Much Ado About Politixs

by Michelle Hiley

Author's Notes:
The characters belong to Aaron Sorkin. The story is mine, please ask before archiving. Some lines here are stolen from Shakespeare of course, because that's the point.

On 11th April, Sarah Spooner put out a challenge on the West Wing Fan Fic list at Yahoo! -- write a story in the style of some poet, such as Shakespeare or Dr Suess. Long ago, I'd done a Shakespearean fanfic for another show, and enjoyed it so much, I thought I'd try it for the West Wing. Especially since his traditional birth/death date is coming up.

Posted 15th April 2001. My thanks to Mistress Spooner for setting the challenge.

SCENE: The White House.

DONNA sits at her desk, reading the script. Enter stage left, JOSH and SAM.

Josh: Did you get the script?

Donna: Yeah. Reading it now.

Josh: How do you and I fit in?

Donna: Star-crossed lovers.

Josh: No way. Really?

Donna: Really. And Sam's your best friend.

Josh: This is so not good.

Donna (pouting): Why not? It's romantic, Joshua! (dreamy expression). You might have to fight a duel for me.

Josh: My point exactly.

Donna: Josh! Why must you be such a pig?

Josh: Donna...they *die*. I read this crap in school, OK? They both die. I'll end up getting poisoned, or killed in some fight, or murdered by my own cousin, and you'll end up committing suicide. That's what happens!

Donna: It's tragically beautiful.

Josh: It's *INSANE*! I do NOT want to be the male star-crossed lover. Can't I be the wise old advisor who stands around at the end and goes on about how sad it all is?

Donna: And it's so great being that guy?

Josh: Hey, that guy gets to live. (off Sam's smirk). I don't know why you're laughing. You're the star-crossed hero's sidekick.

Sam: So?

Josh: So, he always dies as well. Only he doesn't get to have sex first. You're the only guy with a worse part than me.

Sam: You're kidding me.

Josh: Go see what happened to Mercutio. You're gonna be toast by the end of Act Two.

Sam: Can I be the wise old guy at the end?

Josh: No. I called it.

Donna: I can't *believe* you two!

(enter CJ, stage right.)

CJ: Why am I dressed as a boy?

Josh (turning to look at her): You're dressed as a boy?

CJ: It looks that way.

Josh: So this is a comedy?

CJ: Well, technically, yeah.

Josh: So I'm the male romantic lead in a Shakespearean style comedy? Not a tragedy?

Sam: Your point being?

Josh (grabbing the script): Oh that's the *best*! I get to live and have all the sex.

Donna: That's what you think, buster.

CJ: Did you see what Toby was wearing?

Sam: Is he dressed as a girl?

CJ: No, though I guess it's a possibility later on.

Josh: We have to have sex, it says so right here in the final act.

Donna (peering at the script): It says we get married in the final act. I don't see anything about sex.

Josh: You know, getting married first is a really old-fashioned notion.

Sam: So who's the villain?

CJ: Hoynes.

Sam: That figures.

Donna: Josh, you're not getting sex. You were mean.

Josh: I wasn't mean! C'mon how was I mean?

Sam: You wouldn't let me be the guy at the end. Instead I had to be the guy who gets killed in the second act.

Josh: I didn't write this!

Donna: And you wouldn't fight any duels.

CJ: Do you think I could get a longer tunic? I feel with nothing on my legs but pantyhose.

Donna: Guys wore short tunics back then. And hose.

CJ: They couldn't have given me a pair of britches?

Sam: So what happens to the romantic hero's best friend in comedies?

Josh: He lives. And he gets to sleep with the heroine's maidservant. I don't get sex just because I wouldn't fight a duel and die?

Donna: Yeah.

Josh: But if I did that, I'd have been dead. So I still wouldn't get to have sex long-term.

Donna: Life's unfair, Joshua.

Sam: Donna doesn't have a maidservant.

Donna: I can hire one.

Sam: Could you maybe pick Ainsley or Mallory? Either's fine.

Josh: How come he gets to have sex, and I don't?

CJ: Do I get to have sex?

Josh: You marry the Duke.

CJ: I do?

Josh: Sure. Dress up as a young boy, you'll end up marrying the Duke.

CJ: That is disturbing on so many levels.

Josh: Donna, I'm sorry I didn't want to get killed off horribly, and have you commit suicide.

Donna: Thank you.

Josh: Can we have sex now?

Donna: Act three. Maybe.

(enter LEO, dressed as a Ghost.)

Leo: What gives, people? We should have started five minutes ago! (looks CJ up and down). You forget to wear any pants today?

CJ (tugging at tunic): I'm gonna talk to wardrobe.

Leo: Did you see what Toby was wearing?

CJ: Yeah. What with that, and me dressed as a boy, I really hope there's no Press here.

Leo: Danny Concannon's out front.

Sam (to Donna): Maybe your maidservant ought to wear one of those little French maid outfits.

CJ: I'm putting on some britches. Right now.

Leo (to Sam, Josh and Donna): You people aren't even in costume yet? Go! Go! We need to start!

(Exeunt all, arguing, hurried along by LEO.)


