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.
Achtung, Lyman! Part 3
Author's Notes: Feels very odd writing dialogue for nonfictional people but I
did my best, the Jubilee stats near the end are from the Jubilee website.
This story is much more fun if you're a big U2 fan but it's not a
Josh went out drinking last night. All the road signs are there.
I've learned a lot in three years.
He keeps rubbing the right side of his face and his voice is huskier than
At the moment he's in the mural room with Katie Kelsey who is wearing a
tangerine suit with a lemon yellow blouse.
It's all very... Citric.
It's not going to be a very long meeting. She's from the Population Council
which has been bugging the President for recognition of the problem of
Sure enough just a few minutes later, Josh comes stalking back with his
aggravated face on.
"Donna, I need you!" He declares, ducking inside his office.
I pick up his agenda and follow, "How'd the meeting go?"
He raises an eyebrow, "Let's just say that woman meets both our definitions
of colorful. And it's not that population growth isn't a concern for us,
"It's not a priority." I finish for him.
Josh perks up suddenly which is strange since he just came out of an annoying
And now I'm about to blow his mood.
"Josh, I have to tell you something but don't freak out."
"Has anyone ever told you that is the absolute worst way to begin a
Don't freak out, Josh, but Leo wants you to go on Larry King tonight."
"I'm just trying to prepare you-"
"Don't freak out, Josh, but Congress is now composed of right wing
He mocks me.
"Toby would probably be the one to give you that kind of-"
"Josh, try not to worry about it but we've just declared war on
"I would think we would win a war with Canada fairly easily." I point
"I mean you act like I need some kind of prelude to a change in
"All they've got are Mounties afterall-"
"As if I can't handle spontaneity."
"Mounties and William Shatner."
"I'm used to the pressure, Donna. It's part of the job."
"Celine Dion is Canadian."
"I've had my share of screw ups but I'd like to think-"
"Actually, I bet her voice alone could spark a nuclear winter."
"That I can be trusted with a change or two."
"Don't freak out."
"I won't!" He yips.
"Leo wants you to go on Larry King tonight."
"That's not funny."
"It's not supposed to be."
"Donna, I was joking."
"Sorry to say, I'm not. You're a good guesser, Josh."
"Why am I going on Larry King, Donna?"
Josh is freaking out.
"Why does Leo hate me?"
My admonishment was all for naught.
I attempt to use my calming voice, "Josh..."
"On such short notice? That should be illegal!"
"Josh, Toby was supposed to go but they like you better."
"Does it have to be tonight?"
"CJ says it would be good press, you can play up the Bono thing."
"Oh great, like plugging a movie. Who are the other guests?"
"And Bill Maher."
"No, actually it's Kippy the Spider Monkey."
"I've always wanted to be on Politically Incorrect."
"The one who was in Outbreak..."
"I'd be great on that show, don't ya think?"
"Remember Marcell on Friends?"
"Pray for it, Donna. Another trip to L.A."
"Via satellite, the camera crew will be here at ten."
"It's always CNN." Josh is wistful, "ABC never calls."
"Well, there ya go, Josh. Make an impression on Maher, maybe he'll put you
on his list."
"Do I have to wear make-up?"
"They're gonna mess with my hair, aren't they?"
"Kind of a Boy George look."
"I'm not doing gel."
"Are you guys done?"
This is Sam, who is leaning in from the doorway though Josh and I are
I glance up at him and smile but Josh doesn't even acknowledge him.
"Almost, " He says, "Donna, quick. Fact of the day."
I don't miss a beat, "The East African Maasai tribe base their diet
exclusively on the cow."
"My kinda people." Josh says, smirking, "Sam, don't you find that
"Color me intrigued." Sam says wryly.
I continue, "They eat nothing but milk, blood, and red meat."
"I could do without the blood." Josh comments.
"They're quite fit." I say.
"Plenty of protein, I suppose. No worcestire though." He says,
"They have it imported." I chip in.
Sam is confused, "Really?"
Josh and I chuckle and Sam shakes his head, "Fine then. Josh, Leo wants a
quick meeting before you-know-who arrives."
