Episode 9.05 "Ziggy, Sawdust, and Hypothetical Raccoons"
by Filo and Olivia Jane


Author's Note: First and foremost, mega thanks to sosmitten, Jewels12, and Robinpoppins for the wicked kewl beta. We'd also like to thank each other for being the bestest writing partners. Additionally, we'd like to thank wood in general, for being so hard to not make dirty, we love a challenge after all. A special thanks to the usual suspects for their support, their occasional help, and the very necessary ability to casually stick their fingers in their ears when one or both of us went on creative meltdowns. You know who you "ladies" are.

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Lorelai, Rory, and Sookie sat on the couch at the Crap Shack, lazily watching television. Lorelai flipped to another channel. "Poor Maury, stuck with 'who's the daddy' and 'my daughter is a tramp' stories."

"Wait! Stop there. I love him."

"That's a cooking show, Sookie," Rory said.

"Cooking shows are off limits. It's our day off." Lorelai changed to the next station.

"Oooo! Haunted inns!" Rory exclaimed.

"Inns are work related." Lorelai lifted up the remote.

Rory put her hand in front of the remote. "Those are haunted inns. You don't run a haunted one."

"You don't know that our inn isn't haunted."

"Is it?" Sookie's eyes grew large as she leaned over to look at Lorelai.

Lorelai and Rory shared a look. Lorelai quickly continued to surf.

"Stop here," Sookie said.

"New Yankee Workshop?" Lorelai asked.

"Jackson wants to build a new dining room table." Sookie rolled her eyes.

Rory raised an eyebrow. "Jackson thinks he's Norm Abrams now?"

"Find something else, I'm suddenly married to Norm Abrams, I don't need to watch him on my television," Lorelai sighed.

"Luke's still working on that thing in the garage?" Sookie asked. "He's been working on that forever."

"What's he working on?" Rory turned to look at Sookie.

Sookie shrugged. "No idea, Lorelai won't tell me what the thing is." Both women looked over at Lorelai.

"Thing? What thing? All I ever see is a cloud of sawdust. How am I supposed to determine what kind of thing it is when I'm not allowed past the door of Burger Boy's fortress of solitude?"

"He's not here now." Sookie stood up suddenly. "Let's go take a look!"

"I don't want to take a look." Lorelai scrunched up her nose in thought. "Do you want to take a look?" she asked Rory.

"Why don't you want to take a look? What if it's a surprise for you?" Sookie asked, bouncing in place.

"Then I definitely want to take a look!" Lorelai jumped up and looked down at Rory who remained seated. "Come on, he's gonna be home soon."

Rory looked up at the pair uncertainly. "I don't know..."

"Why not, you chicken?" Lorelai bawked and flapped her arms.

"No, I'm also not 12. I just think Luke would have told you if he wanted you to know."

Lorelai waved her off. "Fine, you be the look out."

"And if Luke shows up and asks what I'm doing, I should tell him I'm standing outside of the garage not being 12?"

"Pretend you're Shultz, just tell him you're keeping an eye on things for Colonel Klink," Lorelai quipped, pulling Rory up to a standing position and pushing her towards the front door.

"I don't goosestep very well," Rory said.

"Well, neither did Shultz, just do it with jazz hands." Lorelai gave Rory a swat on the rear as she and Sookie descended the stairs and headed for the garage.

"I bet it's something really fancy and big. Oh! An entertainment center!" Sookie grasped Lorelai's hand and pulled her to walk faster.

"I don't think so, hon. Luke probably made something more traditional."

"A bedroom set to replace his grandmother's?" Rory called out.

"God, I hope not." Lorelai shuddered. "Maybe it's something on a smaller scale."

"Like?" Sookie asked.

"Boxcar racer?" Lorelai mused. "New coffee table?"

"Boxcar racer?" Rory laughed. "What is Luke, Speed Racer now?"

"I like to think of him more as a Racer X type," Lorelai said. "Dark, mysterious..."

"I'm sorry I asked," Rory grimaced.

"Oooo, what if it's a spice rack?" Sookie squealed, stopping just in front of the garage door.

Lorelai grasped the handle. "Let's hope it isn't." She pulled the door open cautiously, and jumped back when something slowly rolled out through the crack in the door.

"What is that?" Sookie asked.

"It looks like... oh my God, is that a head?" Lorelai shrieked.

"Hug a World flashback!" Rory yelled, fleeing back toward the house.

"I'm with her," Sookie screeched.

Lorelai tried to kick the head back into the garage. Instead, it bounced off the door and rolled back towards her. She kicked it again, and when it headed towards the grass she gave up and slammed the door shut. She sprinted to the house, and stopped short when she saw Sookie and Rory at the top of the porch steps. "What?"

"It's still out there. " Sookie shuddered. "It's out there and it's looking for us."

"Well, even Lucifer's head needs a night out on the town." Lorelai shrugged.

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Kirk walked into the diner and took a look around. He grinned when he saw the person he was searching for in the corner and walked over to the table. "Hello, Brian."

Brian looked up from his breakfast. "Uh, hi, Kirk." he watched as Kirk took a seat across from him. "Would you like to sit down?"

"Thank you," Kirk replied. He watched as Brian went back to eating his breakfast. "Is that ketchup on your eggs?"

Brian sighed and put his fork down. "Did you need something in particular?"

"Actually, I did. I bought a house a few months ago, and I thought you could help me out."

"Don't you work for a real estate agency?"

Kirk looked around the diner quickly. "Yes, but I'm not exactly what you would call very experienced at the actual home ownership thing. You know, with all the potential worse case scenarios that could arise. Mother usually handles that kind of thing at our house, after all, you know?"

Brian shrugged. "Uh, sure, I guess."

"How do you determine the value of a house?" Kirk pulled out a notebook from his pocket as he finished the question.

"We have someone appraise it."

"And that would be?"

"An appraiser the company uses," Brian said, finishing off his eggs.

Kirk nodded. "Okay, and say, hypothetically speaking, you were to walk into the dining room, and your foot broke right through the floor, would that affect the value of a home?"

"Uh, are you going to leave the hole there?"

"I'll probably fix that," Kirk replied.

Brian took a sip of his drink. "I guess if you fix that, then..."

"What if you looked down in that hole and saw a really big colony of termites underneath?"

"Uh, well I think you'll need to fix that too, wouldn't you?" Brian wondered aloud.

Kirk nodded and wrote something down. "What about the pipes?"

"What about the pipes?" Brian asked.

"What if you were missing half the pipes?"

"You mean the water pipes?" Brian's voice was filled with confusion.

"What if hypothetically somebody must have broken into the house and stolen most of the copper pipes?" Kirk asked.

"Hypothetically, I'd check the nearest recycling center." Brian shrugged. "I bet they would be there."

"Good idea," Kirk muttered, jotting down a note in his pad.

"Is that it?" Brian asked, finishing off his drink.

"What if, hypothetically, you think you have a family of raccoons living in your attic?" Kirk asked.

"I really don't know what to hypothetically do there," Brian said with a frown.

"Me neither," Kirk sighed.

"Do they like cheese?" Brian asked.

"Who?" Kirk asked.

"Raccoons," Brian said. "Maybe you could lure them out with cheese."

"The hypothetical raccoons, you mean," Kirk said.

"Yeah, those," Brian nodded.

"Maybe a cheeseburger," Kirk muttered under his breath. "Do you know what a person would do if they had a strange odor emanating from somewhere in the house, but they can't quite find the source?"

"Dude, I'm mostly a bass player. I'm not a whatever it is that takes care of strange odors."

Kirk ignored his statement. "Do you have any books?"


"Handbooks, guidebooks, training manuals, that kind of thing."

"I have some books." Brian looked around the diner, clearly uncomfortable with the situation.

"Would you be willing to let me borrow those for a while?"

He shook his head. "I don't think I'm allowed to do that."

Kirk slammed his notebook shut. "Why not?"

"Well, I think it would be a conflict of interest." Brian picked up his fork and began to play with the remnants of his breakfast.

"How would it be a conflict of interest?"

"You work for another real estate company." Brian dropped his fork and pushed back his chair.

Kirk slipped his notebook in his pocket and stood up. "I have no conflict with that."

"Seems suspicious if you ask me."

"Are you saying I'm suspicious?" Kirk asked, leaning over the table slightly.

Brian backed his chair even further from the table. "You're really starting to make me nervous."

Luke approached the pair. "You need anything else?" he asked Brian, tearing off his check and placing it on the table.

"Please don't leave me," Brian hissed, staring at Luke with wide eyes.

"Is he bothering you?" Luke asked as he pointed at Kirk.

"We're just talking," Kirk said.

"Seriously, don't leave me here, man," Brian pleaded.

"Kirk," Luke growled. "Get out."

"But-" Kirk said, backing away from Luke.

"I mean it, Kirk," Luke yelled. "Out. Now!"

