by Middie Rosie
"Whaddaya mean, Lee?"
Captain Lee Crane slid the letter across the desk to his Executive Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Chip Morton. "Your practical jokes used to be more subtle. This one is so obvious not even O'Brien would fall for it."
"If it's a joke, it's Doc's, not mine. I pretty much said the same thing to him when he handed this to me, and he swore he was completely serious."
"The Admiral is going to go ballistic."
"Yeah, Lee, I know. Don't suppose there's much chance of you taking it to him for me?"
Returning Morton's wistful smile with a grin of his own, Lee said. "Not a chance, buddy. Did he say why he's quitting?"
"Lee, I don't think you want to know."
"What? Do you think this is a money ploy?"
"No, I doubt that. The Admiral wanted him bad, and Jamison knew it." said Morton, shaking his head. "You oughta look at his contract some day. He makes more money than either you or me, and there is this bonus structure that's unbelievable. The Admiral let him get away with it because he felt he was that good."
"Well, what about the contract? Can't we hold him to it?"
"That was my first argument, but according to Doc, there's this escape clause in the contract that says if he gets a job in a non-medical related field, he can get out of it. I have personnel checking, but I can't imagine him lying about it, can you?"
"All right, Chip, spell it out for me. Doc is quitting because he got another job? Where?"
"Hollywood? Doing what?"
"Acting in a TV show."
"You're kidding!" Lee said, astonished.
"Wish I was. Remember last month, when Doc went to LA to that friend's party? The one where he said he met all the movie stars?"
"Yes, what about it?"
"Well, one of the guys he met was Little Joe."
"Little Joe? As in Bonanza?"
"Yeah. Little Joe. So anyway, apparently he and Doc hit it off real well, and Little Joe tells him that he has this TV series coming up. Based on some kid's book. And he says he has this part that Doc would be perfect for. Doc didn't think a lot about it, because Little Joe was apparently pretty wasted." Chip paused, feeling as if he was telling his boss some bizarre fairytale. "So anyway, Monday he gets a call from some producer, saying they had been looking all over for him, because Mr. Landon wanted to cast him in this part. Now the weird thing is, Doc is now saying that he always wanted to be an actor, that he went into medicine because he didn't want to disappoint his dad."
"Did you mention to him that his dad is still alive?"
"Maybe I should have. Didn't think of it at the time."
"So does he really have this part, or is he just, um, auditioning for it?"
"Lee, to hear Doc talk, he has the part, he just has to go sign the contracts."
"Did he say when that would happen?"
"Honestly, Lee, this whole thing caught me so off guard I didn't really ask him anything. It's just... just so outrageous, I just kind of sat there with my mouth hanging open."
Lee sat nonplused. This was a very strange conversation. "Hmmm. Well, I'll talk to him about it. In the meantime, you just hold onto that letter. The Admiral will be in Washington for the next week or so, so we've got a little time to think this through."
"Okay, Lee. Whatever you say, but I'll tell you, I would rather let the Admiral know when there's three thousand miles between us. He is not going to be happy."
"Well, if Doc really is leaving, I want to have a replacement lined up for him immediately. Preferably someone the Admiral knows. What about Stegner?"
"You've got to be kidding! Lee, you hate that guy! And I wouldn't trust him to remove a splinter! There has got to be someone better."
"Chip, I do not hate Melvin Stegner. It's true we don't get along, but how many submarine qualified doctors do you think are out there? Most subs are lucky to have a corpsman, but you know as well as I do that Nelson will want a licensed medical doctor. And not just a hack, either."
"And you don't think Stegner is a hack?" Chip asked incredulously.
"Come on, Chip, he just suffers in comparison with Doc Jamison. He's not really that bad."
"You don't believe that anymore than I do."
"It doesn't matter what I believe. It's who will satisfy the Admiral. Unless you can think of someone else?"
"I'll look into it. You'll talk to Doc?"
"Yes, I'll go over there right now." Lee stood, signaling an end to the conversation.
"Okay, let me know what he says."
"Lee! You aren't gonna believe who came to my office today!"
Lee Crane braced himself against his Exec's cat-who-ate-the-canary look. "Who?"
"Oh? Did he come to give you his autograph?"
"Nope, guess again."
"He wants his job back."
"Yup. Seems he got down there only to find that they gave his 'perfect' role to someone else. Little Joe wouldn't even see him. The producer told him that Landon had him confused with some actor. Supposed to look just like Doc, the poor guy."
"So he's back? Great! Just tear up that resignation letter, and tell him all is forgiven."
"What, and lose a perfect blackmail opportunity? I don't think so!" The Exec grinned wickedly.
"Chip, tear it up."
"Aw, Lee, you're no fun. How about I just put it on file, in case he ever needs it again? I hear they are looking for a new James Bond."
"Oh, all right. Consider it torn."
"Good. Just keep Stegner in mind if you think you want to tease Doc."
"Yeah, you're right."
"Of course I'm right. I'm always right, and don't you forget it!"
"Aye aye, Skipper!"
"Come on, let's go take Doc out to lunch, see if he met any more movie stars."
Copyright 2000 by Middie Rosie
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