Mistaken Identity by Patt

Mistaken Identity - Patt

Jim stretched out in his bed for the second day in a row because he usually didn’t have any room in it. Blair was a bed hog, but thankfully that hog was at a conference in Seattle with Rafe and Brown. Jim really missed him but he did like having the bed to himself for one week out of the year.

Today was the day Jim had been dreading. His yearly physical was due and there was no getting around it. God, how he hated having a physical and he had a cough on top of everything. But he promised Blair he would behave himself and get it done, so that’s what he was doing.

He went right to the doctor’s office that morning and waited for his name to be called. He saw about five other officers waiting for their names to be called also. He didn’t make small talk with any of them; he just waited for his turn, reading a stupid People magazine. He found it odd that people were that interested in movie stars and singers. He himself, found it quite boring. But yet, he wondered why he was still reading it.

They called Jim’s name and he went back hoping it would go smoothly. First they drew his blood, five vials of it, and wrote J. Ellison on them. At least they got his name right. Next they took him for a chest x-ray and Jim saw them write J. Ellison on the chart too. Then they took him in the room for his physical with Doctor Monroe. He hated Dr. Monroe. He had fingers the size of banana’s and of course he was going to be putting them inside of Jim’s ass soon enough. When Dr. Monroe came in, he asked all of the questions and then they got down to business. When he told Jim to cough, Jim wanted to kill instead. Finally he was finished and could leave.

Jim arrived at the station about an hour later and told Simon he was going to be working on some paperwork that needed to be put into the computer. Simon was glad to have a calm Jim Ellison on his hands, he had dreaded Jim going for his physical without Blair on hand, but Jim seemed to be doing fine.

The day flew by and Jim finished up all of the paperwork that he had planned on doing. Blair was going to be so proud. He said goodbye to Simon and the rest of the gang in the bullpen and drove home.

Home had such a nice ring to it these days. He loved being in love. Blair was quite the enthusiastic lover, and Jim had no complaints about anything.

That night Jim took a shower and waited for Blair’s phone call. He always called between 9:00 and 10:00. It was 9:15 and Jim was chomping at the bit.

The phone rang and Jim answered quickly. “Ellison.”

“Hey man, how you doing?”

“I’m great, Chief, how are you doing?”

“Well, I have some bad news that I wanted to tell you about before you hear about it at work tomorrow. The classes are going so well that they have decided to extend them for another week. So instead of five more days, I’ll be gone 12 more days. I’m sorry, but it’s going to be worth it in the long run. Rafe and Brown are going to be going home tomorrow, if that helps any.” Blair hoped that Jim wasn’t going to be angry about this.

“How would that help me, Blair? I don’t sleep with them. Although by 12 days I might have to.” Jim teased.

Blair snapped back, “Don’t even tease about that, man. If I have to wait, you have to wait. How did the physical go today? Was it Monroe?”

“Yes, it was Monroe, and everything went fine. Don’t worry about me. Just worry about getting yourself home.”

“I do believe you might actually miss me, Jim.”

“I miss you like you wouldn’t believe. So make these 12 days go by quickly, all right?”

“You got it, big guy. I miss you too. I especially miss hogging the bed every night and morning. Do you miss that too?”

Jim laughed and answered, “Not by a long shot. I like spreading out a little bit. That part has been nice, but the lonely in the loft part sucks.”

Then Blair proceeded to tell Jim all about the conference and how well it was going. He explained everything new he was learning and things they planned on teaching them in the coming 12 days.

“Well, I need to go get some shuteye before I fall on my face.” Blair said smiling.

“Good night, Blair. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

“I love you, man.”

“I love you too.” Jim said sadly, missing Blair all the more tonight.

“Goodbye.” Blair said softly and sadly.

“Goodnight, Chief.” Jim replied and hung up the phone. Now the loft was lonely, quiet and Jim was blue. He headed up for bed and knew it would be another night of having a woody and no one to take care of it. He knew he could do something himself, but didn’t believe that would be right with Blair gone and all.

Jim went up to bed and thought about nothing but Blair until he fell asleep.


The next morning Simon told Jim that Dr. Monroe was in interrogation room one and he wanted to talk to him. This didn’t give Jim a warm and fuzzy feeling at all. Jim noticed that Simon was following him and he said, “Simon, I think I know where the room is.”