The West Wing Players hereby present

Much Ado About Politixs.
What They Want.
By Mistress Michelle Hiley.

A Verrie Tragical Comedie, in Four Acts.

As performed with great enthusiasm before the Queen's Majesty herself. Well, no, not really, but maybe she'll log on one day.

Dramatis Personae.
JED, Duke of Washington.
LEO, formerly Duke, now a Shade.
CHARLIE and TOBY, in attendance on the Duke.
JOSH, a merchant of Washington.
SAM, friend and kinsman to Josh.
HOYNES, Jed's evil brother.
Two evil Hoynes MINIONS.

DONNA, a noblewoman.
AINSLEY, maidservant to Donna.
CJ, seeking service in the Duke's household.
MRS. LANDINGHAM, the Prologue and Epilogue, also maid to the Duke.
GINGER, maidservant to Toby.
CATHY, maidservant to Sam.


SCENE: The White House, and various other parts of Washington.


Enter, centre stage, MRS. LANDINGHAM.

Mrs. L: Two parties, both alike in dignity....oh like this is so original....

(cue annoyed cough from the writer.)

Mrs. L: Fine, Fine.

(sighs and addresses the readership.)

Two parties, both alike in dignity.
In fair DC, where we do lay our scene.
Within the White House, secret mutiny,
Where envious princes stew with thoughts unclean.
From forth the corridors of power'd foes,
Come ghosts and fools, caskets and loving wives,
Which traffic forms the basis of our show,
Wherein we'll show you three days of their lives.
The secret passions of politic hearts,
Their loves and rivalries - you get the gist,
(Though graphic sex scenes none are in these parts
They don't allow such scenes upon this list.)
But harken, as this tale I show to thee
And what I miss - well wadda ya want for free?




SCENE ONE. Night. The battlements of the White House. CHARLIE, a guard, is cowering wide-eyed in the corner.

Charlie: I'm really not getting paid enough for ghosts. (looks around). I never knew this place had battlements before.


Leo: Whoo..whoo....shit, who the hell *wrote* my part?

Charlie: What wantest thou, thou spectral fiend?

Leo: Spectral fiend? Oh, now you hurt my feelings, kid.

Charlie: I'm sorry, sir. I didn't mean to.....

Leo: Don't worry about it. (strikes a pose). The clock has stricken twelve. Hear now, my words.

Charlie (checking watch): Uh, actually....

Leo (ignoring him): All hail to thee! Fetch unto me thy master!

Charlie: Uh...I think he's having dinner with the First Lady.

Leo: Typical. OK, ask Mrs. Landingham to pencil me in for tomorrow night, here on the battlements. OK?

Charlie: I'll tell her, sir.

Leo: Good boy.

(The GHOST vanishes.)

It vanished, unto the very air! Oh perilous fear!
This news will I impart unto my lord.
Or better yet, I'll tell it unto Toby.
Perchance he knows how best we give this news,
Unto his Lord the Duke.
I'll go seek Toby now.



SCENE TWO. A tavern in downtown Washington, the next evening. At the bar sit JOSH and SAM.

Sam: Hey, these are nice hats they gave us. With the feather and all. Very Musketeerish.

Josh (removes hat and studies it): Yeah. It's good for doffing. (looks Sam up and down). That's a nice shirt and pants.

Sam: You too. We look good, huh? I'm glad they dressed us in britches, and not pantyhose like CJ.

Josh: No way I'm wearing pantyhose.

Sam: What are we doing here anyway?

Josh: Drinking ale.

Sam: Aren't we supposed to be doing something else?

Josh: Any moment now.

(Enter CATHY, maidservant to SAM.)

Sam: How now wench! What news bringst thou?

Cathy (dangerous tone): *Wench*?

Sam: How now...Cathy. What news?

Cathy: That's better. My lord, I hear great tidings in the market.

Sam: Well, spill it.

A noblewoman, praised throughout the town,
Both for her beauty, and her great renown,
Is minded now to wed, and to that end,
The news of her, to bachelors they send.
But he that wants her, be he rich or poor,
Must solve a test, before she's his by law.
And so she waits, until the test be tried,
And passed by he that make her shall his bride.

Sam: Is this a plot development?

Josh: Depends. Is it Donna?

Cathy: Yeah.

Josh: Innkeeper! Check please.

Sam: Did they mention anything about a maidservant?

Cathy: No.

Sam: Because apparently there's supposed to be one.

Josh (clapping hat back onto his head, and getting to his feet):
Come sirrahs, let's away!
I'll woo to win, if Love be on my side,
And 'fore this play is done, claim now my bride.

Sam (also getting up): We should find out more about this test first.

Josh: Ooh, good point.

(Exeunt all.)


SCENE THREE. The White House, that same evening. At his desk sits JED, Duke of Washington.

Jed: Mrs. Landingham!


Let me have men about me that are fat.
Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o'nights.

Mrs. Landingham: Excuse me sir? Sleep o'nights?

Jed: You're right, I guess that's kinda out given the workload. Mrs. Landingham, could I have a banana?

Mrs. Landingham: Yes sir.

(Exit MRS. LANDINGHAM. A moment later she returns, with a banana.)

