Season 2 – Episode 20 – “The Fall’s Gonna Kill You”

Episode Summary:

While White House counsel Babish (Oliver Platt) methodically grills staff members on their prior knowledge of the President’s (Martin Sheen) multiple sclerosis condition, Josh (Bradley Whitford) secretly commissions pollster Joey Lucas (Marlee Matlin) to conduct a hypothetical survey of public opinion before making the announcement. Meanwhile, Sam (Rob Lowe) is happy to learn of a lowered surplus estimate that will reinforce the administration’s case for a revised tax cut; Josh seeks more funds to support the overwhelmed Justice Department in its prosecution of tobacco companies; Donna (Janel Moloney) seems to be the only one concerned about the blazing earthfall of a failing Chinese satellite.

Script:

THE WEST WING
"THE FALL'S GONNA KILL YOU"
TELEPLAY BY: AARON SORKIN
STORY BY: PATRICK H. CADDELL
DIRECTED BY: CHRISTOPHER MISIANO

TEASER

FADE IN INT. OFFICE OF THE WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL - 5:30 A.M.
C.J. is sitting the desk outside the office. Oliver Babish enters.

OLIVER
Good morning.

C.J.
Good morning.

OLIVER
Did anyone see you come here?

C.J.
I really don't know.

OLIVER
Why not?

C.J.
I really wasn't paying that much attention.

OLIVER
I wish you would.

Oliver and C.J. enter the office.

C.J.
I walked from my office to your office.

OLIVER
Was there press outside your office?

C.J.
Not at five-thirty in the morning, no.

OLIVER
When did you find out about the President's MS?

C.J.
Last night when Leo told me.

OLIVER
Who else was there?

C.J.
Nobody.

OLIVER
Nobody else in the room?

C.J.
No.

OLIVER
Have you ever lied about the President's health?

C.J.
[frowns, crosses arms over chest] Should I have my lawyer here?

OLIVER
I am your lawyer.

C.J.
You're the President's lawyer.

OLIVER
I'm the White House Counsel, C.J. Have you ever lied about the President's
health?

C.J.
When did he tell you?

OLIVER
I'm sorry?

C.J.
When did the President tell you?

OLIVER
Six days ago.

C.J.
And Josh?

OLIVER
Two days after that.

C.J.
Toby?

OLIVER
Two days before he told me. C.J., have you ever lied about the President's
health?

C.J.
And Leo he told more than a year ago.

OLIVER
Yeah.

C.J.
And I've had this for six hours now, so maybe giving me some room wouldn't
be totally
out of line. You know what I'm saying, Oliver?

OLIVER
C.J., I'm going to have to ask you some questions, and the less you can be
pissed at
the world for no particular reason the better I think.

C.J.
I don't know you.

OLIVER
I'm sorry?

C.J.
I was told to report to you. I don't know you. You've been here what...?

OLIVER
Three months.

C.J.
Three months, so why should I trust you?

OLIVER
I don't care if you trust me or not!

C.J.
Imagine my shock.

OLIVER
I've got better things to do with my imagination.

C.J.
I think this is going really well so far, Oliver. It's almost hard to believe
that four
different women have sued you for divorce.

Oliver sits down behind his desk.

OLIVER
Well, you can do that if you want, C.J. I've been through it a couple of
times with
Josh and Toby, but sooner or later you're going to have to answer questions.

C.J.
Either to you or...?

OLIVER
A Grand Jury.

C.J.
Compelled by...?

OLIVER
A Justice Department subpoena.

C.J.
[as she sits down] Well, I have to tell you it'll be the first time I've
been asked out
in quite awhile, so...

OLIVER
It's entirely possible that the President has committed multiple counts of
a federal
crime to which you were an accomplice.

C.J.
[nods] That much has sunk in in the last six hours.

OLIVER
Has it?

C.J.
Yes.

OLIVER
So why don't you knock off the cutie-pie crap and answer the damn question?

C.J.
[pause] What was the question?

OLIVER
Have you ever lied about the President's health? What is your answer?

C.J.
[pause] Many, many times.

SMASH CUT TO: MAIN TITLES.
END TEASER
* * *

ACT ONE

FADE IN: INT. JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA - DAY
MARTIN CONNELLY is waiting in his coat. Donna comes to him.

DONNA
Mr. Connelly?

MARTIN CONNELLY
Yes.

DONNA
I'm Donna Moss, I'm Josh Lyman's assistant. He's tied up with Mr. McGarry
for just a
couple of more minutes, I hope you don't mind waiting.

CONNELLY
No.

DONNA
[walking through the bullpen] Does anybody know if it's gonna rain this
afternoon?
They're asking me.

WOMAN
The paper said mid-afternoon.

DONNA
So we know it won't be that. Cal the Navy Yard for me, would you?

WOMAN
Yeah.

Ed and Larry approach, laughing.

LARRY
Donna.

DONNA
Yeah.

LARRY
Have you seen C.J.?

DONNA
No. What's so funny?

LARRY
Ed just got a fax... [laughing] I'm sorry. Ed just got a fax from a man
named Byron
Talmadge. He's the Associate Administrator for NASA's Office of Space
Cadets....

ED
Flight.

LARRY
Office of Space Flight.

ED
The OSF.

DONNA
What's the fax say?

LARRY
A huge Chinese satellite is gonna come crashing to Earth, and we don't know
where,
and we don't know when.

DONNA
Seriously?

ED
Yeah, it's right here in the fax.

DONNA
I satellite is... crashing to Earth and NASA sent us a fax?

ED
Yeah.

DONNA
This is for real.

LARRY
Yes.

DONNA
[terrified] A satellite is gonna crush into the Earth?

ED and LARRY
Yes!

DONNA
Why are you laughing?

ED
We thought it was funny. [The two of them turn to leave.]

DONNA
I'm an assistant. What am I supposed to do with this information?

LARRY
The fax was for C.J., just give it to her when you see her.

WOMAN
Donna, they say it's not going to rain this afternoon.

DONNA
Well, that's a relief. [walks off]

CUT TO: INT. LEO'S OFFICE - DAY
Leo is sitting on his desk next to Josh and Toby.

TOBY
All right, hear me out on this, okay?

LEO
Yeah.

TOBY
We want to see some polling.

LEO
Why?

TOBY
'Cause we need to know what to do next.

LEO
We know what to do next.

TOBY
No, we don't know which is the more insurmountable problem - the perception
that...
[stops abruptly as Margaret knocks and comes in with a note for Leo]

LEO
[returning the note] We'll call back. [Margaret leaves.]

TOBY
[sighs] ... the perception that he's not physically up to the job or that
he lied
about it.

