PG (hey, it's better than G)
May 5, 2002
I have abdicated my throne. I am now King. Of something.
Yes. No redeemable value whatsoever. So there.
for the title idea! Thanks especially to Jael and most
Blair faces the big 3-0 and decides to make changes. Jim isn't
left off a very BIG THANK YOU to Blankety for doing my
Sandburg had experienced a hell of a lot of those in his
so now that he was headed toward change, he needed to figure out what to change.
And the best way to do that, was to figure out what absolutely could NOT change?
life was so huge that the sheer number of items that he had to decide about
overwhelmed him to the point that he immediately bounced up, grabbed a pad and a
pen and started scribbling.
He couldn’t change that. Jim needed him and besides, he liked being a cop now.
And Jim still needed him. The big jerk didn’t know that he still needed him,
nor did anyone else, but hey, who was the expert here? Right, him, that’s who.
knew that a sentinel needed grounding and that it came in the form of his
back-up. The fact that said grounding was almost second nature now was probably
responsible for why no one knew how much Jim needed Blair. Jim hadn’t zoned at
home, or when Blair was around, in over a year. Of course, he’d zoned a few
times with others, which was how Blair learned that Jim still needed him.
Zoning could be dangerous. Duh.
when Jim zoned around Simon or Megan, it could be really dangerous.
If, for some reason Blair wasn’t around and Jim zoned with Simon, well,
Simon panicked, pure and simple. Then he started yelling. Loudly. Well, of
course he yelled loudly, that’s what yelling is, but Simon always upped the
volume when zones were involved. As for Megan, well, she simply punched Jim, or
only person Blair could trust with Jim in a zone was Joel. At least he wasn’t
abusive with the poor sentinel. Joel simply rubbed small circles over Jim’s
people forgot was what it was like for Jim—coming out of a zone.
When he finally returned to normalcy, or what passed for normal, whether
it was minutes or—hours, it was like waking up after a coma, you know? It
wasn’t exactly fun for Jim. But let him come to around anyone but Blair—and
it was worse.
he was with Simon, his ears would be ringing and he’d have a whopper
bruised and confused and would give Megan weird looks for the
would always interrupt at that point and mention oh, so casually, “Hey, Jim,
when was the last time you zoned around me?”
usually shut Jim up.
yeah. Couldn’t change the job.
Where he lived.
couldn’t change that. See number one above. Okay, while it was true that Jim
didn’t zone at home, whether Blair was present or not, the fact was that the
loft fairly reeked of Sandburg (with or without using the spray). Wherever Jim
turned, there was leftover Sandburg. The scents of his tea or coffee or
disgusting food, his bath products, his clothes (dirty or clean), his pens,
papers, basically—him. And that was, oddly enough, sufficient to keep Jim
yeah, Blair understood that changing where he lived was a no-no. Not that he
minded. He didn’t. He liked his little room under the stairs and if he, in his
most private moments, wished to be upstairs with Jim, well, that was between he,
his hand and his dick.
YEAH. He could change that big time. Okay, first on the list—cut his hair.
OFF. Cool. Besides, he was fast approaching thirty, so why the hell not?
This he could also change. After all, enough was enough. He was a big boy now
and fuck the Volvo. So------------motorcycle.
Sandburg, sleek, dangerous, riding a hog the way he’d like to ride---yes,
on the list—sell the Volvo, buy a motorcycle.
one was hard. Layers were good, layers were warm, layers were fine.
But—times, they are a changin’. When a person couldn’t change jobs
or homes, when they knew what the next fifteen years were going to be like --
Jim would probably retire at 55, and even though he’d always be a sentinel, he
probably wouldn’t need Blair to the same extent.
so a person changed what they could. Especially when they were looking at the
downside of their life. Hell, he’d be 45 when Jim retired. Unmarried, no kids
and still living under Jim’s stairs. Wait, that was unfair. Jim might move
someday. Maybe Blair’s room would get bigger? Cool. But still—
So—hip. He’d ditch the layers and go cool, hip and thirty. There was no
reason to hide anymore—no one looked anyway. And since his dick’s best
friend was his hand—and his imagination—for at least the next fifteen years
- - why the hell not?
He looked over his list and nodded. Not bad. And hell, no time like the present
to get started. Of course, cutting his hair would take a few days—he needed to
work his way up to that. But the car, the clothes, that could be started pronto.
