Title: Achtung, Lyman!
Summary: Everyone's favorite Irish activist crooner makes a visit to the
White House, Donna has a secret, and Josh gets the wrong idea. Chaos ensues.
Disclaimer: I would kiss the talented ink stained fingers of Senor Sorkin if
I could. You own them all. Thanks for the best show ever in the history of
the world. (Seriously, if there is intelligent life on other planets, MENSA
type life, ingeniously creatively talented life that make the works of
Beethoven, Shakespeare, and Jimmy Page cower in shame, they still do not have
a television show comparing to the utter brilliance that is West Wing. Thank
Author's Notes: Thought I'd cross-over my favorite band with my favorite
show. Did my best to try to copy Sorkin's style. We'll see... '0)
We're in a meeting and I'm tapping my Swiss pen which was a gift from Josiah
Leo goes through the motions.
"Next up on the agenda... the bill for library funding. Now Josh is meeting
with Callahan this afternoon but you should really have a small meeting with
him later tonight if there's time."
Barlet nods, "Good." He takes another sip of coffee.
"And then there's this last item..." CJ says with a slight smile.
The rest of us glance at eachother excitedly, or at least Sam and I do.
Bartlet looks, "Yes?"
CJ sighs, probably feeling silly with her next words.
"Bono would like to meet with you."
"What was that?"
CJ rolls her eyes, "Bono, sir. He'd like to discuss third world debt
The Jubilee Campaign? Tomorrow if possible. I believe you have a spot
The President looks taken aback and I snicker slightly.
Sam perks up, "He's the lead singer of the rock band, U2."
Jed gives him a look, "I know who Bono is, Sam. Irish kid with the funny
I start to sing in a husky voice, betraying my enthusiasm, "Is it getting
bettah... Or do you feel the saaame...?"
Leo's annoyed already and I haven't even finished the first verse, "Thank
you, Josh. Mr. President?"
Bartlet nods, "Sure, I'll meet with him. Does good work. I went to Live
back in '86. Very nice."
At that my jaw drops open slightly as I'm sure Sam's does as well. Who knew
ole Josiah was ever that hep?
I continue to sing,"Is it gettin' easier on you, now?...You got someone
"Josh..." Leo's giving me a warning. Spoilsport.
"I'll set up the meeting with his people." CJ says, checking the item
"That's it then. Let's go to work." Leo declares.
We stand and began to exit the oval office.
"Ya say, 'One looove, one liiiife, we'll it's one-"
Josh has a meeting with two senators on the new tobacco tax. Sam and he both
have a meeting with some coalition for education made of mostly rich people
so they can try to deter school vouchers for another year. The president is
concerned with our stance on foreign trade with Angola because the majority
of it's profits from trade go to funding it's ongoing civil war and not to
But I, Donna Moss, have loftier persuits in mind.
"Bono like Bono-Bono?"
"There's only one." He points out.
"This is so exciting! When's he coming?"
"Tomorrow afternoon, around two, I think."
"Will you get to meet him? Will I get to meet him?"
He sighs heavily as if I'm putting him out, "I dunno, maybe. You aren't
gonna get all psychotic are you? Like with Hasselhoff?"
This comment unnerves me but I happen to have it on good authority that Josh
was an avid Knight Rider fan in his day. I'm saving this information for a
day when I can hold it firmly, and with pride, directly over his oversized
"No, I'm not going to get all psychotic. But I was just wondering..."
"Would this mean the whole band is coming?"
"That I do not know. Why?"
My lips twitch, "Oh, just wondering if a certain drummer was going to show
"Oh, yeah. Uh... Larry, right?" Josh grabs for the name.
This is odd. Of anyone here I would have pegged Josh as a typical U2 fan.
He's just the right age to have been at a peak of idealistic fervor when they
were just hitting it big and he sort of has a Bono-like intensity. That
passion for changing the world.
Maybe it's just me.
"Larry Mullen Jr. to be exact." I correct him.
Yep. Larry Mullen Jr.
"Why are you so interested in him?" I demand.
I scoff, "Could be because he's the most handsome man on God's green earth
ever to grace the world of percussion with his chiseled presence."
Josh raises an eyebrow, "Ah." He pauses, "You know, I used to
play snare in
high school band."
"As I was saying..."
Josh gives me a look, "Yeah, yeah..."
"So I was just wondering..." I continue.
I'm not joking either. This is Larry Mullen Jr. we're talking about.
Leather and Harleys and drum sticks.
"I see." He says with finality.
Josh can be so dense.
"So is Larry coming?"
"I don't know!"
We're silent for a moment and then I can no longer help myself.
"Without or without youuu, with or without you oooh...."
Let me just state, in my defense, that full-time Harvard students need
distractions like anybody else. More so, in fact. And an escapist obsession
is even better provided it doesn't get out of hand. Let me also state, for
the record, that Sam was just as big a geek as I was about it. First of all,
it was the 80's. Sam and I were ideolistic, politically minded, Ivy League
law students and looking for the real thing. You couldn't have asked for a
For now, that's all I have to say.
