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Author's Chapter Notes:

Squeezed in some time to finish "Vandalism".  And, naturally, came up with another JAM related AU fic because I have a million ideas and a single braincell.  And it's a "Casino Night" continuation, because isn't that always the way when it comes to this site?

So I'm once chapter ahead and, while I would rather be 2-3 chapters ahead, I really like sharing this and seeing what others think.  With that said, enjoy!

“Would I ever leave this company?  Look, Im all about loyalty.  In fact, I feel like part of what Im being paid for here is my loyalty.  But if there were somewhere else that valued loyalty more highly… Im going wherever they value loyalty the most.” — Dwight Schrute

Andy is still on his boat trip.  It’s Week 12.


It was the Wednesday after Jim’s leave; the crew was setting up for the next day.

“Hey, Pam, you got a sec?”

“Oh, hey Brian.”

“I just wanted to check-in, everything okay?”

“Oh, yeah, everything’s fine.”

“How about you and Jim, everything squared away?”

“Oh, yeah.”


“Dunder Mifflin, this is Erin.”

“Well, thanks for being a good friend.”

“Sure, anytime.”

“Pam, phone call.”

“Um… hey, say hi to Alyssa.”

“Will do.”

“Okay, thank you.”


“Hey, boom guy.”

“Oh, hey Meredith.”

“When are you gonna boom me?”

“Uh, listen, they’re cracking down on us talking to the subjects. It-It’s a lame rule, but, you know, I wanna… I, I’ll see you later.”

“Got it.”

One of the cameras was accidentally on, placed on the chair next to the Regional Manager office, and it caught that entire exchange.  As Meredith slinked back to her seat in disappointment, it was picked up by the camerawoman, who turned it pointing at the kitchen door.  It filmed Brian walking off towards the kitchen… and Nellie, leaning by her desk, eyeing him briefly before the woman turned it off.


When Dwight found out about Jim’s leave of absence, he was crushed.  Despite his stoic face, he wanted to cry, realizing that all this time, despite everything he’s done to him, Jim is his friend.  And Jim considers Dwight his friend in return.  So today, when David Wallace asks Dwight to find a Junior Salesman to take over for Jim, he decides to help his friend… in the worst way imaginable.

“Wallace is letting me hire a junior sales associate to sit at Jim’s desk while he’s on medical leave,” Dwight informs Brent, “Finally, I’ll have someone at my desk clump who gets me.  It’s like, ‘Really, Jim?  You don't understand the difference between a slaughterhouse and a rendering plant?  Uhh, remind me not to lend you any dead cows or horses.’  Wow.”

Pam walks in and is greeted by Erin.

“Hey, Pam!” she gestures Pam to approach her desk.


“I know Jim’s needing to recover so I got you guys a ton of Alfredo’s Pizza Cafe coupons,” she explains, handing her a stack of them.

“Aw, Erin!” Pam says, genuinely touched, “Thank you, that’s really sweet.”

“Of course!” Erin responds.

“Over 90 percent of the coupons are expired,” Pam informs Brent, “But, don’t tell her, she put a lot of work into it,” she ends with a smile.

“Hey Dwight,” Pam asks about sitting down, “You emailed Jim and I about a junior salesman?”

“Yup,” he responds, “Big changes coming to the old desk clump.  Invited a couple of buddies to interview for the position.  With Jim out of our hair for a while, you and I can bond with a man of culture.”

“Sounds great,” Pam feigns excitement.

“I know, right?” Dwight says happily.  She just purses her lips and looks at the camera.

“Jim’s going through a lot right now, and I’m really worried about him,” Pam tells Brent, “And if his recovery is gonna mean doubling the Dwight in my life, that’s only gonna make things worse.”

Clark is perplexed.  Why is Dwight doing this?  I mean, Clark’s job title is to fill in for people when they’re gone.  Jim seems pretty cool and he admires Pam for her artistic talent.  So why not?

So Clark just… bites the bullet and asks him about it, “Hey, so I hear you’re bringing in some people to interview for the sales job?”

“That’s right,” Dwight confirms, “a couple of old friends.  Ballers only.  Must be this cool to ride.”  Dwight holds his hand in an imaginary ruler.  Clark was there, but he raised it.

Clark once admired this man.

He’s pretty infuriated at this point.  He thinks about everything he’s had to sacrifice: his time, his patience, his chastity… all for Dwight to invite one of his weirdo friends to sit at a place that he’s well-earned at this point.