Mrs. Landingham: Your banana sir. And Toby is waiting to see you.

Jed: Send him in!

(Exit MRS. LANDINGHAM. Enter TOBY, dressed as a jester, in multi-coloured motley, cap and bells, and carrying a mandolin.)

Toby (deadpan): Verily nuncle, tis I, your loyal fool.

Jed: You're supposed to caper.

Toby: Sir, with all due respect, there is not the slightest chance of me capering in any way whatsoever.

Jed: How about some hey nonny nonnying?

Toby: I do not hey nonny nonny. I do not comically wave a pig's bladder around. I do not dance, I do not jest, and under no circumstances will I caper.

Jed: Toby, you are the most miserable jester I've ever seen.

Toby: It's kind of you to say so, sir.

Jed: What news, my Fool?

Toby: Marry my lord, the Ghost hath walked again.

Jed (overacting like crazy): Again? Then must I to the battlements tonight. And see perchance if it appears to me.

Toby: I'll warrant sir, it will.

Jed: It will?

Toby: It's Leo sir, that's his part. So I'm guessing he'll show.

Jed: Isn't this a comedy?

Toby: For Josh's sake, I hope so.

Jed: Then why do we have a ghost?

Toby: I think we have a bit of everything.

Jed: Oh. OK. Then I'll away. (checks script). Time for a song.

Toby: No.

Jed: That's a direct order, Toby. I'm letting you off the capering.

(Exit JED, stage left.)

Toby (singing in a flat monotone.):
When that I was but a little tiny boy,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
I liked not laughter and I liked not joy,
For the rain it raineth every day.

Then when I came to man's estate,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
I learned to be sarcastic, and that was really great,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came alas! to wive,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
We ended up divorcing, and it wasn't a surprise,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when it comes unto my bed,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
I really should confess I've got CJ in my head,
Though the rain it raineth every day.

A great while ago the world begun,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
But that's all one, my song is done,
And thank God it is, is the only thing to say.

(Exit TOBY.)


SCENE FOUR. A windswept battlement, at night. JED is standing, waiting to see if the Ghost will appear. Beside him CHARLIE, the guard, is leaning against the wall.

Jed: You say it walks abroad even at this hour?

Just so, sir - these two nights while I've kept watch.
With slow and steady footsteps has it paced.
Along this wall, and softly moaned in grief.
And asked that you be summoned.

Jed: How now! It asked for me?

Charlie: Yessir Mr Presi....Mr Duke, sir.

Jed: Poor ghost! I'll wait on it. (pause). Charlie, while we wait, did I ever tell you about the time I went to Yellowstone National Park?

Charlie: I should go patrol the other side sir, make sure there's no ghosts.

Jed: Oh of course. Of course.

(Exit CHARLIE, stage left. JED stands and waits for a few seconds, until from stage right, LEO, THE GHOST, appears.)

Leo: Behold, I am here. (rattles chains.)

Jed: What manner of spirit art thou?

I am a ghostly spirit, that am sent.
To walk once more on earthly firmament.
To thee thy future here I will unfold.
And of a mighty fate, be thou now told.
Thou could be great, if thou wouldst listen well.
To messages thy better angels tell.
Instead thy demons shout them down and prate,
To keep thee from the glories that await.

Jed: That was really very nice.

Leo: Thanks. Wasn't easy working 'firmament' in there.

Jed: Toby said something like that once about my demons shouting down my better angels.

Leo: Where is Toby?

Jed: Sulking about the cap and bells.

Leo: Oh.

Jed: Anyway, go on. You were very scary.

Leo: I'm not really dead you know. They just covered me in flour.

Jed: That's good. We have senior staff after this.

Leo: Oh that's right. (resumes dramatic pose). Beware the Ides! Beware the Ides of November!

Jed: Why?

Leo: Midterms.

Jed: That's good advice.

Leo: I'm a Ghost. We're always right.

Jed: Boy, I should hire a few more phantoms.

Leo: I must depart. Remember well my words. And weep for this, my most unhappy fate.

Jed: You're not happy?

Leo: I'm fine. It's just Ghost Talk. I'll catch you later.

(Exit LEO.)

Unhappy phantom, thy appearance heralds.
A time where I should give much thought to life.
Perchance I shall retreat a while and think.
Unto a remote mountainside I'll go,
And give this realm of mine unto my brother,
My deputy, good Hoynes, to rule for me.
While I take a sabbatical.

(Enter CJ.)

CJ: My lord Duke. I am hither come to take service with thee.

Jed: Do you have any references?

CJ: If you need me to, I'll sing the Jackal in the final act.

Jed: That'll do. Come sirrah, attend me.

(Exeunt all.)




SCENE ONE. An apartment, early morning. There are cats, but no sign of the room-mate.

(Enter stage left DONNA, the lady of the house, attended by her maidservant AINSLEY.)

Donna: Alas, my little body is aweary of this great world. Methinks tis long while I linger here, waiting to be won.

Ainsley: So explain this whole casket deal to me again. Uh, prithee.