"It's a conspiracy!" Kirk bellowed as Luke pushed him toward the diner door. He pointed at Brian over Luke's shoulder.

"I know what you're up to, I'm watching you!" he warned. "Goodbye, Kirk," Luke said, opening the door and giving Kirk a final shove toward the sidewalk. He turned back to face Brian.

"What the hell was that all about?" he asked.

"Real estate conspiracy apparently. " Brian shrugged, taking a sip of his orange juice. "I think that guy reads way too many Stephen King novels."

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Luke held two plates in his hand and balanced two on his forearms as he precariously worked his way around the lunch rush. He almost dropped all the plates when he spun around at the sound of the diner door being thrown open.

Taylor stepped inside and walked straight to the counter, sitting on the stool next to Kirk.

Kirk swiveled on his stool as Taylor sat down. "Morning, Taylor," he said. "How are you?" Taylor ignored him. "Please talk to me, Taylor, it's been months."

Taylor glanced over a Kirk and then focused on the wall in front of him. "You embarrassed me, Kirk."

"I was only trying to protect my investment," Kirk whined.

"You embarrassed me. Bill at the bank mentioned that you were in there to sign some paperwork, but wouldn't tell me why. The only reason he wouldn't tell me would be if the papers were sealed." Taylor stuffed his hands in his cardigan pockets.

"He shouldn't be telling you anything, anyway," Luke chimed in as he stepped behind the counter and began refilling mugs with coffee. "Bank records aren't public knowledge."

"Luke, as Town Selectman, I am given access to certain information."

"Given access?" Luke snorted. "More like you just use your position to pry into the personal business of others."

"I didn't come in here to get assaulted by a cranky diner owner," Taylor said, rolling his eyes.

"Taylor, please forgive me. My former business partner said that we needed to have the papers sealed to protect our investment." Kirk wrung his hands.

Taylor gave Kirk a condescending look. "And where is that business partner now, Kirk?"

Kirk hung his head. "She left."

Taylor leaned towards Kirk. "And why did she leave?"

Kirk lifted his head just enough to meet his eyes. "She said it wasn't personal. She had issues regarding some of the town's housing requirements."

"You mean Taylor ran her off," Luke grumbled, clearing Kirk's plate.

"I didn't run her off," Taylor retorted. "She simply refused to follow the sanctions established by the Stars Hollow Historical Preservation Society."

"This isn't a historical property," Kirk argued.

"Is it more than 20 years old?"

"Yes," Kirk admitted in a small voice.

"Then it falls under the SHHPS jurisdiction." Taylor sat up a little straighter on his stool. "Under ordinance 137-82 is subsection 137-82.36a that states all owners of historical properties must be approved by the SHHPS. Owners who obtain an historical property without prior notification to the SHHPS are subject to a fine of—"

"Speaking of crap," Luke interrupted. "How's that tourism contest coming along, Taylor? Still no end in sight? You must be having a little business slump to justify the contest that never ends."

"The contest will come to an end," Taylor said sharply. "In fact, we are tabulating the numbers for the next town meeting."

"Right." Luke nodded. "I'm sure something will come up to extend the deadline. Again."

"You know, Luke, I really thought married life was going to change you. I thought if you finally got Lorelai to settle down, you wouldn't be so abrasive. Clearly, I was wrong," Taylor grumbled.

"Taylor, go away," Luke snapped. "Just go somewhere else that isn't here."

"Gladly," Taylor huffed, stomping toward the diner door. He opened the door, lingering for a moment as he glared at Kirk. "And you," he said sharply, pointing at Kirk. "I'm not done with you yet."

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Rory readjusted her laptop so that the monitor didn't pick up a glare coming in from a nearby window. She inhaled slowly as she took in the walls of Knowles Books. The bookstore reminded her of the Dragonfly, random items mixed together that made the place feel comfortable and homey. Rory chuckled to herself as she observed the stuffed deer head on the wall, a Sex Pistols poster hung slanted to the right of it. She turned back to her laptop and stared at the blank page of her latest article.

She minimized the window and clicked on the icon to check her email. She scrolled down through her messages, opening the one from Paris. 'Have you seen this? It's a riot!' Paris had written, a link below her message. Rory clicked on the link and watched as Pearl, the two year old landlord chastised Will Ferrell for being behind on his rent.

"Oh, Paris." Rory sighed. "You're so behind the times." Rory started to close the window but froze as Pearl asked for four beers from her tenant. "Oh wow," she whispered, smothering a giggle. "This just doesn't get old."

After helplessly watching until the little girl stumbled out of the video frame, Rory scrolled her mouse over to the recommended clips. She saw the follow up video marked Good Cop, Baby Cop and selected it. Just when the rosy cheeked toddler threatened to bite Will Farrell's nose off, she heard a voice over her shoulder.

"Ah, Pearl. That's a classic."

Rory turned to face a tall girl. She had unruly dark blonde hair, with striking features. Her olive complexion complemented her bright green eyes. "Oh, yeah, my friend sent me the link to it. It's funny stuff."

"You've never seen the videos before?" the girl asked.

"I've seen it once or twice or a thousand times." Rory smirked.

"Thank God, it always scares me when people pull up these videos for the first time eons after they've been posted," the girl said.

"Are they really that old?" Rory asked. "I know they've been around, but I didn't know they were that old."

"They're at least over a year old. Of course, I spend a good bit of time in here, so when I get bored I end up watching clips on YouTube. I'm a sucker for news anchor bloopers."

"Oh," Rory gasped. "So I'm not the only one who enjoys inadvertent live expletive bombs?"

"You're in good company, rest assured," the girl laughed.

"Good to know," Rory said.

"I'm Tess."

"Rory." She began to feel a little uncomfortable under Tess' gaze. "Is there something on my face or something?"

"Huh? No. Sorry, you just look really familiar to me. Have we met before?"

"I don't think so."

"This is going to drive me crazy until I figure it out." Tess spun around at the sound of her name being called out from across the room. "Hey! No yelling in the store!" She turned back to Rory. "You have a brother?"


"Lucky. They're a pain in the ass." Tess' name was called out again, and she rolled her eyes. "Sorry to have bothered you. It was nice to meet you."

"You too." Rory said, and stared down at her laptop. She looked around before pulling up YouTube and typing 'news bloopers' into the search field.

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Lorelai sat at the counter, sipping a mug of coffee as she watched Luke behind the grill in the kitchen. She turned her head when the bells rang out from the diner doors, and slipped off her stool and squatted down when she saw Liz and Doula make their way past the threshold. "Hello sweets," she called out, stretching her arms out towards the toddler. "Luke, your sister and niece are here!" she shouted.

"I can see that," Luke said, walking up next to her and bending over to pick Doula up. He tossed her into the air effortlessly and then kissed her forehead when he brought her back down.

"You're getting to be a pro at that, big brother," Liz said.

"She's getting big," Luke observed, resting her on his hip and holding his free hand out to help pull Lorelai up.

"Kids do that," Liz replied, pulling lightly on Doula's leg.

"Her eyes look more and more like yours every time we see her," Lorelai said as she affectionately smoothed Doula's hair.

Liz nodded. "Yeah, that's pretty much all she got from me. Otherwise she looks more and more like TJ every day."

"Poor kid," Luke muttered.

"Luke..." Lorelai groaned.

"She has his prominent brow line," Liz said proudly.

"The Cro-Magnon look is in?" Luke asked.

"Are you going to insult my husband and child, or are you going to play nice with your niece?" Liz asked, feigning an injured look.

"Play nice," Luke mumbled.

"Good boy." Lorelai pinched Luke's cheek and he swatted her hand away.

"Oh! Doula, show your Uncle Luke and Auntie Lorelai what you can do now!" Liz took Doula from Luke's arms and placed her on the floor.

Doula looked up at the adults, took a deep breath and put her hands behind her back. "Where thumbkin, where thumbkin," one little fist came from around her back and she flipped up her thumb. "Here I am," her other thumb joined in, "here I am." She waggled her thumbs at each other as she swayed her hips. "How you this morning? Very well, thank you. Run and hide. Run and hide." Her hands went back behind her back again.

"Aww, cute!" Lorelai exclaimed. She opened her mouth to say more, but Doula's look made it clear she hadn't finished singing. Lorelai's hands flew to cover her mouth as Doula went looking for pointer.

Luke grinned, focusing all attention on his little niece, oblivious as Lorelai watched his reaction with amusement. His smile disappeared from his face when Doula began to look for her tall man. "Okay, okay, I get the picture," he said quickly, getting down on one knee to cover Doula's fists to prevent her from continuing.

"Sing more!" Doula stomped her foot and pried her hands out of Luke's grasp.

"Tall man needs to take a siesta." Lorelai picked up Doula and swung her up on a stool. "Your Uncle Luke is a little sensitive about the tall man," she whispered to the girl.

