Disclaimer: Pet Fly's, not mine.

Author's Notes: Just a little exercise to keep in practice.

Acknowledgments: The sugar cane liquor jugo de cana's taste and effect were lifted from "Jaguars Ripped My Flesh" by Tim Cahill. The anthro-data came from the 1982 edition of the Academic American Encyclopedia.

Merging Traffic



Saturday mornings since I moved into Jim's loft are pretty routine. When we both have the day off, we sleep in a little, and instead of our usual rotating first-shower-fixes-breakfast schedule, we forage for ourselves in the fridge, or hit the diner, or sometimes I've been out with a ladyfriend Friday night and slept over, so I don't know what Jim does for breakfast—probably eats sticks of butter out of the box without me there to stop him. But this morning I wake up first and in a good mood.

So after my shower I throw on jeans and an old Angie Ferris concert T-shirt, tie my hair up and start making breakfast. Put coffee on, eggs, bacon, hey, why not, it's Saturday, orange juice, hell, go the whole nine yards and make French toast like Sally used to. I have the food half ready before it hits me. Twilight Zone time, here. Sally was the Ellison housekeeper. And I'm an only child, so that memory of hanging around the kitchen, helping, and waiting to carry the tray into the playroom where my kid brother was watching cartoons is not mine. It's Jim's.

I have Jim's memories. Whoa.

I finish making breakfast mechanically, because my mind is elsewhere. Literally. Doesn't take much reflection to locate a few other memories. I was a science nerd, so that memory of the weight of the pads, the view of the field through the helmet and the impact of colliding with another kid, gotta be J.J. Ellison, BMOC. A few glimpses of father-son stuff that I backed away from real fast, made me glad Naomi didn't keep track of who she was sleeping with, y'know?

I don't think I'm imagining this, extrapolating from what I know about Jim's life. These images are too detailed, like they happened to me, I'm getting emotions here, background stuff, the feel of the sun on my face, smells, hey, I wonder... oh yeah, the senses going online. Hey, that could come in handy. Scared. The just-licked-a-lit-match sensation of all that paprika. God, I miss Carolyn—

Whoa. Whoaaaa, no way! This whole symbiotic Sentinel/Guide shared memory thing is weird enough, I am not going to start lusting after Jim's ex-wife! Try something else... Hey! Lori said she thought I was adorable, not a dork, Jim, you jerk, I'm gonna get you for that one... um... Peru. See if I can access some of those blocked memories. Fuzzy, flashes of the chopper and the jungle... Jim, no wonder you can't remember half of Peru, man, jugo de cana may taste like Kool Aid but it's got a kick like a mule. No, wait, I get it, until you learned enough of the language, Incacha couldn't tell you to adjust the dials, so whenever you were off duty he got you to drink yourself into a stupor so you could get some rest. Pretty clever.

I rummage around in Jim's memories some more, not that I think I'll ever need to load an M60 machine gun, ride horseback, play the piano or fix the brakes on a '78 Harley, but it's nice to know I can now if it ever comes up.

By the time I've got the food on the table, I've figured it out. Lured by the smell of bacon and coffee, Jim comes down from his bedroom in his bathrobe. Moving carefully in his usual big-guy-not-entirely-awake shuffle. One of these days he's going to trip coming down the stairs and break both of his ankles. He comes over to the table with a pleasantly surprised smile. "Bacon? And French toast? What's the occasion, Chief?"

"No occasion. Just felt like it," I answer, and we sit down and dig in. Some of our typical morning banter, I let Jim get a few forkfuls of food and half a cup of coffee into him before I test my hypothesis and casually ask, "Hey Jim, what tribe did Richard Lee write that article on?"

Jim looks at me like I just asked the phone number for 911. "The Kung. A group of San living in the Kalahari Desert," and he shovels another forkful of eggs in.

I hide my grin and we both eat a few more bites before the penny drops for Jim. "Hey. How'd I know that? Guess your lectures are sinking in."

I take a deep breath. "Jim, I think it's time we discussed what happened at the fountain."

~ End ~

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Page last updated 8/15/03.