So he makes things crystal clear, “You know what, man?  I deserve this job.”

“Mm-hmm,” Dwight says, still not convinced.

God, what a prick.  “I scored Stone and Son Suit Warehouse with you, and God knows, to get the Scranton White Pages with Jan, I went above and beyond… and under.”  He’s still recovering.  It hasn’t been easy.

Dwight placates him, “You know what?  You’re gonna get your interview, okay?  I know that you're going head-to-head against some real superstars, but you got a really good chance!”

“Clark has no chance,” he tells Brent, “I mean, he's up against my buddy Rolf, for God’s sake.  Guy goes fishing with hand grenades.  And Trevor — he’ll make you laugh so hard, you’ll puke your pants.”  A week after Brent’s close friend leaves and now he has to film all of this.

“This sucks!” Clark admits to the camera.  He’s right.  “You know, you put in twelve grueling weeks at a company, and what do they do?  They make you compete for a promotion, like an animal.  You know, I thought this was an office, not the Thunderdome.”  He’ll realize that it is no doubt the Thunderdome once the doc airs.

The omen of things to come is when he brings Rolf Ahl who intimidates Clark before he’s called for the interview.

“And this chair's gonna be yours!  And this desk!  Ha!”

Rolf walks up to Pam who’s immediately unnerved, “I hope you like Norwegian black metal,” he says, “because I don’t do earbuds.”

“Oh ho!  No earbuds!” Dwight laughs.  Good God, there’s two of them?  And there’re more?

Nellie walks up to her, “Pam, you’re going through so much already,” she points with her thumb at the Regional Manager office, “You can’t put yourself through this.”

Pam sighs, but wears a small smile, “It’s fine, Nellie.  It's just a seating arrangement.  Doesn’t matter.”  Nellie gives her a supportive pat on the shoulder as she walks to the copier.  (She’ll learn how to master it one day.)

Pam looks over to the empty desk, praying that Clark gets it.  He’s a good kid, and she knows that they’ll get along, even though she desperately misses her old deskmate.  Seven and a half years ago, she was longing for him to be back and sitting at that desk.  Now, it hurts more because the desk is, like the two of them, so much closer.

Eventually, Clark sits at Jim’s desk and asks Pam if he can look over those price sheets before he starts the interview.

“Oh, sure,” Pam says, “go ahead.”


“Of course,” she says with a smile.  She starts to look at him intently.  She needs to know if he’s the right choice; of course, he is because, hell, look at the others.  But if she’s gonna be without her old deskmate for another five weeks, she wants to make sure he’s at least friendly.

Clark catches her staring, “You— you sure it’s okay?  ’Cause you’re kinda—”

“Yeah, absolutely,” she concocts an interview of her own, “Do people like sitting next to you?  You’re clean, right?”

“Oh, Dove Men,” he clarifies.

“Nice,” she continues, “Music.  Do you listen to it in earbuds?” and she concludes, “You don’t listen to it at all because we're in an office, not a Backstreet Boys concert, so—”

“Yeah, could I just have a minute to prepare for this?” he interrupts.

“Oh, of course,” she says, “Do whatever you need to do.”


“Right after you do one thing for me.”


“I need you to breathe in my face.”

Why is everyone in this place this damn weird?  “Why?”

“I need you to breathe in my face right now, come on,” she gestures him to her.

“...Alright.”  He swivels his chair to her and exhales,

“...Are we working with peppermint or wintergreen?” she asks. 

“Wintergreen,” he says with a chuckle.

She smiles proudly, “I knew it, I knew it.”

“Yeah, good nose,” he responds with a smile of his own, swiveling back into place.

“I’ve seen you around, and I thought, ‘Wintergreen.’”

As they chuckle and bond over flavors of mouthwash, Dwight looks on in fear.

“I can’t hire Clark,” he says to Brent, “Yeah, he looks like a Schrute, but he thinks like a Halpert and he acts like a Beesly.”


Let’s meet our contestants, boys, and girls!

First, there’s the aforementioned Rolf Ahl, Dwight’s best friend.  He seems to be calm, cool and collected when in reality he’s an intimidating presence that looks like he’d scream at rabbits’ faces.  A lot of his resume is private information, and then asks Dwight why he’s qualified for his job.  Rolf says they’ll be in touch.

