Title: Toe Jam
Author: Steph (ILUVNYYANK@aol.com)
Category: Humor, some Josh/Donna hintings at romance.
Archive: Sure, just let me know where.
Disclaimer: The West Wing and its characters do not belong to me. They belong to Aaron Sorkin, NBC, et al. I do this out of a love for the show and no infringement is intended.
Summary: No, it's not what you think it's about. That'd be gross. Donna gets her toe stuck in the faucet of her bathtub and calls upon Josh for help. Unfortunately for her, he brings reinforcements.
Note #1: The premise of this story is taken from an episode of 'The Dick Van Dyke Show', just so you know. Note #2: This story got a little long, so it was sent in two parts.
* * * Toe Jam 1/2 * * *
I am not calling him. I refuse to call him.
He's the first one I think to call every time I get in a jam.
No pun intended.
You see, my toe is currently jammed into the faucet of my bathtub.
I can hear Josh laughing right now. I can see that smug grin.
I am not calling him.
I'd sooner wrinkle to the point of looking more like a prune than a woman before I'd call him for help.
I consider my options. I could just stay here for the foreseeable future. I have water to drink, so becoming dehydrated is not a problem. Sure, eventually I'd starve to death, but wouldn't it be worth it to avoid such a humiliation?
Okay, scratch that. My water source is currently unavailable and I really don't think I'd prolong my life much by ingesting soapy water.
I know what you're thinking. Call a neighbor, call a friend, call someone else if you're so against calling Josh.
I have thought about that. But here's the thing: he's the one person in this world I can picture not feeling totally uncomfortable with as I lay covered by a towel in a bathtub full of bubbles.
I know, it's silly. Josh and I do NOT have that kind of relationship, but we have always felt at ease with each other. Even when he's annoying and embarrassing me, I've felt at ease with him.
I liken it to this: if you're going to fall flat on your face, you'd want it to be in front of your best friend. There's a familiarity there that allows you to feel stupid and embarrassed, while remaining oddly comfortable in the situation.
I know that probably doesn't make any sense to others, but it makes sense to me.
Well, truth be told, Josh is my best friend. I feel totally at ease with him.
But I can't call him, I just can't.
A piece of information I read on a website a while ago, suddenly pops into my head: "Across the United States, 20,000 deaths and nearly 25 million injuries occur in homes each year. About 80,000 of these injuries cause some
Okay, I'm calling him.
Thank God for cordless phones.
"You're what?" Josh asks in a tone that clearly indicates he has understood me perfectly, but is already finding this extremely amusing.
"You heard me, Joshua," I say through clenched teeth.
I hear him laughing into the phone. God, he can be such a jerk.
"Sam," he calls, "get in here! You've got to hear this."
"NO!" I yell into the phone, but it's too late. I can already hear Josh explaining the situation to Sam.
"Donna's big toe is stuck in the faucet of her bathtub."
It's at this point that Sam and Josh both burst into laughter. It's also at this point that I vow to cause Josh bodily harm as soon as I'm ambulatory again.
"Josh!" I scream into the receiver.
I can almost see him pulling the phone away from his head and rubbing at his ear. Good, I hope his hearing has been compromised. It would serve him right.
"Yes, Donnatella?" he answers back in a condescending tone.
"How could you tell Sam about this?! As if this isn't embarrassing enough, you had to go and tell the whole world!"
"I wouldn't call Sam the whole world."
"You know what I mean!"
"Then I'm guessing you don't want me to send a memo out to the other staffers regarding this situation."
"How perceptive of you," I reply sarcastically.
"Why would you stick your toe in the faucet anyway?" he asks.
I roll my eyes and respond sharply, "I didn't purposely place my toe in the faucet, you nitwit!"
"You're sitting nude in a bathtub full of bubbles with your toe stuck in a faucet and you have the nerve to call me a nitwit?"
"It was an accident, Josh."
"But-...," Josh's sentence is interrupted by Sam grabbing the phone from him and speaking.
"Donna, is the toe beginning to change colors?"
I can feel my brow crease. "I can't really tell, but I don't think so, Sam. Why?"
"Oh, no reason. It's just that I saw this girl on Rescue 911 once who got her finger stuck in those Chinese handcuffs and the EMT said that if her finger had changed colors they may have had to amputate."
The color, I am quite sure, drains from my face at that statement.
