RATING: G
NOTES: New series. See Part One.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own the West Wing or any of its related
characters. Don't sue.
SUMMARY: Different people of the West Wing reflect on their lives so
far.

I think I like the limos best of all. You can see out but people
can't see in. you can lock the doors from inside. If someone
approaches, you can see that person and be ready for them. And if
it's necessary, I can push Zoey to the floor where she's the safest.
Yes, as far as protection goes, I like limos the best.
We're not in the limo any more though. We're in the place I like
the second best. The White House. This place is almost as security
tight as Fort Knox. Almost. Nothings' more important than gold, mind
you. Not even the President.
I'm kidding. I hope.
Sometimes I wonder why it is that I do this. I've trained
forever, a year and a half just for this job, and I got it because
someone wanted to make a point. Some racist jerk needed to make a
point. Just thinking about everything that has happened between my
first meeting with the President on Air Force One and this moment,
here and now, it marvels me. How far we've all come...
The shooting scared me, you know. I saw the gun and everything
I've ever learned disappeared from my mind... for a fraction of a
millisecond. Then it all kicked in and I made the call. No one died
and people tell me that I did well. I couldn't remember what the
signal guy looked like, but Leo said it himself. He told me "You got
the girl in the car."
It's that simple.
Ron told me that I did a good job. That means a lot to me. Ron
means a lot to me. I doubt he knows it or if he ever will. He's been
working at this job longer than anyone I've ever personally known,
and he works the hardest of anyone I know period. He's been like a
mentor for me ever since I started working with Zoey, and ever since
the shooting, we've only grown closer.
I don't think it means anything though.
I wonder how my life is going to end up. I wonder how I got here
in the first place. My mother was a doctor and my father was a
history teacher, and somewhere in there, I decided I wanted to
protect people for a living. For a long time, I thought I was going
to be a cop; in fact, I knew that that was what I was going to be.
However, something changed and I changed my mind. I decided that I
wanted to do something that truly made a difference. I wanted to feel
like I truly made a difference.
Now I do.
My life so far has felt so simple. I didn't grow up in a bad
neighborhood, but it wasn't a particularly good one. We weren't poor,
but we were nowhere near being rich. When my brother joined the navy,
I was five years old and the world was recovering from the Vietnam
War. War, police action, whatever you want to call it, I suppose.
Life was pretty strange in those years. My parents were constantly in
fear that my brother would be called to fight, that another war would
break out. Now it seems they're constantly in fear of me being shot
while protecting Zoey or the President or someone.
They know I would die for Zoey. They're proud of me but they're
scared for me too. I know how they feel. I'm proud but scared for
myself also.
Robert called me the night before the shooting. His ship had just
put in and he'd given his crew a day's shore leave. He wanted to do
something, but I had to take my shift with Zoey. He said my job
interferes too much with my life. I told him I'd retire the day he
did. My brother loves the sea so much; we both know he's not going to
retire any time soon.
When we got back to the White House and Zoey was in bed, I
stopped and replayed the night in my head. My cell rang and my
brother was on the other line, practically in tears because he
thought I'd been shot. He seemed so overjoyed to hear my voice and he
told me "never to do that again".
Rob has always been protective like that.
After I finished talking to him, I called my parents. They
thought I was dead, and they were waiting by the phone to hear
someone's voice telling them that they were right. My father nearly
had a heart attack when he heard my voice instead. My mother couldn't
stop crying enough to speak so the conversation went by rather
quickly.
I had never felt so loved in my life.
Is that what all this was about? Ever since the shooting, there
has been a new certain closeness between everyone. The staff has
grown closer; Zoey and Charlie, the President and his wife, me and
Ron, me and my family... everyone has gotten closer.
I suppose my job requires me to be this strong warrior-type, but
I'm finding more and more that this isn't the case. When Dr. Bartlet
was elected a long time ago to the senate, the secret service took
him through their standard procedure and his family went through the
same briefing. The secret service is there to protect, not invade. If
your agent makes a request (one within reason), do what they tell
you, but otherwise you don't have to act as if they're even there.
Zoey acts like I'm there.
We talk and we share. It's like we're friends, which could
present a problem in some ways, I suppose. I like her, and Charlie
too. They're sweet kids. I just worry that one of these days I am
going to have to take that bullet and I'm going to leave Zoey alone
to react. I never want her to feel like anything that happens to me
is in any way her fault. I feel as if the closer we get, the more
likely it is that in such a situation, she would feel that way.
But this is my job.
People around her will be able to comfort her and convince her of
the truth, should that happen.
God, I'm thinking about my own death. I need to stop doing that.
I think I'll try calling Robert tonight. I missed him for
Christmas. I wonder if his ship's in dock. My brother, the Navy
Captain... God, I remember when my girl friends used to swoon over
him. The guys just told me that he wasn't really my brother; no one
has a brother that's 13 years older. Then of course, one of those 17-
year-olds had a baby brother and I heard nothing more from any of
those wonderful guys.
My brother is my inspiration. My family is my inspiration. I did
the ROTC because of my brother's influence. I get seasick, so no
navy, but the army seemed like an interesting way to go. It was right
for me. It led to this. That's the training I got for one of the most
important jobs in America.
Sometimes I wonder if my whole life is my job. I think I need to
get out more, maybe find a life. Maybe I'll go play racquetball with
Ron next time he asks me. Join a gym, take up mountain-biking, maybe
learn a sixth language.
Yeah, you heard it. Sixth.
I like learning languages. I'm "relearning" French with Zoey and
we talk in Italian with each other from time to time. It scares me
that Zoey feels so much like a little sister. What's going to happen
the next time someone yells "gun"?
I've already been over this today.
Zoey is heading for her father's office. My assumption is that
she's really heading for Charlie's desk or to Mrs. Landingham to find
out where Charlie has gone to now.
My life so far feels good, thinking about it now. I've been
thinking about it all this morning. I suppose it's because of the
shooting and because of my birthday coming up and all. Maybe I'm just
re-examining my life, where it's been, where it's headed... hell,
where it is now.
It's been a year since I officially got this job. A year... So
much has happened. I don't just mean with me. The world seems to be
changing around us all. I'm proud to be a part of that. I'm proud to
be book bag's protector.
It's time to snap out of it, Tuscano. Keep your head up and pay
attention. You're serving your country now.

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