LEO
There's no way to gauge public opinion on this until the issue occurs. Public
opinion is
gonna be shaped by the reaction of the press.

JOSH
All public opinion's shaped by the reaction of the press, but the fundamental
foundation
already exists in their current perception that the President...

LEO
Josh, how are you gonna take a poll without...?

JOSH
We can do it.

LEO
Look...

TOBY
Leo.

LEO
I don't' trust any of our people, and even if I did, what kind of questions
could they
ask that won't trip an alarm?

TOBY
Josh trusts Joey Lucas.

LEO
From California?

JOSH
Yes, she's flying in right now.

LEO
What did you tell her?

JOSH
I told her we were commissioning a poll to explore attitudes towards
subsurface
agricultural products.

LEO
Subsurface agricultural... what the hell...?

JOSH
Underground. We think Americans are eating more beats.

LEO
Beats?

JOSH
Yeah.

LEO
All right.

JOSH
Okay?

LEO
Yeah. Toby, you want to talk about when we tell Sam?

TOBY
I wouldn't do it right now.

LEO
Why?

TOBY
His head is in the SME speech for Chicago...

JOSH
The thing...

TOBY
Hang on. His head is in Chicago and that's where we need him. Would you want
to write a
speech with this other thing around your neck?

JOSH
No.

LEO
The President wants him to know by the end of the day.

TOBY
The end of the day, then.

LEO
Okay. Anything else?

TOBY
No. Thanks.

LEO
Thank you.

JOSH
Thank you.

Toby and Josh exit to the HALLWAY. Toby waits for Josh to close the door,
and they walk.

TOBY
When does she get here?

JOSH
Six o'clock.

TOBY
We do this carefully.

JOSH
No kidding.

TOBY
You trust this person?

JOSH
[beat] I gotta trust somebody, right?

TOBY
Good, 'cause I don't trust anybody right now. [walks off]

DONNA [OS]
Josh?

JOSH
[walking to her] Yeah.

DONNA
A fax was sent to the Press Office from the Office of Space Flight at NASA. A
Chinese
satellite called Zodiac has fallen off its orbit and will be falling to
Earth at an
unspecified time and place.

JOSH
What are you telling me for?

DONNA
What am I telling you for?

JOSH
Yeah.

DONNA
This giant thing is falling to Earth. They're watching it on radar. Isn't
there
something we do?

JOSH
Like what?

DONNA
Like sound the alarm?

JOSH
Sound the alarm?

DONNA
There is no alarm...

JOSH
There's really not.

Josh approaches Martin Connelly in the LOBBY.

JOSH
Martin?

CONNELLY
[stands up] Yes.

JOSH
Sorry to keep you waiting.

CONNELLY
Oh, that's okay.

JOSH
Come on back.

DONNA
Josh...

JOSH
The fax is for the press office, give it to them.

DONNA
The deputies are at breakfast, and I don't know where C.J. is.

JOSH
Uh, Martin, you can have a seat in my office. [to Donna, quietly] C.J. is
meeting with
Babish. I'll be inside.

Josh and Martin walk in JOSH'S OFFICE.

JOSH
I apologize again.

CONNELLY
No, that's all right. [sits, clutching his briefcase] I assume you know why
I'm here.

JOSH
[as his beeper goes off] I don't, actually.

CONNELLY
Mack Sheridan was going to talk to you first.

JOSH
[waves his beeper] I have a call to return to Mack.

CONNELLY
I should wait until he talks to you first.

JOSH
Why don't you talk to me now?

CONNELLY
The case is running out of money.

JOSH
Which case?

CONNELLY
The US v...

JOSH
You're kidding me!

CONNELLY
No!

JOSH
Martin, we spent 13 million the first year, 23 million the second... Where's
the money
going?

CONNELLY
Outside counsel and staff, depositions, expert witnesses, processing database,
research...

JOSH
Yeah.

CONNELLY
[raising his voice] We have 31 lawyers on a case against 5 tobacco companies,
just one
of which has 342. We won't count the 13 subsidiaries that have mounted their
own defense.
Tobacco has spent 380 million dollars to the government's 36, so when I come
here asking
you for money, it's not because the Justice Department blew its allowance
on videogames!
[beat] I should have let Mack talk to you first.

JOSH
Aren't allowed to transfer funds...

CONNELLY
Yeah, that's what we've been doing. We've been transferring money from
Commerce and
Health and Human Services to pay for the lawsuit. But then the House passed
the HR-260
and now the Committees...

JOSH
Yeah.

CONNELLY
You understand?

JOSH
Yeah, let me run it by Leo.

CONNELLY
[gets up] This is a fight worth winning.

JOSH
You don't have to convince me.

CONNELLY
These people perpetrated a fraud against the public.

JOSH
I'm sorry?

CONNELLY
I said they perpetrated a fraud against the public.

JOSH
[stares at Connelly] The... tobacco companies.

CONNELLY
Yeah.

JOSH
Well, I'm... gonna talk to Leo and I'll tell Mack you were here.

CONNELLY
Thank you.

He leaves, while Josh continues looking at the spot he just stood in.

CUT TO: INT. OFFICE OF THE WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL - DAY
Oliver and C.J. are watching a videotape of C.J.'s press briefing.

C.J. [on TV]
Let me just finish this. He was hemodynamically stable at a blood pressure
of 140 over
80. Cholesterol level is 185, the QRS interval on the EKG is slightly long
but otherwise
good. The President is pronounced in excellent physical health.

Oliver turns off the recording.

C.J.
What was that? March of last year?

OLIVER
Yeah. How many times you've done that?

C.J.
I'd have to go back and check.

OLIVER
Estimate.

C.J.
If that was March of last year, then that was his fourth physical, then
there were a
couple of times during the campaign, and after the shooting...

OLIVER
Yeah.

C.J.
And the time he rode his bicycle into a tree.

OLIVER
When he sprained his ankle.

C.J.
Yeah.

OLIVER
[stands up and walks to pour himself more water] Tell me how it works.

C.J.
What do you mean?

OLIVER
When the President has a physical.

C.J.
The President's physician - right now it's Admiral Leonard Morrow - the
President's
physician calls me, gives me a short statement including vitals.

OLIVER
And then you make a statement to the Press?

C.J.
Yeah.

OLIVER
[sits down with the glass of water] Do you also speak with the President
before you make
the statement?

C.J.
Yes.

OLIVER
Why?

C.J.
Because of doctor-patient confidentiality there's only so much you're gonna
get from the
doctors.

OLIVER
So what do you ask the President?

C.J.
I say, is there anything I should know about your health that the doctors
won't tell me.

OLIVER
I'm gonna ask you something.

C.J.
What?