Mine father, ere he died, my picture took,
And here, within a casket, did it place.
At three such caskets must my suitors look,
And chose the one within which lies my face.
If they choose false, they must depart anon,
And never in their lives reveal their choice.
But he who picks the picture, has me won,
And in my wedding must I then rejoice.

Ainsley: Wow. That's pretty tough.

Donna: Yeah. And I mean, it's not like I'm even a rich virgin. I don't know what the hell Dad was thinking.

Ainsley: They just have to work it out without any clues?

Donna: Yep.

Ainsley: What guy is ever gonna get that right?

Donna (smiling happily): Josh. Then he gets to marry me.

Ainsley: Josh? Josh Lyman? All by himself?

Donna: What does that mean?

Ainsley: Well he's not exactly Einstein, now is he? I wouldn't get your hopes up, Donna.

Donna: Josh is very smart!

Ainsley: I'm just saying he probably doesn't have the patience to think about riddles. Though I guess since he knows that solving this one will get him sex, he'll make the effort.

Donna: Don't you talk about Josh like that! Go see if he and Sam are in sight yet.

Ainsley: I don't take orders from you.

Donna: You do so. I'm the romantic heroine, and you're my maidservant.

Ainsley: Then I quit.

Donna: Fine. Then you don't get to have sex with Sam. Only my sidekick gets to have sex with Josh's sidekick. Those are the rules.

Ainsley (grumpily): Forsooth mistress, I'll go check the gate.

Donna: Now we're cooking.

Ainsley: Maybe you could put a big sign on the right box.

Donna: Out!

(Exit AINSLEY. A few minutes later, she comes back, accompanied by JOSH and SAM.)

Sam: Good morrow to thee, fairest ladies.

Josh: Oh very smooth.

Sam: You know, it's no wonder you're not gonna get sex. (smiles at AINSLEY who smiles back.)

Josh: Hey, *I'm* the romantic hero, remember? (takes DONNA's hand, and kisses it gallantly.) Hey Donna.

Donna (blushing and smiling): Josh.

Josh: So, they said something about a challenge? They said it didn't involve swords at all.....

Donna: Ainsley, fetch the caskets.

(AINSLEY departs stage left, returning with three caskets, one of gold, one of silver, and one of lead, which she places before JOSH.)

Donna: You have to choose one, and I.....(trails off in horror, as JOSH flips open all three. From the lead one, he picks up Donna's picture.)

Josh: Hey, nice photo. Was this taken during the campaign?

Donna: Josh!

Josh: What?

(AINSLEY grabs back the photo, throws it into the lead casket, and slams all three shut.)

Donna: As I was saying, you have to choose a casket. If you choose the one with my picture in it, you get to marry me.

Josh: Oh, OK. (pauses). I'll pick the lead one.

Ainsley: You had me worried for a moment there.

Donna (flustered): Well. That's the right one.

Josh: Great. Where do you want to go on honeymoon?

Sam: Does this mean I get Ainsley?

Donna: I don't even get a proposal?

Josh: You want a proposal?

Donna (looking a little upset): Yes.

Josh: OK. (goes onto one knee). Donna Moss, love of my life, will you marry me?

Donna (melting): Oh Josh....of course I will.

Sam: Nice work. You're gonna get laid before this is over, after all.

Josh (getting up and taking DONNA's hands): Sam, why don't you go find something to do? Take Ainsley for a walk.

Ainsley: I should stay here. We have wedding preparations to arrange. Clothes to buy, a cake to order....

Sam: Can I help?

Ainsley: Uh....OK....(looks at DONNA, who is staring into JOSH's eyes). I'm supposed to chaperone her until the wedding.


Trust me, most gentle maid, I mean no ill.
Thy mistress's virtue shalt be safe with me.
And trust thou in my innocent intent.

Ainsley: Not on your life. I'm tagging along.

Sam: Maybe we could all take a walk.

Josh (sighing): Fine. A double date it is. Let us go make preparations then, against our wedding day. Come, lady.

(Exeunt JOSH and DONNA, arm in arm, with SAM and AINSLEY tagging along.)


SCENE TWO. A blasted heath, somewhere in the Washington area. Enter JED, carrying a cloak.

Now am I privily away. Mine deputy,
Good Hoynes hath all in hand, and thinks me gone.
But first, perchance, I'll steal me back again,
And see how he doth govern in my loss.
If he doth well, then unto him I'll leave,
Mine kingdom, when my time is finally spent.
If he doth ill - well, better to know of it.
I shall so cunningly disguise mineself,
That no man looking on me shall me know,
But think me but a harmless, doting man.

(JED wraps himself in a hooded cloak, pulls the hood over his face, and exits stage right. A moment later, he comes back again.)

Jed (to audience): You got that, right? Hoynes thinks I'm on vacation, but instead I'm sneaking back to the White House in disguise. OK. Just checking you were still awake.

(Exit JED, stage right.)


SCENE THREE. The apartment. DONNA is brushing her hair, and smiling to herself.

Donna: Ainsley!

(Enter AINSLEY, stage right.)

Ainsley: Yes madam?

Donna: Wilt carry a message to Josh for me?

Ainsley: He left just a half hour ago!

Donna (dreamily): But half an hour? Ah me, lonely hours seem long.