Doula giggled, looking over at Luke and giving him a raspberry. "He's silly."

"Yes, he is," Lorelai agreed, taking the stool to Doula's left. "Maybe Uncle Silly will get us something to eat?"

"Yeah, big brother, how about some fries and some milk?" Liz sat on the stool to Doula's right and handed Luke a sippy cup. "These cups are a life saver. They should have them for adults."

"I can put your soda in one, if you brought an extra," Luke joked, walking out with the filled sippy cup and a glass of soda for Liz.

"I'm good with the glass, thanks." Liz rolled her eyes.

Luke rested his hands on the counter. "Where'd she learn that song?"

"It's one of the songs they taught her at preschool. She also learned 'The Bear Went Over the Mountain' and 'A-Tisket A-Tasket', but those don't have the fun hand motions, so she pretty much sings Thumbkin every minute of the day."

"Yeah?" Luke leaned over the counter to look at his niece. "Maybe I can hear you sing those songs sometime?"

Doula nodded her head and graciously treated Luke to a view of chewed up french fries in her mouth. "Okay," she said, her voice muffled.

"Thanks," Luke said, rolling his eyes. "What else is she learning in daycare?" he asked Liz.

"You know, the basics. Colors. The alphabet. Her manners and stuff." Liz snagged a fry and took a bite. "They say she's pretty advanced for her age; she's a fast learner. Not sure which side of the family she got that from."

"Definitely our side." Luke turned and picked up the coffee carafe, filling Lorelai's mug. "It seems like at this age though, they're all about imitation and exploration. They're primed for learning."

Lorelai blinked, surprised with Luke's knowledge of child development. "Where'd you hear that from?"

Luke shrugged noncommittally. "I think I read it somewhere."

Lorelai nodded, looking back at her coffee. She listened as Luke and Liz continued to discuss Doula. She looked up questioningly when Luke shared more knowledge of Doula's burgeoning desire to explore uncharted territory, but before she could say anything about it, Liz spoke up.

"You studying to get your degree in child development or something, Luke?" Liz asked.

"Why would you think that?" Luke frowned. "I can't show a little interest in what my niece is doing now?"

"That's some pretty specific interest you're showing there, Doctor Spock," Lorelai said, shrugging innocently when Luke glared at her.

"Aw, Luke, is your biological clock ticking?" Liz teased.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Luke said gruffly, grabbing a rag and wiping down the counter.

"Have you guys decided when you're going to have kids?" Liz asked, turning to face Lorelai.

"Uh, kids?" Lorelai asked, glancing nervously at Luke. "Well..."

"What's she doing?" Luke interjected, pointing at Doula.

Liz glanced at Doula. "That would be called dancing in her seat, big brother."

"Jeez, I thought she was having a seizure," Luke muttered. "More coffee?" he asked Lorelai.

"Um, sure," Lorelai said, watching Luke thoughtfully as he turned to retrieve the coffee pot.

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Luke dried his face as he stepped out of the bathroom. He tossed the towel into the hamper and smiled as he observed Lorelai in bed.

Lorelai glanced up from her book and smiled back at him. "What?"

"Nothing." He made his way to the bed and climbed in next to Lorelai.

Lorelai closed her book and set it on the bedside table. She shut off the lamp and rolled over so she rested on Luke's chest. "So..." she trailed off, losing her nerve.

"So?" Luke ran his fingers through her hair.

"Interesting visit with your sister."

"Some things never change," Luke chuckled. "Once a flake, always a flake."

"Doula was really cute," Lorelai replied, watching Luke carefully.

"Yeah," Luke said. "The kid is definitely... unique."

"Oh, I don't know." Lorelai lowered her head on his chest. "You seemed pretty into her."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Luke asked with a frown. "She's my niece, I can't show a little interest?"

"Oh, you can," Lorelai said quickly. "It was just cute, that's all I meant."

"What was cute?" Luke asked.

"Well, you seem to know a lot about babies," Lorelai pointed out.

"I read a magazine." Luke shrugged. "What can I say? I retain facts."

"Those were some pretty specific facts." Lorelai's voice was almost a whisper.

"What are you getting at?" Luke said sharply.

"Is something bothering you?" Lorelai asked.

"Right now, you're kind of bothering me," Luke muttered.

"Hey," Lorelai looked up at him. "That's not very nice."

"Sorry," Luke sighed.

"You should be," Lorelai grumbled. "I guess I'm just a little worried about you."

"There's nothing to be worried about," Luke retorted. "How did we get from Doula to me causing you to worry so quickly?"

"I don't know." Lorelai shrugged. "Is everything okay? You know, with us?"

"Of course it is," Luke said. "Why? Do you think there's something wrong with us?"

"I don't think so," Lorelai said. "This is new territory here for us. I don't want us to miss something."

"Like what?" Luke asked.

"Like... You're in the garage an awful lot lately," Lorelai noted. "What's up with that?"

Luke shrugged. "Is that what you're worried about? Me having one too many projects on the front burner?"

"Well, it's just a little—" Lorelai began.

"I'm sorry," Luke said quickly. "I just got ahead of myself, and I'm trying to get caught up. Don't worry about it, okay?"

"Are you sure?" Lorelai asked, unconvinced.

"Yeah," Luke said, reaching to turn off the light on his side of the bed. "I'm sure. We should get some sleep."

"Yeah," Lorelai sighed. "I guess we should sleep, then."

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Luke rolled up the sleeves on his flannel as he stepped into the garage. He picked up a sawhorse in each hand and carried them out to the driveway. He laid a large panel of wood on top of them, creating a make-shift table. He began to load up the table with various pieces of wood as Kirk approached the driveway, warily eyeing the various projects littering the yard.

"Hi, Luke!" Kirk called out, waving his arm in the air in greeting.

"Great," Luke muttered. He tossed a pair of two by fours on the table and wiped his hands on his jeans. "Hey, Kirk."

"Hi." Kirk maneuvered his way around the unidentifiable pieces of wood on the lawn and stopped a few feet in front of the sawhorses.

Luke worked in silence for a few minutes. When he glanced up and saw Kirk was staring at him, he put down the ruler in his hand and crossed his arms. "Did you need something?"

"I'm sure you've been wondering what I've been up to lately," Kirk said, clearly eager to tell Luke something.

"I never wonder what you've been up to, Kirk." Luke picked up the ruler and began to measure off sections on a piece of wood.

"I've gotten into the house flipping game."

Luke jerked his head up and looked at Kirk in astonishment. "You what?"

"I've bought a property on the edge of town. I've been fixing it up and plan on selling it. I had a partner, but she backed out. She was slowing the process down, anyway. We've barely gotten anything done over the past couple of months. I was going to finish up the rest myself, but Mother says things are accomplished faster with a team, so I'm getting a new team together."

"You want me to help?"

"If you're interested, you can show me some of your samples." Kirk stood up a little straighter. "If I like what I see, I may be able to find a place for you on the team."

"Do you realize the work that it takes to flip a house?" Luke's concern was evident in his tone.

Kirk shrugged. "It's not that hard."

"What makes you think that?"

"I've been watching Flip This House." Luke stared, unblinking. "It's a TV show. They're able to flip a house in a few months."

"What does that have to do with anything?" Luke asked.

"Well, it looked pretty easy," Kirk explained.

"It's a TV show, Kirk," Luke said. "Nothing is as easy as they like you to think it is on those shows."

"How would you know?" Kirk scoffed. "You don't watch television anyway."

"I don't need to watch television to know that you can't buy a house, get it up to code, and sell it on your own in a couple of months. It isn't possible."

"But it is," Kirk said. "If you just watched a few episodes, you could see how you can find a solution if you just attack the problem the right way."

"Kirk," Luke interjected. "I have seen one or two of those shows. And trust me, that episode I saw with the cesspool bathroom that was floating on festering water was not fixed in a day like they tried to make it seem. They glossed over all kinds of crap. There's no way in hell you can rebuild an entire bathroom in one stinking day!"

"It can't be that hard," Kirk argued. "They do it all the time on—"

"Kirk, listen to me," Luke sighed. "Let me help you out with this here, okay? It's a television show. They edit out all the little time wasting projects that have to be done. They cut out all the setbacks that really delay things, and they don't show you the realistic amount of time you have to devote to this sort of thing. Sure, you can slap up some drywall in a couple of hours. But then there's more time to spackle it up, wait for the spackle to dry, paint the damn drywall, wait for the drywall to dry, and it just goes on and on." Luke looked around and grabbed a wall mount bookshelf. "Do you have any idea how long it took to do this?" he asked.

Kirk looked at the simple shelf. "An hour?" he guessed.

"Three days," Luke said.

"How could that take three days?" Kirk asked suspiciously.

"Besides the fact that I have a job?" Luke asked. "It takes time to measure things out, get the tools you need, cut the wood, shape the wood, add the bells and whistles, sand it, stain it, clear coat it, and then wait for it to dry," he said.