OLIVER
Do you say, 'is there anything I should know' or do you say 'is there anything
I need to
know?'

C.J.
What does it matter?

OLIVER
Which do you say?

C.J.
What does it matter?

OLIVER
'Is there anything I need to know' implies you only want to know enough to
face reporters
while maintaining deniability.

C.J.
It's an expression.

OLIVER
Did you use it?

C.J.
I really don't remember, I don't. I don't choose my words that carefully?

OLIVER
With the President?

C.J.
You think I was speaking to the President in code?

OLIVER
No. I was just asking.

Knocking on door.

OLIVER
Yeah!

STAFFER
[comes in] Excuse me, C.J., this is a note from Donna Moss, who wanted you
to see it
right away.

C.J.
Thanks.

The staffer leaves, she reads the note and shows it to Oliver.

C.J.
The sky is falling down.

FADE OUT.
END ACT ONE
* * *

ACT TWO

FADE IN: INT. THE ROOSEVELT ROOM - DAY
A dozen aides are seated at the table listening as Sam paces around the
table reading
a draft of the SME speech.

SAM
"The debate over a tax cut - whether to have one or not, how large it should
be, how
small it should be, what share should be received by whom - all of this,
my friends, is
the wrong debate at the wrong time over the wrong issue." Yes. We need to
get back to
fundamentals.

AIDE 1
Where is that?

SAM
Where is what?

AIDE 2
"We need to get back to fundamentals."

SAM
It's not in the speech. I'm saying it. We need to get back to fundamentals.

There's a knock at the door. Sam glances over at the door, then turns back
to the aides.

SAM
Excuse me. Think about fundamentals.

Sam steps into the hall. JANE GENTRY and RICHARD WILL are waiting for him.

JANE GENTRY
Ready for some good news?

SAM
Yeah.

RICHARD WILL
Not out here.

They walk around the corner toward SAM'S OFFICE.

JANE
This is gonna be a front-page story tomorrow.

SAM
There's a front-page story tomorrow I don't know about yet?

RICHARD
Well, you're gonna know about it in two hours.

SAM
But I'm gonna know about it now, right?

Sam closes the door of his office. They all remain standing.

JANE
The CBO's gonna issue a new estimate of the surplus.

SAM
They're projecting it down?

JANE
Yeah.

SAM
We don't have as much money as we thought?

JANE
No.

SAM
That's great news.

RICHARD
Yeah.

SAM
It's not great news that we have less money. I'm saying...

RICHARD
Yeah.

SAM
'Cause the floor fight's gonna be easier.

JANE
Yeah.

SAM
How much less money?

RICHARD
Well, when they project eight years out, it's 200 billion less. Nine years
out, it's
400 billion less.

SAM
That is great.

JANE
Yeah.

SAM
It's not great that we have less...

JANE
Sam, we get why it's great.

SAM
I can't even tell you how much this helps. I'm drafting the SME speech for
Chicago and
I could really...

JANE
That's why we're telling you. There's a line that ATJ and the Progressive
Caucus want in
the Chicago speech.

RICHARD
[hands sheet of paper to Sam] I got it here.

SAM
[reading] "We want a real tax cut for working families to help them pay for
higher
education and housing, while our opponents want to help the rich pay for
bigger swimming
pools and faster private jets. [pause] No, I don't think so.

JANE
They want it in.

SAM
No, no, no.

JANE
Why not?

SAM
Well, for one thing, it's very bad writing.

RICHARD
Summer homes and sports cars.

SAM
The poetry's not my problem.

RICHARD
They want it in Chicago.

SAM
Well, tell them to do their own speech. This one's for the President.

RICHARD
You wanna tell them that?

SAM
No.

RICHARD
Okay.

SAM
We have less money?

RICHARD
Isn't that great?

SAM
Yes, it is. Thanks.

Jane and Richard leave. Sam watches them go.

CUT TO: INT. OFFICE OF THE WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL - DAY
A glass pitcher and drinking glasses rest in the center of the table between
Oliver and
C.J. Her arms are crossed in a defensive posture.

OLIVER
C.J., are you aware that a year ago January the President had an attack?

C.J.
I am now.

OLIVER
You were there when he collapsed.

C.J.
I was outside the room.

OLIVER
But you went into the room when he was unconscious.

C.J.
Yes.

OLIVER
What made you go into the room?

C.J.
The sound of a Stueben glass pitcher crashing to the floor.

OLIVER
What did you think had happened?

C.J.
I didn't know.

OLIVER
Well, what did you think?

C.J.'s tone becomes very sarcastic.

C.J.
Well, at first glance, I thought he might have a virus contracted from a
rare African
tsetse fly, possibly tropical sprue. I'm not an expert, but I did meet a
man once in
India.

OLIVER
Yeah.

C.J.
It could be anything with these Presidents. James Polk had diverticulitis.

OLIVER
Yeah.

C.J.
Couldn't digest nuts. I'll tell you what else. One in forty American men
wear women's
clothing, and we've had well over forty Presidents.

OLIVER
Yeah.

C.J.
I'm just sayin', one of these guys was dancing around the Oval Office in a
prom dress.
Now let's get to the bottom of that.

OLIVER
C.J.?

C.J.
Yeah?

OLIVER
In my entire life I've never found anything charming.

C.J.
[after long pause] Really?

OLIVER
You announced to the press it was the flu.

C.J.
Yes.

OLIVER
Who told you to say it was the flu?

C.J.
I wasn't told to say it was the flu. I was told it was the flu

OLIVER
Who told...?

C.J.
[yelling] I'm not getting into that! I'm not getting into who said what. We
can do that
at the next of what I'm sure will be many sessions.

OLIVER
Okay. [pause] Do you know what time it is?

C.J. pauses and glances to her right, presumably at a clock on the wall.

C.J.
It's five past noon.

OLIVER
I'd like you to get out of the habit of doing that.

C.J.
Doing what?

OLIVER
Answering more than was asked... Do you know what time it is?

C.J. stares at him silently for several moments.

C.J.
[annoyed] Yes.

OLIVER
We'll take a break and meet again later today.

C.J. wearily gets up to leave.

CUT TO INT. THE WHITE HOUSE MESS - DAY
Sam walks into the Mess and spots Toby sitting alone at a table drinking
coffee and
reading a folded up section of a newspaper.

SAM
Hey.

TOBY
[holds up newspaper] You see this?

SAM
That was nice.

TOBY
We got good reviews on the commencement speech.

SAM
Yeah.

TOBY
From Maynard Wachtel, of all places.

Toby tosses the newspaper on the table, stands up, and walks over to the
coffee counter.

SAM
You got a second?

TOBY
He calls you and me the Batman and Robin of speech-writing.

