The Partner Game

DISCLAIMER: Houston Knights and its characters belong to Berstein, Butler and Columbia; I made no profit and no copyright infringement was intended.

DISCLAIMER 2: Forever in Blue Jeans belongs to Neil Diamond and his record company; I made no profit and no copyright infringement was intended.

Notes: This story was inspired by JoeyPare's Boots –n- Suits Challenge (on the Texas Dungeon). This is not a submission since it is well after the submission date and criteria was not followed. I found the bet and the outcome very interesting but could not think up a way to satisfy the rest of the criteria.

Levon Lundy and Joey LaFiamma stepped off the elevator and into the bullpen at the Major Crime Unit where the two were partners. Not unusual, the two were arguing.

"Lundy, you are an open book", Joey stated.

"I'm telling you boy, there is a lot about me that you don't know", Levon borrowed a phase that Joey said to him when they first met.

"Yeah, sure. I know a lot more about you then you know about me."

"Sure you do." Levon was getting ready for a long winded counter to the statement when Carol "Legs" O'Brien interrupted.

"Either of you boys willing to bet on that?"

All heads turned to look at the pretty detective. Usually when the partners stated to argue, Carol ignored them or tried to smooth things over. Now it appeared that she was encouraging them.

"You want them to bet?" Joe-Bill McCandless asked. "Are you feeling OK?"

"Sure, why not. Do you really want to listen to them for next who knows how long?"

"What do you have in mind?" Levon asked.

"You can't be serious!" Joey shouted.

"Won't hurt to hear her out. Might be interesting. I ain't saying that I'm agreeing but I'm willing to listen"

"Well, how about the partner who knows the most about the other, gets control of the radio for a week?" Carol suggested.

"Nope, a man has a right for control over his own radio." Levon stated firmly. Joe-Bill backed him on this.

"How about gets to pick where to eat for a week?" Nate Holliday suggested.

"No, it's taken us nearly two years to come up with an almost acceptable agreement on lunch arrangements. I don't want to have to start over when this bet is done." Joey commented.

"How about if Levon loses, he wears a suit or other outfit picked out by Joey. And if Joey loses, he wears jeans that Levon picks out. Each has veto power over the outfit provided it is reasonable." Annie suggested. No one had seen Annie come onto the floor.

"No way!" both Levon and Joey shouted.

"That sounds fair. Annie, are you willing to mediate the outfit selection? You know that both of these guys will think that their vetoes are reasonable." Carol asked. Annie nodded an agreement.

"Hey don't we get a say?" Levon asked.

"No, Annie's suggestion is reasonable. It doesn't mess up your lunch arrangements or impeded on your rights as a vehicle owner."

"Hey, I have already have jeans." Joey stated.

"You have designer jeans, not normal jeans. And before you say anything Levon, your wardrobe can use some sprucing up." Carol stated.

"This is a mote point, how are we going to decide who knows the most?" Joey asked.

"Ever heard of the Newlywed Game, we'll play the Partner Game. An impartial panel will come up with a group of questions and who ever gets the most correct wins. We will try to make the questions similar but they might be slightly different." Carol suggested.

"I can help with questions!" Esteban Gutierrez volunteered.

"Me too" Joe-Bill chimed in.

"One outfit?" Joey asked.

"One week." Carol acknowledged. "Don't worry, Annie will make sure that it is suitable and that no one ends up in debt because of it."

Just then the phone on Levon's desk rang. After a brief conversation, Levon hung up and informed his partner that their suspect had been spotted. As the two headed out the door, Carol shouted after them, "Be at Chicken's by 6:30 tonight or you forfeit the game!"

As the two got into the elevator, they saw their co-workers huddled together. "Man, they need to get a life" Joey commented.

"You know if we don't show up tonight we are never going to live it down."

"Well, you just had to ask what Carol had in mind. You couldn't just ignore her, like I did."

The two had reached the Jimmy and argued good naturedly until police business diverted them.

Later that night at Chicken's….

"OK, I think these questions are about as similar as they can get". Carol stated.

"Why are you so involved in this?" Esteban asked.

"Hey, you all contributed and debated the questions." Carol replied.

"But you spearheaded the whole thing" Esteban returned.

"Well, we all get to know more about each of them and we get to see Joey in Texas fit jeans. It is a win win situation." Carol declared.

"What makes you so sure that Levon's going to win?" Esteban asked.

"I've known Levon a lot of years. He doesn't talk much about family. Joey has talked non-stop about his family since he has gotten here. In any case, if Joey wins, then Levon will realize that he needs to pay more attention to his partner and gets an updated wardrobe. If Levon wins, maybe Joey will learn that he isn't as alone as he thinks he is and Levon will realize that he needs to be a little more open. In either case, as I said we get to learn more about both of them."

Their conversation was cut shot by the arrival of the two detectives. Each was herded to separate tables where they were given a questionnaire to fill out. As they filled out the forms each began to look a little worried. When the questionnaires were complete, the two detectives were heralded to chairs in an area that had been especially cleared for the game.