Blair rose, put the pad away and whistling, grabbed his jacket, yelled, “Jim,
I’m outta here for awhile!” and without waiting for the usual grunt, he
lifted his head from the Sunday paper in time to see a whirl of
Well. He’s gone. Wonder who the woman is? Jim straightened his paper, refolded
the crease absently, then went back to reading as he sniffed and filled his
senses with Blair.
That was easy. One, two, buckle my shoe and the Volvo was sold, but not gone.
Sammy would take possession Friday. Which was kind of—poetic. His birthday.
Okay, so now—the bike.
hours later, the bike had been chosen, but not available until Saturday. No
problem. He could rearrange with Sammy to take possession of the Volvo on
Saturday, drop him off at the dealer, and voila, Blair Sandburg would drive away
on a new Honda. And wasn’t the anniversary party for Simon on Saturday night?
On Saturday, the new improved Sandburg would make his appearance.
Which meant that he’d need to cut his hair (you can do this, he
coached) before he picked up the bike. No problemo.
left his wardrobe. But it was late and he was hungry. Wardrobe would take time
anyway. With a satisfied smile, Blair headed home.
the next few days, Blair slowly divested himself of most of his clothes. The
Salvation Army loved him. And of course, as he gave away, he purchased.
how he loved a regular paycheck. And a damn fine one at that.
birthday came and went unnoticed. Not unusual. Most birthdays after his move to
Cascade had gone unnoticed. Well, his mother had come to town for his
twenty-first, but hell, he’d been drinking for the last five years, so it was
hardly the milestone it was purported to be.
Of course, when he’d been a TA, his students usually had a ball with
his birthdays. On his twenty-fifth, he found his desk littered with 25 shiny red
apples. The class then stood and applauded, followed by the passing around of
home-made brownies brought in by several female—and a couple of
his twenty-eighth, his Anthro 101 class hired a stripper. Blair had spent two
hours in the Chancellor’s office over that one.
a few birthdays had been spent in foreign countries and had been commemorated by
the lifting of a beer and saluting himself in a mirror, or perhaps, if someone
on the expedition found out, he’d find himself swallowing a frosted—worm.
Expedition humor was—cute. Not.
joining Jim, well, birthdays weren’t top of the list for Detective Ellison.
Although, Blair had always managed a little something for Jim around his great
day. Rhonda kept a birthday list, but as Blair hadn’t been a cop, he’d never
made it on said list. Now that he was—well, she hadn’t quite got around to
was typical. The big 3-0 came and went. Blair saluted himself in the bathroom
mirror with a cup of water, which he drank, swirled, then spit out along with
toothpaste. Of course, later in the day, he did find an email from his mother.
It was very chatty, but said nothing even remotely connected to: “Happy
Birthday, sweetie! Thirty years ago today, I gave birth to you and I’ve never
regretted it for one moment!” But hey, it was Naomi, after all.
least it was an email.
sat down in the chair and looked up at Dan, who said, “Weren’t you just here
for a trim, Blair?”
But today—take it off.”
blinked, then blinked again. “You’re kidding, right?”
I am thirty years old—plus one day. Take it off.”
looked skeptical. “You want blinders?”
Blair shook his head. “Nah. I’ll just remove these.” He slipped his
glasses off and folded them. “There. I’m ready. Go to it, my man.”
if you’re sure.”
idea of how short?”
leave the exact length to your good judgment, Dan. But short.”
hour later, Dan spun him back around and said, “Okay, take a look, Blair. And
don’t kill the scissor man. I just take orders.”
donned his glasses and nearly fainted.
Blair. I like it. A lot. Your hair is terrific, but I’ve
I look seventeen.”
that was not the idea.”
you could let it grow to say,” he put his hands at jaw level, “here. That
would probably add a few years—“ his voice trailed off.
okay, Dan. I asked for it and got it, and to tell the truth, I do like it.”
raked his fingers through the short, but thick mass and nodded. Yeah, it was
cool. And maybe—it was time for an earring again. He might be thirty and a
day, but he could be a cool thirty and a day.
stared at the bike. And then stared some more. He sighed. He smiled. Then he
grinned like a drunken fool.
