ptahrrific: Woman with a notebook (Default)
Erin Ptah ([personal profile] ptahrrific) wrote2009-06-14 05:51 pm

Fake News: The Lepidopterist

Title: The Lepidopterist
Rating: PG (sexual references)
Characters/pairings: Jon, liberal!"Stephen", Larry, Rob R., John-O, Wyatt, Aasif, Jason, Kristen, an elephant
Disclaimer: All television shows, movies, books, and other copyrighted material referred to in this work, and the characters, settings, and events thereof, are the properties of their respective owners. As this work is an interpretation of the original material and not for-profit, it constitutes fair use. Reference to real persons, places, or events are made in a fictional context, and are not intended to be libelous, defamatory, or in any way factual.

Summary: More from the liberal!"Stephen" AU. In which Stephen is inquisitive to the point of offensiveness, Jon runs low on forks, and Larry is not as scary as he thinks he is (but every bit as devious).

(Precedes A Modest Proposition, which is why Stephen by that point has a bit more of a clue.)



The Lepidopterist


"And what do the Jews think about this?"

Jon nearly dropped his half-eaten slice of pizza. He caught it just in time, though a lone pepperoni fell off the side and hung dangerously by a thin strand of mozzarella over Stephen's desk.

This was one of those strange phenomena that happened when talking with Stephen. You would be winding along the thread of a perfectly normal conversation, chewing the fat about some completely random topic, and all of a sudden he would want to know the perspective of your entire religion. Or ethnic group. Or income tax bracket.

While Jon performed a hasty rescue operation on the pepperoni, his friend waited patiently for an answer, eyes wide with curiosity. Jon was theoretically all in favor of asking questions, but there was still something disconcerting about having that particular look turned on him. He wondered if this was how a butterfly felt after someone had stuck a pin in it and pulled out the magnifying glass.

"Sorry, what was that?" he asked, once he had saved Stephen's authentic bamboo mat from being stained with pizza sauce.

"I know your religion gives you a unique cultural experience," explained Stephen. "I mean, mine does too, given that I'm a Zen Taoist Wiccan Discordian, but it's not quite the same, you know? And I want to respect that. So what's the Jewish perspective on this one?"

"I, uh, don't know," said Jon. It wasn't the most outrageous question Stephen had ever sprung on him (that honor still belonged to "What's your favorite way to masturbate?"), but his brain was preoccupied trying to untangle the logic that had led up to it.

Stephen cocked his head quizzically, causing a lock of hair to fall into his eyes. Tossing it back behind his ear, he said, "Is it because you're not really Jewish?"

Okay, that was a serious contender for the "most outrageous" spot.

"Of course I'm Jewish," stammered Jon, once he had gotten over being too flabbergasted to speak. "You have seen the nose, right?"

"Kinda hard to miss," agreed Stephen, flashing a knowing smile before sobering again. "C'mon, you know what I mean. You're Jewish, but you're not Jewish Jewish."

Jon stood up so sharply that his chair went rolling backwards.




The first few bars of the chorus of "Love Me, I'm A Liberal" rang out across the office. Jon held up a hand in apology, pulled out his phone, and switched off the call without looking at it. "Sorry about that," he said briskly. "You were saying...?"

"Hold on a minute," protested Larry. "Wasn't that your Stephen ring tone?"

"Uh, yeah."

"You never ignore Colbert for a correspondent."

Jon winced. "I do sometimes."

He didn't. He really didn't. But if he wanted to pretend otherwise, Larry was going to grab the opportunity while it lasted. "Right. So, about this segment...."

"Besides, I'm sort of not talking to him right now," continued Jon.

Aaaaaand there it went.

"Well, you can't just leave me hanging after that," said Larry matter-of-factly, as he quietly resigned himself to not getting anything done today.

With a sigh, Jon put down his pen. "It's not that big a deal, really. He went off on a thing about me not really being Jewish."

"Mmhmm." Larry paused. "He has seen the nose, right? No offense."

"None taken. But he thinks that means I should have all these answers, and when I try to tell him I don't...." Jon drummed his fingers on the desktop. "It's not like anything will ever get Stephen Colbert to stop asking questions. I get that. I just need a break from them sometimes."

Larry regarded him thoughtfully, lips pursed. "You want me and the guys to go have a talk with him?"

"...when you say 'the guys'," began Jon cautiously.

"Me, Riggle, Aasif, and Wyatt."

"Oh, no you don't. I remember what you four did to Anderson Cooper."

Larry raised his eyebrows. "Oh, come on, it came out in the wash. And if we can get Colbert to back off, isn't it worth a shot?"

Jon shifted uncomfortably. "Maybe he'll figure it out on his—"

He was interrupted by a clatter on the windowpane.

Colbert was shivering in a light jacket on the sidewalk below. When Jon pushed the creaking window open, he dropped the next handful of gravel he was holding, wrapped his arms around himself, and yelled, "I'm sorry!"

Glancing back at Larry, Jon mouthed, See?

"Does he know why?" muttered Larry in return.

Jon's face fell. Turning back to the window, he called, "For what?"

Colbert just grinned. "That's the spirit!" he exclaimed. "I'll be right up!"

As Jon yanked the window closed, Larry sighed. "I'm getting kicked out now, aren't I."

Jon turned guiltily to him. "Would you mind...?"




"Someone ought to go up there and intimidate him a little."

Looking up from his computer, Rob shook his head. "Larry, I hate to break it to you, but you aren't really all that intimidating. I mean, you tried to rough up Anderson Cooper while wearing glasses and a tie."

"And a bandana!" protested Larry. "The bandana is very important!"

"What is it, a gang symbol or something?"

"It might be! You wouldn't know!"

