Coming Home



A bowl of peppermints sits on a table. A hand reaches inside and grabs a few.

"You only find really good peppermints during the holidays."

"What was that?"

Dan pops a couple peppermints in his mouth. He is sitting on the couch inside the office of his psychiatrist, Abby Jacobs.

Dan: Peppermints. There is an abundance of them in the whole month of December, but in the following eleven months- they become a scarce commodity.

Abby: I'm glad you like the candy.

Dan: These are good peppermints.

Abby: You've already made your point.

Dan: I'm glad to see you splurge on your patients by offering them these-

Abby: Dan.

Dan: -especially with the money I'm paying you.

Abby: I can afford it, especially when my patients prolong their treatment.

Dan: You should do something about that.

Abby sets her pen down on her pad of paper.

Abby: You went back home for Hanukkah.

Dan: Yeah.

Abby: Who was there?

Dan: Everybody.

Abby: Who is everybody?

Dan: You know- everybody. My mom, dad, David, and his wife.

Abby: And you.

Dan: Yeah.

Abby: How many days were you there in Connecticut?

Dan: Three.

Abby: Anything you wish to discuss about your trip?

Dan: It went well.

Abby: That's good. How so?

Dan: It sort of went well.

Abby: What didn't go well?

Dan: It was a good trip.

Abby: You said it sort of went well. Something didn't make it perfect.

Dan: Well, nothing's perfect.

Abby: What happened?

Dan: It was a misunderstanding.

Abby: With your father.

Dan: Yes. Actually, before that.

Abby: Before your trip.

Dan: Yeah.

Abby: What happened?

Dan takes a deep breath and leans back on the couch. He begins to talk and recall what happened...


Dan is sitting at his desk and writing in a notebook. JoAnne Galloway, his girlfriend and network administrator, walks into his office. She carries a small box of technical tools and sets them on the edge of Dan's desk.

Dan: What are you doing here?

JoAnne: I'm here to fix your computer.

Dan: Oh. I placed a call down to Allen.

JoAnne: Yes, you did. He's working on something else, so I am here.

Dan: It isn't that bad. It can wait.

JoAnne: So you've narrowed the problem down?

Dan: Kinda.

JoAnne: Because when you placed the call to Allen, you were very ambiguous on what happened.

Dan: I didn't want to jump to conclusions.

JoAnne: "My computer isn't working" certainly gives a broad spectrum of what could have happened. I was two floors up anyway when Allen called. So, I brought all this stuff down here. I've got software, some tools, some memory cards, and even some extra cables.

Dan: You didn't need to bring all that.

JoAnne: I had it with me upstairs. What's wrong?

Dan: I think I can actually fix this.

JoAnne: You?

Dan: Yeah.

Dan starts shaking his computer and lightly hits the side of it.

JoAnne: So you can fix this?

Dan: Uh-huh.

JoAnne: Did you consult with Jeremy?

Dan: I didn't need to consult with Jeremy. He's busy anyway.

JoAnne: Normally, you would ask Jeremy to fix it. He would then tell you to call for technical support. But you're saying that Jeremy is busy, and you have the knowledge to fix your computer by diagnosing it as "it isn't working."

Dan: I just remembered! I have some video I need to edit.

Dan gets up from his chair and walks toward the door.

JoAnne: Well, I'll work on it since you will be out of the office.

Dan: No!

Dan begins to stop JoAnne from touch his computer, but he backs away.

JoAnne: What did you do to the computer?

Dan shrugs his shoulders.

JoAnne: What did you do now?

Dan: You remember... you remember that memo you sent to everybody warning them about a suspicious e-mail attachment?

JoAnne: Yes.

Dan: And how we are not supposed to open the attachment?

JoAnne: You opened it.

Dan: Yes.

JoAnne: Again.

Dan: It was an accident. I got a little carried away opening up all the e-mail.

JoAnne goes over to Dan's computer and begins to reboot.

JoAnne: I think someone needs to have their computer privileges revoked.

Dan: It was an honest mistake, albeit the same mistake.

Jeremy enters the office.

Jeremy: Hey, Dan. Hey, Jo. What are you doing here?

JoAnne: Hey, Jer-bear. What do you think I'm doing?

Jeremy: (to Dan) I told you not to open it!

Dan: I made a mistake.

Jeremy: What did I tell you?!

Dan: Don't open any attachments.

Jeremy: Don't open any attachments! And what did you do?!

Dan: I opened an attachment.

Jeremy: Yes, you did! And what happened?!

Dan: I don't know. The computer did all kinds of weird things and then went out.

Jeremy: Precisely.

JoAnne: I've already scolded Danny.

Dan: Yeah, so back off Jer-bear.

JoAnne: You, shut up.

Dan: Okay.

Dan starts working again.

