Out Here in the Fields - Part 3
Everybody's watching Douglas' latest TV spot, but CJ pauses the tape when
Josh sits down on the couch next to Donna, and now Leo's talking about
Mandy had called every night when Josh was home in Connecticut. She told
Leo had been upset that he couldn't make it to the funeral. But Bartlet
But the day he came back to New Hampshire he fell into Mandy's arms
"What about Damon James?" Toby is saying.
"Ah, nice thought, but we can't take the liability," Leo says. "We're
"Twenty-nine percent," Donna says.
"Jesus Christ," Mandy says, slapping the arm of her chair. "How the fuck
"I'm not convinced you're the one who should be talking right now,
"Brett Fallow?" CJ asks. "I know a guy over at --"
"Brett Fallow's a pedophile," Leo says. "Next?"
"Leo!" Bartlet says. "Brett Fallow happens to be a friend of mine, a
"I'm sorry, sir," Leo says. "But with that whole thing with the girl --
"He's a terrific man, and a terrible poker player," Bartlet says. "I've
"Okay," Leo says. "But since we're looking for a running mate and not a
"John Hoynes," Josh says.
"Yeah, right," Mandy says.
"Not Hoynes," Leo says. "Who else?"
Josh sits up a little straighter. "No, listen, I'm serious," he says.
"He's in bed with big oil, he's got no discernible stance on domestic
"Wait," Sam says. "Just think about it."
Josh shoots him a smile, but Sam's looking at Leo.
"I don't want to have to go talk to John Hoynes," Bartlet says. "The man
"Who else we got?" Leo asks.
"I was thinking about Andy Stanton," CJ says. "I know he's never been to
"Lots of brilliant men and women have never been in Washington," Bartlet
"Wait --" Josh says. "Hang on a sec. I could go talk to Hoynes, feel him
"Will you just let go of it, Josh?" Mandy says. "We're not putting
"I like Gabe Cox," Toby says.
"I'm saying --" Josh tries again, and Mandy cuts him off.
"Let it go, Josh," she says. She's got that look on her face, the one
"Listen, Mandy --" Josh raises his voice. "Just because you think --"
"We don't have time for this, Josh!" Mandy shrieks. "Tomorrow we've got
"Playing you?" Josh clears his throat, trying not to scream. "This
"You don't know shit, Josh," Mandy says.
"Excuse me, but after what just happened in Florida I don't think --"
"If you disagreed with me you should have had the balls to say
"You didn't see me arguing? What are you, like, like, off in some
"Oh, fuck you," Mandy says, tossing her notebook in the air.
"Enough!" Leo says, leaping to his feet. "Get the hell out of here, both
Mandy stands up on wobbly legs. Josh snorts and shifts in his seat.
"Oh, I am so fucking serious," Leo says. "Get out. I don't care where
Under the porte-cochere where the cars are pulling up to the late-night
"Look --" he says. This is a disaster, and he knows he should fix it. He
"Whatever," she says, exhaling a thin white stream. "It'll blow over."
Josh plays with his cigarette. He drops his chin and raises his eyebrows,
"You know, it's not easy to be me," Mandy says. "I'm not sure you know
This is new, and absurd, and not a conversation he wants to be having,
"Mandy --" he says again.
"Yes. What? What, Josh?" She spins a little, steps out into the rain and
"This isn't gonna --" He sighs and takes a drag off the cigarette. "This
"Bigtime," she nods. "This sucks."
"I don't want to fight," he says.
"Too bad," she says, and it surprises him that she says that. "It's your
"Yeah," he shakes his head. "That's not -- I mean, I don't want to fight
She comes a little closer to him. "No, you don't," she says. "What
"My dad died!" he says, widening his eyes, his voice going up a half-step
"You don't want to talk about this?" She tips her head to one side and
"I can't," he says. "It's not that I -- we should get Hoynes."
"This isn't about Hoynes, Josh. Except, no, we shouldn't. That'll be the
"When I came back from home --" he starts again, and then stops and
"It's only been a couple of months," she says. "You'll get your stride
He thinks that maybe it's not his stride they're talking about. He thinks
"So Hoynes was a bad idea. Leo'll get over it. He'll forgive you, Josh."
Josh shakes his head again. This is impossible, and there aren't any good
He can't be here anymore. He flicks his cigarette into a puddle and it
"I need a drink, or something," he says.
"You want me to --"
"Nah," he says. "We'll do this later. I just need to, like. Something.
"Okay," she says. "I'm gonna go up to the room, then. I have about fifty
"Uh-kay," he says, pushing open the glass hotel door with one splayed
She waves her cigarette and shrugs. "Okay," she says, and he turns around
Sam finds him in the bar two bourbons later. He sits down before Josh
"What the hell is wrong with you?"
Josh closes his eyes for longer than a blink. "Beats me," he says.
"No, man, I'm serious," Sam says. "You can't do this."
"I know," Josh says. "I totally know. I don't know what's wrong with me."