"I think you put way too much thought into that shelf," Kirk noted.

Luke reached for something else. "Bathroom cabinet," he said, holding up the partially constructed enclosure. "Two weeks." He turned around and pointed to what looked like the beginning of a coffee table. "That's at least three weeks of work there," he said, and spun to face the haphazardly strewn pile of unfinished projects that littered the driveway and pointed to each one in turn. "Vanity, two months," he said. "Bread box, a week. Coat rack, two weeks, work bench, another three weeks."

"You're building a work bench?" Kirk asked.

"Yes, I'm building a work bench." Luke sighed. "I need a work bench."

"Shouldn't you have made that first?" Kirk asked. "Because you have a lot of stuff here that might have been finished already if you had just started out with your half finished work bench over there."

Luke walked over to a partially constructed rocking chair. "Until you can build one of these things, keep your trap shut, okay?" he grumbled.

Kirk looked at the chair and frowned. "I may not be able to build one of those, but I think a rocking chair needs the little things to rock on, you know."

"And if anybody knows anything about being off their rockers, it's you, Kirk!" Luke spat. He picked up a wedge of scrap wood and tossed it at the garage, then turned and stomped back towards the house.

Kirk followed in step behind him. "Fine, you don't have to actually do the work. You can be more of a consultant."

Luke spun around. "You want my help? Start off by... "

"Hold on just one second," Kirk said, pulling a notebook and a pen from his back pocket and flipping to a blank page. "I want to get this all down."

"Kirk," Luke sighed.

"To get Luke's help..." Kirk muttered as he wrote. "Start off by... okay, start off by what?" he asked, looking at Luke.

Luke squeezed his eyes shut and rubbed his temples, trying to find any tasks that would get Kirk to just go away and leave him alone. "Okay," he said, rolling his eyes. "First thing you need to do is go to the nearest Home Depot or something and start researching prices. Wood, drywall, caulking, nails, tiling, flooring..." He rolled his eyes again as he watched Kirk write every word down. "Better yet, first off you should find someone that knows what they're doing and hire them."

"That's why I was giving you the opportunity to help. What else?"

"Telling you that you can't do it on your own isn't enough?" Luke exhaled a frustrated breath as Kirk stared at him with his pen poised to write. "Fine, you want more, here's more. You need to figure out what people want in a house. You want it to attract the most buyers, so you have to make sure your amenities attract the general public. Like, do they want a wraparound porch? Or if your house has a porch, where do the buyers want it? Do you need to flip it from the back of the house to the front?"

Kirk scribbled furiously in his notepad. "Okay, I got it. What else?"

Luke threw up his hands and turned back towards the house. "I give up. Don't follow me," he warned as Kirk fell into step behind him.

Kirk came to a sudden halt, obviously wounded by Luke's dismissal. "Don't you think you should clean this all up first?" Kirk cried out. "I'm sure there's a rule about leaving things in your yard like this. Taylor isn't going to like all this... stuff out here!" He ran off as soon as he saw the look on Luke's face.

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

"So flat out asking Luke what's up didn't work?" Sookie placed a plate of cookies on the kitchen table and sat down in the seat across from Lorelai. "Ice cream! I made a test batch of something that I think you'll love with these cookies." Sookie stood back up and went over to the freezer.

"What kind of ice cream?" Lorelai asked.

"I'll tell you after you taste it," Sookie said, pulling out a container.

"Why? Does it have something in it I don't like?" Lorelai wrinkled her nose and watched as Sookie pulled two bowls from the cabinet and dug spoons out of the silverware drawer.

"No, I just want an honest reaction without knowing what's in it first," Sookie explained, scooping ice cream into the bowls. She pushed a bowl toward Lorelai and sat down again. "So, how can we get Luke to share about all that woodworking? I really want to know what he's working on," she said, taking a bite of ice cream.

"I have no idea what's going on out there." Lorelai picked up her spoon and moved the scoop of ice cream around in her bowl.

"Maybe he's building a boat," Sookie mused.

"It can't be a boat," Lorelai said. "I think he's way past the boat stage."

"What's the next stage?" Sookie asked. "Oh, is it an ark?" she giggled. "Has he reached the ark stage yet?"

"Sure," Lorelai said, taking a bite of ice cream. "All he needs to do is find a mate for Paul Anka, and gather two of every breed of cat that haunts Babette's property, and he can start building a new civilization."

"With cats," Sookie added. "No, I don't think you can really build a civilization with cats. You at least need a matching set of cows."

"Why cows?" Lorelai dipped a cookie into the ice cream and took a generous bite.

"Where else are you going to get a good Luke's burger if the world is wiped out in a flood?" Sookie reasoned.

"Good point." Lorelai grinned.

"Maybe he's building a house," Sookie said with a mischievous smile.

"In the garage, Sook?"

"Maybe it's one of those little efficiency type houses," Sookie countered. "Oh! Or its a dollhouse!"

"For?" Lorelai crumbled a cookie into the ice cream and mixed it all up.

"Um...you?" Sookie shrugged. "Maybe he wanted to make you a scale model of your house."

"I think you're reaching now."

"A paddle?"

"For the ark?" Lorelai giggled.

"It's a really big paddle." Sookie chuckled. "That's why he needs the whole garage."

"We really need to figure this out," Lorelai decided. "We need to investigate some more."

"Okay, the first time we tried that, it didn't go so well," Sookie reminded Lorelai. "Remember Lucifer's head rolling out after us?"

"I think Lucifer's head is exactly why we need to figure out what's going on out there," Lorelai mumbled. "We need time to snoop without being obvious."

"How are we going to do that?"

Lorelai swallowed her mouthful of food. "The only way we know how."

"And that is?"

"With food," Lorelai smirked.

"We distract Luke with... a garden salad?" Sookie asked uncertainly.

"No, with Jackson. And burgers," Lorelai explained. "I think we're overdue for a group date night, Sookie. Nice weather for a cookout, don't you think?"

Sookie thought for a moment, then looked at Lorelai with wide eyes. "Oh my God, that's perfect!" she squealed. "If Luke gets suspicious, all I have to do is start trying to put gouda on the burgers or something to throw him off."

"Exactly," Lorelai laughed. "So do you think Jackson will be on board?"

"Oh, he'll be on board," Sookie nodded excitedly. "He still talks about being the reigning Burger King. He won't be able to resist another face off."


"So, do you like the ice cream?" Sookie asked, a sly smile on her face.

"I love it! What's in it?"


"Oh, Sook, that's gross," Lorelai grimaced, pushing the bowl of ice cream away.

"It wasn't gross a minute ago," Sookie pointed out.

"Well, now it's polluted." Lorelai gulped down her coffee. "Man, I really don't like avocados!"

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

"I still don't even understand the criterion for this contest," Andrew said sharply, crossing his arms and glaring at Taylor.

"What's so hard to understand?" Gypsy asked. "You sell things, you make money. Easy concept to remember."

"It's rigged," Andrew muttered. "There's no way for the average small businessman to compete here."

"How is it rigged?" Babette asked. "It's like Gypsy said, you sell stuff, you make dough. If you don't make the dough, you don't get the doughnuts!"

"Do you even have a job?" Andrew asked crossly. "How is this any of your concern?"

"No need to bite my head off, sugah," Babette said.

"He's got a point though," Gypsy said. "None of us can even compete with Taylor."

"People," Taylor shouted, banging his gavel on the podium. "I would hardly think it's accurate to say I have a death grip on the town's business district. Let's just call it a..."

"Death grip," Luke interjected loudly. "How long was this contest supposed to last anyway, Taylor? It was supposed to last for a month, but you keep finding really convenient reasons for it to get extended. Funny how that works, huh? Your vegetable supplier goes on vacation, and the contest gets pushed out just long enough for you to get your stock and your profits up again. If I was a paranoid man..."

"If?" Taylor interrupted. "I think we've firmly established that you're a paranoid man, Lucas."

Luke stood up, shaking his head furiously. "Rent increases on your properties, and suddenly you want them included in the totals. But can my rent to you count? Nooo, and why is that again?"

Taylor picked up a stack of papers and shook them at Luke. "If you bothered to read the rules..."

"Stuff your rules, Taylor," Luke growled in disgust. He looked down to see Lorelai's smiling face. "What are you smiling about?"

Lorelai bit back her smile. "Nothing."

"It's your fault we're here in the first place. We get out of a Friday night dinner since your parents had that charity event, and instead of a nice peaceful night at home, you drag me into this."

Taylor rolled his eyes. "Looks like I'm not the only one you've declared war on," he said.

"Butt out, Taylor," Luke spat. "It's been a long time since I've thrown a frying pan at your head. Too long, if you ask me."

"Wouldn't that take precious time away from you and Lorelai dispersing my prize winning rose bushes around town?" Taylor asked.

