Title: Turkey Day
Disclaimer: The characters are not my creation, they belong to someone else.
Summary: Because Donna's in Wisconsin, Josh is falling apart, Lord John's running loose, and someone wants the President to pardon a pig. Any other questions?
Note: This is a companion to my story, "Stopping for a Beer on a Thanksgiving Eve," which follows Donna's Thanksgiving in Wisconsin. It's not strictly necessary to read that first, or even at all. (But it might be fun!) This is what she left behind.
Chapter 1: 37 Minutes (Josh POV)
Thirty-seven minutes. She's been gone thirty-seven minutes and I'm doing just fine. In fact, I've even begun to sort through what could only charitably be called a filing system and to reorganize it according to the principles of Josh Lyman. I've also obtained a piece of fruitcake from the coffee area and cancelled my late meeting with Senator Haskell. Thirty-seven minutes and all is well.
Just as I'm trying to decide whether research on 197 should be placed in the gray cabinet with the orange file folders or in the black cabinet with the blue binders, I notice Sam skulking past my office. Glancing quickly behind him, he ducks suddenly inside and pulls the door.
"Uhh, Sam?" Sam isn't usually one to skulk.
"Yeah?" He's peeking out the window now.
"What's going on?"
"I ate some of the fruitcake."
He allows the blinds to snap shut and takes a seat on my couch. "I ate some of the fruitcake," he repeats.
"From the cart?" He nods. "What's wrong with the fruitcake from the cart?" I eye the paper plate amidst the papers on my desk.
"Nothing, or at least I don't think anything. It's just that it was, apparently, left for the assistants, not the senior staff. And it would seem that some of the assistants are less than pleased with the disappearance of the cake. In particular, Margaret is less than pleased."
Oh. That's not good. I plop a binder on the remains of my cake, then relocate the entire mess to my chair. "How were we supposed to know that?" It was good cake, too.
"Apparently there was a sign. By the cake. With big letters. Letters I didn't read."
He wasn't the only one. "Soo… You're hiding in here."
"I'm not hiding. Really. Well, sort of, but that's beside the point. Where's Donna?"
"Out of town. Why?"
He looks worried. Panicked, actually. "Oh, no reason…It's just that we may have a thing."
"A problem. More of a concern really."
"A concern about what?"
Sam winces. "Pardoning a pig."
I must have missed something here. "You mean the turkey?"
"No, no I'm fairly certain I mean a pig. Just a couple calls and something about the pork producer's association."
"They want us to pardon a pig?"
Again, Sam nods. "I don't think it's going to be a thing, but someone should, you know, tell Toby."
"Tell Toby? Isn't this something for CJ?"
"Well it would be, but-"
"Right, right. She's leaving town, too. So…why haven't you told Toby?"
"Do you really want to be the only one in the room when you tell Toby the President needs to pardon a pig?"
I should mention, at this time, that it has been thirty-nine minutes since Donna left. Thirty-nine minutes and all was well. As I move to get up, Sam motions me down. "There's one more thing. Well, actually two. Senator Haskell needs to meet on 197 tonight, not tomorrow."
"No problem, I have the binder ready to…" See, I did have the binder ready to go. Or more specifically, I had the files in the binder which I put in one of the cabinets, unless I filed them under…This is not good. Maybe I put it in the…
"Yeah, sorry." I whip my head out of a cabinet and brush fruitcake crumbs from my tie. "What was the second thing?"
Sam rubs the back of his neck uncomfortably. "Lord John." He clears his throat. "He's here for the holiday. And, apparently, the open bar."
Forty-one minutes and all was well.
Trying not to panic, I reach for the phone.