Title: Shorthand
By: Nijijin
Rating: PG-13 (some language)
Genre: General
Disclaimer: Nope...uh,uh...they're not mine.
Notes: This is really more of a vignette than fanfic and is written in
honor of Professional Assistant's Day. I believe that is the current PC
incarnation of Secretary's Day. We know who you are. We know what you
do. We do appreciate it.
Spoilers: Not really.

In written form, with elegant curves and lines that mean so much, it
should be considered an art. But in this technological age of wonder,
it is fast becoming obsolete. While, job applications may still ask
prospective employees if they have this particular skill, very few are
able to check the "yes" box.

And yet, the version that encompasses words, looks, gestures and
touches still thrives everywhere. Lovers are well versed in this art
form. Parents and children are comforted by it. The real experts,
however, are found in offices around the globe. Especially, throughout
the rooms of power, in a Nation's Capital.

He was quite arguably one of the most powerful men on Earth. Yet, he
now sat in front of a small mahogany table grousing about "rabbit
food." He glared at the "old woman" as she imperiously placed fork and
napkin beside the plate of greens. He "hrrrmphfed" at her. She changed
her mind and took the napkin from the table and dropped it in his lap.
Lifting one eyebrow, she challenged him, as she has for many years now.
He looked up at her and pouted before grudgingly picking up the fork
and stabbing at a leaf. She smirked in satisfaction and went back out
to her desk.

After a moment, she returned with a cookie.

In the office next door, a very well dressed man barked her name. For
being so tall and not really easy to miss, she slipped quietly up to
his side unnoticed. When he turned, ready to bark for her once more, he
jumped slightly. She had scared him again and it satisfied her. He
extolled the virtues of cat bells for a moment before heading into
their usual rapid fire, one word conversation.

"Did you..."


"Has it got..."

"Last page..."

"Are copies..."

"Of course..."

"Well, okay, I guess..."

"That's it."

She turned to leave. When he called to her again.

"You're a good girl."


Just down the hall in another rather messy office, he had just toppled
a box to the floor scattering paper everywhere. He yelled for her. She
tried to ignore it for a moment. He yelled louder. She sighed at her
desk and tried to finish the memo he would need in two minutes. Then he
whined. She hit the print button as she got up from her desk. She
grabbed the memo and stalked into his office. The sight of him made her
eyes roll. His dimpled, sheepish grin, in the eye of a paper storm,
told her everything she needed to know. Stepping up to the pile, she
searched for a moment. Reaching in she pulled out the report he was
looking for and handed it to him along with the memo. She pointed to
the door. He stepped out of the deluge and headed out for his meeting.
He turned and looked at her for a moment.

"You're a pretty good Deputy-Deputy, you know that?"


Farther down the hall, they were moving quickly towards the pressroom.
Last minute pieces of paper were being passed back and forth. They
giggled at this reminder of girls in high school, passing notes to each
other, probably about boys. She always managed to trip on the way up to
the podium. It never concerned her because she knew someone was there
with a supportive hand. After tucking her hand under the tall, lanky
woman's elbow, she stood and listened to her for a moment. Satisfied
she went back to their offices. She "proofed" the spelling of the
document before moving into her boss' office. She contemplated the
goldfish swimming around frantically. She sprinkled a little of Gail's
fish food in the bowl before turning to leave.

Gail settled down. She seemed to be eating and swimming contently.


In the Communications Bullpen the level of activity moved at light
speed. He stood in his doorway, stealing a glance at her. She was
berating someone on the phone. He hated to admit it, but he had always
been a little afraid of her. Listening to her now, whoever was on the
phone, was probably scared too. He stepped closer to her. To his
pleasant surprise, she was telling the caller where to "get off" for
talking about her boss that way. He knew he should admonish her for the
breach in professionalism. He couldn't help but admire her way around
words. After one last smart retort, she slammed the phone down. He gave
her a pointed look. Embarrassed, she shrugged and motioned her eyes in
the direction of the other boss' office.

"Hey...only he and I are allowed to terrorize you."


Speaking of that *boss*...every office has one like him. Cantankerous,
moody, obnoxious were all words used in describing him. He was so bad,
that "The Powers That Be", decided he needed two.

Their co-workers never stopped being amazed at the pairs' ability to
handle him. For their part, tales of his latest horrible behavior were
always recounted at lunch or break time. The two made sure to remind
them all, once again, how lucky they were not to work for him. The
others tended to agree. When heading back to their office after these
sessions, the two would always look at each other and smirk in
satisfaction. No way were they going to let anybody know how good they
had it with him.

Once he saw them giggling as they returned from lunch with the others.
He asked if they had been telling "war stories." They looked at him
with surprise and nodded enthusiastically. He simply said, "Good, keep
it up" and shuffled back into his office. The three of them had come to
the unvoiced conclusion that they were deranged. They were deranged
together and they liked it that way.

For all his tantrums, yelling fests and descents into the Dark Side, he
always made them feel valuable to him. Their evaluations were often
more beautifully written than his speeches. He let them get away with
almost anything. They knew because they had tried. Once, when he was in
a particularly foul mood, they found newspaper pictures of Mary Marsh,
Seth Gillette and Ann Stark. Giggling, they cut and glued those rude
faces onto his beloved pink rubber ball. Grunting, upon his return, he
dropped an Éclair on each of their desks and stepped into his office.
An apology of sorts. Moments later, a loud burst of side splitting
laughter was heard from within. He yelled out something about giving
them a raise, before the familiar thump...thump...thump began.


Shorthand, in it's written form may soon be a forgotten art. Elegant
curves and lines, that convey so much meaning, may disappear. The
shorthand of simple words, looks, gestures and touches will however,
for all time, move between those who share an abiding, indescribable
feeling for each other.

And that will be enough.

The End

We do not
remember days
We remember

Cesar Pavese




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