Dealing With Paul
by Ms. Marylou

This is a continuation of  "One Warm October".  Rated G.  Seasons 3 & 4. Usual disclaimers.  Paul Armstrong has been bugging Gary for two years.  Now he's starting to bug Toni.  They have to find a way to get Paul off their backs.  Gary has an idea.
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Dealing with Paul
by  Ms. Marylou

Gary and Toni are sitting at the kitchen table in Gary's loft just finishing up breakfast.

Toni:  Gary, would you like some more coffee?  (Kissing him on his head)

Gary:  No, I'm fine.

Toni:  I had better get going.  Ever since I moved in with you, I've been late for work almost every day.

Toni grabs her purse and coat and heads for the door.  Gary calls to her.

Gary:  Hey Toni, is Paul still hounding you at work?  Does he suspect anything?

Toni:   I don't know.  A couple of times he commented on the fact that I was getting more and more like you, always the first one on the scene of a potential disaster.

Gary:  Yeah (laughing) Now he's after both of us!

Toni:  I gotta run.  If Paul calls, tell him I left.

No sooner is Toni out of the door when the phone rings.  Gary picks up the phone.

Paul:  Hobson!  Is Toni there?

Gary:  No, you just missed her.  Maybe you can reach her on her cell phone.

Paul:  No, it can wait.  Hey, Hobson?

Gary:  Please call me Gary.

Paul:  Gary?  I have to ask you something.

Gary:  Not this again.

Gary knows what will come next.

Paul:   First it was you and now it is Toni.  Isn't it about time that you clued me in on what is going on?

Gary:  Going on?

Paul:  OK, Gary, I'll spill it out.  I got this phone call last October at 10:00 at night from Toni,  telling me that she has to get on a plane right away and fly to Las Vegas because her 85 year old grandmother swallowed an eight inch kniting needle.

Gary:  So?

Paul:  Let me finish.  She shows up at work two weeks later without a single phone call from her during all the time she was gone.  At that time I wasn't sure how to handle the situation, so I decided to give it a week before I said or did anything.  Well, during that week and ever since, she has been a model detective.  We never did have a discussion about her unusual absence, because she solved some of our more difficult cases and prevented numerous potential accidents.  She is doing far better work than anyone else in the department.  First it was just you driving me crazy.  Now I have two people driving me crazy.   You both know something.

Gary:  Know what?

Paul:  When you and Toni are ready to talk, I'll be here to listen.

Gary:  Goodbye, Paul.

Paul:  If you change your mind, you know where to reach me.

Gary:  I'm hanging up, Paul.

Gary put down the phone.  Oh, Boy!

That night when Toni got home, Gary could tell that she was upset.

Gary:  You look beat.

Toni:  Paul has been bugging me all day.

Gary:  I'm not surprised. He called right after you left.

Toni:  Should we?

Gary:  I'm not sure.  He's questioning both of us now.  Toni,  I'm not quite ready to tell him about the paper.

That night Gary and Toni decide that Paul does not have to know about the paper in order for them to make their saves.  Paul knowing would only complicate matters.  But one thing was for sure.  They had to get him off their backs.

The following morning,  Gary went to the door and brought in the paper.  It was Saturday and Gary was hoping it would be an easy day for both of them.  Gary had been taking Lucius Snow's advice ever since he and Toni got back from their little vacation last October. Also, Toni helped him out alot.  She took care of many of the saves that involved the police.  Besides he loved having her around day and night.

Toni:  The pancakes are all done!

Gary:  Coming.

Gary is reading the paper on the way to the kitchen.  All of a sudden he yells to Toni.

Gary:  This is perfect!

Toni:  What?

Gary:  The headlines!  I have a great idea.  I found a way to get back at Paul.  This is my plan and it just might work.

Toni:  What?  What?  What?  I'm listening.

Gary:    Paul has been on my case for two years now. He is not going to go away this easy.

Toni:  What are you up to?  I hope it's something good.

Gary:   It is.   I want you to read the headlines on the front page.

Gary takes the paper and spreads it out on the table.  He points out two articles for Toni to read.
Toni:  OK, I'm reading them.  A lot of major happenings, but I don't see anything written about anyone getting hurt.

Gary:  That's the point!  No one will get hurt doing what I want to do.  If I don't do this now, I never will.  I have to get Paul out of my system.

Toni:  Tell me your plan.

