Exaggeration and Blank Verse
The Processing Process
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Casey was lying on the couch in their office, staring up at the ceiling tiles. Dan sat at the desk, alternately pecking away on the computer, digging through drawers, and doodling on a legal pad. Very little work was being done, and they fully expected that at a point in the near future, Dana or Natalie would burst through the door to point that fact out to them. Until such a time as that actually happened, they elected to remain unconcerned.

“You know what I don’t think you’ve ever really asked me?” remarked Casey, abandoning his quest to count exactly how many tiles the ceiling contained.

“How you can possibly live your life knowing that you passed up the chance to date Yoko Ono?” Dan scowled at the computer screen and turned back to the legal pad.

“Why exactly Lisa and I got divorced.” Casey tiled his head back to look at his partner. Upside-down Dan at his upside-down desk blinked at him.

“I just assumed it was because she was an agent of dark forces, whose sole decent contribution to this world was nurturing Charlie.”

“Well, that was a part of it.” Casey relaxed his neck and went back to studying the ceiling.

“But not all?”

“Nah.” Six rows of tiles, four per row, except that one corner that curved funny... “There were other problems. Y’know, boudoir problems.”

“One of which I’m guessing was that she married a man who says ‘boudoir.’”

“Hey!”

“Did they involve goats?” Dan pulled open the desk drawer and squinted into it.

“What?”

“I’ve always heard that forces of darkness enjoy the use of goats. In the boudoir.” He slammed the drawer shut again and went back to the legal pad.

“No. They weren’t her problems...they were mine.” Casey looked down at his chest and wondered when exactly his second button had come undone, and why no one had told him.

Dan paused in his doodling. The conversation had taken a turn for the slightly uncomfortable. Steering it there was normally his job, but if that’s where Casey was going today, he’d follow along. “You know they have specialists for that.”

“Not medical problems...vocal problems.”

“I don’t get it.”

“I’d say...things.” Casey paused, wondering exactly how specific he was going to have to get before Dan caught on. Danny was a bit
slow sometimes. He suspected it was often deliberate. “Incorrect things.”

“Such as?” The drawer was open again. Considering that he’d been through it fifteen times in the last half an hour, Casey seriously doubted there was actually something in there he wanted.

What the hell. With a deep breath, he took the plunge. “Such as your name.”

The sound of Dan’s hands rustling through the drawer stopped. The office got very quiet. Casey stared blankly at the fourteenth tile and wondered when Dan would say something. And what it would be.

Dan launched himself out of the chair and towards the door. “I’m going to go cut film.”

“Danny...” Casey sat up and looked at him, but Dan put up a hand to stop him before he could go on.

“Casey...I’m going to need a little time to process this.” Dan could still look him right in the eyes. That was good.

“How much time?” Casey asked, his throat suddenly very dry.

Dan considered that, looking around the office. “I’d guess about half an hour.”

Casey blinked. “That’s not very long.”

“I’m a fast thinker. Come find me, I’ll be in one of the editing rooms. Gotta go.”

“Danny!” He paused in the doorway and looked back over his shoulder. The pose was ridiculously cute.

“What?”

Casey found himself grinning like an idiot, and wasn’t quite sure why. “When I come find you in half an hour...can I bring props?”

Dan stared at him. “What?”

“You know,” Casey wiggled his eyebrows suggestively. “Props.”

“That seems just a touch presumptuous, considering that I haven’t processed this yet.”

Casey shrugged. “I’m an optimist.”

Danny opened his mouth to respond, most likely to say something very rude, but before he ever had the chance Dana’s voice was ringing through the newsroom. “Gentlemen, what’s it going to take to get a script in my hands today...?”

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