Next up is Trevor, former volunteer sheriff, and buster of kneecaps.  His talent is jumping on people when they least expect it.  When he’s asked what makes him an effective paper salesman, he passes.  Is he a team-player or a self-starter?  No, no, and no.  He asks Dwight if he validates parking… and hands him a bus transfer.  Dwight sees no fire in him today, which is odd because he loves to start fires.

Clark Green is up next, and he… aces the interview.  Clark, knowing Star Trek rules as well as Dwight, concludes he got Kobayashi Maru’d the whole interview and got it.  Dwight considers this a challenge and invites all of his friends, who’re all better than the losers who work here.

Next up: Mose Schrute, Dwight’s cousin, a people person who has a natural fear of paper so that’ll motivate him to get rid of it.  He spent the last fifteen years as a sales rep for Dow Chemical.  That last sentence isn’t true, but he can run really, really fast.

Zeke Schrute, Mose’s brother, overheard him talking about it with Mose while they were in the cow shower together.  He likes Darryl’s hair.  It’s dense.  Like bread.

Nate Nickerson, Dwight’s assistant, heard about the job from his mom (Dwight didn’t know he moved out).  He’s a proven entity, but his flaws include hearing, vision, and basic cognition.  He needs his resume back; he only has the one and there’s a chili recipe on the back.

Melvina, Dwight’s former babysitter/ex-girlfriend was invited as well.  Dwight was a passionate lover and the cutest little baby!  She’s double-parked for five hours and her car was towed; jokes on them, she lives next to the tow yard.  They saved her gas money.

Gabor is gifted.  He went to X-Men school with Dwight.  He has many powers, including night hearing and getting dogs to understand where he points.  His training included picking carrots, scrubbing tubs, sewing imitation Levi’s, and a lot of telemarketing.  (Dwight found out the X-Men private school was a con; some never figured it out.)

Troy Underbridge is literally one of a kind.  He’s a goblin, or a hobbit, or a kobold (a type of gremlin).  And he likes to blow-dry his pants with a hand dryer.

After that, there’s Wolf, paintball master, and a total goof!  Dwight gives him a scenario where he sells one piece of paper.  He… says it’s not very good, wants to keep it when Dwight is asking for it, and when Dwight offers him money, no, it’s over.

And lastly, Sensei Ira.  He has no experience in sales, but he is a shyster.  He takes pictures of everyone else, and won’t delete them until they delete the pictures they took of him.  He downs his myriad of vitamins with Hide’s gay energy drink.

Speaking of which, Hide goes for it as well.  It’s not gonna work out.  He thanked Dwight all the same.


Pete, who had to go to the dentist, greets Erin and suddenly sees the mess before him in the conference room.  He pauses, looks for a minute, and just… keeps walking. As he sits at his desk, tells the camera, “Well, it looks like Dwight has gathered his entire barn into the conference room.”

The rest of the office is just as terrified, staring in unmitigated awe.

Mose, in (a)typical Mose fashion, looks out the window, examining all of Dunder Mifflin.

All Stanley can bring himself to say is “This… is not natural.”

“Just—” Oscar begins “I don’t wanna make assumptions based on people’s physical appearances.”

“Well, of course not,” Pam agrees, “but does physical appearance include smell?”

“They smell so bad,” Darryl says, his disgust evident.

“If I ever get that bad, you’d tell me right?” Meredith asks her coworkers.

“Meredith, I tell you all the time,” Kevin responds.

“Hah!  Walked right into that one.”  She smacks his arm as he just addresses the camera as to what that means.  It’s something else when Kevin’s perplexed.

“I don’t want to sit next to any of these people for the next 20 years,” Angela complains, “Someone, say something!”

“I said something when they were thinking of hiring Dwight,” Stanley laments, “Didn't work then.  And now look what he’s doing to us.”

“Hold on,” Nellie posits, “Why isn’t Jim involved in this?  I mean he’s the one that should have more of a say than anyone in this office.  Am I wrong?”  Most everyone nods in agreement.

Pam shakes her head, “Guys, I’m not gonna get my ailing husband involved in this.  David gave him specific instructions to not even think about anything work-related.”

“Pam, he loves you,” Nellie informs, “This goes beyond work.  This is about your safety,” she emphasizes.

“No, Pam’s right,” Oscar adds, “Anxiety is very real, and is only worsened by job-related stress.  It can spike your blood pressure, leading to heart disease.”  Pam thinks back to when Jim got that prescription.  “The only one to blame here is Wallace for giving the weirdo this much power.”

