THUsual  Disclaimer:
The characters of Levon Lundy, Joe LaFiamma, Joanne Beuamont and Joe Bill McCandless were created by
Michael Butler and Jay Berenstein.
Columbia and CBS brought them to us and abruply took them away.
They now seem to be in the hands of Sony who has decided to keep them all to themself.
I still find myself wishing things had happened differently.
The Ides of March
by Arrow, (c) September, 2008


"You lost him?" the Lieutenant demanded.  "Our only witness and you lost him?"  Lt. Joanne Beaumont stood with
her arms crossed eyeing the two detectives in front of her.

"If Lundy hadn't had to pick up his boots...," Sgt. Joe LaFiamma began to explain impatiently.  Obviously, the
lieutenant had not noticed that he had been injured during the recent altercation.

"It was on the way, LaFiamma," Sgt. Levon Lundy interrupted.

'Your boots weren't going anywhere."

"Neither was your bank balance.''

"Hey, it wasn't my fault," Joe reiterated as he turned to face Levon.

"If your bank wasn't on the other side of town..." Levon reminded him as he focused his full attention on his partner.

"How was I supposed to know some guy was going to decide to rob the place?"

"If you could add and subtract, we wouldn't have been there in the first place."

"I told you, Lundy, it wasn't my fault...." Joe repeated through gritted teeth.

"Enough!" the Lieutenant intervened.  "That's it!  Go home.  Both of you.  I do not want to see either one of you
for the next three days.  And stay away from each other.  I don't want to hear about you either."

"Lieutenant?" Joe questioned.

"What about...?" Levon began.

"That's an order," she said quietly.

Joe and Levon stared at the Lieutenant but the chill in her voice told them the discussion had ended.  They turned
simultaneously, bumping shoulders as they both tried to walk through the doorway.  Joe stepped aside and politely
motioned for Levon to go through first; Levon obliged.  Joe followed him to their desks where Levon picked up his
hat and Joe grabbed his jacket before heading for the double doors.  Levon reached the doors a step before Joe so
he opened one and held it to allow Joe to exit first.  They stood for a moment and glared at each other while the door
quietly closed behind them then Joe walked toward the elevator and Levon turned to the stairs. 

Levon would have liked to have heard the door slam behind him as he entered the stairwell, but it quietly slipped
back into its closed position.  He settled for stomping down the stairs as loudly as his boots would allow.  Reaching
the landing, he charged at the door leading outside causing it to swing wide.  For once the elevator must have
operated at maximum efficiency because he watched Joe's Cobra skid out of the parking lot as he barged through
the doorway.  This time the door closed behind him with a satisfying thud that echoed throughout the nearly empty
parking area.

**  **  **  **  **  **

Joe slowed down a little as he passed Chicken's for the third time so he could peruse the parking lot.  "He's not
here," he thought.   "Where would he go?"
Joe did not like what was happening.  Suddenly things were all out of
kilter.  He trusted Levon; he depended on him.  Yeah, sure, they bickered and fussed at each other but it was how
they dealt with their differences.  How did everything get so out of whack?  He downshifted and sped past the

**  **  **  **  **  **

It was getting dark when Levon stepped through his front door.  His anger spent, he quietly shut the door and moved
through the house without turning on a light.  He set his hat on the dining room table then wandered into the kitchen.
When he opened the refrigerator, the little bulb inside instantly filled the room with annoyingly bright light and he
closed the door in disgust.  A noise outside caused him to look out the window and he smiled as he watched Fooler
amble around the corral.  He grabbed an apple from the bowl on the counter and went outside.

Fooler was waiting for him as he walked up to the fence.  Levon ran his hand along the horse's neck as he held the
apple.  Watching Fooler munch contentedly, he could feel the tension leave his neck and shoulders.  What
happened, he wondered.  When did the one person he trusted with his life become his enemy?

**  **  **  **  **  **

It started when Joseph Anthony LaFiamma stepped off a plane at Hobby Field in a silk suit and Italian loafers.  It
probably had something to do with hearing his name over the loud speaker and then finding himself face to face
with Levon Elmer Lundy, a Texan.  First he lost his partner and then he was unceremoniously shuffled across the
continent.  It may have been called Houston, but the heat made him think he was somewhere else.

