"Hey Jim, " Blair called out. Jim Ellison sank down into the bath with a sigh, "I won't be into the P.D on Friday. I'm taking part in the student 'job swap' program, so I'll probably be washing cars or hauling boxes at a store."
Jim smiled to himself at that thought, Sandburg's delicate academic hands doing manual labor. "Okay, Chief. You never know, the student you swap with might work in a strip joint," he sniggered.
"With my luck? Are you kidding? Nah, more like a domestic job at the food processing plant, cleaning up all the left over animal parts."
Jim heard Blair give a shudder at that thought. Sandburg might be getting used to seeing people cut up but show him animal entrails and he was green for days.
"So how did you get yourself dragged into this one?"
"Oh, I guess it was kind of my fault. I did a lecture on how in most cultures, people are drawn towards careers that reflect their personalities, but the nature of the human animal is to be adaptable, therefore, strictly speaking, we should be able to do any job that we're given...within certain parameters of competence, taking into consideration skills learned, like brain surgery for example...Jim?"
A soft snore drifted from the bathroom.
"Where's Sandburg today?" Simon Banks asked.
"Oh, he's on some 'job swap' deal with a student. Some poor kid gets to take his 'Primitive Culture' lecture and he does their job," Jim explained.
"So what's he doing?" Simon grinned at the thought.
Jim folded his arms across his chest, "You know, that's the really puzzling part. He hasn't said."
"Sandburg?" the Captain gasped, "Not being forthcoming with information? Is he sick?"
"No, but he's being very secretive about the whole thing. I know that he got his assignment on Wednesday, but no matter how many times I ask him what he's doing, he gets slippery and avoids an answer."
"So," Simon said with a knowing smile, "What you going to do about it?"
"I think I'm going to pay a visit to Rainier and have a chat with a kid who is taking 'Primitive Culture' about now," Jim grinned.
"Good call. Let me know what you find out."
"Don't worry Captain, I'll make a full report."
Blair stood on the sidewalk, shivering slightly. His legs were *freezing*. How the hell did women wear skirts in this damned climate, he wondered.
Pushing back his feathers, he checked his watch again, only three more hours to go. Three more hours.
Three more goddamned *freezing* hours.
His little inner voice told him to chill out. So what if he *was* standing in the street, dressed in a huge chicken costume, complete with beak, feathers and rubber claws.
So, what if he *had* spent all morning serving morons and being tormented by Satan's spawn cleverly disguised as a class of seven year olds from the local school?
He was a grown up, he could handle it. Hell, he'd been shot, kidnapped and almost killed working with the Cascade PD, but *nothing* could have prepared him for the grinding humiliation of *this.* The only consolation, was that he'd cleverly managed to not let slip to Jim what he was doing.
Now that? That would have been humiliating.
"Hey?" a small voice pierced Blair's dreamstate.
Looking down Blair shivered again, that damn kid was back. The smart mouthed little heathen with the big blue eyes and innocent smile. "Yeah?"
"If you're a chicken, where do the eggs come out?" smart-ass asked.
Blair glared, "I'm a boy chicken, we don't lay eggs," he said smugly, sure that he had the upper hand in this conversation.
"So what do boy chickens *do* then?" the devil's spawn spat.
Blair felt his gut tighten, he chewed the inside if his cheek nervously, "Well, we take care of the girl chickens."
"You got any?" 'Damien' said to the sound of a demonic choir.
"Got any what?" Blair asked.
The Changeling thought for a moment, "So why are you bumming around here and not home taking care of them?" he said with frightening logic.
"Because I'm here making a living," Blair replied, shifting his weight onto one rubber bound claw and perching his wing on his left hip.
"Shit way to make a living, man," the demon seed said with a derisive snort.
"Tell me about it!" Blair sighed, "Shouldn't you be running along?" he suggested, " Before you say...get *pecked to death* by a giant pissed-off chicken?" he said through gritted teeth, so quietly that the monster at his feet just frowned, not hearing.
"James!" a woman's voice echoed, "Oh there you are. Come on Jimmy, time to go."
Blair smiled, yep, the creature from the pit just *had* to be a Jimmy, didn't he.
Turning his attention back to the tables and the customers, or lack of them, Blair checked his watch again.
Shit, two hours and fifty three minutes to go.
Deciding that walking up and down at least kept him warm, even if he did feel like a *dick*, Blair began to pace, rubbing his hands together and flapping his arms to get the blood flowing.
"You're going to have to work harder than that to get a takeoff, Chief!" Jim's very amused voice was suddenly behind Blair.
Wheeling around, the young anthropologist was faced with half of the detectives from Major Crimes all carrying cameras and all chipping in to the chorus of 'Ain't nobody here but us chickens'.
"Oh, you bastard, Ellison," Blair gasped.
"Hey, we're just here for lunch," Jim grinned, "So, guys, what do you fancy? On me?"
Megan, Rafe, Brown, Simon, Joel and Jim crowded onto two tables and picked up the excuse for a menu.
"Excuse me, Foghorn Leghorn? A little service if you please," Jim sniggered.
Blair's flushed face poked out from beneath the beak.
"Hey, they are definitely the best chicken legs I've ever seen, Sandy," Megan teased.
"Come on, man, drag your beak over here and take my order," Brown hooted.
Blair glared at Jim with more malice than he ever thought himself capable. Oh yes, this was an 'Ellison moment', all right. Taking a deep breath, he reached into the costume and pulled out the pad and pencil.
"I always wondered where they kept those things," Simon said smiling at Jim.
"Oh, just tucked in there behind the parsons nose," Jim began to laugh, tears visibly forming in his eyes.
"Your order?" Blair sighed.
"I'll have the chicken balls," Megan said sharply.
Each and every man at the table dissolved into fits of laughter.
"That's it!" Blair said with annoyance, "If you guys have just come here to humiliate me, congratulations, you did an excellent job."
"Sandburg, relax!" Simon said, his eyes moist with glee, "I think it's very mature of you to do this. You're handling all of this extremely well."
"Thank you, Sir," Blair pouted, feeling slightly vindicated.
"In fact, I might just make this the new Cascade PD uniform. One look at that and the criminals fall about laughing," Simon guffawed.
Blair bit his lip. This was not going to be easy
"Hey, Chief. Gotta go," Jim said, poking his head around the kitchen door.
Blair emptied the plates into the dishwasher and nodded.
"Come on, Sandburg, we're just teasing," Jim wandered into the kitchen. Glancing around, he saw that they were alone. Gently he wrapped his arms around his partner, drawing him into the softest of kisses. Pulling back, he grinned, "Well, that's a first. I never kissed a chicken before."
Blair's face broke into a smile, "What? After everything I've heard about you 'special ops' guys, I only half believe that," he teased.
Jim laughed and stroked his fingers down Blair's face, "How does this little cock feel about getting laid tonight then?" he asked.
"Just fine thanks, old rooster!"
"Hey, not so much of the old," Jim smiled, "Better go, wouldn't look good if they found a Cascade detective making out with a big chicken on police time."
"I'll see you tonight, man," Blair laughed, "By the way, I put your name down for the next job swap. One of my students is working as a nude waiter at that new kinky club down on Madison."