“Yeah, but Oscar, Dwight’s a weirdo,” Kevin argues, “We can’t blame a weirdo for bringing weirdos.  But Jim’s a normal, so he can stop the weirdo from bringing more weirdos.”

“Exactly, Kevin,” Nellie agrees.  Many of them wonder if Kevin considers himself a normal or a weirdo.

“How do you think I feel?” Pam frustratingly vents, “Okay, I’m the one who has to sit next to this weirdo while Jim’s recovering.  I’m in a position where I’m rooting for Nate, and that just feels… wrong,” she just sighs dejectedly, “Forget it.  I need to work on my mural.  I have some pointy trees that I need to round off.”

The office looks on in sympathy as she walks away… until they turn their heads back to the freakshow in the conference room.  The camera pans up to Darryl, walking back into his office.


“When are you talking to David Wallace?” Wade asks Darryl when the workday starts.

“I’m talking to him this afternoon, but don’t get your hopes up.”

“Too late. My hopes are up.”  Darryl rubs his head in nervousness.

“Last week, my side job in Philly lost a big investor,” Darryl explains to Brent, “so we’re scrambling to find new funding.  Luckily, they have a solution — me, who doesn’t even work in acquisitions, asking the boss of the company I’m abandoning to give us a gigantic influx of cash.  So… problem solved,” he says sarcastically, “Thanks, guys.”

The last man he wanted to talk to today was David Wallace, especially after Dwight’s failed attempt to get him back into the paper business on top of Athlead losing the investor.  But he saw the mess outside and Pam’s frustration… and he might as well try something.  He’s the A.R.M. after all.

“Hey Darryl,” David greets, “I thought our call was for later.”

“Yeah, this is actually about the new sales guy,” Darryl begins, “Uh, Dwight has brought in a bunch of real weirdos.  And as A.R.M. I was wondering if I could have some input—”

And, as if on cue, Dwight bursts through the door and presses the speaker button, “This is Dwight Schrute.  Who am I speaking to?  And don’t lie, I can tell if you’re lying.”

“Hey, Dwight.  Its David.”


“Darryl says hed like some say in the hiring process.”

Dwight looks at Darryl, knowing what he’s up to.  He’s not about to let a man who’s leaving influence his decisions, especially after he tried so hard to get him to stay.  He knows one of his friends will get in, he’s confident in it.  “Really?  That’s interesting.  ’Cause I was thinking that since Darryl is about to work here part-time, he might not be as invested in the decision-making process as someone like me who’s here every day, and frankly, killing it lately.”

“I was just thinking that because I work directly under the Regional Manager, I ju—”

“Darryl, another thing,” David interrupts, “Since youre about to work part-time, I am going to have to pay you only for the days that you actually work.”  Dwight quietly celebrates.

This gives Darryl pause, “...Oh.”


Darryl sighs, “Alright, that’s fair.”

“Sounds fair to me, David,” Dwight adds, with a snide look at Darryl, letting him know what he’s missing out on.  Darryl wants nothing more than to smack it right off of him.

“And I know we have a call scheduled for later—”

“Oh, yeah, that-that can be done later.”

“No,” Dwight snidely suggests, “Why not do it now?”

“Yeah, Darryl, whats up?”

Damn it, Dwight!  Darryl clears his throat, “Well, it’s about Athlead, um… I’m sorry.  Does Dwight need to be here for this?”

“I’d love to be in the loop, David,” Dwight says with confidence as he squats down inches away from Darryl.

“Its okay. Go ahead.”

Darryl takes a deep breath, “Well, there’s a very exciting opportunity to be a core investor—”

“Okay.  Darryl, Im gonna have to stop you right there.”

Of course.  Thanks, guys.  “Alright, cool,” he says as he awkwardly hangs up, “Bye.”

Dwight, once again, remains victorious as he whispers, “I’d love to invest.”

“No, thanks,” Darryl curtly replies.

“I’d like to give you 100 million dollars,” Dwight can barely get through it without laughing as he slinks to the floor.  He gets back up and heads to the office before Darryl interrupts him.

“Hey!” she shouts, getting Dwight’s attention, “I know what this is about.  You’re still bitter about me leaving, right?”

“Nothing personal, Darryl,” he explains, “It’s just business.  Whether or not said business makes you realize the error of your ways is completely coincidental.”  And with that, he walks off.

Well, gotta break it to the others.

Later on, he stands with Pete and Nellie in the kitchen as Dwight grabs his coffee.

