Jim rolled his eyes, broke out his wallet, and paid the curly haired, shifty eyed, Portugese man.|
right, I'm calling Uncle. Here you go, Angel. Every stinkin' dime."
Sara giggled at his reaction
and finally dropped the oxygen mask back into its case for the next user.
"You gamble?!" she gaped
at her P.I. date.
Jim's black eyes flared. "On occasion." he defended.
Chet Kelly and Marco
Lopez stayed wall flowers in the background while they self treated on O2.
The gossip mill was getting
even juicier than the wild fire.
"Mr. Martin, why I do declare, are you a bookie?" Sara trickled.
Rockford physically got himself in between Angel and his girl.
"Nope. Not today he isn't. He's
something different than just your very own, ordinary, garden variety street
informer, which is how
we met. So what are you masquerading yourself off as today, Angel?" Jim asked.
"I'm a reporter,
Jimmy Boy. Worked so well, I got a free chopper ride straight into the middle of all this action.
what a scene! This is... so invigorating!" Martin said, expansively spreading his arms against the
backdrop of the roaring flames trying to rise from the depths of the canyon below them. "With your
I can now go out and buy a whole pile of camera film rolls to document Mother Nature at
work." he announced
grandly at the top of his voice. "I figure I can sell what I snap to National
Geographic or something and clean
up with a whole month's rent!"
"Good luck with that one.
In ten minutes, anyone not a firefighter's getting evacuated back to L.A."
Rockford shared. "Us, and
my Firebird included. It's getting airlifted out as police evidence." he lied.
"Oh, man! Whaaat
hhhappened?" Angel gaped, nearly dislocating his neck to get a good glimpse of Rockford's
Jim grabbed Martin by the shoulders and whirled him back around to face the rest of the group
look! It's not pretty. A bullet hole right through the windshield and into the leather
on a back seat."
"Oh, Jimmy.." Angel wilted. "You love that car." he said, his eyes filling with
tears that weren't from
the fire smoke.
"She took a bullet for me, Angel. I don't know where
I'm going to come up with the money to fix her." he
simpered, looking pathetic and sad. "The guy who
owes me two hundred for coming up with a name
just got carted away in an ambulance."
dug into his pocket and returned Rockford's ten dollar bill. "Here. I don't need it this week. Pay me
next week, when you finally get a paying client."
"Aww. Thanks, Angel. This means a lot. It really.."
he shot a look at the glaring Sara and quietly stepped
on her foot to shut her up. "..does. I won't
forget this." and he meant, it, too.
Butler's forehead creased up in confusion at Rockford's candor
with what was obviously a swindle.
"We are good friends." Jim said to both of them, at Sara, to
prove he wasn't a con, and to Angel because
already they owed each other, their very lives. It was
a bond which had always cemented their relationship
through thick and thin.
::Although I can't
see why he's decided to wade into my particular kind of soup today.:: Jim puzzled.
said, putting away his wallet. "There's one man I have to see." The P.I. stepped up to Craig
and waited until he was acknowledged. "Uh, excuse me, captain, but, if there's a Lt. Dennis
working tonight, he's very good at finding missing people. He used to work in Nam, in the
Forces. Take my word for it, he's absolutely the best in the business. I suggest you--"
smiled and held up his radio. "He's already on the way. I did my research, through a friendly to
in the L.A.P.D., Officer Vince Howard. They were linked up and in town working together to find a
or lead on the arsonist/shooter. I told them about what you did with that flashlight marking the spot
where you found our firefighter, five minutes ago."
"You work fast." Rockford told him, impressed.
"He sure does." Chet groused. "He always gets what he wants once he puts his mind to it. Uh, sir.."
he amended when Brice raised a captain's eyebrow at him. "He looks new to this, but he's definitely
Lopez grumbled under his breath, "He probably chewed on all the procedure manuals from birth."
Brice glanced over while monitoring radio chatter.. "Did you say something? I missed it." he asked.
Marco blushed, but it didn't show in the glow of the fire. "Uh, I said, it looks like the fire's
"You're right." Craig said, nodding. "We've got a long fight ahead
of us before it's done."
Chet leaned into Marco, whispering. "I hope Stoker's is an non-issue.
I sure do wonder about what
might have happened to him."
"Me, too." said Lopez.
Jim Rockford started coughing hard.
"Chain smoker, huh?" Sara smirked, pushing him down onto a
car bumper so the firefighters could treat
him with their oxygen clean out trick.
pegged me. It was like maybe, ... twenty years ago." Jim wheezed. "I'm.. *hack!* .. fine."
"For an old man. Quit acting macho and tough. I'm already yours." she said, smacking him on the
arm. "Now let the nice firefighters fix your lungs. It won't take long."
"Five minutes, tops."
promised Chet, getting the mask ready.
Jim Rockford had the grace to grin humbly at his feet.