Jeremy: Dan? I've got news for you.

Dan: You're not going to verbally abuse me again, are you?

Jeremy: No.

Dan: Okay then.

Jeremy: We've got four minutes with Strahan tonight.

Dan: Really? That's great news.

Jeremy: Yes. We're going to need to shoot the segment in about an hour. Dana suggested you come up with some questions and follow-ups.

Dan: Okay.

As Jeremy exits, Dan gets up and walks over to JoAnne. He puts his hand on her shoulder as she works on his computer.

JoAnne: Don't touch me.

Dan: I said I'm sorry.

JoAnne: First of all, you didn't say you were sorry. Second, you shouldn't touch me while I'm handling computer equipment. You could transfer some static electricity, which could short out the computer.

Dan: What are the chances of that actually happening?

JoAnne: What are the chances that the same person could release two viruses in a week?

Dan takes a step away from JoAnne.

Dan: Pretty good, I suppose. But I am truly sorry.

JoAnne: All right.

Dana enters the office. She sees JoAnne working on Dan's computer and she chuckles.

Dana: What did you do this time, Danny? Release another computer virus?

JoAnne: Yes.

Dana: Oh. Sorry. (pause) Danny, I've got your vacation request signed and approved.

Dana hands Dan the request sheet.

Dan: Great. Thanks.

Dana: Thank you for volunteering to work on Christmas Day. It made switching the rotation much easier.

JoAnne: You're working on Christmas?

Dan: Yeah. There's very little going on anyway, so it should be an easy day- and that was an unfortunate rhyme.

Dana: Yes, it was.

Dan: I'll have the questions for Strahan done in the next 30 minutes.

Dana: Thanks, Danny.

Dana exits the office. Dan notices JoAnne's irritated posture.

Dan: What?

JoAnne: Nothing.

Dan: You look irritated.

JoAnne: Is it obvious?

Dan: Yeah.

JoAnne: Well I should rightfully be.

Dan: I'm sorry about the virus.

JoAnne: This isn't about the virus.

Dan: Did I do something or say something?

JoAnne: Yes.

Dan: What?

JoAnne: Gosh, Danny. Let me guess. (puts away her tools) Christmas morning, I wake up, turn on the television, and find my boyfriend on-the-air. But that couldn't be because my boyfriend loves me and would want to spend the holidays with me. (closes up her tool box) When were you going to tell me you were working on Christmas day?

Dan: I was going to tell you right after I received approval from Dana- which was like a minute ago.

JoAnne: I'm spending Hanukkah with you because you celebrate it. I wish you would want to spend Christmas with me because I celebrate it. There's some give-and-take in this relationship, Danny.

Dan: There is give-and-take in this relationship. It isn't like I'm going to be gone the whole day of Christmas.

JoAnne: I took Hanukkah off to spend it with you.

Dan: Hanukkah is an eight-day celebration. You're not off the whole time.

JoAnne: I took the first day off to spend it with you.

Dan: You're off the first day of Hanukkah and you're working the following seven days. I'll be with you on Christmas morning, and I'll have to work a few hours on Christmas Day.

JoAnne: So, your vacation is when...

Dan: It's the last couple days of Hanukkah.

JoAnne: What were we doing?

Dan: I was going up to see my parents. David and his wife will be there, too.

JoAnne: I?

Dan: You wanted to go?

JoAnne: I would think that you would consider it since we are in a relationship together.

Dan: I didn't think you wanted to go.

JoAnne: I do.

Dan: You can't get time off on this short of a notice.

JoAnne: You just did.

Dan: Well, yeah. But can you get the vacation time?

JoAnne: I'm the boss, remember? At least, that is what my name badge says.

Dan: What if another virus strikes the computer systems?

JoAnne: It would be safe to say you didn't release it.

Dan: What if something important breaks down with the network?

JoAnne: I have Paul and Allen to help out.

Dan: I've seen their work. They can't. They might crumble under the enormous responsibility.

JoAnne: Yet, your initial cry for technical help went to Allen.

Dan: Okay. They can carry your share of the workload. I am concerned with my parents, though.

JoAnne: Concerned with them or with me?

Dan: Their house.

JoAnne: Their house?

Dan: We're going to be cramped in the house with the family. We don't have any extra room, and I can't have you sleeping on the floor.

JoAnne: They do have hotels in Connecticut, don't they?

Dan: I don't want to inconvenience you.

JoAnne: You wouldn't.

Dan: I... I... I don't know.

JoAnne: Danny? Are you doing this on purpose?

Dan: This?

JoAnne: Yes, all of this: damaging your computer, making vacation plans, and making excuses. Are you trying to tick me off?

Dan: No.

JoAnne: You're doing a good job of it.

Dan: It just wouldn't work.

