So Close
By Denny J

Cheryl pulled her van into the parking spot in front of Starbucks.

A venti caramel macchiato—that’s the ticket.

She entered the store, placed her order, and waited, gazing around at the other customers enjoying their coffees. 

“Here ya go.”

“Thank you.”

Order filled, she took a sip of the huge beverage and sauntered over to the door.  Pushing it open, she stepped out into the cool night air and right into someone on their way into the establishment. 

“Ahhhh!” the man said looking down at his clothes now covered in an entire venti size caramel macchiato.

“Oh!  I’m so sorry,” Cheryl apologized. 

“It’s all right—just an accident,” the man replied, followed by an explosive sneeze.

“Here, let me help you get that soaking wet jacket off,” she offered, grabbing onto one sleeve and a lapel and pulling hard.

“Wait! You’ve got my—”

Riiiiip!

“—shirt.”

“Oh, dear.”  Cheryl stood with the jacket and remains of the shirt in her hands.  “I have a hanky here; let me help you dry off,” she added as she began to dab at his dripping wet chest. 

“Um, that’s okay, really.”

“Oh, I’m glad to help.  Oh no, you’ve got your pants wet, too.”

“That’s okay!  They’ll be fine,” he replied taking a step back and waving her off.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes!  I mean, yes, it’s fine.  Thank you.”

“No problem.  Again, I’m---   Oops.  I’m so clumsy,” she said as she dropped her keys on the ground. 

“Allow me,” the man said bending over to pick them up.

“Watch out for that—”

Riiiiip!

“—bush.”

He quickly stood up, feeling the back of his pants.  “Oh, great.”  He glanced at his watch.  “I’m supposed to meet some friends here in five minutes.”

“You know, I have a sewing kit in my glove box.  Why don’t you sit in my van and let me sew them up for you?”

The man looked nervously at his watch and then back at Cheryl.  “Well, okay.  That would sure help me out.”

“It’s the least I can do.  I’m parked right here,” Cheryl said unlocking the van.  “Just get in the back and hand your pants over the seat when you’re ready, Mr. . . ?” 

“Jackson.  Just call me Daniel.”

“All right, Daniel.  You can call me Cheryl.”

“Thanks, Cheryl.”

Daniel climbed into the back of the van and a few seconds later handed his pants over the seat. 

“This will only take a minute, Daniel,” she assured him as she stuck the keys in the ignition.

A loud thumping sound startled her and she turned to see a man banging on the back window. 

“Daniel!”

The back door slid open a peep and she heard Daniel reply, “Jack?”

“What the hell are you doing in back of this strange woman’s van?”

“Um . . . long story?”

“Well, climb out of there.   Sam and Teal’c are waiting inside.”

“Uh, I can’t.”

“You can’t?  Why not?  Are you hurt?”

“Not exactly.”

“Not--  Daniel, so help me, get out of the van or I’ll drag you out.”

“I’m naked.”

“Naked?”  The angry man, Jack, looked from Daniel to Cheryl sitting in the front seat holding the pants. 

She smiled at him and shrugged her shoulders.

“Well, you see, this woman ran into me and spilled her coffee.  She tried to help me get my jacket off and accidentally ripped my shirt.  She dropped her keys and I bent over to pick them up and ripped my pants on a bush.  She offered to sew—”

“Gah!  Enough!  Only you, Daniel, only you.”  Jack turned to Cheryl and asked, “Are they fixed yet?”

“Just putting in the last stitch,” she replied.  “Here you go.”  She handed them over the seat to Daniel and waited while he put them on. 

She heard him climb out of the car and leaned over to the passenger side window.  “Again, I’m really sorry.”

“It’s fine, really.  Thanks for sewing my pants.”

“You’re welcome.”

She watched as Jack pulled the ruined jacket and shirt out of Daniel’s hands. 

“You can’t go in there topless—put them back on.  Wet clothes are better than no clothes.”

“Well, the shirt’s ripped, so—”

“Just put the jacket on, Daniel, and let’s go.”  She could see him shaking his head.

“It wasn’t my fault,” she heard Daniel trail off as he and Jack walked back to the Starbucks. 

Once they were inside, she picked up her phone and dialed.

“Well?” the voice on the other end asked.

“Almost had him.  Naked, too.”

“What happened?”

“His buddy showed up and grabbed him before I could leave.”

“Damn.  So close.”

“Yeah.  Got any other ideas, Denny?”

“Oh, I’m sure we can come up with another way to get him.  Come on over and we can plot it out.”

“Okay, be right there.”

 

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