Author's notes: This is my first CHiPs fiction, so go easy on me. I grew up watching this on tv and my favorite character was Barry Baricza. What wasn't to love? Tall, dark, handsome and that smile! I colored my Ken doll's hair black and pretended he was Barry.
CHiPs belongs to others, not me. I write this for pure fun and enjoyment, so if you would like to sue me for something you ought to know that you won't get much.
Reviews are appreciated, especially to let me know if I am keeping true to the characters.
CHiPs CHiPs CHiPs CHiPs CHiPs CHiPs CHiPs CHiPs CHiPs CHiPs CHiPs CHiPs CHiPs
The men and women of the first shift at CHIP Central were quieter than normal; the rain that had been falling for the last five days had dampened the ground as well has their normal high spirits. Francis "Ponch" Poncerello was sitting on the corner of one of the tables talking with Sindy Cahill. His normal 100-watt smile was absent from his face. "What about next Saturday?"
"Sorry Ponch. No is my final answer. I'm sure you are a real great catch and I know you are a wonderful guy, but I'm not comfortable dating someone I work with."
"But, Sindy, who better to understand what you are going through when you come off of a tough shift; A companion that will be with you and give you someone to talk to?"
"If I want an understanding companion, I'll get a dog." She smiled at Frank sweetly. "Plus, it would be house broken."
"She's got your number Ponch!" Artie Grossman laughed, his face flushing with humor as the other officers joined in with the good natured ribbing.
"Hey! I'm house broken." The chippie retorted. "Jon even lets me sit on his furniture now."
"Yeah, but you still want to leave your ding-dong wrappers lying around." His blonde partner replied.
The teasing would have continued but the door to the briefing room opened and Sergeant Joe Getraer walked in. His face grim, he moved to the lectern at the front of the room. "If you are about finished Poncerello, we pay you to work, not fill your black book."
"Oh, I wasn't. I mean, "Ponch was flustered. "I don't think about Officer Cahill that way."
"I don't want to hear it Poncerello."
Ponch took his seat, and Getraer started going over the morning report. After the normal rundown on outstanding warrants, announcements and bulletins Getraer looked up at his officers. "Don't shoot the messenger, but the forecast for the next three days is for continued rain."
Groans from the officers were cut short as Getraer held up his hand for silence. "I know, just be careful. They say by the weekend we should start to see the sun again."
Grossman raised his hand. "Any chance the motor officers could ride along in units today?"
Getraer's look answered the question. "I doubt you are in danger of melting Grossman. Make sure you have your raingear. If there's nothing else, hit the streets."
The officers gathered their belongings and began moving towards the door.
"What time do you want us at the gym for practice tonight?" Grossman asked Ponch.
"If everyone can be there by 5 p.m. we should be able to get several hours of practice in." Ponch's enthusiasm for the game was evident in his tone. "I've got some new plays for us to run."
"I hope they're better than the last ones." Barry "Bear" Baricza slapped a hand on Ponch's shoulder. Being over 6 feet tall, Barry was the tallest player on their team.
"What was wrong with those plays?"
"Ponch, any play that relies on Grossie for a fast break is doomed." Barry didn't wait for a reply as he moved past and began talking with Sindy.
"Hey, Bear." Ponch hurried to catch up. "That's the beauty of the play. No one will be expecting it. Besides we'll just have Grossie wait on that end of the court. We get the ball and whip it down to Grossie who lays it up for an easy two."
"Ponch, don't you think the other team will be suspicious when they see him camped out under the basket?"
"They'll be too busy shooting the ball because they'll have the number advantage." Jon cut into the conversation.
Ponch's smile never faltered. "But that's why we have you, Turner and Bear to block the shots. No problem!"
Jon shook his head, "See Bear, no problem. We just block the shots." Jon's voice was full of humor.
"Jon, when Ponch says no problem, that's when I start to worry." Barry smiled as he walked out into the rain and hurried to his cruiser.
As predicted, the rain continued throughout the morning. Barry and Sindy had decided to meet for lunch at a small diner that was located near the point where their patrol areas overlapped. It was a popular spot for many of the officers. Sindy was already seated and looking at the menu when Barry walked in.
She looked up and he could see a smile play across her face before returning to a more sober looking expression.
"Go ahead and laugh Sindy. You know you want to." He slid into the opposite side of the booth.
A smile formed again and the humor was evident in her speech. "So, how was your morning?"
Barry glanced down at his mud speckled shirt and his khaki pants that bore the trace remainders of the mud that had been flung when he had helped an elderly lady change her tire. He had managed to get the blown tire off and the replacement on without incident. She had thanked him and then proceeded to get her rear wheel stuck in the soft mud at the edge of the shoulder. He had pushed the car and as the tires spun, it had flung mud and dirty water at him. Suddenly free, the elderly woman had waved as she pulled back onto the freeway, leaving him covered in mud.
"That's what I get for being a nice guy." Barry had said after finishing his story.
Sindy reached over and squeezed his hand. "I happen to like nice guys."
"How about dirty ones?" He teased.
"Especially those." She grinned back at him.
The waitress approached their booth and took the orders; a salad for Sindy and a hot roast beef sandwich with extra potatoes and gravy for Barry.
"I don't know how you can eat like that and never put on a pound."
"Good metabolism. I'm trying to start to really watch it. Dad isn't as lean as he once was, but I've also got six inches on him."
"So where do you get your height."