SAM
Well, I don't think he does...

TOBY
He doesn't, but he should, 'cause that's what we are.

SAM
Okay.

Toby grabs a pastry from the counter as he refills his coffee mug. His speech
is a bit
slurred as he chews.

TOBY
We're Batman and Robin!

SAM
Which one's which?

TOBY
Look at me, Sam. Am I Robin?

SAM
I'm not Robin.

TOBY
Yes, you are.

SAM
Okay, well, let's move off this.

TOBY
You bet, little friend.

They walk through the Mess toward the STAIRS.

SAM
Listen, we're really not Batman and Robin.

TOBY
No, we'll keep those identities secret. I'm Bruce Wayne, and you're my ward...

SAM
Toby...

TOBY
...Dick something.

SAM
Jane Gentry and Richard Will came to see me with some news. The CBO's
projection...

TOBY
Really?

SAM
Yes. Has us 200 billion lower eight years out.

TOBY
That's fantastic news.

SAM
Yes.

TOBY
When is this real?

SAM
This afternoon.

TOBY
The projections are lower?

SAM
Measurably lower.

TOBY
I'm so happy I could spit.

SAM
This is really the first administration in history to favor slower economic
growth.

TOBY
I favor it when it gives us a bat and ball on tax cuts.

SAM
Yeah.

TOBY
We offer 'em a deal. We lower the bottom rate from fifteen to ten percent,
but we stand
our ground on no tax cut in the top bracket, and you know why?

They walk in the COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE.

SAM
'Cause it turns out we might not be able to afford it.

TOBY
Isn't it great?

SAM
Yeah, it's Christmas in Paris, but there's a line ATJ and the Progressive
Caucus want me
to put in the draft for Chicago.

TOBY
What?

They end up in TOBY'S OFFICE.

SAM
That we want to do great things, but our opponents want bigger swimming
pools and faster
private jets.

TOBY
Their private jets are too slow?

SAM
Toby...

TOBY
Change the writing.

SAM
It's not the writing.

TOBY
I know. [sigh] Listen...

SAM
Yeah?

Toby walks toward the door, but doesn't say anything for several moments.

TOBY
Nothing.

SAM
Okay.

TOBY
Don't worry about it.

SAM
So...

TOBY
I have to go to a meeting. You should talk to somebody at ATJ or the Caucus.

SAM
Okay, I'm gonna do that then.

TOBY
Yeah.

SAM
Okay.

They walk in opposite directions down that hall.

CUT TO: INT. OUTER OVAL OFFICE - DAY
Charlie is sitting at his desk working on the computer. Donna walks in with
a smile on
her face.

CHARLIE
Hey, Donna.

DONNA
Hey, Charlie.

CHARLIE
Is there anything you need?

DONNA
Nope. Just came in to say hi.

CHARLIE
How you doing?

Charlie stands up to get something from the storage closet.

DONNA
Good. [long pause] So, NASA's OSF tells us that the 30th Space Wing at
Vandenberg Air
Force Base believes that a Chinese satellite has fallen out of its
orbital... flight plan.
The last detection the 30th had placed it in what they call a "degrading
orbital path"
and it's now dropped off their radar, suggesting it's begun a rapid fall
towards the
Earth's atmosphere.

CHARLIE
[walks back behind his desk] Cool.

DONNA
No, it's not! What's the matter with you people?

CHARLIE
What'd I do?

DONNA
A thing the size of a garbage truck is gonna be in a two-thousand-mile-an-hour
free fall
and no one knows where it's gonna hit!

CHARLIE
I'm rooting for Zurich.

DONNA
Charlie...

CHARLIE
I've had it up to here with the Swiss.

DONNA
You don't...

CHARLIE
Hang on... [checks his pager] Excuse me.

Charlie leaves. Donna sighs and walks back toward her office.

CUT TO: EXT. WHITE HOUSE PORTICO - DAY
Several female aides and a Secret Service agents are standing by the passenger
door of
a black limousine. The agent opens the door. Abbey is sitting inside with
dark glasses
on. She quickly steps out of the car.

FEMALE AIDE 1
Good afternoon.

FEMALE AIDE 2
Welcome back, Mrs. Bartlet.

ABBEY
Thank you.

Abbey removes her glasses and walks briskly through the HALLWAY. She's all
business.
The aides follow her. Other aides join the pedeconference as Abbey heads
toward the Oval
Office.

FEMALE AIDE 2
A couple of reminders. You're at the Board of the Children's Cancer Fund at
the Sheraton.
That's at 300.

ABBEY
Before that I wanna be...

FEMALE AIDE 2
Yeah, you're gonna read at the Head Start program in SouthEast.

BOBBY
Welcome back, Mrs. Bartlet.

ABBEY
That's a snappy suit, Bobby.

FEMALE AIDE 3
How did it go yesterday?

ABBEY
I had a medevac helicopter named after me.

FEMALE AIDE 3
Yeah?

ABBEY
An AS335 F1 Twinstar named Abigail. I got to break a bottle of cider over
its nose.
[hands her glasses and briefcase to the aide]

ABBEY
Charlie.

CHARLIE
Welcome back, ma'am.

ABBEY
Thank you. Where's the President?

CHARLIE
He's waiting for you inside.

ABBEY
Thank you.

Abbey opens the door to THE OVAL OFFICE and closes it behind her. Bartlet
is standing by
his desk reading. He turns at the sound of the door and walks toward her.

BARTLET
Hey.

ABBEY
Hi.

BARTLET
Welcome back.

They are facing each other, about a foot apart.

ABBEY
How come I just found out about this?

BARTLET
How was the flight?

ABBEY
Jed... How come I just found out about this?

BARTLET
When Leo talked to you on the plane, he thought you already knew.

Abbey starts pacing around the room and raises her voice slightly.

ABBEY
You think I'm saying this is Leo's fault? I'm asking how come you didn't
tell me last
week?

BARTLET
And I'm saying, we still do this. We're husband and wife and parents, and
before we
launch into palace intrigue, we do, "Welcome back. How was the flight?"

Abbey stops pacing and nods, but only with her eyes.

ABBEY
What happened?

BARTLET
One of the forms Zoey had to fill out for Georgetown asked for a family
medical history.

ABBEY
Yes.

BARTLET
Did Leo tell you the rest?

ABBEY
[testily] Not after he realized that you hadn't told me already! Which is
a subject,
I assure you, we will be turning to in a moment.

BARTLET
Zoey wasn't eighteen yet when she started. A parent had to sign the form.

ABBEY
Did you sign it?

BARTLET
No, you did, Hot Pants.

ABBEY
I signed it?

BARTLET
It's gonna be okay.

