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TV Camp

by Shrift

NOTES: Vonnie requested: "I'd adore a drabble about Sam Donovan from Sports Night. I've looked and looked and can't find a damn thing." Thanks to Nestra for the read-through, and Vonnie for reminding me of how much I love this character.


"This isn't TV camp. I come in, I do my job, I do it better than anybody else, and I get out. I stopped trying to make friends a long time ago." --Sam Donovan, Louise Revisited


Sam was paging through spreadsheets and pulling numbers for a ratings report for the network when Dan walked into Sam's office and sat down. "How's it hanging?"

Sam grinned inwardly. Dan was proving to be a persistent fellow in the 'getting Sam to like us' business, and his dogged determination had not faltered in the face of Sam's complete lack of cooperation.

Perhaps that was too harsh. Sam had made one concession, and that was to move the boxes from the extra chair. He pretended he moved them because Dan was going to keep coming, and this way Dan had a place to sit instead of looming over Sam's desk.

Sam disliked looming.

"Is it that time already?" Sam said.

Dan smiled questioningly. "What time would that be?"

"The time for you to engage me in several minutes of inane conversation per day."

Dan leaned forward, hands upraised. "I take issue with that. My topics of conversation are both charming and witty. One might even say erudite."

"Ah," Sam said.

"So how's it hanging?"

"How's it hanging," Sam repeated. "That's erudite?"

Dan shook his head. "Again, this is called shooting the breeze. If you responded to social cues like a normal human being, you would already know this."

Sam gave up on the report he was typing and leaned back in his chair. "Ah."

"You're a tough nut to crack, Sam Donovan," Dan said, squinting at him.

"You want to crack me?" Sam asked.

Dan considered the question. "You mean do I want to crack you open to get at the nutty meat inside your shell?"

"What kind of nut?" He would never tell Dan, but Sam appreciated his ability to go along with an unconventional conversational gambit. Sam often found those who could not to be intensely boring. Case in point: Jim Bob the network lackey and his two note-taking companions. Sam was good enough at his job that he didn't worry about the consequences of not suffering those fools gladly. Isaac worried enough for both of them.

"What kind of nut are you?" Dan said, his eyebrows raised. He tilted his head and framed Sam with his hands. "Brazil nut. I practically have to kill myself to get one open, so I'd say the comparison is apt."

"Brazil," Sam said. He folded his hands across his stomach. "You know, sometimes working with you people feels like a Gilliam movie."

"Aha!" Dan said, sitting up straight to make a touchdown sign with his arms. "I got you to impart something that resembles personal information. It may not be much, but I count this as a victory. My work here is done."

Sam managed not to smile as Dan continued his impromptu victory dance. "Okay."

"I'll see you tomorrow, Sam," Dan said, running his hand down his tie.

"No you won't," Sam said.

Dan froze halfway out of his chair. "What do you mean, 'no I won't'?"

"I won't be here tomorrow," Sam said, watching Dan watch him warily.

"I see," Dan said, standing up and sliding his hands into his pockets. "And where will you be?"

Sam moved back to his laptop and started typing. "Detroit."

"Lions and Tigers and Redwings, oh my," Dan said, turning to go.

"Dan?"

Dan stopped in the doorway. "Yeah?"

Sam let Dan stew for a minute before saying, "I'll see you next week."

Dan grinned and knocked his fist against the doorframe. "Gilliam, huh?"

"Good night, Dan," Sam said.

"You're gonna miss us while you're gone," Dan said, backing out the door. "I know it."

Sam just kept typing, and didn't deny it.


If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to Shrift

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