For Whom The Gun Tolls
Rating: PG (mild violence)
Genre: Drama/Angst (with a side of comedy ;)
Setting: 3rd Season.
Distribution: Ask & ye shall most likely receive.
Disclaimer: I don’t own, wish I did, but don’t.
Description: Loosely based on the episodes “Can I Get A Witness?” & “Dog Day Afternoon”.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The apartment door opened and Larry and Balki came in.
“Cousin, wasn’t that fun?” Balki asked, hanging up their jackets.
“Fun?” Larry asked, heading toward the fridge. He returned with a bottle of Mylanta in hand. “No, Balki, that wasn’t fun. I have never liked jury duty. I still can’t believe you nominated me as Foreman. You didn’t even know what the Foreman does!” He sat heavily on the couch.
“It sounded important and it was. You got to have all the fun. You got to read the result,” Balki said, sitting next to him.
“Verdict,” Larry corrected, the put the bottle on the coffee table. “This may sound odd, but I didn’t like the look she gave me when the bailiff took her out of the courtroom.” He sat back and cracked a brief smile. “I’d thought she’d do the same thing Vince Lucas had and threatened me.”
“You worry too much, Cousin,” Balki told him.
Larry sighed. “Maybe I was just seeing things. After all, the trial did last three days, and the fact that she was convicted of murder–“
“Cousin, we aren’t supposed to talk about it,” Balki interrupted.
“Balki, that’s only while the trial is going on. It’s over now, we can talk about it. It’s okay.” Larry paused. “Anyway, my stomach has had enough excitement. I’m going to bed.” He stood. “‘Night, Balki.” He picked up the bottle of Mylanta and scuffed his way to his bedroom.
“Goodnight, Cousin,” Balki called after him.
* * * * *
Several weeks later, Balki entered the apartment, newspaper in hand.
Larry came out of his room, adjusting his tie. “Nice to see the paper here early for a change, since it doesn’t seem to matter that we work for the paper.”
“Cousin, what a jail break is?” Balki asked, from behind the paper, ignoring the comment.
“Well, that’s when a person leaves jail, usually in a forceful manner, and without being allowed to leave.” Larry’s brow arched as the question finally registered. “Why do you ask?”
“Our verdict broke the jail,” Balki answered, and the paper to Larry, then pointed out the headline.
“Oh, my Lord... this is bad, this is really bad.”
“Awe, Cousin, you still worry,” Balki said.
“Yes!” Larry paused. “Actually, Balki, I think I’m going to call in today. I’m not feeling too good.”
“But you were okay just...”
“Well, I’m not now. You just go ahead.” Larry started for the kitchen.
Balki shrugged, then turned for the door. He was about to leave, then turned back. “Cousin, would you like me to get some more antacid for you?”
Larry closed the fridge door. “Please.” He sighed as Balki left. He remained where he stood a moment, then made a mad dash for the door. After fumbling with the locks, he finally managed to lock the door. He picked up the paper from the arm of the couch and read the short article again. He looked up from it, as a worried look crossed his face.
* * * * *
That evening, the guys’ apartment is dark. The sound of the locks being undone can be heard, then the door opened.
Balki flipped the light switch and walked straight through to the kitchen. He put the paper bag on the count, and lapped the counter, passing the table... and nearly tripped when something caught his foot. He managed to stay on his feet and looked down at the bungee cord stretching from the counter to the table. “Cousin?”
Larry quickly appeared from his room, baseball bat in hand. He frowned. “It’s only you.” He flopped down on the couch, resting his chin in one hand.
Balki sat next to him. “Are you okay? You seem troubled. I could go out and come back in–“
“I’m fine. I’m just... trying to make sure the apartment is burglar proof.” Larry gave him a look. “It is.”
Balki recognized the fake, forced ‘everything is okay’ look Larry was giving him. “Cousin, you have that ‘I’m hiding something’ look. What the matter with you is?”
Larry sighed. “Okay, I’m a little nervous that the woman we sent to jail broke out. Happy?”
“Most of the time, yes,” Balki replied, completely missing the point.
“Balki, I’m nervous that she may come looking to get revenge on us for sending her to jail... or worse.”
“Po po, Cousin, you’re letting your imagination run away without you again.”
“And there’s ten other people who called her guilty, too.”
“Balki, stop trying to cheer me up, please. You’re making it worse.” He stood and went to the door. “Despite the fact that there is a mad woman out there, who may be looking for me right now, I think I’ll risk it just to go down to the Chronicle. Maybe I can get a little work done.” Balki stood up. “You stay here.” Larry opened the door and left.
* * * * *
A few hours later, Larry was still at his desk at the Chronicle. He had his head resting in his left hand, looking about ready to fall asleep.
“Words’re runnin’ together...” he muttered, lifted his head and ran his left hand over his face, trying to wake up.
Suddenly, a loud noise came from the offices on the next floor.
Larry spun around and looked up toward the double doors leading to the offices. A light came on behind the doors. “Oh, my Lord...” He looked around frantically for a place to hide and decided on the archives, figuring atleast there he could lose this person easily, or so he hoped.
