Saturday, December 6, 2003

"The 1983 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon is currently at eleven hundred per bottle, Sir," one of the younger, more eager assistants reported. "Should I place a bid?"

"Absolutely! Go for it," Lorne told him. "Go up to twelve, no, thirteen hundred, if necessary. And then have it gift-wrapped and fed-exed to Mr. Newman. Yikes, I just hope he doesn't use it for one of his salad dressings."

The young man bent over his keyboard to type in his bid. Meanwhile, Lorne moved to the next desk to peer over a second assistant's shoulder at the computer screen.

"A genuine Japanese katana? Hey pumpkin, do you have any idea how much these cost? Talk to me again once he has another hit like 'Dances With Wolves'—until then he'll have to make do with an autographed baseball by Babe Ruth or maybe a 1930s Ty Cobb sports card." Lorne said, and headed for the next desk, but then he relented. "You know what, let's make it both. I'm a sucker for 'Field of Dreams,' and you never know when he'll strike gold again."

Wolfram and Hart didn't grind to a halt just because it was a weekend, but it did slow down noticeably, from a hectic polka if you will, to a slow fox-trot. On Saturdays nine tenths of the staff were recharging their (metaphorical) batteries at home with their SOs or even their kids.

Yes, even W & H employees had family, at least some of them did. Lately, a few people in Lorne's division had even brought framed photographs of their loved ones to work, and they didn't even get overly nervous when Lorne picked up the picture to admire the little darlings. Maybe the realization had finally sunk in that sacrificing one's firstborn was no longer required for advancement within the firm. Lorne thought it was a victory of sorts.

They said, evil men had no songs. Lorne had caught several people humming Christmas tunes these past few days and while he didn't deliberately check out their auras, he had picked up a vibe of tentative holiday cheer. As much as he enjoyed dealing with the stars, these signs of progress were even more rewarding, yesterday's reindeer prank notwithstanding.

Lorne checked his watch. "Almost five. Listen, guys, why don't you finish what you're doing and then head home? Do your Christmas shopping. Recuperate. This can wait till Monday."

He waited patiently until they'd filed out of the office, then poured himself a seabreeze and turned on his computer. He still had his own Christmas shopping to do. Thank heavens for online shopping.

 Humming contentedly, Lorne started searching for that perfect gift, determined to make this the best Christmas ever.

Sunday, December 7, 2003