Long Necks & Baby Boots

            Alex Walker is sitting in her office, looking at baby books. She has a dozen catalogues before her on baby clothes, furniture, and of course, names.
            She's 'cooing' softly to herself, running her fingers gently over the pictures. She spots a picture of a little boy about a year old, modeling western clothes and sitting on a stuffed pony. The boy has his head back, and a huge smile is on his little face. The boy has light colored hair and big blue eyes. Alex pushes her bottom lip out and almost whimpers.
            "He is so cute," she whispers, "He looks like Walker, a little cowboy."
She hears a tap at her office door, and quickly puts the catalogues out of sight and tells the person to enter. She looks up to see her husband walking in, with a look of confusion on his face. He exhales, "Alex----I'm a nervous wreck!"
            She comes from around her desk, and walks towards him slowly, "Honey, what's wrong?"
            Walker starts pacing, "What's wrong, what's wrong?  Alex---we just find out that we're going to have a baby----and you won't let me tell anyone!"
            Alex sighs, reaching out to stop her husband from wearing a hole in her carpet. She smiles softly, putting her arms around his neck and kissing him lightly on the lips, "Come on honey---you promised me---that we would keep it to ourselves for the next few days."
            Walker stands there with his arms around her waist, "But Alex---I'm busting to tell someone---this is consuming me---I can't eat, I can't sleep----I'm as nervous as I can be, I can't think straight-----"
            "Come on honey----we said we would keep it to ourselves and revel in our little celebration, just the two of us----our own little secret--that no one else can share," she kisses him again lightly.
            "But Alex----I know what we said---but this not working out---I'M A NERVOUS WRECK---the greatest news in our life and we can't share it with family and friends?"
            Alex winces, "Well---I have a confession---just a little confession. My Dad called earlier----and I told him."
            "What?  You told YOUR Dad---but I can't tell anyone?"
            "But, sweetheart----he's family---I had to tell him that he was going to be a grandpa," Alex answers slowly.
            Again, Walker starts pacing, "I'm going crazy, trying to keep this all inside me, when I should be shouting it from the rooftop---what about Trivette, Alex?  Trivette is my closest friend, and he will be the baby's godfather---why can't I tell him, he and White Eagle are the closest I've got to "family."
            Alex stops her pacing husband and again puts her arms around his neck. She plays with the back of his hair, and nibbles on his neck, "Okay, honey---you can tell Jimmy----but only Jimmy!   The rest of our friends we will tell this Saturday at the barbeque –deal?"
            Walker sighs, shaking his head up and down and grinning, "Okay, deal---I'll tell Trivette---whew---thank God--I don't think I could go another day without getting this off my chest!"
            Alex giggles and the two embrace, "Soooo, Cowboy, where are you off to?"
            Walker starts kissing Alex's neck, "Got to run down to Burleson with Trivette---got to question some guy about some concealed weapons."
            "Will you be home for supper?" Alex purrs as she continues to nibble on his ears.
            Walker rises up and finds his wife's mouth, kissing her long and sensuous, "You can count on it, gorgeous---by the way, what did your Dad think about being grandpa?"
            "He said it was about time!  And, I had to agree with him, I was beginning to think it was never going to happen."
            "Honey---we haven't been trying all that long---you didn't stop taking the pill till---sometime in June---and the Dr. said your system had to get back to kilter again, right?"
            "I know---I was just getting a little impatient---I was afraid that maybe I had been on the pill too long---you know sometimes that happens----some women can become sterile if they stay on the pill too long."
            Walker kisses the tip of his wife's nose, "Well, that didn't happen, I kept telling you that it would happen when we least expected it, and I was right, wasn't I?  You didn't even know you were pregnant---for almost eight weeks!"
            "Sweetheart, in case you haven't noticed---we've been rather busy and 'pre-occupied' with all that's been happening, that ‘chairman’ and his murdering cohorts, not to mention our daily routine of arresting and prosecuting. I was forgetting to take the EPT test."
            "Everything worked out---for the best---I’ve got to go, hon---I'll see you tonight---bye."
            "Okay---be careful----turkey meat loaf for supper---will that be all right?"
            "Perfect---and maybe some fried okra?"
            Alex kisses him again, "You got it, Cowboy---now get of here."
            Walker leaves and Alex goes back to looking at her catalogues. Suddenly she stops and starts talking to herself, "Ummmmm, Walker wants okra for supper tonight---I don't have any okra---sooo that means I will have to make a stop on the way home at the market---soooo---why don't I just make a little detour and go to the market over on Carson St---that just happens to be---right across from the mall---and THE BABY MART!"
            Alex grabs her purse and is out the door.

            Walker and Trivette have arrived in Burleson and have questioned their man about the concealed weapons, he knows nothing more than the Rangers have already been told. They are leaving the Burleson county jail, when a car is speeding through the small town; pedestrians are hurrying to get to safety. A young woman pushing a baby carriage has not seen nor heard the screeching tires till it's almost too late. Walker and Trivette are screaming at the woman to get out of the way. Walker starts running to the woman and takes a flying leap into the air and pulls the woman to safety. He has only a split second to reach back for the baby, which he scoops it up and falls backwards, holding the baby as tight as he can.
            Trivette is running towards him, he checks to make sure the young Mother is okay, she starts screaming for her baby and runs to Walker. The baby is now screaming and Walker is lying on his back, looking up at all the bystanders. They all start asking him if he and the baby are okay. Walker is in shock. Trivette takes the crying baby and hands it to the young Mother, finally Walker asks, "Is the baby okay?"
            An ambulance has been called, and the medics are checking out Walker and the baby. They both get a clear signal and the woman walks over to Walker, crying.
            Walker reaches out and touches the baby, "Is your baby okay, are you okay?"
            The woman nods and thanks Walker over and over. He looks down at the baby, and asks softly, "How old is he?"
            "Almost three months," the woman answers.
            Walker smiles and touches the baby's cheek, "He's a cutie---may I hold him?"
            "Of course," the woman smiles and hands the baby to Walker. The Ranger sits down on the curb and holds the baby who has stopped crying and reaching up to touch the Ranger's beard.
            Trivette is watching the scene before him, he's seen his partner in all kinds of close accidents, and some have really left their emotions on a roller coaster ride. But, this feels different to Trivette; he can see that Walker's hands are literally shaking. Walker keeps looking at the baby and finally he hands him back to his Mother, she thanks him again, and then leaves. Trivette watches Walker; the bearded one breathes a sigh of relief and then starts to stand.  Walker starts to feel wobbly, and Trivette steadies him.
            "You alright, big guy, want the medics to check you out again?"
            Walker waves his hand, "I'm okay--just give me a minute to adjust---I'll be fine."
            Trivette looks around, and he spots a bar, "Come on partner---we're off duty---let's go have a drink---let you calm down."
            Walker starts to argue, but Trivette is not listening. "Listen, big guy---you had quite a fall back there, knocked the wind out of you---and whether you want to admit or not---you're not superman---so let's go get a cool one and just relax for a few minutes before getting back on the road."
            They walk inside the bar and Walker does a double take, he grabs Trivette's arm---"Trivette, this is a strip bar!"
            Trivette looks around, and then grins---"So?  We've been in strip bars before--come on, let's sit down and have a beer."
            Walker puts his hands up, "No way--come on Trivette, I want to get home."
            "Would you just relax, big guy----let's have a beer and relax for a few minutes."
            Walker sighs, "Okay, but let's sit near the back."
            Trivette is looking around and spots a beautiful dark haired woman in a very skimpy attire walking towards them, he pulls Walker down to the empty table, still grinning. "Now, that's what I call a beautiful woman."
            Walker turns around to see who his partner is staring at and his face almost hits the young waitress right in her bosom. He sits back quickly and the waitress is smiling at Trivette, while running her finger down Walker's cheek.
            "Hi handsome--what can I get for you and your friend?"
            Trivette's eyes are bulging out and his mouth drops open, there is very little to the woman's attire, her bosom is being squeezed by the entirely too tight halter top. He tries to speak, his words come out squeaky, "A couple of long necks, sweetheart," he says grinning.
            The woman turns to look at Walker, "What about you, handsome?"
            Walker clears his throat, "Just a long neck."
            "Uuuhhh Walk-man---the cover charge is equal to that of two beers----bring him a couple, sweetheart," and Trivette reaches out and gives the waitress a $10.00 tip.
            "Trivette, we don't have time for two beers, you said just one---I promised Alex I would be home in time for supper."
            "Walker---it's only a little over an hours' drive, we got plenty of time---what's the matter with you----are you still shook up over that little accident out there?"
            Walker shakes his head, "Trivette, that woman and her baby almost got killed!"
            Trivette's eyes narrow, "Yeah---I didn't mean to sound uncaring or anything, but what else is bothering you, you've been acting weird ever since we left Dallas."
            Walker takes a deep breath, "Well---I've been trying to tell you something, guess the only way to say it is just----"
            "Here's your beer, sweeties," the waitress says in a sultry voice, looking at Walker and smiling. "If there is anything else I can get you----just call me---my name is Lola."
            Trivette is still grinning, he whispers her name, "What Lola wants---Lola gets."
            Lola reaches over and strokes Trivette's cheek, "You got it, Ranger-----I get off at midnight."
            Trivette is starting to get speechless as her bosom is just inches away from his face, "Ooooh---midnight----let me think about that, sweetheart---I'll get back to you."
            Lola smiles and turns to walk off, deliberately letting her hips move even sexier, Trivette watches her, while grabbing his beer and swigging it down, "Oh God---I've died and gone to heaven, Walk-man--look at that butt!"
            Walker looks at the waitress and then to his partner, "Trivette---would you get your eyes back in your head and pull in your tongue---there's something I want to ask you."
            Trivette continues to watch Lola and she's staring back at him, "What?  Whatever the question is---yes."
                        "What?  What is it Walker, can't you see---I'm making some time with this gorgeous babe-----she's really hooked on me---see that?"
            "I think she's more interested in getting a big tip out of you. Do you want to hear my question, or not?"
            "You know what, Walker---you don't know how to relax, marriage has sure made you dull. No, I take that back, you've been dull ever since you and Alex started dating."
            "And, what is that suppose to mean?"
            "I mean----" Trivette grimaces, "that ever since you and Alex started getting serious about dating and then the engagement---you're not----human—anymore!"
            Walker drinks his beer down and reaches for the other, staring back at his friend, " Not human? Just because I'm not tripping over my tongue when a beautiful woman flirts with me, that makes me un-human?"
            "Yeah, Walker---just because you're married doesn't mean you can't look."
            "Trivette, I'm married---not blind--- I notice the women----okay?"
            "Really? Big guy, you have restored my faith---I thought you had died."
            "Trivette, for the last time---no wait--on second thought maybe you wouldn't be a good candidate."
            "Candidate? For what?"
            "Well, I was going to ask you to be my child's godfather---but after this little scene---I'm not so sure I want you to be----"
            "GODFATHER?" Trivette shouts, "Walker---are you serious, Alex---is ----pregnant?"
            Walker smiles, "Yeah--- that's usually how it comes about, the woman gets pregnant and the man becomes a Daddy-------of course I'm serious---will you accept?"
            Trivette is grinning from ear to ear, "A little baby----oh wow---Walk-man----congratulations!" Trivette jumps up from the table and reaches over to hug Walker. Walker is pushing him away as the patrons in the bar start staring at them.
            "Trivette---would you get a grip----people are staring at us?"
            "I'm sorry---I just mean that I'm so happy for you and Alex," Trivette turns around and shouts at the top of his lungs----"Hey, everybody-----he's going to be a Daddy---my partner is going to have a baby-------"
            The whole bar is staring at the Rangers, Walker is trying to get Trivette to sit down.
            Trivette is still grinning as he looks around at everyone, they are staring back with funny expressions on their faces, "I mean---my friend's wife is having the baby----not him---"
            Walker tries to cover his face with his hand, while trying to shush Trivette, "Trivette---will you sit down and shut up-----you're causing a scene."
            Trivette starts motioning for Lola to bring them more longnecks, he holds up four fingers, "Oh man, this calls for a celebration----drinks are on me."
            "I don't want anything more to drink, Trivette, I want to get out of here and get home."
            "We can't leave yet, Walker---I got to toast you---Yes, yes---I will be so proud to be your babies' godfather!"
            Lola brings the beers and Trivette stands up, "I want to make a toast to my best friend-----everybody--a toast to the new Daddy!!"
            Everyone in the bar starts clapping and drinks are sent over to their table. Lola is all smiles, as she looks at the bearded Ranger, "Congratulations, honey," and then she plants a huge kiss on Walker's lips. The whole bar starts clapping and Lola gets more intense with her kiss, Trivette is grinning and then he starts laughing.
            Finally, Walker pulls away from the woman and she whispers, "There's more where that came from, Ranger.
            Walker is stunned as he reaches for his bandana and starts wiping the lipstick off, he tries to smile----"Trivette-----let's get out of here----now!!!"
            Trivette is shaking his head and laughing, "Oh, come on, Walker---lighten up----let's just finish our beers."
            Walker stands up and lays a $20 on the table, "I'm leaving, Trivette---you can stay if you want---but I'm out of here!"
            Walker is heading for the door as the customers are making cackling noises at him, Trivette is hurriedly writing down Lola's phone number and yelling at Walker to wait.
            Walker makes it back to his Ram, he keeps looking into the rear mirror and wiping his mouth, Trivette is till laughing as he gets to the truck. "Oooohh, Walker----she sure laid one on you---I thought you were going to end up in the floor, she was kissing you so hard."
            "Never mind that----is the lipstick off, did I get it all?"
            Trivette is shaking his head up and down, "Yeah, yeah-----it's off."
            Walker shakes his head and absent mindedly shoves the bandana into his back pocket, "Remind to never go into another bar with you, on duty or off"!!!
            The Ram starts back down the highway towards Dallas.


            Alex is at The Baby Mart, walking slowly through the store, touching everything gently as she takes in the majesty of the huge nursery that the store has set up. She's sighing softly to herself and "oohing" at all the pretty colors. She spots a little western outfit, complete with bolo and a vest, a star on the chest. She pushes her bottom lip out and coos, "This is soooo cute". She looks at the age tag, 8mos to 1 year; she smiles and goes back to the infancy department.
            She now picks up a tiny little sun suit in bright yellow, with a matching hat, butterflies accent it. Her eyes become misty, picturing a little red-haired girl with big blue eyes, smiling and giggling back at her. She does not see the dark haired woman come up behind her.
            "Alex----what are you doing here?"
            Alex turns around quickly to see Syd staring back at her. "Syd?  Well, I could ask you the same question-----what are you doing here?"
            Syd smiles, brushing her long hair back, "Picking out a baby gift for my sister, her baby was due last week----the little stinker just doesn't want to come out."
            "Oh, I hope everything will be okay---for both of them," answers Alex.
            Syd eyes her friend suspiciously, "You never said----what are you doing here?"
            Alex smiles nervously, "Oh----just looking---just looking at all the pretty----baby things----that's all."
            Syd looks at Alex, something is different, Alex has that ‘look’, that she's seen that look too many times before on her sister. "Wait a minute----something's different about you----Alex----are you expecting?"
            Alex starts to deny the question remembering that she had promised Walker they wouldn't tell anyone else just yet, then she blurts it out----"YES! Yes----Walker and I are pregnant----I mean I'm pregnant---yes----we're going to have a baby!!"
            "That's great, Alex, congratulations," Syd grabs her friend and they embrace. "So, when did you find out, today?"
            "No," Alex answers slowly---"We found out Monday afternoon---right after little Max was re-united with his Mother."
            "Monday afternoon?" Syd repeats slowly, "Well, that's funny, Gage and Trivette haven't said anything to me about it?"
            "Well, actually---Gage hasn't been told yet---Walker has probably told Jimmy by now----but we were going to wait till Saturday to tell everyone else---we were planning a cook out for all of our friends."
            "Ooooh," Syd replies, "and I just blew it by guessing your secret?"
            Alex is all smiles, "Oh it's okay, I'm glad you guessed it---'cause I really didn't tell you, and Walker can't say I did."
            Syd shakes her head in confusion, "What?"
            "Oh, never mind---oh, Syd I'm so glad you guessed cause now I have someone to share my excitement with about buying baby clothes. Only another woman knows how the excitement feels---a man doesn't really get into things like this--and can you picture Walker getting excited about looking at baby clothes?"
            Syd folds her arms across her chest and thinks of her boss and his 'tuff guy' image---"No, Alex----I can't!"
            The women laugh, "Look at these darling outfits, Syd----aren't they just precious?"
            Syd nods her head and picks up a one-piece coverall jumpsuit in green, she holds it up, smiling. "Mr. Greenjeans!!! The only thing missing is his John Deere tractor."
            Alex laughs, "It is so cute, but Walker doesn't care much for the color of green. He says he got so tired of that color when he had to wear fatigues all the time in Nam."
            "Walker doesn't like the color green? What about that western shirt that he wears quite often, it's green---he looks good in the color."
            Alex smiles, "He wears it because I bought it for him, but he's not crazy about it."
            Syd nods her head, "That's how I feel about the color of burgundy----that was my uniform color at St. Matthews Catholic school, I hate that color now."
            Alex has become quiet; she's staring at something on the other side of the store. Syd looks into the direction her friend is looking, she sees nothing but more clothes, furniture, and stuffed animals.
            "Alex, what are you staring at?"
            "Oh, Syd----isn't he gorgeous?"
            Syd narrows her eyes and looks again, "Who's gorgeous? Did Brad Pitt just walk in----where is he?"
            Alex laughs and grabs Syd's arm, "No silly----HIM!"
            "Him? Him who?  Alex---who are you looking at?"
            Alex takes her friend's hand and pulls her over to the other side of the store and points upward ---"Him----isn't he gorgeous?"
            Syd looks up and sees a giant giraffe staring back at her, "A giraffe----Alex---that's what you're staring at?"
            Alex is all smiles, "Yes!!!-- He's not just any giraffe, Syd----he's a long neck!"
            "Alex---all giraffes have long necks, that's what they're noted for!"
            Alex shakes her head, "I used to have a giraffe---when I was a baby----and I dragged that giraffe around with me everywhere I went---of course it wasn't anywhere near as big as this one! I even tried to take it to pre-school with me!"
            Syd is trying not to sound cynical, "I'm surprised you still don't have him, sitting in a corner of your law office."
            "Oh, Syd----didn't you ever have a favorite toy that you grew up with?"
            The Ranger shakes her head, "No way---I was into books----read everything I could get my hands on, and later it was detective books and magazines----anything that dealt with law enforcement!  What happened to your giraffe?"
            Alex sighs, "I had to leave old ‘George’ behind when I went off to college, somehow I felt he wouldn't fit in with college life, the dorm and all."
            "You named him ‘George’---that's nice---so what happened to old ‘George’?"
            "I gave him to some kids at the local orphanage."
            "Lucky orphanage," Syd whispers to herself.
            Alex is still staring at the animal, "I wonder how tall he is, and if he would fit into the nursery?"
            "Nursery?  You've started on the nursery, already?"
            "No, not yet----but in a couple of months, I'm sure we will. We're going to turn that room into a nursery right across the hall from our bedroom, that way we can see the baby's room --at all times."
            Syd stares at the giraffe, "I would say---he's a good 12 feet tall, if not taller."
            "Syd, look at his long lashes---aren't they adorable?  Where's the sales lady---I'm going to price him."
            "Wait a minute Alex, you're not going to buy him---not now---it's too early!"
            "What do you mean it's too early?"
            "Alex, it's bad luck to buy baby things so early---you just found out that you're pregnant---it's a bad omen."
            "Oh Syd, you don't believe any of that, do you?"
            "All I'm saying is, Serena my sister, never buys anything till she's in her 6th month---and she's got five kids!"
            "That's just an old wife's tale-----"
            "Alex---I've heard it all of my life---maybe it is---just a superstition---do you want to take the chance?"
            Alex stares back at Syd and shakes her head, "No-----but it's not going to hurt to price it, right?"
            Her friend starts to speak when a saleslady walks up to them, "May I help you ladies?"
            Alex takes a deep breath and then points to the giraffe, "How much is he?"
            The saleslady grins, "Old George---he's a favorite----and he's only $400!"
            Syd's eyes pop out and her mouth drops, "$400----for a stuffed animal?"
            Alex stares at the saleslady and then to the giraffe, "His name is George, too?"  