One of the doors opened and a woman came though. She was on the short side, dressed in all black, her hair pulled back in a pony tail.
Larry watched from the doorway to the archives. He swallowed hard, recognizing her as the woman from the trial. She was after him!
She started for the stairs, but took a sudden glance toward the archives.
Larry moved away so fast, he nearly fell over. Instead, he turned around and fell over a box next to the wall. He should’ve known: every night Gorpley pulled files that he didn’t even use just to have Balki put them back in the morning. He quickly got up and moved behind the farthest set of shelves and toward the back. Fortunately, there were about fifteen sets of shelving, but he hoped he wouldn’t be needing all of them.
It was quiet a few moments. Larry kept holding his breath every few moments to calm down. Now was not the vest time to find out if he really was capable of hyperventilating.
The sound of footsteps moved closer. As it did, he moved closer to the floor and moved to the second set of shelves.
The footsteps stopped at the doorway. A pause. “I know you’re in here.”
Larry’s eyes went wide. She had seen him. But that wasn’t what suddenly made him feel like he’d pass out: It was the click of the safety being taken off of a gun.
* * * * *
A knock came at the door of the girls’ apartment. Jennifer entered the living room and answered the door. “Hi, Balki.” She paused. “Mary Anne isn’t here yet.”
“It isn’t Mary Anne I’m looking for,” he said, looking down the hall.
Jennifer gave him an odd look. “Who are you looking for...?”
“He isn’t overreacting about that woman is he?” She paused, considering something. “On second thought, where did he go?”
“Cousin said he was going to get some work done at the Chronicle, since he called sick in, but I called three times and no answer.”
“Maybe he’s already left,” Jennifer offered.
“I called an hour ago.”
“I’m going to go find him,” Balki said, turning from the door.
Jennifer watched him walk down the hall, then moved for the phone.
* * * * *
Back at the Chronicle...
The woman twirled the gun on her finger. “You can’t hide forever, you know. I’ll find you eventually.” She paused, an evil look crossing her otherwise lovely face. “Then I can tell you why I’m doing this... but maybe you already know.” She crossed from the exit, through the mail room, and stopped in front of the door to Gorpley’s office, with her back turned to it.
Inside the office, Larry sat on the floor against the wall near the door, with every intention of catching her off guard, should she come in, trip her, and then run as fast as he could... It was a plan, but he wasn’t sure if he could do it; just knowing that she had a gun, loaded or not (he didn’t know), had him wishing for a paper bag to breathe into.
What was worse, he had heard the phone ring several times a little over an hour ago and had a really good idea it had been Balki calling to check on him. Larry hoped his cousin wouldn’t actually come looking for him.
He glanced up at the window and his breathing caught when he realized she was standing right in front of the door. A quick thought of blind-siding her crossed his mind, but he couldn’t seem to detach himself from the wall and the floor. His wide eyes closed and he swallowed hard, willing her to move away from the door, but she remained. This can’t be happening! The thought was the first truly coherent one in the last thirty minutes or so, which was about how long he’d been trapped in Gorpley’s office. Larry tried not to think about how he was pretty sure she hadn’t checked the office yet and hoped he hadn’t just jinxed himself.
The sound of the doorknob being jiggled snapped him back to reality. Larry glance up again and could see her trying to open the door. Fortunately, he had remembered to lock the door and it seemed as though the window wouldn’t break as she bounced the gun handle against it, then a second time. He flinched and finally remembered how to move... and that Gorpley’s office had a circuit breaker. Another bounce against the window and it began to crack. He jumped up and made a mad dash across the office. He found the power switch just as the window broke enough for her to reach a hand through and turn the knob. The door opened as Larry flipped the switch, flooding them in darkness, which was followed shortly after by the sound of a gun shot, then a thud.
* * * * *
The middle of the night. The door to the apartment opened, revealing the darkened living room. The light switch was flipped, flooding the room with light.
Balki and Larry stood in the doorway, Larry shielding his eyes from the light and Balki with an arm around Larry, seemingly holding him up.
Larry lowered his hand from his eyes, which revealed a bandage on his forehead. He shot Balki a dull glare. “Next time, warn me before you do that.”
“Someone is in a bad mood tonight,” Balki commented.
“Yes, I am, and I think rightfully so. I was shot at, Balki. Don’t tell me that if it had been you, you’d be doing the Dance Of Joy right now.”
“Well, of course not, do’n be ridiculous! But I would be in a better mood.”
Larry removed Balki’s arm from around him. “And I would be in a much worse mood if I’d had to stay at that hospital much longer.”
“The little invisible things that are out to get you,” Balki said. “But, Cousin, you should be happy that something worse didn’t happen.”
Larry sighed, his brow arching. “I just really don’t want to think about what could have happened right now.” He touched the bandage lightly and winced. “Besides, I’m still feeling a little light-headed and listening to you instead of sleeping is not really helping.”
