An hour later, Josh looked around furtively before ducking into Sam's
"I hear you had a run-in with a rabid plant," he said, shutting the
door and sitting on the desk.
Sam looked up from his notepad, wondering whether this would take
long enough to warrant putting down his pen. "At least people have
something to laugh at other than Squishy the Squelch man."
Josh nodded, gave a sickly smile. "Look... about this whole 'I'm in
love with Donna' thing -"
Sam put down the pen. "You admit it?"
Josh hesitated. "You really think I'm in love with Donna?"
Josh hesitated. "I dunno. You think?"
"Look, Josh," Sam said, making a sweeping gesture with his hand that
knocked his coffee cup off the desk. "Damn! That's my favourite mug!"
He reached down to pick up the pieces. "Ow!" Having cut his hand on
the still-intact but sharp base of the mug, he tried to sit up and
slammed his head on the desk. "Ow!"
"Are you okay?"
Sam reflected morosely that people seemed to be asking him that a lot
"You sure? How many fingers am I holding up?"
Sam squinted at Josh. "Depends. Is it possible you're holding up
Josh took a quick look at his hand and shrugged. "No."
"Then... uh... twelve."
"Close enough. And do you remember where you live?"
Brief pause. "I don't need to remember that until tonight."
Good enough, Josh decided. Besides, his love life took precedence
over Sam's minor injuries. "So, um, you think I should ask her out or
"Who?" asked Sam, rubbing his head gingerly with the hand that wasn't
"That is the usual procedure, I believe. First you date her, then you
marry her, then -"
"Whoa, stop right there. You're scaring me." Josh licked his lips
nervously. "So... you think I should ask her out, then."
"Go for it."
"Okay. I'm going." Josh shook his fist in a gesture of determination
as he headed for the door. "Oh, by the way, you're bleeding on your
Donna sat quietly in her chair, watching Josh pace back and forth in
front of her desk, muttering to himself. "Something I can help you
"Hmm? Yes. No. Yes. I was wondering if..."
"Nothing. Never mind."
"It's just that you've been wearing a hole in the carpet for fifteen
"And before that you did it for half an hour before you got called
"Did I?" Josh said weakly.
"And then you came back."
"Don't you have work to do?"
"No, not really."
Donna shrugged. "Okay. I do, so I'm going to do some of it right now."
"Okay." Josh lowered his head and continued pacing.
"I'm telling you, Leo, it's a conspiracy," Sam said earnestly,
a bandaged hand as proof. "Someone wants to... I dunno... drive me
crazy, or make me break my neck or something."
"Someone is conspiring to make you break your neck?"
"Yes! First it was a paper cut, then the plant, you'll notice I'm
still limping, then the mug - my favourite mug! - then I
shredded a report that took me two hours to write, then when I looked
on my computer it wasn't there anymore and I had to do it again, one
handed, and then I burned my arm putting out a fire that Cathy
inadvertently started in her waste-paper basket!"
"Sounds like you're not having a good day."
"Sam, I'm on my way to a meeting with the President-"
"Leo, you have to- ow! Damn!" Sam found himself trying to hold on to
one foot and hop fast enough to keep up with Leo, and look back
balefully at a brick lying innocently in the middle of the corridor.
He managed two hops before gravity caught up with him and he fell
"Broken toe, broken toe," he groaned, still holding his foot.
"Sam? Are you-"
"I'm fine! Broken toe! Broken - oh, damn." Sam managed to stand
and looked at Leo disconsolately.
Leo stared at him. "If it makes you feel any better, I had a broken
toe once and it only hurts for about ten days. Depending on where you
"Gee, ten days. Thanks. Now I feel better." Sam had gone from limp to
hobble in the space of thirty seconds. "Broken toe," he whispered
sadly, trying to take a step.
"Sam, I think you've been working too hard."
"I have not. It's been a slow week, Leo."
"Nevertheless, I'm sending you home."
Sam looked at his watch. "But-"
"No buts. It's a slow day, Toby can handle the slack. Go tell him I
sent you home, and then... take the rest of the day off. Buy Mallory
some flowers or something. Maybe go to a hospital, get your toe x-
rayed. Not that there's much they can do."
Sam sighed. "Okay."
"Good." Leo walked off to his meeting with the President, and Sam
hobbled over to Toby's office, muttering to himself, "Paper cut.
Bruised shin. Cut hand. Concussion. Shredded report. Burned arm.
Broken toe. Sent home. At least it can't get any worse."
"Josh, would you *please* stop pacing! You're giving me a
"Sorry. Um, um, um, I was wondering if, well, whether, well. Would
"Well, you know how I occasionally consult you about my, uh...
"Yes, and I was wondering if you could give me some advice."
"I was wondering how I would go about asking you out in such a way
that you would be bound to say yes."
Donna blinked. "What, like on a date?"
"Well, no, I wouldn't called it a *date*, exactly, more of a -
like a date."
"Okay... you could start by saying, 'Donna, will you go out with me?'"
"Donna, will you go out with me?"
"Of course, really."
"Great!" Josh clapped his hands. "Terrific! Okay! I'm gonna go
"Yeah! I'm going out with Donna!" Josh capered out into the wide
world of the White House in search of someone to tell, thinking that
this was turning out to be a pretty good day after all. Donna watched
him go, smiling.
"Goof," she murmured to herself.
"And then I broke my toe, and now I have to go home." Sam's
slumped dejectedly as he explained his situation to Toby, who was
thinking that if someone was trying to drive Sam crazy, they were
doing a pretty good job.
"I think that's a good idea."
"I'm telling you, Toby, someone's out to get me. What was a brick
doing in the middle of the West Wing?"
"Get out of my office." Toby was about to leave himself, and there
was no way he was letting Sam run around in his office unsupervised.
He might touch something. Relenting slightly, he patted Sam on the
shoulder as he walked past. "Look, if someone is doing this on
purpose, which no one is, it's probably just an April fool thing."
Toby shook his head as he walked away. Sam stared after him.
"But it's not even April," he whispered miserably, before turning and
A Secret Service agent waited until he was out of sight before
speaking to his wrist, the way they do. "Princeton's on his way
home," he said softly, then snickered. "Make sure that slippery patch
of ice by his car is ready." Then, talking to himself like a crazy
person, and wearing an evil smile, he added: "April fool. Ha. Ha.