Count It, and One



Natalie is in the newsroom and she is finishing giving directives to two people.

Natalie: So, I need the raw footage in the next two hours. Got it?

The two people nod and agree with Natalie. The two then walk out of the newsroom.

Natalie looks down on her clipboard and marks off another item on her list. Walking into the newsroom, and behind Natalie, is Casey. He is walking very gingerly and somewhat stiff.

As Casey walks by Natalie, she notices him.

Natalie: Oh, hey, Casey.

Casey: Don't touch me.

Natalie: Uh... okay.

Casey: Whatever you do, don't touch me.

Natalie: Is this a dare?

Casey: No, it's not. I'm being serious.

Natalie: What did you do?

Casey: Played catch with Charlie alongside a field.

Natalie: Are you sore?

Casey: No.

Natalie: Got a rash?

Casey: A huge one... on both my arms.

Natalie: Poison ivy or poison oak?

Casey: I don't know, I don't care. I itch like... I don't know. I just itch.

Natalie: Leaves of three, let them be. Berries white, run in fright.

Casey: Huh?

Natalie: It's a folk rhyme. You didn't know that? Oh yeah, I guess you didn't.

Casey: Thank you for your compassion. I'm uncomfortable here.

Elliott walks up to the two.

Elliott: Hey, Casey. What's up?

Natalie: Casey's got scabies.

Elliott takes a big step away from Casey.

Casey: I do not. I have poison ivy or poison oak.

Elliott: Where?

Casey: All over my arms.

Elliott: Were you rolling in it?

Casey: One would think. Charlie and I were playing catch in a field. I missed the ball and went digging for it through the woods. There. Happy?

Elliott: Very much so.

Natalie: Catch you guys later.

Natalie leaves Elliott and Casey. Elliott waves and Casey nods his head.

Casey: What's up?

Elliott: Milstead's agent has asked us to push back the interview an hour.

Casey: He had his agent call us?

Elliott: It appears that way. Plus, it will be on telephone and not video conference.

Casey: You know, we invest millions of dollars to have the capabilities to video conference, and everybody now wants to contact us by telephone.

Elliott: Better than Pony Express.

Casey: Next, we'll be using carrier pigeons. Thanks, Elliott. And please inform everybody not to touch me.

Elliott looks at Casey oddly.

Elliott: Okay.

Elliott starts walking through the newsroom and Casey continues toward his office.

Dan is sitting at his desk when Casey walks in.

Casey: Hey.

Dan: Hey.

Casey sits down at his desk. Dan looks up and notices Casey.

Dan picks up a small package and carries it behind his back. He walks to the front of Casey's desk and sets the package on the desk.

Casey: What's this?

Dan: I just want to say I am sorry for being pissed at you. I have no right to treat you that way.

Dana walks into the office.

Dana: Good afternoon, gentlemen. Casey, we missed you at first rundown.

Casey: I have a doctor's excuse.

Dana: And a note from your mommy?

Casey: Hey, I have something poisonous on my arms. Poison oak or poison ivy.

Dana: Oh. Are you okay?

Dan: It could be poison sumac.

Casey: (to Dana) I itch like crazy. (to Dan) Poison sumac? Is it fatal?

Dan: It could be.

Casey: Dana?!

Dan: Did you eat any of it?

Casey: No.

Dan: You'll be fine.

Dana: Whose present?

Casey: Mine.

Dana: Did I miss something?

Dan: Dana, I'm sorry for being an ass recently.

Dana: Thank you, Dan.

Everyone looks at Casey's gift.

Casey: Could somebody open it for me?

Dan: Sure.

Dan picks up the gift and starts to open it. He pulls out several jewel cases and shows them to Casey.

Casey: Sound of the Seventies! On disc!

As Dana looks in disgust, Casey reaches out to grab the compact discs.

Dana: Oh god.

Casey: What?

Dana: Nothing, it's nothing. Enjoy your music.

Casey: Thank you.

Dana: What did you get me, Dan?