It started when Levon was told by his Lieutenant to pick up his new partner from the airport.  Levon didn't need a
new partner, didn't want a new partner.  He had managed just fine by himself after his former partner retired and now
they wanted to team him up with some guy from Chicago.  When Joseph LaFiamma walked up to him at the
baggage claim, he was sure this guy would be heading back home real soon.

At first there seemed to be nothing these two men had in common but when they attacked a case, even if they came
from different directions, they zeroed in on their target together.  Joseph LaFiamma stayed, despite the heat, and
Levon Lundy had a new partner, whether he liked it or not.  Over time, their differences became their strengths and
their fussing and feuding became part of the Major Crime Unit's routine because the disagreements between the two
volatile detectives were never quiet.

**  **  **  **  **

As Levon watched Fooler head back to the barn he began to sort through the last few days, trying to remember
when their relationship began to deteriorate.  There had to have been a moment, something not right, something out
of place, or something he missed.

**  **  **<*>**  **  **


One day was just a little different than most because Joe and Levon were sitting quietly at their desks.  They had
managed to get through the last couple of weeks without any serious altercations and everyone in the office
watched and waited for the outburst that was sure to follow. 

"I don't think so, Lundy," Joe said smugly without looking up from the paperwork on his desk.

"Well, he told me he was breaking up with Carleen," Levon insisted.

"No he's not."

"What makes you so sure?"

"Just a feeling."

Levon scowled at Joe then tossed his pen on his desk and decided he needed a cup of coffee.  Joe watched him out
of the corner of his eye, waiting patiently for him to return.  When Levon came back to his desk, he set the cup down
and glanced at Joe before attempting to finish the report he was typing.  He punched two keys then turned to Joe
who was pretending to read the paper on his desk.

"I've known him a whole lot longer than you have, LaFiamma."

"If you say so."

"He's already got his eye on another gal," Levon insisted.

"Wanna bet?"


Joe finally looked up from his desk and leaned back in his chair.

"If I'm right, you can buy me lunch," he said.

"I do that half the time anyway," Levon scoffed.

"I get to pick the place."  Joe watched Levon mull over his proposition.

"And if I'm right?" Levon asked finally.

"I'll wash your truck."

"At one of them drive-thru jobs?" Levon snickered.

"By hand.  Just me."


Joe went back to reading the papers on his desk and Levon returned to his typing but they both kept an eye on the

Joe Bill was a little late coming to work that morning but he walked in with his hat set back on his head and a big
smile on his face.  He only took a couple steps inside then stopped and looked around at his fellow officers.  He
waited for everyone to look up before making his proclamation.

"Congratulate me," he said triumphantly.  "Carleen and I are engaged."

Levon slowly turned his head and watched Joe leave his desk to join the others who had gathered around Joe Bill.
Even the Lieutenant came out of her office to offer her congratulations but as everyone began to return to work, she
stopped and waited for Levon to return to his desk.

"Lieutenant?" Levon asked.

"How well do you know Floyd Wallace, Levon?"

"About eight hours worth.  Took that long to get him to tell us that he saw Charlie Wells shoot his partner.  Why?"

"The Assistant D.A. has been trying to get a hold of him for two days."

"I told you that guy was flaky, Lundy," Joe said.  "He's probably half way to Canada by now."

"Well, I suggest you try to locate him before the trial," she warned as she returned to her office.

"We never should have let him go, Lundy."

"What was I supposed to do, LaFiamma?  Lock him up for being flaky?"

"Better flaky than dead."

Levon glared at Joe for a moment then threw his pen down in disgust and stormed out of the office.

**  **  **  **  **

"Well, thanks for lunch, Lundy," Joe said as the young waiter picked up their empty dishes.  Levon merely nodded
in return.

"You know, you didn't complain once.  I thought you didn't like Chinese."

"Never said I didn't like it.  Just rather go to Chicken's."

The waiter returned and placed a small saucer on the table.  The bill was sitting in the saucer and two fortune
cookies were sitting on top of it.  Levon slipped the bill from under the cookies and reached for his wallet while Joe
picked up one of the cookies and broke it open.  Levon put his money on the saucer and stood up to leave.