Syd pulls on Alex's arm, "Alex, I'm sure a lot of giraffes are named ‘George’---you know---‘G’ for giraffe."
            The saleslady sees her sale slipping away, "But wait---let me show you what George can do." She pulls up a stepladder and crawls up, pulling on the left rein, the long neck starts bobbing up and down. Alex's mouth drops open. The saleslady then pulls on the right rein and music starts:
                                    IT’S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL
                                                IT’S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL

            Alex just stands there and stares, "My George never did that!”

Syd can't believe the look on Alex's face, "Alex--you can't be serious--$400 for that---a stuffed animal?"
            The sales lady is wishing that Syd would just disappear, she climbs down the ladder quickly, "Now, wait a minute---we can work something out, how about 10% off?"
            Syd smirks, "That's just $40.00 off, by the time you include sales tax, there's not going to be any savings to speak of."
            The saleslady is holding her breath, then replies, "Okay, 20%!!!  But that's it, I can't go any lower!"
            Syd and the sales lady are glaring at each other. Alex sighs. "You're right, Syd---that is a lot of money and now Walker and I are going to have to watch our spending with the baby coming and all----I'm sorry Miss---I just can't afford anything so frivolous right now."
            The sales lady glares at Sydney, "Very well----but if you change your mind, and want to come back?"
            "What about holding it for me, could you do that?"
            "I'm sorry---but I'm afraid that George is the last one we have in stock, and we won't be getting anymore in---I'm afraid that when he's gone---that's it."
            Alex takes a deep breath, "I guess it wasn't meant to be, Walker says everything happens for a reason, and I just wasn't meant to have another----George! And besides I don't think he would fit into the nursery---he would be banging his head on the ceiling and have to stand stooped over all the time."
            The saleslady walks off in a huff. Syd turns to Alex; "I think she was giving you a snow job about not being able to hold it---more than likely they can't get rid of it.”

Long Necks & Baby Boots Chapter II


            Alex sighs, "Yeah, you're probably right about the snow job, I felt she was trying to push the sale, and you're right---$400 is a lot of money to spend on a stuffed animal."
            Syd nods, "Do you think Walker would get mad if you spend that much money?"
            "No---he never says anything about the money I spend, he teases me about the bills to the credit cards at the first of the month, but I know he's just teasing.  After all, I make more money than he does---besides we each have our own 'mad money' and neither of us ever question how or what it's spent for. But, I do know one thing, with the baby coming, my credit cards are going to be cut up----and there will be a special little savings started."
            "Yep, credit cards can be a real pain in the butt---that's why I have only one," quips Syd.
            Alex smiles and looks back at the giraffe again, "Syd----I can't leave without buying something----it would be a slap to the expectant Mothers of the world—right?"
            Syd laughs and shakes her head, "You're bound and determined to buy something, huh"?
            "Yes," Alex says softly, "just one tiny little item---that wouldn't upset that silly superstition too much, would it?"
            "Okay, got anything in mind, I mean besides ‘George’?”
            Alex breaks out in a wide smile, "Yes---over here, I need your opinion, what do you think?"
            Syd looks down at the item in question and then to Alex---"Definitely---you got to buy it----but what color do they come in? You can't buy it in blue---that's showing too much preference."
            Alex calls the same saleslady over again, "What colors do these come in?"
            The sales lady glares at Syd and then answers softly, "Blue, pink, green, and lavender."
            "LAVENDER!" Alex and Syd answer at the same time.
            The woman looks at both of them confused "Very well, should I wrap them?"
            Alex shakes her head, "No, I'll take them just like they are, how much?"
            The woman smirks, "That will be $23.87, including tax---will that be cash or charge?"
            Alex hands the woman cash, and then she and Syd start to walk out. Alex takes one last look at George, shakes her head and they continue out.
            "How about a cup of tea, Alex?"
            "Nooo---I guess I'd better get over to the farmers' market before they close, I got to get okra for supper tonight. Sure wish I had brought that receipt to pick up Walker's boots---the store is right over there."
            "Do you need a receipt?"
            "Yeah, they get so touchy without it---oh well Walker can pick them up tomorrow. Thanks again Syd and remember----"
            "I know---I'm not to say anything---your secret is safe with me."


            Alex has had supper ready for almost half an hour, and no Walker! She finally hears the Ram pull up, she puts the meat loaf into the microwave to warm it up again and walks to the front door, greeting her husband as he walks in. She smells the beer first and then the perfume. She kisses him gently, and then teasingly asks, "This informant that you were questioning in Burleson-- was a man----right?"
            Walker stares back at her, "Yeah---it was a man---why?"
            Alex smiles, "I like his cologne---it smells like Channel #5."
            Walker groans, Alex knows her perfumes!!. She's staring back at him with that 'look', that tells him his goose is cooked. He shakes his head slowly and puts his arms around her waist, "Okay, Alex----I'm going to tell you something and this is the "honest to God" truth about what happened."
            Alex listens as she's told about the whole scenario, including the waitress laying a big, wet kiss on him. She just stands there and stares at him, her face is expressionless. Walker is going back and forth on his heels.
            "Honey---say something. You do believe me----don't you?"
            Alex answers slowly, "Yes--I believe you."
            "Then why are you staring at me like that---you act like you don't believe my story?"
            "Oh, I believe you alright---cause I don't think you could make up a story like that."
            "Make it up?  Why would I want to?"
            Alex breaks out into a wide smile and then kisses him softly, "Okay, Cowboy---into the showers---I don't want to be smelling another woman's perfume on you."
            Walker nods and starts upstairs and then he remembers the bandana, he reaches back for it and holds it up slowly. "Uhhh, what do I do with this, drop it in the hamper?"
            Alex looks at him and then to the lipstick all over the scarf.  She takes it from him and drops it in the trash basket, wipes her hands and says slowly, "Not unless you want to sleep alone tonight."
            Walker looks towards the waste basket, that was his favorite bandana, but he sure wasn't going to risk retrieving it. He puts his hands up, "No way------I'm taking my shower ----and I wouldn't mind a little company."
            "You concentrate on that shower, Cowboy and getting all of that perfume----and lipstick off your body---then I will consider ---giving you a ‘sponge bath’.”
            The Ranger takes the stairs two at a time----grinning!


Thursday morning:
            Walker and Trivette have been tailing another informant, and still another dead end. The buyer for the concealed weapons is staying one step ahead of the Rangers, and the Rangers are getting irritable.
            Trivette is shaking his head, "Do you think we are being set up Walker?  Every time we get a break and think we're onto something---we get our feet yanked out from under us, I'm beginning to think it's an inside job--that someone knows our every move, before we even know it."
            "You could be right partner---and it sure wouldn't be the first time that we had a 'snitch' inside headquarters.
            "Yeah--well, when I find out who it is---they're going to pay big time--messing up my night life---that's what they're doing."
            "What's the matter, didn't things go well with ‘Lola’ last night?"
            Trivette makes a face, "I go all the way back down there to Burleson, I call her up----guess what--she's married!  Can you imagine that, big guy---that a man would allow his wife to work in a place like that?"
            Walker shakes his head, "Not 'no'----but hell no!! Any man that would allow his wife to do that kind of work has no business being married. If I had my way, Alex wouldn't be working either---especially now with a baby on the way."
            "Yeah but---Alex's job is different--her occupation doesn't require her to strip and tease the customers!"
            "Well, I don't know Lola's story and the reason she's doing the kind of job she does, but she's obviously happy with what she's doing---or she would find something else to do. Everyone has a choice, Trivette---Lola has made hers."
            Trivette shrugs, "Well, the night wasn't completely wasted, I met Dee Dee and we had a nice---evening."
            "Good for you, and it's just a good thing for you that I have such a understanding wife, or I would be looking for someone else to be my child's godfather!"
            Trivette starts laughing, thinking of the day before and Lola's kiss to Walker. "I thought for sure that you would come into the office in a bad mood, saying you were in the doghouse with Alex, She didn't see the lipstick on the bandana?"
            "She didn't have to see the lipstick, she smelled the perfume, I had forgotten how sensitive her nose is. I should have remembered the last time I had some women's perfume all over me---I thought Alex would never let me hear the end of that."
            "When was this?"
            "Don't you remember those prostitutes that we had to transfer to the county jail, and they started  that fight and we ended up right in the middle of it? Their perfume was strong and Alex picked it up, immediately!!"
            "Oh yeah--how did you get out of that one?"
            "She didn't get mad she just didn't let me forget it! Alex has this way of giving you that 'look', and believe me, when she gives you that look, your goose is either cooked----or else---"
            "Or else, what?"
            "Never mind," replies the bearded Ranger, "just----never mind."
            Trivette laughs, "So, what now? Are we going to just sit here and wait for Dale the Snail to make his next move---I'm hungry---let's go get something to eat."
            "No, I'm not hungry--Alex fixed a big breakfast, I'm full."
            "Well, I'm starving-----I'm going over to that diner and get something to eat, what you going to do?"
            Walker looks at his watch, "Well, guess I'll go over to the boot shop and pick up my boots, meet you back here in about half an hour."


            Trivette is enjoying the last of his breakfast, he hears some of the customers laughing and pointing out the window. He looks up to the waitress who has brought him his bill. She's looking out the window too, smiling.
            "What's so funny, what is everybody looking at?"
            The waitress points to the gray Ram that has pulled up out front, Trivette looks out and then his mouth drops open. "Oh, my God," he whispers.
            Several of the customers are standing up as Trivette makes his way to the door, with a jelly biscuit still in hand. He stares back at the Ram and then to his partner, he bursts out laughing and pointing towards the object in the truck.
            "Walker----don't look now, but I think there's a giraffe trying to get out of your truck!"
            The bearded Ranger smirks, "Would you just get in, you're causing a scene---everyone is looking."
            Trivette is laughing so hard he can hardly speak, "I'm causing a scene?---There's a 10 ft giraffe sticking his head out of the sliding widows of your truck, his head is 'bobbing up and down'-----and I'm causing a scene??"
            Walker is motioning for him to get in and close the door, Trivette stops and walks around to the back of the Ram, he's still laughing. "Walker!!!! Is he under arrest---or what?"
            "Would you get in and close the door?"
            Some of the diners' customers have wandered out to the curb and pointing. Trivette finally climbs inside and the Ram burns rubber getting out of there.
            Trivette is staring back at the over stuffed animal, "Okay, Walker, what gives, I thought you were going after your boots?"
            "Well, they weren't quite ready so I saw these people staring at something in the display window of that baby store that sits next to the boot shop. I walk over there and I see this saleslady trying to set the giraffe up, the neck is too long and she's bending it, trying to make it fit. I walked in and asked if I could help, she sounds a little 'miffed' saying that I could help by taking that stupid animal off her hands. Well, I remembered Alex saying how fond she was of giraffes and that she used to have one when she was  a little girl----so I thought I would buy it for her-----and the baby."
            Trivette stares back at the giraffe, "Why is his head 'bobbing up and down", is it suppose to do that?"
            "Well----the saleslady said that if you pull the left rein---it would do that, guess I accidentally pulled it when I was putting him in the back seat, and sticking his head out through the window."
            Trivette leans over the seat, "What happens if you pull the right rein-------"
            "DON'T PULL IT," shouts Walker, but it's too late, now the music starts.

                                                IT'S A SMALL WORLD,AFTER ALL
                                                IT"S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL.

