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“Okay, see, if we’re lucky, God willing and the crick don’t rise, Vecchio pulls off a double-double on the court and will be that much more interested in being double-teamed at home,” Ray said to Fraser.

“Hmm,” Fraser said non-committally.

“Hey, a double-double is not easy when it’s cops against firefighters. EMTs, sure, no problem, although those guys are wily bastards. But, lessee…. Vecchio’s already got nine points and four assists and it’s only the half. He pulls off a double-double, he’s gonna be one happy police officer type person. And you and I may well be able to enjoy that happiness.”

“He also has two blocks,” Fraser said. “And that brilliant steal ten seconds after tipoff. Perhaps he can attempt a five-by-five.”

“His rebounding is shit, though,” Ray said sadly. He loved the guy, but facts were facts. “The Vecchio five-by-five ship sailed in junior high.”

“Well, I assumed we were speaking of some sort of fantasy game in which Ray would be able to play a significant number of minutes in the second half. Which would also be in some sort of fantasy world where, having achieved a double-double, Ray would still have the physical stamina to attend to both of his lovers at once.”

“Hey, I thought you were the optimist in this relationship,” Ray said. Before he could augment that thought, Fraser suddenly stiffened beside him.

“What?” Ray demanded.

“That player who just came on the court…who is he?”

Ray squinted. “For us or for the firemen?”


“That’s McGill,” Ray said. “Detective out of the…dunno. Tenth?”

“McGill looks like you, Ray,” Fraser said. “In addition to sharing the name of the university attended by James Naismith, inventor of basketball.”

“Not this again,” Ray moaned. “’Basketball is a Canadian sport, Ray’,” Ray said in a poor imitation of Fraser’s voice. “Invented in the US,” he said in his own voice. “And Naismith never looked back. Rock Chalk, Jay Hawk.”

“He really does bear a striking resemblance to you,” Fraser insisted. Ray looked down at the court. This really had to be bothering Fraser if he was willing to let a Canadian Heritage Minute go. Before looking at McGill, though, Ray automatically checked out Vecchio. He was currently riding the pine, towels draped over his head and knees, and a third around his neck. Why did Ray find that sexy?

“Don’t see it,” Ray said, looking at the players on the court. “He’s a middle aged cop with my build and coloring. We’re a dime a dozen.”

Fraser turned to look at Ray. “Oh, much more than a dime,” he said. Why was that sexy? Ray didn’t really care, though. It was sexy, Vecchio swathed in more linens than a white sale was sexy, and they were both going home with him, double-double or not.


“Who’s that guy on the court?” Geoffrey asked Mark. Mark looked up from his papers, which he’d been searching for a reference he thought might be useful for Geoffrey’s planned production of Henry VIII.

“Which guy?” he asked.

“The one who looks just like you,” Geoffrey said. He’d sought Mark out after reading an article he had written about the literary implications of gender-blind casting The Tempest, and they’d enjoyed a lively e-mail correspondence. Mark’s view of Shakespeare was totally alien to Geoffrey’s: academic, abstract, rooted in twentieth century literary theory rather than practical theatrical concerns. Which made Geoffrey appreciate Mark’s viewpoint even more. Not that he was going to play along with some of Mark’s more theoretical flights of fancy.

They’d arranged to meet when Geoffrey had an opportunity to be in Chicago, and, because currently Mark’s wife’s steadiest gig involved covering local non-professional sports for a weekend magazine show, ended up watching the police play firefighters in a “friendly” basketball game. The police, who all seemed to be in their forties, were getting creamed by the firefighters. Who were also in their forties.

Geoffrey was mostly watching Jade, Mark’s wife. The night before, he’d reluctantly agreed to watch a DVD of Jade, who lived to perform, whether on-stage or as a features reporter, playing Maggie in a Chicago rep production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. What had started out as being-polite-to-his-hosts had quickly turned into genuine interest. He liked the way Jade moved, both as herself and in character. He wondered if he could get her to come up to New Burbage. He thought she had great potential for Anne Boleyn; an excellent, age-appropriate foil for Ellen as Catherine of Aragon. He was pretty sure, if he could get the fickle bitch known as scheduling on his side, it would make for a great cast.

But before he could start fitting himself out for a fat suit, Geoffrey was more immediately intrigued by Mark’s double on the court. “He could be your twin,” Geoffrey told Mark. “Identical twin,” he added. Over the years of dealing with lost sibling and/or doppelganger plots, he’d learned to be specific on that point.

Mark glanced down at the court. “Dunno,” he said, apparently not terribly concerned by the resemblance. “Middle aged guy, my build, my coloring…dime a dozen.”