Title: Carnival is Over
Authors: Jaye & Esme
Date: 15 January 2000
Category: ??

Disclaimer: We lie in wait. And just when Hal. and Southern Star think we have forgotten all about them POW!! We storm the building and take them! The only difference is that we will be willing to share them. Oh btw, the title is in no way associated with the song "The Carnival is Over", by The Seekers.

Authors Notes: (Jaye) What better idea for two Ratfic writers than to have a day at the beach and write Ratfic. This one started as a discussion over lunch at a very nice little café (Cicciolina in Acland Street, St. Kilda - it was lovely and worth giving them the plug) with a few random ideas being thrown around, before heading for the seaside. I hope you have as much fun reading it as we did writing it!

Your turn Esme.

Authors Notes: (Esme)
Yeah, Amen to what Jaye said... What?... I've gotta say something else?... Okay, the cafe really was great - Cicciolina, Acland Street, St Kilda (in case you missed it up above). We had heaps of fun (well *I* did) - even if it did rain on the notebook and there were ants crawling all over us. And we want *lots* of feedback, coz feedback has been pretty dead recently.
I'll stalk and haunt you if you don't feedback.




--
Carnival is Over
--


"What time is it?" asked Rachel as she swung the car out of the car park at the Drummoyne marina.

"Umm shit half past one," replied Frank, "no wonder I'm bloody hungry. That took a lot longer than I expected."

"Yeah well you get that when nobody wants to give you straight answers," Rachel said wearily. "Do you mind if we make a stop then? You could at least feed your face."

"Yeah okay I guess Jeff won't miss us just yet. Where ya gotta go?" he queried.

"Supermarket."

"Ah great. What the hell am I gonna find for lunch there?" he whined screwing up his face at her.

"Frank. It's a supermarket. They sell food for Christ sake!"

They drove in silence to Rachel's usual choice of supermarket. It was closest to work and she at least knew where to find things.
"Okay Frank I'll go get what I need," she instructed as she pressed the button on the keys to lock the door, "you go and find yourself lunch."

"What about you? Aren't you hungry?" He quizzed.

"Yeah but I will grab myself something later."

"Look how about I give you a hand. Get this *shopping* done in half the time and then we can *both* go get some lunch?"

"If you want."

"I want."

They walked into the supermarket and Rachel told Frank to get a trolley.

"Where from?" asked Frank.

"Over there," she pointed, "where there are about two hundred of them."

Rachel skillfully led the way to the chocolate aisle and Frank followed, trying to keep control of the trolley.
Rachel threw in three bags of party-mix assortment lollies and Frank added a box of Ferrero Rocher.

"You don't eat that," said Rachel. More of a statement that a question.

"Yeah I do, I love it," said Frank.

"Really? she asked surprised. She didn't think that his tastes would stem any further than a Kit-Kat.

"Yeah."

Rachel's trained eye scanned the shelves as she mumbled to herself, "what else do I want?"

Frank looked at her, "you going for a serious sugar-kick or something?"

"Yeah," she said absentmindedly as she added two bags of sherbet bombs, and a giant block of chocolate. "Okay let's keep moving," said Rachel as she walked down the supermarket aisle.

She turned to talk to Frank.

"Do you"
But Frank wasn't there. She looked back up the aisle and saw him chatting to a 20-something blonde.

"Bloody men," muttered Rachel under her breath.

She grinned.

"DARLLLLIINNGGG" She called loudly in his direction.

He looked towards her and gave her a half grin before farewelling his new friend, who was already disappearing around the corner.

"What ya have to do that for?" he asked as he caught up with her, "I was just asking her which aisle the washing powder was in," he said innocently.

"Yeah sure. Aisle 4 and I don't need any," she replied with a smirk.

They continued through the supermarket and Frank went to turn down the next aisle.

"No not that one," said Rachel.

"Why not?" asked Frank.

"Because I don't need anything down there," she replied.

"How do you know?" Frank asked looking bewildered.

"Because that's aisle 7 with baked beans and tomato sauce and I don't need them."

Frank looked at her with awe. "You know that without looking?"

"Yes," she said as though it was obvious. She looked at him as a smile began to form on her face. "Frank, don't tell me you go up and down *every* single aisle? Hell, no wonder your shopping takes you so long!"

Rachel wandered down the next aisle.

"Okay so what's down here?" said Frank, putting her to the test.

"What I need," retorted Rachel.

She stopped and threw in a couple of packets of balloons into the trolley.
Frank looked from the shelf to the balloons and then to Rachel.

"You havin' a party or somethin'?" he asked thoughtfully.

"What ever makes you say that?" she replied in her best sarcastic tone as she threw in a couple of packets of brightly coloured serviettes.

"Nah," she grinned at him, "I have this fetish about sleeping in a room full of balloons."

