the pearl

For The Thrill

Working with Jensen meant that everybody had at least three phones — one for people who knew you, one for people who didn't know you, and one for people who you always answered the phone to, no matter where you were.

Understandably, when that phone rang, Pooch answered, especially when Jolene's number flashed.

"Hi, baby," Pooch said, loud enough to be heard over the sound of the motorboat. "Is this important?"

"If it wasn't important, I would've waited until you called," she said back, her voice sharp.

Pooch ducked an incoming tree branch and kept one hand on the wheel. "You're right," he said, instantly contrite. "So what happened?"

"Your son just came back from the ER."

Pooch winced, not just for the fact that Gabe had been hurt somehow, but that Jolene emphasized "your son", which meant she was seriously pissed. "Shit. Is he okay?"

"Hairline fracture of his right arm. Wearing a cast, which'll make his summer fun, but he's going to be spending most of it indoors anyway because I am so grounding him for the next 20 years."

Pooch winced again, even as he leaned into a sharp turn. "What'd he do?" he asked.

"You know that hill up by the park?"

"Yeah..." He ducked, sharply, as bullets whizzed past him.

"He decided to ride his bike down it."

"The bike with the broken brakes?"

"Uh-huh." Jolene's voice was even angrier. "And he took off the training wheels."

Pooch swore. "I thought I told him to wait until I got home!"

"Yeah, well, it looks like you'll have to lock up the wrenches along with the power tools, because when I went looking for him, I found the wheels in the garage and a footstool up against the workbench." She paused. "Ellie, the Smiths' kid, came running for me, and I heard the whole story on the way to the park."

"So he went down all the way down the hill?" Pooch couldn't help the small note of pride that crept into his voice.

"And promptly crashed into the hedges," Jolene said, her voice warning. "He's lucky he avoided those rocks down there, or else I'd be getting you home for his damn funeral."

"You're right, hon." Pooch leaned into another sharp turn. "Baby, I'll call later on tonight and talk to him, okay? But right now, I'm kinda in the middle of some—"

"Goddamn it, Linwood, that better not be you on the news!" she suddenly shouted.

Pooch looked up, saw the news helicopter and winced. "Um...I love you, baby, I gotta go."

"Don't you dare—" He quickly shut the phone up, tucking it back into his pocket. "Everybody hang on to something!" he shouted back, even as he steered the boat towards the ramp.

As the boat slid perfectly up the ramp and flew over the breakwater, Pooch grinned.

This The Losers story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at