“He asked for me to be there when he talks to you. I don’t know what’s going on but he asked me and I’m doing it.” Simon shoved Jim into the room before he could think of anything else to say.

Dr. Monroe didn’t look like a happy camper at all. In fact quite the opposite, he seemed very upset about something.

“Detective Ellison, are you still experiencing the cough?” The doctor asked.

“Well, yes, it was only yesterday that I saw you. I’ve still not gotten rid of it. My partner usually fixes up something for me to take but he’s out of town. Why are you here?” Jim decided to cut right to the chase.

“I have some bad news, Jim, maybe you should sit down.” Dr. Monroe started.

“Just hit me with the bad news, I’ve got to get back to work.” Jim knew this wasn’t going to be good, but he didn’t really want to hear it anyhow.

“You have an extremely advanced case of lung cancer. From the tests and the x-rays, you are too far gone for any therapy. I’m so sorry to have to tell you this.” And the doctor did look as sorry as a person could.

Simon just stood there and said nothing; he had no idea what to say. He’d never had to encounter anything like this before. Jim Ellison had cancer? Fuck…

Jim was floored, he just stood there and began to pace. “There must be a mistake, that’s what happened.”

“No, Jim, we ran the tests twice and double checked your name. They were your x-rays that we looked at. I’m surprised you’re as healthy as you are. From the looks of things, you’ve got about six months, tops. I’m going to send you to a top lung cancer specialist and he’ll be able to help you through this.” Dr. Monroe was trying to be helpful.

Jim glared at him and said, “Help me through what? Through dying? I know how to die myself, thank you very much.” Jim started to leave the room and Simon grabbed him. “Wait a minute, Jim, I want to talk to you.”

“Whatever.” Jim sat down at the table and put his face in his hands. He couldn’t believe this was happening.

Simon looked at the flustered doctor and said, “I’ll take it from here. I’ll get that name of the specialist from you later this week. This is a lot to take in for one day. Let’s give Jim some time to adjust and then go from there.”

“I don’t think he understands that it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be the hardest thing he’s ever done.” The doctor was still trying to talk to Jim somewhat, but Jim wasn’t listening.

“I’ll get him to call the specialist as soon as possible. Thank you for letting us know.” Simon showed the man to the door and shut it after he left. He turned to Jim and saw Jim had his head now lying on the table, bumping it softly mumbling something as he did it.

“Jim, come on talk to me.” Simon was worried he wouldn’t do or say the right thing, but he had to try.

Jim looked sadly at Simon and said, “What would you like me to say? Would you like me to say life sucks and I wanted more time with Blair? Did you want me to say I’ll miss being a cop? How about I’ll miss you and everyone else that I have grown to love through the years? Where do you want me to start, Simon?”

Simon looked lost already and answered, “Let me call Blair in Seattle and get him back here as soon as possible.”

Jim jumped up from the table and shouted, “No…”

“Jim, you can’t be serious. You’re not going to tell him?” Simon asked sadly.

“Of course I’m going to tell him, but not while he’s at the conference. This is a big thing to him and I want him to enjoy it. It’ll be one of the last things he’ll get to enjoy before I go.”

“Jesus Christ, Jim, you’re making it sound like you’re not going to be here in two weeks.”

“Don’t worry, I’m not going to rush home and kill myself. I would never do that to Blair. I just want to wait until we’re together and he’s got this conference out of the way. Please?”

Simon could hardly turn the dying mans wishes down, so he said, “All right, but I’m here for you any time you need me. And are you going to tell anyone else?”

Jim looked shocked that Simon would even suggest it. “I’m not telling anyone until after I talk to Blair. Then we’ll discuss it and how we’ll handle telling everyone in the bullpen. Now I need you to put me on medical leave. I can’t keep my mind on the job if I’m thinking about this. I hope you understand.”

“I’ll get your paperwork ready as soon as I leave this room. You can tell everyone that you need to take some personal time off. In fact, why don’t you go up to Seattle and see Blair now?” Simon suggested.

“No, I’m not telling him until he gets home and that’s that.” Jim walked out of the door and went to his desk and began to get things ready to go home. Rafe walked up and said, “Ellison, what are you doing? Where are you going?”

“I’m taking some personal time, Rafe. Please don’t ask me anymore than that.”