Lorelai held back a chuckle. "That was more creative than you parking your ice cream truck on the sidewalk right in front of the entrance to the diner, Taylor."

"That was a simple misunderstanding," Taylor reasoned. "My driver takes things a bit literally at times. And that's still no comparison to you two hoodlums taking the time to rearrange my candy barrels. Jawbreakers mixed in with the gumballs? Somebody could get hurt with recklessness like that! Little Timmy almost chipped a tooth!"

Lorelai looked suspiciously at Luke. "Did you do that?" she murmured out of the corner of her mouth.

"No, I thought you did that," he whispered back.

Babette nudged Morey and winked. "Next time I'm thinking we should mix some Pop Rocks in with the Rock Candy," she whispered gleefully. "It ain't often we get a full tilt war in this town to take advantage of and have some fun."

"You towed my truck," Luke growled.

"No, you parked in a street cleaning zone," Taylor said. "I just did my civic duty and reported your criminal activity. And what about that salt lick in my garden? You aren't responsible for the influx of deer in our town? If anyone gets Lyme disease, you're at fault, Lucas."

"Lyme disease?" Luke seethed, his voice rising louder that it had all night. "Lyme disease?! HEALTH CODE INSPECTOR!" He roared, yanking off his baseball cap in his rage and pointing it menacingly at Taylor.

"Okay, that's it. I can't take this anymore!" Patty stood up and shouted. "We're ending this contest here and now." Luke thrust the hat back on his head and sat down. "Every business is being counted separately, and I don't care what any 43 page rule book has to say about it!" Taylor huffed and crossed his arms over his chest as he stepped away from the podium. "Kirk, check that log book of yours and tell us who is in the lead as of last Friday."

Kirk flipped through the pages of his notebook until he found what he was looking for. "As of 5:01 last Friday afternoon, The Dragonfly Inn was leading by $3,561.40."

"Yes!" Lorelai threw her hands up in the air and jumped out of her seat. She planted a firm kiss on Luke's lips before pushing him away and running up to the podium to claim her prize. "Hand over that basket of junk, Taylor."

Taylor placed the gift basket into Lorelai's outstretched hands. "Congratulations," he mumbled.

Kirk cleared his throat. "However, Al's Pancake World's numbers weren't completely tabulated yet, so as of 5:18, Al was in the lead by $3,654.50."

"What?" Lorelai whined as Taylor yanked the gift basket out of her arms.

"I'll take that, young lady," Taylor said, a smug smile on his face.

Lorelai turned and walked back toward Luke, dejected. "How on earth did Al manage to pull that off?" she asked to no one in particular.

"It looks like Al's all you can eat snow crab legs pushed him over the top," Kirk observed.

"But half the people who ate the snow crab legs got sick," Lorelai argued.

"Ah, but nobody asked for a refund," Taylor shot back. "Therefore, you lose."

"She still beat you," Luke pointed out.


Luke cut Taylor off. "No, no, you can say all you want, but she still beat you. Even after you tried to smear the Dragonfly, blocked off all the roads to the inn, and, I can't prove it, but I'm convinced you're responsible for the rash of dead skunks on the Dragonfly property. She. Still. Beat. You." Luke leaned back in his seat with a satisfied grin on his face.

Lorelai flopped into her seat. "I could really go for some snow crab legs," she muttered under her breath.

"Are you serious?" Luke asked.

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

Rory typed quickly, her fingers barely able to keep up with her thoughts. She paused to read over what she had written, and glanced up when she caught a glimpse of a t-shirt out of the corner of her eye. Written on the shirt were the words, 'The Man Who Sold the World'.

"Huh, Bowie," she murmured, her eyes widening as the girl looked at her curiously.

"What about him?" Tess asked.

"I'm sorry." Rory blushed. "I didn't actually mean to say that out loud. I was just impressed that you have that song on your shirt with a picture of Bowie and not Cobain."

"It so wasn't a Nirvana song," Tess said, shaking her head.

"I know!" Rory enthused. "Why is it so hard for people to accept that the song existed long before MTV Unplugged?"

"Exactly!" Tess exclaimed. "If I have to explain one more time that Nirvana ganked that song from Bowie and not the other way around, my brain might actually implode in on itself. Honestly, get a clue, people."

"Kids these days just don't get the Glam Rock," Rory sighed dramatically.

"I refuse to accept that Ziggy Stardust is obsolete," Tess muttered.

"Ziggy will always play guitar," Rory said with a grin.

Tess looked at Rory and narrowed her eyes thoughtfully. "Siouxie or the Cure?" she asked.

Rory blinked in surprise. "Oh, Siouxie, hands down," she said.

"Falco or After the Fire?"

"'Der Kommissar' just isn't 'Der Kommissar' in English," Rory replied. "Falco wins."

Tess nodded approvingly. "Favorite Clash song? Don't think about it, just say it," she added.

"This Is Radio Clash," Rory said quickly. "Wow, I didn't know that would be my favorite. Interesting!"

"Groovy, a girl who knows another Clash song besides London Calling." Tess smiled.

"I'm very multi-faceted," Rory said solemnly. "Do I lose points if I admit that I have Dido on my iPod?"

Tess hung her head in shame. "Only if you can forgive me for having Eternal Flame on mine," she admitted sheepishly.

"Oh, girl bands don't count," Rory said. "I think there's a forgiveness clause in the Manifesto For Eclectic Music Lovers for The Bangles and the Go Gos, for instance."

"But Bananarama and Pussycat Dolls aren't allowed, right?" Tess asked.

"Well, do you have them on your iPod?" Rory asked.

"Good God, no," Tess gasped. "I have to admit something though," she leaned in as she started to whisper, "One of my friends put all those songs on my iPod. I'm actually a huge country music fan."

"Oh, then our conversation here is finished," Rory said, her smile making it clear she was joking. "Because there is no forgiveness clause for sheer bad taste." Rory noticed the backpack slung over Tess' shoulder. "Oh, I'm sorry, I'm talking your head off, and you must be on your way out."

"Yup, I'm all through for the day." Tess pulled her backpack off and dropped it on the floor. "You've been here for hours. Catching up on YouTube?" she teased.

Rory laughed. "Actually I've been working."

"Yeah? You in school?"

"No, I'm a freelance writer. I'm working on an article for—"

"Salon! That's where I know you from! I read your article a few months ago about the campaign. Great stuff."


"Oh yeah, you've got a great style." Tess sat down in the seat next to Rory. "It must have been really interesting to ride around the country following Obama."

"It really was," Rory said. "But I got homesick. It was pretty disconcerting, actually. I didn't expect that part of the experience, at least not on that level."

"I'll bet it was," Tess said. "Be it ever so humble, yada yada yada..."

"No place like it," Rory agreed.

Tess looked at her watch. "Shoot, I better go before I'm late for class again."


"Yeah, I'm taking a few classes over at the community college. Tonight is Lit 207. Shakespeare. I'd hate to miss tonight's discussion on whether Hamlet really knew Yorrick or not."

"Yeah, make sure to bring up the borderline incestuous relationship between Hamlet and the Queen. That'll throw everyone off," Rory teased.

Tess chuckled as she stood and picked up her bag. "I'll do that. See you around?"

"See you around," Rory said with a wave.

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

Patty looked over the agenda. "There is one more item on the agenda. Kirk?"

Kirk stood up, straightened his tie, and then stepped up on the stage. "I have a business opportunity I'd like to give you all a chance to invest in." The crowd groaned. "No, this is a really good one, I promise. Luke has already agreed to invest his time to help."

Lorelai leaned over and whispered in Luke's ear. "You agreed to help Kirk?"

Luke rolled his eyes. "I don't know. He got me so riled up I don't remember what I said." He slumped further into his seat and crossed his arms.

Up front Kirk had set up an easel with a large poster board picture of a run-down house. "I've recently acquired the following property. I've been in the process of fixing it all up. After it's completed, I'm going to sell it. Originally I had a partner, but we had some... disagreements on how the property should be handled, so we parted ways. I'm giving you the chance to be my new partners."

"Kirk, that house is pretty beat up," Andrew observed. "Is that the most recent picture of it?"

Kirk squirmed a bit. "That's why I need all your help."

"I think the bigger issue is that your house isn't up to code," Taylor said, his fingertips tapping his chest. "During the last SHHPS walk-through we found at least seven ordinances that were violated. According to ordinance—"

Luke jumped to his feet. "Taylor!" he bellowed. "Take your ordinances and shove them where—"

Taylor loudly rapped the podium with his gavel. "You're out of order!" he yelled over Luke.

Luke stared at Taylor. "I'm out of order?" he growled. "I'm out of order?? You're the one who's out of order, Taylor."

"Oh, really?" Taylor asked. "The truth of the matter, Lucas, is—"

"You can't handle the truth!" Lorelai shouted.

"What?" Luke asked, looking down at Lorelai in confusion.

