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Story Notes:
I’ve been thinking about writing a collection of moments of friendship between Jam and Dwight, and this popped into my head. Hope you enjoy.

DISCLAIMER: Guess what, I have flaws. What are they? Oh, I don’t know. I sing in the shower. Sometimes I spend too much time volunteering. Occasionally I’ll write stories with publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. that I do not own and am not associated with the owners, creators or producers of, even though I do not intend any copyright infringement. So sue me… no, DON’T sue me. That is the opposite of the point that I’m trying to make.

INT: THE BULLPEN

We open on JIM AND DWIGHT’S DESK CLUSTER, where… nothing’s happening. JIM is working, for a refreshing change of pace, filling in the blanks of a stack of paperwork by hand. DWIGHT is typing, occasionally pausing to refer to a price list on his desk next to his computer. Truly, this is the laugh-a-minute comedy genius that has millions obsessed with The Office.

Pan to RECEPTION, where PAM is monitoring this non-activity with the unblinking intensity and fascination you’d normally associate with someone watching the series finale of a beloved TV show or the last seconds of a championship game. The phone rings.

PAM (without breaking eye contact with the DESK CLUSTER):
Dunder Mifflin, this is Pam. (pause) Yes, I’ll put you right through to him.

She transfers the call and hangs up, all without looking at her phone.

Pan back to the DESK CLUSTER, where JIM’S pencil breaks. He sighs, and reaches over to DWIGHT’S pencil cup for a replacement.

PAM (offscreen):
(audibly gasps)

DWIGHT looks over at JIM.

JIM (gestures with pencil)
Mine broke. You mind?

DWIGHT (returns attention to his computer):
Not as long as you are using my writing implements for official Dunder Mifflin business only.

JIM:
Yup. Just getting a jump on my expense reports.

DWIGHT (a little too casually to actually come off casual):
I’m sure A… accounting will appreciate your timeliness in this matter, Jim.

DWIGHT quickly glances at the camera to see if they caught his slip, and JIM and DWIGHT both return to work.

PAM (offscreen):
(sighs in relief)

Pan back to RECEPTION, where PAM gives a small but triumphant fist pump and jots something down on a sheet of paper. She looks away from the desk cluster for the first time to check the wall clock. The camera follows to show that it’s 3:03.

PAM (initially in voiceover, shift to talking head in the conference room):
About five weeks after Jim started at Dunder Mifflin, he and Dwight went 15 hours and 42 minutes of work time without fighting. (pause) Dwight had the flu and Jim was trying to prop up his sales numbers for the end of his probationary period, but still. It was a big deal. We haven’t come within a full workday of that record since… until now.

We return to the DESK CLUSTER, where JIM and DWIGHT continue to grind away without acknowledging each other, and check in on RECEPTION where PAM makes another note on her paper and drums her fingers on the desk nervously, her eyes still glued to the desk cluster. She picks up the phone and drops it back in the cradle without actually answering it.

PAM (voiceover):
(dramatically) At exactly 3:13 PM Eastern Standard Time today, we will hit the 15 hour, 43 minute mark. Many thought it couldn’t be done.

A quick shot of PHYLLIS, sneaking a glance at the clock, and then at the desk cluster.

PAM (talking head):
But I have faith that we’re about to see history made. (breaks into a smile, clapping her hands and practically bouncing up and down in her chair) I’m REALLY excited.

We check in on the clock, which now reads 3:10, and return to the DESK CLUSTER. DWIGHT frowns and leans away from his computer to talk to JIM.

DWIGHT:
You know, Jim, if you would switch to Faber-Castell pencils like me…

JIM (tosses down his pencil, immediately fed up, overlapping lines with DWIGHT):
I knew you weren’t going to let that go!

DWIGHT:
…you would see far less breakage, in addition to less smudging…

JIM:
Could anything possibly matter less than this?

DWIGHT:
…making your expense reports easier to read and store…

JIM:
I mean, I guess if anything could, you would have a bizarrely strong opinion about that too…

DWIGHT:
…and allowing you to function in the workplace without having to beg for assistance from better-prepared co-workers…

PAM (off-screen):
OH, COME ON!

DWIGHT and JIM stop bickering and join the camera in looking over at PAM in surprise. Quick pan to RECEPTION, where PAM angrily makes a mark across her tracking paper and throws her pencil in disgust, and then storms off towards the BREAK ROOM.

PAM (to herself):
Unbelievable.

DWIGHT and JIM exchange a “what the hell was that” glance.

DWIGHT:
PMS, perhaps? It’s a little early for her cycle, but not impossibly so.

JIM (well, that moment’s over):
First of all, that’s not… seriously, as assistant regional manager, I am telling you to stop tracking your co-workers’ menstrual cycles. Even for you, it’s just incredibly creepy.

JIM stands and looks in the direction of the BREAK ROOM, then crosses to RECEPTION to look for clues, because whatever he was doing can definitely wait until he has figured out and fixed whatever upset PAM. He notices the piece of paper PAM has been making notes on.

DWIGHT:
I like to be prepared for every eventuality, whether inadvertent transfer of graphite to adjoining sheets or a receptionist who may need to be offered chocolate to send out a fax in a timely manner. It’s called going the extra mile, Jim, and it does not at all surprise me that you would object to it, what with your years-long campaign against workplace efficiency.

As DWIGHT drones on, we focus on JIM, who picks up the paper and looks over it. His expression changes from classic Jim to dawning horror as we cut to…

…the conference room, where PAM and JIM are doing a talking head. PAM is annoyed - crossing her arms, shaking her head and looking pointedly away from JIM. JIM has his head in his hands.

JIM (looks up to PAM, appearing genuinely ashamed of himself):
I am SO sorry.

PAM (still refusing to look at him):
15 hours and 40 minutes, Halpert.

JIM (miserably):
I know.

PAM:
You couldn’t scramble an egg in the time left on the clock, but you juuuuust couldn’t help yourself, could you?

JIM:
I just wish I had realized…

PAM (offended, turns to him at last):
Uh… last time we broke the seven-hour mark, I told you about it and you IMMEDIATELY started shooting rubber bands at him, and then gave me a lecture about how you never mention a no-hitter when it’s in progress, which was SUPER condescending of you to assume I didn’t know!

JIM:
I know, I know. It’s all my fault.

PAM:
“I’ll keep that in mind!” That’s all you had to say! (PAM sighs, looks away as Jim’s face somehow falls even further.) I just feel like it’s not gonna happen in my lifetime, you know? I mean… we were THAT close.

There is a commotion and JIM and PAM look up as the camera shifts to the conference room door, where OSCAR and KEVIN have barged in. OSCAR looks angry. KEVIN just looks sad.

OSCAR (slightly quieter, as if the boom mike isn’t quite picking him up):
Really, Jim? 15 hours, 40 minutes? Really?

KEVIN (shakes his head):
Duuuuuuude.

OSCAR:
So disappointed in you.

OSCAR and KEVIN exit. The camera pans back to JIM and PAM.

PAM (gestures towards the door, turning back towards JIM):
See, Jim? You let the whole team down.

JIM (buries his face in his hands once more):
It’s the free throws at the state semi-finals all over again.

NETWORK NOTES: REJECTED. Think we can do better here. Kinda stretches plausibility Dwight and Jim would get along for this long, doesn’t it?)


darjeelingandcoke is the author of 21 other stories.

This story is part of the series, Rejected Cold Opens. The next story in the series is Dunder Mifflin is Jumpin', Jumpin'.

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