Dan blames Amy, who'd (obvs) had 75% of her attention on her phone at the time.
Amy blames Mike. Mike shrugs and says he doesn't see the big deal.
"The big deal," says Dan, slamming his hand on the table. "Is that some human turd pointed a camera at Selina and told her they were shooting a piece on fucking space science and would she mind just saying--"
He gestures at the laptop and Gary obligingly hits the space bar to loop the clip again.
"Go ... get those geckos!" Selina says into the camera, smile shellacked on. There's a hashtag below her on the screen and John Oliver in the sidebar, with his bullshit imperialist smirk.
"So what, it's Comedy Central."
"It's HBO, you halfwit," Amy says.
Onscreen, the whole segment has started from the beginning again, John Oliver's dimply mock outrage at Vladimir Putin, the link to spam the Kremlin with demands.
"Mike," Amy says, like she's talking to a particularly slow kindergartener. "What's happening this week?"
It's like watching a slow mo video of a bullet going through an apple, seeing the idea land in Mike's brain, the look on his face slide from scorn to horror.
"The Russian trade talks," he says. "Putin's visit." The ultra-delicate, hyper-important Russian trade talks, in a slow news cycle, with a crazy touchy world leader.
"POTUS is going to napalm this entire office" Dan says.
Damage Control, 1:13 p.m.
"Fix. It." Selina says, spinning around the second the door shuts behind the President's Deputy Chief of Staff. Her voice is like ice and it's almost pathological, how quickly she can shift from plastic smile to someone who looks like she could probably suck your soul out. "This better be as forgotten as Bob Dole by the time I have to shake that man's clammy hand at the State Dinner." Gary's had her trying on overly shiny gowns all week.
"Um, ma'am," Amy says delicately. "It has been suggested that, ah, it might be preferable if you were to... not be in Washington during Mr. Putin's visit."
Selina's jaw drops.
"Un-fucking-believable," she says. "After all the legitimate fuck-ups people in this town make, I'm being run out of DC on a rail for this?"
"Oh!" says Dan abruptly. "Oh oh oh."
Selina turns to stare at him.
"I have an idea," he says. "You get a trip somewhere you like to go, we get to do damage control and lock down the stoner youth vote. Maybe."
Selina looks unimpressed but she's still listening.
"Well, enlighten us already, won't you?"
New York City, Tuesday, 10:47 a.m.
Dan draws the short straw and has to head over to the Daily Show studio for the pre-interview rundown with whatever self-important Jon Stewart lackeys they assign him. Selina is back at the hotel "taking meetings," which means napping and probably sending Gary out to buy her obscenely overpriced things the press would have a field day if they caught her buying.
He's trudging through their pathetic, dimly-lit concrete back hallway, eyes on his phone as he scrolls through the 26 emails he's gotten in the last hour, when he walks smack into someone else doing the same thing. Dan's arm connects with a phone and then the rest of him with a wall that smells like too much cologne.
"Hey," he starts peevishly, when he recognizes the snaggletoothed excuse for a human being in front of him as Jonah.
"What the fuck are you doing here?" he spits out, then says it again for good measure. "What the fuck are you doing here?"
Jonah smirks, since it's his transparently default reaction to everything.
"I'm everywhere, Dan," he says. "Finger on the pulse of the Beltway and the Big Apple. Which is more than I can say for your crack team of foreign policy experts."
Dan doesn't even bother replying to that, just looks at him blankly 'til Jonah shrugs a little.
"Plus my cousin's an intern here."
"Let me guess," says Dan. "You're also sleeping on his dorm room floor because you can't afford a hotel."
"Ha!" says Jonah. "As if. He has a futon."
"Hold up," says Dan. "What the fuck are you wearing."
Jonah's in a cheap-looking t-shirt, that says Go get those geckos, Selina! in bubble letters. The kind of Zazzle bullshit mouthbreathing Republican internet commenters churn out based on every blip in the news cycle.
"The fuck," Dan says flatly. "It's like you're trying to get yourself never hired again in this tow-- in DC."
"So defensive," says Jonah. "If you wanna stay in politics, you're gonna need a thicker skin. That's the difference between you and me." He puts his hands on his hips and nods toward his bare arms. "Like buffalo hide."