“Dwight, you can’t just hire someone ’cause they’re your friend,” Pete says.

“I’m not,” Dwight responds, “These people are the best of the best.  I find talent an attractive quality in a friend.”

“They’re freaks, Dwight,” Nellie says with tenacity, “All your friends are weirdos and freaks.”

“You know who else was a freak?” Dwight argues back, “Spider-Man!  And he was also a hero.”

“Your friends are like Spider-Man,” Darryl adds, “if he had gotten bitten by a spider and then got really into masturbating.”


“All of them?” Jim asks Pam over the phone as she paints the mural.

“Yes,” she responds.  She knows talking to him on the phone while she’s painting is a bit of a distraction, but damn it she needs to hear his voice over the sensory overload from earlier.

“In one room?”


“My God… I wish I was there to see it.”

“No, no you don’t,” she jokes, “There are sights and smells that I will never recover from.”

“Wow, Bees,” he pauses, “I mean if you want me to call the office and—”

“No way, Halpert,” she commands, “You’ll just get yourself in trouble.  Besides, I’m calling you because it’s Dwight, not business.”

“I just wanna make sure youll be okay.”  She knows he’s joking, but she can still hear the genuineness in his tone.  It makes her smile.

“Please,” she explains, “I’ve survived childbirth twice, the new guy will only be half the pain.”

“Why you make trees into bushes?  You don't make paper from bushes!”

“Ugh, hold on,” she turns around and looks down at Hide, “Hide.  They’re giving out jobs upstairs.  Why don’t you go up and get one?”

He considers it for a second.  “Thank you,” he heads upstairs with a slight smile.

“Yeah,” she sighs, turning back to the mural, “Sorry about that,” she says to Jim.

“Im thinking Hide would be a good choice, he is the number one heart surgeon in Japan.”

“Shut up,” she says through a laugh, “Hey, how did therapy go today?”

“It went really well,” he says happily, “Kicked my ass, though.”

“That’s how you know it’s working,” she replies.

“Yup.  Thinking about napping it off.”

“Not a bad idea.”

“Well, Ill let you get back to your bushes.”

“Screw off, Halpert.”

“With your rounded trees, then.”

“Thank you.”

She hears a deep breath from Jim, followed up with “I love you so much, Pam.”  It hits her, and she can’t help but stop what she’s doing.  He means what he says, but she can tell it’s also code for I’m so sorry, please forgive me.  It’s been a week and he’s still kicking himself over it.  She wants nothing more than to drive home, have him hold her in his arms, kiss him over and over and say that she loves him and she forgives him.

He knows she does.  He hasn’t forgiven himself yet.

“I love you so much, baby,” she lovingly replies, “Get some rest, you deserve it.”

“Will do.  See you when you get back.”

“Okay, love you,” she repeats.

“Love you too.  Bye.”

“Bye.”  She presses ‘End’ (Thanks, Helene) and gets back into her painting after a deep, heavy sigh.  Hes getting better.  Hes getting better.


To no one’s surprise, none of Dwight’s friends are good candidates.  Who would have thought?

Melvina tries to comfort him, while Trevor, Wolf, and Zeke go and reassure him.

“Hey man, we get how difficult this is,” Trevor begins sympathetically, “And no matter how you choose, we’re still gonna be your friend.”

“Yeah,” Wolf adds, “whether it’s me or Troy Underbridge, or Gabor, or Melvina—”

“Or none of you,” Dwight says through a nervous chuckle.

“Yeah, you’d bring us all down here, put us through the wringer, and then choose none of us.”

“Can you imagine how insulting that would be?” Trevor asks, “The contempt that a person like that would have to have for you.”

Oh, God.  “I wish I could hire all of you,” Dwight responds through a fake smile.

“I could start Monday,” Zeke says happily.

Dwight then figures something out, “Hey, let me run this by my number two, see what he thinks.”

“Okay, cool,” Wolf says.

Dwight’s in Darryl’s office now, trying to placate him.

“And I was thinking it’s only fair that you help make this decision since you know, you work directly under the Regional Manager and all...”

“But you know I wouldn’t hire any of these all-stars,” Darryl says.

“AAH!  God, that sucks!  Aah!” Dwight says through his bad acting, “What are you gonna do?  I mean, it’s your call.”

“Nope,” Darryl responds, “Your friends not turning out to be as great as you thought?  Not even Gabor?”

