What I originally envisioned as two or three chapters has now reached it's Twentyith chapter.

This chapter is for everyone who enjoys reading these and who has encourage me to continue writing them. It's been great fun and I hope that it doesn't end any time soon.

Once again, the characters of The Sentinel do not belong to me. The Sweatshirt however has become community property.

Chapter 20: Major Accounting

Simon punched a set of numbers into the calculator and noted the results on the paper in front of him. This was followed shortly by another flurry of math and notations. Each set of math and notation was accompanied by grumbling and a swig of coffee.

At least at this time of night he could smoke his cigars and keep all the coffee to himself. Save tax time, this was his least favorite time of year. Budget time.

For the past week he'd been scouring through reports, swimming in numbers, and smothered by paperwork. His detectives and friends, being accustomed to this annual torture, stayed out of his office and did their best to make life as easy as possible. The running joke was that their efforts were a result of self-preservation, but deep down, Simon appreciated the efforts of his friends.

Despite all the help from his detectives, secretary, and even a certain grad student, he always ended up spending at least one night at the station to finish everything by the deadline. This year was worse. So far he'd spent three nights at the station.

He punched in another bunch of numbers and wrote down the answer. With a growl he grabbed the white out and eradicated what he'd just written. He stood up, stretched his back, and started back at the top of the current page.

Hours later he hit the equal button and wrote the result down on the final blank of the final form. He sent the various reports and additional documents, that were on the computer, to the printer. Then after gathering, collating, and stapling a small forest, he placed the annual year end report neatly in the center of his desk and took a moment to revel in the feeling of being done.

Staring at the clock, Simon realized that by the time he drove home, it would be time for him to get up and come back to work.

"That's why they put couches in the captain's offices," he sighed as he made his way over to the other end of his office.

Too tired to do more than remove his already loosened tie, Simon practically collapsed and was asleep by the time his head hit the cushions.


Simon opened his eyes and took a moment to orientate himself to his surroundings.

Realizing he was still in his office, he quickly looked at his desk and groaned. He could have sworn that he'd finished the budget report. That was before he'd remembered to make all the duplicate copies of the final report. Reluctantly he got up, grabbed the stack and headed towards the copier.

He didn't even make it out his office door before he noticed some suspicious numbers on the top page. "That can't be right," he thought.

Sitting back down at his desk he began to go through the numbers again. He double-checked all the numbers on the first page. When he got to the second page, he noticed that the numbers still didn't add up.

He eventually found himself flipping between five different forms, five different reports, and three spreadsheets.

It seemed that as soon as he fixed one set of numbers, another set spontaneously spawned more errors. His attempts to sort, order, and corral the pesky errors only served to give him a headache.

With a whimper he set his head down on the pile of papers for a moment's rest. He could hear his detectives arriving for the new day. If he listened quietly he could almost hear their conversations.

"He's been here all night."

"...still here?"


"No, that won't work. Try this."

Sighing, he wished he could join his friends as they began their daily routine he needed to get back to work. He filled his coffee mug with the rich warm freshly brewed nectar of the gods. Then relaxed back into his warm comfortable chair and closed his eyes for a brief moment.


Simon opened his eyes to see the back of his office couch from about two inches away.

Trying to get his bearings, he rolled over and noticed that his arms were tangled in something. He looked down and saw that he was covered with something. It took a few moments before he recognized it as the blanket from the office's emergency supplies.

Turning further, he tried to focus on the rest of the office to find out that his glasses were now on the conference table. He didn't remember removing them. Further investigations showed that his shoes were now on the floor instead of his feet. He had to squint to see the vaguely familiar object on the table. It looked like one of Jim's white noise generators. The lights were turned off and all the blinds were closed, preventing the rising sun from flooding the room. He noticed the blinking light on his coffee maker, indicating that the timer was set to automatically start brewing at a preset time.

Blissfully absent from his office, was the stack of papers he'd been working on the night before.

He pushed back the blanket and moved to get off the couch. As he did so his hand brushed against something that he hadn't noticed earlier, causing him to look down at where his head had recently been.

He picked up and unfolded the gray cloth and easily recognized what his impromptu pillow was made from.

Swiftly refolding the ARMY sweatshirt back into a pillow and snuggling down under the blanket, Simon returned to his nap.

Chapter 19

Chapter 21

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