Title: The Gentle Art of Head Wounds
* * *
"Yeah?" He looks up and catches my eye.
"You're still here?" I ask rhetorically, walking in
"Yep, I'm saving the sea otter from a dismal fate," he
"Well, I'm being their spokesman here. Or trying to,"
"Ah, you like doing that. The spokesman part."
"So," I start casually. "Josh is meeting Amy Gardner
"Oh?" He replies, not bothering to look up at me.
"Yeah, she called him today. Invited him for drinks."
"Well, it is perfectly acceptable for a woman to ask a
"Oh, yeah. It is. When she called, she asked to speak
"Who's that?" Sam asks, finally looking up again.
"That's what I said. Apparently, that's Josh."
"Special J?" he repeats, looking confused.
"Yeah, that's what she calls him, which is funny
"When I was in high school, there was a guy we called
"Was he mentally retarded?"
"No," Sam answers. "Just really stupid."
Sam nods and then looks back down.
"What are you working on?" I get up and try to read
"Donna, I..." he guards his papers protectively with
"Oh, sorry." I go back over and sit down as he sighs
"Why are you even still here? I would think you'd take
"Well, I had some stuff to finish."
"Shouldn't you go finish it?"
I finished it an hour ago. Since then, I've
Oh yeah, and I'd make a great spy and/or a pastry
Oh god, maybe I should go home.
"Why don't you go home then?" He asks, looking
"Yeah," I shrug. "I could do that." But I don't,
"Where'd you get this?"
He smiles. "It's not mine. Larry left it in here
"Want to see how many steps we could make it go down
"Donna, I'm kind of busy now," he interrupts me, then
"We could go grab some dinner," he starts, giving me
I feel fine.
"I thought you were busy? What about the poor sea
"Ah, they'll still be around when I get back --
I feel my forehead crinkle. "Why do you want to go
"I don't know...you look...hungry?" He states, but it
"Maybe. I just thought, you know, I mean...are you
"Why wouldn't I be okay?"
"I don't know. No reason, you're fine," he answers
"I am," I get up. "Maybe I will just go home now."
"That's a good idea," he agrees, looking pretty
"Right. Okay. Night, Sam."
"Bye, Donna," he calls after me. I turn around and
"And thanks for the dinner offer," I add and he gives
* * *
"Hi. How you doin'?" Greets me from the phone.
I look at the clock, 11:48. "Where are you?"
"I just got home."
That's late. When Cliff and I had drinks, I was home
"So. I have a question," he starts off and I brace
"Yes?" I sit up a bit in bed.
"Amy asked me out tonight..."
"And then she paid. Does that mean something? I mean,
"Did she buy you dinner too?"
"Well, appetizers. Yeah."
"Hmm, she might be trying to purchase your favors," I
"I know I've said this before, but I think it bears
"Yeah," I agree. "I really am." Fortunately, I think I
"Seriously, Donna, does this mean something?"
"Seriously, Josh, she wants you to owe her."
"Sex?" He squeaks.
"Perhaps. What else have you got that she might want?"
"Okay, you know what? I think I'll figure this out on
"No you won't."
"No, tomorrow you'll go ask Sam and when he has no
"Are you going to start clucking at me now?"
"Nope, I'll wait until tomorrow to do that when you
There's a pause. "Do you think Sam will be more
"Maybe. He did date a prostitute for a while," I
"Okay, see, I'm not sure what the hell I was thinking
"I'm not sure either, since it's not in my job
"That's never stopped you before," he responds quickly
That's never stopped you either," I point out.
There's an uneasy silence and then, "So, did you
"Yeah, it's on your chair," I answer, not mentioning
"What are you doing?"
"I'm in bed."
* * *
"Me too, " I respond, stretching out a bit, glad
"You should ask Sam to tell you about his friend Ed
"Who's Ed? Larry's Ed?"