ABBEY
[exasperated] Why didn't you tell me this on the phone?

BARTLET
Look...

ABBEY
[gritting her teeth, really angry] We talk on the phone three times a day!

BARTLET
[shouting] Cause I didn't! 'Cause that's... [lowers his voice slightly]
'Cause I didn't!

They stare at each other for several long moments. They both look exhausted,
miserable,
and a bit scared. Bartlet sighs repeatedly, looks away from her, and shifts
from side to
side several times. Abbey watches him, sighs heavily, and slowly walks over
to a chair.
Wearily, she sits down. She stares straight ahead, not looking at him. She
has a sad,
resigned look on her face.

BARTLET
I talked to Zoey this morning. She's gonna ace her finals.

ABBEY
She told me.

BARTLET
I hate Ellie's boyfriend.

Abbey looks up at him, but he's not looking at her.

ABBEY
She told me.

Bartlet slowly and uneasily meets her gaze.>

BARTLET
I need you to speak to the White House Counsel, Abbey.

ABBEY
[quietly] I know.

They stare at each other silently.

FADE OUT.
END ACT TWO
* * *

ACT THREE

FADE IN: EXT. SHOT OF WHITE HOUSE AND WASHINGTON MONUMENT - DAY
FADE TO: INT. THE WHITE HOUSE, MARGARET'S DESK - DAY
Josh is seated beside Margaret's desk. Leo walks in and grabs his messages
off the desk.

LEO
Hey.

JOSH
The First Lady's back?

LEO
Yeah.

They walk silently into LEO'S OFFICE. Leo closes the door.

LEO
I was talking to her on the phone and I mentioned Zoey's application without
realizing
the President hadn't told her yet.

JOSH
Why hadn't the President told her yet?

LEO
What do you want from me?

JOSH
Thirty million dollars.

LEO
No.

JOSH
Martin Connelly, who's an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division,
says they're
out of money.

LEO
On the suit?

JOSH
Yeah.

LEO
[exasperated] They're always out of money.

JOSH
We don't give 'em enough.

LEO
We passed a law last summer that says they can transfer funds from Commerce,
from Health
and Human Services. They can take it from Veteran's Affairs up to what? I
think twelve
million dollars.

JOSH
Yeah, but the problem is the law says that those transfers are subject to
approval by
various House committees, each of which has a chairman elected with the
eight million
dollars Tobacco spent in the last election. And even if the transfers were
approved,
it wouldn't matter, 'cause twelve million isn't gonna get it done.

LEO
Neither is thirty million.

JOSH
Then let's give 'em more.

LEO
No.

JOSH
Why?

LEO
'Cause we're gonna lose.

JOSH
So you give 'em enough to win.

LEO
We'd have to liquidate the Grand Tetons.

JOSH
They're saying thirty million and I think it's a steal at twice the price.

Leo is reading his phone messages and only half listening to Josh at this
point.

LEO
Staff it out to some people and report to me on it in what...?

JOSH
Two, three days?

LEO
Good.

JOSH
I'm going out to the airport.

Josh stands up and walks toward the door.

LEO
[looks up from his messages] All right... Do a job.

JOSH
[turns to look at Leo] Yeah.

CUT TO: INT. THE ROOSEVELT ROOM - DAY
Sam walks into the room. Several members of the Progressive Caucus - including
Henry,
Helen, Bruce and Lewis - are standing around the table waiting for him.

SAM
Hi.

HENRY
Hey, Sam.

SAM
Henry, Helen. Hey, Bruce.

BRUCE
How you doing, Sam?

Everyone except Sam and Henry sit.

SAM
Lewis. We just have a few minutes, right?

LEWIS
There's a caucus.

SAM
Well, you've already heard the good news. The CBO, when they project eight
years out,
has the budget surplus coming in 200 billion dollars lower than we thought.

CAUCUS MEMBERS
That's great.

SAM
Yeah, okay, there's something wrong with all of us, but that's for a different
time.
[finally takes a seat] What I wanted to mention was Jane Gentry and Richard
Will say
you guys want a line in the Chicago draft.

HENRY
"Jet planes and swimming pools."

SAM
Yeah, that "our opponents want to help the rich pay for bigger swimming
pools and faster
private jets."

HELEN
Yeah, hit 'em hard.

SAM
Well, we are hitting them hard, but I'm not gonna use the line.

HENRY
Why not?

SAM
First of all, it's bad writing.

HENRY
What's wrong with it? [sits]

SAM
It sounds like it was written by a high school girl.

HELEN
Is there something wrong with the way a woman writes?

SAM
There usually is when she's in high school.

HENRY
Sam!

SAM
It's not the writing. Come on, Henry! "Faster private jets and swimming
pools?"

HENRY
We can take out the heavy bats now.

SAM
And do what with them?

HELEN
The line works.

SAM
So does "How about 'em Cowboys?" when you're playing a club in Dallas,
but the line
isn't gonna change the mind of anyone who doesn't already agree with us.

HENRY
Sam, are you in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy?

SAM
I am not. I am in favor of tax cuts for those for whom it will do the most
good - and
that's a tough enough battle - and it looks like, all of a sudden, we've
got a fair
fight. But I'm not talking about policy. I'm talking about rhetoric, and
the men you
work for need to dial it down to five.

Several of the Caucus members exchange annoyed glances.

SAM
Henry, last fall, every time your boss got on the stump and said, "It's time
for the
rich to pay their fair share," I hid under a couch and changed my name. I
left Gage
Whitney making $400,000 a year, which means I paid twenty-seven times the
national
average in income tax. I paid my fair share, and the fair share of twenty-six
other
people. And I'm happy to 'cause that's the only way it's gonna work, and
it's in my
best interest that everybody be able to go to schools and drive on roads,
but I don't
get twenty-seven votes on Election Day. The fire department doesn't come to
my house
twenty-seven times faster and the water doesn't come out of my faucet
twenty-seven times
hotter. The top one percent of wage earners in this country pay for twenty-two
percent
of this country. Let's not call them names while they're doing it, is all
I'm saying.

HELEN
You're not using the line?

SAM
No.

HELEN
Or anything like it?

SAM
No. And I hope you'll make it clear to your people that this has nothing to
do with
diluting our position or cozying up to Republicans.

HENRY
[sarcastically] No, why would they think that?

LEWIS
We've got a caucus.

The Caucus members get up and start to leave. Sam remains seated.

SAM
[over his shoulder] I know plenty of women who can write, Helen. I know
women who can
blow the walls of brick buildings. This sounds like a girl.

Helen doesn't respond, just stares at him for a moment, and leaves.

CUT TO: INT. NATIONAL AIRPORT TERMINAL - DAY

ANNOUNCER
...Airlines Flight 1106, arriving from Los Angeles, is now in Gate Six...