"Man, I'm not even touching this one," put in Wyatt, leaning through the door. "Last time I hung out with Colbert, he asked me to explain how he could get himself a ghetto pass. Just because Jon's enough of a masochist to put up with him doesn't mean I have to be."

"Why is everyone at our office, anyway?" demanded John. "Did someone put a sign on the door saying 'free food here' while I wasn't looking again?"

Wyatt shrugged. "I'm just here to borrow a stapler."

As Rob dug around the desk drawers looking for theirs, Aasif remarked, "I do think someone should rescue Jon. But since we know how Colbert tries to interrogate anyone darker than your average sandbox...."

John realized he was being fixed with a meaningful stare.

"Oh, no," he stammered, holding up his hands. "Don't try to pass this one off on me. Remember what happened the last time my people tried to be the Great White Hope? Remember how well that went?"

"This really isn't that hard," said Larry dryly. "You want a script?"




"You know you can always talk to me, right?"

They were standing across the office from each other, and still Jon felt uncomfortably prodded at. "Stephen, does it ever occur to you that there are things I might want to talk less about?"

"It's never a good thing to suppress your emotions, Jon," said Stephen seriously.

"What are you, a psychiatrist?"

"Well, not officially. But I did see Annie Hall last week. So I'm practically an expert."

Jon shook his head in exasperation. "The only thing I'm suppressing right now is an urge to smack you."

Anyone else would have taken the cue to back off. Stephen, being Stephen, didn't bat an eye. "Okay."

"...what?"

"If it'll make you feel better...."

"Stephen, remember how we talked about not letting people beat you up to make themselves feel better?"

"I know it's a lot to ask of me," said Stephen nobly. "But it's a pain I'm willing to suffer for you, Jon."

Jon was saved from having to unpack this one when the door swung open and a handful of correspondents marched smartly in.

"Coming through, don't worry, nothing to see here," announced Jason, his manner all business. The other correspondents circled Stephen; he let out a yelp of surprise as he was grabbed around the waist and hefted over Rob's shoulder. "All right, pack it in, let's go."

Resisting the temptation to breathe a sigh of relief, Jon stammered, "What are you doing?"

"Don't worry, Mr. Stewart," said Kristen with a confident wink. "We'll get him sorted."

"You like learning, right, Colbert?" asked Rob, craning his neck to address the man slung over his back.

"I-I'm always open to learning new things," said Stephen uncertainly, hair falling across his face, as Jason waved the little procession back towards the hall. "Knowledge is power."

"Excellent!" said John, then squinted down at the pages in his hands. "All right. Lesson one: Jon Is Not An Elephant."

"Or a butterfly," Jon called weakly after them.

"Or a...." John flipped through the papers. "I don't think that's in here."

"We'll figure it out," Kristen assured him. "Onward!"

Together they filed out of the office, passing Larry on his way in.




Brows furrowing in sudden recognition, Jon looked from Larry to the door and back again. "Hang on. Did you—?"

Larry shrugged. "Had to get him out of here somehow."

"So...you sicced all the white goyim on him."

"Why not? It's about time they started pulling their weight. You know, education-wise."

That was hard to argue. Especially since Stephen demanded so much education. Still...Jon folded his arms. "Are they actually going to tell him anything useful? Or did you feed them a bunch of nonsense again?"

"What a question! You do one segment about the secret black sign language, and suddenly it's like you're not trustworthy!" lamented Larry, throwing up his hands. "Yes, they've been loaded up with real knowledge. If it comes out a little wonky and he still needs correcting, at least it'll be less correcting. Can we get back to my segment now?"

Flopping back into his chair, Jon waved Larry closer. "Sir, the floor is all yours."
sarcasticsra: A picture of a rat snuggling a teeny teddy bear. (Default)

[personal profile] sarcasticsra 2009-06-14 07:54 am (UTC)(link)
...was there something specific Stephen was asking about that I managed to miss...? Or is he just asking about what Jewish people think of, like, life in general? 'Cause I spent the whole story slightly confused about that.

Larry being devious is awesome, though.
sarcasticsra: A picture of a rat snuggling a teeny teddy bear. (Default)

[personal profile] sarcasticsra 2009-06-14 08:14 am (UTC)(link)
Hrm. Honestly, not knowing kind of jerked me out of the story a bit, because I was preoccupied with trying to figure out what he was asking about and wondering if I'd missed something. It's just a minor detail, obviously, but it's kind of noticeably missing, at least IMO.
sarcasticsra: A picture of a rat snuggling a teeny teddy bear. (Default)

[personal profile] sarcasticsra 2009-06-14 12:23 pm (UTC)(link)
Ah! Yes, it does, very well. :D

[identity profile] wishflower4.livejournal.com 2009-06-14 08:19 am (UTC)(link)
What's your favorite way to masturbate?

I am definitely using that one.

I love how you write the corrospondants, their voices are spot on!

[identity profile] wishflower4.livejournal.com 2009-06-14 07:46 pm (UTC)(link)
That makes sense--Aasif is rather quirky. I imagine he'd be difficult to write.

[identity profile] holly-cullen.livejournal.com 2009-06-14 01:45 pm (UTC)(link)
Mention of the Anderson Cooper rough-up = you automatically win. I don't what you win, exactly. But you win.

The line about Jon not being an elephant (or a butterfly!) confused me a bit, unless it was just random. Apart from that, I loved the mess of correspondents communicating- someone should just write a fic about a day in the life of so-and-so, because I adore works about the team.

[identity profile] rissaofthesaiya.livejournal.com 2009-06-14 03:04 pm (UTC)(link)
I interpreted it as a reference to the 'five blind men and an elephant' story, as used by Stephen in the Bart Ehrman interview. Of course I could be completely wrong but any excuse to post video links.