"No, Sam's Ed. From high school. Ask him, it might
I think she should be upset that I had a date. I was
And apparently, Amy is trying to barter for my very
"Amy's a very attractive woman," I throw out, for some
There's a brief silence. "That's right. I met her last
I swear that came out in a weird voice. Huh. Okay,
"I'm gathering rosebuds, Donna. I'm wooing. Women
"Good, Josh. And actually, she's wooing. Or buying,
"Actually, we ordered brie en croute. That's when..."
"I know what that is," she says snippily, cutting me
"Okay, I was just letting you know. There were also
"So you're an expensive call boy."
"I prefer high-priced male escort," I shoot back.
"She's going to woo you and then throw you away when
"That would work -- isn't that my usual dating modus
I hear a distinct huff on the other end of the phone.
I blindly reach up and feel around for the latest
"Oh god," I manage to mutter, lifting the heavy book
"Josh? Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I just, uh, knocked a book off my headboard
Right on the head. Oh crap, that's almost funny --
"You're okay?" She repeats, sounding more concerned.
"Ah, yeah. I gotta go."
"Need to get back to your street corner?" She teases.
"Yeah, see you tomorrow," I hang up before she can
How apropos. It's my old social studies textbook -- no
* * *
Finally she pokes her head in my office.
"God, hold your horses, Josh. What?"
"My head hurts."
"Josh your head is fine."
"I think the bump is getting bigger."
"I doubt that."
"I could have been killed, by my massive head wound."
"Your head is very hard -- I think you would have
I run my hand through my hair. Ow! God, it really does
"Donna, seriously, it's growing. What happens when
She makes a face, then walks over to me and for a
"Josh," she sighs. "Your bump feels the same."
"Are you sure it's not bigger? It feels bigger."
"It's not bigger," she answers, pulling her hand off
"Okay, but what about a concussion?" I ask, looking
"Have you fallen asleep since you hit your head last
"Did you wake up?"
I look around. "Am I really here or am I just dreaming
She rolls her eyes at me, but now she's smiling too.
"Are you making that up?"
"Could I see some references, please?"
"Donna! References! Unless you've completed medical
"And then you'll shut up about your head wound?"
"Massive head wound, mind you and yeah, I'll shut up
"Fine," she turns and heads out, as I reach for the
* * *
"So, Amy Gardner asked you out for drinks last night,"
Because, really, if I'm going to Sam for advice on
"What? How do you know about that?"
"Donna told me."
"Huh," I answer absently, not quite sure what to make
"What'd she say?"
"Nothing much, just that Amy calls you Special J," and
"She does and she did."
"Have a good time?"
"Ah, yeah. So, what else did Donna say?"
He gives me a curious look. "She thinks Special J is
I shrug my shoulders. "Well, yeah. What else?"
"Fidgety? What the hell does that mean?" C'mon Sam, I
Suddenly the door bursts open and Larry walks in.
"My slinky -- I've been looking all over for that!"
"Josh, you have my slinky."
"Oh! yeah, here, here," I stop playing with it and
He starts to leave. "Oh, Donna says you have Leo in
"Nothing," I answer quickly as he leaves, shutting
"Head wounds?" Sam asks.
"Oh, I just dropped a book on my head last night and
"Yeah. Look, Josh?"
He stares at me for a second. "Is something going
"What? What do you mean?"
"Nothing," he pauses. "Nothing, really. It's none of
"You know there are rumors about you and Donna,
"They are just rumors, right?"
"Of course they are," I answer back.
He smiles. "Yeah, I knew that."
"Yeah. Okay, I need to get in to see Leo and," I start
"Ed? Larry's Ed?"
"No. Your Ed, you knew him in high school?"
"Oh yeah," he grins. "Special Ed. What about him?"
I shake my head. Yep. Hysterical, she is. "Never
On the way back to my office I stop and find myself
She's got her head down while she writes something out
Amy's wrong -- she's not cute at all. She's really
And my assistant.
When I get into my office there's a post-it on my
But before I leave, I take two more Advil -- I have a
* * *