[Rated PG; By: AndrBernar]
Summary:CIA Sam (Rated PG) Gene Hackman, as Sam Colton, takes Manhattan. (Well actually, New York.)
A soft breeze stirred the curtains on the living room window in the Colton's apartment. Spring had sprung, and the sounds of birds chirping gaily mingled with the more distant noises from the main highway. Sam and Linda sat sideways on opposite ends of the sofa, their legs stretched out towards one another. They had just finished breakfast and were having their second cup of coffee while reading the paper. The light in the room alternated now and again with flashes of light from the changing scenes on the television screen.
"Sam, I love you dearly, but you don't know what you're talking about," said Linda, as she folded the paper open to a new page.
Sam was confused at first because neither one of them had said anything for a while. Sam smelled a rat. He smiled to himself.
"Did you hear me, Sweetheart?" asked Linda.
"Yes, Dear," said Sam, lowering the newspaper and politely smiling at her over the top of it to give credence to his response. He raised the paper and continued to read.
"He's not biting," thought Linda. Then she smiled. Linda too could smell a rat. She waited patiently, and after a few minutes, Sam, slowly lowered his paper to hazard a peek at Linda, only to find her sitting there smiling at him.
"What?" he asked, all innocence.
"Oh, do you always lower the paper that slowly, Sam?" asked Linda, grinning. "You were trying to peek at me."
Sam raised his newspaper again and said, "Linda, I don't have to peek at you, we're married."
"Oh, Sam," laughed Linda.
Sam, chuckling, put his paper down, and Linda crawled across the sofa to hug and kiss him.
"My little Poughkeepsie," she said.
"What would you have said if I asked you what you were talking about?" asked Sam.
"I don't know," said Linda, "I was going to wing it."
"Always come to the table prepared," said Sam, smiling. He glanced at his watch. "I better go shave."
They both got up from the sofa, and Sam headed towards the bathroom. Linda picked up their coffee cups from the coffee table and brought them into the kitchen. She hurriedly washed the breakfast dishes, hoping to finish up before Sam was through shaving.
Linda loved to watch Sam shave. She walked towards the bathroom, but Sam was just finishing up.
"Sam, do you want anything special for dinner tonight?" asked Linda, leaning against the door jamb.
"For some reason, I've been craving hot dogs and beans," said Sam, as he tilted his head back to wipe off the last of the shaving cream. He then stood there, looking in the mirror as though confused.
"Linda, why do you like the left side of my mouth more than the right?" he asked.
"I love it all, Sam. There's just something special about that one spot," said Linda, smiling as she went to stand next to him so she too could look at him in the mirror.
"But it's the same as the other side," said Sam, turning his head slightly to the left then to the right.
"They're two different places," said Linda.
"Linda, I know they are two different places," said Sam. Sam wasn't stupid. "But why do you like one side more than the other?"
"I don't know, Sam, I didn't take Chemistry. Here, wait," said Linda. Sam moved slightly aside, and Linda leaned back against the sink and placed her hands behind Sam's head. She brought his face down towards her own and kissed first the right side of his mouth then the left, then the right again, then the left again.
"Hmm. I can't explain it," said Linda, starting to melt.
"Well, keep trying," said Sam, smiling.
Later that day, Linda was setting the table for dinner. A large bowl of salad was placed in the center of the table, and the vase of flowers that normally brightened the counter next to the stove was set at a safe distance back toward the edge of the table fronted by salt and pepper shakers.
Linda turned towards the stove, and as she stirred the pot of hot dog and beans, she hoped Sam wouldn't notice that she used chicken franks instead of beef. The phone rang.
"Hello," said Linda.
"Linda, hi, it's Jim. How are you?" asked Jim Blake. Jim was Sam's boss, the Director of the CIA.
"Jim, it's so good to hear your voice. I'm fine. How are you?" asked Linda. She liked Jim not only for his calm, quiet manner but also because he had the good sense to think highly of Sam.
"I'm good, thanks. Is Sam there?" asked Jim.
"No, but he should be here any . . . Jim, he just walked in the door. Hold on, please," said Linda.
Sam walked into the kitchen, catching the last of Linda's conversation. Linda smiled and handed the phone to Sam then put her arms around his waist. Sam ran his hand up and down Linda's back with his free hand.
"What are you doing, calling my wife when I'm not home?" asked Sam.
"I was lonely. Sam, right after you left, I got a call from Operations. About a month ago, a shipment of AR-15 and M-16s never made it to Camp Pendelton. Operations got a lead to a hotel in New York, but nothing was found. Since then, we've traced weapons getting into the hotel, but we don't know how they're getting them out, so we can't track them to the buyers. They already have men on this, but I'd like you to go and just take a look around. How would you and Linda like to go to New York?" asked Jim.
The next day, Sam and Linda arrived at the Hotel Briton early in the afternoon. Their cab pulled up to the hotel just as an ambulance was pulling away from the curb.
