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Coop's New Partner

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Part 1 - Dinner Plans

It was Saturday afternoon and Will and Don were arguing amiably about what to do for the evening. On the table were going to the batting cages, the latest Bond movie, a race on in-line skates around the neighborhood, or checking to see if Nena needed some Uncle time. Also under debate was what to do for dinner. Will was uninspired about cooking and Don didn’t have any particular suggestions for places to eat out.

Don’s phone rang and he glanced at the Caller ID before answering.

“Coop, hey!” he said.

“Hey, Eppes,” Coop’s gravelly voice responded. “You in the middle of a firefight?”

Don chuckled. “Naw, just a food fight, as in what to eat for dinner.”

“So you and him gonna be around tonight?”

“Sure, sure, you in town?”

“Will be. And I’d like you to meet my new partner.”

Don sat up straight. “You got a new partner? That you haven’t killed or ditched yet?”

“Yeah. She’s the second best partner I’ve ever had.”

She?” Don laughed in surprise. “Billy ‘Male Chauvinist’ Cooper has a female partner?”

“I’m a southern gentleman,” Coop said easily. “It’s just in my nature to shelter and protect women.”

“And that’s what you do to your new partner, shelter and protect?” Don shared an amused look with Will who was listening to his half of the conversation.

“She’d bite my face off.”

“Then …?”

“Just ask Dutch how I treat her.”

“‘Dutch’? Her name is ‘Dutch’?”

“It’s not her real name but she prefers it.”

“Okay, then we’re dying to meet her.” Don raised his eyebrows at Will who nodded. “When do you think you’ll get here?”

“Couple, three hours.”

Will interrupted. “Ask him what she eats.”

Don said into the phone, “Will wants to know what she eats.”

“She’s a carnivore, like me,” Coop answered.

“Meat,” Don said to Will.

Will said, “How about ribs? I’ve got that slab in the freezer.”

“Ribs?” Don asked Coop.

“Hell, yeah,” Coop said. “See you soon.”

Coop ended the call and Don set the phone down. “Guess that decides dinner.”

“A woman …” Will said, shaking his head. “Must be some woman.”

“Yeah …” Don said, still stunned. Then he shook himself. The questions would be answered soon and he should try not to pre-judge Coop’s new partner – as long as Don still held that top spot as ‘best partner ever’.

Don said, “How about that skate race around the neighborhood, then?”

“I need to start the ribs first,” Will said. He stood up, that look on his face that said his brain had gone into cooking mode. “A fast defrost, then I’m thinking the Texas Crutch method, no, not enough time, it’ll have to be the Rendezvous method. And maybe a Tennessee Whisky sauce, no, those are good ribs, just a dry rub. Then we’ll need potatoes. Don’t have enough time to make real baked beans …” His voice trailed off as he headed towards the garage and the chest freezer.

Don smiled to himself and went to find their skates.