It is at this point that I hear Josh snatch the phone away from Sam and then proceed to reprimand him in a way only he can. "Gee, Sam, you're such a comfort! There must be a suicide hotline somewhere that's missing you!"
I smile at that and then listen as Josh addresses me again, "Look, don't listen to Sam. I'm sure he misunderstood the program. He got really confused during an episode of 'Three's Company' one time, so he's really not a reliable source."
I grin and shake my head at the fact that he can go from insensitive to strangely comforting in two seconds flat.
"Of course, if they do have to amputate, then you'll probably have a limp and that'll throw off the rhythm of 'our walk' considerably."
Okay, so he had to keep talking and ruin the moment. It is, however, nice to note that the amount of time it took him to go from comforting back to insensitive is considerably less than it took him to go from insensitive to comforting.
"Yes, Josh, the possibility of disrupting the rhythm of 'our walk' is weighing heavily on my mind right about now," I respond sarcastically.
"Sarcasm is not becoming of you, Donna."
"Neither is sitting in a bathtub with a new chrome appendage, Josh!"
"That's what you get for asking to go home early."
"I went home thirty minutes early."
"So was it worth it?" I roll my eyes and he continues, "How exactly did you do this?"
I feel my face burn with humiliation, even though there is no one around to witness it. "I was using my toe to turn the hot water handle on to add some hot water to the tub and my foot slipped. My toe ended up getting stuck in the faucet."
"I was expecting a more interesting tale."
"Sorry to disappoint you."
"I'll be there in fifteen."
It's been 15 minutes since I hung up with Josh. I know this because I have been counting 'Mississippi's' ever since. Trust me when I tell you that word's much more difficult to say than you would think.
On the 900th Mississippi, Josh bounds into my bathroom, his hands firmly placed on his hips in a superhero pose.
He grins at me and says in a deep voice. "Here I come to save the day! Have no fear, SuperJosh is here."
If I weren't so glad to see him, I'd be thinking of ways to ridicule him. I do, however, manage a roll of my eyes which he notices.
He shakes his head and gestures to the door, "Don't worry, I brought back up."
My eyes widen at that statement and before I can say a word, Sam, Toby and CJ pile into my bathroom.
I instinctively draw my towel closer to my body, as my mouth drops open. I am speechless.
I finally regain my ability to speak and say through clenched teeth, "How could you bring them here, Josh?!"
His brow wrinkles, apparently perplexed by my anger.
He shrugs, "I figured I might need some help."
"And it didn't cross your mind that I might not want an audience while I am in this vulnerable state?"
He ponders this one for a moment. "Um, no."
I sigh and shake my head, too angry to even speak another word.
There are a few moments of uncomfortable silence until Sam breaks it. "I came because Josh said we make a good team."
Toby chimes in dryly, "And I came because the last time they made a 'good team' the White House almost went up in flames."
It was CJ's turn next, "I'm here under protest. I told Josh this was a bad idea. Since he forced me to come, I figured I'd be your comforting female presence."
I smile weakly at CJ and then glare at Josh. He, however, does not see my glare because his eyes are now glued to the awkward position of my body.
I didn't mention this yet, but my faucet is the kind that is in the center of the length of the bathtub instead of at one end. Therefore, my leg is bent and twisted across my body. This makes for a very strange and, I venture, unattractive pose.
Josh smiles at me, his eyes twinkling. He gestures to my leg. "How are you that limber and still single?"
Since I am unable to, CJ rewards Josh with a smack upside the head for me.
I smile at her, "Thank you, CJ."
"That's what I'm here for."
After making a big production of rubbing at his head, Josh finally rolls up his sleeves and kneels down on the floor. He leans close to the bathtub and examines my toe and the faucet. Then he nods and says, "Yup, it's stuck all right."
"Well, thank you so much for your assessment!" I growl at him.
He grins wickedly, "You know, for someone who is dependent upon my help you sure are being snippy."
I tighten my jaw and force myself to speak kindly. "I'm sorry, I'm just a little tense."
He nods, "Apology accepted."
Josh then turns to Sam and says, "Go get me some butter from the kitchen."
"Butter or margarine?"
"Whatever she has, Sam," Josh responds testily.
"Because they both have their detractors and...-"
"Sam!" Josh interrupts him. "We're going to use it to free her toe, not make a grilled cheese sandwich!"
Sam blushes slightly before leaving the bathroom.
Josh turns to me, "He insisted on being my sidekick. Calls himself SuperSam, although he'll never admit it."
