TITLE: One Bourbon, One Shot, One Beer
AUTHOR: Luna (email@example.com)
ARCHIVE: Please tell me before you do it, but I'll say yes, most likely.
CATEGORY: General (rated G)
SUMMARY: Three monologues, one theme.
NOTES: Aaron Sorkin, John Wells, Warner Brothers, and NBC Productions own these characters; I'm just livin' on a prayer. Huge props to Neil Gaiman, George Thorogood, and Jessica, the best beta-reader on earth. Please.
Feedback. Seriously. Seriously!
One Bourbon, One Shot, One Beer
I. Blue Period
So I could call her. I could always call.
And if I did give in and call, what then? I know it wouldn't be ten minutes before one of us was shouting. In fifteen minutes, she'll be hanging up and I'll want to throw the phone at the wall.
I want to do that anyway. It's not the point.
I wonder if Andrea sits like this, late at night. Somehow I can't see it happening. If I did pick up that phone, dial her number, stay on the line.... First she'd yell at me for waking her up. Then she'd figure out who I am, and she'd yell at me some more. On the other hand, I'd get to hear the sound of her voice.
I don't think there's anything more pathetic than a grown man sitting in a dark motel room, staring at a telephone with a drink in his hand. If Norman Rockwell had had a blue period, he'd paint this.
I don't wonder why it happened. I have none of those silly burning questions. There's no doubt that we pushed one another away, and it's not really that sad. Looking back, I'm almost sure the process started the day we met. We always fought over stupid things like who'd pick up the check, and over real things, issues and ideas and the future. It was exciting, yes. It was passionate, but it was nothing to found a marriage on.
Then I fell in love with her.
God, I'm getting maudlin. Next thing you know I'll be staggering down the hall singing "Danny Boy." As if I still believed that it mattered. The love thing only made it uglier when it fell apart. By then, the yelling was the best things ever got. We both said our most vicious words very, very quietly. That dinner with the Mayor -- we would have poisoned each other, I think, if the means had come to hand.
She won that argument. She won every argument. The greater part of my intellect seems to disappear when we're in a confrontation. Why is it that I can argue down lawyers, diplomats, politicians -- hell, I've gotten the better of the candidate once or twice -- but I completely lose my way when it comes to my wife?
Ex-wife. Love has not made my life any easier, that's for damn sure.
Thank God for this campaign. It gives me somewhere to put my energy. Thank God for the incumbent for giving me someone to hate. Thank God for the rest of the staff, for keeping me from setting fire to one of these reporters that buzz around any campaign. Thank God for the adrenaline rush, and for the fact that we're going to win. I believe. I hope.
And I'm not going to do this anymore. This -- sitting up late, thinking about her, having a drink without taking my eyes off the phone -- is going to stop. I am not going to sit here like the punchline to an unfunny joke. I have too much work to do.
Even still.... loving her was my mistake. I can deal with it. It's over. I know it's over. But I've had to spend a lot of time staring at telephones before I've started to catch on.
II. On His Own Wit
Mm. Okay, listen. Here's the thing.
She's working in New York now. That's good. That's *great*. Because I don't want to see her, you know, ever. Because --
What? I'm talking to the cat. I'm having a conversation with -- no! No, Donna. Honestly, I'm not. I'm *not*. All I had was a couple of beers. And... there may have been some tequila. Little tiny bit of tequila. Barely enough to -- Wow. I'm so wasted.
See? She interrupted me and I was trying to make a point. The point is, the point is. I had a point. The point *is*, this couch is really soft. Women always have nicer furniture than men.
I walked from Stash's. How else would I have gotten here? No, you don't need to call me a cab. I can walk. It's nice out -- oh, fine. Don't listen then.
Jeez. Women. You see why I have these problems? This is what I'm saying. Obviously, I'm missing something here. I'm clearly missing some kind of vital piece to the puzzle. Because I think -- I'm convinced. She's crazy. Evil, and crazy.