I speak in terms of my defence because when Donna discovered the stack of U2
LPs in my third desk drawer she continually brought up my "psychotic"
and teased me incessantly about my "crush on Bono". I reminded her she
wouldn't have found out had she not been snooping around in my office. Of
course, she brought up the pesky detail of my having asked her to hunt for a
lost file. Hence she discovered my stash of memorabilia. I'd been hoping if
the proper moment arose I could ask Bono for a few autographs.
Later that afternoon, following a discussion with the Secretary of State
concerning Angola, I talked about this pressing issue with Sam.
"Donna makes fun of me."
"Donna makes fun of me. Does Kathy make fun of you?"
Sam frowned, "Only if I fail to match my socks. Why does Donna make fun of
"Today it's because she found my stash of U2 LPs."
"You were gonna try for the autographs too?"
"Yeah, were you?" I ask.
Sam nods, "War and Joshua Tree are in the back of my file cabinet. Vinyl.
And a Rolling Stone from '87."
"Well, I teased Donna because apparently she likes Larry Mullen and then
found my LPs and she is now mocking me."
"As you mocked her."
"That's not how I see it."
"So your'e exploring the executive/assistant relationship?" Sam asks.
"The only other assistant I've ever had was Shirley. Remember
"Sure, made good coffee. Older lady."
"Yes, "I confirm, "She was in her sixties. Kinda matronly. Not
bantering, playful type."
Sam chuckles, "Josh, you and Donna aren't exactly typical of an
executive/assistant relationship, anyway."
I raise an eyebrow, "Why do you say that?"
"Come on, Josh. You can't deny that you and Donna have always had a... A
Now I was alarmed, "A thing? What thing? What kinda... What thing?"
The speech writer gestured helplessly, "You know... A thing. The
the way you play off her rambling and she plays of yours. It's the whole
Mulder/Scully will they-won't they vibe."
"Mulder and Scully?" I say incredulously.
"You saw the movie."
"Yeah, we all saw it in uh..."
"Seattle, after the primary. And Mulder and Scully have a thing which,
albeit fictional, reminds me somewhat of the thing with you and Donna."
"The relationship between me and Donna, which contains no thing, bears no
resemblance whatsoever to Mulder and Scully."
Sam concedes, "I could be a little off."
"Did you ever watch Moonlighting?"
I put up my hands as if to physically block what he's suggesting.
"Sam, there is no thing! I wasn't even..." I shake my head,
He smirks, "Okay."
"I mean plenty of people I know have that vibe, as in the joking, the
playfulness, yadda yadda, and it doesn't mean they have a thing."
"Name a few. Because Kathy and I aren't like that and Leo and Margaret
aren't and Mrs. Landingham may tease the President but she doesn't have cute
little conversations with him abut why she didn't get skis for Christmas."
I give him my best
He grins, "I don't know anyone who has that kind of flirtatious intraplay
with his or her assistant."
"Interplay." I mutter, staring at the floor as we walk and trying to
of an answer.
"Didn't I say that?"
I recite a thoughtlessly created list of names, "Well, you and Mallory do
that and CJ and Danny are always doing that banter thing, even on camera, as
if nobody noticed and uh..."
Sam stops in the hall and grins much to widely, "CJ and Danny and me and
"Mallory and I." I correct.
"Didn't I say that? But look, are you sensing a pattern here? The President
and the First Lady have that vibe too. As do Zoey and Charlie when I see
I look at him blankly.
"Is this sinking in?" He asks.
We've come to the bullpen and I stare at Donna's desk, my brow a' furrowed.
"Perhaps I've misspoken." I say.
Sam is now batteling the language, "Misspoken...misspoke. I'll look into
it." He turns and head towards his office.
My eyes remain on my assistant who I do not have a thing for.
For whom I do not have a thing.
I sigh, "Yeah... So will I."
At the moment Donna's left hand is fiddling with her hair as she frowns at
the new computer.
Which, last week, she named Herbert.
I snap out of my reverie.
"Donna, I need you." I say, striding into my office with purpose.
Donna keeps up and follows, "How'd Angola go?" She asks eagerly.
I sit in my chair and fiddle with some papers as she takes a seat.
"According to Mister Secretary, America's traditional position on Angola
been that even though the profits of the oil we buy go to fund a decades long
civil war and not towards the welfare of it's people, the fact that we don't
buy that much oil from them in the first place makes it not so bad."
"Ah. So social injustice is just peachy in small doses."
I smile wryly, "It would appear so."
Donna is triumphant, "But tradition wasn't written by the Bartlet
I can't help but grin, "That's almost exactly what I said."
To be honest she phrased it better and when I said it I was gesticulating
We switch gears to scheduling issues and when the topic then veers off track
I decide to take the plunge and bring this whole issue out into the open.
"Donna, we don't have a thing. Do we ?"
Donna's completely loses all sense of expression and she blinks twice, "A
thing? Are you looking for a thing?"
I shake my head, "No no, like a... Thing. Between us."
