"Snapshots: A Collection of Vignettes and Unfinished Stories"
Disclaimer: The West Wing and all recognizable characters belong to Aaron Sorkin, Warner Brothers, et al. Original characters belong to me. I earned nothing from this endeavor except enjoyment and a few hours of procrastination from my real work. Text ©2012 to J. D. Perkins
Author's Note: I literally have a drawer full of fan fiction outlines and incomplete stories that I've come to realize I'm never going to finish. I was despairing that no one would ever get to read my work (which might have been for the best—I'll let you be the judge of that) when it occurred to me that I could at least post what I have and get some measure of validation.
So, I present to you now "Snapshots: A Collection of Vignettes and Unfinished Stories," which is intended to fit into the "fanon" after the brilliant "Fantasy Season 8" series. (If you haven't read that yet, I suggest you check it out at either The National Library or Crossroad sites.) Some of these stories will appear as full "episodes" while others will merely be short vignettes. They'll be posted in chronological order. I'll leave it to your imaginations to fill in the blanks. It's not the vision I had originally imagined for "Snapshots," but if I've learned one thing from The West Wing, it's that sometimes you have to compromise to get things done. With this project more than any other, I desire your feedback, so please leave a review with your comments and criticisms.
And now, on with the show.
"That Damn Frank Capra"
INT. JOSH AND DONNA'S APARTMENT—EARLY MORNING
Josh walked into the kitchen with his shirt unbuttoned and untucked, pausing briefly in the living room to turn on CNN. He poured two cups of coffee, added cream and sugar to one, and then carefully carried them back to the bathroom.
Donna, who was dressed in her skirt and fully buttoned shirt and applying her makeup, smiled at him in the mirror as he handed her a cup and kissed her cheek. Josh reached across Donna for the toothpaste, and couldn't resist tickling her side as he did so. Donna poured some mouthwash and swished it around in her mouth. Josh spit his toothpaste into the sink, followed a moment later by Donna spitting out her mouthwash. She smoothed his hair, and gave him a chaste kiss on the lips as she walked back into the bedroom.
When Donna had finished her makeup, she walked into the bedroom to put on her jacket and shoes. Josh followed a moment later with his shirt tucked in. He overturned the pillows and blankets on the neatly made bed, and scratched his head, looking for something. Then he checked under the bed. Donna watched him for a moment in the mirror above the dresser, then rolled her eyes and walked over to his nightstand. She picked up Josh's folded tie and handed it to him with a pointed glance. Josh looked up at her sheepishly. Donna shook her head, but helped him straighten his ties before moving back to the dresser to fasten her jewelry. She struggled with the clasp of the necklace for a moment before Josh walked up behind her and fastened it for her.
He brushed aside her hair, and placed a series of soft kisses on her neck. Donna closed her eyes and leaned into his touch. After a moment or two, she slipped out of his embrace and checked her watch. They were going to be late.
Josh was persistent, though. He had a firm grasp on her waist, and spun her around in his arms, trapping her between the dresser and his body. He kissed her lips, as his hands made short work of the buttons on her blouse. It didn't take long for Donna to wrap her arms around his neck and kiss him back.
Josh slowly walked them backward toward the bed, and when his legs hit the mattress, he fell backward onto the pillows, and Donna collapsed on top of him, giggling against his mouth. They were going to be very late.
INT. WEST WING LOBBY—SAME TIME
"Good morning, Ms. Thornton," Daryl the security guard greeted Lou as she swiped her pass and stepped through the metal detector into the West Wing.
"Not until I have my first cup of coffee," she grunted in response. She hoped there was fresh coffee in the bullpen.
Lou jumped at the sound of a perky, southern accent, and turned to see Annabeth walking toward her carrying a cardboard tray of coffee cups.
"God," Lou muttered. "You just sneak up on people like a cheerful little mouse. Why are you sovivaciouson a Monday morning?" She eyed the coffee. "One of those had better be for me."
Annabeth handed her a Styrofoam cup, and followed her into the communications bullpen. "I'm here to discuss the First Lady's midterm campaign appearances. We'd like to coordinate with the West Wing so Mrs. Santos doesn't have to be away from the kids for too long during school."
INT. OFFICE OF THE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, CONTINUOUS
Lou entered her office and turned on her computer. "Well, we have the trip to California this month, obviously, and we're planning a swing through the Midwest in early October. Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, maybe Pennsylvania." Lou checked her calendar. "Probably around the third or fourth."
Annabeth scribbled a few notes. "Education and family values will be on the agenda?"
Lou nodded and took a sip of her coffee, and made a disgusted face. "God, what is that?" Lou spat the coffee into her trash can.
"Hazelnut," Annabeth replied with a shrug. She continued, "The First Lady has been invited to speak to the Michigan Education Association. That should dovetail nicely with whatever you have for the President."
"And just having Mrs. Santos along gives the trip the flavor of family values. We'll put it on the schedule." Lou turned back to her computer.
Annabeth nodded. "Thanks." She waited a few seconds. Finally, Lou looked up.
"You owe me three twenty-five for the coffee."
INT. WEST WING LOBBY
"We're late," Donna groused as she and Josh passed through the metal detector.
Josh nodded hello to Daryl, then turned back to his wife. "Oh yeah? And whose fault is that?"
Josh raised his eyebrows. "Mine? How is it my fault?"
"You distracted me."