Dan: Huh?

Dana: What did you get me?

Dan: You didn't get it, yet?

Dana: Sure didn't.

Dan: Well, it should be coming to your office.

Dana: Okay then. Keep in touch, guys.

Dana leaves the office. Dan sits back at his desk.

Casey: Thanks for the music, Danny.

Dan: You're welcome.

Dan starts flipping through a phone book.

Casey: Dana enjoys fresh flowers- a spring bouquet.

Dan: Thanks.

Dan flips to another page, looks for a number, and then picks up his telephone.


Jeremy knocks on Isaac's open door. Isaac looks up from his desk.

Jeremy: You wanted to see me Isaac?

Isaac: Sure, Jeremy. Come on in.

Jeremy walks in and sits in front of Isaac's desk. Isaac closes a notebook he had been writing in. Jeremy looks very unsure of himself.

Isaac: How are you doing, Jeremy?

Jeremy: Fine.

Isaac: Good. Everything going fine outside of work?

Jeremy: Yes, Isaac. Would you care to tell me what this is all about?

Isaac: Okay. Jeremy-

Jeremy: You're not going to fire me, are you?

Isaac: Did you think that was what this meeting is about?

Jeremy: It's a possibility isn't it?

Isaac: Jeremy, how long have you worked here?

Jeremy: A little over two-and-a-half years.

Isaac: Okay.

Jeremy: Actually, two-and-three-quarters.

Isaac: Jeremy? Why do you think you are going to be fired?

Jeremy: I have the smallest tenure of all the producers who work on Sports Night. There's going to be layoffs and cuts in the production staffs on this network, so I figure they will start looking at the lower-end producers.

Isaac: So you think you would be released because of that?

Jeremy: Yes.

Isaac folds his hands and leans across his desk.

Isaac: Jeremy, I'm not going to fire you. I'm not going to lay you off. I know Dana has spoken to you about your recent troubles and mistakes.

Jeremy: Yes, she has.

Isaac leans back in his chair.

Isaac: I want to reiterate that you need to relax and do your job. Nobody has been fired for a mistake.

Jeremy: That's good.

Isaac: But I've fired people for many mistakes.

Jeremy: Okay.

Isaac: You need to shape up, Jeremy. You are not going to be laid-off.

Jeremy takes a deep breath.

Jeremy: All right. Is that all?

Isaac: No. The reason why I brought you in here- the real reason- is that we want you to head up the production for the NHL finals.

Jeremy slumps back into his chair.

Jeremy: Whoa.

Isaac: Can you do it?

Jeremy straightens up.

Jeremy: Yes, I can. You can count on me, Isaac.

Isaac: Good. You can go now.

Jeremy stands up.

Jeremy: Great. Thank you, Isaac. Thank you very much.

Jeremy reaches across and shakes Isaac's hand.

Jeremy: Thank you.

Isaac: You're welcome.

Jeremy stands for a moment to bask in his glow.

Isaac: Are you leaving?

Jeremy: Oh yeah. Right. Yes, sir. I will get out of your way.

Isaac: Good bye.

Jeremy starts to leave.

Jeremy: Thank you again, Isaac. The NHL finals. I can do it. I can do this.

Isaac shakes his head as Jeremy leaves his office.


Chris, Will, Dave, and Kim are huddled together just outside of the newsroom. Elliott walks up to join the group.

Elliott: What have you guys heard?

Chris: Rumor is Sam caught two people from Sports Night going out on a date.

Will: Do we know who it is?

Dave: Just speculation, nothing confirmed.

Kim: Well, who is under speculation?

Chris: I've got my money on Natalie and Jeremy. Natalie drove Jeremy home about a week ago, and I'm willing to bet they rekindled their relationship.

Will: I think it's Dana and Casey. They get along too well if you ask for my opinion.

Kim: I didn't ask. Plus, Dana and Casey are always fighting. I'm going with Natalie and Dan. I don't see Natalie getting back with Jeremy, and Dan isn't seeing anybody in particular.

