Jimmy remembered his name. "What about Wyatt?"
Jimmy put his hands in his pockets and rolled up on the balls of his feet. "Well, how serious are you about him? I mean he hardly ever calls you or comes to the store."
Sabrina stood up. "I'm not talking to you about my boyfriend." Her happy expression took a deep right turn. Jimmy stepped forward, "I – I'm only asking because well…I think….damn Sabrina, you are so pretty and Wyatt's a lucky guy to have a girlfriend like you and if he wasn't I would sure like to be."
Sabrina was puzzled. "You wanna be a what?"
"Around. I want to be around you." Jimmy tried to explain.
She laughed, "But you are. We both work the same shift."
Jimmy grabbed his hair instead of eating his eyebrows which was his most nervous habit. "I mean to say that I would like to be….considered your boy. I mean your boy-friend friend." Jimmy was truly nervous. "If you and Wyatt break up, I'm here for you." There he said it!
Sabrina smiled and it was brighter than the moon. "Oh Jim. You are so sweet and so young."
"I'm 23. Yeah, I'm a dad so technically in dog years that makes me….161 so I'm not that young. Really!"
She chuckled. "Jim. I'm flattered. Really but I've been Wyatt's girlfriend for the last two years. You couldn't even buy beer when we got together. But thank you for caring so much."
Jimmy decided to give it one last try. He put his hands on Sabrina's shoulders and looked her deep in the eyes. "If you break up with Wyatt for any reason at all…I would love to be your….friend."
He closed his eyes so he wouldn't have to see the pitiful expression on her face. Instead, a soft pair of lips kissed his. He felt them smile against his mouth and prayed this wasn't a dream.
"Jimmy, lets say that I will keep that thought in my back pocket. Good night." Jimmy opened his eyes to see his dream girl running to her car and sliding over the hood like Starsky.
Yep, life was looking up for Jimmy and Hope Chance.
Life was getting better every day.