Based on characters created by Steven Levitan

A/N: Another crack at JSM fan fiction, this one light years away from my first try (The Fountain of Youth Flows Through Seattle, posted on the Kolchak: the Night Stalker section of this site), and more (I hope) along the lines of the series. It's the first chapter in what I hope will become sort of an internet spin-off of the original series. I hope you enjoy.

It was morning at Blush Magazine. 10:17 am to be exact, by the watch on Maya Gallo's left wrist. Searching the cupboard for a teabag, she selected one with Orange and set about making herself her second cup of the morning. The office was filled with the light buzzing of employees working to finish up this month's edition, a soothing sound.

Across the room the elevator doors swooshed open, expelling one of the two final members of the editorial staff to arrive that morning. By the dark glasses on her face and the ridged way she carried herself to the coffee maker behind Maya, it was obvious that Nina Van Horn had had a busy weekend.

"Morning, Nina," Maya greeted her airily.

"As far as I know," Nina answered, filling her mug with the strong black office fuel, "But which morning?"

"It's Monday, Nina."

"Oh." Nina took a sip of the coffee. "Have I missed the staff meeting?"



The coffee having the desired effect on her sight, the two Mayas that Nina had been talking with converged into one, focused person. It was then that she noticed the white button that she wore on her black turtleneck.

"What's that?" she asked, looking over her sunglasses to read it, "'Berkeley for Congress?'"

"I spent the weekend handing out literature for his campaign. Y'know, it's been a long time since I was this wrapped up in politics. For the longest time, I saw them as just crooked, self-serving no-accounts who didn't care for real people, but then I met Congressman Berkeley at a fund raiser. I never met such a caring, public minded politician in my life. It gave me a whole new energy to fight for a cause."

She paused and discovered through an odd sound coming from her co-worker that Nina had fallen asleep on her feet. Literally.

Stepping backwards from her, Maya backed into Dennis Finch.

"Ow!" he snapped, "You hurt me!"

"I'm sorry, Dennis!" Maya apologized.

"More, please!"

Maya shoved him away.

"What's with the cigar-store slut there?" Dennis asked, pointing to Nina, who had yet to move.

"I think she fell asleep. I was talking to her..."

"Yeah, that'll do it."

Dennis crept up on her and seemed to study her like a specimen under a microscope.

"I've never seen anything like it," Maya told him.

"I have. Never fear, Finch is here. This takes a man with a slow hand, an easy touch..."

Dennis slowly rose up on his toes, got really close to Nina's left ear and stage whispered, "Nina, my wife's pulling into the driveway."

As if shot, Nina jumped forward and shrieked, "Quick, my clothes!"

Suddenly realizing where she was, Nina gave a quick, embarrassed smile, and disappeared into her office.

"One crisis solved," Dennis smiled, "Now, the reason I came over here. Maya, where's your dad?"

"I don't know. He said something last night about having a meeting this morning, and that he was going to show up with a surprise for everyone."

"Um-hum." Dennis answered, only half listening, focused on the button.

"It says 'Berkeley for Congress."

"What does?"

Another elbow to Finch's ribs brought him back to reality.

"Ow," he said again, "I love it when little Miss Maya gets tough."

She shot him her 'back off, Finch' look and he did so.

"Berkeley? Isn't he that guy who keeps getting elected to Congress because the other party can't find any honest non-losers to run against him?"

"James Berkeley gets re-elected because he's a decent man who does his best and the people here realize that."

Finch smiled at her. "Mmm...yeah. Anyway, I wonder who's going to be the sacrificial lamb this time?"

Just then, the elevator doors opened again and Jack Gallo, owner-publisher of the magazine and Maya's father, appeared, carrying a large, white piece of cardboard in his hand.

"Morning, all," he said cheerily, "I have an announcement to make.

"This morning, after discussing it with some people in the know, I've decided to run for Congress!"

Jack turned the sign around. On the other side of the cardboard, on a background of red, white and blue, were the words JACK GALLO FOR CONGRESS.

"Bingo." Finch said, turning and leaving Maya to stand shell-shocked before her father.