"The questions were selected based on the availability to get confirmation on the answer. Each question will be worth 10 points, partial points may be given. Your names have been written down and placed in this hat. Chicken will pull the name of the person that gets the first question." Carol explained.

"Are we ready to play the Partner Game?" Joe-Bill asked in a good impression of a game show host.

"Yes!" the surprisingly large crowd responded.

"Chicken will you please do the honor?" Carol asked.

Chicken stepped to the center and selected a name. "Joey" he read. The cook felt bad for Joey since he had know Levon for a number of years and could not correctly answer several of the questions related to cowboy. He would score much better in answering questions regarding Joey.

"OK – Joey, want is Levon's father's name?

"Levon Elmer Lundy" Joey confidently answered.

"Incorrect." Carol replied.

Before she could continue, Joey interrupted. "His grandmother said he was Little Levon because his dad was Big Levon."

"I ain't a junior, Joe. My father's name is Levon Jasper Lundy. You got most of it right so it should be worth something." Levon was willing to be generous; after all he may need partial points himself.

"6 points?" Carol asked.

"7" Esteban countered. Like Joey he was a newcomer and wanted to ensure that Joey didn't score too badly.

When queried, Levon agreed to the 7 points.

"OK, Levon, what is Joey's father's name?"

"Anthony Joseph LaFiamma." Levon had thought about leaving off the middle name but since he was confident, he gave it. The worst case he would be tied with Joe.

"Correct, 10 points. Joey, the next question is what is Levon's mother's name"

After thinking a while, Joey reluctantly stated, "Other then Mrs. Lundy, I haven't a clue."

"There ain't no way Joe would know that. I don't think I've ever mentioned her by name."

"Sorry Joey, 0 points. By the way Levon's mother was Willow Mantooth Lundy."

"I definitely never heard that name before." Joey stated.

"OK, Levon what is Joey's mother's name?"

"Evelina Manetti LaFiamma." Levon answered.

"Correct, 10 points." Carol looked at Joey to see how he was doing. He appeared concerned but not upset.

"Joey, how old was Levon when his mother died?"

"No idea." Joey answered.

"Five." Carol replied. "Levon, how old was Joey when his mother died."

"Fourteen." Levon replied. As he said it, he remembered Joe telling him about the night his mother died as well as when his father died. Levon never mentioned his mother much. He was so young and he really didn't remember her that well.

"Correct." Carol replied. "How old was Levon when he got married?"

"23" At least he knew that. Levon was 33 when his wife had died and had just celebrated his 10 anniversary.

"Correct!" Carol stated, a little more enthusiastic then previous responses.

"OK, Levon, how old was the Joey when his father died."

"Ten." Levon answered.

"Correct. Joey, what was Levon's undergraduate degree in?"

"Finance with a minor in Animal Science." Joey remembered Mother Minnie bragging to him.

"Correct. Levon what was Joey's undergraduate degree in?"

"International relations." Levon answered.

"Correct. Joey, what did Levon do after his undergraduate degree?"

"I have no idea."

"Rodeo Circuit." Carol answered.

"You're kidding. How long? Why did you quit?" Joe-Bill asked.

"Three years. Caroline was tried of all the time on the road plus I had made enough money for the down payment of the ranch, so I quit." Levon replied.

"Wait a minute; I thought you inherited that place from Caroline's uncle?" Joey questioned.

"That was the trailer." Levon replied.

"Oh yeah, I forgot about that"

"OK, back to the game, we are half way done. Levon, what did Joey do after his undergraduate degree?"

"Law School."

"Correct"

"Who is Levon's favorite singer or group?"

"Alabama."

"Correct. Who is Joey's favorite singer or group?"

"Bruce Springstein."

"Correct. What brand of tobacco does Levon use?"

"No idea, but it is disgusting."

"I agree. Skoal. How many cousins does Joey have?"

"Both sides?" Levon asked.

"Yes. Only first cousins." Carol replied.

"Let's see, Uncle Mickey has 4. Uncle Frank has 5." Levon quietly counted. "57".

"Close. 54"

"54!" Joe-Bill exclaimed. "54 LaFiammas! Man that must have been loud!"

"OK, Joe we're almost done. Where was Levon married?"

"Texas A&M Chapel."

"Correct."

"How many languages does Joey speak?"

"Let's see. Italian, Thai, Spanish. He speaks a form of English. Four?"

Incorrect. Six."

"Last question; Joe, what position did Levon play on his high school baseball team?"

"Levon played baseball?" Joey exclaimed.

"Sure, it's a good way to stay in shape for football." Levon replied.

"Short stop?"

"No, incorrect. He was the pitcher."

"Levon, what was the name of the priest that baptized Joey."

"Father Dom."

"Incorrect, Monsignor DiMaggio."

"So who the he..", Levon stopped himself in time. "um, who is Father Dom?"