Trivette starts grinning and singing along to the music, "Heeyyyy---it plays music---did you know it plays music, Walk-man?"
            Walker groans, "Yes----the saleslady pointed that out-----and when she did so,  the mechanism must have gotten stuck, and it played over and over again. Almost never figured out how to make it stop."
            What did you do to stop it----give it a karate chop?"
            Walker is wincing; the repetitious sound is getting to him, "Hit it a couple of times and try to get it to stop."
            Trivette reaches out though the window and hits the giraffe in the head, a small school van pulls up beside them and the kids are watching in horror as Trivette continues to hit the stuffed animal. The kids are screaming at the bus driver to do something. Trivette sees the van and pulls himself back into the Ram and tries to yell back at the kids that he didn't mean any harm. The van pulls away and some of the kids are crying.
            "Oh great, now those kids think I beat up on animals----Walker---another fine mess you got me into."
            Walker pulls the Ram over to the side of the road, "You were hitting him in the wrong place---the mechanism box is in his stomach."
            Walker starts pulling his seat forward and climbing into the back of the quad cab.
            Trivette is mocking him----"Welllllll----eeexxccccuse me---I didn't know!"
            "Never mind that, crawl back here and let's try to get his stomach open."
            Trivette pulls his seat back and both Rangers go to the back seat, cars are slowing down to observe. Suddenly both Rangers size up how this must look and they both start scrambling to get back into their seats. The giraffe is still "bobbing" and the music plays on.
            Trivette asks slowly, "Walker, how much did that thing set you back?"
            Walker groans and Trivette repeats his question. The Ranger hesitates, "Well-----the saleslady gave me a good deal on it, she said it was the last one and she would sell it to me for----"$450.00.”
            Trivette's eyes bulge out, "$450---Walker----you paid $450 for ------THAT?"
            "Well-----it's for the baby---what's wrong with that?"
            Trivette puts his hands up, "Wait a minute----let me get this straight----you---Cordell Walker ---the one always tight with a dollar----the same Cordell Walker that our dear departed friend, C.D. always said that you were so tight---you squeaked when you walk!  No, okay, now I get it---you've been taken by the body snatchers----Okay, GUYS-----YOU CAN GIVE HIS BODY BACK NOW___I'M ON TO YOU!!"
            "Trivette---will you stop screaming?”
            Trivette looks to Walker and smiles mischievously, "Uhhh, Walker----just what do you plan to do with Mr. Long neck----drive around with him all day in the back of your truck?"
            "No, I had hoped that my dear and closest friend, the godfather of my child to be, would let me put him up his apartment until I can get him into the house without Alex seeing him."
            "My apartment?  And just how long is that suppose to be? Why don't you run him out to the ranch now and hide him?"
            "I can't do that, Trivette---Alex is still at home---she doesn't have any cases today, and she said she was going to be doing laundry today.”
            Trivette groans, suddenly a call comes over their radio, burglary in progress! Trivette takes the address, "3800 and LBJ---that's that new jewelry store that opened up----about a quarter of a mile from here----WE'RE ON IT!"
            The Ram's flashing light comes on and the siren blares, heading for the designated crime scene. The increased speed down the highway causes the giraffe's head to bob up and down---even faster. The traffic is trying to pull out of the way of the police vehicle, staring and pointing.
            The Rangers arrive on the scene just as three men emerge running from the bank. The Rangers holler for them to stop and drop their weapons, their answer is gunfire. Walker and Trivette find cover on the far side of the Ram, holding their fire because of innocent bystanders. The gunmen keep firing, the bullets whiz by them and one bullet hits near where the giraffe's head is.
            Walker swears, looking into the direction of the stuffed animal, "If they so much as put one bullet into that animal's hide----I'm going to ring their necks!"
            Trivette stares back at his partner, "Never mind that stupid giraffe---what about me stopping a bullet?"
            Walker starts firing, and hits one of the gunmen, he screams and goes down. The other two start running and Trivette gives chase on foot, while Walker yells at one of the young officers on the scene to check the man on the ground. He then jumps into the Ram and starts in the direction that Trivette and the two gunmen have taken.
            The two gunmen separate and Trivette goes after one, Walker jumps from the Ram and gives chase. The one Walker is chasing, takes a wrong turn and ends up going down a dead-end alley, facing a eight foot brick wall. The man turns around and then sees who is chasing him, he groans---"WALKER-----of all the luck!"
            He fires his gun, all he hears is a 'click--click'---- "Damn it," he swears, throwing the empty gun at Walker. Walker sighs and crooks his finger at the little man.
            "Critter Miggs!  Didn't I just arrest you----not 6 months ago for jumping bail-----how did you get out so quick"?
            Critter swears at the Ranger and rushes him, Walker sidesteps and Critter goes headfirst into the side of a dumpster! He tries to stand, but Walker knocks him down.
            "Stay down----or I'll knock you down again----now I will read you your rights----are you listening?"
            "Yeah---yeah, I hear you-------Walker----don't you ever take a vacation?"
            Walker yanks him up, handcuffs him and shoves him towards the Ram, "Now, why would I want to take a vacation----and miss getting to see your ugly mug---get in the back----you know the procedure!!"
            Critter half stumbles towards the front of the bed of the truck, he stops abruptly when he sees the giraffe. "What the hell," he mutters.
            Walker backs the Ram back down the alley and stops to pick up Trivette and the other gunmen; Trivette throws him in the back too. The two men stare at each other and then to the giraffe. Critter replies, "I always thought that Walker was a little weird---now I'm sure of it."
            Walker takes the two gunmen back to the cruisers that have arrived, the officers are laughing as they pull Critter and his companion down out of the Ram's bed. Critter starts yelling at Walker.
            "Hey, Walker-----when did you start playing with animals------are you going to get a plastic ---blow up doll next?"
            Everyone is laughing, even the bystanders. Trivette can't keep a straight face as he yells back at Critter.
            "Hey! Don't be 'dishing' my partner---he can't help himself-----Expectant Fathers do crazy things----go easy on him----he'll be back to normal and kicking your butts, again."
            "Stuff it, Trivette!!" Critter replies.
            Walker is shaking his head and pulling Trivette back to the Ram. "Come on."
            The gunmen are being put into a cruiser, and Critter yells back, "Congratulations Walker----couldn't happen to a better guy---hope your old lady has TRIPLETTS, would serve you right!"
            Trivette is grinning, "Now, Critter---you don't want three more Walkers on your butt, haven't you learned your lesson with just the one?"
            "STUFF IT, TRIVETTE," Critters yells again, “I wouldn't be surprised to learn that you and Walker aren't ‘pansies’."
            Walker says nothing as he walks over to the cruiser and sticks his head in, saying quietly, doubling up his fist, "One more word out of you and I'm going to ram this fist into your mouth."
            The other gunman mutters, "You can't do that---that's police brutality."
            Walker looks to Critter, and Critter tells the man to shut up, "This Ranger is crazy----you'd be surprised as what he can do---after all he's got a giant giraffe riding around in his truck with him, ---I'd say he can do anything he damn well pleases----now shut up!!!”
            The cruiser pulls away and Trivette is still laughing. Walker just looks at him, "Come on, lets get this thing to your apartment."


            Alex has finished her cleaning and doing all the laundry, she can't stop thinking of The Baby Mart.
            "I don't care what Syd says about a silly superstition, I'm going back to The Mart and I'm buying ‘George’!”
            Forty-five minutes later finds Alex walking through the store, she heads directly to the back where she spotted the giant giraffe. She looks around, but can't see him anywhere. A different saleslady approaches her.
            "Hi-----may I help you?"
            Alex greets the woman and continues to look in the direction she last saw ‘George’.
            "Excuse me, but I was in here yesterday, another saleslady waited on me----we were looking at that big giraffe----I was wondering----she didn't sell it----did she?"
            The woman smiles, "Oh yes, I remember you, and yes----she sold it. A man bought it this morning, right after we first opened up."
            Alex sighs, "Oh darn----I knew I shouldn't have listened to Syd----" she turns to the saleslady, "are you sure you don't have anymore in stock?"
                                       "I'm sorry----that was the last one." The lady stares at Alex, "BUT-----I remember you bought a pair of little baby boots, didn't you?"
            Alex nods, "Yes?"
            The lady pulls Alex gently over to another part of the store, "I just got these in this morning----what do you think?"
            Alex stares at the baby boots in question. These are in soft leather, complete with spurs that are made of yarn, the Texas star is on the sides. Alex puts her hand up to her face and whispers, "These are so cute----I've never seen anything like these before."
            "I think they will sell fast, being rodeo country and all----if I were you, I wouldn't pass them up, like you did the giraffe."
            "Oh, you are so right about that---I want them!"


            The Rangers have finally got the giraffe into Trivette's apartment. Trivette's gives a big sigh and plops down on his sofa and looks back to his partner.
            "Why is that damn thing so heavy?"

            "It wasn't all that heavy, Trivette---and if you lived on the ground floor, we wouldn't have had to wag it up three flights of stairs!"
            Trivette glares back, "We had to 'wag' it up three flights of stairs, 'cause we couldn't get the damn thing on the elevator, his neck was too long--and you wouldn't let me bend it!"
            "Stop complaining, Trivette---we got it up here, okay?"
            Trivette looks over at the giraffe, the head is still bobbing and the music is still playing at 3 minute intervals, the Ranger groans.
            "We got to figure out how to stop that confounded music, Walker."
            "I told you, it's probably in the mechanism, crossed wires or something----let's get his stomach open!"
            Walker bends down to open up the flap, when Trivette gets a call. "Walker!!!!  Never mind that, Dale the Snail, has just been found-----dead!"
            The Rangers have been called to a vacant warehouse; their snitch is hanging from the rafters. He has the word "RAT" carved into his chest.
            "They were on to him-----somebody found out that he was feeding us information."
            Walker nods his head as he checks with the other officers, "Did you find anything?"
            The young officer shakes his head, "Nothing, Ranger-----the whole place has been gone over, if there was anything here---it's gone now."
            The medical examiner has given his okay to remove the body. "Walker------his throat was slit---they hung him up while he was still alive---I would say he lived for about eleven minutes, slowly choking on his blood."
            Walker continues walking around, he bends down to examine something on the floor. He picks it up with his pen, looking at it. "Trivette, what does this look like to you?"
            The Ranger stares at the object,---- black about two inches long, and the ends are curled back. "Well---it looks like a false eyelash to me---but judging from the size of it----the woman has got to be huge! Not to mention having strong eyelids to hold that sucker up."
            Walker stares back at him, "Well, maybe I don't know much about women's makeup and stuff, but this is made out of plastic.  I thought false eyelashes were made out of synthetic fibers?"
            Trivette nods, "All of the women I've  ever known that wore false eyelashes, that would have been their choice, not plastic."
            "Okay, let's say that it belongs to a woman----what the heck was she doing here---in a vacant warehouse?"
            "Walker----I swear---marriage has dulled your senses! Isn't it pretty obvious what she was doing here----she was having a little lover's 'tryst' with our man, Dale the Snail."
            Walker shakes his head, "Maybe---but this just doesn't feel right, and this 'thing', whatever it is----I can't imagine any woman wanting to wear something like this on their eyes! It's so big, it looks like a spider."
            Trivette shrugs his shoulders, "Maybe---she didn't have just a whole lot going for her, you know---in the looks department----some women will go to great links to attract a man. You wouldn't believe some of the things a woman will wear to attract a man, and then once they're in the clutches----the artificial charade begins."
            "And----you would know all about the charades----being a woman's man and all?"
            Trivette shows a wide grin, "Heyyyyy----I get around---Hey Walker, did I tell you the joke about the traveling salesman that thought he had found his perfect woman?  She had everything, man----in just the right places."
            Walker groans, "Not another 'traveling salesman' joke."
            "Just listen, big guy.---Okay, he's met the woman of his dreams, long beautiful hair that cascades down over the shapeliest ass you could ever imagine, and boobs that would make Dolly Parton envious.----Anyways, all is going just fine, and they get to the motel room. He's all hot 'n 'bothered, and his dream woman announces, she wants to get comfortable. So, he lies back on the bed, and the woman slowly starts to undress. She reaches up and pulls the longhaired wig off and pitches over on the dresser, she then reaches down and takes off her fake ass and pitches it over on the dresser. The salesman is staring back at her disbelief, and then she does the un-godliest deed of all, she takes off her size 56 boobs and pitches them over on the dresser. She stares back at the salesman, who's just laying there with his mouth open. She turns to him and says, "What do you want?"

Long Necks & Baby Boots Chapter III

            Walker roll his eyes up in his head and sighs and before Trivette can deliver the punch line, Walker shouts "You know what I want, pitch it over it!"
            Trivette is all grins, "Yeyyyy---you have heard it?"
            "Trivette----that joke is so old---I remember hearing it when I was in high school----actually---Jr. high."
            "Well, you got to admit---it was kind of funny in it's day. I'll bet if you told that joke to Alex, she would think it was funny?"
            Walker nods his head, "Yep---you're probably right, after all she still laughs when I tell her about that incident in Lubbock when you went undercover as a stripper, and those senior citizens wanted to take you home with them."
            The Rangers start to walk off and the grin on the black Ranger's face starts to wane, "Come on Walker----let's not go there."
            "Then stop telling those stupid 'traveling salesmen ' jokes."
            They continue to walk on, then Trivette grabs Walker's arm, ----"Hey----did you hear the one about the man from Nantucket?"
            "Lubbock----senior citizens---male stripper---Lubbock, male stripper and those sexy senior citizens," taunts Walker.


6am---Walker ranch---the phone rings:
            A tired and sleepy Ranger answers, Trivette is 'fit to be tied’!
            "Trivette----it's 6am----this better be important!"
            "Did you have a good sleep, Walker?"
            "I was sleeping good till the damn phone rang---what the heck is this all about?"
            "Well-----I didn't sleep a wink----and you wanna know why I didn't get any sleep?"
            "Trivette, I'm not in the mood for guessing games."
            Alex is starting to stir and she rolls over and puts her left arm across her husband's chest, and snuggles closer.
            "I didn't sleep because of that stupid giraffe---he wouldn't shut up! And, what's more---it upset Pam and she went home, madder than a hornet!"
            "PAM?  WHO IS PAM?"
            At the mention of another woman's name, Alex becomes wide-awake. She listens to Walker's end of the conversation quietly.
            "She was my date last night and I thought we were really going to hit it off----but that stupid giraffe kept interrupting with that head 'bobbing up and down' and that confounded music!"
            Walker puts the phone to his other ear as he feels his wife's body moving slightly against him. He whispers back into the phone, "Why didn't you just take care of the problem----a simple little screwdriver will have done it."
            "A screwdriver!" Alex says to herself.
            "I tried that! I couldn't get the stupid mechanism box open. Pam was yelling at me, I was trying to quiet her----the super was pounding on my door! Walker----WHEN does he go?"
            Walker keeps looking at his wife, "Soon," he whispers, "we'll take care of it sometime today."
            Trivette's voice is starting to calm. "It better be today----that animal is messing up my love life."
            "Okay, okay----today----I promise."
            Walker hangs up the phone then nudges his wife. "Okay, you little 'faker' I know you're not asleep."
            Alex yawns, "Who can sleep with the phone ringing at 6am-----who was on the phone?" She kisses him lightly.
            "Trivette-----who else?  I got to meet him---we're still on that case of missing weapons," he answers returning her kiss.
            "I thought you were going to take the morning off and help me with that little problem."
            "What little problem?"
            Again she kisses him, "You've forgotten already?  You said you were going to fix the toilet in the downstairs bath, and who is Pam?"
            Walker laughs, "Oh, I like the way you just slid that last question in there----so sneaky like."
            "I've got a right to be sneaky, after what you told me happened in Burleson with "LOLA" and if I ever get down that way, she and I are going to have a little talk about keeping her lips to herself."
            "Alex----she is not my type---‘definitely’ not my type! Besides, it was Trivette that was trying to make time with her----not me!"
            "Well-----did he?"
            "She turned out to be married, but he met someone named Dee Dee----I don't know when this ‘Pam’ came into the picture."
            Alex smiles and rolls back on the bed, rubbing her belly. "Oh, Walker, how am I going to make it another seven months, I'm so anxious."
            Walker smiles and reaches down and kisses her belly, "Me, too, hon. I'm just as anxious as you are."
            She looks back at him and pushes that bottom lip out and her eyes are doing a number on him, "Then, can I ask you a question? Will it be all right if I start clearing out that room across the hall?"

            Walker falls back against his pillow, grabbing his chest. His eyes go big as he stares at his wife, "You mean you haven't done that already? I'm surprised at you, Alex---I thought you would have it completely re-decorated by now, after all it's been a full 72 hrs since we got the news!"
            They both laugh and Alex hits him playfully in the chest, "Are you mocking me?"
            "Yes, I am.  What about the baby announcement cards, you got them filled out yet?"
            "Nooooo, I haven't done that yet, silly. You send out the cards "AFTER" the baby is born, so you will know what information to put on the cards, like weight, and length."
            "Alex, I can understand the weight 'thing', but the length-----who cares how long the baby is?"
            "It's important to know the length, and how much the baby is growing per weight----it helps in having a healthy baby."
            Walker nods, "Yeah, you're right---that's the most important thing---that the baby be healthy."
            Alex smiles and rolls back towards her husband, "Another important thing to having a healthy baby is making sure the Mother is kept happy and satiated."
            "Is that so." Walker grins, pulling her up on top of him and pushing her little nightie back, "and what about the Daddy?"
            She kisses him long and tender, taking the nightie the rest of the way off, "Oh, that's most important too, because when Daddy is happy, Mommy can get her way on just about anything!"
            "You got that right, woman----now make Daddy happy."
            Their giggles soon turn serious as in the distance a thunderstorm is slowly moving in.


Trivette's apartment:
            The two Rangers are staring at the giraffe, it's completely still, no music! Trivette is nervously looking at his partner. Walker sighs, "Okay, Trivette, what did you do to it?"
            Trivette mumbles, and Walker repeats his question.
            "I kicked it!" Trivette blurts out.
            "WHAT?  Why did you kick him----Trivette----you better not have broken him---if you broke him, that money is coming out of your hide!"
            "Look Walker----I didn't ask for you to bring him here----I had to get some sleep, didn't I?"
            Walker throws his hands up in the air, "Why didn't you just take the mechanism box out, I told you---it's got to be some crossed wires?"
            "And, I told you----I couldn't get it to budge, it's sealed tighter than a drum."
            "Okay, okay, let's get him loaded, then we’ve got to go check out this new lead over on 98th and Market, a friend of Dale the Snail's said he saw him over there in that area, talking with two guys."
            "Walker, I thought we were taking this stupid animal to your ranch?"
            "We are, but we can't take him out there till after 11am, Alex has a doctor's appointment, after that she will be tied up in court all afternoon."
            Trivette nods, "Let me ask you something, Walk-man----why are you trying to hide this from Alex----I thought this was a gift for the baby?"
            Walker stammers, "It is for the baby----but it's for Alex, too----in a way. Remember I told you about the giraffe she had when she was a little girl, I just want to surprise her for once!  I never can put anything past her, she always guesses what every gift is---just once I would like to be one step ahead of her---alright?"
            Trivette shrugs, "Okay, but this time, we are not wagging it down three flights of stairs---it's going on the elevator-----if I have to bend his stupid neck!"
            "You better not break his neck," Walker warns.
            "Would you grab hold, this time you take the back end and you’ll see how heavy it is."
            "It's not heavy, Trivette---just awkward to get a hold of." Walker grunts as he reaches down to pick up the back end.
            "You were saying?"
            "Just go------and we're going to have to make sure his head is inside the cab---it's going to rain."
            "No, it's not-----there's not a cloud in the sky."
            "Yep----it's going to rain----believe me."