had just left in the Volvo and Blair’s heartstrings had hardly zinged at all
when the green bomb pulled away only to disappear into the sunset. Swinging his
new black leather jacket from his shoulder, he slipped it on, then mounted the
had been awhile since he’d been on one, but as he’d learned before
purchasing, you never forget how to ride a bike—any bike. He put on his
helmet, glanced down at his new boots and grinned again. Blair gave a quick
glance at his watch and the grin turned to a scowl. He was already thirty
minutes late to the party at Hooligans. By the time he got there, he’d be
almost an hour late. But hey, at least, he quickly patted his pocket and smiled,
yeah, at least he had his gift for the man.
he kick started the bike and felt the rumble of power between his legs, he
grinned again. Seconds later he hit the street.
only took him a few minutes to get the hang of it and in no time, he was flying.
Blair almost wished he could take off his helmet, but while change in his life
was good, being a vegetable for the rest of it wasn’t. He watched his speed,
but still—he flew.
thirty wouldn’t be so bad after all.
the next fifteen years? A piece of cake.
sat back in the booth and huffed into his drink. Where the fuck was Sandburg?
And what was with all the sudden weekend errands anyway? Hell, Jim had hardly
seen him all week (if you didn’t count working with him for an average of
fourteen hours a day). Simon slid in next to him and jostled him a bit, but Jim
managed to save his beer.
eyes widened. “Okay, who peed in your sandbox today, Ellison?”
turned a bleary gaze on his captain and shrugged. “Maybe it’s the noise in
here or something.”
The noise. Like you’re not spinning those knobs or whatever the hell Sandburg
down, Simon. Dialing down.”
You are, aren’t you? Dialed down, I mean.”
gave his friend a good going over with his best “In spite of my title, I’m
still a detective” look and then nodded. “Yeah, but still—no Sandburg
over an hour late, Simon.”
could have sworn Jim had just whined. But no, the man was almost forty—he
he is. So did he say anything to you earlier today?”
never even saw him. He was up and gone by the time I went downstairs.”
peered at Simon over the rim of his mug. “’Ah’? What exactly does that
of the “ah” game, Jim set his beer down and said grumpily, “I’m going to
let one eyebrow rise. “You do that, Jim.”
took everything in him not to stick out his tongue. Instead, Jim ignored Simon,
slid out and headed to the restrooms in the back of Hooligans.
in a bad mood, Captain.”
patted Simon’s shoulder. “Well, don’t let the old fogey spoil your
anniversary party, okay?”
was receiving free drinks and all the food he could eat from Hooligans’
excellent buffet, thanks to having, on Friday, completed twenty years with the
Cascade PD. Many took retirement after twenty and those who didn’t, well, most
should have. Simon wasn’t one of them though. He’d long since decided (about
the time he signed divorce papers) that he was a thirty year man.
be in his late fifties when he finally retired and that suited him fine. And to
be honest, though he’d never tell a soul, he had no intention of going any
higher than where he was now. He enjoyed being Captain of Major Crime. Besides,
Simon had a very special reason for remaining captain. Namely one very
disgruntled detective with hyperactive senses.
knew perfectly well that Jim dialed down his senses. He knew about piggybacking,
zones, allergies, the whole magilla. But he also knew that if he appeared to
take it lightly, Jim felt more secure and less like a freak. Thank God for a
couple of late nights several months ago, nursing a drunk Sandburg who was
worried about an injured Ellison. Amazing what a man learned from a sweet,
worried, drunken kid.
Simon had learned way more than he’d ever wanted to learn about Jim, his dad,
fears of being a freak, of being different, and about Sandburg and his theories.
Theories that weren’t theories. Theories that were fact.
had learned a great deal about Sandburg that night too. But it didn’t pay to
think too much about what he’d learned. It had been too—painful. Hell, Simon
was a detective, for Christ’s sake. How could he have missed all the signs?
The way Sandburg talked a mile a minute. The
way he dressed, combined with his strange individualism. The way he could
disappear in a room full of people. Simon had finally, after over three years,
realized that Blair Sandburg was deeper than the Mariannas Trench. And there
wasn’t a bitter bone in Sandburg’s body.
