Coffee Break

Part 3

by Jill W.

Dwayne looked wistfully at his empty coffee cup. But heíd had his limit, so he tried to keep from even thinking about having any more. Fortunately, he had a distraction at hand in the form of Dr. Erika Slate. The scientist had come up with an upgrade to Big Guyís forehead. The men were sitting around a table littered with coffee cups as Slate pointed out the improvements in the laserís design.

All looked up at a discreet cough.

"Forget something?" Mack said, without the archness that would have accompanied the question if Jo hadnít been carrying a bag of donuts.

"Yeah, my jacket... and my bike keys. Donut, anybody?" Jo asked, holding up the Krispy Kreme bag. There was a bag sitting on top of it, and she set that on the table, first. "Doc?"

"Well," Slate looked wistfully at the donut bag. "I really have to watch my weight."

"You can split one with Lt. Hunter," Jo said.

Dwayne raised an eyebrow. "I only get half a donut?" he asked.

"No, *you* get two," Jo said. "Two and a half, if Slate decides to split one with you."

"Thanks," Dwayne said as Jo deftly scooped two donuts from the bag and put them on a paper towel in front of him.

Jo handed a donut to Slate. "Just tear it in half if you donít want the whole thing," she advised.

"Thank you," Slate asked. She savored the aroma. "This smells so good," she added.

Jo handed two donuts to Mack. "And two for you, even if you donĎt deserve them," she added.

"Youíre too good to me," Mack drawled.

"I know," Jo replied, with a faint smirk.

Garth eyed her ironically. "Let me guess. None for me," he said.

Jo put an exaggerated look of shock on her face. "Why, GARTH! Why EVER would you think such a thing! I brought an EXTRA SPECIAL donut JUST FOR YOU!" and she put a Krispy Kreme jelly donut on the table in front of him. Then she smiled the same smile that had thinned out the line at the doughnut shop. "You DESERVE this donut," she purred. "Trust me."

Slate gave her a questioning look. Mack and Dwayne eyed the ceiling as if they expected the morning paper to suddenly appear up there. Jo ignored the byplay as she unpacked the coffee from the bag. She put a cup in front of each of the guys and hesitated. "Um, sorry, Doc..." she said apologetically.

Dwayne almost volunteered his coffee. Since Jo knew he was limited to only one cup, he knew she wouldnít be offended.

Slate cut him off before he could speak. "Thatís okay," she said. "Iíve already had my coffee this morning."

"Ah, good," Jo said. carried the bag of donuts and her coffee over to her locker.

Garth stared wistfully at the Krispy Kreme jelly donut sitting in front of him. He loved Krispy Kreme jelly donuts, but this one was sure to be sabotaged somehow. "Um, Lieutenant?" he said.

Slate nibbled at her donut as she tried to figure out Joís behavior.

Dwayne swallowed a bite of donut and shook his head. "Donít look at me for a handout, Garth," he said. "*IíM* not the one who sabotaged Joís coffee this morning."

That explained a lot to Slate. She is, after all, a rocket scientist (among other things).

Garth sipped his coffee cautiously as he contemplated the boobytrapped jelly donut. "Um, Mack?"

"I ainít sharin' my donuts," Mack said possessively.

"And donít even think about asking Slate," Dwayne said. "I donít want her to get involved in any clashes between the Pit Crew."

Slate was relieved, as she was already more than half finished with her donut.

Garth sighed as they went back to examining the blueprints for the new forehead laser. There was nothing wrong with his coffee, so it had to be the donut that was sabotaged. He knew Jo too well to expect the prank of this morning had been forgiven just yet.

Jo wandered back and looked at the schematics. "Sweet," she said. "You want me to stick around and help with this, Lieutenant?"

Dwayne shook his head. "Nah, you could use a break, Jo. Go have some fun."

Jo nodded. "Thanks." She looked curiously at Garth. "You gonna eat that?" she asked, gesturing to the donut.

Garth gave her a ĎYouíve got to be kiddingí look. "No, thanks," he said.

"Your loss," Jo replied. She picked up the donut and bit into it. Then she walked off with a blissful look on her face.

Garth made a face himself, but it wasnít blissful.

Dwayne and Mack burst out laughing.

"Looks like she used your paranoia against you," Mack chortled.

"Looks like," Garth grumped. He looked at his empty coffee cup in disgust. Then he looked wistfully at Dwayneís. Apparently Jo hadnít realized that Dwayne had already had his cup of coffee this morning.

Dwayne shoved it over. "Here," he said. "Iíve had my quota for today."

"Thanks," Garth said and took a swallow.

Jo stepped back and interposed the empty donut bag between the others and Garthís spit take.

Dwayne, Mack and Slate jumped up in alarm.

"Whatís wrong?" Slate asked.

"Guess Tabasco sauce doesnít go in coffee," Jo drawled.

Obviously, Jo HAD noticed that Dwayne had had his quota this morning.

Annoyed, Garth grabbed the jelly donut from Joís hand and took a big bite... out of the side of the donut that HAD been sabotaged.

Garth covered his mouth and went running for the sink.

"Revenge is sweet?" Slate asked the grinning Jo.

"You got it!" And she walked off laughing.


Jill W.
"Who thought people needed a break."

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