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The Many lives of Joyce Summers

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Summary: A series of short stories and vignettes that reveal glimpses of lives in which Joyce Summers was not a gallery owner. Inspired by Challenge 7316

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Joyce-Centered
Television > Colombo
(Current Donor)vidiconFR131240,934716119,65329 Jan 1321 Aug 13No

One more thing

One more thing

The following ways of notation may be found in this story. This is excluding whatever I need to represent chatting, texting and stuff like that.

Speech: “Who’s on first.”

Thought: *What’s on second.*

Vision: #I-don’t-know’s on third.#

Unbeta’d, all mistakes are mine. This is the first in a series of ‘Alternate careers for Joyce’ short stories and vignettes. Disclaimer at the end.

One more thing

Lieutenant Joyce Summers, LAPD, Internal Affairs, rubbed her face with her hands.

“I’m sorry Joyce, but Buffy’s been identified as the most likely suspect for the arson,” Captain Hillman continued from the other side of the desk.  

“We also have witness statements that she was fighting and may or may not have entered with a gang of bikers,” Hillman continued. “So… Wanna tell me what the hell is going on?”

Joyce shook her head. “I’ve got absolutely no idea. I don’t know what she was thinking, or doing, or anything. My daughter is a cheerleader and a National Youth Champion Figure skater, not an arsonist!”

Burt Hillman sighed. “Joyce… How are you and Hank doing?”

Joyce winced. “Not well. He’s still not happy I joined the LAPD. He wanted me to become a good little houswife after we married.”

“Yeah,” Hillman snorted. “Like that was gonna work. What I’m saying is, kids know stuff like that. Buffy’s a smart girl, no matter how blonde she acts-”

He smirked as his blonde subordinate glared at him. “Talk to her, Joyce. Find out what makes her tick right now. Buffy has always been a good girl, even if she acts like a ditz.”

“But, the Wiseman case,” Joyce began, mentioning a corruption case she was lead investigator on.

“Damn it, Joyce!” Hillman glared. “Your marriage is failing and your daughter is in trouble. Go home. I know that you feel like you have to live up to your father’s reputation, but what do you think he’ll say when he hears you put work before of your daughter?”

“Probably that I’m a chip of the old block,” Joyce muttered angrily.

Hillman sighed. “Okay, you know what? I’m not getting into that whole thing between you and your father. Just, go home, okay?”

Joyce rose. “Oh, if she’s in trouble I know where she is. Captain,” she nodded and left.

Hillman rubbed his face with his hands. “Damn. I do wish they’d stop taking their family problems to work.”


Joyce pulled up on the driveway of the suburban house with a screech of tires, narrowly missing her father’s ancient and ever degrading Peugeot. She got out, slamming the door. The not quite as ancient but also degrading basset hound on the porch lifted its head, wagged its tail and put its head down again. Joyce smiled and patted the old family pet. “Hello, Dog,” she opened the screen door and went into the kitchen. “Hello mom,” she greeted the woman who was standing by the sink with a kiss on the cheek.

Her mother turned around, eying her obviously angry daughter gravely through her horn rimmed glasses. “Hello Joyce. Buffy and your father are in the living room.”

“No surprise there,” Joyce muttered.

Her mother sighed. “I would feel a lot better if you two managed to bury the hatchet.”

“I manage quite well it in hand, thank you,” Joyce replied snippily as she walked through the kitchen and into the living room.

It still smelled of cigar smoke, even if her mother had forced her father to quit smoking in the house years ago. Only a complete refurbishment would ever cast out the scent of stale nicotine that hung around like the un-banished ghosts of dead cigars.     

Buffy was on the couch, she obviously had been crying, her grandfather was beside her, his face gentle and kind. “Not at school, I see,” Joyce remarked coolly.

Buffy winced. “Mom, I can explain…”

“Arson? How exactly were you going to explain that?” Joyce’s voice was sharp.

“At least give her a chance, Joyce,” Joyce’s father spoke up.

“Keep out of this, father. Considering all your knowledge of parenting is showing up at one meal in ten and asking why the children aren’t in bed yet,” Joyce replied scathingly. “We’re leaving, young lady.”

Buffy looked at her grandfather, who hugged her to his side. “Joyce I don’t think that you’re being fair-”

“At this point in time I don’t care to be fair. I want to talk to my daughter and find out what happened without my own father being present. Buffy, car, now.” Joyce pointed at the door and with a last look at her grandfather, almost ran towards the car. Joyce nodded her head. “Father. GOOD NIGHT, MOM!” she called out and strode after her daughter.

Elisabeth Columbo walked in from the kitchen and sighed. “Frank… would it kill you to say you’re sorry for being on the job so often when she was younger?”

Columbo ran his hands through his white but still thick hair. “I know I should, but the way she looks at me… I just get all defensive.”

Elisabeth just sighed.


Joyce Summers was not amused. Not amused at all. It had taken her two weeks to prove that her soon-to-be-ex-husband had forged her consent on the papers that had been used to commit Buffy. Afraid that his legal career might be damaged by the fact that his daughter had set fire to a school gym, while thinking that she was some sort of supernatural being he hadn’t awaited the results of the investigation. Buffy had spent two weeks after her return from Las Vegas in a drugged stupor.

It had taken every bit of credit Joyce had, every favour she was owed by her colleagues in the department and the DA’ office to get Buffy released and Hank investigated. Of course, once the investigation had started things started to snowball quickly.

She sighed as she leaned back on the couch. With Hank getting fired for various felonies, including forgery, and the divorce coming through soon, this was one of the last nights that she would be spending here. She also had to plan what to do with the rest of her life. Buffy might have been cleared of arson, due to lack of proof, and her ‘Mice playing with matches’ remarks laughed away as typical of the family, Joyce still felt it better to get her daughter away from LA. Hemery might accept her back, but Buffy had been acting up, and out, for quite some time there, probably in reaction to her parent’s dissolving marriage.

No, Joyce decided, it was time to look for greener pastures. Maybe she should take that job she’d been offered, to clean up the corrupt and inept police department of Sunnydale. The FBI had stepped in after massive falsification of files and reports had been discovered. The Mayor had been appalled and had sent out a call for qualified personnel, preferably with a background in Internal Affairs investigations. It wasn’t that far from LA, and the pay was good, and after a few years she could find another job. How hard could it be to clean up a suburban town, after all?

End Note:

I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer, nor do I own Columbo.


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