“Okay, but tomorrow you have to listen,” Balki said.
“Right, tomorrow.” Larry started for his room. He stopped at the door and turned. “Balki?”
“Thanks.” He turned and went into his room.
Balki went into the kitchen, opened the fridge, and pulled out a familiar bottle. He sat at the counter, shrugged, and chugged down the Mylanta in a manner his cousin would be proud of.
* * * * *
The next day, Balki was seated at the table, the day’s paper in front of him.
Larry scuffed his way out of his bedroom and stopped at the table. He leaned forward, resting both hands flat on the table. True to form, his upper lip had completely disappeared. “Balki, what time is it?”
Balki looked up warily. “Six o’clock...” He trailed off muttering something.
“What was that? I didn’t quite catch it,” Larry prodded.
“Six pm,” Balki repeated, looking down.
“You didn’t wake me up this morning.”
“No, Cousin, I didn’t.”
“And why–- Is that today’s paper?”
“Maybe.” Balki moved the paper away.
Larry looked indignant. “I was shot at and the paper still went to press?!”
“But, Cousin, the whole front page is demoted to what happened...”
Larry’s brow arched. “Well, what does it say?” Then his eyes went wide. “Did she get away?”
“Cousin, you’re about to have a nervous break dance,” Balki warned.
He sat and forced a smile. “Balki, give me the paper.”
Balki folded up the paper. “No.”
“Give me the paper.” Larry held out a hand.
Balki shook his head. “No.”
“Okay.” Larry sat back and folded his arms over his chest. He stayed like that a few moments, then practically dove over the table, trying to get the paper. He landed face-down on the table top as Balki backed away, guarding the newspaper. Larry glared up at him.
“Cousin, I will give you the paper when you’re ready. And you’re not ready,” Balki told him.
Larry remained sprawled on the table, but drummed his fingers. “Fine. Mind if I stay here, then?”
Balki gave him a confused look. “Why you want to stay there?”
“Well, if I’m not ready to read about what I lived through, then why act like I’m alive?”
Balki pouted and held out the paper. “Do’n say that, Cousin!”
Larry snatched the paper and moved from the table back to his chair. He spread it out on the table and began reading, his brow arching higher as he read. He glanced up at Balki. “They didn’t catch her?” He paused. “How could... why didn’t... who would...”
“Cousin, you’re going to hurt yourself,” Balki warned.
“This is ridiculous!” Larry sat back. “Do you know anything about what happened after I shut off the lights?”
“Beside fainting from a flesh wound?”
Larry gave him his best ‘that isn’t funny’ look. “I’m serious. Did you find out anything from the police? Who called them, anyway?”
A knock sounded at the door and it opened to reveal Jennifer. “I’m not interrupting, am I?”
“No, just one Cousin Larry rambling,” Balki replied.
“You’re not interrupting anything,” Larry said.
Jennifer closed the door and walked over to the table. “Balki told me what happened.”
Larry glanced at Balki. “He did, huh?”
“I asked him. Last night, he was looking for you and told me about what was going on. After he left for the Chronicle, I called the police.”
“They were already there when I got there and found you breathing into a paper bag,” Balki added.
“I was shot at! I think I have the right to faint, hyperventilate, and sleep until six pm the next day, even though the last one I blame on you.” Larry pointed at Balki, as another knock came at the door.
Larry stood. “I’ll get it.” As he walked to the door, Jennifer took his empty chair. He opened the door. “You...”
The woman grinned and pulled her gun. “I was hoping you’d open the door for me.”
Balki motioned for Jennifer to move behind the counter. She nodded and went around the island.
Larry stood frozen a moment before remembering how to speak. “Why are you doing this? Don’t you have anything better to do, like spending time in jail? And why just me–-“
“Will you shut up?” she asked, thrown by his rant.
Another indignant look crossed his face. He had enough. “No, I won’t shut up. This is my apartment and you have no right to make my life a living hell!”
“Cousin,” Balki said, quietly, a warning tone in his voice.
But Larry ignored it. “And get this thing out of my face.” He made the motion like he was actually going to push it aside, “Balki, duck!” But he hit the light switch, instead, attempting to catch the woman off guard.
After half a minute of struggling, there was a thump, followed by a scream. Seconds later, the lights came back on, revealing Balki by the switch.
Jennifer had stood from behind the counter, her eyes wide.
The woman was sprawled on the floor, out cold.
Larry nudged the gun over to the wall with his foot. He turned and saw both of them staring. Then he realized what he’d done and what could’ve happened... and did the only thing that could follow such a display: he fainted, and Balki caught him.
* * * * *
“Cousin, I’m proud of you,” Balki said.
Larry took the ice pack away from his head and sighed. “I still can’t believe I did that.” He paused. “And that it took the police so long to leave. No wonder I needed the ice pack.”
A knock came at the door, then it opened. Mary Anne came in. “Jennifer told me about what happened. Why do I always miss all the fun?”
Larry rolled his eyes and replaced the ice pack to his head.