Simon watched his people laugh, drink and party, he wondered about Jim and
Blair. Both men had more in common than either realized, yet both had handled
their challenges differently. Sometimes, in the days and weeks since those
babysitting nights with Sandburg, Simon wondered if maybe, just maybe, Blair
didn’t have the deeper wounds? If maybe—
how ‘bout a dance?” Rhonda leaned down and grinned in his face.
was well on her way to being thoroughly pie-eyed.
that he’d end up carrying her off the floor if they really tried to dance, he
patted the seat next to him and said, “How ‘bout you sit with me for a few?
happily, she slid in. “I can do that. Shove it over, Conner.”
biting back a laugh, did as she was ordered, then gave Rhonda a smart salute.
Simon, it may be your anniversary, but you’re hogging all the ladies!”
join me, Henri.”
think I won’t.” Henri pulled up a chair and sat down, then wiped his brow.
“Boy, Alicia can really dance.”
three at the booth stared at him. Finally Simon harrumphed and said, “Alicia
isn’t dancing, H. She’s our waitress.”
she’s not dancing to you, but to me an’ Rafe—that woman is
Megan supplied helpfully.
she’s got a set all right,” Rafe added as he too sat down. “I could watch
her all night with those—trays.”
looked at Megan, who gazed back at her. Both rolled their eyes.
where’s Sandburg, by the way?” Henri asked, looking around.
here yet. And before you ask, Jim’s in the bathroom,” Simon provided.
couldn’t help it. He laughed.
pulled into the parking lot, negotiated the bike over to where a few others were
parked, and after shutting down, he climbed off. He locked her up, then took off
his helmet and gloves which he stuffed inside the helmet. Blair ran his fingers
through his short hair and smiled. Not bad, really. Felt kinda good.
Straightening his jacket and the blue shirt, he headed indoors.
was packed, but then it was a Saturday night. Even this early, the place was
going strong. Of course, many of the guests were police officers and detectives,
there to celebrate with Simon.
bikers were welcomed at Hooligans, there was a special shelf for helmets and
Blair stored his away, then started to make his way toward the sound of Henri
Brown’s laugh. Which wasn’t easy. Bodies were everywhere and the dancing had
spilled off the dance floor. But eventually, he was standing in front of the
large table where Simon and the others were seated.
was the first one to see him and she smiled, then batted her eyes at him. He
dropped his jaw. Rhonda never flirted with him. Then she waved and poked Megan
in the side and pointed to him. Megan glanced up, then she smiled broadly and
cocked her head invitingly. Good God, she was flirting with him too! Then she
narrowed her eyes, leaned forward and finally said loudly, “MY GOD, IT’S
heads turned to look and Rafe, looking right past him, said, “Where?”
clamped her hand over her mouth and blinked. Then said, “MY GOD, IT’S
time it was Henri who said, “Where?”
thought maybe turning thirty was actually physically telling and maybe it
wasn’t so great after all. He can’t have aged that much in one day? Sighing
heavily, he bent down and waved a hand in front of Rafe’s face. “Hello?
crossed his eyes, then uncrossed them. “Holy smokes. What the hell did you do
rolled his eyes. Henri stood and tentatively reached out to touch Blair’s
head. Blair jerked back and said, “Hey, man!”
cut your hair,” Henri said almost eerily.
yeah. Is that okay with you, Brown?”
who’d been listening and watching, his own mouth agape, finally found his
voice. “Where’s the flannel, Sandburg?”
looked at Simon, then at Rafe and Brown. “Geesh, what’s with you guys?
Can’t a person get a hair cut? And so what if I’m not wearing flannel? What,
now I suppose you want to know how many times I took a dump today? Three. And I
flossed after every meal too.”
he scraped his fingers through his hair and said, “Man, I need a drink.” He
shrugged out of his jacket and dropped it on the back of Henri’s chair and
turned his back on the group to make his way to the bar.
hissed and Rhonda gasped.
God, who knew?” Megan said in disbelief.
knew what?” Henri asked.
knew he was hiding that incredible ass under all those clothes,” Rhonda
supplied helpfully, her eyes fixed on Blair’s rear.
got the cutest butt in the Cascade PD, and believe me, I know,” Megan said
held up a hand. “Ladies, if you don’t mind? I can skip the conversation
regarding a butt belonging to one of my men.”
took everyone a moment, but when Simon’s words finally sunk in—the table
exploded with laughter.