“I guess I just have higher standards for my work colleagues than for my friends,” Dwight “concedes”, “I just couldn’t picture any of them in the old gold and gray.”


“I designed a uniform for Dunder Mifflin.”  It comes in Summer, Winter, Jungle, and Formal.

Darryl walks in with Dwight, “Well, as Assistant Regional Manager, I was shocked to see how qualified everyone was for the position.  You?”

“Yes,” Dwight “agrees”, “Thank you.  Amazed.”

“I have to admit this is a tough decision,” Darryl continues, “so I had to go with none of you.”

“WHAT?” Dwight “yells”, “This is such BULLcrap!!”

“Well, you know, Wallace put me in charge, so you have no say.”

“WOW!  So much crap, it’s just a load of B.C.  How could you do this to them?”

“Tone it down,” Darryl mumbles.


And, naturally, they’re all pissed and decide to leave.  But it’s too late to start a slow roast but too early for a Swanson’s.  Wolf has it: paintball!

Dwight asks if they could wait for him, but Trevor’s anger and everyone else’s frustration makes them decide that they’ll leave without him… with Creed following close behind.

“Well, that went well,” Darryl said as he walks back to his office.

Later, Pam walks back into the office and finds Dwight helping out Clark.

“Pam, meet your new deskmate,” he announces with feigned pride.

“What’s up, good lookin’?” Clark greets.

“Oh, hey!  You got it,” Pam says happily.

Dwight sadly walks back to his desk to finds an email from Pball1239 (Wolf) containing an image of his friends flipping off Dwight with the phrase ‘Glad you’re not here’.

“They say that everyone outgrows their friends at some point in their lives,” Dwight laments to Brent, “Well…  I just outgrew them all in the span of three hours.”

“Hey, Pam,” Clark says, “I’m going to the kitchen.  You want anything?”

“I’m good,” she responds.

“Oh, hey, I’ll take a coffee,” Dwight mentions.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Clark mocks, rubbing it in, “You gotta be this cool for coffee.”  Dwight just scoffs dejectedly at the remark.

As much as Pam loves making fun of Dwight, and knowing he deserved what he got today, she wants to cheer him up.  He did this for himself… but he did it for Jim, too.

“Hey, Dwight,” she gets Dwight’s attention, “Wanna haze the new guy?”

“Who me?” he asks.


“Absolutely, I do!” he says through his giggles.

What follows is a saran wrap prank gone terribly wrong.


The cameras were so encapsulated with Dwight’s nonsensical plot that they completely ignored Erin.  And she was just fine with that.

Pete has been helping her get a bank account online.  It’s official!  She’s a nerd now.  However, she becomes disheartened when it comes to the security questions… all involving her family.

“Wow, they do not make these orphan-friendly do they?” Pete asks.

“Mm-hm,” she replies, “You know what, we can just take care of it later.”

He noticed that she needs some time to herself, “That’s fine.”

The search for her birth parents has proven to be difficult.  She longs to find out who they are, but those darn security questions hit her where it hurt.  But there is one question that she thinks she can answer: ‘What street was your first home on?’

And she turns to the one woman who understands better than anyone else: Phyllis Lapin-Vance.

Phyllis is an enigma.  She’s a sweet, kind-hearted grandmother figure one day, and a manipulative, cold-hearted bitch the next.  It can switch from day-to-day.  In reality, similar to Erin, she’s basically an overgrown teenager.  An overly hormonal, gossiping, high-on-life teenager.  She longs for the days of her youth, knowing that her best years are behind her.  Her husband, Bob Vance, brings back that fire in her, that childlike innocence that throws caution to the wind; when they’re together, she’s fifteen again.  The baby she gave away was a crushing reality that came out of nowhere, and she hopes to one day meet her and tell her how proud she is of her, how she would love nothing more than to have raised her herself.  That day will come sooner than she thinks…

“I’m just looking for answers,” Erin tells her, “To the security questions.  I’m not looking for answers to life,” she clarifies, “I don’t smoke dope.  I just know you had a baby in Scranton around the same time I was born.”

“I mean, I guess we could’ve been in the maternity ward around the same time, yeah,” Phyllis responds with a smile.  She doesn’t like to think about those times.  Giving up a baby is so hard, and the food in the maternity ward is a joke.  “You know what?  My mother videotaped the birth and I’m pretty sure there’s footage of other babies in the nursery.”  She kept it because it’s the best record of her young body.

“You were pregnant,” Erin mentions.

