Disclaimer: I am not Tina Fey, which will be evident when you read the fic and discover that I am not as funny as Tina Fey. Same goes for the Officestaff. And all the rest of the people involved with 30 Rock. And… basically, I'm not anybody, except a person who is making no money off this and does not want to get sued.
Notes: Takes place after the "Lecture Circuit" episode of The Office, and during that period when Liz is trying to adopt a kid. In this ficverse, Karen has moved back to New York.
Several Things (Not Five) That Liz Lemon Might Have Prevented with a Simple Google Search
Chapter One – Mommy and Me
In retrospect, Liz could recognize that it maybe hadn't been the greatest idea, showing up at her first Mommy and Me childcare class with a two-foot spiny-tailed lizard instead of a child. In retrospect, given the choice, maybe she should have stayed home. But hindsight is always 20/20, and Liz really didn't think she could be held responsible for the entire situation. After all –
"No!" For about the tenth time that hour, Liz jerked the lizard up into the air, away from the little girl in the play space next to them. It was hard to wholly dislike the kid, since she was one of about two babies in the room who wasn't scared of the lizard, but she had been pulling little Gemma's tail at every chance she got, and Liz had a feeling that sooner or later the girl was going to get bitten. That would not help matters any. "Just – play nice, see? We play nice with Gemma," she said, tucking the lizard's tail back under the blanket it was swaddled in. Liz's plan was to keep the lizard tucked away as much as possible, in the hope that people would forget that it was not a baby. In fact, at the beginning of the class she had been hoping that people wouldn't notice that at all. She might have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for that stupid fingerpainting exercise. She had been hoping for activities more along the lines of snuggling and storytime and sweet lullabies originally sung by Kermit the Frog.
But now here was the kid from the next playspace, toddling over again. "Bwocks," the girl informed her, and pushed a few alphabet blocks closer to Liz. "He bwocks."
"Oh… yes! Those are blocks," Liz said encouragingly. Maybe if she were good enough with the children in the class, she could earn back some of the points she'd lost by not technically bringing in a child herself.
"No," the girl said, scowling. "He bwocks."
"Uh… right. Blocks?" Liz asked, cautiously.
The girl stomped in frustration. "He, he, he!" she cried, pushing the blocks closer to Liz. "Baby Littlefoot bwocks!"
Littlefoot? Helplessly, Liz looked over at the little girl's mother, who surprised Liz by actually smiling at her. No one else in the class had been smiling at Liz very much today. "She wants the lizard to play with the blocks," the mother explained. "I got her a DVD of The Land Before Time last month, and now she watches it about three times a week. Sorry."
"Oh." Liz looked down. "Um… sure." Gingerly, she withdrew the lizard from the blanket partway and took hold of one of its little paws. "Here we go, Gemma, playing with blocks!" she said, trying to sound very excited. "We put this block here – see? I put this block here, Gemma!" She stacked two alphabet blocks on top of one another with her left hand. The lizard seemed unimpressed. "And then – we put this one…" Holding the lizard's paw in her right hand, she made it reach out for another block. "We push this one over here and…"
The lizard peed on her.
"Son of a -!" Liz jumped up, dancing around and pulling the soaked patch of her T-shirt away from her body. The lizard took advantage of the opportunity to dash under the arts and supplies cabinet. Four of the babies and three of the mothers screamed, which Liz thought was excessive, but then she tripped over someone's block building and did a little screaming of her own, which made it tough to judge. The kid whose building it had been added its voice to the chorus. There was a triangular block sticking into Liz's side and lizard pee soaking through her shirt. This was officially a Bad Day.
So Liz's new plan became to curl up on the ground and pretend she wasn't there. It was an excellent plan in the short run, but maybe not so good long-term. All of the shrieking was making her head hurt. She could have killed for a basket of cheesy fries right about now.
"Hey." Liz became aware that a nonshrieking adult human being was standing over her. A moment later, she registered that the nonshrieking person's voice was also not angry. She opened her eyes in simple surprise. It was the mother of that little tail-pulling horror who'd started this whole thing. "Here –" The woman was stretching her hand down to help Liz up. Liz got up, checking her shirt to see if there was any blood on her shirt where the block had been sticking into her. There wasn't; the wetness was all lizard pee. It smelled terrible.
"Found Littlefoot!" the girl said, toddling over. Liz noticed with great apprehension that she had the lizard clasped in her chubby little hands. She was also covered with dust bunnies, presumably from under the cabinet. Aha! The staff at the Mommy and Me center did not keep their playroom properly cleaned! Liz began to formulate a counterattack for the inevitable moment when the center brought some sort of lawsuit against her.
"Not now, sweetie," the mother said, taking the lizard from her daughter's hands and proffering it to Liz. Liz stared at it for a moment: she really didn't want to take the thing back. "We'll go to the pet store later and be friends with the... Littlefeet... there. This one belongs to this lady."
"Oh, no! Be friends with it now. I mean, because it isn't. Isn't mine," Liz said, feeling disorganized. "I'm Liz," she added, sticking out a hand to shake, then realizing a second later that it was the one she'd been plucking at the lizard-pee stain on her shirt with. She used it to push her hair back over her forehead instead. "Lemon," she said, sticking out the other hand.
The other woman shook Liz's hand. Liz had a suspicion she was trying not to laugh. "I'm Karen. Karen Filippelli. And this is Gwen," she added, indicating the little girl, who was tugging at the lizard's tail again.
"I Gwen! Where lemons?" the girl asked.
"No, no lemons. Le-mon," Liz articulated, slowly and carefully.
"No, one lemon. I mean, no lemons. Just Lemon. Liz Lemon. Me. Lemon." That ought to make it all clear.
"So I think our little adventures with Mr. Lizard here have sort of wrapped things up for the day." Karen gestured around at the rest of the mothers in the room, who were gathering up their things and sticking their children's teeny feet into teeny shoes in record time.
"Our" little adventures? "Ms. Lizard," Liz said, randomly.
"Oh. Sorry. Not Mrs.?" Karen asked, eyes gleaming.
"I don't think so. I mean, I don't know. If she is I wasn't there. For the ceremony," Liz explained.
"Ah. She's not yours?"
"No, couldn't you tell?" Liz took the lizard back from Gwen regretfully and wrapped it up in the blanket, resisting an urge to tie its little head off tightly enough to strangle it. "If she knew me maybe she wouldn't have peed all over me."
"That… actually isn't pee."
"What?" Now Liz was positive that Karen was trying not to laugh at her.
"Lizards don't actually pee liquid – more like crystals. The liquid they let out is… more like poop."
"Oh, man! I've got lizard diarrhea on my shirt?"
"Wait, how do you even know this? What are you, some kind of stalker herpetologist? Did Susie send you to keep tabs on me?"
"Okay, you know what, I'm pretty sure there's a really good story here. Why don't we go somewhere where you can take a load off and this one –" she pointed at Gwen – "can get an apple juice, and you can tell me about it?"
"But I've got lizard diarrhea on my shirt."
"There's a mall a block down with an Old Navy and a Denny's."
"I want to go to there," said Liz.