"Believe it or not, my Mom. She's only 5'7", but my uncles are all over 6 foot. One even played two years of pro ball. I remember going to see him play in college when I was young."
"As much as you enjoy basketball, I'm surprised you didn't go that route. You did play ball in college didn't you?" Sindy knew some of Barry's history.
"Two years in junior college. I got my fill of the politics that go along with upper level athletics."
Barry nodded. "The NCAA has rules, but there are plenty of times when no one is looking very hard. I played with a couple of guys that couldn't make the grade, so they hired tutors for them. Amazingly, these guys suddenly started pulling down A's in every class. One of them let on that he always got a study guide before exams. We were in the same course and he let me see one. It was a duplicate copy of the test."
"You're kidding." Sindy was incredulous.
"Nope. I even went to Coach to talk with him about it. I thought that he needed to know that these players weren't doing their own work." Barry paused as the waitress brought their drinks. He took a sip of his iced tea.
"What did he say?" Sindy squeezed lemon into her water.
"He told me to stop asking questions and not to be so naïve. I also found myself getting a lot more heat during practice."
"How so?" Sindy put the straw into her glass.
"A lot more fouls and elbows being thrown at me. Coach never warned the others to back off. I'd go up for a shot and get my legs taken out from under me. I looked like a walking bruise from all of the elbows that I caught."
"That's terrible. The coach didn't do anything about it?"
"Nope. It eventually got better when they realized that I was going to keep my mouth shut. I had talked with my uncle and he said that it happened everywhere and it would be best not to rock the boat. So, I left it alone. One of those guys went on to play at UCLA."
"I suppose UCLA had a "tutoring program" also?"
"I wouldn't doubt it." Not wanting to dwell on a negative part of his past, Barry looked out the window at the rain. "Day like today I'm glad I'm not a motor officer."
Sindy laughed, "Poor Grossman. I saw him looking at my car with his big, sad puppy eyes."
"They never complain when the weather is nice and we have to drive around in a hot metal box."
"Or when we get stuck in traffic, they can just zip around it." Sindy added.
They continued to talk until the waitress brought their meals. She sat a large platter down in front of Barry; brown gravy covering the sandwich and potatoes.
"Looks like you won't have to be careful not to spill on your shirt today." The waitress quipped.
"Why do you think I ordered the extra gravy?" He gave her a big smile.
She sat a bowl of salad in front of Sindy. "Can I get you anything else?"
Sindy shook her head, but Barry asked her to stop back about dessert.
"Sure thing. We've got fresh peach pie that came out of the oven a couple of hours ago."
"That sounds great. Save me a piece." Having frequented this restaurant, the waitress knew his weakness for peach or cherry pie.
"Warmed up and ice cream?"
"Am I that predictable?" Barry smiled widened.
The waitress laughed. "I read you like a book." She walked off, leaving the two alone again.
Both Sindy and Barry began eating; knowing that their lunch breaks would be over all too soon.
Just as he was finishing the last of his potatoes, the waitress brought over his pie and a cup of coffee. "I brought coffee, figured you would need something to cut the sweetness of that pie."
"Thanks." He replied as she picked up his dinner plate. Spooning a bite into his mouth he made a satisfied sound. "That is delicious. Here," he scooped up another bite and extended it over to Sindy. "Try it."
Sindy took the bite and smiled at Barry. "That is good."
"Can I bring you a slice?" The waitress inquired.
"I'll pass. I would have to do an extra hour of aerobics to burn that off."
"I'll get the check." The waitress left with their lunch dishes.
Barry smiled and winked. "I can think of a better way to burn off those calories."
"Barry!" Sindy looked around to see if anyone else had heard. She lowered her voice. "We agreed that we weren't going to tell anyone about us."
"I'm not telling anyone." Barry's smiling face had turned serious. "I don't like sneaking around like this, acting like a criminal. Listening to Ponch hitting on you today was driving me crazy."
"Ponch wouldn't be Ponch if he wasn't hitting on someone. Besides, I can take care of myself."
Barry frowned and continued, "I know that, but it's hard to not show my feelings for you. We go to parties separately and just act surprised to see one another there. At the house warming party for Ponch I didn't even get to talk to you. If we aren't at my place or yours you act like you barely know me."
"I don't want anyone calling into question my ability to do my job. We've talked about this before. How do you think I feel when girls are hitting on you? I like you a lot Barry, but I don't want to take the risk of someone from working finding out just yet. Having people take me seriously at work is important to me."
"I know." Barry reached out and squeezed her hand. "But after four months of dating, it's getting harder."
Any further discussion was curtailed by the waitress bringing the bill. Barry grabbed the ticket and stood up. "My treat today. You can pay next time."
Sindy could hear the frustration in his voice and she followed him up to the cashier. After he had paid, they both walked back out into the light rain that was still falling. She knew that Barry's normal good mood had hidden behind the cloud that was her reluctance to go public with their dating. "Do you want to stop by after practice tonight?" She hoped to revive his good mood.
"I'll have to drop Grossie off after practice." He opened up her cruiser's door for her. "It would be late."
"I don't mind."
"I'll give you a call from the gym and let you know."
"Barry, I'm sorry."
"Nothing to be sorry about. I understand."
"Come over tonight and we can talk about it."
"I'll try. Stay safe." He shut her door and moved to his own cruiser. Once in he used the radio to clear himself back into service and pulled out of the parking lot.
Sindy watched him pull out as she radioed in her own status. "Be safe too," She whispered. Little did she know that the following hours would put their relationship in jeopardy.