"While I don't doubt you've got some disgusting bovine-related skin condition," Dan says. "The difference between you and me is that I'm a professional with a job and the political savvy of a Clinton, and you're an unemployed 'blogger'" -- he makes air quotes, Blackberry in one hand -- "who can't even remember he's supposed to be a Democrat." He nods toward Jonah's shirt.
Jonah laughs humorlessly and Dan wonders if he's just actually impossible to intimidate or if it's the height thing. He's so much more effective when he can tower over someone while excoriating their life choices.
"Oh, Daniel," he says and Dan clenches his jaw. "Such smalltime partisan thinking. Spoken just like a Washington crony."
Dan raises an eyebrow.
"You worked at the fucking West. Wing. Until I got you fired. Remember that?"
That does it. Jonah's glowering now.
"Fuck you, Dan," he says, a particle of spit landing on Dan's cheek, but not reacting to the occasional spittle-flecked showdown is something Dan mastered during his first Hill internship. "If I only catered to Dems, I'd be ignoring half my potential audience." There's a pause as Dan blinks at him. "Of blog readers," he clarifies.
"What, so now you're Ana Marie Cox and Andrew Breitbart? Because Washington's so into nuance. Good luck with that strategy, champ."
Jonah juts out his chin, looking even more Lurch-like.
"Not true," he says. "There are all kinds of middle-of-the-road demographics in places of power."
Dan snorts, shaking his head and thumbing his phone back to life.
"Yeah, like who?" he says, waiting for his mail to refresh again. "Republocrats? Democans?"
"Um, they're called Log Cabin Republicans," Jonah says scornfully, which makes Dan jerk his head back up.
"Your new demographic is Log Cabin Republicans," he says tonelessly.
"They love me, man," Jonah says, spreading his arms. "Desperate to get a piece of this action. Desperate to tell me their secrets and try to lure me back to their dens of iniquity."
"Let me get this straight," Dan says, stepping in close. "Your strategic master plan is to flirt with gay Republicans to further your career as a disgraced Democrat blogger?"
It's so blatantly stupid and un-thought-through that he can't help it, he steps in even closer, 'til his crotch is brushing against Jonah's thigh, Jonah's against his hipbone. Dan's obviously not hard, but he knows Jonah can feel the bulge of Dan's dick against his leg, feel Dan's hip pressing into his own junk.
"Tell me, Jonah," Dan says, tone conversational. "Do they make you discuss Reagan-era tax reform before or after you suck them off?"
The effect is ruined a bit by the fact that Jonah's half giraffe, so Dan's looking up into his face instead of looming over him. Jonah looks unruffled.
"If you're trying to freak me out with gay chicken, it's not going to work," Jonah says. And then-- shit, he moves his leg so his thigh is rubbing Dan's dick through his slacks, a barely there movement but clearly intentional, back and forth, just the right amount of pressure. Dan's mouth is suddenly dry and his Blackberry feels sweaty in his hand. Jonah leans in over him, breath hot. "You have no idea what I'm capable of."
Dan chokes before he's laughing.
"Is that Smallville?"
"Die Hard, asswipe," he says. "The fourth one," he adds in a mutter. Dan snorts and then chokes a little as Jonah increases the pressure from his thigh.
"Tell me, Regan," he says. "What would your boss say if I told her you rubbed yourself off on me when you were supposed to be salvaging her latest press blunder?"
Dan jerks his hips instinctively back, then winces at not keeping his cool. He casts a pointed glance at the bulge in Jonah's own off-the-Gap-clearance-shelf jeans.
"I don't know, choad, what would Amy say if I told her it turned you on?"
"Just make sure you tell her I pack it long and strong," he says, after only a small pause.
Dan's already turning away, looking back at his phone as he starts to head down the hall.
"Aw, buddy," he says in his best condescending voice. "Not when you've got such a busy schedule getting on your knees for small government."
Jonah raises his voice to call after him.
"I am so gonna love the look on your face when I--"
Dan lets the exit door slam behind him.
The appearance could be worse. Selina says "hip" three times but Stewart pretends to have read Some New Beginnings and the next night Jessica Williams does a piece on how much shit would get done if women ran Washington. She doesn't mention Selina, but if Dan gets to take credit for it, he's counting it as a win.
Jonah texts him the next night, which is a horrible reminder that apparently Jonah has his phone number and apparently at some point Dan added Jonah to his contacts.
'Stellar diplomacy work. Have you considered State?'
Dan doesn't text back.