Disclaimer: The Sentinel belongs to Pet Fly Productions.




It was the first Saturday they had off in quite a while, and both of the guys were looking forward to it in their own ways. Jim slept in, until around eight. Getting up and taking a long, leisurely hot shower, and fixing himself eggs and coffee for breakfast, eating while reading the paper, then going upstairs to get dressed. It all took up time, it was nine-thirty before he rapped lightly at the French doors to Sandburg's room as a preliminary to sticking his head in.

"Hey Chief, you still out cold in there or what?" He knew from long experience that the younger man took sleeping in seriously. It came from too many nights of burning the midnight oil, burning the candle at both ends, and just plain burning himself out.

The futon bed was a tangled mess of covers, throw pillows, and dirty laundry. Only a sentinel would know for sure whether Sandburg was actually in bed under there somewhere.

A muffled, interrogating grunt emerged from the depths of the bedding.

"Weather's beautiful out there. I'm heading out to the gym, then I'm running some errands. You getting up?"

This time the incomprehensible mutter had a definite negative sound to it. Jim left. Blair went back to sleep. He slept on. He slept on. He slept until he woke up, around eleven-thirty or so, and then he waited, but he didn't go back to sleep so he decided he was awake, and got up.

He had a bagel, and read the paper, and then looked at the TV Guide to see if there was anything good on, and found an outrageously dumb disaster movie, and put that on. Then he went back into his room and examined the picked-over remains of his closet. He needed to do a laundry day. Put on a pair of bright yellow sweatpants that were starting to get a little threadbare in an embarrassing place, and a bright red 'University of Siberia' T-shirt with the yellow lettering to match. Sort of. It wasn't an outfit he'd be seen in public wearing. House clothes.

He sorted the laundry currently strewn all over his bed into layered loads for the hamper. But first he was going to strip and wash his bed. He'd let it go a little too long. The crumpled feel of stale sheets, the dustbunnies and shed hair clinging to the skirts of the bedspread. Nope. No more. He was gonna clean up a little and starting with a fresh clean bed so he could get a really good night's sleep was step number one. He stripped the bed, sheet, fitted sheet, and bedspread, pillowcases followed them into the laundry basket. He hesitated, and then threw his pillow in. Not the decorative throw pillows but the one he lay his head on at night. An old feather pillow.

He hauled them down to the basement laundry room, put the pillow in on the gentle cycle, and went back upstairs. The movie was over and some syndicated eye-candy action show was on, so he half-listened to that while he ran a dust rag around the surfaces in his room. Then he went downstairs, tossed the sodden pillow into the dryer. On delicate cycle, air fluff. He threw his sheets and pillow cases in, and went back upstairs, reshelved a couple of books that had been stacking on the floor, and fixed himself a snack.

He ran down again to check. Dryer had stopped. Washer had stopped. Pillow was still a little damp. Why not? He reset the dryer, and threw the pillow in again, going back upstairs. Flipped the futon mattress and gave his neatened bedroom a quick spritz of Healing Garden Juniper Therapy Refocus room-spray. Not enough to irritate his roomie's overly sensitive sinuses, but just enough to chase away the bachelor-sockness of the ambiance.

Then he settled down, watched some television, read through some papers he had to grade. When he'd finished that, he headed down to the laundry room to get his pillow out of the dryer, throw his wet sheets in, then he'd do a load of dark clothes, jeans and flannel shirts... he opened the dryer door and for a minute he didn't understand what he was seeing.


The dryer was full of feathers.

Oh... man... the pillow was an old one... even though he'd had it on the delicate cycle... boom. Stirred by the air currents, a few feathers tumbled to the floor in a silent snowfall. Blair sighed. Buying a new pillow... that meant there were a couple of books he was going to have to get from the library instead of buying for himself.

Great, this was just what he needed today. He closed the dryer before any more nice, clean, fluffy feathers could fall out, and went back upstairs to get a brown paper bag and a wet paper towel. He captured the drift of feathers easily enough with the wet towel, then opened the dryer, grabbing a handful of feathers to dump into the bag. Some escaped, drifting away.

The more feathers he got safely dumped in the bag, the more escaped. This was absolutely not going to work. He sighed, absently brushing back a lock of hair with a handful of feathers, and trudged back up to the loft, this time bringing down the vacuum cleaner. This worked better. He got the feathers out of the dryer. And out of the lint trap. And out of the vacuum. And out of his hair. It only took two hours.

He tossed the wet stuff into the dryer, but some instinct told him to stay, and it was lucky. A horrible burning smell filled the air and the top of the dryer got very hot to the touch. Blair stopped it, trudging back up to the loft, for once glad that Jim was so neat and orderly and anal retentive, and got all the paperwork for the dryer out, and the toolbox and the vacuum... again. He moved the dryer out into the middle of the basement floor, unplugged it, and took it apart. Vacuumed the feathers out of the inner workings. He got the dryer back together, cleaned up one last time, and baby-sat the dryer while it finished up the wet load. He just wanted his bed back together, he wasn't doing any clothes.

Then he went upstairs and made his bed before collapsing on the couch. So much for his nice relaxing day off.

Jim didn't get home until nearly seven. He'd done a light workout at the gym, and spent almost the whole morning in the pool. After that, he'd had lunch at one of those greasepit diners since he didn't have Blair with him to complain about it. Afterward he ran some errands. Got the truck washed, browsed at a bookstore and did some casual flirting with a pretty brunette in the scifi section. Then he picked up some videos, and Chinese take-out. He walked in, to find Sandburg snoring on the couch. At least he'd made it out of bed.

"Lazy bum," he muttered fondly.

~ End ~

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Page last updated 8/15/03.