Ainsley: Is that a hickey on your neck?

Donna: No! No...tis the envious sun, that doth burn me.

Ainsley: It is so a hickey. I take my eyes off the two of you for five minutes....

Donna: Just take the damn message, OK? He went to have lunch with Sam, he's in the tavern.

Ainsley (brightening up): He's with Sam?

Donna: Yes. Look, I promise, no actual sex before the wedding. Just let us have some time alone. You can use it to try and start something up with Sam.

Ainsley: OK, what's the message?

Go thou to Josh, my new betrothed lord,
And bid him steal unto the fragrant bower,
Where roses, ripened by the sun lord's smile,
Outstretch their arms, in love's own sweet embrace,
To cherish that which warms them.
There will I meet him, ere the clock strikes noon.

Ainsley: Madam, I go to tell him.

(Exit AINSLEY stage left.)


SCENE FOUR. The walk beside the Reflecting Pool. Enter CHARLIE and TOBY, in conversation.

Toby: Apparently this is the humorous rustic scene, wherein I misunderstand everything you say in increasingly hilarious ways. Nuncle.

Charlie: You really don't like your part, do you sir?

Toby: Hey nonny, nonny, let's kill all the scriptwriters.

Charlie: I could try and say something really dumb for you to make fun of. Uh.....verily, I do love the Duke's daughter. What think you - doth my suit have a chance?

Toby: Marry, nuncle, I think it a better suit than mine, for it hath no bells upon it, though verily one belle shall hang upon it, and that be the Duke's daughter.

(There is a pause.)

Charlie: Oh, I get it.

Toby: That's it. I'm going back to work. To quote ol' Will himself, this is the silliest stuff that ever I heard. What next? Witches on a blasted heath?

Charlie: They already wrote in a ghost.

Toby: Exactly.

Charlie: You think we'll get fairies, or people with the heads of asses?

Toby: I could insert a joke about Congress here, but I'm just not going to pander to the peanut gallery.

Charlie: Why exactly are we here, Mr Zeigler?

Toby: Scene change. They need to re-erect the tavern set. So while they do that, we exchange some banter, I go back to work, then we get on with the plot in the next scene.

Charlie (examining script): Says here you sing again.

Toby: Give me that. (tears out page). We're doing the abridged version, in which the jester goes back into his office instead, and starts doing some real work. That's where I'll be if I'm needed.

(Exit TOBY, stage left.)

Charlie: I'll to the fair Zoey, to see what she thinks of all this. Did we change the scene to the tavern OK?

(Cries of 'Yes!' from off-stage.)

Charlie (shamelessly building up his part): Then with love's light wings
shall I seek out my love at her lectures.

(Exit CHARLIE, stage right.)


SCENE FIVE. The same tavern as before. JOSH and SAM are conversing with AINSLEY.

Josh: Noon you say.

Ainsley: That's what she said. In the Rose Garden.

(Josh straightens his hat.)

Josh: I might be a while.

(Exit JOSH).

Ainsley: So.

Sam: So.

(AINSLEY sits on a bench, and pats the seat beside her. SAM sits down.)

Ainsley (making polite conversation): How long have you been a sidekick?

Sam: Since the start of the play. I don't die you know. This is a comedy.

Ainsley: Oh. Well, that's good.

(There is a moment's awkward silence.)

Sam: you think there's any chance.....

Ainsley: Yeah. Soon as Josh and Donna are done with the Rose Garden.

Sam: Really?

Ainsley: Yeah.

(Enter CHARLIE, stage left.)

Charlie: My lord, I bring bad news!

Sam: Now what?

Charlie: The Duke has vanished!

Sam: Did you check in his office?

Charlie: Yes.

Sam: Did you ask Mrs. Landingham?

Charlie: Yes! She said he turned everything over to Hoynes and went hiking. But he's not answering his pager!

Sam: Dammit. OK, run and fetch Josh and Donna. They're in the Rose Garden. But make sure they hear you coming. Tell them I'll meet them inside the White House.


Sam: I'm really's just POTUS....

Ainsley: I know. Can I come too?

Sam: Sure.

(Exeunt SAM and AINSLEY.)




SCENE ONE. The West Wing. TOBY is sitting in his office, writing a speech.

Toby (reading aloud): And the present climate of change, forces us to consider new options in, *impels* us to consider....

(There is a knock at the door.)

Toby (not looking up): Come in, gentle stranger, who'er you might be. I've stopped reading the script, so unless you're a bunch of three murderers sent by the King, come in and have a seat.

(Enter CJ.)

CJ: Good morrow, sir. I am a youth, come hither to seek my fortune. My name is...uh... (checks script)...Claude, and I have lately taken service with the Duke. Good sir, knowst thou where he is?

Toby (looking up): CJ, why are you dressed as a boy?

CJ: Forsooth sir, I know not what you speak of. My name is Claude, and I am a boy.

Toby: CJ, you just put on a tunic and a pair of britches. How is that supposed to make you suddenly look like a boy?

CJ: It says so right here. I dress in boy's clothes, and everyone's fooled into thinking it's not me.

