Title: Funny Girl
Author: S.N. Kastle
Category: West Wing, Josh (J/S, Donna/OFC)
Notes: For Jae's mood challenge. Fits within my world of Chance to Make it Real and American Girl, and Ellen M.'s Decorated. Links to all three at http://home.earthlink.net/~shanak11/fiction.html
Distribution: Please ask.
Feedback: shanak11@earthlink.net
Happiest of birthdays, my littlest love, LE. This one is all yours, because you asked, and because in our world Miranda just goes on and on.

**

Funny Girl by S.N. Kastle

That lesbian Donna'd gone out with was sitting next to Josh when he turned back from ordering a whisky sour. The bartender slapped down his change and Josh looked at her and said, "Sour. Seemed about right." He'd already had a few.

"Miranda," she said, half-lifting what looked like maybe a margarita on the rocks, no salt.

"What?"

"I thought maybe you didn't remember my name," she said. "Miranda."

"Like the rights," Josh said, swallowing half in a gulp. "I remember. The pushy girl Donna, uh." Josh sniffed and squinted, still sober enough to stop that in its tracks.

"I can think of worse," she said. "I had this boss who used to say I was incarcerateable."

"Incorrigible?" Josh said.

"No, incarcerateable." Josh finished his drink and Miranda laughed low in her throat. "Yeah, I didn't know what it meant either." Miranda was really kind of pretty, Josh decided. Her blouse was sheer and diffuse. No, diaphanous. That was the word. Diaphanous. Donna could have done worse.

"I don't think that's really a word," Josh said, waving to the bartender and pushing the soggy dollars back across the wood. "Lemme buy you a drink."

*

"I'm sorry about the, uh, you know, bill," he said after another round, and Miranda nodded like it was really okay.

"You got some stuff going on up at the big house," she said, bending her plastic drink mixer into itself so it made a neat triangle.

Like origami, Josh thought, and rolled the word around his mouth because it seemed too big and complicated to say out loud. He laughed at "the big house," because everyone else he knew had lost their fucking sense of humor months ago, especially Sam. Especially Sam. Sam and his betrayed sad smile even when he kissed Josh goodnight and briefly slept. He tried to remember what Sam sounded like when he laughed.

"And anyway," she said, "I think maybe we picked up a couple Republicans in the meantime. Jacobs, maybe, and probably Kantrowitz."

"That what you're doing here?" Josh asked, arm waved around the swank hotel lobby.

"He ordered wild boar," Miranda said, shaking her head. "Like, off the menu. Who eats wild boar?"

Josh laughed again. He was laughing, with this lesbian his assistant had had some fling with, and he said, "Republicans, I think," in a stage whisper, because right now they needed Republicans more than Miranda and Harry and everyone else over at the gay big house did.

"I even paid for it," she said, somewhat indignantly.

Josh looked right at her, at her sheer blouse and sleek black blazer and triple-pierced ears, and wondered what Donna had done. "You shouldn't need the, like, Rosetta Stone to see that it's just not gonna work, Josh," Donna had said one morning, and that was the end of that.

"How the hell is Harry?" Josh asked. "It's, uh, yeah. It's been a while."

Miranda looked down at her nails. "Flying under the radar for a while, huh, Josh." Then her mouth turned down, like she hadn't meant that to sound so. Like that. "He's good, he's good," she said.

"You get along?"

"Me and Harry?" Miranda smiled for real then, like Harry was her favorite uncle. Josh wondered if he'd have liked the man better if he hadn't been so scared Harry would see right through him. Would know that Josh looked at Sam with need, not just want, that Josh at thirty was twice the deal-maker, twice the compromise-broker a cranky old firebrand like Harry could ever bring himself to be.

"He's a good man," Josh said, emphatically, knuckles tight around his glass.

Miranda finished her drink in one long swig, like someone who actually knew how to hold her liquor. "We share a tangential relationship to beauty queens," she said seriously, and Josh conceded silently that this woman could clearly drink him under the table if that was the kind of thing he thought he heard.

"Uh, 'kay," he said instead, faking.

She knew he was lying though, and giggled a little. "Harry knew -- he's from Kentucky? And he knew some dyke there who wound up being Miss Kentucky and then got, like, dethroned. When they found out." Josh didn't flinch at her language.

"You don't sound like you're from Kentucky," he said instead, and for that he got a real belly-laugh, Miranda throwing back an arm and eventually calming enough to wipe tears from the corners of her glassy eyes.

"Not one of those girls," she said. "But I -- in college, I knew the chick who was Miss New York, and we, my girlfriend and I, like, hounded her and her lame support for these stupid little social causes for every day of her, uh. Reign. We wrote letters to the school paper and made bad hand-lettered flyers and --" she collapsed in laughter again, and Josh tried to keep his lips tight, tried not to fall into the joke but then he was gone, it was too late, he'd had too many drinks and sweet Jesus it had been a long time since he just decided something was funny and laughed without counting the votes they'd lose for not being properly apologetic.

They came down off the high slowly, gingerly, like it would be a rough landing, but Miranda grinned and squeezed his forearm warmly. "That was," she said, and then giggled again. "Thank you."

"Anytime," Josh wheezed, still catching his breath. "Yeah, you can, you know. Miranda-ize me like that anytime, seriously. Incarceratebale, fuck." Josh rolled out his neck and looked at Miranda again. Donna could have done a lot worse, he thought.

"I'm not sure she'd agree," Miranda said, "but thanks for saying so."

Josh's head snapped up. Fuck. Saying things out loud again, and she caught him at that, too.

"It's late," she said then, and he agreed and stood up and helped her into her coat. Which, finally, she put on herself because he kept missing her arms with the sleeves, and she patted his cheek and said go home.

"Yeah," he said, "Sam's probably --" Fuck. Drunk. Fuck fuck fuck.

"Let's get out of here, then," she said. She put him in a cab and when he got home, Sam was sitting on the bed, light on, chin on his chest and a legal pad on his lap.

Josh took off his coat and tie and shirt and pants and curled up to Sam's side. Sam blinked awake and Josh kissed his cheekbone. "You wanna hear a funny story?" he asked, and Sam smiled.

END. --

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