"Office Party"

Inside one of the large private rooms of the Techtonic Nightclub, KCON's annual office holiday party takes place. Gracie Takanachi is reluctantly DJ-ing while her co-workers fight over insufficient amounts of shrimp and meatballs. Zach Isaacson enters the establishment, helps himself to a drink, and ambles over to his disinterested friend.

Gracie: (Taking off her earphones) Welcome to my nightmare!

Zach: (Looking around at the people) Thanks for inviting me - I always enjoy sharing your pain

Gracie studies Zach's t-shirt. It reads "Jesus Wouldn't Drive That Way" in bold green.

Gracie: (Putting on another CD) That's nice and festive

Zach: It's my reaction to getting cut off by all of these Christian soccer moms in their evil mini-vans

Gracie: Maybe if you bought a faster car

Zach: It doesn't matter what kind of car I have, they're still going 50 mph in a 25 mph zone... all I see are taillights and those annoying little fish symbols

Gracie: Did you peek at your present or did Morri tell you?

Zach: Huh?

Gracie reaches over into her bag and hands a small, unevenly wrapped gift to Eyes.

Zach: (Ripping it open) COOL - um, I'm bringing your present back with me from Chicago

Gracie: Yeah, yeah, yeah

A delighted Zach holds up a Darwin Fish humping a Jesus Fish and then another one that reads "Gefilte Fish."

Zach: (Giving her a big bear hug) AWESOME, I LOVE YOU, GRACE

Gracie: Yeah

Zach: Where is M&M?

Gracie: How in the hell should I know, do I look like her Palm Pilot?

Zach: WHOA, DOWN GIRL

Gracie: It's just she's been acting extremely flaky lately - bailing on dinner with me TWICE

Zach: She's probably with KJ

Gracie: He hardly sees her, asks ME to have her get in touch with HIM

Zach: You know our Morri, she's like a bug light - she attracts all the weirdness to her so the rest of us can enjoy the picnic

Gracie: No - something else is going on... something fishy

Stringing up real garland of holly and pinecones, Dan Henshaw nearly falls on top of Zach.

Dan: (Stumbling) Eh, so sorry, Mr. Isaacson

Zach: (Bracing him) Need some help there, Danny?

Dan: Yes, thank you - it seems I'm not as tall as I once thought I was

Gracie shakes her head and sighs as Zach tacks up the end of the garland.

Zach: (Sniffing the arrangement) Mmm, did you do this yourself?

Dan: Of course, Trudy and I stayed up all night making it

Gracie: (To herself) Poor Trudy!

Dan: Everything came directly out of the Henshaw garden... and the Beasley's garden next door, but don't tell them

Zach: (Shaking something off of his arm) Love the crawling ladybug, nice touch!

Gracie: (Aghast) DAN... WHAT IS THAT IN YOUR OTHER HAND?

Dan: (Holding it up over her head) This? - it's mistletoe... and you know what that means

Gracie: No, NO NO

Dan: (Puckering up) TIME FOR A KISS

As Gracie steps back, Austin Ortega runs over and smacks Dan dead on the lips.

Dan: UUUAAAHHH

Dan runs off as Austin and Zach cackle in hysterics.

Gracie: (Smiling) Now THAT made my evening!

Zach: Ooh, don't make me laugh anymore - I need to take a leak, I'll be right back

Austin: Let me know if there's anything worthwhile in the men's room

Gracie pokes at the little lights on Austin's tie.

Austin: What can I say, I like to twinkle!

Gracie: Aw, man

Austin: (Pulling out a CD) Gracie, I want to you play Liza's version of "Frosty The Snowman"

Gracie: Now see, you just went and ruined my evening

Austin: C'mon, PLEASE? - it's either that or "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer"

Gracie: I HATE YOU

Austin: Look, it's bad enough I'm going to have to MC this faux soiree, the least you can do is play me some happy music!

Gracie: Hey, I got stuck DJ-ing this thing AND putting together the office blooper reel

Austin: Do the bloopers include Kylee?

Gracie: Do you have to ask?

Austin: Then, it wasn't so bad, was it?

Gracie: (Grumbling) Touche

A co-worker comes over to Gracie and hands her a slip of paper as Austin spots a vodka bottle hidden behind her turntable and pours some into his punch.

Gracie: (Crinkling up the paper) UGH - if I have to play Bing Crosby, Tom Jones, or Jingle Cats again, I'll cut off my remaining fingers and start throwing them at people

Austin: (Stirring his drink with his pinky) Or you could cover them in BBQ sauce and serve them as cocktail franks

Gracie: (Pounding on a few control buttons) Why do I have to play such lame crap?

Austin: Well, not everyone can appreciate the Skribble & Anthony Acid Mix of Pink's "Most Girls"

Gracie: (Looking at her watch) No shit... get up there, Austin, and get this thing over with!

Austin: (Taking the stage and mike) HEY HEY EVERYBODY

There is a tepid response in the room.

Austin: WHERE'S YOUR SEASONAL SPIRIT? - LET'S SHOW SOME ENTHUSIASM HERE

Sporadic clapping breaks out.

Austin: AT LEAST IT'S NOT RAINING AND IT'S 70 DEGREES OUTSIDE - ANOTHER GLORIOUS CALIFORNIA HOLIDAY

It is absolutely quiet again.

Austin: WE ALL HAVE JOBS IN THE NEW YEAR

The crowd erupts into loud cheering.

Austin: And with that segue, our wonderful boss has a few things to say before he leaves on his ski trip to Veil - GIVE IT UP FOR TURNER GATES

Wearing a goofy snowflake sweater, Turner approaches the mike as his employees try to muster genuine applause.

Turner: Thank you, everyone, and Merry Christmas - Happy Hanukkah - Joyous Kwanzaa!