I laugh, "Nevermind. It's absolutely ridiculous. Sam brought it up."
"So, by thing you mean something not of the physical realm. You're talking
about some kind of... "
She knows what I mean.
"I don't know what you mean."
"A Mulder/Scully vibe. That kinda thing."
She raises her eyebrows, "You think we're like Mulder and Scully?"
I cross my arms, "No, I don't think we're like Mulder and Scully. I haven't
really seen the show much, but I saw the movie-"
"We saw it together, it was in Seattle after the win."
"-And we're not in the FBI and we don't chase aliens-"
"Extra-terrestrial is the politically accepted term nowadays. You think we
share a Mulder and Scully vibe?"
"No, Sam does. And there was some talk of Moonlighting."
"Josh, you are no Bruce Willis."
Surely I don't deserve to bask in the glory of this woman's admiration.
I continue and the small but vocal part of my brain that has, on occasion,
considered the possibility that I am in some fashion Bruce Willis, looks for
"Donna, I know there's no thing and you know there's no thing. That's all
there is. I'm glad we agree. If up was down and down was up and the orbits
of the planets suddenly became perfectly circular instead of elliptical and
pi suddenly became four point one three instead of three point one four and
then something really whacky happened like we Democrats won the house then
that, THAT would be the first clue that you and I have a thing. But happily
gravity is traveling in generally the right direction, the earth is wobbling
just so on it's axis through the law of precession, pi is pi, and as always
the house has no more asses than usual. Mas o menos. So, conclusively,
there is no thing. Nothing. Not a thing."
Okay, so I didn't very deeply contemplate the preceding argument, but the
White House does not make this sort of conversation easy. It's difficult to
share light chit chat about the possibility of romance, or lack there of,
when the Gross Domestic Products of half of Western Africa are flitting
through your head along with the possible detrimental effects of vouchers on
inner city public schools.
I must have said something mindless because Donna, who isn't sitting there
and staring blankly at me as many of weaker hearts would at that spiel of
gibberish, shakes her head.
"That was just a text book example of a faulty line of reasoning leading to
totally invalid conclusion. You, Joshua Lyman, are denying the antecedent."
I sigh and lean my chin on my hand, "Denying the antecedent..."
Donna is very matter of fact, "Sure, Josh. Denying the antecedent. If P
then Q. Not. P. Therefore not Q. Modus Ponens would have been a valid
form. If P then Q. P, therefore Q. Or Modus Tollens for that matter but
I'm not wholly certain that applies in this case."
Is it my imagination or has my day runner begun to levitate?
Donna waves a hand in front of my face, "Josh?"
"What? I'm sorry... Harvard law flashback. Where are you getting this
"And you've expanded your literary world so you'll be able to prove me
when the oppurtunity arises?"
"Yes, Josh, " She says dryly, "It's all about you."
I give her a look.
"Proving you wrong is just a fringe benefit." She says happily.
She's doing it again. For the last few months Donna's World O' Trivial
Comments has turned to facts slightly other than trivial. Last week she was
spouting the Malthusian theory of the negative effects of over population.
After the summit on child labor she accused me of being ethnocentric for
saying that the Guatamalen representatives were spastic freaks who wouldn't
know social responsability if it bit them on their collective ass.
Thankfully I didn't say it to their collective face.
She's also seemed really tired. I notice these things. I notice these
things because I'm her boss. Three months ago she asked for Saturday nights
off between six and midnight. She hustles through that day so fast each
week, I can hardly keep up with her and the if the circumstances are
desperate, which they invariably are, she comes back at one in the morning
and pulls an all nighter with or without me.
So to speak.
I don't know what she does on these Saturday nights.
I've asked her repeatedly.
She changes the subject.
Yes, I've suspected the obvious as I'm sure you're suspecting right now.
The boyfriend factor.
I've asked her that too and she still changes the subject.
You will no doubt be pleased to know that my natural sense of curiosity will
not give up.
I will learn of her secret.
I have a right to know, don't I?
I'm her boss.
She looks at her watch, "Looky there, time for lunch. I'll bring you back a
mixed salad, yes?"
"Not just a mixed salad,"I remind her, "But-"
She huffs, "Not just a mixed salad. You don't want a bunch of lettuce with
few bonus vedgetables tossed on top as if to placate the costumer. You want
a decidedly diverse salad. Perhaps one that could serve as a symbol of
Toequville's vision of America. Creamy caesar and some feta on the side.
And don't be shy with the chicken."
My mouth drops open. Unbelievable.
"Is that word for word?" I ask.
"I may have paraphrased a bit."
"Perrier?" I ask hopefully. "Actually Fresca. I'm really in the
mood for a
"That would require making two stops."
"I wouldn't mind a coffee before you go."
"Help yourself, " She says, smirking.
She turns and leaves.
I sigh heavily.
"Shirley used to bring me coffee."
In 1998 the Gross Domestic Product in Gabon was $4,787 dollars.
We do not have a thing.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Achtung, Lyman! - 2