Title: Form MB 1237
Benton Fraser buttoned his tunic pausing at the spot where a shiny gold button should have been. How was he going to explain to the new inspector why he was lacking one button or why he couldn't wear his other jacket. It was so very hard to remove bicycle tire marks from the Serge. If his other uniform hadn't been at the cleaners, he could have borrowed a button from it.
If only it hadn't been snowing. He could have resisted. Just said no, but it had been snowing and even in Chicago when the snow first falls, it is beautiful and white, silent and glowing for a while any way. And the children, they had been so happy, so peaceful, so joyful.
Fraser was nervous. He would have known what to expect, if Inspector Thatcher was still at the Consulate, a reprimand and guard duty, plain and simple.. But this new inspector, certainly was not Inspector Thatcher. He really had not seen her in action enough to hazard a guess as to how she would react to his uniform being less than perfect. Fraser resigned himself to his fate and left his spartan room. He wished it had not been quite so spartan. He wished it had held a button box like his mother had owned. Then he could have picked out another button, he remembered being fascinated by all the pretty buttons in his mother's box. There were always extra Mountie buttons, his father seemed to have a propensity for losing buttons. He also had a propensity for colorful stories to explain their disappearance. Benton really did not believe that buttons could get stuck in moose antler's or that Deadeye Waldo really could have shot off his father's button. As a child, however, he was able to suspend belief and stare reverently at the tattered thread that was the only evidence that a button had once resided in that spot and he really could see the moose charging or Deadeye firing, in his
Fraser realized that he was compounding the problem by making himself tardy. He hurried out of his room and made his way to the office he still thought of as Inspector Thatcher's domain. He knocked at the door and entered when so ordered. A petite dark-haired women was seated at the desk. One of the most prominent differences between Inspector Thatcher and Inspector Moo was that Inspector Moo proudly wore the uniform of the RCMP whenever she was on duty at the Consulate. In fact, there was a photograph of her in her Serge taken on a recent trip to Niagra Falls prominently displayed on her desk. She stood when Fraser entered and made her way over to him. She had a riding crop in one hand and tapped it back and forth in her palm. She perused Fraser and the riding crop flicked out at the empty button hole.
Inspector Moo, for that was indeed, her unusual name, asked Fraser why he was out of uniform. Fraser reddened. He stammered that he had lost his button in the line of duty and had not had time to replace it. Inspector Moo returned to her desk, opened a
file drawer and removed a form. She handed it to Fraser and told him he would have to request a replacement button and fill out form MB1237. Inspector Moo made it very clear that a detailed account of how he lost his button would be necessary. Then she told him he would be excused from guard duty until the uniform situation was rectified.
She also told him he could not work with the Chicago Police Department until he was properly uniformed. Then she dismissed him with a flick of the crop. Fraser left her office in disgrace. How could he have gotten himself into this predicament. Oh, yes, the snow. He dejectedly walked to his desk. After he was seated, he looked at Form MB1237 and sighed. He doubted that Inspector Moo would believe that a charging moose had ripped off his button or that a dastardly criminal had shoot it off. He wished
his father was still visiting him so that Robert Fraser could come up with a plausible explanation for....Fraser realized what a vain thought that would be, plausible coming from his father. Well, Fraser was surprised that he actually had wished his father's ghost was still coming around offering unwanted and usually useless advice.
Well, this wool-gathering was not getting him another button. Benton began to fill out the form. Most of it was easy and straight forward. Then he came to number 8, the reason for requesting replacement button(s) Benton fidgeted, Benton blushed. Benton agonized. Finally he typed Button was needed to complete task. Benton wished he could
lie. He was not at all sure that Inspector Moo would accept that rather short, terse explanation. When he finally got up the courage to take the form back to her, he squared his impressive shoulders, sighed and headed back to her office. After she had read the
completed form, Inspector Moo sighed and asked Fraser for more information. Fraser sighed, grabbed her hand and pulled her out of the office out into the hall where he told her she might want her coat and hat.
After they had put on their coats and Stersons, he led her out of the Consulate. They briskly walked to the nearby park. Sitting majestically in the middle of a snow covered field was a snow man. Right in the middle of his face was the brightest button nose that Inspector Moo had ever seen. And it really was a button nose, a shiny gold RCMP issue one. Inspector Moo burst out laughing. She hugged Fraser. She told him he would not have to wait for the spring thaw, he would get his replacement button.
As they were walking back to the Consulate, Inspector Moo stopped for a second. Fraser was so relieved that he was no longer in trouble, that he hadn't realized that he was now well ahead of her. Then the snowball hit his Stetson, sending it flying into the snow.
It was then that Fraser knew he and the new inspector would get along just fine.