"I distracted you?" Josh shook his head. "No, no. You distracted me with your neck and your hair, and your…" Donna raised her eyebrow, and Josh wisely did not continue his train of thought. "Besides," Josh continued with a smirk, "It certainly didn't take much to distract you. If you hadn't been so distractible, maybe we could have been here on time."
"Ah ha! So you admit that you distracted me!" Donna cried triumphantly. Josh rolled his eyes, and Donna wiped at the corner of her mouth with her thumb. "You have a little lipstick on your face."
Josh turned his head ever so slightly, and kissed her finger. "See, now who's distracting whom?" He leaned in and kissed her on the lips.
The sound of someone loudly clearing their throat caused them to pull apart. Annabeth was standing nearby. "I'm sorry to interrupt, but I just talked to Lou, and I wanted to go over the First Lady's campaign schedule with Donna."
Donna blushed, and smoothed her hair. "Right. You're late for Senior Staff," Donna said, pushing Josh in the direction of the Roosevelt Room.
Josh turned back and gave her another, slightly more chaste kiss on the lips. "I'll see you tonight. Love you."
"I love you too. Do good today."
"I'll try." Josh said with a wink, and then headed to the Roosevelt Room.
Annabeth shook her head. "Honestly, the two of you are so happy it makes me want to puke."
Donna turned her attention from watching her husband walk down the hall, back to the petite Press Secretary. "So, you talked to Lou?" she asked as the two of them walked to the East Wing.
"Yes." Annabeth quickened her stride to keep up with Donna's long legs. "We're confirmed for October third and fourth in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, and more can be added to the schedule if Mrs. Santos wants it."
Donna nodded. "Great."
"By the way," Annabeth whispered. "You missed a button."
Donna blushed, and surreptitiously fixed her blouse.
INT. OUTER OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF STAFF
"You're late," Margaret observed disapprovingly when Josh arrived at her desk.
"Yeah, there was, um, heavy traffic."
Margaret shook her head. "There was no traffic this morning."
Josh shrugged impatiently. "Do I have any messages?"
Margaret handed his a stack of pink message slips. "Senior Staff is waiting in your office, and then you have a meeting with the economic advisors in the Roosevelt Room."
INT. OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF STAFF, CONTINUOUS
"Good morning, everyone. Sorry I'm late. I was… on a conference call," Josh said as he breezed into his office, and set his back down.
"Oh, is that what the kids are calling it these days?" Lou muttered.
Josh glared at her. "I'm in a good mood this morning. Try not to ruin it. The Midterm Elections are in eight weeks. How's the Midwest looking, Bram?"
"We have several races that could very well swing in our favor. The Michigan Twelfth looks promising. So does the Ohio Ninth and maybe the Fifteenth. There you've got an incumbent who's running into some health problems, and a strong Democratic challenger. I wouldn't count out the Indiana Second or the Illinois Fourteenth, but the Indiana Seventh is not looking good," Bram recited from memory.
Josh exchanged a surprised glance with Sam, who looked proud of his assistant. Bram seemed to be finally coming into his own as a political operative.
"Thanks, Bram. Sam, what about the West Coast?"
Sam started to speak, but Bram beat him to the punch. "I would concentrate on the California Twenty-eighth, Thirtieth, and Thirty-fifth. Also, we have a decent shot of taking back the Washington Seventh and the Oregon Fourth."
Josh quirked his lips in amusement and several other staffers stifled their laughter. Josh turned back to his Deputy. "The Oregon Fourth, that's Will Bailey's district, isn't it, Sam?" he asked, stressing his name.
Sam nodded. "Polling shows that he might have a shot after all."
"Well, what do you know?" Josh mused. "Lou, Otto, get information about the candidates in those districts from Bram, and start working on some remarks for the President when we head out to the Midwest next month."
"Education and family values seem like a safe bet," Lou said.
"Yes, but we're going to give the candidates all the support we can. We have a chance to win back the Senate, and widen our lead in the House, barring any unforeseen circumstances. Let's not blow this, people."
Josh dismissed the staff, and gathered up the materials he needed for his next meeting.
Sam hung behind. "Josh, do you have a minute?"
"That's about all I have. I've got five economists waiting for me in the Roosevelt Room, and you know what that means, don't you?"
"I need to talk to you about something."
"It means I'm going to have a headache in about an hour," Josh headed toward the Roosevelt Room.
INT. WEST WING HALLWAY, CONTINUOUS
"You're going to get that polling information from Joey Lucas?" Josh continued.
"Yeah, she should have it for me by the end of the week. Listen, I—"
"You know what I don't understand? Why polling data takes so long. I mean, in this day and age with our computers and smart phones. I can pay a traffic ticket online in a matter of minutes. Why can't polling be that way?" Josh paused outside the Roosevelt Room. "Sorry. What did you want to talk to me about?"
Sam glanced through the window at the waiting economists, then back at Josh. It was a busy day. "You know what? It's not that important."
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah, it can wait," Sam shrugged. "I'll get that polling data and talk to you later."
"Ok. See you later."
INT. ROOSEVELT ROOM, CONTINUOUS
Josh stepped inside the room, and shook hands with Bruce Gimley, the President's senior economic advisor, who introduced him to the other economists in the room: Stan Sloan, Rick Smalley, Peter Gunn, and Peggy Milford.
"It's nice to meet you all. Please, have a seat."
Once everyone was settled, Josh turned to the senior advisor. "What do you have for me, Bruce?"
Bruce looked grim. "I'm afraid it's not good news, Josh. Not good at all."
SMASH CUT TO TITLES.