53 – New Year’s Revelations

Written by kadhmercer; story by kadhmercer and fcmercer

This year, the team’s New Year’s Day outing proves to be memorable for many reasons.

Takes place New Year’s Day 2010.

*******

When Catherine first proposed that the team all go out to celebrate making it through another New Year’s, her plan was met with more than ample enthusiasm. Even with all five of them working, there had barely been enough time to grab a hurried cup of coffee, let alone any proper food, the entire shift. Vegas had just been too busy making merry — and mischief.

Then she uttered the magic words My treat. The caveat As long as it’s not Frank’s only made the offer even more appealing. Nick proposed going to Simons at Palms Place for brunch as they even had pancakes for the picky eaters of the group. Sara had sighed at this apparent dig before informing him that there was nothing wrong with knowing what you like.

And as the servers there all dressed in pajamas, it wouldn’t matter that they looked like they’d all been up for (more than) half the night.

Which was why at a little past eleven on New Year’s Day, Nick, Catherine, Greg and Sara could be found sitting at the empty bar – waiting.

For Ray.

With the smell of freshly prepared food wafting over from the other side of the partition and the four of them as hungry as they were, they were all beginning to impatiently salivate.

Catherine peered down at her watch. They’d been waiting for nearly half an hour. That was late, even for Ray who was almost as bad as Grissom had been at getting out of the office anywhere near close to on time.

Nick turned to Sara. “I thought you said he was on his way.”

Sara shrugged. “That’s what he told me.”

“You don’t think he got lost?” Greg asked.

“Yeah, it’s really hard to miss the huge neon sign that reads Palms,” Nick rejoined. “You can practically see the place from the lab.” Then with a disparaging shake of the head, he pointed to the slew of peanuts strewn all over the bar, and said, “Your aim’s beyond pathetic, man.”

For five minutes before Greg had in a fit of restless energy begun shucking shelled peanuts into Catherine’s empty martini glass. Well, tried to at least.

“And you can do better?” Greg replied.

Nick gave him a look that said Clearly. And he did, if only marginally so.

Catherine set down her second glass with a heavy sigh. “You are both pathetic.”

The two of them (actually, three, as Sara was too) waited for her to commence on a polemic on male immaturity. Not that Catherine was prone to such diatribes, but considering the situation, it was probably warranted. But it never came.

Instead, Catherine continued off-handedly, “I can do better than that with my nose.”

Sara choked on the beer she’d been nursing and joined both guys in gaping open-mouthed at their boss.

“Nose?” Nick almost stuttered.

“Come on, you were a frat boy and you never shot peanuts out of your nose?” Catherine replied.

“Hell no. We were never that drunk.”

“It had nothing to do with being drunk. Well, not that drunk. Sometimes, it would be slow at the club. One night we were just sitting around bored out of our minds…”

“And thought that attempting to shoot peanuts out of your nose was a good idea?” finished Nick.

“What?” Catherine said both looking and sounding affronted. “There were a lot worse things we could be putting up our noses.”

But Greg had gotten a mischievous glint in his eyes. “Does Lindsey know about this particular talent of yours?” he asked.

“No. And don’t you even dare think about telling her,” Catherine countered.

Greg shook his head. “I don’t know, that sort of silence doesn’t come cheap.”

“You want every trash call for the rest of the year?”

Not relishing the possibility, Greg hurriedly replied, “My lips are sealed. But come on. This I got to see.”

Catherine went back to nonchalantly sipping at her drink. “Not a chance.”

Nick gave her a smirk. “Not willing to put your money,” he began, “where your mouth –”

“Or nose,” interjected Greg.

“… Is?” Nick teased.

Catherine rolled her eyes.

While Greg fixed her with a beseeching stare, Nick appeared tauntingly smug. Sara, however, honestly looked a little green. She didn’t care any more for snot than she did for saliva.

“Fine,” Catherine said, conceding defeat. “But I am only going to do this once.”

She made a quick furtive scan of the bar to make sure there weren’t be any extraneous witnesses. As it was still before noon, it was a little early for most people to be imbibing. That and most of Vegas was still sleeping off the hangover from all the celebrating the night before. So the place was, at least for the moment, deserted.

“You want distance or accuracy?” she asked, choosing a nut from the bowl.

“You said you’ve got better aim, prove it, boss,” Nick replied.

Without another word, Catherine proceeded to insert a peanut into her right nostril. Then in quick succession she pinched the other shut and blew. The expelled nut sailed neatly through the air to settle into the glass with a bright ringing clang.

At which, she gave them all a wide, triumphant I told you so grin.