Toby: CJ, you're six feet tall. You're kinda memorable. Not to mention you're the goddam White House Press Secretary. Everyone knows what you look like.

CJ (sulkily): In the Shakespeare plays, even their own brothers don't recognise them.

Toby: Then those guys must have been really dumb.

CJ: Look, where's the President? I'm supposed to be following him around.

Toby: Check the Residence.

CJ: Thanks.

(Exit CJ.)

Toby: Impels us to....uh....consider new and dynamic options in budget...

(The door bursts open, and GINGER hurries in.)

Ginger: Toby, Hoynes has seized the throne!

Toby: Hoynes has done what?

Ginger: The Duke left him in charge while he went hiking, and he's seized the throne!

Toby: Oh great.

Ginger: Oh, and there's a mysterious old man here to see you.

Toby: Fine, show him in.

(Exit GINGER. Enter an OLD MAN wrapped in a cloak with the hood up.)

Toby: What can I do for you?

Old Man: I'm just hanging around.

Toby: Maybe I should start reading the script again.

Old Man: Here, borrow mine.

(Enter GINGER.)

Ginger: Toby, Hoynes wants to see you.

Toby: You know, I'm never gonna get this speech finished.

(Exit GINGER, and TOBY, stage left. The OLD MAN looks thoughtful, and then exits stage right.)


SCENE TWO. The Oval Office. HOYNES has taken up residence behind the desk.

Now is the winter of our discontent.
Made glorious by this Democratic sun,
Within whose shadow I mine days have spent,
Reviled, despised, and having little fun.
But now their folksy charming lord has gone,
I'll prove mineself a villain through and through.
His throne he left me - power simply won,
I'll keep it then, and crown myself anew.
His friends I shalt imprison, there to rot,
And cling now to the power I have got.

(aside to audience) OK, what do you expect? Shakespeare?

(Enter two MINIONS).

Hoynes: Dids't thou what I bade thee?

Minion One: My lord, Zeigler is locked in the basement.

Hoynes: Good men! Now go, till I do summon thee.

Minion Two: We'll wait upon your lordship.


Hoynes: Oh villainy! This is my day at last.

(Enter SAM, AINSLEY, JOSH, DONNA, and the OLD MAN, trailing them.)

Sam: Good morrow, Mr Vice Duke.

Hoynes: Tis Mr Duke now. I am now thy lord.

Thou villain! So tis true then what they say?
That thou our lord's throne quickly stole away?
Our master shall return and pay thee dear!
For this great villainy that thou dost here!

Josh: Indeed he shall. Pray, where is good man Toby?

Hoynes: I threw him in jail.

Sam: WHAT? Why?

Hoynes: I don't really know. I just keep having these evil impulses. You know, it's really not fair. I'm not a bad guy. Why am I the villain?

(LEO suddenly appears.)

Leo: Tw'as a choice of you or me, and marry, I'm so loveable, none would credit it were I the villain.

Hoynes (startled): Where did you come from?

Leo: Walked through the wall.

Hoynes: Well don't. It gives me the creeps.

Leo: Tough. I'm gonna go check on Toby.

(Exit LEO.)

Donna: You can't just throw Toby in jail!

Hoynes: You're right. That's not evil enough. Guards!

(The MINIONS enter again.)

Hoynes: Take Lyman hence, and cast him in jail with Zeigler.

Josh: HEY!

Donna: HEY! We're about to get married!

Hoynes: Yeah, that's why it's evil. Take him away.

(The MINIONS drag JOSH away.)

Ainsley: I don't remember this in the script.

Sam: Am I the romantic lead now?

Old Man:
Oh Hoynes, think well, before thou dost this thing!
Thy brother trusted thee, and gave thee power.
Dost thou now so abuse it, wicked man?

Hoynes: Who asked you? (leers at DONNA.) If you're gonna be lonely...maybe we could have a little something going...

Donna: No! I'm keeping myself pure for Josh!

Sam: *Really*?

Donna: the guys I dated before I met him don't count.

Hoynes: Well, I'd love to stay and talk, but I have a meeting.

Donna (bursting into tears): My lord, I pray thee, let my betrothed free!

Hoynes: Nah, he's good where he is. Now take Seaborn and Ainsley and get out of here, before I arrest a few more people.

(Exit HOYNES stage left. AINSLEY puts her arm around the weeping DONNA, and leads her away stage right, SAM following.)

Old Man:

Poor maid! I'll follow them, and see her safe. And Hoynes shalt pay for this most wicked act.

(Exit OLD MAN.)


SCENE THREE. A doleful prison. TOBY and JOSH are chained to the wall.

Josh: Alas! For sorrow, might we weep!

Toby: Will you shut up?

Josh: I'm just trying to get a sense of scene here.

Toby: Tis a doleful prison. We're chained up. I think they get it.

Josh: It's OK for you, you actually prefer it in here.

Toby: Nobody expects me to sing, so that's a plus in my book.

Josh (pathetically): Today it was to be my wedding day.

Toby: Really? You finally got Donna to agree?

Josh: I wooed and won.

Toby: You get laid?

Josh: I was about to. Then Hoynes threw me in here.

Toby: Man, that bites.