            Ranger Gage is booking a prisoner, while he is constantly sneezing. The desk sergeant is moving out of his way.
            "Hey!!! Blow your germs somewhere else----I just got over the flu, I don't want another bout."
            Gage apologizes, "I'm sorry----I just can't shake this cold, my damn allergies are giving me hell."
            "Yeah, you look like hell, and you sound like Peter Pan with a nasal twang----or worse---Michael Jackson on a good day."
            Gage stares back at him, with watery eyes. He rubs his hands over his eyes as he listens to some other prisoners talking about a giant giraffe. He nods to the sergeant, "What have they been sniffing?"
            "Who knows, they've been jabbering ever since they were booked yesterday afternoon."
            "Well, I'm out of here," whispers Gage, his voice barely audible, "I'm going home, taking some four-way cold tablets----and going to bed---I'm going to sleep for the next 24 hrs."
            Gage turns around and almost runs into Syd, "Hey, big guy----I see you got your man------everything go alright?"
            "Yeah," answers Gage with a sneeze, "when I get him to court----his testimony will have the Bradford boys put away for life."
            Syd smiles as she slaps Gage playfully in the chest, "Those bad guys should know never to mess with the long arm of the law, when you're on their tails, huh?"
            Gage says nothing as he blows his nose and reaches for antihistamine spray.
            Syd looks at him with concern, "You should take care of that cold."
            "I plan to----it's killing me, I'm going home--I've had a rough day."
            Syd walks along beside him, "I hope you're feeling better in time for the bar-be-que Saturday night at the Walkers?”
            "I do too, but the way I feel now----I might not be going," Gage answers in a nasal twang.
            "What?  You can't miss it----no way----you can't miss this night-----of all nights."
            "It's just a cook out, Syd----Walker and Alex will understand."
            Syd stares back at him, "Uhh, it's more than just a cook out-----it's going to be a surprise announcement---from Walker and Alex!"
            Gage stares back in confusion, "An announcement-----what kind of announcement, and if it's a surprise, how do you know about it?"
            Syd takes a deep breath, "It's an announcement saying----they're expecting."
            Gage lets out a loud sneeze and Syd backs up, reaching for a Kleenex to put over her face. "Expecting what?"
            "A baby----you big goof!!! Walker and Alex are going to have a baby!"
            "Are you serious"? Gage wipes his nose then sneezes again. "That's great----Walker is going to be a Daddy?" his voice rises.
            "Yes, Walker and Alex are going to be parents, isn't that neat?"
            Gage is all smiles, "Walker a Daddy?  That's hard to visualize."
            Syd nods, "Yeah, I can just picture him with a infant seat in the Ram, hauling around bad guys.   Which brings up a question, we can't go to this celebration----empty handed----so I was wondering if you would like to go in halves with me on a baby gift."
            "I thought gifts were suppose to be bought 'after' the baby is born?"
            "Yeah----usually---but when a certain gift is in danger of not being around in say 6 or 7 months, then you buy it early."
            Gage's fever is getting worse, "Well, okay, how much is my half?"
            "Two hundred."
            "Two hundred? Isn't that a little expensive for a baby gift?"
            "Gage---think---it's for Walker and Alex!  And those two are more than just working partners they are our closest friends! Either one of them would bend over backwards for us."
            Gage puts his hands up---"Okay, you don't have to sell me on their friendship, I think the world of both of them-----here's my wallet."
            Syd counts out some money, "You only have $98.00 here------never mind, I'll make up the difference---you owe me! Come on----let's go get it."
            "I'm not going anywhere, but to bed."
            "Gage---you got to come with me---to see what you're buying."
            "Just what am I buying for $200.00?"
            Syd puts her arm through his, "You'll see when we get there, afterwards I will take you to your apartment and get you settled down for a nice long sleep."
            Gage grins, "Are you going to tuck me in?"
            "In your dreams---'shorty'!”


           Walker and Trivette are heading down 98th St, the rain is pouring down and Trivette is just staring at his partner, shaking his head and mumbling, "There wasn't a cloud in the sky, not one!"
            Walker just grins, "Told you it was going to rain."
            "Yeah, yeah----you and that psychic Cherokee crystal ball stuff! Tell me something   partner, why didn't you become a meteorologist, instead of a law officer?"
            Walker grins, "And be deprived of having you for a partner----the shame of it."
            Trivette spots a small group of men in the parking lot who are beating up on one little guy. "Pull over Walker---let's check this out."
            As the gray Ram pulls into the parking lot, the crowd disperses, the two Rangers head for the man lying on the ground. The man groans and tries to stand up, the rain is coming down harder.
            Walker reaches out to steady the man, "Are you okay, are you hurt?"
            The man stares back at the Rangers and both Trivette and Walker groan. Trivette throws his hands up in the air, spinning around and then back to the man.
            "CHARLIE?  What the hell are you doing back in Texas?"
            The man smiles, his bug eyes staring at the Rangers, "Well---it's good to see you two again, too," he answers in his Brooklyn accent.
            Walker shakes his head, "The last time we saw you, you were heading out to Hollyweird, with the rest of the weirdoes!"
            "Hey Walka--don't be bad-mouthing me--I'm a guest in your fair state----I can sue ya---ya' know that?"
            Trivette smirks, "You wouldn't get anything, 'cause he never has any money."
            Walker shakes his head, "Okay, Charlie---what did you do now? Why were those guys beating up on you?”
            Charlie pulls his coat around him tighter, "Hey----Walka--in case ya haven't noticed-----IT'S RAINING OUT HERE! Do ya think we could get in out of it, huh----ya think that would be asking too much?"
            Walker sighs and they start back to the truck, Charlie starts to climb in the front and Walker motions for him to get in the back. "And, don't be getting my seat all wet!"
            Charlie's eyes get bigger as he notices the giraffe staring back at him, Trivette pushes him in. "Would you hurry up and get in, I'm drowning out here."
            Charlie has to scoot up against the door; the neck of the giraffe is in his face. The head of the giraffe is butting Charlie's head, he keeps looking out from under the neck. "Hey----what's this? Is crime down so low now that ya got to start arresting stuffed animals?"
            "Stuff it, Charlie---now do you want to tell us what was going on back there, we have more important matters than sitting here listening to you dish Walker's baby gift."
            "Baby gift----who ya' buying a baby gift for, Walka?"
            Trivette turns around, "The baby gift is his----or rather for HIS baby---Walker is going to be a Daddy."
            Charlie lets out a curse word, "Ya gotta be kidding me---another Walka that's going to make my life miserable----wasn't one enough?"
            Walker sighs, "I'm running out of patience with you Charlie----rain or no rain----out you go!"
            "Wait a minute," Charlie grabs the back of Walker's seat and when he does so, he bumps the giraffe, the head starts 'bobbing’ and the music starts back up.
            Walker and Trivette groan, "No----not again!"
            Charlie is trying to get away from the giraffe's head bouncing off of his, "What the hell is going on here---- a new form of police brutality----the music alone is like Chinese torture----how do ya' turn this thing off?"
            "YOU DON'T," Trivette shouts back.
            Charlie is trying to reach for the door, "Let me out of here----this ain't worth it!"
            Walker reaches out and grabs Charlie's collar, "What's not worth it?  What are you talking about, Charlie?"
            "I'm not saying anything else---till ya' let me out of here--I can't think straight with all that music and ---this damn thing keeps hitting me in the head! I don't deserve this, Walka---I've always come through for you ---but this is asking too much."
            The Rangers look to each other, and Trivette motions to the diner that he had eaten at the day before when Walker supposedly went after his boots. "I could use some breakfast---we can talk there."
            The three men walk into the diner and take a booth. Charlie sits across from the Rangers. "Coffee---lots of black coffee and make it hot," he tells the waitress.
            "Okay, Charlie, out with it, what are you hiding?"
            Charlie stares back at them, "I been back in Texas less than 48 hours, it was pouring down rain the day I left, and it's still raining! I'm standing around minding my own business and these two thugs jump on me, calling me ‘a snitch’. Can ya' believe that, me a snitch?"
            "Why do they think you're a snitch, Charlie---you must have done something for them to think that? A 'snitch' about what?"
            Charlie breathes a sigh of relief when the coffee comes, "I gotta have something to eat."
            "Fine—eat," Walker replies, "you can talk while you're eating, now why did these men think you were 'ratting', and on 'who'?”
            Charlie rattles off sausage and eggs, pancakes, "and a huge glass of milk, I gotta have my milk---I'm still a growing boy, my Mama says."
            Trivette smirks, "You actually got a Mama----I thought you crawled out from under a rock----what did you do to your hair?"
            "What's wrong with my hair," Charlie glares back at the black Ranger.
            "Nothing-----it just doesn't look as wild as it usually does----it used to look like you stuck your finger in a light socket, now it looks like a wet mop hanging down in your face."
            "Ya' know Trivette---ya' don't exactly set a trend for best dressed Texas Ranger----a little slack here-----okay?"
            Trivette starts laughing, Walker groans. "Would you two stop arguing, now what was going on back there, Charlie----I'm not asking you again."
            His breakfast comes and Charlie dives into the fried eggs, "One thing I missed about this cow country of yours, Walka----is the food. California does not fry foods the way Texas does."
            Trivette smirks, "Yeah, cholesterol and all---very high in protein."
            "Trivette----do you mind? One more time Charlie, my patience is getting very thin."
            Charlie sighs, "I was only asking about a friend of mine and these two thugs jump all over me."
            "What friend, you don't have any friends, Charlie."
            "I got friends, Trivette-----my friend Dale Masters, I met him in Hollywood, we were doing a picture together."
            Walker's eyes narrow, "Dale----Dale the snail?"
            Charlie is shoving the eggs into his mouth, the yolk is seeping out of the edge of his mouth, Trivette is grimacing at the sight. "Yeah----yeah---that's him---ya' know him?"
            "Yeah, we know him," comments Trivette, handing Charlie a napkin, "how about getting some of that food inside your mouth and quit talking while you're chewing."
            "Would ya' two make up your mind, Walka tells me to talk while I'm eating, you say not to---- ya' two are giving me one of those--what ya' call it---interior complex---or whatever."
            "Inferior, Charlie---the word is inferior,” Trivette corrects him.
            Walker shakes his head, "Alright----your friend is Dale the Snail, just how well did you know him?"
            Charlie stops eating, "What do ya' mean, Walka---that sounds like a past tense to me-----are ya saying that Dale is dead?"
            Trivette makes a cutting gesture across his throat, "Yep----deader than a door nail."
            Charlie looks to Walker and Walker nods. Charlie groans, "I knew something was up----he was always into something. Guess I picked the wrong two dudes to ask about him, huh?"
            "Guess you could say that, he was mixed up in some  smuggling, drugs and concealed weapons, these two goons probably thought you were his accomplice."
            "Me?  No way---ya' know me better than that, Walka---I've done some bad things-----but I'm not that bad---that's dangerous stuff."
            "Can you describe these guys, Charlie?"
            Charlie goes back to his breakfast, piling the syrup onto his pancakes and dipping his bacon into the sweet liquid, then making a slurping sound as it goes down. Trivette is making a face and reaching for his decaf coffee.
            Charlie looks back at the Rangers, "Ain’t ya two gonna eat----this is good stuff, Maynard."
            Trivette swallows, "I may never eat again--What did these guys look like, Charlie----can you describe them?"
            "Sure----waitress----more coffee-----David Niven and that little short guy---what's his name?"
            The Rangers look at each other, "Excuse me, David Niven and the short guy, what are you talking about?"
            "Ya' asked me what they looked like, I'm telling ya'---are ya' deaf? The tall one looked liked David Niven, ya' know, the actor with the pencil thin moustache, look for a guy that looks like him and ya got your man."
            "Okay, and what about the other one, the short little guy? I suppose you're talking about Lou Costello?"
            "No---wise guy---not Costello, the funny one---bald headed, that other guy sometimes a moustache---he played in that movie with that muscle guy---Swarzennegger---whatever his name was---they were twins."
            "Danny DeVito?" Asks Trivette. "The other guy looks like DeVito?"
            "Ya' got it----finally---took ya' long enough."
            "Is that all you can tell us about these two, Charlie?"
            "Ain’t that enough? I thought ya' would be calling this stuff in---ya' know---abp---or whatever you guys call it?"
            Trivette stares back at Walker, "Should I call it in---should I get out a "ABP" or not to confuse the guys back at headquarters---a "APB' All POINTS BULLETIN---Charlie!!! As many times that you've been arrested---you should know the lingo by now."
            Walker nods, "Yeah, call it in----and don't forget to describe them."
            Trivette looks to Walker, "I know what DeVito looks like---but I'm not sure about this David Niven, you wanna give me a clue?"
            "You don't have to know what he looks like, Trivette---just the sketch artists has to know that---ask for Yancey---he's a movie buff---he'll know."
            Charlie's eyes are going back and forth to each Ranger, "You two are a work of art ya' know that---like The Lone Ranger and Tonto."
            "Hey, don't be bad-mouthing my hero----he's the reason I became a Texas Ranger."
            "News flash for ya' Trivette---I saw him without his mask----real scary dude, almost as scary as you, with a mean look---like Walka."
            Trivette has a deflated look, "You really know how to hurt a guy, don't you?---No one is suppose to see him without his mask---you've broken the cardinal rule."
            Walker sighs, shaking his head----"Trivette----he's not real----I've seen him without his mask, too."
            "What?  No way----this can't be happening---not you too, Walker----come on---say you're just kidding."
            "No, Trivette---Clayton Moore, the actor that portrayed him was at a benefit for the Texas Rangers down in Houston about six years ago---Alex and I saw him there---real nice guy. I think you had gone back to Baltimore to see your brother."
            "And----you saw him without his mask----how did that make you feel," asks Trivette quietly.
            Walker starts to reply and then he looks to Charlie, "Like I committed a crime, Trivette---I should have turned away---I'm sorry---it'll never happen again---I swear."
            Charlie's eyes are on Trivette, the Ranger looks like he's lost his best friend. Trivette gets up slowly, "I got to go to the little boys' room----and try to get past all of this---I can't believe you Walker----you've busted my bubble."
            Charlie is speechless, "Geez----I wonder how he would feel if he knew there was no Easter bunny----hey Walka----my friend is really dead?  Ya' think these two goons slit his throat?"
            "Yeah Charlie---I do---and you were lucky they didn't slit yours from just knowing the guy."

Longnecks & Baby Boots Chapter IV

            Charlie pushes his plate away from him, "Guess I owe ya' and ‘Tonto’ an apology for showing up when ya did, thanks. When those guys started hitting me, the others jumped in, like it was just 'pick on Charlie Brooks' day."
            "They weren't with the other two guys?"
            "No----they just came out of nowhere---started kicking me, and then the other two ran off."
            Trivette comes back to the booth and sits down, Charlie is rather quiet and then he excuses himself and goes to the men's room.
            "Did he say anything else while I was gone?"
            Walker shakes his head, "Not much---I think he was really shaken over his friend' death."
            Trivette nods, "Yeah, not even a 'snitch' deserves to die the way Dale the Snail did.

The Rangers stand up and Walker hands the bill to Trivette.
            "Why do I get the bill?"
            "All I had was coffee, you and Charlie had breakfast---I ate at home."
            Trivette sighs and takes out a $20 and lays it down, "Now what, want to run Charlie back to headquarters?"
            Walker glances at his watch, "Why don't you call a cruiser to pick you and Charlie up, and I'll run the giraffe out to the ranch and get him hidden before Alex gets home."
            "Okay, don't you need some help getting him into the house?"
            "No, I'll manage." Walker stops and looks at his partner, he slaps him on the shoulder, "You should have been a actor, Trivette!  You had me almost believing that you were upset about me seeing The Lone Ranger without his mask."
            Trivette stares back at him, "What makes you think I was just pretending to be upset?”