"What the hell does that mean?" LaFiamma said as he read the little slip of paper.  He scoffed as he threw the paper
on the table and stood up, pushing the chair away with his movement.  Lundy snatched up the slip before Joe could
stop him.

"Beware the Ides of March," he read out loud and laughed.

"What's so funny?" Joe growled.

"Shakespeare in a fortune cookie?"

"You've read Shakespeare?"

"I went to college, LaFiamma."

"You played football.  It's not the same thing," Joe said and stomped out of the restaurant.  Levon had an uneasy
feeling as he followed Joe but he dismissed his reaction as just a mood that would soon pass.  Joe was sitting in
Levon's truck staring out the passenger side window as Levon slipped behind the wheel.  He hesitated before
turning the key to start the engine and considered asking Joe if there was something wrong but quickly decided
not to pry.

The sound of the radio broke the uneasy silence between them and Joe quickly grabbed the microphone.

"92-14," he responded.

"Joe," the Lieutenant’s voice started, "your witness has been seen going into the Kit-Kat Club on Commerce."

"We're on our way," Joe responded.  Levon had made a fast U-turn and was speeding down the street as Joe
replaced the mic.

Minutes later, Levon stopped the truck in front of the Kit-Kat club.  The street was quiet; the sidewalks wouldn't
begin to fill with people until after the sun went down.  Joe and Levon stepped through the doorway and waited
while the door closed quietly behind them shutting out the afternoon sunshine.  As their eyes became accustomed
to the darkness they became aware of their surroundings.  The club was small.  An empty stage was at one end and
a bar at the other.  In between, the floor was filled with small tables and a few booths were along the side walls.
The dim light masked the faded furniture and worn carpet.  A single waitress moved around the tables talking and
smiling at the dozen or so customers.  Her pink satin short-shorts matched the pink satin "cat" ears that popped out
from her curly blonde hair and the white T-shirt she wore was at least two sizes too small leaving nothing to the

Joe spotted their witness first; sitting at a table near the center of the room.  As Levon followed Joe, the waitress
began to walk toward them but stopped when he held up his badge.  They approached Floyd from behind and
quietly took a seat on either side of him.

Floyd Wallace was a small, wiry man who preferred bright lights and crowds but he was tired and the Kit Kat club
was cool and quiet.  Plus he didn't expect to see anyone who knew him here so he felt safe for the moment.  He was
deep in thought and it took a moment for him to realize he was not alone.  He noticed Levon first.

"Sgt. Lundy," he gasped.  "What....?"  He slowly began to stand but Joe's hand on his shoulder encouraged him to
stay seated.  He turned to see Joe sitting on the opposite side.

"Oh, Sgt. LaFiamma," he acknowledged quietly.

"You're sure a hard man to find, Floyd," Levon said.

"Sergeant, I think I was mistaken," Floyd began to explain.

"You think?" Joe asked.

"Yes.  The hallway was very dark so I couldn't possibly have recognized anyone."

"Oh, then it won’t bother you that Charlie Wells is out on bail."

"What?"  Floyd's voice quivered slightly and his already pale complexion became a shade paler.

"And without a witness, the D.A. will probably drop the charges," Joe continued.

"Have a nice life, Floyd," Levon said as he and Joe started to leave.

"Wait!" Floyd insisted as he stood up nearly pushing his chair over.  "You can't just leave me here!"  As the three
men watched each other, the waitress came up with a sad looking sandwich on a plate.

"Could you wrap that up, please?" Joe asked her.  "Our friend here has just remembered he has a previous

**  **  **  **  **

Floyd finished his sandwich and looked up at the two detectives in the front seat.  Neither one had said a word after
they got into the truck.  As he slowly crushed the paper that had been around the sandwich Levon glanced up into
the rearview mirror.

"Don't even think about it, Floyd," Levon warned and Floyd quickly stuffed the wad of paper into his shirt pocket.

"Sergeant.," Floyd asked, "I'm still hungry.  Could ...."

"No," Levon answered.

"Couldn’t we stop and get something to ...."

"No," Joe answered.

"Hey, don't I have any rights here?"

"No," both Joe and Levon answered in unison.  Floyd sighed and sat back in the seat while Joe stared straight ahead
and Levon concentrated on his driving.  When the radio squawked and broke the silence, Joe reached for the mic


"Joe," Lieutenant Beaumont said, "It's going to be a while before we have a place to stash Wallace.  Come on back
here for now."