(Noise at window. A moment later, DONNA appears.)

Donna: Josh! My love, hang on to hope! We have a plan to deliver you and Toby!

Josh (cheering up): You do?

Donna: Well, Sam does.

Toby: Oh well, if Seaborn's on the case, we can all relax.

(There is a noise. DONNA turns from the window, startled, then turns back.)

Donna: I needs must go. We'll rescue you. Adieu my dearest love! (blows JOSH a kiss, and departs.)

Josh: I hope she hurries. My wrists are starting to chafe from these chains.

Toby: Can you think of a better way of saying 'impel radical changes in the budget'?

(Door opens, and the MINIONS enter.)

Minion One: We're sent to fetch you hence.

Toby: That was quick.

Minion Two: Lord Hoynes is ready to pronounce your doom.

Josh: Pronounce our WHAT?

Minion Two: Doom. He's having you disposed of.

Toby: Oh, I knew I'd end up getting executed.

Josh: *I'm* not supposed to die! (wails). They said it was a comedy! They promised me!

(The MINIONS unchain TOBY and JOSH, and drag them protesting from the cell.)




SCENE ONE. The Oval Office. HOYNES is sitting at the desk. The MINIONS drag in JOSH and SAM, bound with ropes.

Josh: Ill-met by daylight, you pile of shit.

Hoynes: Good day to you too, Josh. (nods to MINIONS). Go fetch the block and axe.

(The MINIONS depart.)

Toby: The block, huh?

Hoynes: Thy head is forfeit. But I'm giving the two of you a quick death.

Aye, but to die, and go we know not where;
To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot.... It *stinks*!
I might at least have made it to the final scene!

Josh: Why exactly are you executing us? I mean, what did we do?

Hoynes: I kinda like your fiancee. I'm thinking with you out of the way, the maid might take comfort from me.

Josh: In your dreams, Hoynes!

Toby: Wait a minute...*I'm* not marrying Donna.....

Hoynes: Yeah, but I can't only execute Josh. It looks too obvious.

Toby (to Josh): This is another fine mess you got me into.

(Enter the MINIONS, followed by the OLD MAN, and SAM.)

Sam: Why you little.....!

(SAM launches himself at HOYNES, but is restrained by the MINIONS.)

Sam: I've sent Ainsley to tell Donna, and summon the FBI. You are so gonna get it now, Hoynes.

Hoynes: You forget I'm in charge. Now shut up. (snaps fingers at MINION ONE.) You, hold onto Seaborn, keep him out of the way. (points at MINION TWO). You can help me execute Zeigler and Lyman.

Sam (struggling): When Duke Jed gets back, I'm totally telling on you.

Hoynes: He's not coming back, you idiot! He's lost in some national park. The geek will probably ride his bike into a tree, and that's the last we'll ever hear of him.

Old Man: See here thy doom!

(The OLD MAN throws off his disguise, and is revealed as DUKE JED.)

Toby: OK, who didn't see that coming?

Jed (to Hoynes): Oh falsest friend! Oh brother, so untrue!

Hoynes: That was *you* in the cloak?

Jed: Of course it was.

Hoynes: You just stood by and let me throw Zeigler and Lyman in prison?

Jed: It was a test.

Toby: May I ask what it was a test of, sir?

Jed: Toby, I'm not making you caper, and Josh, you're gonna get to marry Donna, so the two of you can just stop complaining.

Toby and Josh (in chorus): Yes sir.

Jed (to Hoynes): But first we'll deal with thee, thou wicked man! Get thee to a nunnery!

Hoynes: A nunnery? Really?

Jed: You heard me.

Hoynes: Well OK then! (departs with his MINIONS).

Jed (yelling after him): And you're gonna have to stay home and miss the next State of the Union speech, pal!

Hoynes (off-stage, sarcastic): I'm really gonna cry over that one.

(Enter CJ).

CJ: My lord! You have returned!

Jed: Hey CJ.

CJ: It's Claude, sir.

Jed: Whatever.

Toby: I hate to mention it sir, but could someone please untie us?

Jed: Oh, right. Sam, would you?

(SAM unties TOBY and JOSH. There is a commotion, and DONNA runs in, stage right, followed by AINSLEY.)

Donna: No! No, don't cut Josh's head off....(screeches to a halt). My lord!

Jed (taking her hand and smiling at her): Sweet Lady Donna. Thou stayed true to thy love, and turned Hoynes down.

Donna: There really wasn't a contest, sir. Is Josh OK?

Josh: I'm fine.

Toby: So am I, if anyone cares.

CJ: I care.

Ainsley: Toby has boys fancying him now?

CJ: Thank you! You see, *someone* thinks I'm a boy!

Toby: Normally, you'd be mad at that.

Jed (to Donna). I honour thee. And now, fair maid, I'll give thee to my friend. (yelling). JOSH!

Josh (shaking off the final ropes and hurrying across the stage): Yes sir?

Jed: Wedding scene coming up. Get married with my blessing.

Josh: Great! (grabs DONNA's hand.) Come lady, give me your hand before this holy friar, And plight yourself to me.

Donna: We don't have a holy friar.