Megan was able to say, “Oh, sure, you guys can talk about ‘trays’ but
Rhonda and I can’t talk about Blair’s—assets?” Then she turned to her
gal pal and said conspiratorially, “Can you believe what layers of flannel can
shook her head and grabbed Megan’s lapel. “YOU KISSED HIM! YOU ACTUALLY
scoffed. “Yeah, but at the time, it was like kissing my brother and we were on
don’t think it would be like kissing my brother, Megan.”
I’ll tell you what, I’ll just head on over there and give it another try,
okay? Then I’ll report back to you.”
I don’t think so, girlfriend, I think it’s my turn.”
either woman could move, Jim returned. “Hey, Sandburg get here yet?”
people said, “Oh, yeah.”
made his way through the crowd to the bar, his mind reeling from his friends
reactions to his hair cut. Jeez, it was just a fucking hair cut. When he arrived
at the long brass counter, Blair managed to lean in between two people and by
yelling, got the bartenders attention.
with a tequila shot!”
guy ambled over to him and smiled disarmingly, then said, “Driver’s license,
was stunned. Flabbergasted. Shocked out of his skull.
here? Where?” Jim said as he looked around.
he’s headed for the bar. And Jim—“ Simon stopped. Jim was already gone.
made his way through the same crowd Blair had negotiated only minutes earlier.
He still couldn’t see him, but he could hear him. Jim paused and smiled, then
his smile froze—
drivers license, kid. We card in this joint and we don’t serve
Now either pull it out or order a coke.//
is ridiculous. I haven’t been carded for—like—years. I’m
thirty years old, man!//
you want a coke, right?//
heard Blair’s sigh then the sound of fumbling which told Jim that the kid was
getting out his wallet.
does that satisfy you?//
I’ll be damned. You are thirty—and your birthday was
Well happy birthday, Mr.—um, Sandburg.//
yeah - now how ‘bout that drink?//
is that a PD ID?//
Detective, Major Crime.//
this shindig is for you? They celebrating your thirtieth?//
It’s a kind of anniversary party for our Captain. And that
stopped listening. He couldn’t move. Blair’s birthday had been yesterday.
FUCK. He headed back to the table, pushing and shoving, eager to beat his buddy.
where’s Sandburg? Didn’t you spot him?”
spotted him, Rafe. Simon, we’ve got to do something. Yesterday
quickly sat forward. “What? You’re shitting me? How could we not know? And
his thirtieth? No way!”
We’ve got to do something, Simon.”
immediately looked at Rhonda, who blushed. “I guess I forgot to add him to the
birthday list—I’m sorry Jim!”
fine, so it’s fixed now and next year, great. But his birthday was
yesterday,” Jim said, exasperated.
snapped her fingers. “Look, Emilio’s is two doors down and they
close for another hour. We can get a cake there—“
Rhonda jumped in, “And there’s that little flower shop at the end of the
block, we could get him a great arrangement, with black balloons and everything!
They’re still open too!”
looked around at his people. “Okay folks, let’s get our money on the
table.” As bills were slapped down, he added, “Okay, who’s gonna tackle
one moved. He looked at Megan.
sure. The ladies have to do it.” Then she turned to Rhonda who immediately
I’ll take the florist shop. And actually, it makes sense, us doing this. Women
can do it all, you know? Shoot up the bad guys, type 80 words per minute, keep
Simon’s schedule organized and take care of a cake and some flowers. We be the
and Megan high-fived, then gathered up the money.
keep him busy, we’ll be back as quickly as possible,” Megan ordered.
little booth shuffling was needed, but finally the two women were up and moving
out. Once they were gone, Jim sank thankfully into Megan’s spot.
can’t believe you didn’t know, Jim. You live with the guy.”
think I’m not saying the same thing to myself, Simon? And this isn’t just a
birthday, it’s the big 3-0. I’m kicking myself here.”
was a thud, then Jim yelped. “Hey! That hurt!”
thought as long as you were kicking yourself, I’d add my own. And we all
should have known.” Then Simon grew serious as he added, “You know, there
hasn’t been a single birthday of any of ours that he didn’t have the perfect
gift. And last year, it was Blair who remembered Megan’s and got it on the
list. But in three years, his has never been there. What the fuck does that say
one could say a word in response. But Jim couldn’t help but wonder what it
said about him. Blair had been a part of his life for better than three years
and yet, he couldn’t remember a single birthday that he’d celebrated for
Blair. He thought about Naomi and prayed that she’d done something.
when he gets here, well, we razzed him a bit about—well, about how he looks.