"Sure thing, Lieutenant."

"Since we're in no hurry," Levon said after Joe replaced the mic, "think I'll stop and pick up my boots.  The shop's
just a couple blocks away."  He waited for the sarcastic comment, but Joe just frowned and stared out the window.

Joe stayed in the truck with Floyd while Levon went inside the small shoe repair shop.  He came back out after a
few minutes carrying a shining pair of black cowboy boots.  He set the boots on the back seat next to Floyd before
he got behind the wheel.

"Keep your fingers off them boots, Floyd," he warned.

"Thought you were going to get them fixed," Joe said.


"They're still cowboy boots."

Levon sighed and shook his head as he prepared to pull away from the curb.  Once again the truck was filled with
stony silence as they moved through the traffic.

"Lundy!  Look out!" Joe warned as they approached an intersection, but Levon had already slammed on the brakes.
As the Jimmy came to an abrupt stop, cars screeched to a halt behind them and a red delivery van sped past, inches
away from the Jimmy’s front fender.

"That guy ran the light," Joe said.

"I know, LaFiamma," Levon agreed.  Levon took a deep breath as he and Joe took stock of the situation.

"Looks like everyone stopped in time," Joe said.  "Did you happen to catch that guy's license plate?"

"Yeah," Levon said as pulled a small tablet and pencil from his jacket pocket.  "Did you see which way he went?"

"No.  He disappeared pretty quick.  You okay, Floyd?"

"Just barely.  You guys are supposed to keep me alive not get me killed."

"You're still alive, aren't you?"

The light had turned green again so Levon returned the pencil and paper to his pocket and moved cautiously
through the intersection.

"Turn left at the next intersection,"  Joe asked.


"I need to stop at the bank."

"Your bank is the other direction."

"I changed banks.”


"Just stop, would ya?"

Levon obliged and parked across the street from the bank.

"I'll just be a minute," Joe said.  As he watched Joe run across the street and into the bank, Levon caught sight of a
black van with its engine running parked in front of the bank.  "Probably someone else who was just going to be in
the bank 'for a minute,'" he thought and chuckled to himself.

"Sgt. Lundy, can I ..." Floyd began.


Joe stopped and glanced around the inside of the bank before walking directly over to the new accounts desk.  It
was not a large bank.  No more than three or four customers were waiting at the teller line.  A small, elderly woman
had just finished her transaction and the next person in line, a man in a leather jacket, waited impatiently for her
move away so he could step up to the window.

As Joe approached the 'New Accounts' desk, an attractive young woman looked up at him and smiled.

"Good afternoon," she said, "may I help you?"

"My name is Joe LaFiamma.  I recently opened an account here and ..."  Before he could finish he was interrupted
by a loud voice from the teller counter.

"Hurry up!" the man demanded.

As Joe began to turn to see what the commotion was, he saw the security guard move towards the counter to
confront the angry customer and a second man step forward to intercept the guard.  Like the man at the counter, the
other man was wearing a black leather coat, sunglasses and a black baseball cap pulled down low on his forehead.
He slipped a gun from inside his jacket, aimed at the guard and fired.  Joe pulled his gun and returned fire.  The
guard and the shooter fell to the floor almost at the same time.  Joe turned to face the man at the counter but he had
already drawn his gun and was aiming it directly at Joe.  The customers standing between Joe and the man caused
Joe to hesitate just long enough for the man to pull the trigger.

Levon took a second glance at the van parked in front of the bank.  It was probably nothing but he had been a cop
too long to just let it go.  He sighed and got out of the truck.

"Good," Floyd said.  "I was getting tired of sitting here."  As he reached out to push the seat forward, Levon grabbed
his arm and closed half of a pair of handcuffs around his wrist.  The other half he locked around the shoulder belt.

"Stay put," he cautioned Floyd as he walked away.

Levon looked around trying to determine if the owner of the van was nearby but no one paid any attention to him as
he looked inside the van.  He reached inside and turned the key in the ignition.  The sound of the engine was
replaced by the sound of gunfire from inside the bank.  Levon's gun was in his hand as he stepped around the front
of the van.  He stopped and took aim as the bank doors burst open and the man in the black leather jacket ran
through the opening.