Jed: Mrs. Landingham!


Jed: Get me a holy friar.

Josh: Strictly speaking, I need a rabbi. Though with Donna being Protestant, I'm not sure how this is gonna work.

Jed: Get a rabbi as well. And round up a Protestant minister, let's cover all our bases.

Mrs. Landingham: Yes sir. Charlie asked me to remind you that you have a meeting with the Joint Chiefs at four.

Jed: OK. Have the friar, the rabbi, and the minister meet us in the Rose Garden. We'll get these two legally wed, then I'll make chilli for everyone tonight.

Mrs. Landingham: Very well, sir.


Jed: Come friends, let's to the gardens.

(Exeunt all.)


SCENE TWO. The Office of the Vice President/Duke. HOYNES is pacing, while the MINIONS scurry around.

Hoynes: Curses, curses, curses!

Minion One: Sir? Were you wanting us to pack the autographed baseball?

My plans all ruined are, but this my lot,
I'll never calmly take, though screwed I've got.
I shalt return one day, and then we'll see,
Just who the rightful President shalt be.

Minion Two: I'm sorry, sir?

Hoynes: You know, there weren't any witches. I just need to find the witches, and form an alliance. And then creep up on Bartlet, disguised as a tree. I read that play. You pretend to be a forest.

Minion One: He'll never suspect that, sir.

Hoynes: He has a problem with trees you know. He'll just think it's an ordinary tree, sneaking up on him to cause a bike accident. Then wham! I've got you, brother! (maniacal laughter.)

(The MINIONS exchange worried looks.)

Hoynes: I'll. Be. Back.

Minion Two: Uh sir...the villain never wins. This is Shakespeare. There aren't any sequels....well, except sometimes. But the villain never comes back.

Hoynes: What? Damn them! Damn them all to hell!

Minion One (on the phone): Sir, I've found a convenient nunnery. There's a Navy helicopter waiting.

Hoynes: Then into exile! Is it a nice convent?

Minion One: California, sir.

Hoynes: Good. Bring the sunscreen.

(Exit HOYNES, followed by the MINIONS carrying his luggage.)


SCENE THREE. The White House front lawn. Enter DONNA in a wedding veil, arm in arm with JOSH. Enter also SAM, CJ and TOBY, throwing confetti over JOSH and DONNA.

Joy gentle friends! joy and fresh days of love,
Accompany your hearts!

Sam: That's nice.

CJ: Yeah. Midsummer Night's Dream.

Donna: Thanks, fair friends, to you all. Oh day most gladly come! I have my heart at last. (cuddles against JOSH.)

Sam: So how doth thou, Joshua, the married man?

Josh: Surpassing good, I thank thee. (smiles at DONNA.) I would not change my part for any other.

Toby: But soft, where did the others go? Dids't they not follow with us from the garden?

CJ: They had a meeting. And the President wants us all to come over to the Residence this evening, for a wedding reception. He's making chilli.

Sam: I still think the friar, the rabbi and the minister sounds like the start of a filthy joke.

CJ: I thought it was a beautiful wedding though. I cried.

Donna: And now we're wed....there's gonna be a few changes. Josh, I'm not putting up with finding you drunk in your office in the mornings. And we never finished that discussion about sorcery in Indonesia, and you know, I still need to learn to ski and...

Josh: Sweet Donna, my love.....are we still gonna have discussions like that?

Donna: You bet your sweet ass, baby. Even if we do sleep together as well. Don't think just because we're married I don't expect a pay raise. And....

Josh: Peace! I will stop your mouth. (Kisses her).

Sam: That's an original Shakespeare line you know. We should have thought of it years ago, as a way of shutting them up.

CJ: Nah. People like those two arguing. (looks at JOSH and DONNA, who instead of breaking it off are starting to take it further.) Jeez guys, get a room.

(JOSH and DONNA break it off. JOSH then sweeps DONNA into his arms, and carries her out, stage right.)

Sam: That's that then. I'm gonna look for Ainsley. I think she's still back in the Rose Garden.

(SAM exits stage left.)

CJ: Awwwww.

Toby: Is the play nearly over?

CJ: I guess so. But I still don't get why I'm dressed as a boy. I'm not supposed to marry the President am I?

Toby: No. Mrs Bartlet changed the script.

CJ: I don't blame her.

Toby: Wanna marry me? I have a magic marker, we could write it in.

CJ: Can I get to wear your cap with the bells?

Toby: With pleasure.

CJ: OK then.

(Exit CJ and TOBY, arm in arm.)



Enter, centre-stage, MRS. LANDINGHAM.)

Mrs. Landingham:
Now our charms are all o'erthrown,
And what wit we have's our own.
Our tale's been told, our story writ,
We're sorry if you thought it shit.
But if you liked it, please then say,
For feedback makes the author's day.
If you hated, well t'was free,
If you liked, encourage me.
Thank you for reading to the end.
And now we'll leave them, foe and friend.
The good are blessed, the bad shall weep,
Donna and Josh won't get much sleep.
Leo's alive, and all is fine,
So here we'll stop this little rhyme.
There is no more, the play is done,
And so good night unto each one.



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