So maybe if you pretended that you didn’t notice anything?”
widening in alarm, Jim said, “What the hell do you mean? His looks?”
you see him at the bar?”
shook his head, suddenly feeling numb. “No, I heard him.”
cut his hair, Jim,” Rafe supplied helpfully.
he’s dressed different too, Jim. It’s weird. No flannel, no layers,” Henri
eyes immediately went out to the crowd but he couldn’t see Blair yet. Maybe
he’d decided to have his first drink at the bar—
somebody scoot over,” Blair said.
blinked. Looked up. And started choking.
Simon, do something, Jim’s choking!” Blair said, as he quickly set his beer
started hitting Jim on the back as Henri moved and let Blair slide in.
man, you okay,” Blair said as he leaned over, concern written all over his
his hands and trying to push Simon away, Jim said, “I’m fine,” he coughed,
“just stop hitting me, Simon!”
but you were cho—“
fine, just dandy and Sandburg, what the hell did you do to yourself?”
swell, not you too. It’s a fucking hair cut, okay?” He made little motions
with his fingers, mimicking scissors. “You go to a barber shop and they cut
your hair, you know?”
right, a hair cut. But you weren’t going to do that, remember?
went through the entire academy with long hair. Why now?”
took a swig of his beer and looking out over the crowd, he said nonchalantly,
“Oh, just felt like it. Needed a change, you know?”
A change. Sure. I get it. A change.” Jim turned to Simon. “He
Simon finished Jim’s sentence.
where are the ladies?”
The ladies. Right. Um, where are they again, Simon?” Jim played dumb and threw
the ball at his captain.
yeah, where are they, Rafe?” Simon was a damn fine ballplayer himself and as a
captain, well, delegation was mandatory.
scratched the back of his head and said, “Henri?”
Henri always loved throwing balls back at his captain. That’s what captains
were for, right?
Jim jumped in. “Powdering their noses.” Blair took his eyes from the crowd
and arched an eyebrow. Everyone looked away.
Sandburg, you were late. What happened, besides the obvious,” Jim motioned to
just had some—errands to do, that’s all. Sorry about being late, Simon. And
by the way, congratulations on twenty years.” Then Blair reached for his
jacket, fumbled in the pocket and took out a gift. “Here you go, sir.”
took it, surprise evident on his face. “Sandburg, you didn’t have
just a little something from Jim and I. No biggie. And Daryl helped.”
Simon tore at the wrappings. When the paper was gone, he was left
and gasped. “How—“
I said, Daryl helped. I was trying to figure out the best way to commemorate
twenty years, and we got to talking and he remembered you had that in a box of
stuff. Jim and I simply had it mounted.”
Simon lifted the item from the box and held it up. It was his original badge,
denoting his status as an officer of the law, only now it was mounted in a
shadow box case and below it, a small gold plate on which the words,
Officer-Detective-Captain in only twenty were engraved, followed by his name.
Sandburg, I don’t know what to say. Except—thank you. Thank you very
shrugged, then winked at Jim.
look who’s back from the restroom,” Rafe said, warning in his voice.
slid in next to Blair, just beating out Rhonda, who with a pout, slid in next to
mission accomplished, ladies?” Simon asked innocently.
reached over and took Blair’s gift from Simon and held it up.
this out, guys. Jim and Blair gave this to Simon.”
and Rhonda both whistled. “Very cool, sir,”
said, as she admired the badge and the gold plate. “I agree, this is
wonderful. Good job!”
shot a dagger look at Blair, who just grinned.
that moment, the music stopped and the DJ stood, took a microphone and addressed
right, ladies and gents, it’s Texas line dancing time! All you shit kickers
out there, now’s the time to strut your stuff.” He pointed to a spot on the
dance floor and said, “The line forms here, so come on!”
immediately jumped up, reached down and grabbed Blair’s hand, then said,
“Come on, Sandy, let’s show them how it’s done.”
he slid out and stood. ”All right, all right, I’m up for it if you are.”
she tugged at him, saying, “You bet I am. Let’s go, partner.”
the two walked onto the dance floor, both missed the look that crossed Jim’s
face. And the way he slid down in his seat.
looked from Jim to Megan and Blair, then back to Jim.
Rough seas ahead, he thought.