Title: Static Electricity
Author: Michelle H.
Feedback: Yes, please.
Spoilers: Up to, and including, Ellie
Summary: Josh ponders his relationship with Donna in the darkened
theater
Archive: Sure, ask me first
Disclaimers: The usual disclaimers apply
Thanks: Thanks, as always, to Laurel A, my good twin. Okay, so we're
not really twins. But our weird mental connection gets kind of scary
sometimes!

This is part of our series, which shall be known from this day forward
as Our Two Consciences. Previous installments include:

Roles by Laurel A.
Masks by Michelle H.
Donna Moss Talks About Sex and Joey Lucas by Laurel A.
Josh Lyman Talks About Strategy by Michelle H.
Late At Night in the Soft Warm Glow by Laurel A.
Perfect Clarity by Michelle H.
I confess by Laurel A.

Well, it's been about a week since Joey Lucas dropped her bombshell and
then left town. I still haven't figured out what to do with my newfound
knowledge. I mean, what was she thinking about, giving me that sort of
information? What am I supposed to do with it?

This is all assuming it's true, of course. For all I know, it could be
as bogus as Donna's theory about me and Joey and the bath towels.

But since Joey didn't stick around and fill me in on what I'm supposed
to do about this...like that Donna has for me, I've put it on the back
burner, so to speak. I'm helping to run a country, after all. There
are matters of greater importance than my assistant's apparent
infatuation with me.

Although there's a tiny voice somewhere inside me that tells me I'm
wrong about that.

I don't know about that voice, though. I mean, gun control, the war on
drugs, homelessness...they're all pretty important. I think the voice
could be wrong.

Or Joey could have been wrong.

Damn her.

I've given that particular possibility quite a bit of consideration over
the past few days. I've been doing a fair amount of waffling on this
issue, actually.

Okay, so it's been driving me crazy.

When I'm not busy helping to run a country, of course. Which brings me
to my plan. Another strategy, if you will. I gotta tell you, I'm a
pretty important guy, and I can't spend all of my time waffling and
analyzing and generally being non-productive. So here's the plan. I'm
going to be all business with Donna. I'm going be Donna's boss. That's
it.

I'm letting her come to me.

See, the way I see it, if she has a thing for me, it'll come out
eventually. But I'm doing nothing to encourage it. I'm not pushing,
I'm not instigating anything. I'm going to try to pretend Joey never
told me anything.

Of course, since I am a
Charming-Witty-and-Handsome-Political-Strategist, I naturally can't help
the fact that women generally swoon when I'm around. That's of course
when I'm being Charming and Witty. The fact that I'm handsome and a
Political Strategist can't be helped, really. It's genes. And my job.

Actually the fact that I'm Charming and Witty can't be helped, either.
I come from a long line of Charming and Witty people.

So repeat after me. The strategy is to make Donna come to me. If
that's what she wants, anyway. I'm staying out of it. I'm not going to
be held responsible for any possible hurt feelings and heartbreak that
may ensue. I am her employer. Nothing more. Okay, so I'm a friend
too. But just a friend.

So Donna and I are sitting in the dark, watching Dial M for Murder and
sharing popcorn. I asked her to come with me to the screening--for
business purposes only, stop looking at me like that—-and she got this
happy look in her eye that made me wonder if Joey was right.

Damn Joey Lucas. She's making me crazy.

But it doesn't matter if Joey is right. It doesn't matter if Joey was
wrong. It doesn't matter, because I'm Donna's boss. Nothing more.
That's it.

Okay, so I'm her friend too. But just a friend.

In fact, in honor of my new strategy, I'm rolling out a new Josh
tonight.

I'm Kindly-but-not-too-kindly-employer-Josh. And I'm currently doing
what Kindly-but-not-too-kindly-employers do. I'm sharing my popcorn
with my assistant.

And really, I'm not even being kindly. It's convenience, really. It's
all about convenience.

The electric current that's slowly making its way up my arm after our
hands brushed a minute ago while we were both reaching for the popcorn
is certainly due to it being dry and February. It's obviously static
electricity.

Don't laugh. I took a lot of science courses in college. Static
electricity is serious business. I'm a regular Bill Nye, Science Guy.

Static electricity. It's just static electricity. I turn my attention
back to the movie.

When it happens again, when our hands brush together for a second time
and we mumble our apologies and avoid making eye contact, I start to
wonder if maybe we need some Static Guard. Because this time it was
more than just a warm feeling crawling up my arm.

I'm actually beginning to wonder if spontaneous combustion is caused by
static electricity.

This is just weirding me out. I decide I'm not going to eat anymore
popcorn. I'll just have some Diet Coke and watch the movie.

So I watch the movie. The President isn't talking. This is weird.
This is strange.

This isn't good.

I turn to my assistant. "This isn't good," I tell her.

My God. They really should do something about the seats in here.
They're so close together. Donna's practically sitting on my lap.

Her breath is very hot and smells like root beer. It tickles my cheek.

I'm going home and immersing myself in a vat of Static Guard. This is
unbelievable. I feel a warm blush creep up the base of my neck.

God, it's hot in here.

I'm really starting to wonder about the spontaneous combustion thing.

Charlie slips into the theater just then and I forget all about
electricity and explosions and Bill Nye, Science Guy. I start thinking
again about my job and the Surgeon General and marijuana.

Not like that. Stop looking at me like that. Don't call me dude.

So I'm watching the movie again. I actually reach for some popcorn
without brushing against the cool, alabaster hand of my assistant. Life
returns to normal.

And then the president returns and taps me on the shoulder.

I tap Donna on the leg when I get up to talk to the President.

God, what's wrong with me? Why did I do that? It was kindly, but it
may have been too kindly.

I swear to you my hand is on fire, and Donna's rubbing her leg.
Apparently she felt the shock, too. She's got a funny smile on her
face, though. She's obviously unaware of the possible link between
static electricity and spontaneous combustion. She shouldn't be
smiling. She should be running from the theater in horror.

Run for your lives, people. We're going to explode.

So I speak briefly with the President and then sit back down and watch
the movie. I have some more popcorn. I think briefly about spontaneous
combustion. Life returns to normal. I share my popcorn with my
assistant.

Do you want to know why?

Because I'm Kindly-but-not-too-kindly-Employer-Josh, that's why.

I make a mental note to pick up some Static Guard on the way home.

 

 

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