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Tin Men

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Casey could count on a few things in his world. He could count on Lisa saying at least one nasty thing to him each time he talked to her. It was pretty much a given that Dana would lose it at least once a week. And every day, Dan did something that made Casey stare in awe.

Today Dan was in a suit coat, dress shirt, tie, shorts, and cheap flip flops. He was beach boy and businessman, all in one ridiculous package, and it shouldn't have worked, but Dan somehow pulled it off.

Because he was goofy, pantsless, and irresistible, Casey had him pinned up against one of the few walls on the 49th floor that wasn't transparent.

Danny was pretending he wasn't interested. "Is there something you want, Case?" Danny was good at pretending, and Casey tried to distract him by running a hand up the leg of his shorts.

"Yeah, I could think of a few things."

Dan sort of squirmed and slid sideways against the wall. Casey propped him up and stuck some fingers between the buttons of his shirt.

Danny wiggled some more and checked his watch. "I wonder what the score is on the Knicks game. I should look into that."

"I'll tell you what you should look into," Casey said, biting Dan a little on the neck, just behind the ear where it wouldn't show up on camera.

"Hey!" Dan grabbed Casey's arm. "You know what? I think there's egg rolls in the conference room."

"What--" Casey said, but Danny was already flip-flopping away down the hall, singing a nonsense song to himself about egg rolls.

Casey chuffed a laugh and followed.

There were indeed egg rolls, and Dan was sitting in Dana's chair with the white takeout container tucked under his arm like a tiny bongo. He had his feet up on the table and was humming while he ate.

"I can see up your shorts," Casey said.

"You really can't," Dan said, licking his fingers and looking unconcerned.

"I really can't," Casey admitted, "but I'd like to."

"What would you like to do?" Dana asked, appearing suddenly from behind him. Casey jumped. Dan kicked his feet together and grinned.

"I--" Casey started, but Dana had already moved on. Dumping her clipboard and armful of papers onto the table, she pushed her hair out of her eyes and squinted at Dan. "What, may I ask, are you wearing? And get out of my chair."

"He just got back from doing Letterman," Natalie reported, having materialized in the room with her own clipboard and armful of papers.

"I just got back from doing Letterman," Dan repeated obediently, like this was some lie he and Natalie were rehearsing. He did a little drum roll on his takeout bongo.

Dana scowled at him. "And what, they forgot to dress you all the way? Someone stole your pants on the way back? And I'll tell you another thing, in case you're wondering, I don't actually care about the answers to either of those questions. So what you're gonna do is get your butt out of my seat because it's time for a run-down meeting."

"Egg roll?" Dan offered.

"Move it!" Dana barked.

Dan hopped out of her chair. "I never knew someone so opposed to egg rolls. Casey likes egg rolls. Dontcha, Case?"

"I do indeed."

Dan nodded to himself and shoved an entire egg roll into his mouth.

"Did you know that in Britain egg rolls are called spring rolls? They're still made in the traditional Cantonese fashion, however, and contain eggs, along with cabbage, bean sprouts, pork, and a dash of shredded carrots," Jeremy said, gesturing with his hands as if he were making an imaginary egg roll in mid-air. "On the other hand, Vietnamese-style egg rolls don't actually contain eggs at all." He shrugged.

Kim pouted. "Now I'm hungry, and Dan ate all the egg rolls."

"I didn't eat all of them," Dan said, talking with his mouth full. "There were only three. I ate three of them."

"There were three. Three was all of them. You ate all of the egg rolls."

"Hey!" Dana slammed her hand down on the table. "Listen up, I have exactly three minutes to talk to you chuckleheads, and then I have to be downtown for someone's sister-in-law's baby shower because Calvin's brother--"

"Dana?" Natalie held up her arm and pointed to her watch.

"Oh my god! I'm late!" Dana swept her papers together into a pile, then grabbed them and started backing out the door. "I've gotta go! Fix that hole in the twenties! And check on Boston! And someone get some pants on Dan!"

They watched her through the etched glass walls as she bumped into a potted plant, knocked over some poor intern, and then dumped all her papers on Jeremy's desk before disappearing down the hall.

Dan brushed some crumbs off his shorts and stood up. Casey accompanied him back to the office.

"That woman gets crazier every year," Dan said. He grabbed a legal pad and sat down at their table.

"I'm fairly certain Boston's not playing any games today." Casey shook his head and collapsed on the couch. "No games of any kind."

"She's nuttier than a fruitcake in August," Dan said, picking up a pencil and scratching the tip of his nose with the eraser.

Casey stared out the window. "Maybe when she said we should check on Boston, she was just looking for a 'yep, Boston's still out there, Menino at the helm.'"

"What?" Dan looked up. "Who?"

"Thomas Menino? Mayor of Boston?"

Dan pointed at him. "Dude. Why do you know that?"

"I have no idea."

They looked at each other for a while and then Dan went back to his legal pad and Casey went back to staring out the window.

Natalie eventually flew in, saying that when Dana'd said Boston she'd really meant Seattle because the Celtics and the Sonics had the same sorts of colors and sounded a lot alike and Dana had ex-boyfriends in both cities so, after all, it was easy to see how she might get them confused. Natalie threw some papers at them and then left again.