"U2 know who." I blurt out.
Sam and Josh just stare at me.
"Little play on words there." I say lamely.
Josh gets up from his chair, "Let's go. Donna-"
I finish his sentence, "Have the list of possible topics for Larry King on
your desk along with all the records for trade and exports out of Angola for
the past five years plus per capita statistics and you were going to covertly
ask me to set out that stack of LPs so you don't forget."
Josh grins, looking satisfied.
He's in a suspiciously good mood, even after I broke the news.
"I'm on it." I assure him.
Sam is gawking, "This is highly entertaining."
"Do we know yet if Mullen's coming?" I ask.
I can sense the eye rolling, "Donna..." Josh sighs.
"I'd for settle Edge." I say hopefully. "Guitarists are
"They say the guitar is just an extension of-"
I smirk as the two skidaddle before I finish my sentence but I hear Sam
"I was wrong, Josh. You two are way beyond Mulder and Scully."
"Shut up, Sam."
I'm in a very good mood which is strange because this morning I woke up with
a hang over and a fading memory of a dream in which I ate french toast off a
gigantic but beautiful ear. I'm not sure why I'm so upbeat except for the
obvious fact that I'm meeting Bono today.
"Why are you so chipper?" Sam asks.
The hangover is gone by now, all that's left is a tinge of huskiness in my
voice. I feel awake and kind of crisp.
The whole day feels crisp now that I think about it. It's autumn in D.C.,
the well manicured trees outside my office window are orange and all manner
of sunset colored shades. I'm still young enough to be considered reasonably
young. Or at least not old. I survived a gunshot wound to the chest and am
in pretty good shape in spite of it. I'm the Deputy Chief of Staff for the
most important office in the entire country and today I am going to meet my
favorite rock star.
For now at least, the mosquitos seemed to have left for another swamp.
Plus, there's just something in the air...
I'm startled out of my contemplation, "Huh?"
"I said, why are you so chipper?" Sam asks again.
I shrug, "I don't know. There's just something in the air."
"Do you have any memory of last night?" He asks.
"Well, I'm pretty sure there was a bottle of Guinness involved but other
Sam prods me, "Last night you were miserable, this morning you're walking
"Why shouldn't I be, Sam? I'm in the prime of my life, I hold a position of
power and authority in the greatest country in the world. I get to work
everyday with some of my best friends. Tonight I'm going on television, a
forum in which millions of people will hang on my every word-"
"And, Sam, I am completely secure with the positively platonic relationship
hold with my assistant."
I accentuate the word "positively".
Sam is skeptical.
Let him be.
I am completely secure.
"Yesterday you thought she was getting married, you were ready to jump off
the monument." He reminds me.
"Knee jerk reaction, " I say, "It was a shock."
"You said her professor was flirting with her..."
"Between work and school, Donna doesn't even have time for a
"What if she did?"
"Don't you have a speech to not punctuate?"
"Last night you were moaning about her leaving you. Moving on."
I blow him off, "Hey, if she tries to leave I'll just give her your
"You were much too perky in the office back there."
"Would you rather I was dour? Fine, we're all going to die, approval will
down nine points today, and we're going to lose our next term to Rush
"Usually you're sort of in between."
"I'm enjoying the crispness."
"You actually asked Donna for a fact of the day."
"I needed a boost. It's like vitamins."
Sam stops short in the middle of the hallway and I crash into him.
"Josh..." He says in an awed voice.
He turns to me and puts his hands on my shoulders, "Josh..."
"We're meeting Bono!"
I grin dumbly, "THIS SONG IS NOT A REBEL SONG!" The both of us howl in
Sam and I ignore the stares of the support staff and start singing on our way
to the Roosevelt room.
"I CAN'T BELIEVE THE NEWS TODAAAAY..." Sam crows.
Suddenly Sam and I are 21 again.
I sing along, "OH, I CAN'T CLOSE MY EYES AND MAKE IT GO AWAAAAY...."
