Summary: Another 'when Sam and Josh first met' story, this one follows Seventeen Years and has no real plot.
Spoilers/Episode: Set in 1986, so no spoilers, other than Sam & Josh were friends before the campaign and Sam is not an electrician.
Characters: Sam and Josh
Rating: G
Disclaimer: Sam and Josh aren't mine, I'm just borrowing them for a few minutes.


October 1986

"That was my dad," Sam said as he hung up the phone.

"He get home alright?" Josh asked, without too much interest.

"Yeah. He was pretty pissed at me."

"Well, you gave up a place at Duke to work here for nothing for a year. I guess you can see his point."

"I didn't give it up, I deferred, I'm going next year."

"Yeah, but he thinks you're now under the influence of bad people and you'll never finish law school and take over the family firm." As hard as Josh tried, he couldn't keep the sarcasm out of his voice.

"He really got to you didn't he?" Sam asked.

"No."

"Okay."

"Yes," Josh admitted, "he got to me."

"He was just angry with me."

"I figured. I mean he flew out here to try and drag you back to school or California or someplace that wasn't here."

"You didn't need to get involved."

"If you're gonna have a private argument it's generally best not to have it in a public place. And he was talking to you like you were 6, in fact I'm not sure my parents talked to me like that when I was 6."

"I'm the youngest, he sometimes forgets that I'm not a kid anymore. I'm sorry you got involved. He shouldn't have spoken to you like that."

Sam sounded so worried that Josh had to smile. "Don't worry about it," he said. "I work on The Hill, I've been spoken to a lot worse than that. Anyway, there's nothing I like better than a good argument With the possible exception of baseball."

Sam smiled with relief. "I've never seen anyone stand up to him like that. He's a litigator, he argues for a living."

"Me too," Josh replied. "Will he calm down, or are you going to be disinherited now?"

"Nah, he'll be okay. My mom will talk him round. He was in New York you know. He didn't fly out here just to see me."

........................................................................

Josh walked into the kitchen the following morning to find Sam attacking a toaster with a screwdriver. "What are you doing?"

Sam looked around. "I found this at the back of a cupboard while I was cleaning."

"It's 8.30 on a Sunday, what the hell were you doing cleaning?" Josh asked as he ran a hand through his hair and tried to wake up.

"I was making breakfast when I spilt some milk, I was cleaning that up and got kind of carried away."

"I'm beginning to think you should be," Josh muttered. "It doesn't work."

"Yeah, I know. I'm fixing it."

"Did you study engineering at Princeton?"

"Law."

"So are you sure you should be doing that?" Josh asked.

"Pass me the other screwdriver."

Josh reluctantly handed the screwdriver to his roommate.

"Stop looking so worried," Sam told him.

"Do you know anything about electrics?"

"There's probably just a loose wire inside," Sam replied as he tried to prise the base off the toaster.

"And do you know how to reattach it if there is?"

"It's only a toaster, how hard can it be?"

"I guess."

"Can you afford a new one?" Sam asked.

"This time of the month, I can't afford the bread to put in the toaster, so it hardly matters."

"Damn!" Sam cried out.

"What?"

"Screwdriver slipped," Sam held up his hand to show blood running down his finger.

Josh sighed, "Run it under the tap, I'll get a Band-Aid."

Once Sam's finger was safely wrapped, he picked up the screwdriver and carried on attacking the toaster.

"You don't think maybe we should just carry on using the grill?" Josh suggested.

"No," Sam replied. "I will not be beaten by a stupidpieceofplastic. Yes!" he cried as the base finally surrendered. "Okay, let's have a look in here. Umm, a lot of crumbs," he shook the toaster over the sink and resumed his inspection. "Well everything looks okay, it could just have been the crumbs I guess."

"So can we throw it away and agree it's just broke?" Josh asked hopefully.

"No, I'll clean it and reassemble it, then we'll see."

"Yeah," Josh sighed.

"Pass me a brush," Sam instructed

"What kind of brush?"

"I dunno, something small like a pastry brush."

"You've lived here a few weeks now, do you really imagine I have a pastry brush?" Josh asked.

"Perhaps not," Sam agreed. He carried the toaster over to the sink and shook it until most of the crumbs fell out. "Right," he said as he returned to his work area. "I'll just reattach the base and it should be fine." Five minutes later the base was fastened back on, with the help of some sticky tape. "Okay, give it a go."

"Nooo," Josh shook his head. "It's your handy work." He passed Sam a slice of bread and stood back as Sam plugged the toaster in and pushed the tray down.

"See," Sam said when the bread stayed down.

"Always does that," Josh told him. "And that," he added as a thin plumb of white smoke started to rise from the machine.

"That'll just be some crumbs I missed."

"No, wait a second. There you go," Josh said as the toaster made a small popping noise and turned itself off. "If you leave it five minutes it'll work again. 'Course that way'll take you all morning to make your toast."

"So we should throw it away and use the grill?"

"Yes," Josh agreed. "There's a reason it's been in the back of the cupboard for months."

"Let's go out and eat," Sam told him.

"I have about 50 cents, so unless you're paying," Josh replied.

"I'm an intern, I don't get paid."

"So we're eating in."

"There has to be a way for us to make some money," Sam complained.

"You could set up your own appliance repair business," Josh smiled.

"Funny."

............................................................................

Friday

When Josh entered the apartment at 8.30 the phone was ringing. "Hello?" he answered as he dropped his backpack on the floor.

"Is Sam there?" the caller asked.

"No, sorry, I don't know where he is."

"Is he avoiding me?"