"Freeze!  HPD!" Levon commanded.  The man stopped and seemed to consider his options.  Levon knew that the
eyes behind the sunglasses were trying to decide how serious he really was.  In the next instant, the man raised the
gun he held at his side and Levon fired.

"It's only a scratch, LaFiamma," Levon said as he examined Joe's arm.  Joe was leaning against the 'New Accounts'
desk and the girl who had smiled at him earlier was still wide-eyed and pale after being a witness to the attempted

"Yeah, well my jacket's ruined."

"How can you tell?"

"Well, at least we found our witness and stopped two bank robbers."

"Witness ..."  They looked at each other for a moment then Levon turned and ran out of the bank.  Joe came up
behind him as he was examining his empty car.

"He cut the shoulder belt," Levon explained.

"He had a knife?"

"You mean you didn't check?" Levon asked sarcastically.

"I didn’t leave him in the car ... alone."

"If the only bank that'll have you as a customer wasn't on the other side of town ..."

"Hey, we were on the other side of town because of your stupid cowboy boots."

As they argued a uniformed officer tried to get their attention.

"Sgt. Lundy?"

"They're better than those things you call shoes," Levon continued.

"Sgt. LaFiamma?"

"What is your problem with my clothing today, Lundy?" Joe asked.


"What!" Joe and Levon answered in unison as they turned to the persistent officer.

"Are we done here?"

"Yeah, we’re done here," Joe said as Levon looked into his empty truck.

**  **  **<*>**  **  **


Joe sighed and turned over for the umpteenth time.   His pillow was too soft, the sheets were too stiff.  There was
too much light in the room and the air was warm and heavy.  Everything was wrong and staying in bed wasn’t going
to fix it.

Driving through the quiet city worked its magic and Joe began to relax.  The night air rushing past his face cooled
the anger and he felt better as he began to form a plan.   He had to find Floyd and then work things out with Levon.
As much as he hated to admit it, they worked well together even when they argued.  He stepped on the gas and
headed for Levon’s.   When he got there, the house was dark and the Jimmy was not parked out front.  Joe smiled,
knowing where he would find his partner.

**  **  **  **  **

Levon stepped out of the elevator and glanced around the quiet hallway before he headed towards the office.  As he
walked through the door, he noticed the light on in the Lieutenant’s office.  He went right to his desk and began to go
through the files sitting there.  He put two files aside then glanced at the double doors before going into the
Lieutenant’s office.

**  **  **  **  **

Joe moved slowly through the parking lot, making note of the other cars.  Levon's truck was parked in a dark corner
of the lot and Joe pulled his car into the space next to it.  As he got out of his car, he looked around one more time
before going into the building.  He breathed a sigh of relief when he finally reached the Major Crime Unit without
running into to anyone who knew him.  When he didn't see Levon at his desk, he thought he may have guessed
wrong until he saw him come out of the Lieutenant’s office.

"Lundy, the Lieutenant’s car is here," he whispered.  "That means she’s in the building."

"I know," Levon answered, not at all surprised to see Joey.  He added the files from his desk to the one he had just
appropriated from the Lieutenant's office.  "I think I've got what we need.  Let's get out of here."

"You know, Lundy,” Joe said as they stepped into the elevator, "if we'd come together, we'd only have one car to
worry about."

"Sorry, just figured one of us getting caught was enough."

"So, what do we do first?"

"We hide your car in my barn."

**  **  **  **  **

Joe closed the folder in his hand with a sigh and set it on the table.  "Got anything to drink?"

"In the fridge," Levon answered without looking up.  Joe stretched as he got up to see what was in Levon's
refrigerator.  He paused a moment before choosing then sat down again.

"You have bottled water in your refrigerator, Lundy."

Levon glanced up at Joe then returned his attention to the file in front of him.

"Yeah, so?" he answered.  Joe took a drink and then picked up the file and went back to reading.  Levon ignored the
quiet tapping of Joe’s foot and occasional sigh.  Unable to contain himself any longer, Joe let the file drop to the table
and looked over at his annoyingly calm partner.

