Part 4: Perspective


That evening Jim came back to the loft with several bags of Chinese take-out.  He was surprised to find Sandburg sitting on the floor, fast asleep.  He was leaning against the end of the sofa with his laptop open beside him.  Papers lay scattered on the floor and sofa.  What had he been doing?  Jim picked up a few sheets to take a look.  Each piece of paper had the name of one of the paintings from the Interpol list on it.  Then there were several sketchy notes about each one: who owned it, where it had resided over time, who painted it.  Some of the notes were practically illegible—even to Jim’s sensitive eyes.  How Sandburg could get any of his graduate work done if he always took sloppy notes like this was beyond Jim.  And he didn’t even seem to have any kind of order to the pages.  They were just thrown everywhere.  “Sandburg!  Come on, Chief.  Rise and shine!”


“Wha..?  Huh?  J…Jim?”


“Well, I’ll give you ten points for memory, but you get a zero for articulation.”  He shook Blair’s shoulder.  “Come on and pick this mess up.  I’ve got dinner.”


Blair sleepily rubbed his eyes and stretched.  Oh, man.  He hadn’t meant to fall asleep.  And he’d left a big mess.  He’d intended to have it all picked up before Jim got back because Blair knew how much he liked everything neat and orderly.  Slightly embarrassed, Blair scooped up his papers in a haphazard manner and stuffed them in his backpack.  He went into the kitchen area where Jim had already emptied the take-out bags and put the contents on the counter.


“So how are you feeling, Chief?”


“Pretty good.  I guess I wasn’t sick after all.”


Jim listened to Blair’s heartbeat.  He was telling the truth.  Jim was starting to get the hang of this lie-detector trick.  He’d have to tell Sandburg how good he was getting…but not just yet.  “Well, you have been putting in a lot of hours at both the station and the University.  I’m getting a handle on these Sentinel abilities now—you wouldn’t need to follow me around all the time.”


“What if you had a zone-out and I wasn’t there?  You’re still having them often enough, Jim.  Don’t worry about me.  I can handle the workload.  Besides, summer break is just around the corner and then I’ll get so much rest I’ll be bored.  I’ll be begging them start classes back up again.”


“If you say so, Chief.”


The two of them divided the containers and starting eating.  Jim was getting irritated with Blair’s silent treatment.  Even though he’d told the truth about feeling ok earlier, Jim could tell something else was bugging Blair.  Had been all day.  If he thought Jim hadn’t noticed, he wasn’t as smart as he thought he was.  Jim was about to interrogate him when Blair started talking.


“Jim, uh…this might sound strange, but can I ask you a couple of hypothetical questions?”


“Hypothetical is always good, Sandburg.  Shoot.”


“Well.  If…do you think…is it wrong to break the law to right a legitimate grievance?  I mean…is justice more important that the law?”


“You didn’t commit a crime, did you Sandburg?”


“Jim!  Hypothetical means it’s a made-up situation.  We’re not talking reality here.”


“Well, then.  Hypothetically speaking, did you commit a hypothetical crime?”




“Then what brought this on?”


“Just a conversation I was having with someone at the university.  She’s taking a class called “Ethics and the Law” and she’s been bouncing ideas off me.  It’s an interesting topic.  I was just wondering what you thought about it, being a cop and having to deal with ethical issues at work.”


Oh, Sandburg, you are lying now.  “I don’t.”


“You don’t what?”

“Have to deal with issues like that—not in the way you mean.  That’s not my job.  I catch them and a judge and jury put them away.”


“But what about when a vicious criminal gets off on a technicality?  Don’t you get mad because justice wasn’t served?”


“Of course I get mad!  But I don’t go out and shoot the criminal to even things up.  It doesn’t work that way.  We keep a close eye on him and try harder to make something stick next time.  Why are you asking me stuff like this?”


“I’m just curious.  You know, how cops think and all.  What if the crook was really a good guy and he was…oh, say, stealing something and he had a good reason.  Like stealing medicine, or something that should’ve been his in the first place.”


“Still not my call.  If what he’s doing is illegal, it’s my job to bring him in.”


“But what if it’s a friend, or even a friend who’s a cop?”


“Then I really have to bring him in.”


“But what about loyalty?”


“Look.  If a cop turned criminal, he shouldn’t expect any loyalty from the rest of us on the force.  He’s the one that betrayed us, not the other way around.  A real friend wouldn’t put another friend in a position like that in the first place.  I know some guys who’d expect you to back them up no matter what, but that’s the ‘Good Old Boy Network’ mentality.  I don’t subscribe to that.  And I know Simon certainly doesn’t.”  He listened to the sound of Blair’s heartbeat pounding in his chest.  “Sandburg.  Are you in some kind of trouble?”




Well that much was true.  “Does this have anything to do with the reason why you’re so obsessed with that Interpol list?”


“No.  Why would you say that?” 


“You’re a terrible liar, Sandburg.”  Jim got up and headed for his room.  “It’s late and I’m tired of playing twenty-questions.  Let me know when you have something you really want to tell me.  By the way, it’s your turn to do the dishes and clean up.”


Blair took his time cleaning up.  He had some thinking to do.  Besides, he didn’t think he’d be able to sleep much anyway.



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