Title: Bad News

Author: Rhonda Dossett Character: General Rating: G Spoilers: None Disclaimers: The normal disclaimers apply Feedback: Appreciated at dossett@azalea.net The office door was open. A dozen newspapers were piled on the conference table. Chipped coffee cups vied for space with note pads and file folders. Stale donuts and crumbled napkins served as the centerpiece. Four chairs circled the table. Three were occupied. Toby, CJ, and Sam were waiting. Toby drank cups of bitter, lukewarm coffee. Sam ate stale donuts and brushed the crumbs from his suit. CJ read the newspapers, highlighting certain parts with yellow. They all speculated on what excuse Josh would use this time for being late. Leo was at his desk, talking on the phone about campaign finance. Margaret entered the room.   Her walk was stiff and one hand trembled Toby watched her. She crossed the room and handed the note to Leo. Her hair obscured her face from view. Toby shifted his gaze to Leo. Leo took the note without looking up. Toby watched as he read the note. The world shifted off its axis and cracked. No sound warned of the event. The ripple effects moved across Leo's face. Margaret remained frozen in place. Toby stood, bracing himself for the blow. Sam's eyes followed Toby's movement. CJ noted the sudden silence and flinched. Leo opened his mouth, but no sound came out. The note fell to the desk.