Take Me To TV Land

I woke up that morning, and discovered that somehow I had become Captain James T. Kirk. And I had a terrible headache, too. Doesn't it figure?

"Captain," some annoying little jabber-monkey with a bad Russian accent said from ahead of me and to the right, "the Talaxian embassy ship has closed to within hailing range."

"Captain," some large breasted Negress who looked enormously like Nichelle Nichols in the most astonishing mini-skirt said, from somewhere behind me and to my left, "the Talaxian ambassador is hailing us, offering us his benedictions and felicitations, his race's goodwill towards the future, and..."

"Blah blah BLAH," I said. Been here two minutes and I was fed up with this shit already. "Lock phasers. Load the torpedo tubes. Prepare to beam Scotty into their mess hall." I rubbed my aching forehead wearily. Didn't these people have Advil? For Christ's sake... "Somebody get me three or four extra strength Tylenol, stat."

I opened my eyes and looked around at shocked, gaping expressions.

"WELL?" I said, testily.

"Captain," the pointy eared freak in the corner said, in tones so reasonable I wanted to beat him to death with a stool, "the Talaxians are a pacifistic and advanced race which the Federation would benefit greatly from trade and interaction with. Their embassy ship is completely unarmed, and..."

"Aye, and Cap'n," the pudgy one with the greasy hair said from over to my left, "I dinna think I can safely digest their food..."

"What the fuck," I said, frankly appalled at this intolerable intransigence. "Is Starfleet still a military organization? Are you people under my authority? Does everyone here want to be busted back to cabin boy and then sent to clean out the dilithium chambers with a used toothbrush? LOCK THE FUCKING PHASERS ON TARGET!"

Everyone's heads snapped back to their consoles as if gymbal-mounted and gyroscope controlled. "Phasers locked on the unarmed Talaxian embassy ship," the inscrutable Jap bastard in front of me to the left said. "Forward photon torpedo tubes loaded. Security, escort Mr. Scott to the nearest transporter chamber."

"Captain, the Talaxians have noticed us charging our weapons and are protesting in the strongest terms," whatsherface... Uhura, that was it... said. "Captain, the Talaxian ambassador is begging piteously for his life and the life of his crew. He's promising the Federation, the people of Earth, and you in particular, limitless wealth, immortality, immeasurable personal power..." She paused. "He's weeping, sir. Weeping."

"What a pussy," I marveled aloud. I shook my head decisively. "This campaign of effete and wimpish ineffectuality ends here, Lieutenant. Fire everything! Blow the little alien girlie boys out of space!"

"Christ, Jim, are you drunk?" I heard someone say, and peered over my shoulder to see some geezer with bags under his eyes staring down at me incredulously. He took out a salt shaker and began waving it around vaguely in my direction. It made the most irritating noises imaginable. I longed to phaser him.

My response was drowned out by the thrumming sound of our main phaser banks firing and our photon torpedo banks launching, followed by an explosion that was strangely noisy, given the whole vacuum of space thing. But what the hell.

"The Talaxians have ceased to exist other than as free floating, radioactive space debris, Captain," the Russian dimbulb stated, sounding proud. "The Federation is once more triumphant!"

"Damn straight," I muttered surlily.

"Tricorder readings show normal," the geezer said, sounding puzzled. "But Jim, you can't just go around..."

Fumbling around beside me in the chair, I discovered that the thing digging painfully into my hip was a... cool! A phaser! I peered at it owlishly, then pointed it at the totally irritating geezer and pulled the trigger-like stud. There was a blast of bright light and he finally shut the fuck up. Apparently, while I'd been blinking from the glare, he'd chosen to leave, too. Good.

The guy in the corner who looked just like a young Leonard Nimoy in a fright wig raised one eyebrow in a manner I found myself admiring. "Captain, it is hardly standard Starfleet procedure to vaporize alien ambassadors or ship's medical personnel, however personally annoying they may be. Furthermore..."

"Fuck that," I sneered, waving the phaser around rather wildly, causing the Japanese weenie to duck under his console with alacrity. "It isn't standard to beat the Kobyachi Maru scenario either, but I fuckin' did. I fuckin' DID. So kiss my ass." I paused. "Say, how'd you do that thing with your eyebrow, anyway? That's pretty cool."

Before he could answer, there was a horrible shrieking noise from somewhere and then the arm of my chair started speaking. It was freaking me out, frankly. "Captain, this is Transporter Chief Berger," my chair arm sniveled at me, "the Talaxian vessel being radioactive debris, sir, do you still want us to transport Chief Engineer Scott into its mess hall... er.. well... where its mess hall was?"

I brooded on it. On the one hand, the whole 'Scotty eats everything, gets really drunk, and accidentally discombubulates the Talaxian life support system' plan had merely been a clever and Byzantine back up strategem, based on the assumption that the Talaxian bastards had some kind of strange and devious mechanism that would allow them to survive our more overt surprise attack. Clearly, it was now unnecessary. And yet, to reverse myself would cause me to lose face in front of the crew. I had to ask myself, what would Picard do? And then, of course, do the exact opposite.