Joey Lucas and a new interpreter, DALE BRACKET, walk through the terminal
amidst waves
of people. Josh spots them and catches Dale's attention.>

JOSH
Joey!

Dale taps Joey on the shoulder and points at Josh, who is walking quickly
toward them.

JOSH
Joey... How you doing?

JOEY
Hey!

JOSH
[to Dale] I'm Josh Lyman.

DALE BRACKET
Dale Bracket. [They shake hands.]

JOSH
What happened to Kenny?

JOEY [DALE]
He's on vacation.

JOSH
[to Dale] So you're the substitute interpreter?

DALE
Yeah.

JOEY
[pleased] You came here to pick me up at the airport?

JOSH
Not exactly. Uh, Dale, I'm gonna ask you to wait over her, okay?... Uh,
Joey, you're
gonna read my lips, and if I can't understand what you're saying, you'll
write it down,
all right?

Joey nods, looking perplexed but amenable.

JOEY
Okay.

JOSH
[to Dale] Excuse us.

Josh and Joey walk away from Dale.

JOSH
Dale?

Josh looks over his shoulder at Dale.

JOEY
Yes.

JOSH
Pretty good-looking for an interpreter, wouldn't you say?

JOEY
He's good-looking for anybody.

JOSH
Dale Bracket?

JOEY
Yes.

JOSH
[sarcastically] He's not a television detective?

JOEY
We can't talk about this in the car?

JOSH
I'm sorry?

JOEY
[a bit louder] We can't talk about this in the car?

JOSH
You're not getting in the car.

JOEY
Why?

JOSH
'Cause you're getting back on a plane in an hour and ten minutes.

They sit down at a table in the middle of a bar that is along the side of
the terminal.
Joey, increasingly confused, drops her bags next to her chair, Josh sighs
heavily.

JOSH
All right, if we sit like this, can Dale Bracket, PI, read my lips?

JOEY
[slightly annoyed] No.

JOSH
Okay... You're not talking to me about an agriculture poll.

JOEY
No kidding.

JOSH
You guessed that?

JOEY
You think we're eating more beets?

JOSH
Well, we are, but... that's not important.

JOEY
What's important?

WAITRESS
Hi, what can I get for you?

Joey grabs a napkin and writes on it while Josh orders.

JOSH
Uh, cranberry juice and club soda...and, um, I'll have a large glass of ice
water.

Joey slides the napkin across the table to Josh. She's written, "What's
important?"

JOSH
I told Leo McGarry that we could trust you, and Toby backed me up.

JOEY
[nodding] What's important?

JOSH
[swallows apprehensively] Eight years ago, the President was diagnosed with
an illness
that was never disclosed.

Joey absorbs this information pretty calmly. She writes on the napkin again
and Josh
picks it up. She's written, "Is it serious?"

JOSH
[softly] Yes.

JOEY
What is it?

Josh stares at her as he signs the letters "M" and "S."

WAITRESS
Cranberry and club... and a large glass of ice water.

Joey looks sad and concerned, but doesn't say anything as the waitress sets
their drinks
on the table.

CUT TO: INT. WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL'S OFFICE - DAY
There's a knock on the door and it opens. Oliver's aide steps into the room.>

AIDE
Excuse me... The First Lady.

OLIVER
Thank you.

Abbey nonchalantly but resolutely strides into the office.

ABBEY
Oliver.

OLIVER
Good afternoon, Mrs. Bartlet. [They shake hands.]

ABBEY
How are you?

OLIVER
I'm fine, thank you.

ABBEY
[paces nervously] You know, I haven't been in this office since you moved in.
It looks great.

OLIVER
Thank you.

Oliver paces a bit, then stops and turns to face her. Abbey keeps pacing.

ABBEY
I haven't come in here because it seems that every time I do, there's a new
White House
Counsel. I think Leo keeps them in the basement, like those two ladies in
Arsenic and
Old Lace.

OLIVER
Yeah?

ABBEY
Anyway, the President is very glad you're here, particularly in this time
of nonsense.

OLIVER
Ma'am, would you mind if I asked you a few questions?

ABBEY
[allows just a bit of a nervous smile to appear] I'm not as experienced in
this as the
senior staff... I've read a book about Daniel Webster. I've read a book
about Benjamin
Disraeli. It seems the little experience I do have is with dead lawyers.

OLIVER
Just out of curiosity, ma'am, how'd they die?

ABBEY
If you're under the impression that you're the fifth White House Counsel
instead of the
first White House Counsel because of me, you're mistaken, Oliver.

OLIVER
I wasn't under that impression, but I think we should stick to the matter,
if it's all
right with you.

ABBEY
[sighs] You want to ask me some questions?

OLIVER
Yes, ma'am.

ABBEY
About Zoey's health form.

OLIVER
Yep.

ABBEY
[shrugs slightly] It was a form. It asked for, among other things, the
family's medical
history. It was left blank. It was a form - it was one of many forms. I
signed it without
reading it.

OLIVER
Was anyone else in the room when you signed it?

ABBEY
Oh, it was over a year ago. I really don't remember.

OLIVER
Was the President in the room?

ABBEY
I really don't remember.

OLIVER
You understand that when I ask the President that question, he's gonna tell
the truth?

ABBEY
[testily] And I imagine the President will also resent your implication that
I didn't
just do the same.

OLIVER
So the President wasn't in the room when you signed it?

ABBEY
[exasperated, shaking her head] I don't remember; he doesn't remember.

OLIVER
Mrs. Bartlet...

ABBEY
Oliver, you have kids, there are forms. School trips and soccer and band
uniforms and
report cards and notes to get out of gym. You've signed those forms for your
kids.

OLIVER
Their mother usually signs them.

ABBEY
And so do I. And, by the way, when you're the daughter of the Governor of
New Hampshire
and the President of the United States, there's a lot more forms on top of
that.

OLIVER
I understand.

ABBEY
[a bit sarcastically] Do you?

OLIVER
Yes. But a lawyer half my size, while cross-examining you during deposition,
will say
the following, he will say "Mrs. Bartlet, do you have an M.D. from Harvard?"

ABBEY
Yes.

OLIVER
"Are you board-certified in Internal Medicine?"

ABBEY
Yes.

OLIVER
"Are you board-certified in Thoracic Surgery?"

ABBEY
Yes.

OLIVER
"Are you an Adjunct Professor of Thoracic Surgery at Harvard Medical School?"

ABBEY
Yes.

OLIVER
"Are you on the staff of Boston Mercy Hospital and Columbia Presbyterian?"

ABBEY
Yes.

OLIVER
"Have you been practicing medicine for twenty-six years?"