"Listen," Sam says. "Do you understand that no one knows what to do with
"And that's different from our normal meetings how?"
"You weren't there," Sam says. "And the truth is that you haven't been
"Ah, I'm no use to anyone," Josh drawls, finishing his bourbon.
"Stop," Sam says. "I can't feel sorry for you right now. I just -- I
"He's gonna --" Josh hiccups. "He's gonna fire me?"
Sam nods. "Yes."
"Fuck," Josh says.
"Josh," Sam says. "He's been trying to fire you for two weeks. Since
This surprises him, through the bourbon stupor. "I had no idea."
"Yeah," Sam says. "He's upstairs doing damage control and trying to get
"We need Hoynes!" Josh moans, slapping the bar with a hand.
"I agree with you," Sam says. "But no one's gonna make a case for him. I
"So we're pretty much fucked," Josh says.
"I haven't talked to you in two months," Sam says, more quietly. "I've
Josh presses four fingers to his forehead. He hadn't noticed. In the last
"Also. Do you know that Toby never liked you?" Sam asks.
"He thinks you're -- and this is a direct quote, now -- 'an arrogant
"That's funny," Josh laughs. "I like that."
"Stop it," Sam says, and he's not smiling. "I've known you seven years.
Josh stops laughing. "Sam," he says. "Come on."
"I'm not telling you this to offend you. I'm telling you this because --
"Sam!" Josh says, feeling like he's in slow motion. "Don't go. Come on.
"I think it's clear how I feel about Mandy," Sam says, sitting down
"Do you remember that guy who wanted me to move to Italy with him? And
"You told me he was a manipulative prick. You were right. So I'm telling
"That Mandy's a manipulative prick?" Josh starts to laugh again, but
"That your relationship with her isn't good for you. That she's found the
"That's not fair," Josh says, and he throws a look over his shoulder,
"Maybe not," Sam says. "I know you care about her. And, believe it or
Josh sits very still, weighing his options. Mandy's probably upstairs by
He can't imagine what any of the other options could be.
He stands up. "I'm tired," he says. "I can't talk about this now. I
"Whatever," Sam says. "Neither can I. I was paying you a courtesy. It's
Josh opens his mouth to say something, but closes it again. He slaps a
But later, when he's in bed, and Mandy's got her fingers locked against
He thinks about the fact that something's gotta change.
Leo finds him in the morning, in the campaign's private dining room on
"We need Hoynes," he says, and Leo rolls his eyes. "We need
"Don't waste your breath, Josh," Leo says. "It's over. We gotta move on."
"No," Josh says. He's been thinking about it all night. "The Governor --
Josh takes a breath, takes a bite of bacon. Leo's interested, now. "Keep
"We beat him because after two months it was clear he wasn't a president.
"It's a good point," Leo concedes. "I'm just not sure --"
Josh waves a hand. "You don't have to be sure," he says. "I'm sure. I
Leo takes a drink of orange juice. "You really think so?"
Josh nods. "I really do."
"Okay. Do it. Talk to him," Leo says. "But first, I gotta say, your
"I know, Leo," Josh says.
"Please let me finish."
"Sure," Josh leans back and takes a sip of coffee, and then is
"Yeah," Leo says. "I'm just saying. I was offended. Your dad wouldn't'a
"I really am sorry," Josh says. "Does the Governor --"
"The Governor's gonna listen to whatever advice I give him," Leo says.
"Yeah," Josh cracks a smile. "I kind of figured."
"Do this one right," Leo says. "You'll bounce back."
"What's going on?" Sam says, pulling up a chair and sitting down. His
"You recently in a wind tunnel, there, Seaborn?" Leo asks. Sam rakes his
"I think I used too many pillows," Sam says. He looks at Josh. "Hi."
"Sam --" Josh starts. "Was I -- I can't remember all that much about
"Yeah," Sam says. "You did."
Leo looks at Sam and then looks back at Josh. "Oh, Jesus Christ, don't
"No, not this time," Josh says with a grin. "I was just -- I was pretty
"Tomorrow is another day," Sam shrugs. "Today, actually. Is another day."
"Ain't it the truth!" CJ says, sitting down at the table as well.
"Josh is gonna vet John Hoynes for us," Leo says.
"You're kidding me," CJ says over the rim of her coffee mug.
"It's a good idea, CJ," Sam says. "Hoynes could really help us."
"Hoynes could really screw us," CJ says.
"We'll see," Leo says. "We're gonna give him a chance."
"What's going on, guys?"
Mandy shuffles up to the table, rubbing her eye with a fist like a four
Leo raises his eyebrows. Sam and CJ look at their food. Josh isn't sure
"Sam? You wanna come help me talk to the Governor about Denver?" Leo
"Is the Governor even awake yet?" CJ asks, but one look from Leo to Josh
"Actually," Sam says, following them out of the dining room. "It's 'lay
"You really are a spectacular geek, Sam," CJ says, and then they're gone.
(concluded in part 4/4)