Gary:  First I have to call Paul and tell him what is going to take place this afternoon.  Then tomorrow he will read the paper and see all of this stuff in print!

Toni:  Oh,  you devil you!   But you know, of course, that this will baffle him even more.

Gary:  Yes, but it will prove to him that we are not staging accidents.

Toni:  I hope it works.

Gary:  It will.  Maybe after this, he'll leave us alone.  I should have done this two years ago.  I've helped him so many times and still he treats me like no one should be treated.

Toni:  I never thought you had this in you.

Gary:  You are seeing a bit of the mean streak in me.  I have to do this.

Picking up the paper and walking over to the phone, Gary dials Paul's number.  After three rings, he answers .

Paul:  Hello.

Gary:  Paul?

Paul:  Gary, are you  calling me to tell me what your secret is?

Gary:  Paul, you have been suggesting for a long time that I have been causing certain situations, so that I can appear on the scene and come across as some kind of hero by preventing disasters.  (Gary is quiet for a moment)

Paul:  (after a silence)  I'm listening.

Gary:  I want you to write this down, everything.  This includes the time and the place.  Are you writing?

Paul:  I'm listening....and writing.

Gary:  At exactly 3:17 this afternoon, after a front comes through, a tornado is going to touch down in a field in Naperville one half mile south of the corner of Butterfield and Naperville Roads.  The tornado is going to destroy a 100 year old vacant farmhouse.   The authorities are going to find in the wreckage a painting of a horse, which was luckily spared, worth 1-1/2 million dollars.  There is more.  On Truk Lagoon in the Pacific Ocean, divers  will spot a rare cowrie shell which was thought to be extinct.

Paul:  You know this is going to happen?  Just like you knew Frank Scanlon was going to be murdered?  Or like you knew there would be a fire on North Fremont Street?

Gary:  I am going to hang up now.  Just trust me on this.

Gary puts down the phone and looks at Toni,  waiting for her comment.

Toni:  Wow....... that was great!.....I can't wait until he calls back tomorrow!

Gary:  Yes, yes, yes!  This just might work!

Gary is in a playful mood.  He grabs Toni and starts to dance around the room with her.  When he gets close to the kitchen he lets go of Toni and grabs a bottle of wine from his cabinet.  He has finally confronted Paul, which in Gary's mind was a major accomplishment.

Toni:  Gary?  Is that the fancy, expensive wine that you save for special occasions?

Gary:  Ah, you remember it.

Toni:  I remember it very well.  The first time we drank it, we almost missed our flight to Las Vegas.

Gary turns off the overhead lights.

Gary:  What will it be, the wine or the food?

They wind up having a late supper.

For some reason, Paul never called back about the tornado.  Gary didn't expect him to know about the discovery of the valuable sea shell until the next day when it would appear in the paper, but the news of the tornado warning and touchdown was all over the news.   Not only that,  no one expected a tornado that day.  It was sunny most of the afternoon.

Two days pass and there is still no word from Paul.  The weekend is almost over.

Toni:  Gary, this is really strange.  Both articles appeared in the paper.  You cannot create a tornado or tell it where to land.  And we certainly didn't plant that rare shell in the ocean.

Gary:  Should we call Paul?  I think something is wrong.

Toni:  No, I know him.  Chances are, he is still puzzled about how we knew about this stuff.  Give him time.  Besides, no one got hurt.

Just then the phone rang.

Gary:  Hello?   Hello?

Paul:  It's me.

For some reason, Paul didn't sound like himself.

Gary:  Are you all right?

Toni:  (whispering to Gary) What is it?

Gary:  (Covering the phone and whispering back to Toni)  Something is wrong.

There was a long silence.

Paul:  We just got back from the hospital.

Gary:  The hospital? What happened?

Toni looks at Gary.  They are no longer smiling.

Paul:  You told me about a tornado touching down at a certain spot in a field at exactly 3:17,  and you told me about a rare shell that was spotted in the ocean thousands of miles from here. WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME THAT AT 4:00 MEREDITH WOULD FALL DOWN THE STAIRS AND HAVE A MISCARRIAGE!!!!!!!

Gary:  Oh, my God!

Toni:  What is it?

Gary:  Paul, are you calling from your house?

Paul:  (His voice cracking and full of emotion)  Yes, I am.

Gary:  Toni and I are coming over to your house right now.  We both have something we have to show you.

                                                  The End

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