Fandom: Columbo (for timbershiver)
Character: Lieutenant Columbo
Notes: Almost there. Thanks again to Beta Goddess Carol. Thanks to timbershiver for inspiration and devoted commenting.
Takes place after the episode "Forgotten Lady" guest-starring Janet Leigh.
Columbo sat at the counter of Barney’s Beanery contemplating a bowl of the best chili in Los Angeles. Something was still bugging him.
The proprieter, an old friend and long-time sounding board, came over, wiping down the countertop as he went.
“You need some more crackers?”
“Nah, I’m good.” He paused a second, choosing his words. “You think DiMaggio ever felt bad?”
“Yeah. When Marilyn Monroe dumped him for that egghead.”
“I mean when he was playing. Like during the streak. You think he ever went out there against some kid just coming up from the minors who’s got one chance to make his bones by stopping this thing and Joltin’ Joe just goes out there and nails one off him. Maybe ends his career that day. You think that ever bothered him?”
“You know what I think? I think he’d rather have another hit, no matter who he had to go through. That’s why he’s the greatest ever.”
He couldn’t argue with that, but something still didn’t feel right. Ned Diamond had confessed to a murder he didn’t commit to protect a woman he loved. Columbo had watched him go through the indignity of the booking process, believing he was doing the right thing.
Would he do that for a woman, he wondered? Of course, with Mrs. Columbo, he’d never have to worry about that. She was a wonderful woman and he was lucky to have her. But what about Grace Wheeler?
When he’d walked into that rehearsal hall and seen her, it had brought back memories of the Saturday matinees when he was a kid. He’d had a crush on her to beat the band, but now it was twenty years later and she was still beautiful. Her legs in those black tights… He hadn’t had a chance to think about it until now. Too busy trying to solve the case. She was still a murderer, even if she didn’t remember doing it, but damned if he didn’t suddenly feel frisky despite the late hour, closer to morning than night.
Barney’s chili wouldn’t fill this hunger. He could go home, wake up Mrs. Columbo, but…this wasn’t for her. It wouldn’t be fair. There were theaters off the strip that never closed for guys in just this kind of a jam.
Sometimes the raincoat came in handy.