            Rangers Gage and Sydney have arrived at The Baby Mart. Gage is still sneezing and Syd is trying to keep her distance from him. Their raincoats hide their badges and guns.
            Before they go in, Syd stops Gage, "Look---let me do the talking, when Alex and I were in here before I got the saleslady to come down 20%, I know I can get her to come down even more---so let me handle it."
            Gage nods, and then lets a loud sneeze, "Whatever you say, let's just hurry and get out of here----my head feels like it's coming off."
            "First of all, we just look around nonchalant and then we ask about the giraffe."
            "Giraffe?" Gage whispers to himself, "We're buying a giraffe?"
A different saleslady approaches the Rangers.
            Syd is looking around and then she spots the giant giraffe in the far corner, she nudges Gage and whispers, "There he is-----now remember----let me do the talking."
            Syd pulls Gage over to the giraffe, his eyes go all the way up the long neck----"This? This is what you're buying?"
            "Sssh----be quiet---oh miss----I was in here yesterday and another saleslady said she would give me 25% off of that ridiculous looking animal----I decided I would take it."
            The saleslady looks at Syd like she's grown two heads, "I'm sorry---but no one is allowed to make discounts in this store, but the manager!"
            Syd smiles, "Then let me talk to the manager, I'm sure we can work something out."
            The saleslady crosses her arms, "I am the manager----no discounts!"
"But, the other lady said 25% off," Syd argues.
            Gage is wiping his brow, "Syd---just pay the woman the $400 and let's please get out of here"!
            Syd shakes her head and reaches for her wallet, "Very well, will you take credit cards?"
            "Yes, we do take credit cards----but that giraffe is not for sale---he's already been sold and that's the last one."
            Syd is getting angry, "Now, wait a minute---I've already been over this 'snowballing' yesterday.  I know a sales pitch when I hear one, we don't have much time--now how much is he?"
            "I told you, he's not for sale!"
            Syd paces around, ""Okay, I'll pay the full price---$400---that's it!"
            "Miss, I don't know what Edna was trying to pull on you, but that giraffe is not $400---that's ridiculous---the price is $350!"
            "Well, that's great," exclaims Syd, "we'll take him!"
            "Miss---you're not listening---the giraffe has been sold and the man that bought him is coming in the door now."
            Syd turns around to see a tall, slender guy walking in. He's very nicely dressed, mid 40's, and a thin moustache. He walks up to the saleslady, "I've come to pick up the gift for my daughter----is it ready?"
            "Yes" the lady stammers---I'll have someone wrap it for you."
            "No need----I'll take him---just the way he is."
            Gage taps Syd and whispers in his nasal twang, "Let's go."
            "No---wait a minute----I'll try to make a deal with this guy. Excuse me----but I'm in quite a bind here---you see my niece wants that giraffe real bad and I promised her I would buy it-----I'll give you ---$375 for it!"
            The man hisses, "No way----that's for my daughter."
            "Okay, $400---that's my final offer."
            "Look, lady----I wouldn't sell you that giraffe---not even for $500---now get off my back!"
            Syd's mouth drops open, "$500--there's no way I would offer you that much----are you crazy?"
            Gage is pulling on Syd's arm, but she keeps pushing him away.
            "GOOD! Because the giraffe is not for sale----you got that---lady?"
            Gage pulls his partner away from the man, "Syd---my head is killing me----I'm out of here---are you coming?"
            Syd is still glaring at the man, she lets out a curse word---"Yeah, yeah----I'm coming."
            They turn around to leave and Gage bumps into a short little man. He offers his apologies and the Rangers head for the exit.


            Walker pulls up in the driveway, he slams on his brakes as he sees Alex's little Sebring sitting in the driveway.
            "Damn it---what's she doing home, it's almost 1:30, she's suppose to be in court all evening."
            He makes his way to the porch and looks in through the window, but he doesn't see her. "Maybe she's in the kitchen---it's too risky---I couldn't get the giraffe into the basement quick enough----maybe I can sneak it into the guest room right inside the door. I better check and see what part of the house she's in."
            He walks in slowly, making sure he wipes his boots first,. He walks slowly towards the kitchen, she's not there. He walks back towards the stirs and walks up a few steps, "Alex-----Alex---you up there?"
            No answer, he starts back down the stairs and runs straight into her.
            "Hi sweetheart---what are you doing home so early?"
            "Alex---I was going to ask you the same thing----I thought you had court today?"
            She reaches over and kisses him, "Nope---mistrial------thrown out---so I came home, are you home for the evening?"
            Walker hesitates, "Ahhh----no-----I just came home---to grab a sandwich."
            Alex eyes him suspiciously, "You came all the way home----for a sandwich---why didn't you eat downtown, like you usually do?"
            "What? Alex---you know how much I like your turkey meat loaf, I would rather have that any day than eat at some dumb old restaurant."
            Alex smiles, "In other words, you would like for me to make you some sandwiches?"
            Walker smiles and kisses her softly, "Yes, please--- they always taste so much better when you make them."
            "Okay, you win, Cowboy----how many do you want?"
            "Oh, about half a dozen----I can eat some later while Trivette and I are investigating this case."
            Alex just looks at him, turns around and goes to the kitchen. Walker waits till she's out of sight, then runs back out to the Ram and starts wagging the giraffe in. He heads directly towards the guest room and pulls it over to the far side of the room, the head is still 'bobbing' and the music has started up again. He has to reach up and pull the neck down, to get it inside the room.
            "Damn it-----I forgot that this ceiling is lower than the rest of the house---oh well---it will just have to do---now if I could get that music to stop."
            He starts yanking on the reins, then he hits the giraffe in the stomach, the music stops.
            "Hmm, maybe Trivette had the right idea after all," he mutters. He does not hear Alex coming from the kitchen.
            "Honey-----do you want horse radish or just plain mus-----------GEORGE?"
            Walker spins around, "George----who's George?"
            Alex is standing there staring back, her hands go up to her mouth, "What are you doing with George?"
            Walker's face turns to complete confusion as he mouths the name "George."
            Alex is half crying and half laughing as she walks towards the giant giraffe, she looks at her husband, "You bought George?"
            Walker throws his hands up in the air, "I knew it!!! I never can surprise you---how come you always know in some way when I'm trying to surprise you?"
            Alex lowers her eyes and pushes that bottom lip out, "You bought him for me?"
            Walker nods, "Yeah----for you and the baby------do you like him?"
            Now the tears are flowing as Alex throws her arms around her husband, "YES----I love him, I tried to buy him but the lady said there wasn't anymore.  Oh I'm so glad I listened to Syd---because it means so much more to me that you bought him for----us!"
            Walker gently pushes his wife back, "Wait a minute---you were going to buy this same giraffe----what does Syd have to do with it?"
            Alex grins sheepishly, "Well----she said it was bad luck to buy baby gifts earlier than the 6th month, so I decided not to buy him and then I went back the next day and…”
            "Alex----wait---hold up! Let me understand this---you told Syd, didn't you?"
            "No----she guessed. Well, what else could I do, she saw me in a baby store?"
            Walker sneers, "Couldn't you have told her you were buying a gift for someone else's baby?"
            "Walker----I wasn't going to lie about it!"
            "What happened to that agreement that ‘you’ came up with, that we wouldn't tell anyone besides your Dad and Trivette until Saturday night?"
            Alex lowers her head, looking at him in that way. "I'm sorry-----are you angry with me?"
            Walker takes her back in his arms and kisses her, "No, hon, I'm not angry---I just wish that we hadn't made that kind of agreement in the first place."
            "You're right, I was wrong." Alex looks over at George, "Honey, why is he standing so awkward, he looks like he's going to tilt over?"
            Walker looks back at the giraffe and sighs, "Well, that's probably the result of my hitting him and Trivette's kicking him."
            "What? Why were you and Jimmy beating up on George?"
            "To stop that confounded music, we couldn't get it to stop-----and the head kept bouncing up and down!"
            Alex walks over to George, "Honey----all you had to do was yank the right rein---like this----"
            "Don't do that," shouts Walker----too late----the head starts bobbing and the music starts.

                                                IT’S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL--
                                    IT’S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL

Walker groans and shakes his head, "I wish you hadn't done that----now we'll never get it to stop, without hitting it again."
            Walker draws back to hit it, and Alex screams "Don't you dare hit George!"
            "First thing Monday morning---that thing---that George is going back to The Baby Mart and I'm getting my  $450.00 back or else they're going to get me one that doesn't malfunction."
            Alex stares at her husband, "Did I hear you right? You paid $450 for-----George"?
            Walker starts shifting around, "It's a gift----for you and the baby---I thought you liked it? You were going to pay that much for it, if Syd hadn't talked you out of it"?
            "Walker------I was going to pay $320 for it---Syd talked the lady into a 20% discount----the original price was only $400--why did you pay $450?"
            Now Walker is getting angry, "Because the saleslady said I was getting a real deal------"
            Alex is trying not to laugh, "Honey----she saw you coming a mile away."
            Walker is now pacing, "I can't believe I fell for it---that's price gouging-----that's illegal!"
            "I hope you kept your receipt."
            Walker starts reaching into his pocket, "No-----I guess it was in my other jeans---you haven't washed them yet, have you?"
            Alex nods, "Yes----I did all the laundry yesterday.  But that doesn't matter---we are both going to pay that store a little visit, especially the sales clerk! Was she about early 30's, dark short hair, and kind of grumpy?"
            "Yeah---that's her, and to think I felt sorry for her because she was trying to put him into the display window and she was bending his neck----yep-----I fell for it---hook, line, and sinker! But, I was thinking what a nice gift it would be for the baby."
            "Sweetheart---it would not be the first time that you have felt sorry for a damsel in distress---oops---better not go there, huh?"
            "Right----that's a forbidden subject-----and we have enough to argue about!"
            Alex looks back to George, "You're not really going to take him back, are you? There's got to be a way to make the music stop---the sales lady said to yank the right rein to stop it and make it start. The left rein makes the head go up and down."
            "Alex---I wouldn't believe anything that woman says---and believe me, Trivette and I have yanked on those reins. We've tried everything to stop the music, just short of ripping his belly open and pulling out that damn mechanism box!"
            "Well?  Open him up and see what the problem is!"
            "I don't have time to get into that now---I got to meet Trivette and see how that sketch artist is making out on the description that Charlie gave him."
            "Charlie?  Not our old friend, Charlie Brooks--I thought he moved to Hollywood?"
            "Well, he's back and come to find out, he was friends with Dale the Snail----you know, he got killed?"
            "Yes, I heard---so Charlie saw the suspects that might have killed this--- Dale the Snail?"
            "Yeah, I got to be going. I will perform surgery on your George when I get home tonight." Walker takes his wife back into his arms, letting his hands drop to her buttocks and squeezing lightly, "and, later---you and I can play 'doctor."
            Alex giggles, stroking her husband's cheek, "Oooooo, right on, Cowboy--hope I can wait that long".
            Walker grins, "Well maybe, I just won't go back to work at all, how does that sound?"
            Alex cuddles closer to him, "Okay with me----you know how much I love ‘nooners’.”
            Walker laughs, "Alex---you like it----anytime."
            She pulls back and purrs at him, "And---like you don't?"
            He starts nibbling on her neck, "Guilty as charged-----I better get out of here while I can still walk---it takes me a good two hours to recover after you get through with me!"
            "Just two hours? I must be losing my touch---I can remember when it would take you a whole afternoon to---- recover?"
            Walker stares back at her, "Alex----I have never needed a whole afternoon------and ‘no’ you haven't lost your touch---you’ve just got me broken in, that's all!"
            She reaches back and pulls his body to her, she purrs---"Prove it," she challenges.
            "Woman, behave yourself----Trivette is going to be calling anytime, wanting to know where I'm at and you know how you hate interruptions."
            She sighs, "Yes---I know----and I don't like 'quickies' either-----I like it long and drawn out----with lots of-----foreplay."
            Walker slaps her playfully on her rear, "So do I----and I promise I will get home as soon as possible---so I can concentrate on doing just that!!  Right now, I just want to get this damn case over with------I feel like the clues are right under my nose---it's so frustrating!"
            Alex nods, "Okay, I'll be glad when it's over, too---and sweetheart---when it is over, could we just get out of town for a few days?"
            "Sure, hon----just think about where you want to go."
            "I don't care----anywhere there are no phones and no interruptions----maybe deep into Big Bend ---maybe go camping?"
            "Camping? Walker stares at her, "In your condition----no way!"
            "Walker-----I love to go camping---it's relaxing to me---I'm only two months, I can still do those kind of things!"
            "Yes Alex, and you're also in the most crucial time for a miscarriage---I don't want you sleeping in sleeping bags on the hard ground and doing any hiking----it can't be good for you----or the baby. Camping is out!"
            Alex looks at him in shock, "If we took air mattresses, I wouldn't be sleeping on the hard ground and I promise---a limited amount of hiking. But, the doctor said to get plenty of exercise!"
            Walker takes a deep breath as he takes Alex by both shoulders, "Look honey-----could we discuss this at a later date---humor the old man---okay?"
            Alex nods her head and smiles back at him, "Okay, let me go finish making your sandwiches---do you still want half a dozen----and do you want horse radish or mustard?"
            "All of the above, thanks, hon!"


Ranger Headquarters:
            Trivette and Charlie are watching Yancy, the sketch artist do his work. He looks back at Trivette in confusion.
            "Let me get this straight----David Niven and Danny DeVito---right?"
            Charlie stares at the man, "Yeah, that's right---do you have a hearing problem too---what's with you Rangers----are you all deaf?"
            Trivette shoves Charlie out of the way and then he goes to his desk. Charlie starts looking around, touching things on Trivette's desk, the Ranger glares at him.
            "Are you fond of that hand, because if you touch one more item---I'm going to break it! Now get somewhere and sit down----and be quiet!"
            Charlie grunts and sits down on the edge of the Ranger's desk, he looks over to Walker's empty desk.
            "Hey-----where's your partner----doesn't he work a full day?"
            "He took the giraffe home---he'll be back soon," mumbles Trivette.
            Charlie gets up and starts pacing, looking at the door, "Hey----what happened to that cute little blonde DA that worked down the hall, that was always parading in and out of here----I think she and Walka kind of had the hots for each other---what happened to her?"
            Trivette doesn't answer as he keeps pecking at his computer.
            Charlie smiles, "You know---I think she kind of liked me---I asked her out once."
            Trivette looks up at Charlie, amused---"Really----what did she say?"
            Charlie frowns, "She didn't say anything, she just looked at me and said she had to go home and feed her hamster----wonder what made her think of that?  Now she was hot----I sure would have liked to have her under the covers---what happened to her, is she still around?"
            Trivette smiles, "Charlie, I know you've been out of Texas for a few years, and not up on current events and all----if you can even read, that is! But, that hot little DA that you're panting over is Walker's wife now, they've been married about five months and expecting."
            The sketch artist turns around and looks at Trivette, "Walker's wife is expecting, when--- I hadn't heard the news?"
            Trivette groans, "Oh no----I wasn't suppose to say anything----Yancy----it's a secret---don't tell anyone!"
            "What about my wife, can I tell Shelley?"
            Trivette stares back at him, "Yes----but don't tell her till you guys come out to the bar-be-cue---on Saturday night---Walker and Alex will announce the news then."
            Yancey nods and gives Trivette the 'thumbs up'---"Gotcha covered."
            Charlie looks to Trivette, "What about me-----don't I get an invite to the party?"
            "No, Charlie----you're not exactly one of Walker's favorite people, why would he invite you---he didn't even know you were back in Texas----not that it would make any difference."
            Charlie slaps his own head and paces around, "Now----that's gratitude for ya-----I try to help you Rangers solve a case and this is what I get in return----no respect."
            "Charlie-----if Walker had heard what you just said about how 'hot' his wife was and getting her under the covers---you'd be getting a lot more than just bad respect!"
            The phone rings and Trivette answers---"Heyyy, Sam Coyote----how are you?"
            "I'm fine, Trivette----is ‘Washo’ around?"
            "No, he had to go home for a few minutes----he'll be back anytime, can I tell him you called?"
            One of the clerks is bringing Trivette some papers that he's asked for. Trivette motions for her to wait a second till he's signed them. She's listening to the Ranger's end of the conversation, "Yeah----okay, tell Walker that you will bring White Eagle to the party on Saturday night--------yeah, I'll tell him---yeah does White Eagle know the reason for the party? He already knows?  How could he know that Alex is pregnant----never mind---I forgot about that Cherokee 'thing'----okay, see all of you Saturday night---7 o’clock."
            Trivette signs the papers and hands them to the young clerk, she's staring back at him and smiling.
            "Alex and Walker are expecting a baby----when?" Before Trivette can say anything, the clerk blurts it out, loud and clear. "Hey everybody----Walker and Alex are going to have a baby!"
            The whole office is gathering around Trivette's desk, asking questions. He's trying to keep everyone quiet.
            "Look, you guys-----it's suppose to be a secret----Walker and Alex will announce it Saturday night-----at the bar-be-que---you got to keep this quiet!"
            Everyone starts going back to their desks, some of the women are whispering. Charlie sneers, "The whole office gets to go to this bar-be-que----everyone----but me.  I get no respect---Rodney Dangerfield gets more than I do."
            Trivette points his finger at Charlie, "Charlie---you better not say anything about this, or so help me--------"
            "Why would I want to say anything, Trivette----you're doing enough blabbing, and why does Walka want to keep this a secret?"
            "It wasn't Walker's idea---it was Alex's---just don't say anything Charlie----or you're dead!"
            Charlie groans and sits down, Walker comes through the door and everyone is very quiet.


            Alex has started moving things out of the little room across from their bedroom. She's smiling to herself and singing, "It's a small world after all, it's a small world after all."
            She stops and laughs, "Oh, that darn song----it sure grows on you---I can't get it out of my head."
            She starts visualizing where she wants everything and the colors she will do the room in. "Oh, I can hardly wait to start buying baby furniture--I wonder if there's a superstition on that too---there better not be---And, what about maternity clothes?"
            She goes to stand in front of her full length mirror, running her hand over her tummy. She tries pushing her tummy out, twisting around to see her figure from all sides, and then she stops smiling.
            "What if Walker doesn't find me attractive once I start putting on weight? It happens, I hear stories all the time from abused women that their husbands lose interest in them, the bigger their bellies become. No---Walker's not like that----he's just as excited as I am about the baby coming-----and getting fat comes with the territory."
She takes one last look at her figure, still talking to herself.
            "Alex---will you get a grip? Walker is going to love you no matter how much weight you gain. But, still----he's a man----and women find him attractive----point in mind---LOLA------and what about that woman down in records that just goes 'ga ga' every time he walks down the hallway----in those tight fitting jeans.  I hear the women talk,  and sometimes I wonder if he doesn't look at them in the same way they look  at him.---And, there are a lot of good looking women that work in this building alone----and what about when he has to go out of town----will he be more tempted to look---once I start gaining all the weight?"
A clap of thunder brings Alex out of her reverie. She takes a deep sigh and walks over to her nightstand, picking up their wedding picture. It's in a double frame, the other side holding the picture that was taken of them on the rafting trip. She runs her finger over his face, her thoughts going back to that first time they were intimate. She smiles, remembering the passion they both felt, and the passion had not dwindled, but had only grown over the years to follow.
            She sits down on their bed, remembering how he would always call her now when he had to go out of town. He never did that before the rafting trip and then he started calling her at her office, he would say,  "Just wanted to hear your voice."
            He never gave her any reason that he could be interested in anyone else after that rafting trip. They were together as often as they could manage, he would sometimes go to her place at lunchtime and she would join him. The weekends were always at the ranch and both of them hated for Monday morning to roll around. At the office, he was very business like and so was she---but once they were alone---things got very intense. They had eyes only for each other and their lovemaking would go all night and half the morning.

