Title: Evil Troll
Michaela Hunter is my best friend and a political science major at Georgetown. Sam Seaborn is her idol.
"Winifred," she had said, "we really need to work on your people skills."
We probably do, but I've got about 10 years before I run for anything, so we've probably got a little time.
And who is this 'we' I keep referring to? Am I Queen Winifred now, or something? 'We' are not amused; that whole royal 'we' thing?
But anyway, we had coffee tonight, right in the middle of Senator Stackhouse's filibuster and I told her, in all of its glory, the story of my first encounter with a major Washington player. And Michaela almost fell off of her chair.
I'm one of those people that can never hear what my words would sound like before they fly out of my mouth. I'm rude, cynical and usually obnoxious. My mom says that I fit right in here in Washington.
The problem is that I feel horrible about saying the things that I say about five seconds after I say them. And when I'm in a conversation, and I say stuff I regret, I'm in far too over my head to stop and rude things keep tumbling out of my mouth.
Like my parting comment to Mr. Seaborn; what was that? Was I hoping to score points or something?
It's like there's an evil troll that controls my mouth sometimes.
I can be really sweet. I swear I can. Or at least I hope I can. I've never actually been sweet to anyone.
After my little encounter with Mr. Seaborn, I went down the Mess Hall of the White House to get a sandwich or something. Confrontations make me hungry. Anyway, I found myself at this table in the corner, because I was rather embarrassed to face him again and I figured that if I hid, I could eat in relative peace.
I had just bit into my tuna salad sandwich when Josh Lyman came in and announced to the whole room (and probably the entire country):
"Twice in one year! Sam's gotten his butt kicked by a girl twice in one year!"
A blonde haired woman at the table next to me guffawed, "You can't be serious."
"Oh, dear Donnatella, I am." Mr. Lyman swaggered in confidently, "And this one's only 14."
The aforementioned evil troll took that moment to regain control. "I'm 19," I replied.
There were suddenly about 15 pairs of eyes glued to me. "My name is Winifred Hooper and I'm 19, not 14, years old."
"You're the intern?" Mr. Lyman replied eloquently.
I nodded, "Yeah, what's it to you?"
He backed off a bit, "Nothing, just asking."
"Well, ok then," I mumbled going back to my meal.
He waited a beat before continuing, "You're rather hostile for someone so young."
I raised an eyebrow, my food forgotten; "You're rather nosy for someone so political."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"No one around here ever wants to answer questions about anything pertaining directly to the American people, yet you're completely willing to pry into my personal life because I set one of your people straight!"
"For the record," a voice said from another table, "Josh was prying. Not the White House, not the Democratic Party, Josh Lyman was being nosy and obnoxious. And if you think you're the first person to have a problem with that, join the club. We're thinking about having jackets made."
CJ Cregg smacked me right back down.
"You totally stole that line," Mr. Lyman shot back at her.
"What line?" She took a bite of her pasta salad.
"The jackets line. The President said that to me about "
"The First Lady," Ms Cregg interrupted. "I remember now."
I was temporarily forgotten, as they got lost in their banter. Fine by me. I was busy mentally whipping myself for being a brat to yet another White House staffer. And not just any White House staffer, no! The Deputy Chief of Staff, for crying out loud!
Michaela says that the evil troll is the reason that I have absolutely no friends but her. It's really funny, because she's the only one that I'm not hostile to. She says that I have every reason to be angry at the world, but that the world doesn't care and I need to get over it.
I was adopted when I was 8 years old. My mother gave me up for adoption because she was a prostitute and she got pregnant and you can't really have a child and be prostitute, so she gave me up. Better than aborting me, so I'm rather thankful. Carol, the lady that ran the crappy orphanage I lived at said that Angela, my mother, mentioned something about 'a lousy 20 bucks was all I got' and 'Her name's Winifred' before signing the papers. So, what I get from that is that I'm worth 20 dollars.
The Hooper's, the people that adopted me, always tell me that that's not true. Ray would always say that he paid a lot more than that, and then hug me and tell me that I was worth more than all of the money in the world. He was awesome.
He died last year from Lou Gherig's disease.
So, like I said. I have every reason to be mad at the world, hence the overabundance of hostility.
"So, what's your name," Mr. Lyman queried, yanking me out of my reverie.
"Winifred Hooper," I replied, sticking out my hand for him to shake it, which he did.
"Josh Lyman. Can I call you Winnie?"
"Only if you want her to spit on you," Mr. Seaborn replied from the doorway.
Oh, just shoot me now.
I stare at him like he has a hole in his head as he walks over and sits down at the table with Mr. Lyman and Ms. Cregg. "Sam Seaborn, we met in the Roosevelt Room."
"Yeah," I nod, "I remember."
He grins like I didn't offend him at all and steals one of Ms Cregg's French fries. "So, when you leave school, what do you want to do that I should come looking for a job?"
"I'm not really sure," I reply honestly. "I'm an economics major at Georgetown, so hopefully something with that, but I'd love to stay in politics somehow."
I actually said something without sounding like a complete jerk! Alleluia!
The four nodded. "I'm CJ, by the way," she spoke up.
"I know," I replied quietly. She looked surprised, but didn't comment.
"So, Winifred " Mr. Lyman started,
Their beepers all went off simultaneously. Exchanging glances, they all made a hasty exit as Ms Cregg called back to me, "Nice meeting you."
And thus, I covered my butt a bit.
They probably all think I'm a shrew anyway.
This whole little mental trip started because there was this message on my machine when I got home from Michaela's tonight:
"Hi, Winnie? It's Sam Seaborn. I just wanted to let you know that I was serious when I said that you have a job when you get out of school. And, well, yeah. That's it. Keep reading. Don't loose your spunk. Bye."
Spunk? He thinks I have spunk?
Wait until I tell Micheala!