Just Another Day




It was mid-winter, and somewhere in the mountains of Montana it was also flu season.  Walter Skinner had the flu.  And like most men who get sick, Walter was whiny, demanding, and grumpy.  Grumpy as a big ole wounded bear.  Alex Krycek, partner to that bear, was doing his best to nurse his grumpy mate back to health.  However, fate had other plans for Alex.

Somehow in the middle of bringing Walter endless bowls of chicken soup, the taking of temperature, and assisting Walter with his personal hygiene by being a living crutch, the furnace stopped working.  And considering the average mean temperature outside was about 20 degrees Fahrenheit, a broken furnace could be a problem.  So could burst pipes if the indoor temperature dropped to freezing.  Fortunately their home had several fireplaces.  Alex made sure the one in their bedroom had a nice even blaze.  He checked and rechecked the fireplace screen so that no sparks could fly, keeping Walter safe.  The one in the living room was large enough to heat the whole first floor.

After checking on Walter, again, Alex booted up his computer to do research on their furnace and download the schematics.  Luckily Alex found their make and model almost immediately.  He pressed print, happily anticipating the hum of the printer and a copy of the owner’s manual in his hands.  But it was not to be.  The only sound Alex heard was a sort of ka-chunk and a pop up warning on his computer screen.  He was almost brought to tears when Alex realized that they were out of paper.

Banging his head on the desk, he cursed in at least ten languages.   Pulling himself together, Alex checked his watch.  If he hurried he could get to the nearest office supply store before they closed.  Racing upstairs to check on his lover, Alex made sure there was a glass of water within reach and a couple tabs of Walter’s preferred analgesic on hand. 

Sparing another look at the fireplace Alex raced back down to grab his favorite leather coat and the keys to his truck.  He was almost out of the house when he thought about the amount of food or lack thereof in the kitchen.  Quickly taking inventory of the contents of the refrigerator, he opened the pantry closet.  It was pitifully devoid of anything that could be remotely turned into a meal.  All that was left on the pasta shelf was one suspicious looking package of spaghetti with a dubious sell by date.

Alex was a man on a mission.  His mission was to get to the office supply store quickly but not so quickly as to agitate the local state trooper or drive himself into a ditch.  Considering the nearest store was about forty miles away, Alex applauded himself when he pulled up in front of the store with minutes to spare before closing.

He hopped out of his truck and quick footed himself into the store.  Alex beamed a shamelessly flirtatious smile at the clerk letting his dimples show and making his moss green eyes sparkle.  Momentarily distracted by the handsome man, the clerk barely heard Alex’s promise, “I won’t be a minute,” as he made a beeline for the section of the store that displayed printer paper.  Grabbing as many packages as he could carry, Alex headed for the checkout counter.  He stopped mid stride to grab some ink cartridges then continued to the counter.  When Alex got back to his truck and was about to pull away, he noted the lights in the store shutting off fast and the clerk with the night manager locking up.

Next stop was at an all night convenience store.  He parked then gingerly walked on the icy sidewalk to the store.  The store didn’t have much of a variety but what it did have would sustain them until they could do some real shopping.  On the plus side, the store did carry Walter’s favorite soup.  Buying the soup and a few staple items, Alex was on his way back home.

The first thing Alex did after stowing away any perishables was to check on Walter.  He carefully entered their room and there was Walter sleeping the sleep of the blissfully unaware.  Alex put the back of his hand to Walter’s forehead and was pleased to find it cool and dry.  Then Alex stirred up the embers in the fireplace, added a couple more logs and waited for them to catch.  When he was satisfied.  Alex went back down to tackle the furnace.

Again Alex went to his office, awoke his sleeping computer, fed paper to the printer then hit print.  The gentle hum and the spitting out of printed material made the craziness of the last couple of hours, almost worth it.  Next up, tackling the beast.

Preparing as if going on a “job”, Alex was armed with the relevant tools and his trusty penlight for when the background lighting wasn’t enough.  With the schematics in hand, Alex faced his current nemesis.

Circling the furnace, Alex looked for any obvious flaws.  He opened the business end of the furnace and determined nothing was amiss.  Opening a panel that contained the wiring, Alex smirked, not too different from a bomb, he thought.  Holding the penlight in his mouth, Alex traced the short, replaced a few wires then closed the panel.  Flipping a switch, he waited.  Alex nearly jumped for joy when the furnace came back to life.

About an hour later Alex entered their bedroom carrying a tray with a bowl of chicken noodle soup, crackers and a glass of juice.  Walter was awake and reaching for his glasses.  Alex put the tray down on a side table to fluff up the pillows behind Walter to help him sit up.  Alex then placed the tray in front of his lover.

“How are you feeling?” Alex asked.

“Much better.  I can breathe and the room doesn’t feel like it’s spinning,” Walter replied.  “This smells good,” he said, appreciating Alex’s efforts then took a few sips of soup.  Alex sat on the edge of the bed relieved to see that Walter was finally on the mend.

“Thank you,” Walter said, a little tired from expending the energy it took to sit up and eat.  Alex took away the tray so that Walter could lay down again.  As Alex headed for the bedroom door, Walter stopped him.

“I’m sorry, Alex, I should have asked, how was your day?”

“Oh, you know, quiet and uneventful.  Just another day.  Good night, Walter,” Alex replied with a smile.

“Good night Alex.”


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