Long Necks & Baby Boots Chapter V

            Alex's insecurity is wavering, There's no way I will let this consume me with doubts about Walker not loving me, once I've started gaining weight---I won't think about anything so ----stupid. I know he loves me, no matter what---so why am I thinking this way?"
               Alex thinks back to their honeymoon in Paris. "Hmmm----he was sooo romantic----if Jimmy ever says that Walker doesn't have a romantic bone in his body----I will pulverize him! On second thought, maybe he said that because he's never known Walker to show emotion to another woman that he has shown me? Why am I defending Walker's actions----why am I even thinking like this?  Because, I assume that every new Mother-to-be has some of these insecure thoughts---but-----"
                "Alex?  Alex---are you home?"
            Alex slides off the bed and heads for the stairs, "I'm coming."
            When Alex gets to the bottom of the stairs she sees their neighbor, Martha Ferguson, holding a basket of vegetables. The woman is smiling back at her, her silver hair shimmering.
            "Martha!!!  It's so good to see you---get in here out of the rain----where's Hank?"
            Martha comes in smiling, and taking her rain coat off, "He's out in the barn, putting that ointment cream back that Cordell let him borrow---he'll be in a few minutes.  We're not disturbing you, are we?"
            "Of course not---come in, I'll make some coffee----what have you got there?"
            Martha holds the basket up, "I got all of these picked right before the sky opened up. I got tomatoes, corn, squash, cauliflower, and okra-----I know how much Cordell loves fried okra."
            Alex laughs, taking the basket, "Oh, where were you the other night, Walker was wanting okra with his meat loaf? I had to go to the farmer's market-----and theirs is not near as good as the ones you grow."
            Martha's eyes grow big, "You mean you went to the enemy---Alex----why didn't you come to our ranch, I always have okra, frozen and fresh."
            "I'm sorry-----and as usual the okra from the market was tough, I'll never learn! Here---let me take those into the kitchen and get them washed."
            "No need, they are already washed---they just need to be bagged and put in your freezer."
            "There's no way that okra or the green tomatoes will last long enough to be put in the freezer, Walker will be eating the tomatoes by the handful----and what else are you hiding under that apron?  Do I smell chocolate chip cookies?"
            Martha breaks out into a wide smile, "Yes-----with lots of pecans."
            Alex laughs as Martha pulls out a cookie tin, filled to the brim. "Martha-----how can I ever compete with you on chocolate chip cookies---mine never taste this good."
            Martha hears the music from George as she looks towards the guest room. She looks back at Alex and replies, "Well, I have quite a few more years experience than you in that department----Alex, what is that music?"
            Alex takes one of the cookies and motions for Martha to walk over to the guest room with her, she opens the door and George's bended neck pops out of the door, scaring Martha.
            She jumps back, and both of the women start laughing. "Martha-----meet George-----hey---how about that--- Martha and George----too bad his last name isn't Washington."
            Martha stares at the giant giraffe, and starts humming to the music, "Kind of catchy, isn't it?"
            Alex laughs, "Yeah-----and becoming a nuisance---we can't figure how to make it stop----and now he's tilting."
            The women are staring at George, when they hear Hank coming in, "Lord----it's pouring again----better head for higher ground!!"  He sees the giraffe and steps back, pretending to draw his gun. "Don't fear ladies---I'll kill that overgrown varmint."
            They all laugh, and Hank embraces Alex, "How you doing kid-----staying dry?  And, what the heck is this thing doing here?"
            "Walker bought him for the baby-----oops---you didn't hear me say that, did you?"
            Martha and Hank look at each other and smile, they nod their heads and Hank replies, "See----I told you, didn't I, Martha?   I knew when Walker came by the house the other day to invite us to the cookout tomorrow night---that something was up. There was no mistaking that silly little grin that was on his face as big as TEXAS---I knew it---I told Martha----Alex is pregnant----didn't I tell you that, dear?"
            "Yes---you old coot---you told me a dozen times---now hush up!" Martha walks over to Alex and hugs her. "We are so happy for you two, we have been waiting to hear this news ever since you two got married."
            "Actually----before--you even made it legal," grins Hank.
            Martha turns around and swats her husband and she blushes, "Hank!! Don't listen to him Alex----he's just being fresh."
            "Oh, Martha", replies Hank as he pats her rump, "stop being such a prude---it's natural for this generation to sleep together before marriage---it's no big thing----is it, Alex?"
            Alex tries to clear her throat, "Why don't I fix some coffee?"
            "Sounds good to me----why is that animal tilting over to the side, does he have a broken leg? Maybe he should be shot."
            Alex sighs as she rubs George's long neck, "I'm afraid that my husband and his partner got a little short tempered with George when they were trying to stop the music from playing continuously----Walker will try and fix him when he comes home tonight."
            Hank stares at the giraffe and then under his belly, "Probably just some crossed wires-----I'm pretty handy with stuff like this----want me to open him up and see what's going on with his innards?"
            "Well---yeah, I guess----if you don't mind."
            Hank looks at the belly again, "No problem, kid---I'm going to need a Phillips screwdriver."
            Alex goes to the kitchen and brings him back one. Hank is trying to get the flap open, but it won't budge. "This is weird----there's some kind of liquid around the little door here, sealing it."
            "Maybe they don't want people like you messing with their merchandise, it might not be under warranty---if you mess with it, Hank," Martha warns.
            "Oh, hush up woman----I got to go to my truck and get something to soften up this stuff----once I get inside---I can fix this overgrown rodent."
            Alex smiles, "Come on Martha---let's go fix that coffee, and I want some more of those chocolate chip cookies."
            "Okay, but we have to save some back for Cordell---we can't eat them all."


            Walker is watching as Yancey is putting the finishing touch to the sketches. Charlie is looking over his shoulder, "Not so much hair----thin it out----and---the moustache is too thick. What's wrong with ya', can't you listen to simple instructions?"
            Yancy turns and looks to Walker, pleading. Walker turns to Charlie, "Sit down, Charlie and let the man do his work, he knows what Niven and DeVito look like."
            Walker goes to his desk and Trivette goes to deliver the message from Sam Coyote. Charlie is again looking over Yancy's shoulder.
            "Ya do good work, I just want ya' to know that, I wasn't being rude---sometimes I just rattle on, I don't mean to----I just got that bad habit---ya' know?  Hey---let me ask ya' something----do ya' draw the whole bodies----ya' know?"
            Yancy shakes his head, "No----I just do faces----there's not a whole lot of requests for whole bodies to identify."
            "But, ya' could draw a whole body, if you wanted to---right?"
            "I suppose –why?"
            Charlie looks around to make sure no one is listening, "Could ya' draw me a picture of a nude lady?

            Yancy stares at him, "A nude picture, are you crazy-----do you want to get me fired---I'm a police sketch artist----no----I won't draw you a nudie picture----now get away and let me finish."
            Charlie smirks, "Wellll---excuse me for breathing!"
            "Charlie----get over here and leave him alone---I'm not telling you again!"
            Charlie walks towards Walker's desk, "Hey---I'm hungry----is there any food to eat in this place?"
            "How can you be hungry, Charlie---you just ate an hour ago?"
            "So--sue me Trivette---I'm hungry!"
            "There's a cafeteria downstairs, and vending machines in the hall-----take your pick."
            Charlie stands there, looking back at the Rangers, "Could I------borrow some money?"


            While Hank tries to get the lid open on the mechanism box, Alex and Martha are having a 'girlie talk'.
            Alex is hesitating about asking Martha a question, but the old woman can see the signs. "Okay, Alex----I know you're dying to ask me something---what is it?"
            Alex takes a deep breath, "Martha----what did you think of Ellen---the woman Walker was engaged to marry?"
            Martha sips her coffee, "Ellen-------how long has it been now she was killed----or rather---murdered?"
            "I think about 12 years now--I'm not quite sure."
            "Well, I thought Ellen was a very lovely girl----and how she loved hat Cordell."
            Alex swallows, feeling a little uneasy about bringing up the memory of her husband's old flame, Martha reaches out and touches her hand, "You asked me, Alex---what did you expect me to say?"
            "I'm not sure-----it's just that for some reason----I'm having these insecurities all of a sudden. I feel like----like------Walker won't find me attractive after I start putting on weight---I'm just so confused right now."
            "Oh Alex----most every woman has those kind of feelings once they become pregnant---but it's usually after they've started gaining. It's perfectly natural to have these kind of feelings---but why are you asking about Ellen?"
            "I guess I was just wondering if she would have had them too----she was so pretty and such a beautiful figure----would she have had these insecure thoughts too----I don't know why I'm asking."
            Martha pats Alex's hand, "Well, as far as I'm concerned, Ellen didn't have anything on you in the looks department----yes----she was pretty and she was very nice----but there was something missing."
            "Missing?  What do you mean?"
            "Well, I might be telling tales out of school--but I do know one thing---Cordell's whole face lights up when you're around----I never saw ‘that look’ for Ellen. I know he loved her and she loved him----but even if she had lived and they got married----I don't think the marriage would have survived very long."
            Alex pours them more coffee, "Why do you say that?"
            "We only met Ellen a couple of times, Cordell and she came to our place for dinner several times and we came here a couple of times. Ellen was very much in love with Cordell, she ‘hung’ on his every word. She never argued with him, it was always what Cordell wanted, was just fine with her---it was like she had no mind of her own. But, Ellen was a very intelligent woman---and yet she never once disagreed with anything that Cordell said, whether he was right or wrong! I told Hank that I didn't think the marriage would work, and he too, agreed with me."
            "Was that the only reason you thought that?"
            "When two people enter into a marriage----they are still two different people, and there are two sides to everything. You don't stop having an opinion just because you sign a marriage license. Being in love is great, but giving up your independence is not worth it, and that was exactly what Ellen was doing."
            "Wait a minute, are you saying that Walker wanted her to be inferior to him, that does not sound like Walker at all!  Walker and I have clashed many times on things that we've disagreed on, but he's never come across as being condescending!"
            "Alex, when Cordell came back from Nam, he was a very different man. He and Hank knew each other there, that's where they met. Though Hank was a few years older than Cordell, they were very good friends. Then they found out that they were both from Springtown, Texas--they became even closer friends. My Hank left that hell-hole before Cordell, Cordell was there right in the most bloodiest part of the fighting----how much has he told you about that place"?
            "Not much-----he doesn't like to talk about it. But---I know it was horrible, I've heard the stories and I've been with Walker when he had the nightmares---but what has this got to do with Ellen?"
            "This doesn't have anything directly to do with Ellen, it's just that when he came back, it was a long time before he started getting out into the social life. Hank said that he had lady friends, but he never talked about them and he sure didn't introduce them to us or anyone else that I know of! Then Ellen came along and things just happened too fast. He was like a kid with a school crush, and she was crazy about him. They knew each other just a short time before they were engaged, making plans for the future. But, like I said--something was missing. I think Cordell was just lonely---and he was in love with the thought of ‘being in love’."
            "I just can't picture Walker----being that way. I've always known him to be hot tempered, stubborn, and we've always had arguments. We had an argument the very first time we ever met---he's not chauvinistic. He's always listened to my point of view."
            "That's because you've never let him get away with it---you've always stood up to him---and I think that's what he's always needed----a woman that is not afraid to speak her mind!  Alex, Cordell was a very different person when he came back from Nam----he was bitter, and the war left many scars. You came into his life at just the right time, if you had met him earlier---I don't believe you would have liked him very much.  He didn't much like himself."
            Alex smiles weakly, "I've always been that---opinionated. I take after my Dad---and he's just as stubborn as Walker, they're like two peas in a pod and I've told both of them----just that."
            Martha shakes her head, "Alex----I don't believe for one minute that you are truly believing that Ellen would not have had some similar doubts about impending Motherhood and all of the little 'quirks' that come with it. I also don't believe that you are still jealous over her memory---or you would not have allowed those morning glories to still grow---and I must say----they are beautiful."
            Alex smiles, thinking about the plant that Martha has mentioned, " It has really gotten beautiful over the past few years, hasn't it---it's spreading like wildfire."
            Martha nods, "Yep, I remember the day Ellen planted those seeds, I tried to tell her they would do better on the south side of the house, but she insisted on the west side---because Cordell wanted them there!  And, I was right----they got too much Texas sun, and they were burning up. As soon as you moved them to the south side--they started growing like wildfire."
            Alex laughs, "Walker still balks at me when I make him help me unravel the vines so they will grow faster, he threatens to run over them with the mower----but I know he's just teasing.  And, he's the one that always says how beautiful they are in the morning, and he then teases me about getting up at sunrise to see them.  I told him I would take his word for it."
            "And, you never had any regrets about letting that plant live, even knowing that Ellen planted them?"
            "When I first started staying here at the ranch, Walker asked me if I wanted him to pull the plants up, even though they weren't doing too well, I couldn't let myself be jealous of a plant. I would like to think I was above that pettiness. So---we sort of compromised and I asked him to move them to the south side----and 'no'---I have no regrets."
            Martha laughs, "And, what about the honeysuckle--is he still complaining about them growing everywhere?"
            "Only when he has to get out and cut them back, and then he puts a bandana over his face"!
            Martha almost chokes on her coffee, "A bandana, why?"
            Alex is laughing, "He says he has a 'image' to uphold, and he doesn't want the neighbors seeing him out playing with the plants."
            Martha shakes her head,  "We're your nearest neighbors----and we live almost 5 miles away-----how are we going to see him? Oh, that man---what am I going to do with him?"
            Before Alex can answer, Martha blurts it out "I know---I'll stop baking him chocolate chip cookies."
            Both of the women are laughing and Alex nods her head, "That'll work."
            Suddenly a loud voice is heard coming from the front room, "Holy crap----Alex--Martha--come here---now!"
            Martha jumps up from the table, "Oh my God, what has that man done now?"
            They run to the front room and they see stuffing all over the floor, George is lying on his side.
            "Hank---what did you do?" Yells Martha.
            "I didn't do anything---look," he points inside the giraffe's stomach.
            Alex walks over slowly and looks inside, she sees guns--in all shapes and pieces. "Oh, no----this must be the way they've been concealing weapons."
            Martha looks at Alex in shock, "Who is concealing weapons?"


            Yancy has handed Walker the finished sketches. Walker shows them to Charlie, "Well, do the suspects look like this?"
            "Oh, yeah" Charlie clears his throat, "that's them---right to the tee."
            Trivette takes the pictures, "Okay, I'll get them on the wire and run a profile on known offenders that fit this description-----a regular Mutt & Jeff combo."
            "Yeah," whispers Charlie---"they're real scary---almost as scary as you two."
            Walker's phone is ringing; he goes back to his desk to answer it.
            "Walker----you have got to come home---now!"
            "Alex?  Alex, are you alright?"
            "Honey----I'm fine---but George isn't!"
            Walker shouts to Trivette and the Rangers are out the door. Charlie smiles and walks back over to Yancy----"Now, my good man-----what will it cost to get me a nudie?"


            Walker and Trivette are staring at the guns; there are pieces of semi-automatics of all makes.
            Trivette whistles, "Well, that explains why he was so damn heavy!"
            Walker nods, "And, it also explains that false eyelash that I found, ‘George’ here has the same eyelashes---how could I have not noticed? The clues were right there in front of me, how could I have been so blind?"
            Alex rubs her husband's back gently, "Honey----stop taking this so personally."
            Trivette nods his head, "Yeah, Walk-man---stop beating yourself up----I didn't see the clues either."
            Martha touches Walker's shoulder, "Cordell----it's not like you haven't had other things on your mind too, with the baby coming and all?"
            "Oops--I'm sorry Alex----I let it slip----I'm sorry."
            Walker glares at his wife and then to his neighbors, "I'm beginning to wonder if anyone is going to be surprised at the cook-out tomorrow night."
            "I'm sorry, Walker----but-----Martha and I sort of guessed it already----or at least we had a good feeling that's what it was----when you came over the other day and invited us."
            Walker shrugs, "It's okay, Hank----just ‘act’ like you're surprised, okay? Now we got to take all of this evidence downtown, and start getting the invoice sheet out on all the weapons that are still missing."
            "Yes----and also a little visit to The Baby Mart---you won't need a search warrant, you have probable cause to go in there and tear that place apart, if need be!  And to see how involved that saleslady was that sold you ‘George’.”
            "You know that ‘George’ will have to go downtown too, he 's evidence."
            Alex nods her head slowly, "I know, just go easy on him,---- he wasn't a ‘willing accomplice’.”
            Walker turns to Trivette, "Cuff him, partner----and don't forget to read him his rights."
            Trivette puts the cuffs on the upper part of George's legs, and looks up at the giant giraffe, "You have the right to remain silent-----"
            Hank helps Trivette get the giraffe and the guns out to Walker's Ram.   Walker turns to his wife, his eyes narrow. "And you, Mrs. Walker----I'll deal with you when I get home tonight," he kisses her quickly and then he's out the door.
            Alex grimaces, "Huh, oh, someone is not too happy with me right now."
            Martha smiles, "Guess it's a good thing I baked lots of cookies, huh?"