Gracie: YOU FORGOT SOLSTICE

Turner: Right, Takanachi... anyway, it's been a great year for us here at KCON, thanks in large part to the tragedies that have taken place in Duquesa Bay - we're up for several awards as a result and had more than a few of our packages go national - the network suits are impressed, people, so keep up the outstanding work - I'd also like to say a few words of appreciation to the newest member of our on-air team, Morgan McBride... Morgan, are you here? - heh, she's probably hard at work on another story

Austin (Aside to Gracie): She probably won't respond until he says her name right

Gracie: She's not here

Austin: Where is she?

Gracie: I DUNNO

Turner starts to hand out gift baskets to everyone. Gracie receives hers and starts rummaging through it.

Austin: (Leaving his intact) Great, now I have something to give to the mailman

Gracie: THERE'S NO CHECK IN HERE

Austin lets loose with mock laughter as Zach returns to their side.

Gracie: FUCKING STRAWBERRY JAM? - THAT'S MY CHRISTMAS BONUS?

Zach: My boss gave out gift certs to Honeybaked Ham - I told him I was Jewish and he said they had turkey there as well

Austin: (Smirking) Excuse me, you two, I see Joel in legal is giving me the eye

Gracie: Do I dare ask which eye?

As Austin struts away, a female co-worker comes over to Fingers and Eyes and kindly offers them some pastries. They graciously decline.

Zach: I haven't seen that chick before - is she new or someone's wife?

Gracie: (Grimacing) That's Happy Janice, the vampire-toothed receptionist for the assignment desk, and her precious homemade sweet rolls - who in the hell brings baked goods to a holiday party?

Zach: Bizarre, isn't it?

Gracie: I mean, I could never eat those sweet rolls - they look like a black man's asshole

Zach: And you would know this how, Grace?

Takanachi elbows Isaacson in the ribs.

Zach: I know, let's ask Jason if they look familiar to him

Gracie: ZACH

Zach: HEY, JASON, COME OVER HERE

Jason: (Walking over with a plate) Hey man, what's up?

Gracie: Just ignore Zach, he's drunk

Zach: I have a pool going on where exactly Kylee will blow Turner tonight - three feet from the singing Christmas tree is still open, you want in?

Jason: Sorry, I'm already in a pool for who would be the first to piss on the ice sculpture - hey, Gracie, would you like to dance?

Gracie: Thanks, Clark, but I'm not in a dancing mood - in a few hours, I'll be boarding a plane to Seattle to see my family - last time, I was trapped next to two Mormon college boys droning on about the CleanFlicks version of "The Patriot" - I wanted to jump out over Southern Oregon

Jason: Well, if you change your mind, you know where to find me - I guess I should go back and battle Henshaw for the last buffalo wing

Zach: It's comforting to know that Dan still can't pass up free food even though he has a three million dollar contract

Jason: (Turning around) Oh Gracie, you haven't seen Morrigan, have you?

Gracie: NOOOOO - DO I NEED A SIGN AROUND MY NECK OR SOMETHING?

Jason shrugs at Zach and takes off. Claudia Steel sneaks up behind Gracie and glares at her.

Gracie: (Spooked) YOW - CLAUDIA, IS THAT YOU OR THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS FUTURE?

Claudia: Cut the crap, Gracie - hi, Isaacson

Zach: Clau - do you have any fun plans for the holiday?

Claudia: Sleeping

Zach: Sleeping is good

Claudia: In the last 48 hours, I had to go to my oldest daughter's holiday dance recital, followed by her school's Christmas concert, dislodge my son's head from a door wreath, help the church set up for their charity auction, shovel dry meat to the homeless on behalf of the station, listen to my sister bitch about why I'm the "bad sister" because she's stuck taking care of our folks, went to my in-laws for the big Martel family dinner and had to feign interest about their lives, got lectured by my husband for apparently not feigning enough interest, and finally convincing my youngest that there are other things to play with besides trash

Gracie and Zach blink at each other.

Claudia: Austin tells me you have a bottle of Stoli over here, is this true?

Gracie: Maybe

Claudia: Look, I have had it with the fruit punch, the eggnog, and the wine coolers... GIMME THE GODDAMN BOTTLE, TAKANACHI

Gracie: Ask nicely, Steel, and I might be inclined to share

The older woman grits her teeth and sucks in some air.

Claudia: May I please have some of your liquor, Grace?

Taking the bottle out, Gracie pours a little into her cup and then into Zach's.

Claudia: What are you doing?

Gracie: I said I would share but I didn't say I would share with you

Claudia groans, grabs the bottle out of Gracie's hand, and storms off.

Gracie: I am SO glad that I'm not married with kids!

Zach: Is it me or does Claudia seem extra creepy in the face tonight?

Gracie: She's shot up with Botox so her forehead won't move - it stops the lines on camera

Zach: I am so glad I don't have to work in TV

Gracie: No, you just have to work with butt-ugly print people

In a stunning red cocktail dress, Kylee Shepperton walks by.

Zach: Speaking of butt ugly...

Kylee: (Rolling her eyes) Do you WORK for KCON, Zach?

Zach: I could ask you the same thing

Kylee: Gracie, you need to find better dates

Gracie: I could tell you the same thing

Gracie and Zach wink at each other as Kylee gives them the finger.

Gracie: AT LAST, THE TRUE MEANING OF THE SEASON

Zach: (Pointing to the dance floor) Um, I kinda think that is

Austin Ortega and a reluctant Dan Henshaw are doing the "Weather Dance" together to Daft Punk's "One More Time." With the exception of Claudia Steel draining the last of Gracie's bottle, everyone urges Dan on with the dance, a bastardized version of the Macarena with a touch of "Washing the Windows."

Gracie: (Sighing) Morri, you don't know what you're missing!

.

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