There was the most annoying sound coming from Sam's office. Josh stood in front of his door, wincing, and finally found the bravado needed to enter. One would expect to look in and find Sam furious at not being able to complete his task, or the inability to find that right word, which usually resulted in pounding or throwing a book across the room when he was really agitated. That was rare, but it was a solid, refreshing sound, reflecting the soul of the man who literally fed words to the country. But this, this was an annoying whine, a fevered pitch, dotted by miniature squeals, and the person slumped over the desk wasn't engrossed in writing, but holding a. . .a. . .
"Sam, what is that?"
Sam looked up, or rather glanced up in a hurry, and continued to work his thumbs over a set of odd. . .things. "Whack-A-Mole."
"W-Whack a what?"
"Whack-A-Mole. Dammit!" The game landed on his desk, padded by documents. "I lost."
Josh glanced down his nose at the small object. "Sam. . .should I be concerned? I mean, you did have a childhood, right? It wasn't really spent with your nose in your books all the time, was it?"
"Tell me again what that is."
"Okay, so – that much you don't know?"
"Just tell me what the hell Whack-A-Mole is!"
"Wait, wait, wait, you don't know what Whack-A-Mole is?" Sam leaned forward. "And you talk about my childhood?"
"Will you please. . ."
"Remember the games where you whack these things on the head that pop out of a hole? They were at the amusement parks and such. . . oh my god – you don't have a clue what I'm talking about!" He laughed. "You really don't!"
"No, Sam, I don't have a clue. That doesn't excuse you doing. . .whatever it is you're doing."
"Josh! I'm stunned! I had no idea, man, we really need to go and get you acquainted with the world!"
"I am acquainted with the world! I work at the freaking White House!"
"And yet you are oblivious to the subtly of Whack-A-Mole."
"The subtly of Whack-A-Mole hardly constitutes a national security crisis of any kind, and it doesn't pass legislative bills, and it doesn't sign my paycheck, so why should I care about it for, say, the next three years?" He eyed it askance. "Looks. . .strange."
"It's a kiddie game!"
"It requires both dexterity and a rapid eye, not to mention quick reflexes. They should have these things at military camps."
"I'll put that in a memo, look, I need you to come with me to see Leo."
". . .Did I not just say I need you to come with me to see Leo?"
"Come on. One game. Bet you can't beat my score." Sam waved the game around in an enticing manner.
Josh pursed his lips and considered, then snatched it away. "How do you play?"
"When the holes light up, press them."
"Why is it called Whack-A-Mole? There aren't any moles."
"There are in the big version, look, if you're a good boy we'll go to Antony's pizza and you can play, god, can't believe you've never done this, okay, look, put it on the low setting. . .there. Now." Josh pressed a button and found himself frantically trying to press annoying red dots into submission.
"What the. . ."
"Press harder! You gotta press harder, Josh."
CJ thought so too. She stood in the doorway silently, but with a smile as the two men hunched together and battled moles. Their competitive nature came out in chirps and bursts of enthusiasm as the levels grew in intensity, Josh cursing and yelling while Sam egged him on in support. This went on for a good five minutes before Josh was able to beat Sam's score, and he leapt to his feet and threw his hands into the air triumphantly as Sam gave him a congratulatory hug, then jumped three feet away as his eyes fell on CJ. Josh was doing a victory dance with his eyes closed, then noticed the room was suddenly quiet. He froze and slowly opened one eye, then the other, his gaze settling on the horrifying sight of a hall full of people trying to peer inside, with CJ at the head. "What'cha doing?" she asked coyly.
"We. . . uh. . ." Josh looked to Sam, who looked back stiffly. "We're. . .doing something for the Central Intelligence Agency. . ."
". . .and FBI,"
"And. . .FBI. . ." Josh glanced at Sam.
"Doing what?" CJ asked, although she was afraid of the answer.
But Sam was smug, and didn't miss a beat. "Catching moles."