Suddenly we're Harvard kids, fresh in our idealism, walking down the tunnel
into the stadium, singing along with a thousand other fans, high on the music.
Sam and I croon, "HOW LOOONG?! HOW LONG MUST WE SING THIS SONG?"
A few seconds later we're bounding into the meeting, still singing and
"The charges have been disproven so all we need to do now is-"
"SUNDAY! BLOODY SUNDAAAAY!"
"Will you two SHUT UP?!"
Today is one of those Special Event Days.
Special Event Days are days with important visitors, or summits, or
conferences, people carrying important flags, important music playing, and a
whole lot of cameras and reporters.
Invariably there are helicopters involved.
Today is such a day.
We're standing out on the White House lawn and it's all very glamourous but
practically I have to wonder why the guy couldn't just take a taxi like a
The practical side also reminds me of the fact that I am an assistant.
Ninety percent of my work is filing, typing, scheduling meetings, nothing
The other side of me watches a helicopter set down fifty yards in front of
me, cameras flashing wildly.
The whirly bird comes to a stand still.
And four rock stars climb out.
I'm beaming from ear to ear and then I look over at Josh and Sam who are
practically vibrating with giddiness.
I bumble through the crowd to Josh.
Josh is chanting, "This is so cool, this is so cool, this is so
I laugh, "So this is how you revert White House staff into babbling
Josh turns to me, he's wild eyed.
"This is so cool!" He shouts above the noise of the helicopter, the
blowing our hair.
Bono is shaking hands with the President.
"I know!" I shout back. He's standing close to me and he puts his hand
around my waist to guide me to the front of the line where the band is. Bono
shakes hands with Leo and keeps moving down the line.
"Are you wearing a new pefu?" He yells.
He leans in close to me.
"You smell good! Are you wearing a new perfume?!"
Edge is shaking hands with CJ. I can barely hear Josh over the noise.
"Well... Yeah!" I answer.
The helicopter is hovering above the lawn.
"What is it? I like it!"
Josh's Guru of the 80's is standing behind him and he's asking me about my
fragrance of choice.
"It's True Love! By Elizabeth Arden!"
"Keep wearing it! It's kinda-"
"JOSH!" I shreik, almost laughing hysterically at the bizarreness of
"Bono's behind you!"
Josh's eyes go wide and he turns around to see none other than The Fly
himself who is grinning and sticking out his hand.
"Josh Lyman! Deputy Chief of Staff!" Josh manages to sputter.
Bono shakes his hand, "Pleasure to meet you, it's great to be here!"
Finally the helicopter is far enough away that we can speak in normal tones.
I'm standing behind Josh but he actually thinks to push me forward a bit from
behind and say, "This is my assistant, Donna Moss."
Bono nods and shakes my hand.
This only happens in teenhood fantasies.
"Donna, it's a privilege to meet you."
And then I get to meet Edge who has just a bit of a shy glint in his eye.
And then I get to meet Adam who winks at me.
And then I get to meet Larry and my knees wobble.
And Josh introduces me to them all and I could kiss him.
I'm not sure what's going on but I've decided to blame it on whatever is in
Apparently it's True Love.
By Elizabethen Arden, I mean.
We were standing in the middle of a media frenzy and my idol was less than
two feet away.
Yet all I could think about was the unworldly way Donna's hair was wafting
around her face from the wind of the helicopter and the soft girly smell
It's spring fever, I'm sure of it. I think tonight's a full moon also. That
must be why.
Bono is in the Oval Office with the President and later they're going for a
field trip to the Hill for a photo shoot.
Sam and I are sitting in the Mural Room with Adam, Larry, and Edge.
Let me just say that again so as to relate the glory of those words.
Sam and I are sitting in the Mural Room with Adam, Larry and Edge.
The five of us chit chat and in the midst of our mingling I discover that
Larry is very much taken.
Sam breaks the silence that has fallen, "Uh... You know, I... Used to be in
The sentence in all it's inanity so jars my brain that I feel the blood
vessels of my eyes bulge out of their sockets as I glower at my idiot best
Larry and Edge glance at each other and titter slightly.
