If Andy even knew what the textbook definition was for an epiphany he wouldn’t be able to find it. Either way, something about the mixture of Pawnee air and shoe polish made his head feel weird – Ann had told him to stop ‘testing’ the polish for freshness by taking massive whiffs of the stuff but what did she know, she was a nurse – and today he pretty much had to get Kyle out of his chair as quickly as possible or his brain would melt. Part of him wanted to see it happen. He’s pretty sure April would think it was cool.
That was the thing, person, bothering him: April. His life was at a really strange place, and Andy didn’t know why he was so excited when she came in with coffee. It always made his headache feel a little better, and they usually went to mess with Jerry afterwards. But that wasn’t it, he thought. He liked hanging out with her and didn’t feel like he was constantly bombarded with schemes to get Ann to notice him again when they did goof around in the building.
April just didn’t care most of the time, and when she did care about something Andy was always surprised that it was something cool like jello shots, video games, or pig’s blood and not crap like Ann tried to get him into. He also loved it when she smiled. It didn’t happen often from what he could tell, but he really liked when he made her laugh.
“I always wondered when we’d get kids’ sports programs back up and running,” Kyle said attempting to sound excited, “John always likes to do stuff outside. What if he…”
“What if you stopped talking for once Kyle?” Andy interrupted suddenly, slapping his rag on the man’s shoe.
“I-I think I’ve said more words in this sentence than I’ve ever said to you in my whole life,” the balding man muttered, awkwardly squinting and looking around for the cause of Andy’s outburst.
“Yeah, well you still talk too much,” Andy mulled it over and was going to explain that Kyle was stupid and boring, and no one even cared about his kids (apparently he has kids, and hopefully they’re his because Andy has his suspicions) but his head was starting to get a little fuzzy and weird again.
One day he’d figure out what the problem was. On top of the scary strong odor already in the air, it was probably because of that really dull, almost nondescript vanilla smell that always crept into the area when April was around. After living in a pit long enough, your nose can find just about any food and vanilla smelled just as strong as the waxy polish.
When Andy told him, Ron said it was important for any man to know how to hunt and forage by his senses alone so he tried to sniff out different things. He could even identify most of the people at Parks and Rec. just by their smells, which was admittedly super weird. The one that always scared him was Tom: the man smelled like a mixture of a squirrel Andy once knew and a pile of soap left too long in the sun.
“Hey,” a low, clinically bored voice spoke from beside Andy interrupting his thoughts. “Jerry’s out for the rest of the day so we can, like, light his desk on fire or something.”
And just like that, he smiled. The uncalled for (but probably called for; Kyle sucked) explosion, something to do with Kyle and dodgeball or whatever, was about as far back in his mind as possible. Andy liked feeling like that, but he wasn’t one-hundred percent sure why. April was super cool and getting yelled at by Ron or Leslie was a lot better with her around. When she stopped by she would bring him coffee too, and that was pretty great.
“Okay, you’re done bud,” Andy smacked Kyle’s leg and motioned for him to move. “Scram.”
By this point he had stopped arguing and moved on with his day, hoping that no one would notice the caked wax on his right foot and the massive glaring shine from the left one. It didn’t matter how much he hoped, since everyone always did.
It was probably weird that Andy liked hanging out with April when she messed with Jerry, mostly because he looked at her a lot and didn’t stop when she turned back and caught him. Or when she called him creepy, which he probably deserved, but smiled her barely-there grin nonetheless and made a hasty excuse to bail out immediately.
“So, do you wanna move all of his keys again?” Andy asked excitedly. She had noticed that Jerry wasn’t a touch typist and he frequently looked down to his keyboard to finish his emails and reports, so they went in and switched every key around. They made sure not to spell anything out, or April did at least. Andy would never get tired of Jerry asking why there was a penis on his keyboard, and she wasn’t going to admit it but it was hilarious.
“No, that was stupid,” April answered, bouncing onto the backs of her heels and rocking back and forth. “We should put porn on his computer. I can photoshop his face on it.”
“Or put thumbtacks on his char! No wait, we tried that,” Andy scrunched up his face in pain. He’d forgotten about the prank last time, and those tacks didn’t want to come out of his butt at all. At first it was funny, except for the incredible shards of pain in his ass, but April insisted they immediately get to the hospital. That had made him stop laughing. She almost looked like she cared for a brief instant before making fun of him, breaking whatever strange tension there was for a second.
“Maybe we should do something that won’t put him in the hospital or get him fired,” April muttered, looking down at her sneakers solemnly before glancing back to him.
Andy couldn’t stop himself from laughing and it wasn’t too long before she joined in.
It was going to be awesome. April was a genius, he decided. She was a really cool genius who wasn’t a geek or too mean to him either, so that was even more awesome. Their timing couldn’t have been better - Tom had seen them fiddling around Jerry’s desk but ignored them, asking to talk to someone at SkyMall named Andreas about perfumes. Leslie was doing actual work somewhere else in the building, most likely making sure that the entire department had jobs, and Ron probably saw but never said anything.
There had been one part that wasn’t so awesome, or it was. Andy wasn’t sure. It was sweet but made his head hurt even more.
While April was busy moving the drawers of Jerry’s desk around, getting him to pull each one out and swap them, one of the drawers was a bit harder to move and was still struggling after a few minutes of hassle and jiggling.
“This drawer’s being stupid,” Andy said, straining to pull one of the grey metal boxes out.
“I don’t think drawers can be stupid,” April mumbled, trying to remain semi-quiet.
“Well, maybe this one’s a really smart drawer?” Pulling his hand off the handle, he looked at her with his neck craned in that inquisitive expression. “It’s so smart for a drawer, but I’m a dude so I’m way smarter than any drawer.”