ABBEY
[annoyed] Yes.

OLIVER
"Are you not able to recognize a standard medical history form when it is
put in front
of your face?"

ABBEY
I didn't read it! I didn't think it was important!

OLIVER
What else have you signed without thinking it was important? Prescriptions?

ABBEY
No!

OLIVER
Patient instructions?

ABBEY
No!

OLIVER
Oh, so just this?

ABBEY
Oliver, I am not an expert in the diseases of the central nervous system,
but I can tell
you that MS is not hereditary. The President's condition has absolutely no
relevance to
Zoey's health status.

OLIVER
Well, now you're changing your story, Mrs. Bartlet.

ABBEY
No, I'm not.

OLIVER
Did you sign it because you were absent-minded or did you sign it because
you knew best?

ABBEY
I signed it 'cause...I just signed it...It was a form...And I think making
a big thing
out of it is what makes it into a big thing!

OLIVER
Really?

ABBEY
And I'm not a hundred percent sure that that's not what you're going for.

OLIVER
Why would I want to make it a big thing?

ABBEY
Because defending the President in primetime looks good on a resume.

OLIVER
Well, I've got a pretty good-looking resume already, Mrs. Bartlet. And it's
not a big
thing because I say so, ma'am; it's a big thing. You're gonna get all the
questions I
just asked you, and quite a few more. And then they're gonna ask the President
if he was
in the room when you signed it. And that's when he's gonna give everyone's
favorite
answer from a President who has just announced that he has MS: "I don't
remember."

Oliver sighs, walks to his desk chair and sits down. Abbey remains standing
with her back
turned to him. She looks a bit shaken. Neither of them say anything for
several moments.

OLIVER
When are you gonna go public?

ABBEY
[faintly] Probably in a week. They're still strategizing.

OLIVER
Probably a live interview on the networks?

ABBEY
Yeah. [turns to look at him]

OLIVER
Jim Lehrer, Tim Russert, Barbara Walters... you... somebody... the President
sitting
in a den.

ABBEY
Yeah.

OLIVER
Followed by a live conference.

ABBEY
They're working on the strategy.

OLIVER
[imitating what the President might say] "I regret that I concealed my
condition from
the public. I regret the appearance that I tried to deceive the voters in
order to win
an election."

ABBEY
Yes.

OLIVER
And if we don't make it a big thing, they won't make it a big thing? [pause]
Mrs. Bartlet,
I'm not sure you have an appropriate appreciation of the size of what happens
next.

Abbey stares at Oliver. She looks completely shell-shocked, but does not
respond.

FADE OUT.
END ACT THREE
* * *

ACT FOUR

FADE IN: INT. NATIONAL AIRPORT CONCOURSE - DAY
Joey and Josh are still talking.

JOEY
When are you going public?

JOSH
Probably in about a week.

JOEY
A week? How?

JOSH
We're deciding. Probably a live interview, followed by a press conference. So
we need to
know what we're talking about. Joey, we need you to put a poll in the
field. You got to
come up with a model that gets us the answers we need without asking the
questions we
can't ask. You gotta come up with the model by yourself, you got to break
down the
results by yourself. Not even the callers can understand the questions
they're asking.
And you got to do it all in 96 hours. Is what I'm describing possible?

JOEY
[nods] We make it a Governor.

JOSH
A Governor?

JOEY
Of an industrial state.

JOSH
I don't...

Joey writes on the napkin.

JOSH
The Governor of an industrial state.

JOEY
Michigan.

JOSH
And you give him a degenerative illness.

Joey nods.

JOSH
Joey, you understand that before this is over we're probably all going to
be spending
some time in front of a grand jury.

Joey nods.

JOSH
You can do this?

JOEY
No problem.

WOMAN [on P.A.]
Los Angeles passengers pre-boarding for flight 1217...

JOSH
That's your flight.

JOEY
Josh?

JOSH
Yeah.

JOEY
How is the President?

JOSH
[leaning away] He's fine.

Joey touches Josh's chin and tilts his head up.

JOSH
He's fine. I'll tell him you asked.

JOEY
96 hours?

JOSH
Yeah.

JOEY
I have to go to work now.

Joey gets up and exits. Josh takes the napkin and carefully crumples it in
his drink.

DONNA [VO]
The Chinese Embassy won't even admit it's their satellite.

CUT TO: INT. OUTER OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT
Donna and Charlie are talking.

DONNA
We know it's their satellite. We've been looking at it for seven years. It's
like
looking through a telescope and knowing Mars is Mars.

CHARLIE
Donna, please tell me you didn't call the Chinese Embassy.

They start a walk and talk.

DONNA
I didn't call the Embassy -- "people" called the Embassy. It's not like this
isn't cause
for concern.

CHARLIE
That's right.

DONNA
That's right. The Chinese news networks don't report it 'cause they won't
admit it's
happening.

CHARLIE
Why do you suppose the American news networks aren't reporting it?

DONNA
That's a fascinating question to me.

CHARLIE
To all of us.

DONNA
We didn't know what kind of satellite it is.

CHARLIE
Could be anything.

DONNA
Communications.

CHARLIE
That's right.

DONNA
Weather.

CHARLIE
Yep.

DONNA
Could be a spy satellite.

CHARLIE
Could have plutonium.

DONNA
That's right.

Charlie stops. Donna walks through double doors, stops, realizes what Charlie
just said,
and comes back.

DONNA
Plutonium?

CHARLIE
Yeah.

DONNA
Plutonium.

CHARLIE
Well, nuclear reactors on a satellite aren't that common, but you never know.

DONNA
No, I suppose you don't.

Donna goes back through the doors, and walks by Abbey for another walk and
talk.

ABBEY
Hey, Donna.

DONNA
Good evening, ma'am. Welcome back.

ABBEY
Thank you.

DONNA
How was the trip?

ABBEY
Well, I got a MedEvac helicopter named after me. [as she passes staffers]
Hello.
[back to Donna] How are you?

DONNA
I'm fine, but there's a giant object hurtling its way towards us at devastating
velocity.

ABBEY
Tell me about it.

Donna peels off, and Abbey walks into C.J.'S OFFICE.

ABBEY
[knocks] C.J.?

C.J.
Good evening, ma'am.

ABBEY
Can I talk to you for a second?

C.J.
Sure.

Abbey closes the door, sighs, and sits down on the couch.

ABBEY
How was your day?

C.J.
Well, I got pretty well bitch-slapped by the White House Counsel, ma'am,
how about you?

ABBEY
[long pause] I wanted to be here when you were told. [beat] I didn't know
they were
going to tell you last night.