Casey got up to use the laptop on the table across from Dan. "Seattle. The Emerald City."

Dan turned to a new page and kept writing, toes making his flip flop flap against his foot.

"So why are you dressed like that?" Casey asked Dan, nudging him meaningfully under the table.

"Yeah, that's my leg, Casey," Dan said.

Casey frowned. "I know it's your leg."

"Then why are you kicking me?"

"I'm not kicking you. I was trying to be, you know..."

Dan squinted at him. "Abusive?"

"Friendly." Casey waggled his eyebrows. Dan made a skeptical noise. "So, are you going to tell me why you're wearing shorts in November?"

"'Cause Jack Hanna and his monkey spilled a green chai latte on my pants." Dan chewed on his pencil.

"Which one of them was actually drinking the latte?"

"I didn't really stop to ask, Case. I had hot tea dripping down my leg. I was too busy doing a funny dance."

"Monkeys probably don't-- Wait, did this happen before or after the show?"

Dan leaned back in his chair. "Before. In the green room."

"So...?"

"So I did a little dance. I sang a little song: 'Hot hot hot!' and I took my pants off."

"I'm sorry I missed that."

"Chuck gave me some extra shorts he had with him and a PA ran over to the convenience store next to the theater and bought me some flip flops."

"Chuck? Who's Chuck? And why are you wearing his shorts? Didn't CBS have some pants you could borrow?"

"Why, Case, you sound a little jealous. Is it the thought of me in another man's shorts? Is that what's making your eyes all squinty?"

"My eyes are not squinty! And Chuck who!"

"If you had been there with extra shorts, I would have gladly worn them, but as it were..."

Casey gave him a steely eyed glare that probably just looked squinty.

"Chuck Knoblauch," Dan said, running his hands down his thighs with a flourish.

Casey wheeled closer to him. "You're wearing Chuck Knoblauch's shorts."

"I am."

"You went on national TV in Chuck Knoblauch's shorts?"

"I did."

"And flip flops."

Dan shook his head. "I am no slave to fashion."

"You're a rebel," Casey said, putting his hand on Dan's knee under the table. "And you're fucking sexy in those flip flops."

Dan pressed into Casey's hand for a moment before hopping out of his chair and running out of the office. "Show time!"

Casey stared after him. This was weird behavior even for Danny. He'd been pulling away from Casey all day, and Casey might not be the sharpest ex-husband in the drawer, but even he knew that something wasn't quite right here.

The PA squalled and then: "First team in the studio, please."

Casey got up and went to look for Dan. He was in the control room.

"Go ahead, ask me how the shower went," Dana was saying.

"That's okay," Dan said. "Hey, remember earlier when you--"

"No, really. Ask me." Dana made bring-it-on motions with her hands. "Casey?"

Casey exchanged a battle-to-the-death glance with Danny. Casey lost. He sighed. "How was the shower, Dana?"

"Little tiny itty-bitty baby booties!" Dana squealed, dangling a pair of pink booties at them. Dan lurched backwards.

"Okay. No." Natalie pulled her headset off. "Dana, we've been over this. Put down the booties. Casey, you two need to be in makeup, and Dan's still not wearing any pants."

"I'll tell you what he is wearing," Casey said. "Chuck Knoblauch's shorts."

Natalie raised both eyebrows. "Chuck Knoblauch?"

"The one and only Chuck Knoblauch," Dan said.

"Why is Dan wearing Chuck Knoblauch's shorts?" Natalie asked Casey.

"Because a monkey spilled tea on his pants."

Natalie nodded and put her headset back on. "Makeup. Now."

"Onesies!" Dana shrieked. "With Pooh Bear!" Natalie patted her hand and disconnected her microphone. Dan and Casey let themselves be funneled through makeup and wardrobe, getting their ties straightened and their noses powdered, and then went out to put on a show.

"So that's it for tonight, sports fans. Remember to keep your eye on the ball, and your television on CSC. I'm Dan Rydell."

"And I'm Casey McCall, and hey, can you believe it? We've been working together for ten years today. So, you know, send Dan some flowers or something. Good Night."

"And we're out!"

Dan was wiggling with excitement and could barely pull his microphone off. "You remembered!"

"Of course I remembered. You pouted like a girl when I forgot last year." Casey put his sound gear on the desk and left the stage. "Also the year before."

Dan flip-flopped after him. "I did not pout."

"Like a little girl," Casey said. Dan grabbed his arm and pulled him into their darkened office.

"You remembered our anniversary. This is big, Case. Huge. A major step in our relationship." Dan pushed him down onto the couch.

"In fact," Casey said, finally realizing what'd been going on, "you've been avoiding me all day because you thought I'd forgotten again. A pre-emptive pout."

Dan pulled Casey's tie off. "I was giving you a chance to correct your wrongs."

"You are a woman among men."

"Shut up. You remembered." Dan was grinning in the faint light coming through the windows.

"I did remember," Casey said. "Now let's get you out of those shorts."