All the pertinent information is in Part 1.

Sam walked into Toby's office with sheaves of paper in his hands. Toby did not look up for the computer. He was furiously typing away.

"Here you go, Toby." Sam held out the messy stack of paper to his boss.

Toby snapped out of it and closed the computer lid. "What is all this, Sam?"

"It's the President's speech for the Rose Society Social at the White House Rose Garden. It's done."

Toby blinked at Sam, more really, to clear his blurry vision, than in confusion. "Sam that event isn't scheduled for another 2 months, not to mention, it should pretty much be a "no brainer." Why are you working on it now?"

Too cheerily, in that way he knows Toby hates, Sam responds, "I want to be prepared. We should try to be more organized. Stay ahead of our deadlines." He smiled serenely at Toby. He looked very closely for any hopeful signs that Toby was going to scream at him. There was none.

Instead Toby sighed resignedly and began to straighten the pages. When he finally got them in order he skimmed them over. After a moment he handed them back to Sam without looking up.

"It's fine."

"That's it?"

"What do you want me to say? Sam, your speech meets the parameters of the occasion succinctly." He said it like an automaton.

Sam's brow furrowed. This wasn't going as he expected. "Well I thought you would...oh, I don't know...notice that there wasn't any punctuation in it...anywhere."

"I noticed."

"Okay, so I thought maybe you would enjoy taking out your favorite red felt pen and scribbling all over the damn thing!" Sam was the one getting mad.

Toby yanked the pencil drawer open and pulled out Sam's worst enemy, the red felt pen. Sam glanced at in hope. He never thought he would be happy to see that pen.

Toby looked at a surprised Sam when he handed over the papers and pen. "You knew it needed punctuation, you fix it. As a matter of fact, why don't I just give you these to keep." He reached in and pulled out a box of brand new red felt pens handing those over to Sam as well. Toby opened his laptop and started to type. A hint to Sam that he was dismissed.

Sam turned around and walked through the door all the way to Josh's office.

Josh and Donna looked at him expectantly."So, how'd it go?"

Looking down at his new box of red felt pens and then up into Josh's eyes he shook his head. "You're turn."

Josh stood and rolled his shoulders..."My turn"...and walked out the door as though he were heading into battle.

"Hey, Tobes." Well if that didn't get him...

"What do you want Josh?" Josh noted the tone of utter exhaustion in Toby's quiet voice.

"What are you working on?" he asked as he tried to peer over Toby's shoulder. "Cause you know there isn't anything coming up that needs a speech or something. So I was wondering..."

Toby closed the computer for the second time today. "Sam seems to think we should stay ahead. I'm simply following his example."

"Okay. Listen I thought maybe I'd go Schul with you this Saturday." Josh had asked about going with him once before and Toby had very loudly and adamantly objected. Something about getting at least one blessed peaceful morning without "Joshy Rocket" around. Josh realized he was missing Toby's "affectionate" contempt for him.

"I'm not going to Schul."

Josh stopped dead in his tracks. Toby never missed Schul. Damn...his whole plan just went down in flames.

"Oh, okay." Josh looked around the room. Alarms in his head were going off. "Toby, why is your office so neat and clean?"

"*The* office is so neat and clean so that Sam...would be shocked. I thought I'd mess with his mind." Toby smiled a bit, but it never reached his bloodshot eyes.

"Yeah, sure, right." Josh looked around one more time and left. He was sure Toby was going to say, "so that Sam can take over."

This time it was Sam and Donna who looked up at Josh when he returned to his office. Josh leaned his body against the doorframe and stuffed his hands into his pocket.

Sam and Donna didn't need to ask. It hadn't worked.

"Donna, I think you're right. We have to hurry. I think Toby's decided he's leaving tonight before CJ gets back."

Sam agreed, "yeah, he gave me the pens and *the* office, not *his* office is so...so...clean."

"What are we going to do guys?"

Donna tapped a pencil on Josh's desk thinking. Suddenly the pencil stopped. Josh and Sam looked at her for clarification. "When does Mrs. Bartlet come back?"

Josh looked at Sam and began to give him an evil smile. "Oh Donna, that is just too devious. I think she comes back tomorrow morning."

Sam stood up grinning, "well maybe we could arrange for it to be today, before tonight?"

Donna was on the phone in a flash, "Hi Lily, we were just checking on when the First Lady was expected back. Oh really? Any special reason why? Well thanks for your help. Bye."

After she hung up Donna crossed her arms and looked at her fellow operatives. "It appears that the First Lady has changed her plans and will be back late this afternoon."

Crack the Whip - 8


 

 

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