Elliott: I was going to say Sam and Dana, but I'm not so sure. I don't know. Hey, how come none of us are suspected?

Dave: Why would we be under the microscope?

Elliott: I'm just saying that it is very easy for two of us to be involved in some sort of a relationship with another member of the crew.

Kim: Elliott, who would you pick?

Elliott: I don't know. I just would like to be part of a juicy rumor for once.

Will: Should we put our money on Elliott and somebody else?

Chris: Maybe it is just a ploy to throw us off because Elliott knows something we don't.

The group stares down Elliott.

Elliott: I don't know anything.

Elliott starts to back away.

Elliott: Truly, I don't know anything.

Elliott turns and runs, and the rest of the group follow Elliott through the studio.


Casey is at his desk and he is attempting to type. He has his arms outstretched as far as possible, and his fingertips are barely touching the keyboard.

Dan walks into the office.

Dan: Have you tried any medication for that?

Casey: Yes, but it doesn't seem to be helping.

Dan: Have you tried tomato soup?

Casey: Tomato soup?

Dan: Yeah, canned tomato soup. You can get it in giant cans at the food clubs. You can use it to help soothe the itching and it helps clear up the redness.

Casey: I never heard of using tomato soup before.

Dan: Try it. It will work.

Casey looks at his computer screen, then at his arms.

Casey: Will you cover me?

Dan: In soup?

Casey: No. Will you cover my responsibilities?

Dan: Sure. I have you covered.

Casey gets up and leaves the office while talking to himself.

Casey: I need lots of tomato soup. And a tub to put it in. And a can opener! A can opener to open the cans!


Dana is working at her desk when Natalie walks in.

Dana: What's up, Natalie?

Natalie: You will not believe an article I read.

Dana: Well, you will have to tell me all about it because I am already in disbelief.

Natalie notices the papers spread across Dana's desk.

Natalie: You're working on something.

Dana: Yes.

Natalie: This is a bad time.

Dana: If you are behind on your work- yes, it is a bad time.

Natalie: I'm all caught up.

Dana: Good. I need a break anyway. Sit, Natalie.

Natalie: Are you all caught up on your work?

Dana: Hmph. Who needs deadlines?

Natalie sits on the couch and opens her magazine to the article.

Natalie: Okay. The title of this is "Perfection at the Plate."

In Brooklyn, New York, Chush is a school that caters to learning disabled children. Some children remain in Chush for their entire school career, while others can be mainstreamed into conventional schools.

At a Chush fund raising dinner, the father of a Chush child delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.

After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he cried out, "Where is the perfection in my son, Shaya? Everything God does is done with perfection. But my child cannot understand things as other children do. My child cannot remember facts and figures as other children do. Where is God's perfection?"

The audience was shocked by the question, pained by the father's anguish and stilled by the piercing query.

Another father stood up to respond to the question. "I believe," the father answered, "that when God brings a child like this into the world, the perfection that he seeks is in the way people react to this child."

He then told the following story about his son Shaya:

One afternoon, young Shaya and his father walked past a park where some boys Shaya knew were playing baseball. Shaya asked, "Do you think they will let me play?"

Shaya's father knew that his son was not at all athletic and that most boys would not want him on their team. But Shaya's father understood that if his son was chosen to play it would give him a comfortable sense of belonging.

Shaya's father approached one of the boys in the field and asked if Shaya could play.

The boy looked around for guidance from his teammates. Getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said, "We are losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him up to bat in the ninth inning."

Shaya's father was ecstatic as Shaya smiled broadly. Shaya was told to put on a glove and go out to play short center field.

In the bottom of the eight inning, Shaya's team scored a few runs, but was still behind by three.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shaya's team scored again. Now they had two outs, but the bases were loaded with the potential winning run on base.

Shaya was scheduled to be up. Would the team actually let Shaya bat at this juncture and give away their chance to win the game?

Surprisingly, Shaya was given the bat. Everyone knew that it was all but impossible because Shaya didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, let alone hit with it. However as Shaya stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shaya should at least be able to make contact.

