TITLE: "Turkeys and Margarita Machines"
"Turkeys and Margarita Machines"
"Explain it to me again," Toby said with a sigh, rubbing his eyes to ward
"Because it would inflame animal rights activists, not to mention be
"But the National Turkey Federation presents the turkey to the President
"And then the President has to give the turkey a Presidential Pardon?"
"So to speak"
"So they can send it off to a farm where it will supposedly live happily
"But isn't the White House kitchen just going to get another dead turkey
"So why can't the President just eat the turkey from the National Turkey
"It's just a gesture, Toby."
"And nothing about this strikes you as the least bit ridiculous?"
Carol stepped in to C.J.'s office. "Toby."
Toby looked up, irritated to be interrupted when he was on a roll. "What?"
"Ginger says there's phone call for you."
"I'm kinda busy here, tell her to take a message."
"She says it's your sister-in-law," Carol said.
Toby froze, taken by surprise. C.J. shot him a questioning look, which he
"I didn't know you had a sister-in-law," C.J. said as Toby gathered his things.
"I wasn't aware I was expected to submit my family tree to you for approval."
C.J. ignored the barb. "Is she Ruth's sister?"
Toby softened a little as he looked up at C.J. "Yeah," he said quietly and
"Toby!" she exclaimed and stood up as he approached.
"Hi, Rachel," Toby said. "You're looking well." He hesitated a little,
But Rachel was not the least bit unsure. "I know it's been a while, but
The ice broken, Toby smiled and took her in an uncharacteristically warm
They sat down and a waiter came over to take Toby's drink order.
"So I'll bet you were a little surprised to get my call this morning,"
"You could say that. I haven't heard from you sinceŠwhat? Last spring?"
"You've got a phone too, buster, don't try guilting me."
"I know. I'm sorry. I kept meaning to call, butŠ" Toby trailed off. There
"It's okay. I know," Rachel said softly.
"Yeah, I guess you do."
Rachel looked down and noticed Toby's left hand. She shot him a quizzical
"No, I don't. And I'm not talking about this with you." Toby decided it was
"Oh, I don't know. Couple years, maybe the rest of my life," Rachel said
"What?" Toby was stunned.
"I'm not visiting D.C., Toby. I live here now."
"Three weeks ago."
Toby rubbed his beard in aggravation. "I don't know what to say to that."
"I've accepted a consulting job with Senator Cumberland."
"Why didn't you tell me?" Toby demanded.
"I should have, I know. I just didn't know how you'd take it."
"What the hell does that mean?"
"Don't get mad, Toby. It's just that ever since Ruthie died, I get the
"That is absolutely not true."
"C'mon, Toby, I know I remind you of her-you always used to say how alike
"Oh." Toby looked uncomfortable. He glanced around helplessly for the
"I wasn't wrong, was I?"
"So that's why I didn't tell you I was coming. It had been so long since
"You're not a bother," Toby said quietly.
"Ha!" Rachel exclaimed. "I think Ruth would have disagreed with you on that
Toby smiled. Once again Rachel had managed to diffuse a tense situation.
"It's okay, Toby. Really. I just want you to know that I only did it
"I know that," Toby shook his head. "I wish I'd known you were moving here,
"I know you would."
"I could've helped you move," he muttered.
Rachel reached across the table and laid her hand gently on his. "I know,