I smile and then watch as Sam reenters, handing Josh the tub of butter. He pulls the lid off and then digs his fingers into the butter. They emerge coated in butter and he brings his fingers to my toe. He coats the toe, getting as close to the faucet as he can.
"Okay, pull," he orders me.
I pull with all my might to no avail.
He sighs, "Okay, plan B." He turns to Sam again, "Get me some oil from the kitchen."
"Vegetable or Olive?" he asks.
"Sam!" Josh barks, which immediately causes Sam to leave the room.
He returns a few moments later with a bottle of olive oil. Josh takes the bottle, removes the cap and proceeds to drench my toe and the surrounding faucet, careful to get as much oil between my toe and the faucet as possible.
When he finishes he says, "Okay, pull."
Once again, I pull with all my might to no avail.
Josh runs a hand through his hair and lets out an exasperated sigh. "Time for Plan C," he mumbles.
"There's a Plan C?" Sam asks.
Josh shakes his head, "No, but I was hoping for suggestions."
"I suggest that Toby is allowed to go home to watch the ballgame he is in the process of missing," Toby suggests.
"Good one, but not what I was looking for," Josh responds.
"I suggest we call the fire department and let them deal with this," CJ contributes.
Josh stands up, his eyes meeting hers. "CJ, are you implying that I am not capable of doing this job?"
"I'm not implying anything, Josh. I'm flat-out saying you're not capable of doing this job."
"Are you questioning my manhood?"
"Actually, I was questioning your toe-removal abilities, but since we're on the subject."
Josh grins and shakes his head, "Apparently, you've never heard of the incident of '83."
Josh nods and begins to speak in a dramatic voice, "It was a cold winter day, the kind of day you remember forever."
I roll my eyes at Josh's antics, as he continues, "There was a chill in the air that sent shivers down my spine. I was out for a stroll when I heard some screaming. It was coming from the schoolyard across the street. I walked over there and found a crowd of children gathered around a pole. As I got closer, I could see that a boy's tongue had frozen to a pole. I had to think quickly, but-..."
"Uh, Josh?" Toby interjects. "That incident's from the movie 'A Christmas Story'."
Josh smiles and shrugs, "Well, you know how kids get ideas from movies."
Toby groans and rubs at his bare head, "Give us a break, will ya? Admit defeat and get on with it."
"I will do no such thing! I never back down from a challenge."
Groans emerge from all three staffers' mouths.
"I think I may have an idea, I'll be right back," Josh declares a moment later.
With that, Josh exits the bathroom.
Toby, apparently tired of standing, sits down on the toilet seat. CJ busies herself by examining all of the beauty products that line my counter.
Sam, not content to sit still, begins rummaging under the sink cabinet. He soon emerges with a sponge and Lysol soap scum cleaner in his hands. My eyes narrow at him as he approaches the bathtub where I remain a hostage.
He leans over me and sprays some of the cleaner on the tile above my head. Sam then wipes it away with a sponge. He's about to continue when I interrupt him.
"What are you doing?"
"Cleaning your bathtub."
"With me still in it?" I ask, my voice tinged slightly with irritation.
He stops cleaning and looks down at me. His smile indicates slight embarrassment. "I have a thing about soap scum. It really bothers me. I couldn't stand here looking at it for one more minute."
I smile at him, "Well, I appreciate that, I really do. But I'd rather you wait until I am no longer in the bathtub before cleaning it."
He nods, although his face shows a hint of disappointment. "Of course."
A moment later, Josh enters the bathroom with an object in his hands that causes all four mouths to drop open in horror.
He's carrying a chainsaw.
Yes, you read right.
Josh is carrying a chainsaw.
I just used the words 'Josh' and 'chainsaw' in the same sentence.
I swallow hard and manage to croak out some words. "Um, Josh, what are you doing with that?"
He smiles widely at me, "I'm going to use this to saw off the faucet and free you."
I shudder at the thought. "No, you are not. You were forbidden to ever touch anything sharp or pointy again after you almost blinded Sam with that letter opener."
Josh shrugs, "Sam was fine."
Sam fingers his right eye as he speaks, "I had blurred vision in that eye for 14 minutes."
"You're fine," Josh grumbles at him.
Sam sighs and says, "Actually, I still get blurred vision whenever I do a 'Magic Eye'."