"Lundy, what are we doing here?  Shouldn't we be out there looking for Wallace?  I keep waiting for Grayson¹ to
come walking through the door."  Levon looked up from the file in his hand and smiled at his anxious partner.

"Grayson isn’t going to come through that door anytime soon.  At least, as long as we get Floyd back in time to

"And you think we're going to find him in these folders?"

"The first time I talked to Floyd all he did was jabber about nothing.  I was writing things down just to keep him

"Actually, that's all he ever does."

"Yeah, well, maybe he said something that'll give us a clue as to where he might go.  And maybe I wrote it down."
Unconvinced, Joe sighed and went back to looking through the file.

"How about, a cabin near the lake?" Joe asked after a few moments.

"What?" Levon asked as grabbed the file from Joe's hand and scanned the page.  "That's it!  Let's go."  He was out
of his chair and heading for the door before Joe could react.

"What cabin?  What lake?" Joe asked as he followed Levon.

"Okay, you gonna clue me in?" Joe asked after they pulled away from the house.

"Floyd has a little sister who has a house up near Lake Houston."

"Slimy Floyd has a little sister?  And Houston has a lake?"

"Yep.  She's a doctor."

"Okay, that explains the vacation house but .... slimy brother?"

"Maybe not so slimy.  He took care of her after their parents died.  Made sure she finished high school and med


"Uh, huh."

"And you know how to get to this cabin?"

"Told ya.  Floyd did a lot of talking while he was trying to avoid answering our questions."

Joe watched Levon, looking for some sign that this was just another tall tale, but Levon was concentrating on
driving so he turned to watch the shadows and shapes they passed as they drove through the night.

"So," Levon began, finally breaking the silence between them, "Everything okay in Chicago?"


"Your family.  Is everyone okay?"


Joe's quiet, one syllable answer let Levon know that his attempt to draw Joe out had failed miserably.  He sighed
and hoped that whatever was on Joe’s mind would resolve itself soon.

Joe heard the disappointment in Levon’s sigh.  He knew that they were like oil and water but he also knew it was a
good combination.  "What the hell," he thought, "Levon already thinks I'm crazy."

"Guess I've been a little edgy," he said as he took a deep breath.  Levon only answered with a slight nod.

"Is your family superstitious?"

"Well, Mama Minnie does sometimes see things in the weather."

"Mine is.  Everything means something.  I've told you about Aunt Teresa's dreams."  Joe sighed and paused for a
moment before he continued.  "Szabo² and I took the girls to this fair.  There was a fortune teller and the girls
thought it would be fun.  We had to go in one at a time.  I went first, then the girls.  Szabo was last.  It was the normal
stuff.  You'll get married, have three kids, you know, no big deal.  But when Szabo came out, he had this funny look
on his face.  Wouldn't tell us what she said.  Three days later he was dead."

"Joe ...."

"The other day at the restaurant ...."

"Beware the Ides of March?"  Relieved, Levon let out the breath he had been holding.

"Yeah, well...we were almost in an accident, I got shot and we lost Floyd." 

"We're gonna find Floyd," Levon promised as he turned and smiled at his partner.

"The night’s not over.  We still have to get him back to Houston."

"We're together, aren't we?  We have better luck when we’re together."

"Yeah," Joe agreed.  "So where is this cabin on the lake?"

**  **  **  **  **

Levon turned off the headlights as they approached the small house.

"Doesn't look like anyone's home," Joe said after they stopped.

"Maybe Floyd's trying to keep a low profile."

Levon got out of the truck and walked toward the front door while Joe made his way around the side of the house to
the back.  He waited a few seconds then knocked.  The house was dark and he couldn’t hear any movement inside.
He knocked again, a little louder.  Still no sound came from inside the house, but he did hear some rustling from the
back.  As he walked around to the side of the house, Joe came from the back with Floyd in tow.

“Look what I found sneaking out the back door," he said.

"Sgt, Lundy!  If I'd known it was you knockin' I would have let you in."

"Who were you expecting, Floyd?" Levon asked.

"Expecting?  No one."

"Just shut up and get in the truck," Joe said as he steered him toward Levon's truck.

**  **  **  **  **

Even Floyd was quiet as they drove away from the house, choosing to stare out the side window.  Every few
minutes, Joe glanced at his watch, counting down the minutes to the time when the judge would release Charlie
Watts, while Levon kept an eye on the rear view mirror.