"The priest who gave me my First Communion, he was also the priest that ran the CYO program."

"OK – now for the totals. Joey has 47 points. Levon has 70 points. So looks like Levon will be picking out a week worth of wardrobe for Joey."

"This is only for work right, off duty; I can wear my normal clothes?"

"You have normal clothes? Why haven't we seen any?" Joe-Bill asked.

"Very funny. I'm serious. My dates expect a certain look and a Levon selected outfit isn't it."

After giving it some thought, Carol replied. "Off duty you can select your own outfit."

"So when does this begin." Joey asked in a resigned voice.

"Annie is Saturday morning convenient time for you to referee the selection?"

"Saturday is good for me." Annie confirmed.

"How about you gentlemen?" Carol asked.

"I guess" Levon replied in a subdued voice.

"What is your problem?" Joey asked. "You don't have to change your wardrobe."

"LaFiamma, spending my Saturday morning picking out something for you to wear is not in the top million ways I want to spend my time."

"Then why did you agree to this?" Joey demanded.

"Actually neither of us agreed to this. I just agreed to hear Carol out. Then we were railroaded."

"No backing out!" Carol exclaimed. "Joey is Saturday good for you?"

"Yeah – Saturday is fine." Joey said.

"OK – how about at Garrison's" Annie asked.

Both detectives nodded an agreement.

Saturday morning outside Garrison's…

Levon lounged against the wall of Garrison's waiting for Annie while Joey paced.

"Wanna bet that Carol shows up?" Levon asked.

"No – no more betting." Joey exclaimed. "Besides that's a sucker's bet. You know if you were a little more forth coming with information I wouldn't be in this position. You know most of the information I have on you is from your grandmother or others in the department."

"Yeah, if you had asked some questions you wouldn't be in this position either."

"OK, tell me about your mother." Joey asked.

"I don't remember her that much. I was only 5 when she died. I do remember my dad was a lot easier to be around when she was alive."

"Willow Mantooth, that's an interesting name."

"My mother was a full blooded Cherokee."

"You never mentioned that you were half Cherokee."

"When I was a kid, before I went to live in Lombard with my grandparents; kids used to give me a hard time for being a 'Half-breed', then when I went to the reservation to visit my mother's family, the kids used to call me 'poor white trash'. I never seemed to fit in until I went to my grandparents. There I was just Minnie and Elmer's grandson. I liked that, it was enough for me."

"Do you still have family on the reservation?"

"No, my mother was an only child and her parents died before she did."

"When was the last time that you went to the reservation?"

Before Levon could reply, Annie's van pulled up with Carol in the passenger's seat.

Both men exchanged a glance but said nothing.

"OK, where to get started?" Annie asked.

"Footwear. Joey needs something besides those fancy Italian loafers!" Levon exclaimed.

"Hey, there is nothing wrong with my shoes and I am NOT wearing boots." Joey shouted.

"There are a lot of possibilities between Joey's loafers and cowboy boots." Annie stated. "We'll start with shoes."

After a considerable amount of time, shoes that were agreeable to both men were selected.

"Here Joey, try these on" Carol replied. She had been very busy selecting outfits while the men were arguing over shoes.

Joey glanced at the pile Carol had provided, nodded and went into the changing area.

"Do we both get veto power over clothes Carol selects?" Levon asked Annie.

Annie and Carol ignored him.

Joey emerged from the changing room dressed in dark blue jeans and a deep blue shirt.

"I can live with this." Joey stated.

"It's an improvement." Levon replied.

"Wow Joey, that blue really brings out your eyes." Annie exclaimed.

Luckily the five outfits that Carol picked out were acceptable to both Joe and Levon.

"Do you think this was a setup?" Levon asked. "I mean Carol suggested we bet Annie came up with what we were betting for and neither of us actually got a say in anything. I mean we never agreed to the bet and neither of us selected the clothes."

"You could be right." Joey replied. "Hey Carol, what store would we go to if I had won?"

"This was not a set up. It just looks that way!" Carol replied. "How was I to know that you would be arguing about who knew the most about the other one."

"True, but it is a safe bet that we would be arguing." Joey countered.

Annie put a stop to any further arguing. As the friends parted; Carol called out "Don't forget to wear one of the new outfits on Monday!"

Monday morning…

Joey took some good natured joking about his clothing. After the morning briefing, Joey and Levon were in Levon's Jimmy with Lois Smoke playing on the radio.

"OK, I know that I don't normally handle requests but this is one I can't refuse. It isn't our typical play list but today it fits. Joey this one is for you …"

"Money talks but it don't sing and dance and it don't walk.
And long as I can have you here with me I'd much rather be
forever in blue jeans. Honey's sweet …"

It has been a long time since I have seen Houston Knights. Some of my answers may not match information that was given in the show (sorry about that). I made Levon part Native American since Michael Beck at least twice played a character of Native American descent (Triumphs of a Man Called Horse and Alcatraz: The Whole Shocking Story).