The Question

by Lizabeth S. Tucker

Joanne DeSoto stood at the kitchen window, watching her husband's partner sitting on the deck steps, watching her children play. "Roy?"

Roy looked up from where he was mixing salad dressing. "What, hon?"

"What's wrong with Johnny? He looks so sad and hasn't really said two words since he got here. He isn't even playing with the kids and you know how much he loves to take part in their roughhousing."

"I don't know. Chet was complaining that he's been moping around the station for a couple of days now, but I think it is more than a girl dumping him. I mean, it is, but..." Roy shook his head. "I'm starting to sound more like Johnny every day."

Joanne smiled, kissed him on the cheek and walked outside with a bottle of beer. She carefully sat down next to the dark-haired man, studying him as he took the bottle from her. She waited as John Gage sipped at the golden liquid.

"Joanne, what's wrong with me?" he asked quietly. "I don't think I'm bad looking, I'm fairly intelligent, and I think I'm a good guy, but..." He sighed.


"I can't seem to keep a woman interested in me. If I get two dates, I'm lucky. If it goes to three, it's a miracle." He turned his soulful brown eyes her way. "Do you know that I've never managed to make it to four dates in, well, ages?"

Joanne laid her hand on Johnny's arm. "Oh, Johnny. Sweetie, there's nothing wrong with you. Honest. You're definitely one of the good guys. Trust me, I know a good guy when I see one. After all, I'm married to one."

He smiled weakly. "Then why can't I keep a woman? Hell, lately I can't even get a woman."

"I don't want to hurt you, Johnny. You're like a brother to me, but..." she hesitated.


"But you keep picking Ginger instead of Mary Ann." Unknown to either adult, 12 year old Chris DeSoto had walked up to where they were engrossed in their conversation.


"You know how when you watch GILLIGAN'S ISLAND with us, you're always watching Ginger and making comments and stuff? But you don't seem to notice Mary Ann and she's lots better than Ginger. I mean, Ginger is sorta pretty and all, but Mary Ann is really someone you can have fun with. That's what Dad says anyway. And Mary Ann is really cute."

"Your dad said all that?" Joanne asked in amazement.

"Well, kinda. What he really said was that Ginger was jiggly and Mary Ann is giggly and if he had to choose, he'd take giggly over jiggly any day," Chris replied, shrugging. "I don't really know for sure what that means, 'cause Mary Ann doesn't giggle. But the guys and I talk about it sometimes after school and we think Mary Ann is much better than Ginger."

"Your father is pretty smart, Christopher DeSoto, but he and I will need to have a little talk about what's appropriate to discuss with a little boy."

"Mooom! I'm not a little boy. I'm almost a teenager!" Chris protested.

"A fact that makes me shudder every day, honey, believe me. Go inside and clean up for dinner. Take your sister inside with you."

Johnny watched the two children run inside, smiling fondly.

"It might be a little unusual in how he said it, but Chris is actually right. You really do need to stop looking at the Gingers in the world and focus on the Mary Anns. We Mary Anns have a lot to offer."

"Jo, you might have a point. I guess I've always gone for the face and never looked past that."

"When you ask a woman out, do you know anything about them?" Joanne probed.

"Well, I know that they're single. And, uh, and beautiful."

"What about their interests and yours? What do you have in common with them?"

Johnny shrugged. "I figure I can find that out on our date."

"I see." Joanne patted Johnny on the leg before getting to her feet. "It might be a radical idea, Johnny, but try and find out something about the next woman you're interested in before you ask her out. You might find your relationships lasting more than a couple of dates." She headed into the kitchen, turning for one last comment. "Work on becoming friends before you push for being lovers. And don't be in such a hurry to find the right woman. When you stop trying so hard, you'll run right in to her. Think it over, okay?"

Johnny sat on the deck, deep in thought.

"Hey, you eating with us, Junior?"

Johnny looked up to see his partner standing in the doorway, holding the screen open. "Yeah. Yeah, I am. Thanks, Roy. And thank Chris for explaining about the differences between the Gingers and Mary Anns of the world. I think he's given me a whole new way to look at the dating scene."

"You're welcome. I think."

November 2004

Thanks to Jen for a perfect line to explain the basic differences in women as viewed by Johnny.