by Livia Balaban
Rated PG = Humor
"Perfect," he rumbled through a thick column of spent smoke. "Our involvement with the Bureau will be undetectable with the insertion of our Skinner clone. Before Director Freeh discovers what's happened, the Bureau's reputation will be irretrievably marred, and..."
Shit. Goddamnit. A Skinner clone. It seemed like such a good idea at the time. Make a Skinner clone responsible for taking down the Bureau. First he has two agents report directly to him, rather than going through the proper organizational channels, then he offers far too much leniency toward the Bureau's top loose cannon. Then he takes the Bureau public with his decision on the "Cops" issue, and finally gets the silver screen involved. Television and movies. Nah, that's just WAY too much contrivance. My beta readers would SHRED me. With big sharp machetes.
Maybe he's mentally ill. Yeah, that's it. Skinner's
gone round the bend.
"You asked to see us, Sir?" Mulder stepped cautiously past the threshold of Skinner's office, Scully in tow, at the bidding of their unpredictable boss.
"Yes, please have a seat, Agents," he replied calmly from behind his desk.
Mulder and Scully had moved toward their usual places but had not yet sat when the Assistant Director rose like a shot, and leaning heavily forward on flattened hands, chastised them.
"No, I said take 'a seat'. Were my words IN ANY WAY UNCLEAR?"
"Um, Sir?" Scully offered up, in the hopes of a quick explanation, but Skinner merely leaned over his desk and chuffed impatiently.
"You heard me, Agents. You don't want to piss me off today."
"Yes sir," Mulder said sheepishly, sitting fully in his chair and holding out his hand for Scully. Reluctantly, she took his hand and sat sideways on one of Mulder's thighs, maintaining as much dignity as she could, considering the length of her skirt and the height of her accommodations. Her toes just barely brushed the floor.
"That's better. Now, about the Modell case..."
"The Modell case?" the two agents asked, incredulous. A two year-old case?
Skinner looked at them with an expression Mulder immediately recognized from his youth. It was the 'I know you're an idiot, Fox, but just what KIND of idiot are you?' look. "Yes, Modell," Skinner replied tersely. "He was a real fucker, wasn't he?"
Scully rose. "Sir, are you feeling all right?"
"Fine. Great," Skinner said distractedly. "Couldn't be better if I was twins. Where was I?"
Mulder replied quietly, "Modell being a fucker of some description."
"Oh yes, a complete donkey-ball-biting asshole. Amazing you two survived."
Scully moved over to the side of Mulder's chair and whispered into his ear, "You keep him here, and I'll call for help."
Mulder nodded, and...
MAN, this is hard. How do you take the most out-of-character schlock in the history of the show - an episode with less impact than "Chinga", for goodness' sake - and explain it away?
Insanity ain't workin'. The clone thing is stupid. Hmmm.
I know, I'll pretend that ignoramus in the wire
rims was for real. And I'll hand over some REAL consequences.
"Would you like another cup of coffee, Mr. Skinner?" the secretary asked him for the second time, and it wasn't a good sign.
"No, thank you Rose," Skinner responded shakily. He'd already had three cups, waiting for the Director to call him in, and the affects of the caffeine were becoming increasingly evident. Two and a half hours, sitting there, like some errant school boy waiting to see the Principal. His ears were shaking, his upper lip dripped sweat like a soaker hose, and his feet kept trying to move him toward the outer door.
Damn survival instinct.
He wondered to himself just when he'd gone over the disciplinary line, and found himself retracing far too much of his history with the Bureau for comfort. Too much leniency early on, that was it. Mulder's methods and attitude must have rubbed off on him. He pondered vaguely if he could use an insanity defense.
There was, of course, an alternative he'd learned from a master of Responsibility Evasion: "I was drugged."
No, he would accept responsibility for his actions.
It would be bad.
Finally, just a shade over three hours after his appointed meeting time, the Director beckoned him into his office.
"Director Freeh," Skinner said in greeting.
"Mm-hm," the Director offered as a response, his eyes fixed to a file in front of him. "Just a minute please, Walter. I'll be right with you."
It was not good. It was the Director's clenched voice. Through a tight jaw, words hissing through a cage of teeth. He hadn't heard the clenched voice since he'd tried to approve those expense reports for Mulder's little foray into Antarctic search and rescue activities.
"So, Walter," the Director finally said, "I haven't seen you in here since you tried to approve those expense reports for Agent Mulder's little foray into Antarctic search and rescue activities."
"Yes, sir." Skinner had learned the tactic early in life. If there are no excuses, don't say a word. Yes sir, no sir, that's it. He knew he'd racked up one hell of a file since his last meeting with the Director. He also knew that at some point he would have to explain it all.
"You appear to have racked up one hell of a file since then, Walt. You want to explain all of this to me?"
Skinner blinked twice, shook his head, and began. "Where should I begin?"
"Well, why don't you start with your odd decision to have two field agents reporting directly to you."
"I can't say it ever occurred to me to do otherwise, sir. Why, is that wrong?" He hoped to God it wasn't wrong. It *had* been a while since he'd read the FBI Policies and Procedures Manual. Maybe there was supposed to be some sort of Divisional Director between them. He'd have to look into that when he got back.
"Walt, there's supposed to be a Divisional Director between you. Haven't you read the FBI Policies and Procedures Manual?" Skinner shook his head. "Well, you're going to have to look into that when you get back."
"Now, as for this Mulder person..."
Skinner winced. He knew it would always come down to Mulder. Mulder the loose cannon, Mulder the troublemaker, Mulder the brilliant profiler turned flaky ghostbuster.
The Director continued. "Mulder is a loose cannon, Walt. A troublemaker, a brilliant profiler who has turned into a flaky ghostbuster."
Skinner squinted his eyes and leaned forward, almost imperceptibly. What the hell was with the Director?
"What the hell is wrong with me?" Director Freeh asked him.
"I think you're badly written, sir," Skinner replied.
I give up. I fucking GIVE UP.
I have no little booze-swilling imp to help me out here, and I'm afraid if I call anybody else, we'll end up with more Holocaust Theme Restaurant conversations.
"You know," Director Freeh commented, "if you call anybody else you'll end up with more Holocau.....ERRRRRGH."
The author has strangled the current Director of
the Federal Bureau of Investibation by stuffing his derivative craw with
a copy of Feng Shui Times.
Author's Note: I wrote this for YesVirginia, so if you don't get something, don't sweat it. It'd take too long to explain. Like the goates.