The first pitch came and Shaya swung clumsily and missed. One of Shaya's teammates came up to Shaya and together they held the bat and faced the pitcher waiting for the next pitch. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly toward Shaya. As the pitch came in, Shaya and his teammate swung at the ball and together they hit a slow ground ball to the pitcher.

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could easily have thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shaya would have been out and that would have ended the game.

Instead, the pitcher took the ball and threw it on a high arc to right field, far beyond reach of the first baseman. Everyone started yelling, "Shaya, run to first! Run to first!" Never in his life had Shaya run to first. He scampered down the baseline wide-eyed and startled. By the time he reached first base, the right fielder had the ball. He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman who would tag out Shaya, who was still running. But the right fielder understood what the pitcher's intentions were, so he threw the ball high and far over the third baseman's head.

Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!" Shaya ran towards second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases toward home.

As Shaya reached second base, the opposing short stop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base and told him, "Run to third."

As Shaya rounded third, the boys from both teams ran behind him screaming, "Shaya, run home!" Shaya ran home, stepped on home plate and all 18 boys lifted him on their shoulders and made him the hero, as he had just hit a "grand slam" and won the game for his team.

"That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "those 18 boys reached their level of God's perfection."

Natalie sets down the magazine.

Dana: Wow, Natalie. There's so much we can do to help one another, especially those who may not have the abilities to achieve what we take for granted.


Dan knocks on JoAnne's door.

JoAnne: Hey.

Dan: Hey, what's up?

JoAnne: Nothing. Shouldn't you be working?

Dan: Yeah, but I wanted to check and see how things are going.

JoAnne: They're going good.

Dan: Would you like to grab a bite after the show?

JoAnne: Sorry, I can't. I already made plans.

Dan: Oh, okay. Well then, will you be over later tonight?

JoAnne: No, I think I'm going to sleep in my own bed tonight.

Dan: Tomorrow night?

JoAnne: Maybe.

Dan: I'll give you a call.

JoAnne: Sure.

Dan: Or I might stop in.

JoAnne: Here?

Dan: Why not?

JoAnne: That's all fine and dandy with me, but you will be talking by yourself.

Dan: You're off tomorrow?

JoAnne: It's my day off.

Dan: I'll give you a call.

JoAnne: Okay. We'll see.


Casey's office is strewn with several towels. Each has red stains on them. Casey is at his desk and typing with one arm, while his other arm is dipped in a tub. A half a dozen large empty cans are stacked neatly at the front of his desk. Isaac and Jeremy walk in.

Jeremy looks confused as he looks at Casey, and Isaac looks surprised.

Isaac: Casey? I shouldn't ask, but what the hell-

Casey: It's tomato soup.

Isaac: I usually like to eat my food, not play with it. Why do you have your arm in that tub of soup?

Casey: You see, I got poison ivy or oak or something. I have huge, itchy rashes on both my arms. Since tomato soup helps relieve itching and redness, I am alternating each arm in a soup bath, so to speak. I can type with one hand, and rest the other arm in the tub.

Casey raises his arm from the tub and tomato soup drips off it.

Jeremy: Tomato soup?

Isaac: Is it working?

Casey: Not yet. Dan told me to give it some time. So I am patiently awaiting the time when I shall be itch-free.

Isaac: Have you even thought of using Calamine or Cortisone creams and lotions?

Jeremy: You could even take a Benedryl, but that may cause some drowsiness.

Casey: Are they better than tomato soup?

Isaac starts laughing and Jeremy has a smile on his face.

Isaac: Yes.

Jeremy: Did Dan suggest this?

Casey grabs a towel and wraps his "soupy" arm in it.

Casey: Well... yes.

Isaac starts laughing harder.

Jeremy: Chalk another one up for Dan Rydell.

Casey: No... No. No, tomato soup? No, don't tell me.

Jeremy shakes his head "no," as Casey realizes he has been duped.

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