Posted 3/2007, written in 2006
Description: Jed meets the janitor…
Characters: Focused on Jed mainly, Abbey is, as always, in his thoughts; and there is also a new character, an old janitor.
Notice: Somewhat told from both Jed's and the Janitor's point of view, so be aware.
Disclaimer: The only character depicted in this story that belongs to me is Todd Racey, but the rest, of course, belong to NBC, WB, and Aaron Sorkin.
I am a humble man of 83; I do, however, pride myself on being independent.
I know I could live off of social security, as well as the retirement benefits provided by the US Navy and such, but I feel that if I am strong and able I should depend on myself, and myself alone, besides G-d Almighty of course.
I am now a janitor, and a blessed one at that, for I am responsible for helping keep the interior, as well as the exterior, of the West Wing, and parts of the White House, neat and tidy.
I have had this job for twenty years now, was offered it after the many years I served with the Navy and the government, though if I told you the details I would have to kill you soon after…
I have never really met any of the presidents that have been elected in my time of being janitor, probably because of the late hours I work here, but what I hear about this Bartlet fellow, he is one of the finest presidents that we have had in a while.
The Mrs. and I have lived under several presidents, me one more than she, her being the great young age of 80. (Don't think I don't see those smirks from some of you…she is my pumpkin…).
I take out the trash and rake up leaves and trim the bushes. Simple work, just enough to keep me strong and, at least feeling, young. My pumpkin still says she can see firm muscles…let her dream…
When I was young I wasn't exactly dashing, but I wasn't scrawny either.
Well, here I am, working inside the West Wing. Most of the lights are off, I see only an occasional secret service agent as I sweep up. Well, just the trash cans now, then home.
I might get back at three…Pumpkin will be sleeping now…
- - -
I miss Abbey already…she left on a women's rights thing. I have nothing against women's rights, just that their gatherings take my wife away from me…
I need a break … these memos are starting to give me a headache, guess it's because its nearly 3 am, ah well, hasn't stopped me before, and Abbey isn't here to. It is quiet; I don't think anyone will mind if their Commander in Chief takes a stroll in his own building.
Jed walked out of the Oval Office and out of the White House and into the West Wing. As always, the secret service noticed and so, quietly flanked him.
You know, I love that these guys protect me and all, but must they always play 'follow the leader'?
I like wandering these halls, reminds me of where I am. I am in the West Wing… I thought I would get used to being in the White House and such, but when it's this quiet and it is nearly empty, it is really humbling.
Jed (ignoring the secret service) continued down the hall, a figure in the distance came into view, lifting up a trash can into a bigger trash can, which he would later take to the dumpster.
He was an elderly man, looking about 70. His clothing was old, but nice enough, and he stood about 5 foot 10 (probably was taller when he was younger). His shoes appeared to have been his only pair ever, and his hair was mostly white, gray barely peppering it.
The thing that I wish that they would have me do is meet all of the people who work in the White House and the West Wing, but I suppose there are too many people…and I suppose I have a hard enough time as it is with names…
I wonder who he is?
Jed continued down the hall just as the man clipped the edge of one of the trash cans on the side of the other bigger can, papers and trash went all over the place.
The Janitor still had not noticed Jed, Jed continuing forward, seeing the trash go everywhere.
- - -
I swear it is always this trash can…
The Janitor bent down and began picking up the fallen trash, which was paper mostly, an occasional empty coffee cup among them, just as a pair of hands came in view, helping to pick up the trash…
Whoa, who is up this late?
"Uh, thanks…" the elderly man
replied, as he and this unknown, at least for now, man continued to
pick up the papers.
"No big deal, just paper…" Jed replied, the Janitor still at a loss of who this man was, not yet seeing his face.
"I didn't know there was anyone else here, I am usually the only one here, except for the secret service of course…"
"Do they follow you too?" Jed replied, accidentally revealing some annoyance, it was probably because he was tired.
"No…I don't think so…" the janitor replied, looking up as the last paper made it inside the trash can.
Holy Cow…The President!
The old janitor stood straight up, and before he could stop himself, or think, he saluted…
- - -
Man, I hope I just didn't give this man a heart attack…and I bet he's a veteran…
Jed then did the only thing he could
do, he saluted him back.
They both then put their arms down, though the janitor continued to stand as straight as he could.
"So you're a veteran?" Jed
"Yes sir…and old habits die hard…"
"Korea?" Jed asked, unsure how old
this man truly was.
"WW2 and Korea…" he answered.
Jed tried not to look too surprised.
What?! Then that means he must be in his eighties…and he's still working?
"What's your name?" Jed asked.
"Todd Racey sir…"
I wonder if he would be interested in a drink?
"Mr. Racey, would you be interested
in a drink? Or do you need to get home?" Jed asked.
"I would need to leave a message for my wife sir…I wouldn't want to worry her, but I would fancy a drink…"
Does this man have a wife like mine?
"Of course, my wife is the same
way…" Jed replied, truly happy this man said yes.
"I, uh, need to finish this up first too, though sir…" Todd continued, nearly forgetting about his job.
Jed nodded as Todd went for another can. Jed then walked around one of the other desks and got the last can, and helped Todd finish up.
- - -
I suppose I heard right, this Jed Bartlet is a good guy…and just wait until pumpkin hears the message I left…a drink with the president!
Jed led Todd, the janitor, beyond where Todd was usually allowed, and into the Residence.
"Abbey isn't here, just me tonight…" Jed replied, failing to hide the loneliness from his voice.
I like this man already…
Wow, this place is awesome…whoa, never thought I would use that word in that context, guess I'm catching slang from my great grand kids…
Todd tried not to gape as Jed sat down on the couch, motioning Todd to sit on the other side, or in the comfy chair not far from it; Todd took the chair.
"Thanks for taking a drink with me…I usually don't admit this to anyone, but I don't like sleeping without Abbey…" Jed was almost as surprised as Todd that he had said that, wondering himself why he even said it.
"Well sir, I feel the same way about Deanne, loved her since I met her in 1939…"
I still can't believe it was that long ago…
"When did you two marry?" Jed
asked, seeing the wedding band on Todd's finger.
"1940, before the war…" saying it not to inform Jed of what was going on at the time, just saying it.
"I can't believe she said yes…I was only 18 and she, well, was only 15…" Todd continued. "Couldn't even really afford her a nice ring, but she didn't care…"
Jed smiled as he poured them each a half glass of wine, Todd nodding when Jed had lifted the bottle, checking for approval.
"So you went into the Army?" Jed
asked, seeing that Todd had paused.
"No, the Navy, in 1941, before Pearl Harbor…" he replied. Jed could see the man pause to think back.
I never thought I would still be here…
Todd looked up at Jed, and decided he could know, and should.
- - -
What is he thinking? Must be something important…
"I was on the Phoenix, CL-46 when the Japanese attacked. I controlled one of the machine gun batteries…I was a petty officer third class then…"
Wasn't expecting that…
"Brought down two of the attacking planes…"
He's a war hero!
"Afterwards I joined the UDT, the Underwater Demolition Teams…" Todd paused and took a sip.
"The Naked Warriors…" Jed whispered, recalling his knowledge of military history.
- - -
I'm impressed; this guy knows his history.
"Yeah," Todd couldn't help but
"The Naked Warriors, or the UDT would later lead to the Navy SEALs…" Jed replied making sure he had it.
"Yes, the Navy SEALs trace their heritage back to the original Naked Warrior…"
Sort of a funny name when I think about it…
How long has it been since I've talked about this?
Todd held the glass with both of his old and callused hands, swirling the wine around in the glass, clearly he was an expert.
Todd did not need to look up to see Jed watching him, waiting for him to continue, and honestly Todd felt he needed to talk about this, it had been way to long since he had…and besides, who else better to tell his experiences to but to his Commander in Chief?
"I saw action at Guam, Iwo Jima, and Brunei Bay…and others I honestly can't remember, and if I do, I can't pronounce them…and then finally, on the 4th of July, 1945, at Balikpapan on Borneo… which was the last UDT demolition operation of the war. The main reason why I remember that one is because it was the last, and because of the date…"
"And then the war finally ended…"
Jed spoke, Todd taking another drink.
"Yes, that war ended, but then the Korean War called me… Operation CHROMITE…"
Did I really do all of that stuff?
Todd stopped speaking, and Jed, seeing that Todd's glass was finished, grabbed for the wine bottle again.
"Sir, it is getting late, I should probably get home…" Todd said, glancing at his watch : 4:10 am
- - -
"You can call me Jed, and whenever you and the Mrs. want to visit, you can…" Jed told him as they both stood up. "It was very nice talking to you…"
I hope when Abbey returns she won't mind me sneaking out to see you…
"Nice talking to you too sir…Jed."
The bottle and the glasses were on the table as Jed extended his hand for a shake. Todd took it, giving Jed a surprisingly firm hand shake.
Jed then walked with Todd towards the
exit, the secret service, as always, nearby.
Todd then took several steps out, and then turned around, Jed still standing in the door way.
Todd stood straight up and at attention, reaching his maximum height of 6 feet. He put his feet together,
Jed saluted in return, honored to work under the same roof as the man before him.
And then the old 'Naked Warrior' turned, in the traditional fashion, and was led to his car, the agents proudly walking along side him.
- - -
Feedback will be joyously read :D