Letter From Simsville
by Kittie

Hey, Joel!

It was really great hearing from you after so long. I know I've been quiet and I'm sorry. I guess I wasn't sure that you'd want to hear from me. You guys were all Jim's friends, not mine, you know? Or, at least, that's what I thought, especially after I pulled a Yoko and made him leave Cascade. Actually, how dumb is that, "pulled a Yoko?" Yoko Ono didn't make John Lennon do anything, and to insinuate that she did is just insulting to his memory. But that has nothing to do with anything, so I'll skip the lecture.... For now.  :)

Anyway, I was glad to hear that everyone is doing well. Tell Megan I'm happy for her and I'm sure she won't regret her decision. I'll bet Simon was dreading the day she went back to Australia, and now he doesn't have to worry about it! Will she still be an inspector or does the permanent transfer make her a detective?

Also, please tell Rafe congratulations on his engagement. I always knew Lucy was good for him, so he made a good choice. Jim says congrats, too.

Speaking of Jim, he quit his job! He was working as a security guard, as I guess you know...? He says he liked it just fine, but then he came home the other day and just sprung it on me that he'd given his two week's notice. He says he's going to stay home and do some carpentry work. He's bought a deluxe woodworking set and spends his weekends making weird things like garden gnomes. He swears, though, that he won't just be making gnomes (even though he's made a deal with a local curiosity shop to sell them a certain number a week) when the times comes. He says he's already got some jobs lined up restoring people's banged-up wooden furniture. I guess I shouldn't worry, Jim knows what he wants in life, and besides, I promised no more guilt-fests. It's hard, though.

I have some major news, next, and I don't want you to freak out or anything, because as you can see, we're fine. But, um... lightening struck our house several months ago and it burned. To the ground. Luckily, we were both out at the time — I was at work and Jim was shopping — so we weren't hurt. While the house itself was a lost cause, the firefighters were able to save a few possessions, most notably my Jimi Hendrix guitar. They said it was lucky I kept it locked up in that trunk, it was untouched! A lot of my artifacts burned, too, though all of my most valuable pieces were in storage, so they're fine. Also lost my, um... "PD research." But, hey, no big loss, right? (Although I did shed a tear or two over my Yakima tribal masks. They held some sentimental value.)

Long story short, we moved in with some friends in the neighborhood until the house was rebuilt. Insurance covered everything, which was nice, and the neighbors are really cool. They're a couple — Ben and Ray — who moved here from Chicago as sort of a compromise. See, Ben's originally from Canada, while Ray's lived all his life in Chicago. They figured Simsville is about the same distance from both places, and the summers here aren’t too hot, which Ben is really thankful for. He says he has an extra layer of subcutaneous fat that makes it difficult for him in really hot, humid weather. Ray used to be a cop, and Ben was a real live Mountie! Hearing them talk, you'd think they were even bigger trouble-magnets than Jim and me! Or at least they measure up pretty well.  :) Also, you should hear some of the stories Ben learned from the local Inuit tribes where he grew up. I think he's happy to have me around because even though it's really obvious he and Ray love each other, Ray just can't sit still though a whole story. He has kind of a short attention span.

Jim and I had to share a room while we were there, but it was no big deal, it worked out. We got to know Ben and Ray really well, and we have dinner at each other's house every Friday night. We rotate weeks, you know? And I think it was Ray who got Jim his first contacts for this new woodworking thing. As a mechanic, he meets a lot of people. And he has an awesome GTO, which he says he restored himself, with his Dad. I don't have a picture of it, but maybe next time.

Anyway, enough about all that. We have a new house, new possessions, and everything's fine. I've enclosed some photos so you can see the house and how we're doing. I haven't bothered to let my hair grow out since my short stint at the academy, so don't let that shock you.   :) Please write back soon, it was really great getting that first letter from you. I miss you and I hope you'll visit us sometime. Peace, my friend.

Here's me with my Jimi Hendrix Guitar, wailin' away!

I caught this picture of Jim makin' gnomes in his jammies!

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