Rafe just stared at Jim and never heard him sound the way he sounded and thought maybe something had happened to Sandburg. “Is Sandburg all right?”

“Sandburg is just fine. He’ll be home in 12 days, you’ll see him then. Don’t worry. It’s a family thing.” Jim thought suddenly that it would be a great excuse to use his family. He never ever used them before, it seemed only logical. There is nothing fucking logical about dying.


That night Jim waited for Blair’s call and dreaded talking to him. He didn’t want to give it away, so he was just going to have to be upbeat even though he felt like crying most of the evening.

Jim had so many things to do yet. He wanted to take Blair out of the country somewhere and have an old fashioned honeymoon, even if they couldn’t get married. Now that was all done with. Jim could feel himself losing control and he tried to think of better things.

I can’t wait until Blair is home so I can fuck him senseless and back again. I’m going to show him how much I love him every day I can.

The phone finally rang and Jim picked it up and said, “Ellison.”

“Jim, we have caller id, why aren’t you just saying, hello?” Blair teased.

“Honestly, I didn’t even think about it.” Jim said truthfully.

“All right, what’s wrong? You sound like someone ran over your puppy.”

“There’s nothing wrong, Blair, I’m just tired. It was a really long day. How was your day?” Jim asked hoping to get the attention off of him.

A worried Blair asked, “Jim, you’re not lying to me, are you?”

“No Chief, now tell me how your day was.”

So Blair went on to tell him about his day. Jim could hear the excitement in his voice and was glad he had decided not to tell him until he got home. He wished he didn’t have to tell him at all, but sometimes life sucks and you have to deal with it.

They talked for two hours and amazingly enough Jim forgot about his problems and only thought about how much he loved one Blair Sandburg.

“I better get ready for bed and you must be tired too.” Blair said.

“Yeah, I’m tired too. You sleep well, okay?” Jim asked.

Blair answered quickly, “If you still have that cough when I get home, I’m making you up a special batch of medicine just for you. And you aren’t going to fight me on it either.”

Jim was reminded once again of how sick he was and couldn’t tell Blair. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow night. I love you.”

“And I love you, Jim. Talk to you tomorrow. Goodbye.”

Jim set the phone down and never wanted to cry so bad in his life. But instead he focused on how strong he was going to have to stay for Blair. This was going to be hard on him. In fact, Jim wondered if it would be harder on his Guide then himself.

Jim went to take a shower and thought of Blair and ended up whacking off. He couldn’t help himself, he needed the release. Before he went to bed he took some safe cough syrup and hoped he wouldn’t cough all night again.


It had been six days since Jim had taken personal leave and Simon had talked to him every day but he hadn’t stopped by as yet. So Simon decided that it was time to check on him and see how he was doing. He knocked on the door and had a very sick looking man answer it.

“Jim, you look terrible.”

Jim glared at him and answered, “I hate to point out the obvious, but I’m dying, damn-it. Why are you here, Simon?”

Simon shut the door and said, “I thought you might want some company for the game tonight. I brought some beer.” Simon held up the six pack and smiled.

“That’s what I was doing, watching the game. Come on in and sit down. I don’t mean to be so grouchy but this coughing keeps me up all night long. I’m exhausted.” Jim opened a beer for each of them and set them on the coffee table and put the others in the fridge.

Simon sat down and began by saying, “I still think you should tell Blair to come home.”

“I told you the rules. I’ll see the specialist as soon as he’s back and after I’ve told him the news. He’s not going to take it well at all.”

Simon got teary eyed and said, “He’s not the only one, Jim.”

“You’re a good friend, Simon. Thanks for coming over tonight. Honestly, I was getting a little bored just talking to myself all week.”

The two men watched the game in silence, except for yelling for their team now and then. They were having a good time, considering what was going on with Jim. Jim excused himself and went to the bathroom and the phone rang. Simon picked it up and said, “Ellison and Sandburg residence.”

“Hey Simon, are you there watching the game with Jim?” Blair asked happily.

“Yes, we’re having beer and chips and eating and drinking on the sofa. How many rules does that break?” Simon teased.

“You sound funny, what’s wrong? Did something happen to Jim at work?” A worried Blair replaced the happy one.

“Nothing happened to him at work today; it was a very slow and quiet day. He’s in the bathroom. Ah, here he is now, talk to you later.” Simon handed the phone to Jim.

