Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Coda 25

Keir and Rick from IN SUNSHINE OR IN SHADOW




It rained Christmas day.
Rick originally had the day off. So had Keir, but the resigning and then unresigning had cost him his place on the holiday roster, so Rick gave up his spot too. At least that way they could share the misery.
And it was miserable.
It started out mildly miserable, dragging their weary asses out of bed and into the station. The final day of four twelve-hour shifts. But things cheered up a little there. Some of the guys and gals had brought in cookies and cakes and fudge. There was decent coffee for once. And Santa gag gifts. Rick got a mug that said Good Cop. Keir winked at Rick and whispered, “Does that mean I can be Bad Cop tonight?”
Keir got a T-shirt that read Undercover Cop. Rick had murmured, “Under covers duty, huh?”
It was all talk anyway. They knew they were both going to be too tired to do more than fall into bed and kiss each other goodnight.
So much for the good times. The day turned seriously miserable with a domestic dispute that deteriorated into a homicide. Deke Johnson, 45, violated his restraining order and shot his ex-wife Harriet, 40, before their three kids and the family dog — right in front of the Christmas tree, no less.
The sad truth was, in addition to a rise in traffic accidents, family disputes and child custody battles, violent crime spiked around the holidays. Not just robberies and home invasions, but good old-fashioned homicide. Add a little melancholy and a lot of booze to the seasonal punch, and you had a recipe for one hellish witch’s brew. And the City of Angels had a bad habit of getting drunk off her ass every Christmas.
Johnson didn’t deny murdering his wife, and he didn’t seem to care about being arrested. He did try twice to break free so he could explain to his hysterical kids why he’d had to shoot Mommy. The second time, Rick, who was royally pissed off at the idea of some self-centered asshole killing his ex in front of his own kids, knocked him down, and Keir leaped to intervene. The uniforms pretended not to see anything, and Keir hustled Rick outside.
The night was cold and smelled of smog and rain and eucalyptus. They walked past the crowd of neighbors and sightseers and crime scene technicians, around the side of the house, stepping over the dog bowls and tricycles.
Rick leaned back against the dripping siding and drew a couple of deep breaths.
Keir kept one eye on Rick and one eye on the wet, shining walkway, to make sure they were not disturbed. He didn’t say anything. He didn’t need to. Rick knew exactly what he was thinking, and he knew exactly how Rick felt.
“Sorry,” Rick said finally.
Keir shrugged. “It’s a fucked up night. Even if it is Christmas.”
“Sometimes it feels like we’re just garbage men. We’re just here to clean up the mess.”
It was startling to hear that from Rick. Keir was usually the one the job got to. He said firmly, “No way. We’re the guardians at the gate. We’re keeping the wild things out tonight.” Not all the wild things, but they were only human. They did what they could. He hooked his arm around Rick’s neck and brought their heads close together. Their warm breath mingled. Keir said softly, “And tomorrow we start three days off.”
Rick nodded.
The rest of their shift was mostly uneventful. It was ten o’clock by the time they stopped off to eat on their way home. A Chinese Restaurant in Van Nuys. The place was dimly lit — emergency and Christmas lights only — and nearly deserted. Christmas music was playing. They got a booth way in the back. They ordered their dinner and then quietly, circumspectly, held hands across the table until the waitress started down the aisle with their meals. When she left, they went back to holding hands.
Every time Keir looked across the table, Rick’s gaze met his, and they smiled tiredly at each other. Not the best Christmas ever. But they were together and somehow that went a long way toward keeping it from being the worst Christmas ever.
Rick broke open his fortune cookie, read the little piece of paper, and laughed. He nudged Keir’s foot under the table.
Not the best Christmas ever. But looking good for the best day after Christmas ever.

36 comments:

  1. Thank you, Josh. Days like these it's so good that they have each other to look after them and to chase the blues away later.

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  2. It's always nice to get a confirmation that things are more or less all right with charachters we love. Thank you for this further present, dear Josh!

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    1. That would have been my comment! xx Antonella

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    2. Thanks, Antonella. I'm glad the codas are bringing a little extra cheer to the season. :-)

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  3. It feels so good and so right that these two are there for one another. The guardians. I like that a lot.

