Disclaimer-All characters belong to Aaron Sorkin save for Crystal and
the other members of the Seaborn Clan. No infringement is intended.
Any similarity to events, persons living or dead is purely
coincidental. Oh, yeah. And "The Dukes of Hazzard" belongs to Warner
Brothers. No infringement there either. Brendan Behan quote is
from "The Wisdom of the Irish" by Jim Gallery.
Thanks to everyone who commented on "Chance Meetings" and
Over Till It's Over." You make writing sooo much more worthwhile.
Big *HUGE* thanks to LauraS who continues to beta read for me.
You're still great!! And, to Jon, who kindly lent me his Jimmy
Buffett collection while I wrote this (Barometer Soup, anyone?), as
well as helping me name the boat. :)
Notes-I know we've gotten a few newbies on the list since I've posted
my last Crystal story. This story is a sequel/prequel (strange, I
know). There are two very brief references to the first two
adventures with Crystal, but it really doesn't give anything away if
you'd like to go ahead and read this one. If you'd rather wait, feel
free to e-mail me and I'll send you links to where the first two are
Also, I got inspiration for this while on vacation (swimming in the
Atlantic, actually, when the little light bulb came on). I hadn't
set out to do a third in the Crystal Seaborn series but I did it
anyway. I have one more idea for Crys and it's starting to come
together nicely. I figured, after two stories, I had better explain
why Sam and Crys are so close. Here it is.
This might count as a weak (really incredibly ultra weak) ESF fic...
I'm not really sure. Hey, Red!! What do you think? (Keep your eye
on part four...)
Spoilers-none unless you count my two Crystal stories.
Archive-Just let me know where it's going. Thanks a bunch.
Feedback is always welcome.
Upside Down and Inside Out-Sam and Josh are on a long flight to
Dublin, Ireland for preliminary work on peace talks. While on the
long flight, Sam can't stop thinking about his past. This is told
entirely from Sam's point of view and takes place after "Chance
Meetings" and "It's Not Over Till It's Over."
It's four o'clock on a Monday morning. Normally, I'd still be
in bed, catching those last precious z's before getting up and
rolling into work. I've been told I'm a workaholic and I agree. How
else do you explain sitting in an airport terminal at four AM next to
Josh Lyman who's trying not to fall asleep.
"Explain this to me again," he said. "Why couldn't we have
flown Air Force One?"
"Because President Bartlet asked us to go early."
"Are you sure he asked?"
"Does it really matter? Look, think of it this way. We
don't have to listen to the President spurt random facts about the
mating habits of blue whales as we fly."
"He knows about the mating habits of blue whales?" I don't
think I'll answer that. "No matter how much I can't *stand* his
lectures on all things boring, I'd much rather fly Air Force One than
have to pay for my very own first-class ticket."
"You'd rather fly coach?"
"I'd rather not take the money from my own pocket."
"We can't cheat the taxpayers out of two first-class tickets,
"We can't? Then what, pray tell, are we doing in Washington?"
"Going to Ireland." The line was too good to pass up,
especially with a smirk. If only he hadn't given me a sour
"Why not let the IRA and Northern Ireland duke it out and
whoever is left standing last wins?"
"And what kind of fun is that?"
"Much more fun than flying to Dublin to try and work out a
peace deal. I say we should leave it to the British."
"And you see how wonderful they've done?"
"And we can do better?"
"President Bartlet thinks so."
"And what he says goes?" I can't believe you just asked
"Without question." You're going to talk back to the
President of the United States?
"Some days I forget who I work for."
"I don't see how."
"I mistake the Secret Service and the Marine guard for slave
drivers." He's got a point there. "How much longer until we
"The plane takes off in half an hour. Should be anytime
now." He nods then picks up a copy of the Washington Post to delve
into. I've got my laptop, but I have no desire to write. Toby'd
kill me if he knew I had yet to add anything to these comments. I'll
probably get an e-mail asking for progress, not to mention a page.
I'm working on it, Toby. Truly. Let's see here... Reading back over
what I have isn't helping any. I know I was on a roll yesterday. If
C.J. hadn't decided to do the Jackal last night, I probably would
have this silly thing finished. Come on fingers, do your trick.
Click, click, click. `The.' I know I can do better than that. The
what, though? `The state of affairs in Ireland...' No. Delete. `The
uneasiness in Ireland...' Ugh. Let's try again. `The world deserves
a peaceful place to live...' This is ludicrous. I know I can do
this. Let's try this angle: `You should settle your differences.
How long have you been fighting? A lot longer than the Republicans
and Democrats! Even our Civil War only lasted four years. Brendan
Behan once said that, "Other people have a nationality. The Irish
have a psychosis." Snap out of it...' Woo, Sam Seaborn. You're
getting a tad out there. President Bartlet would never speak so
frankly. Would be nice if he would, though. Backspace, backspace,
"Now boarding flight five hundred to Dublin."
"That's us, Ink-boy." Gee, thanks, Josh. Save. Maybe I'll
come up with something on the plane. Probably not, but there's
always hope. Man, I can almost hear Toby's voice growling at me,
preaching about the dreaded writers' block and using punctuation.