"Sorry," Lorelai shrugged. "Seemed like a good idea at the time. Carry on," she added, waving Luke away with her hand.

Luke shook his head in exasperation and focused his attention back on Taylor. "You don't have the right to bury the guy under frivolous ordinances and fines and taxes and—"

"Oh, but I do," Taylor said, patting the binder in front of him. "There's nothing frivolous about making sure Stars Hollow historical properties are protected—"

"Can we get back on topic, please?" Kirk interrupted.

"Bull," Luke raged, oblivious to Kirk. "All you care about is turning this town into Taylorville, plain and simple. You want to make sure the property owners around here will fall in line with your twisted vision of what this town should look like."

"You say that like that's a bad thing," Taylor said smugly. "You have a borderline pathological problem with rules and regulations, Luke."

"I have a problem with you," Luke seethed. "Fascist," he added.

"Anarchist," Taylor shot back.

"This is all very fascinating," Kirk said, attempting to regain control of the discussion. "But I still—"

"Can we please try to get back to a civilized exchange of ideas?" Patty interjected. "All this posturing is giving me heartburn."

"I have Rolaids if you need any," Lorelai called to Patty.

"I may take you up on that." Patty smiled.

"You're not helping here," Luke hissed at Lorelai.

"Neither is all that foaming at the mouth you're doing there, babe," Lorelai said, tugging on his shirttail. "Sit down and cool off, Cujo, before Taylor calls Animal Control."

"Well then," Taylor said. "Now that that bit of unpleasantness has been contained, let's get back to the matter at hand."

"Thank you," Kirk said, clearing his throat and composing himself. "Now, if you all will turn your attention back to—"

"Hey, wasn't that Old Lady Kransky's place?" Gypsy asked, cutting Kirk off.

"Yeah, that was her house," Babette chimed in. "She really let that place go, Kirk. Are you sure you can fix up that mess?"

"We've repaired several problems already," Kirk said uncertainly.

"Didn't she have rats?" Morey asked.

"It was just a field mouse infestation," Babette clarified. "But she had so much junk in that place, they got as big as rats. They really lived high off the hog with all the stuff she had in those cabinets. And boy, did that house stink."

"She had at least four broken down cars parked in the back yard at one point," Gypsy said. "Have you mowed there lately, Kirk? You may end up running over an old Buick if you aren't careful."

"I haven't—" Kirk started to say, before getting cut off by yet another person. His shoulders slumped in defeat as he watched the meeting attendees bicker back and forth about Old Lady Kransky and her property. Kirk kept turning his head to look from one conversation to another, much like a spectator at a tennis match. his eyes widened, clearly showing his mounting panic. "Come on, I need help here!"

"Why not hire professionals?" Gypsy asked.

Kirk wiped the sweat from his brow. "My former partner was responsible for all that and she left with all the contacts."

"So hire someone new," Andrew suggested. "No one here knows anything about renovating a house. Well, except for Tom."

"Tom already turned me down." Kirk wiped his sweaty palms together. "This is a great opportunity. As you can see from these pictures—"

"All I see is a rundown house and someone who was suckered into buying it," Babette said, mystified.

"Someone who should have known to ask the SHHPS before he made such a large purchase," Taylor added, looking pointedly at Kirk.

Kirk grabbed the gavel from the podium and pounded it in frustration. "I need your help! Why will no one take me seriously? Why will no one help me? I can't flip a porch from the back of the house to the front all by myself!"

The room quieted quickly, no one sure of what to say.

"You actually took me seriously?" Luke asked incredulously.

"But you said—" Kirk interjected.

"Kirk, I was just trying to get you to go away," Luke groaned.

"You can't really flip a porch?" Kirk asked.

"Not unless you're really cheap and just want to recycle the wood by flipping the slabs over," Luke snarked.

Taylor cleared his throat and pulled the gavel that Kirk was still clutching out of his hand. "Give me that," Taylor said sharply.

Kirk's eyes widened as he released his hold on the gavel. "That is a brilliant idea, Luke," he said reverently.

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

Sookie scanned the backyard as she handed Lorelai a large margarita glass and sat next to her on the porch steps. "You think it's one big thing or a bunch of little things?"

"It's hard to say," Lorelai replied, taking a sip from her glass. "Mmm, good. Whatever it is, I wish it was finished already."

"So finish your story," Sookie pressed, glancing over at the grill where Jackson protectively hovered while Luke stood nearby, looking bored.

"Right," Lorelai said. "So Luke's project just kept growing and growing. He usually pulled the stuff back into the garage after he worked on them, but the garage was getting pretty full."

"Seriously? That's a pretty big garage."

"I know. Anyway, he started to leave some of the bigger items out in the driveway. Taylor came by the other night and told Luke he had to move them."


"Apparently there is a Stars Hollow ordinance about things being on your front lawn."

"Of course," Sookie said, rolling her eyes theatrically.

"So all the stuff in the front yard was moved to the back yard."

Sookie pointed out to the far right corner of the yard. "That looks like a headboard. Oh my God, he's not really trying to recreate his grandmother's bedroom set, is he?"

"Please God, no. " Lorelai shuddered. "Actually, that's the piece of wood he puts on the sawhorses to use as a work bench."

"He doesn't have a work bench?" Sookie snorted. "The guy with the project from hell doesn't actually have a work bench to... work on?"

"Hey, don't ask me." Lorelai shrugged. "All I can do is stare at the ever growing pile of whatever it is he's trying to do here."

"Your yard reminds me of the Bob the Builder episode when Bob kept starting a project and then had to stop because Wendy kept asking to borrow one of the team," Sookie said, patting Lorelai's leg.

"Can he build it?" Lorelai giggled.

Sookie looked around the yard and laughed. "Yes he can."

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

"Excuse me, Andrew," Kirk said, walking up to the counter of the Black, White And Read. "I am conducting a survey and was wondering if you had a moment to talk to me?"

Andrew looked around the empty store and shrugged. "Sure," he replied. "What do you want to ask?"

"When it comes to housing, I was wondering about the average Joe's preferences," Kirk began.

"Housing?" Andrew asked.

"Yes, housing." Kirk nodded. "For instance, do you prefer your toilet facilities to be on the first or second floor?"

Andrew looked at Kirk in confusion. "I don't think I ever put much thought into the location of my... toilet facilities," he said.

"But if you did, where would you prefer it?" Kirk asked.

"I guess I'd just want it near my bedroom," Andrew said.

"Interesting," Kirk muttered, jotting something down on his clipboard. "Next question. Would you prefer a kitchen table, or a breakfast nook?" he asked.

"Uh, a table?" Andrew answered uncertainly.

"And in terms of sunlight," Kirk continued. "What kind of sunlight exposure do you enjoy most?"

"Sunlight?" Andrew queried.

"Would you rather have a house that faced the setting sun, or the rising sun?" Kirk clarified.

"I guess the rising sun," Andrew shrugged. "You don't think you can actually adjust your house to face the sun like that, do you?"

Kirk ignored Andrew's last question. "Thanks, I appreciate your help." He turned to leave as Gypsy walked in. "Perfect! Gypsy, I am conducting a survey and was wondering if you had a moment to talk to me?"

Gypsy looked over to Andrew for help. He smirked and focused on organizing the books on the counter. "Make it fast," she sighed.

"Do you prefer your toilet facilities to be on the first or second floor?"

"I prefer them to work. Next question."

Kirk quickly recorded her answer. "Would you prefer a kitchen table or a breakfast nook?"

Gypsy rolled her eyes. "I'd prefer serious questions."


"You should be asking people about hardwood floors and stuff, Kirk, not this silly crap." Gypsy walked past him and glared over at Andrew. "My book come in yet?" Andrew held up a book and she walked over to the counter.

"I'll add that to the list. What else do you think is important?" Kirk trailed behind her.

Gypsy took the book from Andrew and began to flip through the pages. "I think it's important that you go away before I teach you how to install wainscoting by installing it on you."

"What's that?" Kirk furrowed his brow. "And how do you spell it?"

"You don't want to find out," Andrew answered.

Kirk stuck his clipboard under his arm and hurried out of the bookstore.

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

"Will you stop that?" Luke growled, pulling the bottle of lighter fluid away from Jackson. "What are you trying to do, make the grill visible from outer space?"

"Don't be so overdramatic," Jackson said. "I'm trying to get the right amount of flame grilled flavor in the burgers."

"What are you, the Burger... never mind," Luke said, handing the lighter fluid back to Jackson. "Do whatever. I'm not here."

"I'm the Burger what?" Jackson asked.

"I said never mind," Luke shot back.

"Say it," Jackson crowed. "I want to hear you say it. I'm still the Burger King."

"The day I call you that, will be a cold day in hell," Luke muttered.

"Then get your mittens ready, mister, because it's snowing in Hades," Jackson said, squirting fluid on the charcoal briquettes and watching as the flames licked at the burgers.