Adam nods, "Oh, that... That's interesting."
Edge speaks up, "So, just what do you fellows do around here?"
I clear my throat, "I'm the Deputy Chief of Staff which basically means I
assist in overseeing a carefully controlled chaos...Negotiating with senate,
negotiating with congress, negotiating with heads of state..."
Suddenly it occurs to me.
"I never realized how much of it was negotiating." I say whistfully.
My musings are interrupted by Donna who tentatively walks in, her eyes fixed
on the three band members.
"Josh, the President wants you in the Oval office in exactly two
I sigh, "I guess that gives me about a minute until I actually have to
First of all, I'm just plain sleepy and the sofas of the Mural Room are that
soft old leathery kind.
Kinda like Leo, when you think about it.
Donna is still standing there, slightly in awe.
Larry laughs, "You guys are pretty blase about working for the President of
the United States."
Sam and I look at each other and grin, "And you guys are pretty blase about
being the greatest rock band in history."
Edge chuckles and nudges Larry, "I think they're fans."
"Are you kidding?!" Sam exclaims, "We went to the Red Rocks
drove for eight hours."
"In a very tired Volkswagon." I say, shaking my head.
"I just wanted to say," Donna suddenly pipes up, "I dated a
bassist in high
school who taught me a tiny bit about it and uh... With or Without You is, by
far, my favorite bass line of all time."
She directs her comments to Adam who smirks, "Thank you. Very much."
Donna looks at her watch, "Well, I have to uh..." She backs up
just want to say thank you for your music and for... It's been so
inspirational to me, I probably wouldn't be here if... You know what I
Larry smiles, "You're welcome, love."
I watch Donna melt.
That made her day, I can tell.
Donna nods, "So, I'll just be... Um... Yeah."
Finally she manages to get out the door.
And then I notice something.
Adam Clayton hasn't taken his eyes off my assistant since she walked in the
I watch him carefully and his gaze follows her out, his stare particularly
affixed to her-
Apparently the mosquitos prefer my swamp afterall.
Donna leaves and then Adam pops up, "I'm just going to... Take the uh...
Edge snickers, "I bet you are."
Adam steps out.
Larry shrugs, "He's the single one."
My fingers are tapping uncontrollably, and I practically erupt from my chair.
I shove my hands in my pockets, "The President wants me."
Sam nods, "Yes, he does."
"I'm going to go see the President."
I turn on my heel and leave but not before I hear Sam behind me, talking to
Larry and Edge.
"In case you're wondering, he and his assistant definitely do NOT have a
I stride through the halls, half making my way to the Oval Office, half
keeping my eye out for Donna and Mr. Bass Line himself.
You have to watch these rock star types, that's all I'm saying.
I can't seem to find either one of them and finally I end up at the Oval
I mosey up to Mrs. L's desk.
"Hello, Mrs. Landingham. Did you meet Bono?"
"Very nice boy." She affirms.
"Did you give him a cookie?" I ask wryly.
She peers at me over her glasses, "What do you think, Josh?"
I'm honestly not sure.
Mrs. L gets up to announce my presence to the President who summons me inside.
He directs me to a chair next to Bono, "Josh, have a seat."
They appear to have been in the midst of a serious discussion. The chairs
are pulled up near the President's desk which is covered in papers and files.
The White House photographer is off to the side with a reporter and Charlie
is standing in the back, waiting for orders.
It's a strange scene, the two of them together. Bartlet is wearing his usual
pin striped power suit and Bono is wearing his usual all black rock star
suit, no tie, and dark fly glasses, his hair slicked back.
"Bono, " The President says, "Tell Josh what you were telling me
Bono runs a hand through his hair, "The situation as of yet has developing
country debt now exceeding 2.4 trillion dollars, we at Jubilee hold that at
least six hundred billion more in debt would need to be canceled before the
world's poorest countries can even begin to approach development targets and
satisfy the minimum requirements for human rights needs like health care,
education, etc.. Now billions have been payed back in interest but the
principal still holds, the interest constantly increasing. It is
inconceivable that these countries will ever be able to repay their debts,
"Meanwhile billions aren't going toward healthcare for parts of the world
that need it most." I finish for him.