Andy started pacing around the desk, staring down the middle-left box that was causing so many problems for them. It wasn’t long before the bad cop came out in him. And with Burt, came the cheap sunglasses he always kept in his pockets just for the occasion.
“You’ll open up eventually,” he said, “they always do.”
April had to hide her smile behind her hands if she wanted to at least look partially bored. She couldn’t help it, Andy – or Burt, at this point – was now interrogating a piece of office furniture with a completely serious expression on his face. If it went on long enough she might even laugh. Openly, and not at someone else’s expense. By now he was asking for contacts, for the information regarding a bunch of made up nonsense that sounded sorta professional and something a cop would say.
“All your little friends are already broken. They squealed,” Andy grunted at the grey and silver compartment. April snorted a bit, partially a laugh, and Andy took it in stride, “Yeah, how’s it feel being with the pigs now? Hm? Gonna break soon little piggy?”
Beyond the nonsensical question, it was still really funny to April, but then Ron walked out of his office.
“Andrew, can I ask you something?” The moustache was hiding the grimace underneath, but Andy still looked up at him brightly and immediately broke the persona of high-strung, hardcore FBI agent Burt Macklin. Despite this he was still wearing the dollar store shades.
“Sure, Ron,” he answered slowly.
“I’m just curious as to why you’re asking Jerry’s desk questions and calling it the world’s greatest delicacy,” Ron said brusquely.
April had to bite her bottom lip to stop her laughter, waiting for Andy to respond.
“We’re… um, putting a surprise in his desk to uh-y’know we’re gonna get him a birthday present…” he trailed off, “for his daughter’s… dog.”
“You’re going to get Jerry a birthday present,” Ron repeated, holding his hands out in front of him as if preparing to strangle someone, “for his daughter’s dog?”
“Yes,” April replied flatly, speaking up for Andy while he muttered a stream of nonsense words and ‘uhms’ and ‘ahhs.’
The challenge had been made, and April’s dead eyes and Ron’s hardened stare met for a solid twenty seconds before Andy felt awkward and wanted to leave. Probably forever, and preferably out of the country, as long as he never had to see these two stare at each other like they were going to suddenly engage in hand-to-hand combat or fall asleep.
“Well it’s actually a birthday present for Jerry’s daughter’s dog’s… um, birthday,” Andy broke the awkward silence, “Y’know, like a dog’s bi-“
“Why then, were you asking it questions?” Ron asked again.
“He’s obstructing justice,” April droned, pointing to Andy’s glasses. He turned back to her and smiled, and if he hadn’t been wearing sunglasses indoors he would have seen her face flush.
After that there was a second of silence and Ron blinked, looked up down between the desk and the two of them sitting there vandalizing perfectly good, well maintained government property. The bristles of his moustache turned up slightly and he nodded.
“Keep doing whatever it is you’re doing then,” Ron said as he turned around and made his way back into his office and shutting the door.
Whatever he had planned for them - some speech or reprimand - would have to wait for later it seemed. At least Jerry would be technically responsible because no one would rat them out. Now that that was over, Andy waited a few more seconds before April seemed to break from her trance after the mental sparring with Ron.
“I think I just heard it say something about you,” she said quickly while looking at Andy with a scandalized expression, “Burt, I think the suspect just said something about your mother.”
Andy broke out into a smile, forgetting about Ron and how he had quickly lost his cool. When he tripped over his words and sounded pretty dumb Ann would always call him stupid, which he thought was cute for a little bit. April never did that, and if she did it was hysterical to him. Then he dropped the smile and turned to the desk. Prepared to face it down, Andy grimaced because no one talked about Missy Macklin without walking out with a freshly minted black eye. Or a dent or broken lock or something. It wasn’t pretty however you looked at it. It was still super hard to pull it off without looking back at April and staring, probably saying something stupid, and then realizing he had a headache and his stomach felt weird again.
April, however, took to the task of making sure Jerry’s skin color was perfectly matching the fully nude body of some random porn actor that was now sitting spread eagle on his desktop. It always amused her that his password was never changed and she could get into his files so easily. Seriously, who uses their wife’s name for their work password? April didn’t even know that you could have your own password and was scrambling around one of the drawers for anything else to mess with when Andy accidentally bumped into the rolling desk chair and fell into the desk. Looking for some support his hand went into the opened desk and landed firmly down on April’s. Luckily his right hand grabbed the rest of the desk or she was pretty sure the whole thing would have been knocked over.
They were both technically adults, in theory, so touching hands shouldn’t have been a big deal or even awkward for more than a second. What were they, fourteen? Still, April thought that it felt really weird having Andy’s paw of a hand slam into hers and part of her wanted to wrap her fingers around his and kiss the shit out of him right there. But that sounded stupid after a second of really wanting to do it. Then again, it felt weird in a cool way.
Quickly retracting her hand, April scooted back. There was a wry, little smile on her face the moment Andy turned around and she tried to shift to an uncomfortable frown. It was obvious that he caught it because his face was red and bright. She didn’t look back at him after that like she usually would have, instead turning the computer off and walking out of the Parks offices quickly.
“Oh, oh okay,” Andy muttered to himself. It was pretty creepy, wasn’t it? He didn’t know if he wanted to hit himself for not talking to her or ignore it altogether. When he looked up from the desk he saw Ron staring at him through his office window, looking like if Andy walked in it would result in a small skirmish with any of the assorted weapons and whatever Ron could use as a makeshift weapon.
Ignoring the urge to go into Ron’s office and ask him about what’s even happening between him and April, Andy tried to focus on getting rid of his insane headache. It was like there was a thunderstorm in his brain, and it was all the friggin’ shoeshine’s fault.