Just as Levon began to relax, he thought he caught sight of a set of headlights approaching.  He pushed the gas
pedal just a little harder.  After a few minutes, the lights were closer but still a comfortable distance away.  The
prickly feeling at the nape of his neck, however, made Levon sit up straighter in anticipation.


"I know," Joe replied as he watched the side-view mirror.  Levon took a deep breath and adjusted his grip on the
wheel as he increased his speed.

"Think maybe we just led them to Floyd?"

"Thought did cross my mind.   If I remember right, there's a turn-off just up ahead."

"Pretty easy to miss in the dark," Joe warned.

"That's what I’m hoping for."

"Get down, Floyd," Joe said.  Floyd complied without any protest.

The car following them increased speed but did not shorten the distance between the two vehicles.  Not sure where
exactly the turn-off was, Levon concentrated on the edge of the cone of light that the headlights threw onto the
road.  Joe caught sight of the unmarked side road just before Levon turned and slipped his hand around the door
handle.  Levon stopped a few yards from the main road to allow Joe to jump out and slide down the slight
embankment on the side of the road.  As Joe settled into the darkness, Levon pulled forward and switched off the
lights.  A moment later, Joe watched the car that had been following them speed past.  He held his breath and began
to count the seconds.  It didn't take long for the car to return, screech to a halt and then turn down the side road.
When the car came to a stop behind Levon’s truck, Joe crept up to the road with his guns drawn.

With the car's headlights illuminating Levon's truck, two men cautiously got out of the car.  While their attention was
focused on the truck, Joe was able to step behind the car.  As the two men began to walk forward, Joe shot out the
back tires of their car.  When they turned around to face their attacker, Levon jumped out of his truck with his gun
drawn and moved behind the driver of the car.  The men surrendered without a fight.

"So, what do we do with these guys?" Joe asked as he finished handcuffing one of the men to the car.  "Just leave
'em here?"

"Maybe we can get some help from the local sheriff."

"Better be soon," Joe mumbled to himself as he looked up at the lightening sky.

**  **  **  **  **


Annie glanced over at Joe and Levon's empty desks and sighed then wheeled herself to the Lieutenant's office.

"Joanne?" she said.

"There's time, Annie."  Annie smiled at her friend.

"I called the D.A.  If she has to, she'll stall," Joanne conceded, "but they'll make it."

"Yeah, I know," she agreed.  On her way out of the Major Crime Unit, she saw Joe and Levon come out of the

"Cutting it a little close, arent you?" she asked as she passed them.

"Is she ....?" Levon asked.

"Uh, huh."

Joanne could hardly conceal her smile when her two detectives stepped into her office.

"Is he ...?" she asked.

"As we speak," Levon answered.

She leaned back in her chair and eyed her slightly rumpled officers.  Her expression softened for a moment as she
determined that they were not hurt in any way but she quickly adopted her stern attitude.

"You're not supposed to be here for another two days.  Go home."

Looking a bit like wounded puppies, they both started to leave.

"You know, Lieutenant," Joe said.  "I've been thinking and I know Lundy and I argue now and then but, you know, if
we agreed all the time, one of us would be redundant."

Unable to think of a reply, Joanne starred at Joe for a moment then turned her attention to Levon.

"What he said," Levon agreed with a smile and followed Joe out the door.

"Now and then?" she whispered to herself with a laugh.

**  **  **  **  **

"You know, Lundy, I already knew about Joe Bill and Carleen," Joe confessed as he and Levon left the Major Crimes Unit and ambled toward the elevator.  Levon smiled as he waited for Joe to continue.

"I was at La Carafe and Joe Bill and Carleen were there celebrating."

"I figured it was something like that," Levon acknowleged as he pushed the button for the elevator.

"Hungry?" Joe asked as the doors opened.

"There's a new sandwich shop just a couple blocks from here," Levon offered.

"Nah, Chicken’s is good.  I hear he’s added a menu item just for me."  Joe stepped into the elevator and waited for Levon to follow.

"You never cease to amaze me, LaFiamma."

"Part of my charm, Lundy," Joe said and flashed a big smile as the elevator doors closed.

**  **  <*>  **  **
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