"Whatever," Luke grunted. "Just grill the damn burgers already."

"And not a bit of butter in sight," Jackson said to himself.

"I heard that," Luke said, tossing a pair of tongs onto the rack attached to the side of the grill.

"You're really grouchy lately," Jackson noted as he flipped the burgers.

"I am not grouchy," Luke said. "I'm just not in the mood to have yet another butter versus your seasoning rub debate."

"You're a grouch," Jackson insisted. "You should find a trash can to live in."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Luke snapped.

"You're worse than Oscar the Grouch," Jackson cheerfully explained. "Hence the trash can. See what I did there?"

"Unbelievable," Luke muttered under his breath.

Jackson stepped back and watched the burgers as they sizzled on the grill. "Now we just have to let the fire complete the cycle of perfection," he gloated.

"At least you're a humble man," Luke sighed.

"Hey, have you seen Wanda's latest baby picture?" Jackson asked, pulling his wallet out of his back pocket.

"Probably." Luke shrugged, looking at the picture with disinterest when Jackson held it up. "What is she doing?" he asked.

"Well, we really couldn't get her to stop picking," Jackson said. "Sookie gave up and said we may as well document how she looks with her finger shoved up there all the time. Save it to show her prom date some day."

"A reasonable plan," Luke said, raising his hand and scraping absentmindedly at a splinter embedded in the palm of his hand.

"Here's Davey," Jackson said, handing another picture to Luke. "Tee ball picture."

Luke took the picture and chuckled despite himself. "Looks like a rookie card," he noted, turning the picture over and looking at Davey's stats listed on the back. "Look, it actually says he almost got to first base this year."

"That's my boy," Jackson said proudly, taking the photo back and tucking it into his wallet. "He's also the only kid on the team to get the ball to actually leave the tee so far."

"David Ortiz must be shaking in his boots," Luke said, handing the photo back to Jackson.

"I have no idea what that means," Jackson confessed.

"I'm a man of mystery," Luke said. "No Martha pictures?" he asked unenthusiastically.

"She's going through a phase," Jackson shrugged, handing another picture to Luke.

"This is the back of her head," Luke said, pointing to the blurred tangle of hair in the photo.

"She's very camera shy lately," Jackson said. "The minute a camera comes out, she's running in the opposite direction."

"Quite the diva you've got there," Luke mumbled turning his attention back to the splinter still embedded in his skin.

♫   ♫   ♫  

"We need to get rid of Luke now," Lorelai whispered.

"How?" Sookie asked. "Oh, tell him you need something from the attic."

"In the middle of a grill out?" Lorelai asked. "Besides, that's way too random."

"Tell him... tell him we need more beer?" Sookie offered.

"Bought a case for the cookout. Besides, what are we, lushes?" Lorelai asked.

"Send him to the store," Sookie urged.

Luke walked into the kitchen and frowned at the pair as they talked in hushed whispers. "What are you two doing?" he asked suspiciously.

"We need milk," Lorelai blurted out.

Luke pointed at the fridge. "We have half a gallon of skim in the fridge, brand new," he said.

"Whole milk," Lorelai clarified. "I refuse to drink blue milk."

"It isn't blue," Luke sighed.

"Looks blue to me," Lorelai argued. "Skim milk freaks me out."

"Milk in general freaks you out," Luke said.

"But I really want some whole milk," Lorelai pleaded. "Please? Pretty please?"

"Are you feeling all right?" Luke asked.

"I'd feel a lot better with some fresh, calcium rich whole milk straight from my grocer's freezer," Lorelai insisted.

Luke rolled his eyes and picked his keys up off the table. "Fine, I guess I'm going to get some milk," he said, looking curiously at Lorelai.

"Thanks, babe." Lorelai grinned.

"I'll be back," Luke grunted, turning to leave.

"Also, some Oreo cookies to dunk into the milk," Lorelai called after him. "And some salsa for the tortilla chips. And some bread, we're low on bread. Oh! We need pizza bites, too!"

"Yeah, yeah," Luke yelled back as he exited through the front door.

Lorelai turned to Sookie. "Now what?"

"Now we go into the garage and see what we can find out." Sookie stood and headed for the back door.

Lorelai reached out and grabbed Sookie's arm. "Wait, what about Jackson?"

Sookie waved her off. "Oh, he'll be fine. His eyes will be on those burgers until they come off the grill. Come on!" Sookie rushed out the door.

Lorelai caught up with her and they rounded the corner to the front of the garage as Rory's car pulled into the driveway. They watched as Rory stepped out of her car and walked over to them. "Where have you been?" Lorelai asked, her hands on her hips.

"Sorry, I was hanging out with Tess and lost track of time," Rory replied. "What are you doing out here? Isn't the grilling in the backyard?"

"Tess?" Sookie questioned.

"She's a girl I met at Knowles Books. We got together today to check out a competing bookstore. She needed a look out since the people know she works at Knowles." Rory walked past them and stopped as she looked out into the backyard. "What happened here?"

"We took in the rejects from the Martha Stewart furniture collection."

"Or...?" Rory asked.

"Or Luke is still playing the role of manic builder, and we're going in again to see what we can see," Lorelai explained.

"Not again," Rory sighed. "I'm not playing Shultz anymore."

"We're just going to sneak a peek, see what Luke is working on," Lorelai said. "It has to be quick, he won't be gone for long."

"Can I just sit on the porch and be a conscientious objector?" Rory pleaded.

Lorelai grabbed Rory's arm and pulled her with them as they walked to the doors of the garage. "No way."

"I really hope there aren't any more decapitated heads rolling around." Sookie shuddered.

Lorelai opened the door of the garage and groped for the light, flipping the switch up when she found it. She looked at the disorganized projects strewn haphazardly around. "This is a mess," she said.

"It still looks cleaner than when we had everything we owned stored out here," Rory pointed out.

"This is just insane," Sookie whispered. She grabbed an object and held it up. "What is this?" she asked. "Is this a lighthouse?"

"Half a lighthouse," Lorelai said, staring at it. "Why on earth would Luke ever feel compelled to build a lighthouse?"

"Maybe he wants a nautical theme," Rory said, holding up a half finished book rack shaped like a canoe.

"Oh, that is so not going into my house," Lorelai gasped in horror. "Why? Why would he make such a thing?"

"There's nothing finished here," Sookie pointed out.

"It's like he's just jumping from one thing to another," Rory observed, bending over to look at another project. "Why do you guys need a step stool? There're no short people in the house."

"Um, maybe he made it for Babette?" Lorelai shrugged. "She was complaining about top shelves the other day."

"She already owns ten step stools," Sookie said. "I doubt she needs one more."

Lorelai held up something else. "Wooden wind chimes?" she asked.

"Nothing says soothing like dangling chunks of wood clunking together in the breeze." Sookie giggled.

"Oh my God, there are at least five birdhouses over here," Rory called out from a corner of the garage.

Sookie pointed past Rory. "And a rocking chair... or what would be one if it had the rockers on it."

"Why would he be making all this stuff?" Lorelai wondered aloud.

"You know, there is a really simple way to find out," Rory said, walking back to the front of the garage to her mother.

"Hide behind that half finished thing that I can't identify in the corner when he's working and see if he talks to himself?" Lorelai asked.

Rory shook her head. "You could talk to him."

"I already did," Lorelai sighed. "It got me nowhere."

"No, I mean really talk to him. Not just ask him a question and back off when he doesn't really answer." Rory gave Lorelai a small smile as she walked past her. "I'm going to go say hi to the guys."

Sookie put the lighthouse down and walked to the door. "She's right, you know. Talking to him really is the best way to get the answers."

Lorelai gawked at her friend. "Then why did you keep saying we should snoop?"

Sookie shrugged. "It's fun." She put her arm around Lorelai and led her out of the garage. "Come on, let's go see if Jackson is singing to the burgers yet."

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

Later that evening, Luke and Lorelai were lounging on the couch, recovering from the day with Jackson and Sookie. Luke rose to his feet when they heard a knock at the door. He headed toward the foyer and opened the door, rolling his eyes when he saw Kirk standing on the doorstep, a clipboard in one hand and a pen in the other. "What do you want, Kirk?"

"Good evening, my name is Kirk Gleason. I was wondering if you could spare a moment in your busy day to answer a few questions."

"I know who you are, Kirk."

"I'm trying to be professional." Kirk straightened his tie. "I'm introducing myself to establish rapport."

"I still know who you are, Kirk."

"Come on, Luke, work with me here," Kirk pleaded.

Luke leaned against the door frame. "It's been a long day, Kirk. Make it fast."

Kirk looked down at his clipboard and took a deep breath. "In terms of convenience, where do you prefer your toilet facilities?"

Luke blinked. "I prefer them in the bathroom. Goodbye, Kirk," Luke said, slamming the door shut and walking away.