Ah, well. Where'd I put my ticket? "I still don't see why we
couldn't have flown Air Force One. And why we don't get to bring a
staff." Am I going to have to listen to this all the way to Ireland?
"Why hello there," said Josh. Tell me he's not flirting.
You're taken, Josh, by my cousin. You know, the girl who's always
darting around the White House and the Central Intelligence Agency
Headquarters. Hello! He's going on to his seat. Maybe he's not
flirting. Maybe it's me being over-protective again. Crystal still
needs somebody to look out for her.
To this day, I'm not sure where this big brother instinct
comes from, especially since I'm the youngest of three children. It
always seemed like Crys needed a protector, though, from something or
other given that she was always getting into trouble. Oh, and I will
never forget the day she wound up on the set of "The Dukes of
Hazzard." The show hadn't even started on TV yet. There she was,
though, sitting on the hood of the General Lee beside John Schneider,
also known as Bo Duke, eating lunch that the catering service had
provided. She was only fourteen at the time, visiting us that
summer. Brilliant me, I decided to take her to watch my friends and
me play basketball. How was I to know she wouldn't find the game
nearly as interesting as we did? She's sitting just off the blacktop
court, I go to take a shot, and when I look back, she's gone. I
panicked, for all of thirty seconds, before organizing the search
parties. Yes, search parties. She had been vanishing for years,
though usually it was never very far. We were used to it; we all
knew the drill. Partner up, split up, scour L.A., and regroup in an
hour. In fact, by that time, we had already made up permanent
searching parties and had set streets that we would search. We
always claimed we could cover more ground in an hour than the LAPD.
Whether that was true or not, I'm not sure. But we were rather
thorough and quite proficient. In fact, by the last summer Crys
spent with us in California, we had all chipped in and bought walkie-
talkies and had given each other nicknames. I was "Jaws," named for
the James Bond villain. I hated braces. Crys, on the other hand,
was quite smitten with a certain blond-hared TV country boy. For a
while there, I didn't think she'd ever outgrow her crush.
"Sam?" Wait... That's Josh's voice.
"Can I get you something to drink, Mr. Seaborn?" Oh. It's a
flight attendant. "Perhaps you'd like an aspirin?" What is she
talking about? Maybe Josh knows.
"She's been waiting on you to give her your drink order for
like ten minutes. You've been somewhere else." As a matter of fact,
Josh, I've been in L.A. "You okay, there, pal?"
"Yeah. Just some water, please." She's nodding like I'm
from outer space or something. At least she's fixing me a cup.
"Thanks." Josh is absorbed in his Post again. At least I
have the window seat. Look at that ocean. Isn't it something? I
grew up surfing but I still find oceans amazing things, so large and
powerful... Maybe I can incorporate that into President Bartlet's
remarks. If I can only reach my carry-on... Why you have to store
your gear under the seat in front of you or over your head, I still
don't know. You know, with the tray table down, it makes it even
harder. Here's a pen... Aha! The legal pad. The Atlantic Ocean...
The Atlantic Ocean... Crys and that summer... Oh, God, that summer.
I remember the summer of 1982 clearly. I had just graduated
from high school and already had my summer planned. It was time to
catch up on some TV and lounging on the couch. Unfortunately, Mom
had other ideas. She turned off the TV.
"I was watching that, Mom."
"You've seen that rerun twelve times."
"Only eleven..." Tell me she didn't hear that.
"I don't see how you can go from high school graduate to
couch potato to Princeton freshman!"
"Mom!" As if I haven't heard that speech enough. I could
carry on that conversation with myself having committed her what-are-
you-going-to-do-with-the-rest-of-your-life speech to memory because I
had heard it three times already since commencement the week before.
"You spend this whole summer lying around here and Princeton
will sneak up on you."
`It's a college, Mom. Colleges don't sneak.' If only I had
the guts to say that.
"You don't even have a major decided yet!"
`You think I spent my afternoons for the past three years
working at Dad's law firm to do something other than practice law?'
"With you stretched out on my sofa with your expensive Nikes
on my upholstery, how will I ever host your father's dinner party
`A bunch of stuffy old people telling boring stories. Who
"Are you even listening to me, Samuel Norman Seaborn?"
`Yes.' Oops. "Yes." Whenever she called me by my full
name, enunciating every last syllable as if forgetting one meant the
difference between life and death, my own, I know I'm in
trouble. "What do you want me to do, Mom?" Wash the windows? Clean
"Your cousin Crystal has called for you twice since last
week. Are you ever going to forgive her?" Now, what on Earth does
Crystal have to do with appeasing Mom?
"She didn't even come up to see graduation." She had
promised me she'd fly up for it. She had *promised* me.
"Schools in Virginia just got out for the summer."
"What do you learn the last five days of your junior year
"She truly wanted to come, Sam. Your Aunt Julia says Crystal
has been moping around for the entire week."
"Aunt Julia could have prevented it if she had just let Crys
skip, at most, two days of school."
