All characters belong to Aaron Sorkin, John Wells Productions, Warner Bros., & NBC. Standard disclaimers apply. Please send feedback. The Full Hour Cinnamon & Violet
"You know who's funny-looking?"
Josh rustled through several stacks of paper. "Where's my stuff on Forbes and Diamond?"
"It's in the blue folder." Donna sat in the chair in front of Josh's desk without looking up from the magazine she was reading. "Ringo Starr."
"Ringo Starr. He's funny-looking."
Josh looked up at her. "What the hell are you talking about?"
She held the magazine open and handed it to Josh. "I said, 'You know who's funny-looking?' and you didn't respond, so I said, 'Ringo Starr.' Now take a look at that picture and tell me Ringo Starr isn't funny-looking."
"Is this the first time you've seen a picture of Ringo Starr?"
"And yet, you've just now realized that Ringo Starr is funny-looking."
Donna snatched the magazine from Josh's hand. "I was simply making an observation."
"You may not be aware of this, Donna, but I have somewhere around five thousand things to do today, so if we could bring Pop Culture Chat to a close--"
"You know what else? Your cousin and John Lennon have the same nose."
"Did you not -- which cousin?"
"When did you meet Charles?"
Donna continued to study the picture on the page. "I haven't."
"How do you know what he looks like?"
She placed the magazine in her lap, still open to the picture of The Beatles. "Do you remember last spring when you had half a Bloody Mary and it made you all sentimental, and you made me to come look at old family albums with you?"
"I'm not surprised. You passed out with your head in my lap and I had to carry you to bed."
Donna nodded. "Fireman's carry. Anyway, you showed me old family albums and that's when I saw a picture of Charles, who, by the way, has the same nose as John Lennon."
"What I want to know is how you have time to read People Magazine."
"It's my lunch hour, Josh."
"You never take your lunch hour."
She shook her head. "That's not entirely true. I do take time for lunch each day, but I don't actually take the full hour available to me."
"None of us take the full hour available to us, Donna."
"I realize that, and that's why I've decided that I'm going to take the full hour, starting today."
Josh opened the blue folder. "Well, bully for you. Is my meeting with Andre and Ned at two-thirty or three-thirty?" Donna didn't respond. "Hello?"
"I'm sorry, did you say something? I'm at lunch for another twenty-six minutes. You're just going to have to wait."
He sighed. "I don't have time for this, Donna."
"Say that Ringo Starr is funny-looking."
"Ringo Starr is funny-looking," he said, weakly.
"Say it like you mean it."
"That Ringo Starr is one funny-looking SOB."
She smiled. "Three-thirty."
* * *
"Anyway, Clark and Petrie--"
"You're dodging the question," Toby interrupted.
C.J. swirled the ice around in her glass of Fresca. "It's a stupid question."
"Do you tell the press that?" He took a bite of his turkey sandwich.
"The press doesn't ask me stupid questions," C.J. said. Toby leveled his gaze at her. She shrugged. "I see your point."
C.J. sighed. "Dan Rather."
"Dan Rather's a lunatic!"
"So are you."
Toby stole one of C.J.'s French fries. "How can Dan Rather be your favorite newscaster of all time?"
She ate a tomato from her salad. "He amuses me."
"That's what you're looking for in your evening news? There's something wrong with you."
"Toby, I do news all day long. I get to a point where I need to see something different. Anything different. And stop taking my food."
"You're not eating it. Walter Cronkite."
"Oh, that's not obvious or anything. That's not predictable." She waved her fork at him. "Tell me your favorite playwright is Shakespeare, and your favorite movie is 'Citizen Kane'."
"My favorite playwright is Sartre. And I hated 'Citizen Kane'."
"How could you hate that movie? Agnes Moorehead, Orson Welles... It's a classic!"
C.J. sipped her soda. "You know what? I think he's sexy."
Toby stared at her for a long moment. "That's it."
"The final piece of proof I needed to know that something's seriously wrong with you." He drew her plate of fries toward himself.
"You know, if you keep taking my food like this, I'll never eat with you anymore."
"Yeah, and I would really mourn the loss of the only friend I have who's attracted to--" He grimaced. "Dan Rather."
"How do you know I'm the only one? You haven't run a poll."
"Who else would possibly want--"
"You haven't asked Sam."
Toby nearly choked on his water. "Mental picture," he groaned.
C.J. giggled. "Stop taking my fries."
* * *
"Billy blank and The Beaters."
Josh sipped his coffee. "Wasn't he that Tae-Bo guy?"
"I'm asking you a question. It's seven across and I can't figure it out."
"Donna, the People crossword puzzle is the easiest crossword puzzle in the world! It's like the Celebrity Jeopardy of crossword puzzles."
"Can you just tell me?"
"Why don't you try the other questions and come back to it?"
She sighed. "I want to know now."
She smiled. "Thank you."
They fell silent. Donna continued to work on the crossword puzzle, and Josh continued to review the file on Forbes and Diamond, pausing occasionally to make notes. Finally, he spoke.