“Yup, my boobs were amazing.”

So both parties sit through the birthing video, Erin with a face of disgusted confusion, and Phyllis with a nostalgic smile.

“How long does this go on for?” Erin asks.

“I was in labor for 56 hours,” Phyllis answers.

Darryl does not appreciate walking into that.  (“THOSE PEOPLE ARE SICK!  THIS IS A WORKPLACE!  THIS IS A WORKPLACE!!”)

Eventually, they get to the hospital nursery, and Erin can’t help but grin.  She wants to be a mother someday.  They pause and see a clue: a small, red-headed baby with the name St. Margaret’s on the small crib.

“Do you think that’s me?” she smiles, “My real name is St. Margaret?  I must’ve been a super religious baby.”

“No, silly,” Phyllis gently corrects, “that must be the church you were given to.  Maybe you’re from the neighborhood around St. Margaret.

But reality sets in for Erin, “Oh I mean it probably isn’t really me.”  It’s not.  “I mean, it’s fun to imagine, but… What’s that neighborhood like?”

“I don’t know,” Phyllis shrugs her shoulders.

She finds Pete in the breakroom after his rousing discussion with Dwight.  “Hey,” she asks, “Do you mind driving me through the neighborhood around St. Margaret’s?”

“Uh, sure,” he answers, all too curious, “What’s the occasion?”

“I think that’s the street I was born on.”

He pauses, understanding the significance of this request.  She’s made it clear that she wanted to find out this information herself, so the fact he’s asking him about it must mean she needs a friend right now.

“Sure, no problem.”

They walk around the neighborhood, looking through the scenic suburbia.

“It’s a good street,” she thinks out loud.

“Good street?” Pete asks, “This is a great street.  You got trees…”

“Amazing trees,” she adds, “Mailboxes.”

“Oh, on this street, you’re getting your mail.”

She stops, getting discouraged once again, “I don’t know, though.  The card just said St. Margaret’s.  I’ll probably never know.”

“Hey,” he comforts, “You came from somewhere.”

“Yeah,” she shrugs.

“And,” he continues, “from what I know of you… it was a place like this.”

Those words… for some reason, they hit her.  She doesn’t know why they do. She knows Andy would say something similar, and he really would.  But coming from Pete, they felt… different.  A good different.  A different she’s scared of, but can’t help but embrace.

She smiles brightly once again.  He returns it.

As they mention how there’s no trash on the street, Erin realizes that this is where she wants to start her own family.


“Wait,” Clark asks, referring to the framed picture of the Scranton Business Park, “That’s you?”

“Yup,” Pam answers with pride.

“Nice,” he compliments.

“Aw, thanks, Clark!” Pam is touched, “Do you draw?”

“Well, I mostly doodle.”


As they continue to bond, the crew goes ahead and shuts everything down.  The camerawoman from yesterday moves her camera, incidentally catching Brian looking at Pam longingly, and Nellie staring at him suspiciously from behind while leaning on her desk, before it shuts off again.

Chapter End Notes:

I have... a lot more to say about this than previous chapters. 

The episode was, in canon, dunking on Jim for working so much at Athlead (which is honestly sort of deserved).  But with him out of the picture, I had to reframe things.

Switching the investment conversation from Jim to Darryl was easier than I thought.  It contributes to the conflict that was established previously: Darryl wanting to leave the paper business, and Dwight being bitter about it; this is in place of both Jim and Dwight being equally kinda in the wrong like in canon.

The Erin story is pretty much 80% of the deleted scenes, but Pete is less involved.  It got me to think about Phyllis more, and why she acts the way she does throughout the show.  Also, I'm sort of proud of the barn line I gave Pete, it's something he'd say and that's exactly what happened.  And yes, everything — included deleted scenes — happened when Dwight interviewed his friends.  It's... so wonderful.  The canon one is worth watching for them, they're just... magnificent specimens.  My writing cannot do them justice.

And then there's Brian and Nellie.  Yes, she's learned her lesson from two chapters ago, but Pam's her closest friend and she'll be damned if she'd let anything impact her negatively.  She won't do anything but she's obviously thinking worst-case-scenario.  Again, Phoebe and Rachel dynamic.

NEXT TIME: Someone from the warehouse defaces Pam's mural.  As she, Dwight, and Nellie sniff out the culprit, the accountants attend a political event/Phillip Lipton's first birthday party, and Erin and Pete reflect on their love lives before Andy's return...

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