Frank gave her a look to try and figure out whether she was being serious or not.

She noticed.

"Hell Frank, what do *you* think? Yes, David's birthday. Tonight, party. I just haven't had the chance to do the shopping for it. Not with all the late nights we've been doing on this case."

"Okay, party," said Frank, "at least *now* that I know what you're up to I can help so we can get outa here."

"Oh great," said Rachel.

"Well you'll need party hats," said Frank as he threw in a couple of packets.

"Frank, he's turning 12," stated Rachel, "for some reason I don't think half a dozen twelve year old boys are going to want party hats." She took them out of the trolley and put them back on the shelf. "Okay Frank," she continued, "if you want to make this quicker, how about you go and get some party pies from the freezer section?"

"Fine," he replied, "and with a cheeky grin, what aisle is that?"

"Aisle 2," she said and she pointed him in the right direction.

He came back five minutes later with the party pies *and* a couple of frozen pizzas.

"What are they for?" asked Rachel.

"The party," replied Frank casually.

"But I didn't *ask* for pizza," she breathed with a sigh.

"You gotta have pizza at a party," said Frank.

"I don't want this pizza because this is Hawaiian," said Rachel.

"So?" said Frank, not understanding what she was saying.

"Frank," she began, "It's ham and pineapple. Other than the fact that pineapple is the most revolting thing on this earth next to beetroot Ham? I'm Jewish, David is Jewish.. David goes to a Jewish school. Therefore all his friends at his party will be"

"Eh Jewish?' asked Frank.

"Yes," stated Rachel.

"Well *I* could always eat the pizza," offered Frank.

"Who invited you?" asked Rachel.

"What? I help you with all this shopping and I don't even get invited to the party?" said Frank trying to sound hurt.

"Yeah okay ya big sook! I suppose I won't notice one more kid," she grinned.

Rachel's mobile sounded from her pocket.

"Probably Jeff or Helen wondering where the hell we are," said Frank.

"Yeah look go down aisle umm 6 and get some soft drink will ya. Take the trolley." She added as she reached for the phone.

Frank turned the trolley around, the same way he drove a car, erratically, tossing the contents from one side to the other.

"Goldstein," she said into the phone as she shook her head as she watched him corner around the end of the aisle. She closed her eyes and reminded herself *never* to let him control the trolley again, let alone a car! She then headed in the same direction. At a safe distance.

"Ah sorry, yes Rachel Goldstein," she said to the caller. "Ah huh ah huh yeah yep. No that's okay. If he can't make it then he can't make it. I understand. Yeah.. no probs. Thanks for letting me know."

"Jeff?" queried Frank as she approached.

"Nah just a cancellation for the party," she replied.

"Well then you'll definitely have room for me ," he grinned.

"Yeah," she smiled, "actually yes, definitely."

They finalised the shopping, Rachel handing over the plastic, choosing to worry about the cost later.
Back at the carpark at the water police HQ they quickly transferred the groceries to her car before wandering in side.

"Do you realise," said Frank , "that we *still* didn't get lunch?"

She hit his stomach, with some force, with the back of her hand.
"Missin' one meal ain't gonna kill ya Frank," she replied, "you could do with losin' a few pounds!"

~*~
David walked up to Rachel in the middle of the party.
"Hey mum, this is so cool!" Then he grinned mischievously as he added, "and I'm glad you invited Frank - so you won't be lonely."

Rachel swatted him over the head, but he dodged her skillfully.

"But when's the magician coming?" asked David.

"Well actually he's not coming sweetheart," said Rachel, "he had a bit of an accident."

"An accident?"

"Well, yeah, he got hit by a car," Rachel replied, coming straight to the point as she always did. "But don't worry, Frank is going to entertain you."

"Oh this *will* be good!" laughed David as he ran off to tell his friends.

Frank had overheard his name and entertain in the same sentence. He wandered over to Rachel.

"Did you say entertain?" he asked.

"Yeah you didn't think you'd get through this party with out a contribution did you? You're the one who wanted to fill in for the cancellation," she said with a wry grin.

"But I thought the cancellation was one of the kids!" Frank replied, almost choking on the sherbet bomb in his mouth.

"Nah, it was the magician," grinned Rachel.

"Magician? Rach., I know nothing about magic."

"You'll think of something. You've just got to entertain a bunch of 12 year olds for a while," said Rachel.

"12 year olds? Christ Rachel, I know *nothing* about 12 year olds," Frank replied looking genuinely scared at the prospect.

"What's the problem?" Rachel asked innocently. "From what I've observed, your level of maturity is about the same as theirs most of the time - should be a piece of cake!"
David came running back into the room and grabbed Frank by the arm.
"Come on! We're waiting for you," he said excitedly as he dragged Frank into the other room.