            Charlie is still hassling Yancy about drawing a nudie, when all of a sudden he stops and looks up at the woman that just walked in.
            "Hoooollllllyyyy hot tamale-----who is that?"
            Yancy smiles, "That's Ranger Sydney Cooke, and you better get your eyes back in your head, before she knocks them out!  She is one tough cookie."
            Charlie smiles, letting his eyes go up and down Syd's small frame. He studies the long dark hair and eyes, then he straightens himself up and walks over to her.
            "Excuse me----but did it hurt?"
            Syd looks at Charlie and then in back of her. Her dark eyes confused, she looks to Charlie again, "Did what hurt?"
            He grabs his chest, and whimpers, “When ya' fell from heaven---did it hurt?"
            Syd waves him off, "Get lost---you pervert."
            Charlie stares back at her; his eyes look to her in shock, "Is that anyway to talk to the future father of your kids? ----I think we should have at least three---no----make that four! But, I don't think ya should start popping out babies right away-----I mean----WOW--with that figure-----maybe we should just adopt----what do ya' say, honey?"
            Syd takes a deep breath then grabs Charlie by his collar, "Listen---you little twerp-----if you're not out of my sight in exactly 2 seconds, you're never going to know the joy of 'fatherhood' ----do you get my meaning?"
            Charlie tries to swallow, "Yes-----my buttercup-----I hear you loud and clear."
            Syd shoves him backward and then continues going through the papers on her desk. Charlie is backing up to Yancy's desk. Charlie looks to him and grins. "Ya' see that----she can't keep her hands off me."
            The laughter can be heard coming up the hallway as the two Rangers walk in with a handcuffed ‘George’. Walker sighs and walks over to his desk, Trivette is holding the cuffed legs up and grinning.
            Trivette starts bowing, "Thank you, thank you-----this was my greatest hour---it was the best of times, it was the worst of times---But I do not know the meaning of the word—‘fear’ and I would not back down, no matter how many times--this--this long neck criminal tried to outsmart me. I was fearless to the end------"
"Excuse me, Sir George---but I hear your master's voice----" he walks over to Walker's desk. Syd is staring back at the giraffe and she walks over to the two Rangers. Walker sees the confusion on her face.
            "It's okay, Syd----I know that you know------and all of that.  Anyways, here's description of the known suspects, and we've found some of the weapons----they were inside ‘George’ over there, we need to…”
            "Wait a minute----Gage and I just saw this one guy----he was at The Baby Mart," she points to the picture of the David Niven look a like.
            The Rangers exchange glances, "When, when did you see him?"
            "Just a few hours ago----he was buying another---‘George’----he said it was for his daughter!"
            Trivette nods, "Well, that settles it---The Baby Mart is definitely involved----it's a 'front'. They’re moving the guns by the giraffes----and maybe by other stuffed animals, too.  So, how do you want to handle this, Walker?"
            "First of all, we see how involved The Baby Mart is, and who their supplier is. Alex said she tried to buy another ‘George’ but the saleslady said they were all out--then this Niven guy comes in and purchases one, supposedly for his daughter.   Syd----you and Gage take the mart and-----“
            Syd frowns, "Can't do it, Gage has the flu-----he's completely out of it----took some Therma-flu medicine-----out like a light."
            Charlie is standing back watching the exchange in conversation, but he keeps eyeballing Syd. He clears his throat and walks up beside her, she quickly moves to the other side of Trivette.
            "Okay, okay, I'll do it----" Charlie says.
            "What are you mumbling about, Charlie?"
            "Ya need someone to go undercover with this lovely lady---I volunteer."
            Syd stares back at Charlie and to Walker, shaking her head and gesturing with her hands---"No way Walker-----I am not working with this creep."
            "Charlie, no one said anything about working undercover----besides we have plenty of officers for that."
            Charlie grins as his eyes go up and down Syd's figure, "Yeah----but they don't know what this guy looks like---I do."
            Trivette pops him in the head with the sketch of the Niven suspect, "That's what the sketches are for, Charlie."
            Walker is quiet as he keeps looking at Charlie and then to Syd, "He may have a point there, Trivette."
            Syd's eye grow big------"Walker----no!!!!!---Please don't have this pervert working with me------I'd rather go back to being a meter maid than work with this-----this----over grown------rat."
            "HEEEEEYYYYYY--that weren't nice----remember I'm your future, the 'father" of your babies------we need to get to know each other, sweet thing-----after this little case is over---maybe we could go back to your place and get acquainted over a nice little bottle of champagne."
            Syd turns on the grinning Charlie----"You got a short memory---don't you "twerp'-----maybe I should remind you."
            "Okay, you two----Syd----Charlie does know the suspects ----you've worked with 'lower life' before-----what do you say?"
            Syd groans, "Walker-----I'm asking for a raise after this one."
            Trivette grins, nodding his head, "Good luck, I've been asking for a raise for two years now."
            Charlie stares back at Walker, "Lower life?" I thought we were friends, Walka."
            Walker shakes his head, "Friends? Charlie---I don't think so----now are you in or out?"

Long Necks & Baby Boots Chapter VI

By Sasquaw

Charlie has agreed to go undercover with Syd, much to her disappointment.
            While Trivette is getting the names of known weapon smugglers that fit the Mutt and Jeff description, Walker goes over the plans with Syd and Charlie.
            "Okay, guys---the names fitting this description are best know as Merle Johnson and Dudley Carmichael," Trivette hands the information to Walker.
            Charlie sneers and repeats the name of "Dudley Carmichael----I'll be willing to bet that's the little guy."
            Trivette grins, "Well----you would be wrong, wise guy, Dudley Carmichael is the David Niven 'look alike’."
            Charlie shrugs, "That would have been my next guess."
            Syd rolls her eyes, "Are you sure I can't call Gage?"
            Walker smiles back at her, "Yes---I'm sure-----the poor man is sick, remember."
            Syd shakes her head, "After this----he's going to be dead!  Come on, Charlie----let's go down to wardrobe and get you dressed to fit the part."
            "The part of what?"
            "That's what I got to figure out----do they have 'mole' disguises?"
            Charlie watches as Syd walks off, "Oh, that hurts----but I'll forgive you----after all I can't stay mad at the Mother of my future children for very long----because then we couldn't snuggle under the covers and…"
            "One more word out of you, you little twerp and you're going to be peeling yourself off the wall---am I making myself clear----this time?"
            Charlie backs up; Walker and Trivette are glaring at him. "She means what she's saying, Charlie---the last guy she knocked into the wall, ended up in the next room," replies Trivette.
            Charlie smiles, rubbing his hands together, "I like a woman with spunk---lead the way, cupcake----I'll follow you anywhere."
            Walker shakes his head and walks back to his desk, dialing his home phone. "Hi hon."
            "Hi honey---how's everything going, are you making the bust yet?"
            "We're getting the last of the details ready, we'll be ready to roll soon. Thought I'd better call and tell you not to hold supper-----I'll pick up some Chinese food on the way home."
            "Honey---I hate to keep reminding you---but what about the toilet in the downstairs bath?"
            "Damn it," replies Walker, "I forgot all about that-----is it leaking very much?"
            "Yes, I'm afraid so---every time it's flushed, it leaks more----and Walker, there is no way we can have some 50 guests using our bath upstairs!"
            "Maybe we should just cancel the bar-be-que."
            "Honey---we can't do that either --I called Fat Alberts and because of all the rain, we can't possibly have it outside-----so he's going cater the whole meal----inside!!"
            Walker sighs, "Well, okay, I've got just enough time to swing by the hardware store, I'm going to replace the whole thing instead of just the rings----Wait a minute---how many people did you say-----50?"
            Alex winces, "Yeah, honey---close to that. By the time you count everyone in your office, everyone in mine, Josie and the people at the HOPE center, White Eagle, Sam, the neighbors----honey I said food for 50---I don't think that many will show up----but I would rather have too much----than not enough!"
            "Yeah----you're right---I got to run, don't wait up."
            Alex smiles, "Okay, I'll just fix a sandwich to hold me over----and get back to what I was doing."
            Walker sits down at his desk and turns his back to the rest of the office, lowering his voice. "And----what was it you were doing?"
            Alex reflects back to her insecurity feelings she was having, "Oh----I was just having a argument with myself---and I ended up giving myself a good tongue thrashing."
            Walker grins, "Oooohh, now that would be something to see. Honey---are you trying to be a contortionist?  And besides---the tongue thrashing is my department."
            Alex flushes, "Well, you weren't home and I had to improvise----besides---that's not the kind of tongue thrashing I was referring to and I'm hanging up now----got to concentrate on what I'm doing."
            Walker continues to tease her, "Alex---that takes no concentration at all---it just comes natural."
            Alex can feel herself getting aroused, "Walker----I'm hanging up now."
            "Wait a minute---before you go---I got a joke for you."
            Alex takes a deep breath and smiles, "Are you and Jimmy telling jokes again?"
            "Trivette tells them---I just listen----sometimes.---Are you ready?"
            "Yes, honey---I'm ready."
            "Okay, here goes---Do you know why a male sperm takes so long to reach its destination?"
                        Walker waits for a reply, "Alex?"
            "Yes honey---I know why.  Because like the typical male---they won't stop and ask directions!"
            Walker frowns, "You've heard the joke?"
            Alex is now laughing, "Yes honey, I heard it the first time I had to go for my doctor's appointment-----it's a running joke between all expectant Mothers."
            Now Alex is waiting for a reply, "Walker----are you there?”
            He mumbles something and Alex asks him to repeat it, "I said----I'm not too proud------to stop------and ask for---directions."
            "Good, sweetheart----Maybe our first born will be a male----a little confused when he comes out----but the delivery nurse will make sure he follows directions----bye honey----love you."
            Walker is still holding the phone as his partner walks back over to him, he sees the look of confusion on Walker's face.
            "What's wrong?"
            Walker places the phone back on the hook, shaking his head and muttering, "Just once----I would like to be able to surprise that woman----and when I try to tell her a joke---she already knows the punch line---why is that, Trivette?"
            Trivette grabs Walker's hat and places it on Walker's head, "Because you got no style, Walkman--I keep telling you that."
            Walker reaches up and adjusts his hat, "Come on---I’ve got to swing by the hardware store and pick up a toilet."
            Trivette mouths the word, "Toilet?"


Syd and Charlie have arrived at the Baby Mart, Syd is giving Charlie last minute instructions.
            "Okay, do you understand what you're suppose to say----and do?"
            Charlie is all decked out in a English cut suit, complete with a ascot. His dark hair is slicked back and he's carrying a walking cane. He clears his voice and smiles at the young female Ranger who is dressed in a business suit and sporting horn rimmed glasses.
            "Yes, my little lamb chop----I have everything under control------as always."
            Syd shakes her head and mumbles, ""Gage-----why did you have to get sick now---of all times?"
            The two walk up slowly to the counter, a younger saleslady is behind the desk now. She stops doing her paper work and looks at the couple, "May I help you?"
            Charlie clears his throat and tilts his head backward, "Yes-----you can help me----where is the person in charge?"
            The young saleslady stares at Charlie----"She's in the back office----may I say who is wishing to talk to her?"
            Charlie stares at the young lady----"Tell her--THE BOSS-- is here------and I hate to be kept waiting."
            The young lady turns and walks hurriedly to the back of the store. Syd grabs Charlie's arm and hisses at him----"THE BOSS? What kind of code name is that?"
            "Code name-----what code name-----we didn't discuss a code name."
            "Well----it's too late now----that's the manager coming now-----remember-----be firm

            The manager approaches the couple and she too, stares, "May I help you?"
            Charlie meets the woman's stare, he narrows his eyes, "I'm here for the merchandise ---IT is ready to be picked up--I assume!"
"And-----that merchandise would be?"
            Charlie emits a small chuckle, "Cautious----I like that in my people---but too much of it and I get down right----irritable----I have no time for games----am I making myself clear?"
            The manager motions for the saleslady to leave them, and waits till she's out of hearing range.
            "What has taken you long to get here---the merchandise has been ready for delivery for weeks now----you were suppose to have been here last Friday?"
            Charlie is starting to get a little nervous, and Syd nudges him slowly. "I got tied up with other business---now-----where is my merchandise?"
            The manager is miffed, "We only have eleven------one of my stupid salesladies let the other one get sold---I'm trying to find the receipt to find out who bought it----give me a minute!"
            As the manager goes through the sales receipts again, Syd pulls Charlie to the side. The little man is starting to shake. "You're doing just fine-----keep it up-----and stop shaking."
            Charlie wipes his brow, "Easy for you to say-----are you sure that Walka and Trivette are listening to all of this?"
            "Trivette is listening----Walker had to go buy a new toilet," whispers Syd.
            Charlie stares at the Ranger, "A toilet?  Now the man is carrying around his own toilet?"
            "Sssssh----here she comes."
            "Finally------I found it----that stupid saleslady put it in the refund pile------oh wait till I get my hands on her."
            Charlie starts tapping his nails, "That's all very interesting----I'm deeply touched by your sales personnel----now where are my other eleven?"
            The manager stares back at Charlie, "Where they're suppose to be-----with Carmichael-----didn't he contact you?"
            Charlie slams his fist down on the counter, making both the manager and Syd jump, "Does it look like he contacted me---I'm a busy man----get hold of the imbecile and let's get down to business---NOW!"
            The manager starts nodding her head, "Yes sir, yes sir----right now------I'm dialing his number now."
            Charlie swallows hard as Syd looks at him in disbelief, Charlie starts to smile, "Hey----this ain't so bad----maybe I'll make this my new job------just think, cupcake,----we could be 'bosom buddies'?”
            Syd groans, "Not in your lifetime."


            Walker has picked up his new toilet, it's not the exact shade of blue that Alex had specified, but it was close enough! The rain has stopped as he and the young man from the hardware store load it up in the back of the Ram.
            The young man jumps up in the bed of the truck and pulls it forward to the back of the cab. The water is still standing from all of the rain. The cardboard box is set gently down on top of the plywood.
            "You're probably going lose the bottom of that box once it gets saturated," replies the young man.
            Walker nods, "Yeah----but that's okay---I plan to install it as soon as I get home tonight--I just hope it doesn't start raining again."
            The young man laughs and heads back into the store. Walker stares at the box and scratches his chin. "Maybe I should run it on home---just in case."
            Walker picks up his phone just as Trivette is calling out to him on the radio. "Hey Walker-----you there?"
            "Yeah, Trivette----what's going down? Any problems?"
            "Maybe---Charlie and Syd have made their first move---it's pretty obvious that the manager of the Baby Mart is definitely involved----as soon as we get the info on where Carmichael and Johnson are, Syd can made the arrest.  Charlie has really come through----he's not a bad 'undercover' cop---he and Syd make a good couple."
            Walker laughs, "Don't let Gage hear you say that----I'm going to run ‘my project' home and drop it off-------keep me posted, I won't be long."
            "Wait a minute Walker----big problem just walked in the door of the Baby Mart-----whoa-----what a problem!"
            Walker's eyes narrow, "Trivette----what's going on----what big problem?"
            "Walker-----you are not going to believe the scene before my eyes------she's gorgeous!"
            "Who's gorgeous?  Trivette----who are you talking about?"
            Trivette is shaking his head, his eyes grow big----"Wow-----six feet of nothing----but gorgeous legs----and a body that would make a dead man sit up and beg for mercy----Queen Helene!"
            Walker swallows, "Queen Helene----the female wrestler?"
            "You got it, partner----every little sweet muscle and those boobs---my God---what boobs!"
            "What is she doing there?" Asks Walker.


