THE POOL

 

APRIL 25, 2000

 

Walker finally found Trivette standing with a circle of other Rangers at the end of the hallway. “So, here’s where you’ve been hiding.”  Walker looked over at the group of Rangers. “You guys looking for new office space out here?”

 

Embarrassed murmurs and a cough were the only answer. Walker noticed a pad of paper being passed discreetly towards the back.  He nodded toward the man currently caught holding it.  “What’s that?” he asked in his best no-nonsense voice.

 

Seeing fear flash briefly in the man’s eyes, Walker was about to press further when Jimmy clapped him on the shoulder and steered him back down the hall.  “It’s nothing, pard. Just some sports scores we’d been arguing about.”

 

Walker didn’t buy it, but he let it drop for now.  He’d wait until they were in the Ram and Trivette had nowhere to run.

 

It had been several hours since the incident and Jimmy was starting to relax.  Apparently, Walker’s anger had more to do with not being able to find him, than in the reaction of the other Rangers.

 

Walker could tell Trivette was confident everything had blown over.  He had pushed his seat back to stretch his legs, started conversations, and even turned on the radio and hummed to a song.  Now was the time. “So, what was going on in the hallway earlier?”

 

The younger Ranger froze mid toe tap.  “Nothing, man, I told ya.   Sports scores, statistics.”

 

Walker turned his head just far enough to give Jimmy ‘the glare.’  “Then why was everyone so nervous when I walked up, if it was just sports scores?”

 

“Well, um, you just looked like you were in a bad mood.  People don’t like to get in your way when you’re in a bad mood.”

 

The bearded Ranger noticed his partner wasn’t so comfortable looking now.  Trivette wasn’t toe tapping anymore, he was tap dancing—and badly.  “Now why don’t I believe that?  I think they were nervous because I caught them doing something, and it had to do with me, somehow.”

 

Trivette saw the light turn yellow just in front of them.  Keep going, keep going, keep going, ah, damn…he thought to himself.  Walker had seen the opportunity and slowed down early.  It was time to really turn on the Walker interrogation charm.  “OK, spill it.”

 

Trivette knew that tone.  It was part of their good cop/bad cop routine.  It worked—on drug dealers, murderers, and partners who didn’t want to get into any more hot water than they already were.

 

“OK, it’s a pool.”  He knew the Rangers back at headquarters were going to kill him, but he’d much rather face them than Walker.

 

“What kind of pool?”

 

“An office pool.” 

 

“Trivette….”   Jimmy heard that slight growl that was working its way into Walker’s voice.  It was time to concede defeat.  The light turned green, giving Jimmy a few moments to muster some courage.

 

“OK, OK, It’s a pool about you.  Kinda. Sorta.”

 

“And what’s this pool about?  Kinda. Sorta.”

 

Trivette blew air through his teeth.  Traffic was definitely lighter in this part of town. The Ram was going too fast now for him to bail out.

 

“I just want you to remember that it wasn’t my idea.”

 

silence…

 

Trivette continued. “You remember that group of Rangers that came here several weeks ago from Houston?  One of them came up with the idea.   At the time, it seemed like just another silly office pool, a way to make a few bucks. But then Rangers from all over the state wanted in.  Right now, there are 98 Rangers in on it.”

 

Walker was staring straight ahead, both hands on the wheel.  Jimmy knew he was waiting for the worst of it.

 

“It’s a baby pool.  Actually, it’s a pre-baby pool.  For $10, people pick the date when they think Alex will get pregnant.”

 

The Ram suddenly moved from the high speed lane to the slow lane. Just as quickly, it veered over onto the shoulder.  Jimmy checked his seatbelt.  Whether he was preparing for a sudden braking or looking to make a quick escape, he didn’t know.  Both were definite possibilities.

 

The truck lurched to a stop as Walker threw it into park.  For several moments Walker said nothing.  He just sat there with his hands on the wheel, looking much like he had on the road.  Finally speaking, he asked “how bad is it?  How many people are in this pool?”

 

Trivette could feel the little beads of sweat starting to form on his scalp. He knew his partner wasn’t going to like the answer.  “Um, well, there’s 98 Rangers, plus most of the rest of the courthouse and retired Rangers, plus a good chunk of the Dallas P.D.”  He swallowed. “Last time I looked, there were about 250 people in on it.”

 

Walker blanched and closed his eyes. Almost 250 people had sat around contemplating Alex and his future sex life. Almost $2,500 was sitting in a kitty somewhere, waiting to go to the person who had pondered his upcoming marital relations the best.  He could hear it now.  Someone he may or may not know, going home and saying “Sorry, honey, I couldn’t pick up the milk and bread like you asked because I had to spend the money guessing when Walker was going to get Alex pregnant.”  Almost 250 friends, co-workers, and strangers were going to be standing around a watercooler waiting for the word.  A thought occurred to Walker.

 

“Trivette, what day did you pick?”

 

Jimmy fingered the seatbelt again.  “I, uh, went the fairly conservative route.  I figured your getting married would be a big enough deal for a while.”  He shrugged.  “About six months after the wedding, Nov. 24th.  It’s a long holiday weekend.”

 

“And?”

 

“C.D. said he’d been waiting long enough.  He called it in for thirty days after the wedding.”

 

“C.D. called long distance to get in on this thing?” 

 

“Yeah, he got the last early spot left.”  Seeing Walker’s eyebrows raise quizzically at the word ‘early,’ Trivette added, “the first four months are booked.”

 

Not knowing what to say, Walker simply shook his head.  It wasn’t that he was actually very mad. He’d participated in other kinds of pools over the years, himself.   And it wasn’t as if he even felt betrayed, exactly.  Mostly, he was embarassed.  

 

Seeing his friend’s discomfort, Jimmy felt the need to say something more.  “It’s not like anybody meant any disrespect or anything.  Everyone is just so curious and excited over the idea of little Walkers running around.”  An image of a little red haired boy with dancing blue eyes, wearing nothing but diapers and his daddy’s black cowboy hat, suddenly flashed into Trivette’s mind.  He smiled.

 

A small smile suddenly crept over Walker’s face, too.  He looked over at his friend.  “I’ll let you give the details to Alex.” 

 

 

Later that evening

 

Surprisingly, Alex took the news remarkably well.  Fearing the worst, Trivette had picked C.D.’s as the place to break it to her. A nice, public place where shouts couldn’t be heard above the jukebox, and plenty of people would be around to help him, should Alex and Walker decide to gang up.

 

Walker seemed to relax, once he saw it didn’t bother Alex.  As long as no one stepped over the line with innuendo, it was just another aspect of office life, as far as she was concerned.

 

Down the road

 

The big day actually happened on their first anniversary.  The winner of the pool was a young rookie cop with the Dallas P.D., who had felt pressure to join the pool to fit in with his new senior partner.  He had a young family himself, and the purse, all $3,338 of it, went to good use.

 

 

 

THE END

Copyright 2000

Janet E. Stemmer

jstemmer@one.net

 

 

'Walker Texas Ranger' and it's characters belong to CBS Inc., Norris Brothers Productions and maybe other copyright holders. This story and the author is in no way connected to those copyright holders and intends no infringement on their copyrights. The story is only meant as an entertaining tribute to a great show and it's cast and crew.  All original author and copyright information must remain intact.  Any sales or other uses of this document are expressly forbidden, without the specific consent of the author(s).