"Rachel I'll get you for this," said Frank as he was dragged away.

"Oh yes," said Rachel, still trying to look serious.


Frank was soon back.

"Rach., you got those cards we were playing poker with?"

"They're 12 year olds Frank, you can't play poker with them."

"Nah, I'm gonna do some tricks," said Frank.

"You know card tricks?" Rachel asked in a tone of disbelief.

"Ah, a couple," he replied, as Rachel handed him the cards from the drawer.

"Ta", said Frank as he took them from her and headed back to the lounge.

Rachel couldn't resist and decided to follow and watch.

"Okay," said Frank as the boys sat around him. "Davy here mate you can shuffle 'em since it's your birthday."

David *attempted* to shuffle the cards, several of them spilling onto the floor in the process. He grinned as he handed them back to Frank.

"Okay, nothin' up this sleeve, nothin' up this one either," he prattled off, trying to sound magician like.

"Yeah there is," stated one kid. "You got a card up your sleeve."

"Little bugger," said Frank under his breath. He noticed Rachel smiling as she leaned in the doorway.

"Yeah?" asked Frank. Trying to act surprised. He looked up his sleeves. "Ah, so there is how did *that* get there?"

"You put it there," said another, "I saw you."

Frank looked back at Rachel for some support. She smiled at him, rolled her eyes and headed back to the kitchen

He was on his own.

After about twenty minutes Rachel heard balloons popping and headed back to the lounge to see what was happening.

The children were watching Frank and laughing. As she wandered in, Frank picked up another balloon and began to squeeze and twist it. It immediately burst in his face, and the boys burst into laughter.

"Frank? What are you doing?" asked Rachel.

"He's *trying* to make balloon animals!" gasped David through his laughter.

"Yeah and I can't understand why it's not working," added Frank with a frustrated look on his face. "I've watched magicians do them, it *looks* easy enough."

"Frank I think they use special balloons," Rachel said earnestly. "And they would also actually know what they are doing."

Frank tried to give her a look but she just laughed.

"Okay, show's over," she said to the boys who were literally rolling around on the floor laughing. "Must be time for some cake."

"Cake!" They all cried as they got off the floor and rushed out.

Frank just stood there surrounded by the colourful scattered fragments of the broken balloons.

"Come on, you too," Rachel said to him as if he was a sulking 3 year old. "It will be all gone if you don't move it now."

~*~

Frank and Rachel both sat back on her couch, a bowl of chips between them, beer in hand. The rowdy boys all departed back to their homes and one weary birthday boy sound asleep in bed.

"Well that went pretty well," stated Rachel as she grabbed a handful of chips, crunching half of them in her mouth.

"Gees how can you tell?" asked Frank taking a mouth full of beer.

"Noise level and mess factor," she replied, "the louder they are and the greater the mess, indicates enjoyment level."

"Well, half the bloody mess in here," continued Frank, "is from all those damn balloons."

"Yeah but the noise level after they exploded told the story," she grinned.

"Yeah well next time I get *any* sorta invitation from you," he said seriously, "I'm gonna request details of the proceedings for the evening beforehand. In bloody writing if I have to."

"Well firstly Francis, you invited yourself and secondly," she laughed, "what if *I* want a bit of spontaneity? If I don't *know* what might happen?"

"Ha! You? Sponta what? Get real Rachel. There ain't a thought in your head that wouldn't have been plotted, planned, reconsidered and then bloody spell-checked before it came out of your mouth. And then you'd *still* be debatin' it!"

"That's not true!" she said defensively.

"Yeah? Okay. Saturday week, you got David?"

"Ah yep. Sure have why?" she asked cautiously.

"See there you go. Thinking. Asking *why* all the time. You can't just go with the flow," he said pointing a finger at her and almost spilling his beer in the process.

"Okay okay, yes I have David," she stated.

"That's what he and I thought. I'm takin' you two out for the day. David actually sounds keen."

"Great!" she replied, trying hard to sound enthusiastic and free spirited when she was actually feeling dubious and concerned. But she wasn't about to let Frank know that. He wasn't going to win this point.

"So can I ask where we are going?" She asked brightly, as if it really didn't matter whether he told her or not.

Too brightly perhaps.

"Football."

"Football?"

"Yep, football."

"Frank," she almost whined, forgetting about the whole idea of beating him at this, "you *know* how much I hate football."

"Do you?" he asked trying sound surprised.

"You know I do," she replied.

"Well you've already agreed, David is looking forward to it and besides."

"Besides what?" realising she was defeated on this one.

"This'll teach ya not to leave me with the entertainment next time!"



The End




send feedback to me - erinwilson@trump.net.au - and then I can forward it on to Jaye, and we'll both love you for it!