“Hey Chief, how are things going in Seattle?”

“What’s going on with you and Simon? I could tell Simon’s worried about something. He was using his dad voice while talking to me. Now tell me what’s happened.” Blair wasn’t asking, he was telling.

“There is nothing wrong, I keep telling you that. I swear there is nothing wrong.” Jim hated lying to his lover, but it was the only thing he could do at this point.

The two men talked for about another ten minutes and Blair finally said, “Listen, I have to go and get ready for bed. I have a big day tomorrow. So I’ll talk to you tomorrow night, all right?”

“All right, Chief. Sleep well and remember that I love you very much.”

“And I love you, Jim. Goodnight.”

Jim hung up the phone and leaned his head back with his eyes closed and said nothing to Simon.

“This is going to be hard on the kid, Jim.”

“Don’t you think I know that? I can’t tell him I’m fine once he’s here. He’ll know something is going on when he sees my face.” Jim explained.

“Well, you know I’m here for you if you need me for anything, right?” Simon asked seriously.

Jim touched his shoulder quickly and said, “I know you’ll always be there for me, Simon. I thank you. You’re a good friend.”

The men watched the rest of the game together and then Simon left for the evening. Jim was lonely once again and reminded himself that this is how Blair would feel all the time once he was gone. It was getting harder and harder to stay in control of his emotions, but he remained strong. He had to for Blair.


In Seattle, Blair was packing his suitcase. He didn’t like the cough that Jim had at all. It was ugly sounding and wasn’t getting any better each night he talked to him. So he was going home to take care of personal business. He called the Captain of the Major Crime team in Seattle and told him there was an emergency and he had to go back to Cascade. He understood why Blair had to leave and wished him well. Now Blair could focus on the task of packing, driving home and loving his man.


Jim heard a key in the door at about 3:00 a.m. and knew it was Blair. He smiled, but found himself sad at the same time. At least on the phone he hadn’t had to tell him what was wrong. Now he would. Life sucked.

Blair put his suitcase down, ran to the bathroom, got undressed and went upstairs and climbed into bed. Jim opened up his arms and Blair could tell by the way he was holding him that something was off. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but he was going to get to the bottom of it if it took all night.

“Chief, I’m so glad to see you.”

“Funny, you don’t seem that thrilled. Maybe I should go back.”

Jim pulled him in closer and started to shake, he was losing all of his control. He would scare Blair, and he knew that, so he tried to get himself under control again.

“Jim, talk to me. You’re scaring me.” Blair begged.

Jim kissed him and said, “I want you to make love to me and show me who I belong to. Please?”

Well, how could Blair turn that down? He knew something was wrong, but Jim needed to be made love to right then, so that’s exactly what Blair did. He took complete control over his lover and made mad, sweet, passionate love to him. When they were done, Blair cleaned him all up and Jim started to cough. Then Jim started to cry.

Now Blair was past scared, this man never cried, what in the hell was going on? “Jim, please talk to me. Tell me what’s wrong. I’ll hold you all night long if you want me to, but tell me what’s wrong.”

Jim snuggled closer to Blair and whispered, “Just hold me and we’ll talk tomorrow. We can handle it tomorrow. I need you to hold me.”

Blair did just that. He held on to the man he loved for dear life. He didn’t know what was wrong, but there was something bad happening. He would just have to wait until tomorrow to talk to Jim about it. Jim finally calmed down and Blair could hear him falling asleep, little snores making Blair smile. Blair kissed Jim on the back of the neck and held him closer and fell into a deep sleep himself.


At the station house, everyone was talking about Joe Ellis down in Robbery, Homicide. Rafe said, “Did you hear he went to the doctor, they put him in the hospital and he died three days later?”

Brown shook his head and said, “Man, he had no warning, except for the cough, I guess. Hey didn’t Ellison have a cough? I hope he isn’t getting whatever Joe got.”

Simon came through and Rafe told him about Joe Ellis and Simon frowned. “Do you know if he just had a physical two weeks ago?”

Rafe nodded and said, “They gave him a clean bill of health and then he died two weeks later. Weird if you ask me.” He walked over to his desk to start working on paperwork.

Simon grabbed his jacket again and said, “I’ll be back in about an hour or two. I have to go and see Ellison about something.”