            As the woman walks slowly into the store, everyone stops and stares back at her and her two male bodyguards. Charlie is looking at the manager's eyes as she looks past him and to the doorway. He turns around slowly as does Syd. Charlie's eyes go up and down the muscular frame of the woman; she's wearing leopard print tights, a tropical colored green sweater, and knee-high boots. Her long reddish hair cascades down her back, and she's wearing purple-rimmed glasses----trimmed in an animal fur.
            Syd does a double take as she whispers to herself, "Geez------someone should tell her about the fashion patrol!"
            Charlie's eyes are glued to the Amazon beauty as she struts up to him and gently pushes him aside. She stares at the manager.  One of her guards replies, "Are the Longnecks ready?"
            At the mention of ‘Longnecks’, Syd turns around and whispers into her lapel----"It's going down----Trivette----you hear me?"
            Trivette and the other law officers are scrambling to get out of the van, they all had their eyes glued to the body of Queen Helene. Trivette's voice is squeaky as he mumbles back---"We're coming in."
            The manager stares back at the guard and then to Charlie, "Longnecks?  If you're here for the merchandise---then who the hell is this little creep?"
            Charlie's eyes grow big, as the manager reaches out and grabs him-----"Heyyyyy----watch the suit!"
            Syd flashes her badge, and gun, "FREEZE!!!   You're all under arrest."
            Everyone stops and stare as Queen Helene walks slowly up to Syd, towering over her 5ft frame. She looks down at Syd and smiles.
            Syd is getting a nosebleed staring up at the woman, "Don't come any closer----I'll shoot----I swear."
            Without warning, the woman grabs Syd's gun and crushes it in her bare hands. Syd can't believe her eyes and the woman's strength. Syd jumps up in the air with her right leg extended and hits the woman to the side of her face; it barely fazes her. The woman sneers and reaches out with her hand, grabbing Syd by the neck and lifting her straight up in the air, Syd's feet are kicking out---to no avail.
            Syd is trying to speak as Charlie starts backing up, shaking like a leaf. He can see Syd's face turning blue as the woman tightens her grip around the young Ranger's neck. Charlie lets out with a loud kung fu expression and jumps up on the woman's back. The woman starts spinning around and throws Charlie off her back and then with one giant heave, she throws Syd across the room.
            Syd is sliding across the floor and the manager is rushing for the exit as does the two bodyguards. Trivette and the other Rangers are coming through the entrance and fighting to get through the melee of customers that have gathered. The fight is on as Trivette and the others start throwing punches.
            Charlie is down on the floor, shaking his head and mumbling, "Did someone get the license of that semi that hit me?"
            Queen Helene is hurrying towards the back entrance and runs straight into Walker! The Ranger bounces backwards, trying to keep his balance as the Amazon giant rushes him again. She gives a loud grunt as she reaches out and grabs the Ranger around the neck with her forearm and starts squeezing. Walker kicks backwards and catches the woman in the knee, causing her to release her grip and brings her left knee up and into the back of the bearded Ranger. He goes down in a puddle of water as the skies have opened up again and the rain is coming down even harder. The lady wrestler steps on his back as she runs over him.
            The woman's long legs are leaving quite a distance between her and the Ranger, as she is heading straight to the Ram. She makes a flying leap over the back of the truck and Walker takes a running leap, tackling her in mid-air. The two hit the floor of the Ram and Queen Helene is striking out with her long legs. The rain is blinding as Walker reaches out with the back of his hand, across her face. This infuriates the woman even more as she doubles up her fist and hits Walker in the mouth as hard as she can.
            The Ranger mumbles a curse word, "Okay, lady----I was trying to be nice----but if you want to play dirty------try this on for size!"
            Walker delivers a flurry of punches and then a upper cut that sends the lady wrestler flying backwards, hitting the cardboard box that is holding the new toilet. The box gives way from all the rain, exposing the beautiful blue porcelain of 'everyone's think tank'----and Queen Helene's head makes contact----cracking the base of the toilet.  A deep crack is opening up, and the toilet spits in half.
            Walker groans, "Oh no-----not my toilet!"
            Trivette and another Ranger have come up on the scene as Trivette jumps up in the bed of the truck, and handcuffs Queen Helen. He turns around and stares at Walker, through the pouring rain.
            "Hey partner----you okay?"
            Walker takes a deep sigh and sits down on the tailgate, "She broke my toilet," he keeps repeating to himself.
            Trivette looks down at the crumbled mess, "Wow----she's got some hard head."


            An hour later finds Walker back at the hardware store, and the manager is looking at him suspiciously. The young man that had helped Walker earlier is trying not to laugh as Trivette tries to explain what happened. The manager shakes his head.
            "I'm sorry, Ranger Walker----but that was the last shade of that color blue that we have in stock."
            Walker shrugs his shoulder, "At this point in the game, I don't care what color you have it in----just load me up one---as soon as possible."
            It's now almost 10pm as Trivette turns to his friend, "Look, Walker----go on home---I'll make out the reports, Syd and Charlie have made the bust and those other two clowns have been picked up."
            "What about the manager----have they confiscated all of the weapons?"
            "Everything is being taken care of----now will you go and get your 'project' taken care of------and George has been cleared of any wrong doing, he's a innocent bystander---I'll bring him out to the ranch tomorrow----that is---if you still want him?"
            "Are you kidding?  Alex would castrate me if I tried giving up that 'animal' now----I'll see you tomorrow."

Walker ranch, 2am:
            Alex is sitting on the side of the bathtub, as she's watching her husband put the final touches on the new toilet. She looks at its color---a shamrock green. She looks around at the rest of the bathroom fixtures, all done in eggshell blue, trimmed in country white. She tries to hide her disappointment, but Walker saw the shock in his wife's face as soon as he opened the box.
            Alex smiles softly as she hands her husband a fresh cup of coffee. "Come on honey----you've done enough----come sit down for a few minutes and relax."
            Walker takes the coffee and sips at it, as he watches his wife's face.
            "I'm sorry, hon---that was the only color they had--I promise I will change the color out as soon as all of this excitement----dies down."
            "It's okay, honey---I know you did the best you could. I'm sure our guests won't be too concerned with the color----just the job---it will be doing."
            Walker starts rubbing the back of his neck, "That's for sure---let me rest for a few minutes, and then I'll help you clean this mess up."
            "Honey---I can clean the mess up------you go upstairs and take a shower and lie down----I'll be up shortly."
            "NO WAY!  I know you and your 'few minutes'---you'll be cleaning on this bathroom till it's spotless, which means you'll be down on your hands and knees, scrubbing!!---No way---you are not doing no such thing---especially---not in your condition---you're coming to bed---NOW!"                             

            "But, Walker-----''
            "No buts, Alex----now all of this can wait till morning---and then I will help you----no more arguing."
            Walker has taken his shower and Alex is giving him a back rub.
            "Your muscles are sure tight tonight, sweetheart----what did that woman hit you with?"
            Walker mumbles and Alex again repeats her question.
            Walker turns over slowly, "Well---before she used my back for a trampoline, she hit me dead center with her----breasts!"
            Alex starts to laugh, "Her breasts?"
            The Ranger nods his head slowly, "Don't laugh----those things were heavy---knocked the wind out of me---they must have weighed at least----50 lbs!"
            Alex couldn’t stop laughing, "Ohhhh-----poor baby---and I thought every man's dream was having a woman's huge boobs being shoved at him."
            Walker grins, "Not this man's dreams----ever since I went out with Rita Kidwell in my Jr. year of high school, I've always had nightmares of being suffocated by those things!”   Walker reaches up and kisses his wife softly, "Nope---I'm more of a butt and legs man----give me a nice firm butt like this and some long sexy legs---anytime."
            Alex draws back and looks down at her breasts, "Oh----so you're saying---my breasts didn't attract you?"
            Walker's hands start wandering, "I didn't say that--I said it was your long sexy legs that got my attention, and then what was on the other end of those long sexy legs---that put my mind into overdrive. Then you turned around---and "POOF"---those eyes and the rest of your body---well---I was a goner. I have no complaints about your breasts, they are a little more than a mouthful and that suits me just fine!"
            Alex remains silent, and Walker pushes her hair back, "Hey-----something I said?"
            She starts 'toying' with the his chest hairs, "Walker----are you still going to find me attractive---when I start gaining weight?"
            Walker sighs, "Here it comes----I was wondering when you would get around to asking that question."
            "What do you mean?"
            "Alex-----I've listened to all of my friends that have become fathers over the years, and their wives have asked them the very same question. Why do you women think that way----being pregnant and gaining weight go hand in hand----what?  Did you think that I expected you to not to gain any weight?"
            "No-----I just mean that sometimes----sometimes men get turned off when their wives start gaining----they're not as attracted to their wives as before-----the cravings that women get, their hormones start acting up, we get short tempered,----"
            "Honey----I don't care how much weight you gain, whatever is necessary for you to have a healthy baby and for the delivery to be easy for you---that's my main concern---but I do have to insist on one thing."
            Alex looks at her husband puzzled and asks slowly, "What-----what one thing?"
            Walker's face gets serious, "I'm serious Alex----this could mean a divorce---I'm dead serious about this one thing!  That YOU NEVER---NEVER EVEN THINK ABOUT WEARING A MOO-MOO! NO MATTER HOW MUCH WEIGHT YOU GAIN!"
            Alex stares back at him, she's fighting to keep from laughing, "A moo-moo?"
            "That's right----I hate those things---In my opinion those outfits are like seeing a woman wearing a tent--they are the worst item of clothing that was ever invented---promise me---NO MOO-MOOS!!"
            Alex burst out laughing as Walker breaks into a smile, "I promise you, sweetheart---no moo-moos---I hate those things too---but now I think they're called caftans."
            Walker kisses her softly, "Good----that's my girl---and ‘YES’ to your previous question---I will continue to find you attractive with every little ounce you gain---I love you Alex---don't ever doubt that."
            "I love you, too." Alex kisses him long and tender then she pulls back and scoots off the bed.
            "Where you going?  Things were starting to heat up and then you 'turn me off'----what gives?"
            Alex is glowing as she runs to her dresser, "I just want to show you something." She walks back to their bed, holding up the pair of baby boots.
            Walker stares back at them and reaches out, "Where in the world----did you ever find little boots----this small?"
            Alex kneels down on the bed, "At the Baby Mart---do you like them?"
            Walker runs his finger over the little spurs that are made of yarn, turning them slowly, "Yeah honey---I think they're really cute---they are something else---I like the star on the sides."
            "I thought they were just adorable---I couldn't pass them up---they were---kind of expensive though."
            "I'll bet not near as expensive as ‘George’ and by the way –‘George’ will be coming home tomorrow.  Yancey said he has all the kinks out of George's system and he's working just fine now."
            "Oh good--everything is finally coming together---the weatherman says the clouds will be clearing, Fat Albert has called and verified the order, Dad called---he'll be in at noon tomorrow---and most everyone I've talked to has RSVP."
            Walker stammers, "Uh---about the guest list----there will be an extra guest coming."
            Alex's blue eyes look back at her husband, "An extra guest---who?"
            Walker continues to play with the little baby bootie, “---Uh---Charlie."
            "Charlie? Charlie Brooks?"
            Walker starts explaining fast, "Well----he was essential in cracking this case, Alex----he asked to come---I couldn't say 'no'---actually I did say 'no'----but----Alex---what will it hurt?"
            Alex makes a sour face and shakes her head slowly, "Charlie?  Walker, do I have time to go out and buy a hamster?"


The party:
            More than 50 guests have arrived and the Walker living room and kitchen are busting at the seams. Some of the guests are standing halfway into the laundry room, while others are trying to find standing room in the hallway. Alex is running around trying to make sure everyone has plenty to eat. She grabs Walker's arm and pulls him to the side.
            "Honey---I was so worried about having enough to eat and all, that I forgot about chairs---what will we do?"
            "Alex, calm down---Trivette and Hank have gone over to Hank's place to get some chairs and some extra tables----but where will we put them, when we get them here?"

Long Necks & Baby Boots Chapter VII

By: Sasquaw              

            Alex runs back to the kitchen to help Martha and Josie with the refreshments. Walker sees White Eagle standing in the corner and giving ‘George’ that 'look'!
            The old Indian is staring back at the over sized giraffe, he nods at Walker.
            "Washo----the spirits want to know----what is the purpose of this over stuffed animal?"
            Walker smiles as he puts his arm around the shoulder of the old man, "There's no real purpose, White Eagle---just that Alex has always liked giraffes----and so I bought it for her----" Walker lowers his voice and whispers, "and the baby."
            White Eagle smiles back at Walker, nodding his head---"That is reason enough----I am so happy for you, ‘Washo’ and for Alex---may you be blessed with lots of little Walkers."
            Walker smiles, "Thanks White Eagle---I know that you have known for some time, but when we announce it later---try to look surprised---okay?"
            "Why would I be surprised, ‘Washo’---it is only natural that two people that love each other as much as you and Alex---that the spirits would grant you the wish of having a child."
            "I know White Eagle, and we feel blessed---but this was Alex's idea of announcing it to all of our friends, and so far---I'm beginning to wonder if anyone is going to be surprised----so could you kind of go with the rest of the crowd?"
            "If that is what you want, Washo---then it shall be so."
            Gordon Cahill has made his way over to Walker and White Eagle, he whispers to Walker and is grinning from ear to ear, "Congratulations son---I'm so happy for both of you."
            Walker puts his arm around Gordon, "And, congratulations to you----grandpa---remember----be surprised."
            The three men laugh as Gordon shakes hands with White Eagle---"I guess this makes you-----a great grandpa?"
            White Eagle is smiling, ‘Shopaw’, the old Indian corrects him---I will have the honor of being ‘Shopaw’.”
            Gordon laughs, "Well----I have a feeling that between the two of us---that kid is going to be spoiled rotten."
            White Eagle nods in agreement as he looks to Walker, "Yes---but after we spoil the child---we can send it home."
            Gordon and Walker break out in a loud laugh as several of the guests look towards them. Alex is walking towards them as she playfully jabs her husband in the stomach and then glares at her Dad.
            She smiles, "Will you two behave----before our guests figure out the surprise."
            Gordon is pointing at White Eagle. "He started it, pumpkin."
            Alex walks over to White Eagle and hugs him, "And you---you better behave or I won't make you any macaroni and cheese to take back to the reservation with you."
            The old Indian laughs and hugs Alex, he makes a gesture across his lips indicating a zipper going across it, "My lips are sealed," he replies.
            Alex turns to Walker, "Honey----I think it's about time---what do you think?"
            Walker nods, "Yeah---before everyone decides to just eat and run," they walk off with the arms around each other.
            Gordon and White Eagle are still smiling as Charlie saunters over to them. He has never met Gordon or White Eagle. He smiles deviously.
            "Good people----that Walka and his wife---I know them well." Charlie takes a deep sigh as he rocks back and forth on his heels, "Yep---Walka and I are real good friends---we're like this," he gestures with his forefinger and thumb making a 'O’--yep we're like brothers!"
            Gordon and White Eagle exchange glances as the old Indian looks at Charlie's hair. The static electricity from all the rain has Charlie's hair sticking straight up. The old Indian stares as he shakes his head back and forth.
            Charlie is still jabbering, "Yep, yep----I taught Walka everything he knows---he never hesitates to ask me for help" Charlie leans closer into the two older men, "His wife---she's going to have a baby, you know? I was the first one that Walka told---we're like that, ya know---real close."

Gordon looks back at Charlie and frowns, "Really?"
            "Oh, yeah," replies Charlie---"you know not too many people know this but----Alex and I used to be an 'item', but I wasn't ready for the ball and chain, so I did the graceful thing and 'bowed' out---then Walka came into the picture."
            Gordon adjusts his glasses and stares at the little 'bug eyed' man with the frizzy hair. White Eagle grunts.
            "So---white man---are you saying that this Walker got Alex on----on how do you say it?"
            Gordon clears his throat, "I think they call it a 'rebound'----is that what you're saying? And this Alex was so vulnerable and so upset over losing you that she just took up with the first man that came along----is that what you're saying?"
            Charlie shrugs, "Yeah----something like that."
            White Eagle's hand goes down to the bowie knife that hangs to his side, as his eyes burn into Charlie's. "White man speaks with forked tongue."
            Gordon stops the old Indian from taking the knife out, he glares back at Charlie, "Young man-----do you know who we are?"
            Charlie swallows as he continues to watch White Eagle's hand rest on the knife, "Nooo---can't say as I do--who are you?"
            Suddenly Alex's voice is heard. "Dad-----White Eagle----get over here---we're going to make the announcement and we can't do that without the grandparents beside us!"
            Charlie's drink goes down the wrong way as he stares back at Gordon and White Eagle, his voice chokes up, "Grandparents?"
            Gordon stares back at him and then to White Eagle, "You don't know how close you came to being scalped---and prosecuted. How dare you say those things about MY daughter?"
            White Eagle grunts louder, "The spirits are angry-----you will have many demons to deal with."
            The two old men walk away from a trembling Charlie Brooks. Gordon smiles, "Guess we scared him, didn't we?"
            White Eagle replies, "Something has already scared him----did you see the way his hair stands up----and those eyes are like that of a-----rodent."
            Gordon smiles, "Yeah----he reminds me of a-----a  ----a hamster!"
            The room becomes quiet as Walker and Alex take center stage. Trivette is staring back, grinning from ear to ear, "Yes-----I will have a little godchild----yes!"
            Syd and a sneezing Gage are standing near by. Gage lets out loud sneeze, and Syd backs up. "I'm sorry, Syd-----I told you I needed to stay in bed."
            Syd smirks, "You were feeling just fine when you thought I was going to crawl into that bed with you."
            Gage shrugs, "Can't blame a guy for trying."
            "Ssssh----Walker and Alex are making the announcement."
            Alex is squeezing her husband's hand, as he looks back at her tenderly "Everybody----we----are going----to have a baby."
            Walker and Alex stare back at the houseful of guests, everyone is grinning back at them, then finally everyone starts clapping and the high fives are being exchanged. Walker smiles and reaches over to kiss his wife softly.
            There is no one anywhere near ‘George’ as his head starts bobbing up and down---and the music plays;
                                                "It's a small world after all,
                                    It's a small world after all.”

                                                      The End      Sept. 20th, 2002