"'At This Moment.'"
"'At This Moment.' Billy Vera and The Beaters. Hit number one in 1987."
She blinked. "Okay, Casey Kasem."
"That's me, all champagne wishes and caviar dreams."
"Actually, that's Robin Leach."
Donna filled in another blank. "I saw Toby and C.J. in the mess."
"I saw Sam in the men's room."
She narrowed her eyes at him. "They were eating together."
"Think about it, Josh. Isn't it odd that they spend so much time together?"
"They don't spend any more time together than we do."
"Yeah, but that's different."
He took another sip of coffee. "How?"
"I'm your assistant."
"So I'm assisting you."
Josh shrugged. "Maybe C.J. is assisting Toby."
Donna leaned forward, eyes wide. "You think so?"
He chuckled. "One of us has a dirty mind."
"So you don't think it's weird?"
"They've known each other for fifty years."
"Yeah." She went back to her puzzle. "Hey, Elton John's real name is Reginald what?"
"Is that the music edition or something?"
"Why do you automatically assume that I'll know?"
"You made me dance with you to 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' on the night with the Bloody Mary."
* * *
"So then he said, 'And if a frog had side pockets, he'd carry a handgun!'" C.J. looked at Toby and waited.
He rested his chin in his hand. "You are aware that I stopped listening to you when you started reciting news broadcasts from memory."
"You're belittling my heroes."
"I could belittle your heroes right back. I could sit here and talk smack about Joe DiMaggio--"
"But you would be wrong, not to mention blasphemous. And I would still be right." Toby pushed a crumb around on his plate with one finger. "You have a predilection for men named Daniel," he added suddenly.
C.J. glared at him. "I have nothing of the sort."
"You used to like that guy from the thing, too."
"What guy from which thing?"
"The show they had on CSC, with Dan Rydell. You were obsessed with it."
"I didn't watch that show for him." She grinned mischievously. "I watched it for Casey McCall."
"I'm going to have to stop listening to you again," he warned.
"You just don't understand the power of a woman's crush. You don't understand devotion."
He raised his eyebrows. "What do they put in that Fresca?"
"I'm not talking about Dan -- either of them. I'm talking about Donna now."
"You have a crush on Donna?"
She ignored this. "Why is it that Donna comes with us when we go out as a group?"
"So we don't have to drive Josh home."
"It's not just that." She lowered her voice. "Donna does things that no one else on the support staff does. And we treat her differently. I've had these long conversations with Donna -- I haven't even had conversations like that with Carol."
"We like her."
"Josh likes her."
"Yeah." Toby fiddled with his napkin. "You think they--"
"God, I hope not. What would we do?"
"We'd have to ask her to quit, or Josh would have to fire her."
C.J. frowned thoughtfully. "Yeah, except that by then, Armageddon would have started, and the battle between good and evil would have made the White House fairly irrelevant."
"It would look disastrous."
"Of course it would. But they're our friends."
"We'd figure it out."
"She could always have my job," C.J. said dryly.
He looked down to hide a smile. "And you'd work for Josh?"
"Yeah, and then these four horsemen would ride up, and it would start to rain."
"Rains of fire?"
"Rains of fish." She chuckled, and fell silent for a moment.
"Joe DiMaggio," Toby said.
"A nation turns its lonely eyes to...?"
"Hits in 56 consecutive games."
"Flowers on Marilyn's grave." C.J. nodded. "That's devotion, Toby."
* * *
"Do you read?"
"I'm reading right now."
Donna closed her magazine. "I mean books. Do you read books?"
Josh looked at her. "Donna?"
"Think about what you just said."
"I asked if you read books."
"What's wrong with that?"
"When do you think I'd find time to read books?" He paused. "Wait."
She craned her neck and looked behind her. "What are we waiting for?"
"This is your way of finding out if I've read your book."
"It wasn't my book."
"The book you gave me," he corrected himself.
"During your recovery, I gave you a book, and yes, now that you mention it, I am curious. Did you read it?"
Josh rolled his eyes. "Donna, it was an Oprah book!"
"And just what is wrong with that?"
"Oprah books are for girls!"
"That's why I thought you'd like it."
He stared at her.
"You love me."
"Yeah, like Leo loves Marbury."
"You've got a mean streak, Joshua Lyman."
"So I've been told."
She opened the magazine again. "It was a good book."
"You read it before you gave it to me?"
"I always do that. I have to know if something is good before I give it to someone. I do that with your lunch, too."
Josh's mouth fell open. "You taste my lunch before you give it to me?"
"Not sandwiches. But salads or spaghetti or soup, stuff like that." Josh continued to stare at her. "What? It's a thing I do."
"I'm starting to wonder what else I don't know about you."
Donna smiled. "I could tell you, but my hour's up."
"My lunch hour. It's officially over. Back to work." Donna stood, tucked the magazine under her arm, and walked to her desk.