AN: Why, on God's green Earth am I starting another series?  I don't know.  I love this song, and have been longing to use it, I suppose.

So, I just bought the new book from one of my fave all-time authors, Nick Hornby.  He did this book called Songbook, and it's about songs he likes that he turned into stories, and it includes a CD, with some of the songs (Badly Drawn Boy, Rufus Wainwright, Ben Folds, etc.) featured in the book.  The proceeds go The TreeHouse Trust.  It was published by this fabulous publisher here in San Francisco, McSweeney's (Dave Eggers' place).  You can order the book through, or through independent bookstores.

Anyhoo, this story is pretty self explanatory, and who knows when I'll get it done, lol.  Review, and let me know what you think!!

One Flight Down

Chapter One: Traffic

The traffic was at a standstill—a sea of glaring red lights and chrome bumpers.  Chandler looked at his watch, his hand thumping down onto the steering wheel resignedly.  He drummed his fingers over the steering wheel nervously, and sighed.  He'd missed dinner again, and he knew Monica would be pissed.  But then, she was always mad at him for something these days.  If it wasn't his long work hours, it was the way he folded the laundry, or the fact that he didn't fold laundry enough.  It was the way he always left the toilet seat up, or the way he looked at her. 

It wasn't that she didn't love him—he knew she did.  He knew that she was miserable, but he didn't know how to fix it.  He didn't know what to say or do to make her happy.  And he hated that.  He hated that he couldn't read her mind anymore.

Things had been this way ever since Charlie, their fifteen-year-old son, began getting into trouble, both in and out of school.  Chandler, who had always hated confrontation, used his job as an excuse to avoid the inevitable parent-teacher conferences about Charlie, leaving Monica to pick up the slack.  But, Chandler reasoned, Monica had always been the disciplinarian, and Chandler had always been the 'fun' one.  He liked it that way, because he didn't like arguing with his own children. 

His cell phone rang, startling Chandler out of his thoughts.  He hesitated before picking it up, not sure that he wanted to argue with Monica while he was sitting on the highway in commuter traffic.  He picked up the phone, and clicked it on.

"Hello?" he said slowly.

"Bing, where are you?" It was Chandler's boss, Martin.

"I, uh, I'm on my way home, sir."

"So you finished the Hamilton project then?"

"Well, it's not due until Friday, so I—"

"No, they are coming in tomorrow!  Didn't you get my e-mail?"

"No, I—" Chandler thought for a moment.  Suddenly, in his mind's eye, he could see the e-mail.  Shit, he thought.

"It has to be finished tonight," Martin said sternly.

Chandler sighed, and saw that his exit was coming up.  He was ten minutes from home, and forty from the office.

"I'll be there in half and hour, sir," Chandler said, and hung up the phone.


"What do you mean, you had to go back?" Monica said coldly into the phone, as Chandler pulled into his office parking structure.

"I thought this project was due on Friday, but it's actually due tomorrow," Chandler explained for the second time.

"So, you're gonna be out all night again?  Pretty convenient isn't it?"

"Mon," Chandler sighed.

"Don't 'Mon' me.  You have a family that needs you.  It's too back you can't seem to get your priorities straight."

"They are straight!  I can't lose my job, Monica, that would—"

"Fine, stay there…stay there all night, I don't care!  You're certainly not sleeping in our bed tonight!" Monica hung up the phone with a bang.

"Great," Chandler mumbled, and keyed into his office.

Two hours later, Chandler was putting the finishing touches on his project, when the phone rang.  Figuring it was Monica, calling back for one more round before going to bed, he let it ring three times before answering.




"Monica said you were still at work.  Why are you working at eleven thirty?"

"Long story," Chandler sighed, "Why are you calling me so late?"

"I'm sorry sweetie, it's just eight thirty here in Nevada."

"Right.  Wait, Nevada?  What the hell are you doing in Nevada?"

"Well, honey, that's what I called to tell you.  It's about your father."


Chandler didn't really remember driving home, but he had, and he walked into his front door at about one-thirty am.  To his surprise, Monica was still awake, and was seated in the living room.


"It's about time," Monica said harshly, as she stood up, "Charlie snuck out of the house to go to some party.  I—I can't handle him anymore, Chandler, and I am tired of being the one that has to.  You have to start backing me up here.  I am sick of always being the bad guy!"


"No, look, I know you work long hours, but Charlie and Ellie are your children too, and you need to start acting like a father!  Charlie's coach found marijuana in his locker—marijuana!  And it's not like Ellie is doing much better.  She just totally ignores me now, and refuses to leave her bedroom!  I'm sick of it, and I am sick of dealing with it alone!"

"Mon, I'm sorry, I had no idea it was so bad, but—"

"No, of course you have no idea!  You're never home!  And even when you are, you hole yourself up in your study, to work on that fucking novel that you've been working on since…since you quit your data-processing job back in The City!  I mean, if you are going to be turning out one book every sixteen years, then it's a good thing you fell into advertising," Monica sighed.

"Mon, what do you want me to say?"

Monica huffed, and shook her head, but said nothing.

"Fine," Chandler said, sighing softly, "I will talk to Charlie when he gets home, and I will talk to Ellie tomorrow morning, okay?"

"Oh, and that's just going to make it all better?  Valiant Dad walks in with his words of wisdom, and everything is going to be okay?" Monica's voice was full of bitter sarcasm.

"I didn't say that, I—"

"Can you just be their father all the time, and not when I yell at you, or fight with you?" Monica sighed sadly.

"Mon," Chandler closed his eyes, and took a step toward Monica, who was peering out the living room window, presumably to watch for Charlie, "Mon, do you…do you think I am a bad father?"

Monica turned to look at Chandler, and was surprised to see that he was crying.  She shook her head, shocked at how strongly her husband had reacted to their argument.  They'd had this argument several times before—how was this any different?

"Chandler, you know I don't think you're a bad father. I am just…tired, I guess," Monica sighed sadly.

"My Dad is dying," Chandler said suddenly.

"What?" Monica closed the gap between her and Chandler and looked up at him.

"That's why my Mom called me.  My Dad has prostate Cancer, and he's going to die."

"Oh…oh, Chandler, I am so sorry," Monica wrapped her arms around Chandler tenderly.

"I just…I've left so much unsaid between us.  I don't want…I don't want Charlie to…resent me because I wasn't there."

"He doesn't resent you.  Well, he does, but he resents everyone—he's a teenager."

"I suppose," Chandler sighed, "I need to go to Las Vegas," he whispered, "And I'd like you to come with me."

"Of course I'll come," Monica said softly, "but what about Charlie and Ellie?"

"They can come too.  I think it'll be good for our family to spend some time together…plus, I'd like the kids to get to know their grandfather a bit more."

"Okay.  As Joey would say if he were still here, 'Vegas, Baybee!'" Monica smiled.

"Yeah," Chandler sighed sadly, "Vegas, baybee."

One flight down

There's a song on low

And your mind just picked up on the sound

Now you know you're wrong

Because it drifts like smoke

And it's been there playing all along

Now you know

Now you know

The reeds and brass have been weaving

Leading into a single note

In this place

Where your arms unfold

Here at last you see your ancient face

Now you know

Now you know

The cadence rolls in broken

Plays it over and then goes

One flight down

There's a song on low

And it's been there playing all along

Now you know

Now you know