"The apparent destruction of the Talaxian vessel could be a ruse to lure us into a false sense of complacency," I announced, finally. "For the security of the Federation, no matter how personally painful I find it, we must take no chances and carry out fully every workable strategy towards their defeat." I paused, and went on, in a choking near whisper, "Scotty... Scotty would want it this way."

From the arm of my chair, I could clearly hear "Nay, I dinna want it this way," followed by grunts, scuffling sounds, breathless curses, and finally, Scottish accented screams for mercy, which were then cut off by the high, electronic whine of the transporter itself.

The bridge was very, very quiet, other than the annoying recurring ping sound from one of the goddam consoles. I thought seriously about phasering it.

"Captain," the green blooded half human devil-being in the corner finally said quietly, "Sensors confirm Mr. Scott has rematerialized in the midst of the radioactive debris cloud that was, only moments ago, an unarmed embassy vessel from a peaceful, advanced race whom extended contact with would have benefited the Federation enormously."

I pondered the apparent tone in the miserable alien bastard's toneless voice, then said, gravely, "Obviously, Mr. Scott requires back up in this crucial mission. Spock, thank you for volunteering. Security, escort the Science Officer to the transporter room."

"Captain," the inhuman freak said, as Security closed in on him with drawn phasers, "sensors indicate that Mr. Scott is in need of no aid whatsoever other than a large Baggie to hold his freeze dried, exploded body parts..."

"The good of the many outweighs the good of the few," I intoned piously as Spock's wildly struggling form was dragged into the turbolift by eight or nine husky Security drones.

Finally, the misbegotten alien mulatto's logical façade broke as the turbolift doors were closing. "But it's a vacuum, Captain! A VACUUM! THERE'S NO AIR!!!!!" Spock's shrieks dopplered away down the shaft, ceasing abruptly with the high energy sounds of several phasers going off.

"The air is the air," I added, philosophically.

Once more, there was silence. Finally, Yeoman Rand raised one delightful hand tentatively, like a third grader afraid of incurring teacher's wrath. And well she should be. This wasn't no namby-pamby Enterprise D, baby. This was the REAL deal.

"Yes, slu- er, Yeoman Rand?" I said, my tone a paradigm of reasonableness.

"Um, can I be Chief Engineer now? Please? Pretty please?" she said, giving me puppy dog eyes.

I mused on the matter for a moment. "Perhaps," I said, finally. "Perrrrrrrr.... HAPS. Let's go to my quarters and... discuss it." I stood up decisively, my headache gone. "Lieutenant Uhura, you have the con."

"REAlly?" Uhura said, rubbing her hands together. "BITCHin'." She got up and practically ran to my chair as Yeoman Rand and I were getting into the turbolift, chortling like a kid on Halloween. "Oh, you honkeys are in trouble NOW."

"Captain," the little Russian dork whined, "you can't leave her in charge! She's a GURL!"

"I see Mr. Scott and Mr. Spock need still more back up on their mission," I heard Uhura purr as the turbolift doors were closing. "Security, escort Mr. Chekov..."

The turbolift doors closed then, but as Yeoman Rand sank to her knees in front of me with a big blonde trembling lipped eager to please smile, I gave Uhura a thumbs up through the bulkhead. "That's my girl," I said. "Make it so."

Yeoman Rand mumbled something at my feet. I patted her on the head. "You too," I said. "But don't talk with your mouth full."

* * * **

I was looking around blearily, wondering where the hell I was this time, and thinking sluggishly that the room I was in looked vaguely familiar, when Courtney Cox staggered through the door, careened into the refrigerator, straightened up carefully, and peered at me, lips pursed.

"Hello, Ross," she said. "What are you doing in mine and Chandler's kitchen?"

"Oh NO!" I shrieked like a little girl. "No no nooooooooooo! What, I couldn't be Joey, with my brain? CHRIST!!!"

"What'r you talkin' about," Courtney said, and I realized from her slurred speech she was monumentally, colossally, insanely drunk.

I have no doubt at that moment, in some comic book version of the episode, a cartoon light bulb went off over my head, and my face was suffused by a horribly evil Grinchian leer.

I got up and took her gently in my arms, kissing her forehead. "Sister dear," I said, solicitously, "have I ever told you how much I love you? How beautiful I've always thought you were?"

"Really?" she said, her head lolling against my shoulder as she looked up at me, eyes wide and earnest and very, very drunk. "Oh, honey, thass so sweet."

I dragged us both two steps to the side, sat down in a kitchen chair, yanked her down into my lap, and ruthlessly attacked. She squealed and protested, but not with any great sincerity, and less actual coordination. I had just gotten her bra off and her whimpered "Oh, Ross, we really can't, you're my brother"s had tapered off to infrequent whispers interrupted by sighs and giggles when the door burst open (damn those idiots for never locking it) and Jennifer Aniston staggered in, even drunker than Courtney. She did an inebriated double take.

"Jezus Kee RIST, Ross," she declared bitchily, standing on the tiles straddle legged with her hands cocked on her hips and her head rolling back and forth on her neck, "she's yer SISTER fer Goddssake."