A grin pulls at CJ's lips, "Correct me if I'm wrong, Sam, but isn't blurring your vision a part of doing Magic Eyes?"
Before Sam can answer, Toby snorts, "The man just admitted to doing Magic Eyes and that was your problem with his statement?" Toby pauses and then addresses Sam, "I thought you had to be prepubescent to do Magic Eyes."
"You have to have eyes to do Magic Eyes, Toby," Sam says through clenched.
I turn my attention back to Josh, "You're not coming near me with that. I've seen firsthand the damage you can do with things that are not blunt."
Josh shrugs off my statement, "Yes, but that letter opener didn't have any grip. This has a safety no-slip grip."
Toby scoffs at that and says under his breath, "Well then, Donna should feel perfectly safe."
"Where did you even find that thing?" I ask, ignoring Toby's statement.
"Your neighbor in 5b."
"Old Mr. Shanahan?"
"Why does he have a chainsaw? We live in an apartment building. He doesn't have a yard. What possible use could he have for a chainsaw?"
Josh smiles wickedly and waggles his eyebrows, "I don't know, but I'd stay alert around that one. I noticed a strange smell emanating from his closets."
I twist my face in disgust, "Oh, that's gruesome, Josh!"
He laughs, "Relax, I found it in the basement. The gardener must use it in the yard."
Josh takes a step towards me and I flinch, inching myself into the corner of the bathtub as much as possible. "I'm serious, Josh. You're not coming near me with that thing."
He sighs, "Donna, all I want to do is cut the faucet off an inch or two away from where your toe must be. Then, hopefully, I can stick my fingers in and push your toe out."
I groan, "As foolproof as that plan sounds, the answer is still no. Plus, I really don't think my landlord would appreciate you destroying the faucet."
"So you pay for a new faucet, Donna. It's worth it. I mean, what's the going rate for freedom, nowadays?"
I laugh mirthlessly, "I don't know, Josh. What's the going rate for toes, nowadays?!"
He moans and rubs at his forehead, "I'm not going to cut off your toe. Trust me."
"Are you kidding? You, Mr. Mishap, are wielding a chainsaw and declaring that you are going to use it within inches of my toe. Not only do I question your ability to handle sharp objects, I'm questioning your sanity right about now. At this point, I wouldn't even let you within ten feet of me with a nail clipper!"
He grins, "Well, good, cause a nail clipper ain't gonna do the trick."
He groans loudly and his shoulders sag in defeat, "Fine, we'll think of another way."
"Thank you," I say with a relief-filled smile.
He exits the bathroom, but not before throwing over his shoulder, "But if we don't come up with something soon, I'm going to come back in here and start hacking."
I swallow hard at the thought and say a quick prayer for my safety and that of all my beauty products.
He returns a few minutes later and studies me, "So?"
"What did you come up with?"
"The global warming crisis! What the hell do you think?!" he barks at me.
I raise my eyebrows at him, not at all pleased with his tone. I turn my head away from him and study the tile.
I hear him sigh loudly and, out of the corner of my eye, I can see him run a hand through his hair in frustration.
"Don't start with this. Don't give me the cold shoulder. I really don't think you're in any position to ignore me."
I roll my eyes at the fact that he's right. However, under any other circumstances, he'd be in big trouble for speaking to me like that.
I slowly turn back to him, "I don't know what else to do."
He gives me a 'no freakin' kidding' kind of look and then turns around to face the others. "We are very open to suggestions. Make yourselves useful."
CJ turns to address Toby and Sam, "Pizza, anyone?"
They both nod and respond with enthusiastic 'yeses' and 'i'm starvings'.
I can see Josh's shoulders tense and I know that he's gearing up for something. "Hey!" he yells. "You're not helping! Come on, some of the brightest minds in the world are congregated in this bathroom...Surely we can devise a way to free a woman from a faucet. Damn it, we've solved major world crises! I think that we can rise to the occasion this time."
CJ, Toby and Sam stare back at him with blank faces, obviously unmoved by Josh's 'pep talk'.
CJ turns to Toby and Sam again, "Pepperoni good?"
Josh shakes his head at that and says tiredly, "Come on, guys."
Toby shrugs his shoulders and says bluntly, "Look, Josh, we're tired and we're hungry. We've just spent the better part of our night sitting in a bathroom looking at a woman in a bathtub. Now, either you let us eat or I'm gonna get that chainsaw and come after you with it."
Josh simply sighs and shakes his head.
* * * *