"Who are you?" Josh asked.

"His father!"

"Ahh," Josh replied. "Not as far as I know. Can I get him to phone you?"

"You can tell me why he isn't coming home for Thanksgiving."

"I don't actually work with Sam, so I couldn't say. I'll get him to phone you."

"You do that," Sam's father replied and hung up.

Josh sighed and made himself a drink when the phone rang again. "Yes?"

"Well that's a nice way to answer the phone."

"I thought it was your father again. You have to talk to him, Sam. He's been phoning all week."

"He's angry 'cos I said I wasn't going home for Thanksgiving."

"I know, he told me. Why aren't you?"

"I'm going sailing."

"In November?"

"Yes. You want to come?"

"No," Josh laughed, "but thanks anyway."

"You don't know what you're missing," Sam told. "Anyway, I just wanted to let you know I'm still at work, there's some kind of crisis. I'll be late home."

Josh grinned. "Okay, but you know I'm not your mom and you don't have to keep me appraised of your every move."

"I just thought you might care."

"Not really, no," Josh smiled.

....................................................................................

Wednesday

Sam walked through the whip's office and found Josh by the photocopier. "Hey, you got a minute?"

"What's up?"

"Do you know a journalist called Danny Concannon?"

"Yeah. He's a reporter with The Dallas Morning News."

"How well do you know him?"

"We were at college together. Why?"

"He's writing an article on Len Newman."

"Your Len Newman?"

"Yes."

"Does he have any skeletons?"

"He may have," Sam replied. "How good's Danny?"

"He's very good. Why are you dealing with this? I mean, don't take this the wrong way, but you're an intern." Then Josh understood. "Newman knows that I know Danny and you're my roommate."

"Or he could just trust me," Sam suggested.

"At the risk of offending you a second time, I'll go with the first one."

"Yeah, probably. He hasn't told me anything, he just wanted to know something about the reporter."

"He wants me to give you the dirt on Danny?"

"No, he just wants to know who he's dealing with."

"Right," Josh replied. "Well you can tell Congressman Newman that I don't know anything about Danny, we just both happened to be at Harvard."

"He won't believe that."

"He likes kayaking."

"Josh," Sam sighed.

"Sam, I am not giving you dirt on a friend to save Congressman Newman, who has never done me or the party a favor in his life, from being humiliated. If he's done something that Danny thinks is worthy of a story, then there's nothing I can do about it."

"What if it's just gossip?"

"Then Danny wouldn't write it."

......................................................................................

Saturday

"Prostitutes?" Josh asked Sam.

"Apparently."

"That's a pretty big skeleton."

"Yeah."

"And that's what Newman wanted you to get me to stop Danny from printing?"

"Yeah."

"Stop looking so miserable."

"He's a good man."

"Danny?" Josh asked.

"Congressman Newman."

"I bet Mrs Newman doesn't agree with that right now."

"You said Danny Concannon wouldn't print idle gossip."

"He wouldn't, the story wasn't about the prostitutes, if all he'd done was sleep with hookers, Danny wouldn't have written it. The story's about corruption. He paid people to lie for him."

"Yeah. You think he'll loose his seat?" Sam asked.

"I don't know. I guess we'll find out in the next few weeks. You think he'll resign?"

"He says he'll fight it. He's threatening to sue the paper and your friend."

"I know you've worked for him for a while now, but he isn't a good man. I've had a few run ins with him and he's self-serving and ambitious."

"You're not ambitious?"

"How did this become about me?"

"I'm just asking."

"Of course I'm ambitious. This is my career, but that has nothing to do with Newman. He'll trample everyone in his quest to get to the top, including me and you."

"Yeah. I guess I could be starting at Duke after the holidays then," Sam replied miserably.

"Why? Just get a transfer."

"When my father reads about this.... "

"Yes," Josh agreed. "It'll confirm all his beliefs and fears about Washington. My parents weren't too keen on me doing this either you know. I think my dad has finally accepted that I'm never going to become a lawyer, but they'd still be happier if I had a more respectable job in the private sector."

"They don't think politics is respectable?"

"No," Josh laughed. "They've never really had any interest in politics to be honest. I think they were a little stunned when I said this was what I wanted to do."

"I kind of fell into this," Sam admitted. "One of my lecturers suggested it. I didn't think I'd enjoy it like I have. So how'd you get into it?"

"A school trip when I was 14. We won a debating competition, the prize was a trip to Washington. We sat and watched the Senate, toured the Hill, got to watch real debates. When we got back to school we had mock elections and set up our own little Senate. I knew then that this was where I had to work." As Josh spoke his eyes were shinning. "Since then, it's all I worked for at high school, at Harvard and Yale. I applied for the Fulbright, because that's a great scholarship to have under your belt."

"You're a Fulbright Scholar?"

"I am," Josh agreed with a smile. "That one really pissed Danny off," he grinned.

"So you do know him well."

"We worked on the newspaper together," Josh agreed. "At Harvard, we were Crimsons."

"Ahh," Sam grinned. "Nerds."

"Thank you. Frat boy?"

"No. Although I was the Recording Secretary of the Princeton Gilbert and Sullivan Society."

"Oh my God," Josh laughed. "You know I should vet my roommates with more care. You're a Gilbert and Sullivan fan?"

"Yeah. I have records."

"Not that you're going play in this apartment you don't," Josh grinned. "Come on, I've been paid, let's go out and eat and drink."

"Drown my sorrows."

"You'll easily get another position. Don't worry about it. We'll toast your new job, whatever it may be."


END