Disclaimer: They're not mine, because if they were I'd kill Donna and assume her identity. They belong to Aaron Sorkin and his team of legal experts who could sue my @$$ and crush me in court with their constitutional might if they so chose. All silly mistakes I make are made because I am sixteen, ignorant, and paid far too little attention in my U.S. Government class.
A car speeds by out in the darkness, sending a wave of water crashing against the window of the bar. Inside the lights are dim and the clock on the far wall reads 1:30 AM. I prop my elbows up on the plastic surface of the table and rest my chin on my hands, staring morosely out of the blurry glass separating me from the colder, wetter, and undoubtedly happier part of Washington D.C. Across from me, Josh mutters something unintelligible under his Guinness-scented breath.
"What was that, Josh?" I ask wearily.
"I should've worked harder." His words are slurred. "Didn't have to be this way."
I sigh. He's been drinking for an hour and a half now, and has long since passed the point of mere drunkenness. With his unimpressive liquor tolerance it'll be surprising if he remembers any of this in the morning - that is, if he doesn't simply pass out and wake up here in the morning.
No. That isn't likely to happen. I'll kick myself for being this much of a pushover tomorrow, but I'll end up hauling him out of here and taking him home. It won't even be enough to get him in a taxi and send him off, I know; I'll actually take him to his apartment and tuck him into bed. That's how soft-hearted I am. How I ended up working in the White House is completely beyond me. But I did, and I signed on for all the responsibilities that working there entails. I just didn't know at the time that one of those responsibilities was going to be dragging my hammered boss from a downtown bar the night a bill he's spent months developing fails to pass the Senate. Aw, hell. I'd do it even if I didn't feel like I was supposed to. Josh, when he's drunk, takes on all the characteristics of a five-year-old boy. Not taking care of him would be like leaving a puppy out in the rain.
"Josh," I say. He fails to look up from his glass. "Josh."
He lifts his head, his eyes slightly unfocussed. "Wha?"
"It's 1:30. It's time to go home."
A pause. He thinks about this for a moment, then says plaintively, "Why?"
"You have to be at work at six."
He frowns. "Don' wanna."
But you have to. Come on, we'll get a taxi. I'll make you tea, and you'll go to bed."
Looking unconvinced, he asks, "Stay?"
It takes me a moment to understand this. "Am I going to stay?"
An emphatic nod.
The prospect of sleeping on Josh's tiny couch and waking up with back cramps does not appeal to me. But: White House. Responsibilities. Josh's rumpled, sleepy look. I sigh again. "Yes, Josh. I'll stay."
"Good." He tries to get to his feet and stumbles. I stand up quickly and reach across the table to help him - and am promptly shoved down as he leans heavily on my arm for balance. Beer that Josh has spilled over the course of the night now stains my expensive jacket. It would be useless to complain, so I just let Josh lean on me and we lurch towards the door like contestants in a three-legged race.
As we stand out in the rain, me searching futilely for a cab, and Josh demonstrating his inability to stand still without losing his balance, I curse the unwritten rule of the White House which dictates that senior staff members celebrate victory together and defeat alone. If Sam were here he could get Josh safely home and I could get some actual sleep before subjecting myself to another day of memos and research and phone calls. Instead - I feel the rainwater in the gutter soaking unpleasantly through my shoes.
Finally a cab comes along, and I wave my hand frantically, shouting, "Taxi!" The gods of public transportation are on my side, and it pulls over.
I shove Josh into the back seat and hop into the front, giving the driver the street that my nearly-unconscious boss's apartment is on.