Well, because she's in New York, which is fine. It's not like I need her around. It's not like I have time for her lying, and her being crazy, and -- good riddance, you know? Everybody better off all around, and so on. "But I sent you away, oh, Mandy...."
What? No, I wasn't singing! What are you talking about?
Listen, cat. This is important. I'm not depressed because she's not here. I'm relieved. You know. You *do*. Only, this is the thing. When we broke up, she was all saying she thinks I never loved her. Which, okay, is, yes, true. I liked her, you know, but I didn't love her. But why would she even say a thing like that? When did we hit a point where she expected me to be in love with her? For God's sake, people do things during campaigns. Or other times, I would think. And she's an available, attractive, female... woman. So that doesn't make us Romeo and, you know, what's her name, right? So why would she even bring that up? Am I now supposed to think that I was supposed to be.... I don't know. Whatever. She's a shrew. She's a -- where are you going?
Hey, Donna, what's the damn cat called? Kahlua? What the hell kind of name is -- oh. Talullah? Well. That's.... even worse. Come here, stupid cat. Come here!
Dumb cat doesn't understand me. I bet there's a connection there. Women and cats; I just don't get it. They're all crazy. All of 'em can go to -- New York. I don't need this.
I don't want to get up. I'm comfortable, so why should I -- Donna, you need to work on your lish... on your lis... on paying attention. Don't make that face at me. It's not my fault. Stupid, annoying, both of them. Women and cats.
Ow! I didn't mean you, Donna. You're... exempt. Okay. Downstairs. Yeah. Thanks for calling the -- okay. I'll call you tomorrow. Yeah, g'night.
III. One Day
Oh, Jennifer. It's so funny to think that all it took was a signature.
I suppose it's a reminder that marriage really is, in large part, just a legal contract. Still... nearly thirty years. And after everything I've put you through, I signed my name to a piece of paper and it's officially dissolved. It's officially over.
It was already over; I know that. From the day you walked out -- our anniversary, and I can't believe I forgot -- except that I have trouble remembering my own name sometimes, with all the things I try to keep track of in a day. Not that it's an excuse.
I suppose I believed that, after Sierra-Tucson, we could weather anything that happened. I suppose I thought you knew what these years would be like, how important this job is, how much it means to me. It would seem I took you for granted, Jenny. Maybe I left you before you left me. If I could go back --
If I could go back, I still wouldn't give up this job for you. It's the truth, damn it. I'd tell you I was sorry, except that it's too late.
So I signed my name, and I made my phone calls, and I could go home now. I'm just not sure I want to.
Margaret was right.
I can't say I'm surprised. I know the program. I know it doesn't go away. It's just been a long time since it was like this, and it's.... It's an interesting sensation, that unpleasantly familiar voice in my head. There's that traitorous part of my mind saying that I could have just one drink and handle it -- which isn't true -- and that no one would have to know about it -- which may or may not be true.
I won't do it. Not tonight, at least. But it's frightening, and sad, to say the least, to know how close I am. Margaret was right. The temptation is there, but I won't. I know what would probably happen. I'd show up at your doorstep sometime around four in the morning, maybe laughing, more likely crying. I know what you'd look like: disgusted, pitying, beautiful in spite of it. I don't want to be there.
The next time we talk -- and I have to believe there will be a next time -- I want to be honest and calm with you. Maybe I'll call you one day when this administration's over. Six more years; only two if we're not careful and lucky. I'll know where you are. I'll call you up and maybe we'll reminisce and recapture something. Or I'll call you and you'll hate me. Or maybe, I'll have stopped loving you by then, and I won't call you at all.
I hate to think it's possible, right now. The truth is, I know it's more than possible. It's likely. After all, it's not much different from anything else. Trite but true, it's one day at a time. Eventually, I won't miss you so much. I won't think of you much. Maybe I won't love you. Maybe I won't ever want to call you up again, or get drunk over your absence.
That doesn't help much tonight, after signing our lives into the past. The day may come, though, when thinking about you won't make me wish for a drink. And I won't need you anymore.
But if I do... I could call you. I could always call.
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