Kirk stared at the closed door for a moment before looking down at his clipboard. "In the bathroom," he muttered, jotting down a note and turning to walk down the porch stairs. He saw Babette next door, fussing over her newest addition to her garden gnome family and he hurried toward her. "Babette!" Kirk called enthusiastically. "I need to ask you a question about your toilet!"

♫   ♫   ♫  

Lorelai walked through the foyer, glancing over at Luke as she continued into the living room. "Who was at the door?"

"Kirk," Luke grumbled, following in step behind her.

"What was he selling this time?" Lorelai picked up the bowl of popcorn from the coffee table and sat down on the couch, placing the bowl in her lap.

"He wanted to ask questions about houses."


"He's surveying people about what they want in a house." Luke sat on the couch next to her, putting his arm around her.

"Oh." Lorelai looked at Luke out of the corner of her eye and bit her lip nervously. "So... no work in the garage today?"

"Nah, thought I'd take a break from it."

"The rainforests all just collectively breathed a sigh of relief." She took a handful of popcorn and stuffed it into her mouth.

"I don't have that much wood," Luke said. Lorelai opened her mouth to speak. "Don't say it, I know, it's dirty," he said, cutting her off.

She swallowed her mouthful of popcorn. "Actually, I wasn't even going there."

"You weren't?" Luke frowned. "Are you feeling okay?"

"I think we need to talk," Lorelai blurted.

"Uh oh," Luke muttered uncertainly. "What's wrong?"

"That's what I want to know," Lorelai said. "I don't recognize you lately without at least five layers of sawdust covering you. Why do you need to hide in the garage so much now?"

"I'm not hiding," Luke replied in a soft voice. "I'm just—"

"Can we just skip the evasive part of the festivities and jump right to the honesty segment?" Lorelai asked. "What aren't you telling me, Luke?"

"I don't know," Luke mumbled.

"But you do know," Lorelai argued. "You've been hiding out there. Why? Are you hiding from me? Did I do something to upset you?"

"No," Luke said. "It's not you. Not at all."

"Then what?" Lorelai asked. "What's eating at you?"

"I don't know," Luke replied helplessly. "It's hard to explain."

"So start by telling me what's going on in the garage," Lorelai pressed. "What the heck are you doing out there anyway?"

Luke sighed heavily. "I started making a rocking chair," he grudgingly began.

"Okay," Lorelai said. "Nothing wrong with a rocking chair, I suppose. Why did you start that?"

Luke looked at Lorelai warily. "No reason," he offered weakly.

"Bull," Lorelai retorted.

"Jeez," Luke muttered. "I just got the idea in my mind that a rocking chair would be a good thing to have around if...well, you know."

"No, I don't." Lorelai removed the bowl from her lap and put it on the coffee table. "If what?"

"If we ever had a kid," Luke sighed.

"Oh," Lorelai said softly.

"Yeah," Luke whispered. "I built the damn rocking chair, minus the damn rockers, and it suddenly hit me."

"What hit you?"

"What if we don't have a kid?" Luke explained. "We're not the youngest couple in the world, maybe it won't happen. Or maybe life will get in the way, and by the time things settle down, it'll be too late."

She placed her hand on his leg. "Okay, then what?"

"Then I got really, really flustered," Luke said. "I kept staring at that damn rocker and getting all confused in my head about why it shouldn't bother me if we don't have kids, because I didn't marry you for your ovaries. I just wanted to be with you. But I haven't been able to shake the fact that suddenly, I realized I really want to have a baby with you. But I don't need a baby to make our marriage complete. I still want you. That trumps everything."

"Sweet." Lorelai smiled. "And your next move was...?"

"I tried to distract myself." Luke shrugged. "Suddenly, I was building what I thought was a storage crate, and the next thing you know, it's a half finished crib."

"Uh oh," Lorelai said. "And that didn't help the thought process?"

"No," Luke muttered. "It really didn't."

"So, clearly this didn't stop with the crib." Lorelai moved closer to him, wrapping the arm he had around her tighter.

"No." Luke pulled her even closer. "Then I decided to try to recreate my grandmother's bedroom set, not to use, since I know you hate it, but I was going to just do it to work off the baby obsession, and before I knew it, I was holding this psychotic looking cherub head in my hand."

"Lucifer!" Lorelai gasped.

"What?" Luke asked, confused.

"I saw the cherub head," Lorelai confessed. "We were snooping, trying to figure out what you were doing since you weren't talking."

"I guess that explains why I almost ran over the head with the lawn mower," Luke said. "I was wondering how that got out into the yard."

"Yeah, that was my fault." Lorelai turned to face him. "Hon? You know I think you are really talented. I love that you can make things with your hands like that. The chuppah still gives me chills. But please, dear God, never try to make a cherub. Ever. That thing was terrifying."

"I know," Luke chuckled. "It really sucked. I found my threshold. I won't venture into that territory ever again."

Lorelai took Luke's hand into hers. "You really worried me," she said. "I didn't know what was going on. That's not good. You have to talk to me."

"I know," Luke sighed. "I'm sorry. I just got stuck in my own head there. I didn't mean to hide it from you."

"We're married now," Lorelai replied. "We have to stop getting stuck in our own heads. We have to be more forthcoming in order for this to work. If I don't know what you're thinking, I can't help you out."

"How could you help me out on this?" Luke asked. "It is what it is. Sometimes my mind has a mind of its own, no pun intended."

"Well, I could have told you that no matter what happens, I still love you and want to be with you," Lorelai said. "I would love to have your baby, Luke. But if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. I want you above all else. Besides, we both know I only married you for your ass."

Luke chuckled and then nodded thoughtfully. "Okay," he said. "That probably would have spared me a lot of splinters."

"And a couple hundred dollars in Refuse Removal violation fines." Lorelai smirked and leaned over to kiss Luke gently on the lips.

♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫   ♫

The next morning, Luke stepped out of the kitchen and called up the stairs, "Lorelai, I'm headed out!"

"Okay, don't forget the cotton swabs on your way home!" Lorelai's voice drifted from the bedroom.

"Right!" Luke called back.

At the sound of the door closing, Lorelai walked hesitantly down the stairs, the cordless phone in her hand. She stepped into the living room, and paced in front of the coffee table. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She punched the 'talk' button and dialed quickly. "Hi! I need to make an appointment with Dr. Kravitz." She heard the beep from call waiting and ignored it. "Lorelai Gilmore... We'll, it's actually Lorelai Danes, I just got married, but my records still say Gilmore." She plopped on the couch as she listened to the receptionist on the other end of the line. "No, nothing's wrong... It's just that... Well, my husband and I are trying to have a baby and I figured that I should probably get the plumbing checked, if you know what I mean." Her free hand twirled a lock of hair as she waited. "Yes, that'll work. Thank you." She hung up the phone, tossed it on the couch, rested her head against the back of the couch and sighed.

Lorelai raised her head when her cell phone began to ring. She leaned forward and picked it up off of the coffee table and looked at the display. "So have you figured out how many cartwheels you can do while your Pop Tarts are toasting?" she asked in greeting.

"Six and a half," Rory said.

"That was a trick question," Lorelai shot back. "No real woman toasts her Pop Tarts. They eat them raw."

"No such thing as a raw Pop Tart," Rory said. "I tried the home line and you didn't respond to the cheerful beep of the call waiting. Checking up on your husband already and couldn't be interrupted?"

"Well, I am a little suspicious of his close friendship with Caesar." Lorelai grinned. "Actually, I was on the phone setting up an appointment with Dr. Kravitz."

"The lady doctor?" Rory asked. "Anything wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong," Lorelai said. She took a deep breath before continuing. "I wanted to get checked out, you know, make sure all systems are go for baby making."

"Oh," Rory said uncertainly. "I see."

"Gotta make sure the ovaries are spitting out those eggs on cue, that there's that clear path for—"

"Okay, okay, I get the point," Rory said. "That's officially T.M.I., Mom."

"Sorry," Lorelai laughed. "New topic?"

"Yes, please," Rory sighed.

"And that new topic is?" Lorelai prompted.

"My third article is getting published," Rory said excitedly. "And I've got contracts for two more articles with other publications. I might be able to quit Weston's pretty soon!"

"That's great, babe!" Lorelai gasped. "So what's the scoop, Lois?"

"Actually that will have to wait," Rory said. "I have to proofread and get this submitted ASAP, but I just wanted to call and let you know it's a done deal."

"Well, congratulations, kid," Lorelai said. "Can't wait for the details." Lorelai and Rory said their goodbyes, and Lorelai flipped the phone shut, tossing it on the couch next to her. No sooner had she relaxed back into her seat, when the home phone began to ring.

"Oh for the love of..." Lorelai muttered, picking up the phone and pressing the 'talk' button. "Hello?" she answered. "Okay, slow down, Luke," she sighed. "What do you mean, Saran Wrap on the toilet seats?"





To be continued...




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