The guys were appropriately awestruck; Sara still looked a little sick.

“That was…” she began, apparently having trouble finding the right adjective.

Impressive,” Greg finished. “The word you’re looking for is impressive.”

Sara shook her head. “No, more like… eww…”

They were all laughing at Sara’s uncharacteristic display of aversion when Langston came up to where they were sitting, looking breathlessly apologetic.

“Sorry to be so late,” he said. “Did I miss anything?”

For a moment, Catherine, Nick, Greg and Sara all just grinned at each other.

Finally, Greg took pity on Ray. “Just a demonstration of nasal peanut propulsion.”

To which Ray gave him a rare blank look.

Greg was just about to explain when Sara’s phone let out an insistent peel. She reached for it, glanced down at the caller ID and rose to excuse herself, mouthing Grissom as she went. Not like they had any doubts as to whom it could be. That beaming smile of hers said it all.

Greg made loud kissy-face noises at her as she passed him. Sara only shook her head in exasperation and said, “How old are you?”

From the other end of the line, Gil Grissom rather bewilderedly answered, “Fifty-Three. Fifty-Four next August, dear.”

“Sorry, I didn’t mean you,” Sara replied with a chuckle as she moved further up the bar and out of earshot. She glanced down at her watch. “You just getting home now?” she asked.

Although more often than not, that was Grissom’s line.

But Grissom had been in Michigan for the past several days attending an American Board of Forensic Entomology meeting and hadn’t been scheduled to return to Paris until New Year’s. Of course if she remembered correctly, he’d been scheduled to arrive a lot earlier that day.

“Delays that bad, huh?” she asked.

“You have no idea,” Grissom sighed. There had been heightened security ever since Christmas, even on domestic flights. And Roissy had been an even bigger mess than usual.

Then knowing full well how insane Vegas tended to be, particularly at New Years, he said, “Sounds like you made it through New Years. Relatively unscathed I hope.”

“Yeah,” she almost laughed.

Detecting the unexpected amusement in her voice, he asked, “What is it?”

Sara did laugh at this. “Gil, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” she said, then thinking about it added, “Besides, if I did, you’d probably want to try it.” She shuttered at the possibility.

“So everything’s okay?”

Sara peered over at the table she’d just vacated. The rest of the team was still gathered there. Apparently Greg was regaling Langston with a recounting of Catherine’s earlier feat, much to everyone’s delight.

“Yeah,” she replied. Then suddenly, as if she’d known for a while now, but was just starting to be fully cognizant of the fact, Sara realized just how true her assertion really was. A warm sense of contentment filled her as she smiled and said, “Everything’s good.”

*******

Author’s Note: Sometimes reality really is stranger than fiction and often the strangest of stories come from real-life occurrences.

This is one of those.

Mind you, because of some of strange rule of spousal confidences being sacred, I can’t directly name names in this case. But we’ve all seen enough CSI to know how to follow the evidence.

In 1989, my husband was working as crew to the Arizona Film Board Awards when he ran into an as yet relatively unknown actress whose most recent role had been that of a klutzy tomboy. That night, Frank was sitting at the bar, mostly minding his own business when the woman came up and ordered a regular soft drink. Considering how weight-conscious most women in Hollywood tended to be, this surprised him enough to comment on it. Apparently his remarks amused her – for shortly there was chit and then chat.

At some point, Frank (who never drinks) was extolling the benefits of being sober at a bar — principally because you could be as silly as you wanted and everyone else just thought you were drunk — when the actress asked for him to clarify, Frank, who is a master of engineering embarrassing mischief and mayhem at the drop of a hat, proceeded to turn a pretzel into a pince-nez. The actress, not to be outdone, turned two pretzel sticks into walrus tusks.

Now the story would be amusing, if the mischief stopped there, but it didn’t. The young woman leaned in and confidentially confessed that there was this trick they’d use to do on one of the sets she once worked on when everyone got really bored. It was a sort of shooting game – except it didn’t involve guns or bullets – but noses and peanuts. It was Frank’s turn to be incredulous and he promptly insisted upon a demonstration. Turns out you really can shoot peanuts from nostrils with a fair amount of accuracy. Then the two of them talked for a little while longer before after swearing Frank to secrecy, the actress disappeared off with her agent.

Not too many years later, when Frank was working as a radio DJ, he encountered the woman a second time. At first he didn’t recognize her, but when it finally dawned on him who she was, he proceeded to blurt out, live on air, “Peanut Girl” to which she was understandably aghast.

I supposed she would be even more so now, as these days she happens to star on a top-rated TV show.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: