"Hey Christine, looking sharp today,"Dan smiled.
"Really? Thanks, this outfit's brand new. It must have paid off," Christine Sullivan looked down, admiring herself as she straightened out her top.
"Oh it paid for itself. I can see your bra from here."
"No need to thank me for pointing out the obvious. It should be me thanking you."
Christine was furious. She'd let her guard down around Dan for a minute and this was the thanks she'd gotten. She knew Dan was preoccupied, to say the least, but this was pretty rotten even for him.
"Christine, let me say I'm sorry…"
"That's better Dan."
"I'm sorry for not mentioning that your pantyline is showing as well," Dan laughed, obviously pleased with himself. He wasn't quite so pleased when he was met with a resounding slap. His face stung so badly he couldn't even turn to watch her walk away the way he normally would have.
Stupid Dan. When will you ever learn. And of today of all days. It doesn't matter. A guy's got the right to be alone on his birthday- right?
Dan 's thoughts were interrupted when a voluptuous bleach blonde woman in her early thirties approached him.
"Sophie Sophie Sophie, so are we still on for tonight? You still owe me that birthday spanking you promised."
"Not so fast Danny Boy… you still owe me thirty bucks from the other night…" she whispered in her breathy voice.
"Come on Sophie..It's my birthday. How about a freebie? I'll be a good boy!"
"Sophie doesn't like it when Dan is a good boy. And I hear you've been very very bad," Sophie shrugged as she walked away, leaving Dan frustrated. No date, no cash, how much worse could this day get?
He ran in to Mac's office. "Quick, give me thirty bucks."
Mac broke out into a wide grin. "Am I on one of those hidden video shows?"
"No Mac? I'm serious? I need thirty bucks. I'll pay you back."
"Forget it Dan. That's what you said when I lent you twenty last month. I suggest you find a bank or find cheaper dates."
Dan was indignant. "I'll have you know this is going for a very worthy cause."
Mac had to know. "Which is?"
He paused. "Charity."
Mac laughed. "Is that her name for the night?"
"Oh if you're not going to help me you should have said so in the first place!" Dan ran out into the hallway where he stopped to compose his thoughts.
Suddenly out of nowhere a towering figure appeared. "Oh Da-an."
Dan knew that voice without having to look up, and look up would he have to, That voice belonged to Bull Shannon, quite the commanding presence around the night court. Whenever Bull spoke in a singsong voice Dan knew it couldn't be good.
"What's the matter big guy? DIdja just find out that Santa Clause ain't real? Don't give up. There's always the Easter Bunny."
"Can it Fielding. I've heard it from a good source that you've been harassing my good friend Christine. What do you have to say for yourself?" Bull demanded.
"Harass? That's too strong of a word. Try joking around..you know, laughing among friends," Dan thought quickly.
"It may have been a joke to you but she wasn't laughing. She was pretty unhappy and when one of my friends is unhappy I'm unhappy. Do you know what I do when I'm unhappy?"
Dan closed his eyes, afraid of the answer. Somehow he knew there would be a physical demonstration of the answer. He was right. Bull picked him up and shoved his tie deeply in his mouth.
"Gee, I feel better already!" Bull laughed as he sat Dan down and walked away. He turned around,.
"Oh, and have a nice day."
Soon It was time for Dan to go to the courtoom.
"Mr. Fielding," Harry smiled. "How the heck are you?"
"Peachy your honor."
"You sure? This is for the record so I'd like you to take your time and think about what you'd like to say."
"Never been better."
"Having a bad day are we?"
Dan sighed. "Your honor can we get on with this?"
"As you wish. Mr. Fielding approach the bench. Let the record show that he obliged."
Dan and Harry stared at each other for a minute before Harry opened his mouth to speak. "Let me make one thing clear to you. If you ever make one more comment about my defender's state of undress as it were in any way shape or form I will have you thrown out of here. Have we reached an understanding?"
Dan nodded. "Yes your honor."
"Let the hearings begin."
After work Dan poured himself a drink. He was alone, humiliated, miserable- and on his birthday. He could understand why his friends had turned on him but not one of them had remembered what today was. He could see where he fit in in the grand scheme of things. Everyone remembered Harry's birthday. No one dared forget Bull's. Everyone was remembered. Everyone mattered., Everyone but him.
Just then someone buzzed at his apartment.
He looked in and saw the gang. He had to smile. Even after the shotty way he'd acted today they still remembered. They still cared. It was enough to make him believe- almost.
After letting them in, he saw that they were carring a rather large box along with the cake. "Is that for me?"
"Well we tried to ship Bull to you but he didn't quite fit. So we brought this to you instead,.,..":Harry smiled.
He opened it up and found a new three piece suit.
"Guys… I don't know what to say,,., I'm speechless…"
"That alone makes it worth it," Christine laughed.
"It was Christine's idea," Bull spoke up.
"Christine…what can I say. Thank you. I know I don't deserve this but really,,…"
"It was Roz's idea to make it a cheap one," Bull chimed in.
Even Dan had to laugh. Mac handed Dan a card. "Open it."
Inside was thirty bucks. "There you go Dan. Now you can go off and find your date. We'll be leaving."
"Wait… don't you want to have some cake?"
Everyone smiled. They knew that this would certainly be a birthday Dan would always remember, no matter how he chose to end it.