Train of Thought
By Ali Cherry

"Mr. President?" Leo poked his head into the oval office and found his best
friend staring out into the lawn behind his desk.

"I never thought I'd see it, Leo." The President said calmly. Leo entered
the oval office and looked carefully at his friend's face. For once, the
President was subdued and smiling, just a man relaxing after a hectic round
of morning meetings.

"Never thought you'd see what, sir."

The President motioned with his hand for Leo to join him at the window.
Shifting the drapes carefully, the Chief of Staff was surprised to see Sam
and Toby barefoot on the wet and muddy lawn. Sam was talking, his mouth
moving a mile a minute with Toby breaking in occasionally, and to the side
stood Ginger and Kathy, one writing, the other holding an umbrella against
the freckled rain that spotted the oval office windows.

"I sent the Photographer out with instructions not to interrupt but to get a
damn good picture."

"He's gonna go paparazzi on our Communication staff?" Leo asked suddenly.
"Cause you know Sam, he's gotten good at that Camera ESP thing."

"What's he up to now?"

"Huh?" Leo asked, watching as Toby started yelling loudly at Ginger, who
whipped out a walkie-talkie and started talking into it. Looking for Sam,
Leo was surprised to see his mouth had fallen closed as the Secret Service
apprehended the White House Photographer.

"I guess our man got too close. CHARLIE!" The president called out loudly.

"Yes, sir?" Charlie stuck his head into the door.

"Would you tell the secret service not to kill the White House Photographer,
that I asked him to spy on Sam and Toby."

"Sure thing, Mr. President." Charlie shut the door to oval office and spoke
quietly to the man beside the door, who spoke quietly into his wrist.
Charlie joined the others at the window, watching Sam and Toby continue
talking to each other as Kathy took notes. Toby looked at Ginger and said
something as Ginger pulled out a cell phone.

"Don't you have anything better to do." Mrs. Landingham's voice cut through
the quiet in the President's outer office.

A man in a suit stepped forward and pressed his face against the window.
"What are they doing?" He asked. Mrs. Landingham looked at the man before
calling him back to her.

"Senator Kelly?"

"What?" The man backed away embarrassed. "Yes?"

"Why don't you have a seat in the Mural room while you wait?" Mrs.
Landingham opened the door to the mural room and smiled tightly.

"Yes, Ma'am." The senator grinned sheepishly and moved into the mural room.

Mrs. Landingham closed the door behind him and knocked quietly on the oval
office door. Opening it, she found the President and the Chief of Staff
quietly talking watching the group of people out on the lawn. "Mr.
President? Senator Kelly is waiting for you in the Mural room."

"What?" The President looked up at her annoyed.

"Senator Kelly, sir."

"Right." The President clapped Leo on the back and grabbed his jacket. "I'
ll talk to you later, Leo."

"Thank you, Mr. President." Leo walked away from the Window and into his
office where he found Josh and CJ talking.

"Can the press see this?" Leo asked, interrupting their conversation.

"No, they're on the other side of the building, but if any of them decide to
take the tour then, we're screwed." CJ replied her face still stuck to the
glass window.

"Do either of you know what they're doing out there?" Leo asked, moving
beside them at the window.

"Writing the State of the Union." Josh said with a sigh. "I'm still trying
to figure out how Sam got Toby to take off his shoes."

"I'm trying to figure out how Sam can stand the smell of Toby's feet. God
they're awful."

"He's upwind." Josh said with conviction. "And I know this cause-"

"You're an outdoorsman." Leo and CJ finished for him.

"It's not going to snow or anything, right?" Leo asked them.

"I don't think so." Josh kept an eye on his friends on the lawn. Everyone
jumped back, as Lightning struck close to the communication staff on the
lawn. "Whoa!" Josh ran for the door to the oval office, barreling through
to the glass doors on the other side, with Leo and CJ right behind him.

The rain pelted Josh's face as he slid along the wet grassy lawn to where
his friend lay peering into the sky, his face pale, his breaths shallow and
rapid. Josh slammed down hard beside Sam and looked into his eyes.

"Sam, Are you okay? Come on, talk to me." Josh patted Sam's cheek lightly.
Leo walked over to Kathy and Ginger and helped them up off the ground. CJ
moved to help Toby, who was shaking his head as if tweety birds circled the
air above him. Josh looked back at Sam who was looking at the sky, his eyes
rapidly moving. He looked past Josh to Kathy.

"Kathy, scratch that last paragraph on religious tolerance. I think we just
got a phone call from God!"

Josh stood up and lightly kicked Sam in the side. "Get up. I can't believe
I was worried about you."

Sam stood up beside Josh with a grimacing smile. "Okay, you know what?
That hurt." He looked down at his suit. "My suit is ruined."

"We are never walking in the rain again, Samuel." Toby shouted clutching
his head in pain.

"We got a lot of work done." Sam called back.

"Yes, but we almost got French fried."

Everyone walked towards the open doors leading to the Oval Office as Dr.
Bartlet came running out. "Is everyone alright?" She asked, her doctor's
bag in hand.

"Sam's stupidity almost killed us again." Toby growled at Sam, his hand
still clutching his head.

"Kathy, Ginger?"

"Just a headache, Mrs. Bartlet."

"Sam?" Mrs. Bartlet looked for Sam in the group that entered the Oval
Office but he hadn't moved into the office, he sat on the steps outside the
door looking up in the rain. "Sam? Are you all right?" She touched him on
the shoulder to get his attention.

"I lost my train of thought. And my head hurts."

"I can't help with the first, but I can help with the second. Come on."
Doctor Bartlet helped Sam stand and took him into the Chief of Staff's
office where the mud wouldn't be a problem.

"I gotta say. That was pretty cool!" Josh exclaimed.

"Yes, Joshua. I live to make your life cool." Toby glared at Josh, wincing
as Dr. Bartlet shone a light into his eyes.

"Why don't you all go home for the rest of the day. Take some aspirin, get
some rest."

"Yes, Ma'am." The four soaked, mud caked staff stood without question and
headed out the door.

Josh smiled at the remaining group. "It was still cool."

The End.



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