"And what kind of example would that set?"
`Who cares!' Instead, I shrugged.
"Go call your cousin," said Mom, pushing my feet off the
couch. "In fact, she's got some news for you, so I hear." Okay,
okay. I'm going.
The den was always quiet during the day with Dad at work.
Let's see, if it's ten AM here, it's one o'clock in Virginia. I hope
she's already eaten lunch. Crys answered on the second ring.
Her "hello" had been rather downcast, but, as soon as she realized
who she was talking to, her voice had risen several octaves. She
asked dozens of questions, like what kind of a haul I had made in
graduation presents, how the ceremony had been, and if I attended any
parties afterwards. When she was done, it was my turn to ask
questions. "Mom tells me you have news for me?"
"Yeah. What're your plans for the summer?" Eventually, I
knew she'd grow out of her thick Southern drawl. I didn't know how
long it would take, though.
"I dunno. Figured I'd watch a lot of TV and try not to drive
Mom too crazy until you get here, anyway."
"Sam, I'm not comin' to L.A. this summer." Add insult to
injury, there, Crys. First you don't come to my high school
graduation, and now you're not coming to spend the summer? You've
spent ten summers over here. You can't stop now...
"What do you mean?"
"I mean I've got a better idea." Mischief. The unmistakable
sound of mischief in her voice. I should have known.
"Oh?" Dare I ask? "What might that be?" Do I really want
"Why don't you come to Virginia?" I had never stopped to
think about that, but, upon hearing it, it sounded like fun. I could
meet some new people, pick up a Southern twang to annoy Mom, not to
mention take in the sights. Plus, and perhaps best of all, I could
miss out on Dad's dull cocktail parties.
Two days later, I was on a plane headed east. Mom said I had
actually flown in an airplane before. I don't remember it. She says
I was little. I'm still kind of surprised Mom and Dad decided to let
me go to Virginia, flying alone. My parents had warned me that take-
off and landing are the scariest parts of the flight. Crys said they
weren't bad, leaving me to wonder who I should believe. Crys had
offered advice, too, like bring a pack of chewing gum and a good
Mom's warning about take-off had worried me so much that,
when the plane started to soar into the sky, I couldn't help but
laugh. Crys had been right. I knew I should have believed her from
the start. I had brought a real page-turner of a book and wound up
finishing it about halfway through the flight. It was kind of nice,
though, because I got to watch the landscape roll by underneath me.
The plane touched down at Dulles Airport outside of
Washington. I had never been to Washington D.C., let alone
Virginia. I knew I was going to have an awesome couple months. Crys
met me at the gate. She had chopped off her hair at her chin, which
actually looked pretty nice on her. It almost bordered on punk,
which, I'm sure, Aunt Julia and Uncle John loved. I wouldn't have
recognized her if not for her glasses. "You made it!"
"Of course!" I picked her up in a hug, like I had done for
the past couple years. "Hey, Crys!"
"Put me down, you! One of these days, you won't be able to
do that anymore."
"Want to make a bet?"
"Come on, college boy. You hungry? I know this great little
restaurant we can stop at before we go home."
"Aunt Julia won't cook?"
"Are you kiddin'?" Crys asked. "You do remember last
Christmas, don't you? Mom's attempt at fruitcake? I mean, it'd be
one thing if everybody liked fruitcake, but not everybody does. And
with Mom at the helm of the kitchen, look out!"
"I am a little hungry. You were right. The food on
airplanes is terrible!" She grinned.
"Told ya. Come on!"
We had stopped for lunch in a little café in the District,
commemorating my first trip to the Capital, she had said. As we were
served our meal, Crys pointed out a pair of Senators who had strolled
in and taken a booth not far from our table. I was, of course, star
struck. Afterwards, she had driven me around the city to take in the
sights. I must admit, the city was positively thrilling. My
favorite stop was the White House. It was the one official tour we
went on. I never once, in my wildest dreams, figured I'd end up
working there one day. As I walked down those hallowed halls all
those years ago, I felt a tingle run up and down my spine. When I
returned a little over a year and a half ago to that building on
Pennsylvania Avenue, I have to admit, that same spine-tingling
feeling swept through me. I love D.C.
"Mr. Seaborn?" Again, I was pulled from my thoughts.
There's the flight attendant, looking as worried as before. "Your
"Thanks." A cardboard container was set before me, leaving
me to wonder what, exactly, was waiting inside and if I even wanted
to touch it. As the flight attendant walked off, I asked
Josh. "What do you think it is?"
"I don't know, but I'm starving. Maybe a bagel or-" By the
look on his face, it must not be pretty. "Raisin Bran."
"Really?" I asked, peeking at his breakfast.
"No." He had a bagel with cream cheese packets on the side,
a glazed doughnut, and some sort of Danish. "You going to see what
she brought you?" Opening mine, I found the same contents, only
there was an envelope taped to the lid of the cardboard
container. "Ooh, a secret message."
"You know anything about this, Josh?" I asked as I pulled the
envelope off the lid.
"You know me, Sam. What do I know?"
Upside Down And Inside Out - 2