C.J.
[sighs] You know, Leo called me into the Oval Office... It was about 11,
and I was
standing with Toby when Leo called me in and Toby said, uh, "I'll be right
here in my
office when you're done." [beat] I didn't know what he meant or why he said
it.

ABBEY
Yeah.

C.J.
Babish said there's a difference between asking the President, "Is there
anything else
I *should* know," and, "Is there anything else I *need* to know?" He seemed
to think
"need to know" implies I know something already, but I don't want it confirmed
in order
to maintain... deniability.

ABBEY
Well, he's a lawyer, C.J. He's vetting. It's his job.

C.J.
I told him I couldn't remember which one I say.

ABBEY
There were a lot of things I couldn't remember.

C.J.
Abey... [sits on couch] During the campaign, we were in Manhattan, Kansas,
at a Sheraton,
or a Marriott, I can't remember, but we were in Manhattan, Kansas... And I
came to your
suite early to tell you we'd be doing Nightline that night and we had to
get to an ABC
affiliate. And I think by then the two of you were so used to people walking
in and out
of your room that you didn't hear me open the door. And I was almost sure
I saw you
giving the President an injection of something.

ABBEY
It was Betaseron. It reduces the frequency of the attacks.

C.J.
When the President has his physical, and I do the release, I only ever ask,
"Is there
anything else I need to know?"

CUT TO: INT. LEO'S OFFICE - NIGHT
Leo is inside. A knock on the door.

LEO
Come on in.

Josh enters, and closes the door behind him.

JOSH
She's in.

LEO
What's she going to do?

JOSH
"If the Governor of a major industrial state had a degenerative illness
which he hadn't
disclosed during the election but which has yet to impair his job performance,
would you
still support him?"

LEO
Which one?

JOSH
Michigan.

LEO
Well... then we'll wait.

JOSH
Yeah. [pause] Listen, about this Justice appropriation...

LEO
You gonna do a report?

JOSH
Yeah.

LEO
Then, can I *read* the report before you ask me to green light another
multi-million
dollar battle that'll have no support in Congress?

JOSH
Yeah. [pause] I just brought it up because this Assistant A.G., Martin
Connelly, when
he left my office this morning he turned and said, "They perpetrated a fraud
against
the public." And the look on his face when he said it... They want to get
these people.

LEO
We're not big tobacco.

JOSH
Yeah.

LEO
He's expecting me.

JOSH
OK.

Leo crosses to the door to THE OVAL OFFICE. Bartlet inside, at his desk.

LEO
Good evening, Mr. President.

BARTLET
Leo, how could you tell Abbey about the health form before I did?

LEO
I didn't know you hadn't told her.

BARTLET
My wife and I are fighting battles on several fronts at the moment, including
one with
each other; can you and I be men? Can we have a bond?

LEO
We're putting a poll in the field.

BARTLET
How?

LEO
We're using a woman Josh and Toby trust named Joey Lucas.

BARTLET
I met Joey Lucas.

LEO
She's basically giving MS to the Governor of Michigan.

BARTLET
How's he gonna feel about that?

LEO
Don't worry about it.

BARTLET
This is a bad idea.

LEO
We've got to do it.

BARTLET
I'm coming clean, I'm doing it voluntarily. Anyone finds out, it's going to
look like
I did it because a poll told me to.

LEO
Then it'd be a good idea if nobody found out.

BARTLET
All right. [pause] Why don't you get Sam?

Leo exits.

CUT TO: INT. TOBY'S OFFICE - NIGHT
Sam enters.

SAM
So...

TOBY
Yeah.

SAM
I think I may have offended...

TOBY
Oh, God.

SAM
Yeah.

TOBY
Who?

SAM
Well, I met with some of the staffers for Americans for Tax Justice and The
Progressive
Caucus.

TOBY
And you think you may have offended them?

SAM
Yeah. [beat] And girls, possibly.

TOBY
Were you right?

SAM
Yeah. Toby, it's class...

TOBY
That's all you need to tell me. I trust you.

LEO
[enters] Sam?

SAM
Yeah.

LEO
Come see the President and me a minute, would you?

SAM
Yeah.

TOBY
Sam?

SAM
Yeah?

TOBY
I'll be here in the office when you're done.

SAM
Yeah, OK.

Sam and Leo exit.

CUT TO: EXT. WASHINGTON D.C. - NIGHT
C.J. is walking, and Josh catches up to her for a walk and talk.

JOSH
C.J.!

C.J.
Hey.

JOSH
You walking?

C.J.
Yeah.

JOSH
I met with Joey Lucas today.

C.J.
I heard.

JOSH
So now the President's got Leo worried it's going to look like we announced
it because
we took a poll. [beat] What do you think?

C.J. starts to laugh, then completely loses it.

JOSH
What?

C.J.
The President and Leo are worried about that?

JOSH
Yeah. What?

C.J.
You guys are like Butch and Sundance peering over the edge of a cliff to the
boulder-filled rapids 300 feet below, thinking you better not jump 'cause
there's
a chance you might drown. The President has this disease and has been lying
about it,
and you guys are worried that the polling might make us look bad? It's the
fall that's
gonna kill ya!

JOSH
"Us."

C.J.
What?

JOSH
You said, "It's the fall that's gonna kill you." You meant, "us."

C.J. turns away.

JOSH
Where're you going, C.J.?

C.J.
I'm going home.

JOSH
No, I meant...

C.J.
I know what you meant. I want to sleep for a while. I'm going home.

Josh follows after her.

JOSH
You know, uh, Donna got a hold of this fax that was sent to the press office
from the
O.S.F. at NASA.

C.J.
What, something falling out of the sky?

JOSH
Yeah.

C.J.
We get that fax once a week.

JOSH
Yeah, but Donna doesn't know that. She thinks it's an emergency.

C.J.
And you didn't want to tell her?

JOSH
No, 'cause the other way you get a day's worth of entertainment without
leaving the
office. She doesn't know that these things fall out of the sky all the
time... once
every ten days, as a matter of fact. Since the first year we started putting
man-made
objects in space, 17,000 have come back and remarkably, not one person has
been hit.
[beat] So I suppose there's an argument to be made that we're due.

C.J.
Yeah. You picked me right up there, Josh.

C.J. crosses the street.

JOSH
See you tomorrow!

We PAN UP to the "Pennsylvania Ave 1600 Block" street sign and --

DISSOLVE TO: END TITLES.
FADE TO BLACK.
THE END
* * *

The West Wing and all its characters are properties of Aaron Sorkin, John
Wells
Production, Warner Brothers Television, and NBC. No copyright infringement
is intended.

Episode 2.20 -- 'The Fall's Gonna Kill You'
Original Airdate: May 2, 2001, 9:00 PM EST
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