    Each and every coda has been perfect. Thanks, Josh. :)

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  4. I loved the mature tones of this coda. Both MCs felt so grown up here that it was refreshing to read.

    But Josh, I know that the content of the fortune cookie wasn't important here, it was still kinda cruel to left it out altogether like this :P.

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    1. LOL Maybe next year we'll have a follow up coda to the coda.

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  5. How very rewarding and satisfying it must be to sit quietly, holding hands, gazing quietly at each other, and just knowing. *sigh*

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  6. Thanks for this glimpse of Keir and Rick! It's nice to see they're taking care of each other :)

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    1. Yes. They are there for each other in sunshine or in shadow. :-)

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  7. I love these two and their story. Absolutely one of my favorite rereads! So pleased to see they made it back OK and are together. Thank you, Josh, for another holiday prezzie, even though you were a tease about the fortune cookie. :)

    And have been meaning to add: you always find the best holiday pics; that Chrstmas bow is gorgeous!

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  8. Lovely..sometimes it's the little things that make life ok. Sitting quietly together and holding hands after a bad day. Has a way of making everything seem not so bad. Thanks.

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    1. That's how I look at it! Thanks for reading, M!

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  9. My second attempt at leaving a comment. (the elves are at work!)

    I just wanted to say thank you for a chance to see Rick and Keir working together on this difficult Christmas. The guardians don't always get to see storybook endings on the job. Nice to see them find one at home. (and what was in that fortune?)

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    1. :-D

      I can see I'm going to have to follow up on that fortune cookie.

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  10. Josh, I loved Rick and Keir in "In Sunshine or in Shadow" ( I always hear "Danny Boy" when I say or type the title of the story), so thanks for the follow up with the coda. On a lighter note, the coda could be the basis for a joke..."Two Irish cops walk into a Chinese restaurant on Christmas Day..." Maybe the fortune is the punch line?

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  11. Oh, Josh!! Rick and Keir! You know how much I love them. Thank you and Merry, Merry Christmas!

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  12. Always see these two as an alternative version of Will and Taylor :-)
    Bad times are there for couple like them to cherish their time together. Nice one.

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  13. Merry Christmas. thank you for the coda. I liked the simplicity and realism of this coda. kier and rick are like an everyday, average couple, and it makes me smile.

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    1. That they are. :-) Thanks for reading!

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  14. In Sunshine or In Shadow is my favourite short story of yours. I absolutely adored it. And I just listened to the audio version a few days ago, so this coda was a WONDERFUL surprise. I would love to see more of them, but you left it at a wonderful place with this coda. Thank you so much and a very happy holidays to you Josh.

    BlueSimplicity from your goodreads group

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  15. :-( kinda of forget that Christmas isn't merry for everyone; thanks to all First Responders including 911 operators. Keir and Rick:-) the promise of tomorrow with the one you love.

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    1. Yes, I think when things are good it's easy to take them for granted. Love is what gets us through when things are not good.

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  16. Hope the boys--as well as you and all of yours-- have the best boxing day ever!

    (Maybe you should hold a contest to decide the secret of the fortune cookie.)

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  17. Merry Christmas!

    Loved reading all the stolen moments and the private jokes Keir and Rick shared even when the day was miserable. Glad to see everything works out fine for them. Theirs is one of my favorite of In sunshine or in shadow.

    Hope the boys from Out of the Blue are fine too. They are the ones I worry the most. (A coda, please? ;p)

    Savanna

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    1. Josh, just downloaded your Christmas Coda e-book and I checked - no coda for Out of the Blue. You have to tell us they are safe at a time when every day hundreds or even thousands died! (hands clasp at prayer)

      Savanna

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  18. Thanks again for another wonderful coda, Josh! Happy Happy Christmas! I hope your happiness equals ours for the happiness you have provided all year long!

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  19. Hi Josh, thank you for all the Christmas codas :) I must admit there are some couples I had forgotten about, but it just prompted me to go back and read their stories!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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  20. You made me realize how lucky I am: lazy at home for Christmas, preparing the chocolate fountain for our family dinner later. Thank you for reminding me and I wish you a Merry Christmas.

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