JoAnne: Are you breaking up with me?

Dan: No!

JoAnne: Then why? Why can't I go?

Dan: I...

JoAnne: That's not an answer.

Dan: Uh...

JoAnne: Danny.

Dan: It's just...

JoAnne: Come on! Is it me?

Dan: No.

JoAnne: Is it your family?

Dan: No.

JoAnne: What is it?

Dan: Jo...

JoAnne: Dan!

Dan: I don't want you to go.

Jo takes a moment to catch her breath.

JoAnne: Thank you very much.

JoAnne starts to leave, but Dan stops her.

Dan: Wait. It isn't what you think.

JoAnne backs away from Dan.

JoAnne: Well, that's good because I was thinking that we weren't in a real relationship. We go out, spend time together, eat together- you know, a dating relationship.

Dan: We sleep together.

JoAnne: Yeah, that too. You don't even leave money on my nightstand, either.

Dan: What?!

JoAnne: I thought I meant something to you, Danny!

Dan: You do!

JoAnne: Am I such an embarrassment to you that you can't invite me to meet your parents?

Dan: No!

JoAnne: Then what is it?

Dan: I can't have you meet my family.

JoAnne: Rrrrrr!

JoAnne tries to leave again, but Dan grabs hold of her.

JoAnne: Let go.

Dan: Let me explain.

JoAnne: You've done enough explaining. Let me go.

Dan: No.

JoAnne swings her tool box and hits Dan with it. He releases her, and JoAnne leaves the office.

Dan recovers from his blow and chases after JoAnne through the newsroom.

Dan: Jo! Wait! We'll do something on Christmas!

JoAnne: You're working on Christmas, remember?!

Dan: After work. After work, we'll do something!

JoAnne: You idiot! After work, it's the next day. We can celebrate Boxing Day together!

Dan catches up with JoAnne at the other end of the newsroom. She whirls around and swings the tool box at Dan once again. Dan leans back and barely avoids the shot.

Dan: Don't do this, Jo. I really like you.

JoAnne: You sure have a funny way of showing it.

Dan: Let's go somewhere more private.

JoAnne: No.

Dan reaches out to JoAnne, but she slaps his hand away.

JoAnne: I don't want to talk to you right now. Maybe after I've calmed down a bit, but not right now.

Dan: Okay, okay.

JoAnne: Not right now.

Dan: I got it.

Dan watches JoAnne storm through the studio. He shakes his head as he walks back through the newsroom. He notices many eyes staring at him.

Dan: What?! Back to work, people!


Dan and Abby are back in her office. Abby is writing some notes down.

Abby: So you didn't tell your girlfriend of your plans?

Dan: I hadn't made plans.

Abby: You were going to see your family.

Dan: If I got the time off. There's no use in telling people things which have not materialized, yet.

Abby: But you didn't tell her about the possibility.

Dan: Christmas is a slow day. There's three maybe four events, tops. We do mostly positive, heart-warming segments on Christmas anyway. I would only have to work a few hours to get the job done. It isn't like I would be spending the whole day away from her.

Abby: But you were excluding her from your family.

Dan: Yeah, I guess.

Abby: Why is that?

Dan: I didn't think it was that important.

Abby: It was important to her.

Dan: I figured that out once the tool box hit me.

Abby: We need to explore this, Dan.

Dan: I still had a good trip. You want to hear about my trip?

Abby: You had a good trip. You also have issues here.

Dan: So we can't talk about what I want to talk about?

Abby: We need to talk about your problems.

Dan: But I had a good trip.

Abby: Fine. You had a good trip. Let's hear about your trip.

Dan: Good.

Abby puts down her note pad and pen. She folds her hands and prepares to listen to Dan.

Dan: You're not writing anything down.

Abby: I don't need to write everything down.

Dan: This is about my family.

Abby: I know.

Dan: You always like to talk about my parents and analyze our relationships. You always have your pen scribbling away, and you're telling me how I need to improve, explore, and develop my relationships with my parents.

Abby: Yes.

Dan: This is a breakthrough.

Abby: If I find it important, I'll write it down. If there are clues to what is causing your pain, I'll write it down.

Dan: I don't think you're going to write anything.

Abby: I can't write anything if you don't begin telling me your story.

Dan: Okay. Ready?

Abby: I'm all ears.

Dan pauses and looks at Abby.

Dan: Could you at least hold your pen and paper and be prepared to write something?

Abby: Would it make you feel better?

Dan: Yes.

Abby: How about I keep it resting on my lap?

Abby sets her pad on her lap and sets her pen on top of the pad.

Abby: There.

Dan: Now you're not going to miss anything?

Abby: Start your story, Dan.

Dan: Okay. Wait a second.

Dan reaches into the candy dish and pulls out a few more peppermints.

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