Brown called out, “Tell him we miss him and hope his family is doing all right.”

Simon was hoping that he got the miracle that he had been praying for, but didn’t want to get his hopes up until he saw Jim and Jim’s doctor.


Blair woke up stretching in an empty bed. This didn’t please him at all. He walked down the stairs and said, “Why didn’t you stay in bed with me?”

Jim poured Blair a cup of coffee and answered, “I didn’t want to disturb your sleep. You were really sawing logs.”

Blair looked at his partner’s face and saw that Jim hadn’t shaved in at least two days and his was almost gray colored. Something was wrong.

“Jim, what’s wrong with you? No more dancing around, just tell me.” Blair ordered.

“Sit down, Chief, this might take awhile.” Jim pushed him into his chair and then began to tell him all about the physical, the blood work and the x-rays that were taken. Then he proceeded to tell him about what the doctor had to say at the station and informed Blair that he had six months, tops.

Blair just sat there with his mouth hanging open and finally got his voice to work. “So what did the second doctor say?”

“I haven’t seen anyone else.” Jim admitted.

“Jim, you don’t remind me of an idiot, usually, but what kind of person takes this sort of news lying down? They could be wrong; they could have a mix-up in records and so on. And why didn’t you tell me right away, you ass?” Now Blair was up out of the chair and pacing the kitchen. He went from worried, to scared, to pissed off in five minutes.

“I knew how important the conference was to you and wanted you to remember one good thing for this time period.” Jim tried to explain.

“Oh that is rich coming from you. I’m so pissed off at you right now it isn’t even funny. In fact, I want to just slap you senseless.”

“Blair, it’s all right to be angry.” Jim said softly.

“I wanted to be here with you for this. I should have been. You took that away from me and if it turns out that you are as sick as they say, you’re going to be in even bigger trouble. I want to see that doctor today.” Blair wasn’t asking, he was telling.

The knock at the door took Jim off guard and Blair said, “You didn’t even hear whoever it was, did you?”

“It’s this cough, Chief, I feel like shit and I’m not sleeping that well either.”

Blair opened the door and found a surprised Simon standing there. “Sandburg, what are you doing here?”

“Good morning to you too, Simon. Come on in and I’ll yell at you next. You were using your dad voice last night so I knew something was up, even though Jim lied through his teeth. I had to leave the conference early, I just had to. Jim told me what they told him and informed me that he’s not gotten a second opinion yet. I can’t believe you didn’t make him get one.” Blair was finally winding down.

“Well, Simon did want me to go to this specialist, but I wanted to wait and see him when you got home.” Jim admitted.

Blair went back to pacing and cussing, “You’re both fucking morons. For all you know there was a mix-up at the lab and these are the wrong results. You sound like you have a normal cough to me, Jim, not lung cancer.”

Simon finally said, “Could I say something?”

Blair glared at him and said, “Fine, talk away.”

“Do either of you know Joe Ellis down in Robbery-Homicide?”

Jim and Blair looked at each other and nodded yes. Simon continued, “Well, it seems he’s been sick with a terrible cough for two weeks and he went to the doctor finally and he was admitted to the hospital and died three days later of some disease. I’m not sure what it was but I’m guessing lung cancer.”

Jim looked at Simon and asked, “What has this got to do with me?”

“He had a physical the same day you did. His last name is Ellis, almost like Ellison, I think it could have been a mistake.”

Blair started to rant again, “See, this is what I was talking about. It was probably a big mistake and Jim has Bronchitis and nothing else. God, you two piss me off. I want an appointment with Dr. whoever today. Make it happen, Simon.”

Simon called the office and got the number for Dr. Monroe from Rhonda and called right away. He made an appointment for 10:00 that morning.

“Okay, we’re on for 10:00, so get yourselves ready. I’m going too.” Simon sat down on the sofa and waited for the two men to finish their showers and getting dressed.

Blair still wasn’t talking to Jim. He was so pissed off, he couldn’t even think. Jim walked up behind him and said, “I’m sorry, Chief.”

“Sorry doesn’t cut it, Jim. You left me in Seattle because you thought a conference was more important than you and I. You lied to me every single night that we talked on the telephone. You’re a fucker and I don’t mean that in a good way.”

Simon could see this going downhill quickly so he jumped in and said, “Let’s get out of here so we can make it to that appointment.”