Faded red carpets, worn in spots, and red upholstered furniture greeted them as they entered the hotel through its revolving glass doors. Garish brass frames and ornate figurines were placed throughout the lobby as though on a whim. A large white sign printed with big black letters rested on an easel near the entrance. It read: "Welcome, Seniors. We Cater to the Elderly." Below in smaller letters: "Be sure to check out our bingo schedules displayed in the elevators and dining areas."
"Joy," said Sam. Linda giggled, and they walked over to register at the front desk.
Later in their room, Sam lay stretched out on the bed with his arms behind his head, watching television. He called to Linda in the bathroom.
"How much longer will you be?" he asked.
"About an hour," said Linda.
From that, Sam made his own calculations and decided he could catch the last hour and a half of Superman II.
Linda was about to get in the shower when she heard Sam laughing hysterically through the bathroom door. Curious, she opened the door and peeked out. She could see the back of the television set that was placed at the end of the bed and beyond that, the upper portion of the bed and Sam's torso as he lay there, laughing.
"What's so funny?" asked Linda, smiling.
"Lex Luthor," said Sam, laughing, "I love this guy."
"Isn't he the bad guy? You're CIA. What if Jim heard you?" asked Linda, smiling.
"This is top secret information, but Jim likes him, too," said Sam. Sam cracked up again.
"Well, he's no Sam Colton," said Linda, enjoying Sam's hilarity.
Sam and Linda stood in the lobby of their hotel, just outside the inner door leading to the hotel's main restaurant, waiting for a table. An elderly couple waited ahead of them. The woman sat on a red upholstered bench along the glass front of the restaurant, and her husband stood by her, holding her hand.
"I'm a little nervous," said the wife.
"Just hang in there, Dear," said the old man. He glanced up at Sam and Linda and smiled. They both smiled back, and Sam asked if the woman was okay.
"She just needs to eat a little something," replied the husband.
The maitre d' signaled to the elderly couple.
"You take such good care of me," said the old woman to her husband as he assisted her up from the bench.
"I'd climb mountains for you, Sylvia," said the old man as they walked into the restaurant.
"Would you climb mountains for me, Sam?" whispered Linda.
"I don't know. What are you wearing?" asked Sam as he pulled at his tie.
Linda looked up at Sam with love in her eyes, and he leaned down and kissed her lightly.
The maitre d' now signaled to Sam and Linda, and they followed him to their table. Just as they were sitting, a commotion broke out behind them. Sylvia had dropped head first onto her table, and her husband was standing beside her with a worried look on his face. The maitre d' and waitresses and waiters ran and crowded around the couple, and Sam overheard the maitre d' telling two waiters to take the woman to his office so as not to upset the other customers. The maitre d' turned and addressed the room in general.
"Please don't panic. An ambulance is on its way. She'll be fine," he said.
"Oh, Sam, how upsetting!" said Linda.
"Yes," said Sam, "Don't worry, Sweetheart. Listen, Linda, I forgot to check in with Jim. Just go ahead and order. You know what I like. I'll be right back."
Sam went out into the lobby and called Jim Blake from a payphone.
"Jim Blake," said Jim as he answered the phone.
"Jim, it's Sam. There's an ambulance on its way here to the hotel. Wait, no, it's here now. Have our guys follow it." Sam replaced the phone on the receiver and went back to his table.
"Is everything okay?" asked Linda.
"Yes, fine," said Sam, as he pulled out his chair.
That evening, Sam and Linda snuggled under the covers.
"How did you know, Sam?" asked Linda.
"Remember when we arrived, there was an ambulance out front. And when Sylvia supposedly passed out at the table, I overheard one of the waitresses saying, 'Third one this week.' Then when the maitre d' announced that an ambulance was on its way, then I knew for sure," explained Sam.
"How did you know for sure?" asked Linda.
"He said an ambulance was on its way," said Sam, "Well, how could anyone have called for an ambulance if it just happened right then? These guys were paying senior citizens off who were sorely in need of money to fake attacks of one sort or another, telling them it was merely insurance fraud, that the insurance companies could afford it, and they were using them to get the arms out of the hotel on the gurneys. They had a whole web of people working with them, from ambulance drivers all the way up to hospital employees."
Linda leaned up on her elbow, tracing her finger along the left corner of Sam's mouth. "You're like Columbo," said Linda.
Sam started patting Linda all over, "Now where did I put my pencil, Mrs. Colton?"
"Sam, stop! You're tickling me!" laughed Linda.
Outside their hotel room, two pigeons perched on the window ledge.
The female pigeon said, "Harold, you're not going to believe this. It's Sam and Linda!" said Henrietta.
"Sam and Linda?" asked Harold, "I can't believe this. We fly all the way up here to New York and . . . oh, no, they're mating again!?"
"Well, it is mating season, Harold. You know, we should practice more," suggested Henrietta.
Harold straightened his wings proudly and said, "I got it right the first time, Henrietta. Apparently, Sam didn't. Poor Linda."
"Yes, poor Linda," sighed Henrietta enviously.
Last Updated: 20 March 2003.
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