Bono nods, "Right. Four times as much is spent on debt than is spent on
health care while infant deaths are on the increase and diseases that should
be eradicated such as TB and yellow fever are running rampant because of a
lack of vaccination and treatment coverage. Governments are also forced to
cut spending and cut programs that employ many of their people. Corporations
at first attracted to newly developing countries are now leaving.
Unemployment is high and taxes to pay back the debt are not payed. Now, some
progress has been made but large steps must be taken and we at Jubilee
consider it, well, as a state of emergency in a way."
The President leans forward over his desk, "Bono is proposing a summit here
in D.C. to bring attention to the issue."
Bono is excited, "Summits and conferences have met in Prague, Cologne,
Vienna, London... But as the number one superpower in the world, America
needs to bring much needed attention to this problem. I propose that the
President head up a high profile summit here in six months or so with heads
of state, IMF and World Banks leaders, us at Jubilee, and ambassadors from
the poorest of the countries in need."
The President looks almost mischeivous, "With enough press we can get the
American people caring about this issue. Ignorance is prevalent on this,
Josh. People just aren't aware of what's going on out there."
Bono nods enthusiastically, "Right, but if we do bring attention to it and
people start making enough noise, sooner or later the IMF will have to start
"As will creditors, Congress, and leaders of the worlds other
The President says. He's determined.
I grin, "Sounds good to me. It's a great idea."
I'm a man of few words today. Plus Bono's famous charismatic intensity is
all it's cracked up to be.
Put he and Bartlet in the same room and... You get the picture.
The President is scribbling down notes, "You and Sam will head this up. We
project a date in May. Now, the day after tomorrow our friend here has a
concert in Boston and in attendance will be leaders from Jubilee and several
key activists who will be assisting you and Sam in this process."
The President smirks knowingly, "Think you and Sam could handle taking a
jaunt down to Boston on short notice? Of course you should probably bring CJ
and Toby along so they can get an of idea what's going on. Especially CJ."
I'm beaming like a kid at Christmas.
Organize a party to save the world with my favorite band of all time.
I clear my throat, "Sure. Yes, Mr. President, I think I can handle
The President stands up, "Now, if you'll excuse us, Josh. Bono and I have a
photo shoot to attend to and I believe you should be preparing for your Larry
King appearance tonight. Try not to insult anyone, by the way. And don't
forget to promote this whole thing. It's never too early."
Bono and I stand up, "I look forward to working with you further." I
Bono, shaking his hand.
"As do I." He says. Bono scratches his head, "The President has
about you. I can uh... Sign those LPs if you'd like?"
I can feel my cheeks reddening in a way I haven't experienced since fifth
From Deputy Chief of Staff to Teeny Bopper in two seconds flat.
I nod and feel ridiculous until I see Bono and the President exchange a
knowing look and the two start to chuckle.
Bartlet is guffawing, "Just having some fun with you, Josh. I know what a
big fan you are."
I point accusingly at the President, "I may be a big fan, Mr. President.
I would just like to point out for the record that I have never actually
impersonated our guest, while I distinctly remember our esteemed Commander in
Chief here doing karaoke to the ENTIRIETY of "Lemon" after the Texas
Bono cracks up and the President scowls, "I should indict you for telling
that secret, Joshua."
I put up my hands, "Hey, I was impressed you knew the words, sir."
Bartlet shrugs, "Zoey's influence. Don't you have some work to do? Go on,
meet with Sam, get this whole thing started..."
"Whatever you say sir."
Bono is still laughing at our fearless leader who has his head tipped up in
that way he has.
"I was at Live Aid in '86, ya know."
I'm on top of the world as much as a person at 40 degrees latitude can
technically be on top of the world and then I round the corner into the
Donna Moss is sitting on the corner of her desk holding a bass.
Adam Clayton is standing close behind her, his arms over hers as he shows her
finger positions and whispers into her pretty ear.