Simon drove with Jim in the back seat. Blair wouldn’t let Jim touch him after all of this. It was going to take awhile before Blair would let Jim near him again.”

When they got there Simon went to the desk and told the nurse what was going on. She said she would find out how soon it would be.”

A few minutes later, she came through the door and called Jim’s name. The three men followed her into the doctor’s office and she told them to sit down and wait.

Jim and Simon sat down while Blair just paced.

Dr. Monroe came walking in and said, “Jim, I’ve been calling your house for the last hour. I have some very good news.”

Blair shouted, “You mixed up the lab results with Joe Ellis, didn’t you?”

“Yes, we did. And I can’t apologize enough for the mistake, Jim. But you’ll be fine once I give you something for your cold. Your x-rays were clear, so you’re just fine.”

Blair asked, “So everything was a big mistake? Did it ever occur to you to check on him before now?”

“I told him that day that he needed to see the specialist, I did my part. Jim didn’t want to go for whatever reason.” Dr. Monroe was getting defensive now.

“But you never checked on him even once did you? Did you bother to call the specialist and have him call Jim? I figured as much. So you can all go and fuck yourself.” Blair stormed out of the office and slammed the door after him.

Simon stood up and said, “He’s understandably upset. We’ll see to him. Jim, do you want to go home now?”

“I want to go and find Blair. He’s pissed off, but he was also scared, just like I was. Let’s go and find my partner.” Jim suggested as they left the doctors office.


Simon and Jim talked all the way to the car about the relief they were feeling. Jim felt a little bit guilty about that, but just a little bit.

As they drove around looking for Blair Jim said, “I feel really bad about Joe Ellis. He was a good cop and family man.”

“Well, I feel bad too, but I’m also glad it wasn’t you. I’ve never been gladder about anything.” Simon admitted.

After ten minutes Jim said, “He probably took a cab home. Could you drop me off at the loft?”

“Sure. Are you going to be back to work tomorrow?” Simon asked.

“How about the next two days off so I can beg his forgiveness?” Jim thought that might work.

“That’ll work and do you mind if I tell everyone that you’re coming back, they’re driving me nuts. You’re very popular there.” Simon admitted.

“They just miss Blair. Yeah, you can tell them whatever you want. We’ll be back in two days.”

Simon pulled up to Prospect Place and Jim looked upstairs and saw Blair walking around the loft, he found himself nervous about going up. He had screwed up big time and now would have to face the wrath of Blair.

“Thanks for the ride Simon; we’ll see you in two days.” Jim got out and shut the door.

Simon beeped his horn as he took off to let Blair know that Jim was back. Blair did look down and see Jim in the parking lot, but was still so pissed off, he could hardly think.

Jim walked slowly up the stairs, trying to think of what he would tell Blair. It had to be something really good, he knew that much.

He unlocked the door and could hear Blair on the computer in the office. At least he wasn’t packing his things.

Blair walked out and said, “I’m leaving for awhile and I don’t want to talk about it.”

Jim held up his hands for a time out and said, “You’re mad at me for not calling you home and now you’re leaving. Tell me why this makes sense.”

“Because now I know you’re fine. I just need to get away from you. I’m very angry and I’m afraid we’ll break up if I stay here for very much longer. So don’t fight me on this.”

Jim pulled Blair into his arms and whispered, “I love you so fucking much and I don’t want you to leave. I know I was stupid for not telling you. I’m sorry, but I’ll just die if you leave me now. I need you.”

Blair relaxed into Jim’s arms and stopped fighting him. Then suddenly Blair started to cry, making Jim feel like shit all over again.

“I’m so sorry, Blair. I truly am. I promise to never lie to you again, please stay with me.”

In between sobs, Blair answered, “I wasn’t going to leave you, I just needed to think. I love you too. It scared the fuck out of me that I came this close to almost losing you.”

Jim leaned down and kissed his lover soundly. Blair stopped crying and got into the kissing instead. Jim pulled away long enough to get a Kleenex and wipe Blair’s face off with it. Then he went back to the kissing again.

Both men knew that it was going to take a while to heal totally from this, but they also knew that they loved each other and wouldn’t want to be with anyone else. So life would go on, thankfully so, and both men were very grateful for that.

The end

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Acknowledgments: Thanks to Mary for the idea and the beta.