I lifted my face out of Courtney cleavage for a moment; Monica sniffled and wailed "Don't STOP," in a little girl's voice.

"Get over here and get on your knees, Rachel," I said, commandingly. "You can pretend she's Winona Rider."

"Oh, can I?" Rachel said, obviously bemused. "Keeeeeeeewl." She staggered over and slid to her knees in front of us and with the exaggerated care of great intoxication, draped Monica's legs over her shoulders and began to munch.

I went back to what I was doing, and bare seconds later, the door banged open again. This time it was only Phoebe, though, so I just shot her in the forehead and went back to sucking my sister's nipples.

Rachel had just started getting into a good rhythm, turning her head back and forth from me to Monica as Monica and I french kissed hotly, when the goddam door opened once AGAIN. "This had better be Chandler's mother," I muttered, looking up, but no, it was the big feeb himself, along with that twit Joey.

Chandler stood there, aghast and appalled at the sight of his wife perched on her brother's lap, her blouse and bra on the table next to us, her short skirt rucked up around her thighs, her nipples swollen, wet, and obviously recently chewed on, as Rachel knelt sort of in front of and between us, her head industriously turning back and forth, bobbing and slurping.

Joey said, "Wait, dudes, let me get the camcorder!" and ran back out the door.

Chandler, speechless, continued to stand there, gaping, looking like his head was about to explode. Finally he pointed a finger at our erotic tableau and made a sibilant hissing sound, like Donald Sutherland at the end of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS.

Monica, noticing him, focused her eyes on him for a second and said waspishly, "Well, geez, if YOU could ever get it up..."

Joey came running back in, looking sheepish. "Hey, I forgot, I pawned my camcorder, Chandler, can I borrow you guys?" His eyes tracked downwards. "Hey, who shot Phoebs?"

I picked up the gun again and sighed once more. "I'll give you a hint," I said, and plugged Chandler right between the eyes. He went over like a Weeble on crack, which I have to admit probably doesn't actually mean anything, but what the fuck, it sounds good.

Joey stared for a moment at Chandler's body...

... at Phoebe's body...

... at the smoking gun in my hand...

...and scratched his head.

"Give me another hint, dude," he said, finally.

His body hit the floor next to Chandler's, slumping back against the door which had swung closed behind him. "Well, that should keep it closed," I said, with satisfaction.

Rachel glanced over. "Shit, we don't have any more friends anyway," she said pragmatically, before burying her head between Monica's thighs again.

"Ross, you were never this good a kisser before," Monica cooed as she pushed her tongue back into my mouth.

"Ah HA!" I said to myself exultantly, "I KNEW it!"

* * * * * * *

Having plunged the Federation into war with the Talaxians previously as James T. Kirk, as well as massacred half the cast of FRIENDS while inciting incestuous and lesbian orgies amongst the surviving half as Ross Geller, I was perfectly prepared to wake up in yet another sit com TV reality with strange powers of overwhelming charisma and carnage at my disposal. (Although, equally, I was also perfectly prepared to stick around FRIENDS-Earth until I'd managed to bone Chandler's mom, all Joey's ex girlfriends and Ross' ex wives, and shoot Tom Selleck and Elliot Gould between the eyes, too. Que sera, sera.) So it came as no surprise to me when I opened my eyes to find myself in yet another strange apartment.

I was sprawled limply on the couch, experiencing what I assumed must have been a hangover (I don't drink, but apparently whoever I was currently being did, like a fish). I looked around, thinking the place looked vaguely familiar but not really recognizing it, when suddenly the door burst open and a tall, thin gargoyle of a man with monumentally stupid looking hair slid into the room on my hardwood floor. "Jerry," he shouted, apparently in a panic, "you gotta help me, the cable TV guy got into my apartment while I was out looking at women in the laundromat and now he says he'll never leave!"

"Oh, dear GOD," I near-screamed. As one of the few actually sentient human beings in America, I had only ever seen maybe four episodes of SEINFELD, loathed them the way many people loathe midget wrestlers, and had assiduously avoided them from that point on (a difficult task, given that SEINFELD seems to have taken the place of MASH in the early 21st Century as the most commonly and universally syndicated TV program of all time). However, one cannot watch television, read magazines, or otherwise audit the media in modern America and not come to some familiarity with the odious, execrable program, and so it was that, while the actual set of Jerry's apartment hadn't rung more than the tiniest of bells with me, the horrifying visage and screeching, discordant whine of Kramer immediately told me where I was.

"No," I said, grabbing my forehead firmly. "Okay. I'm even uglier than David Schwimmer, yes. My character isn't remotely funny, hasn't the vaguest scintilla of wit, and is a shallow, non-intellectual moron who really can't tell fake boobs from real ones, and who actually at one time dated, and still occasionally sleeps with, someone who looks like Julia Louise Dreyfuss and acts like..." (I shuddered) "...that troll-shrew Elaine. Nonetheless, I do retain my own intellect, so I am far smarter than this character, much funnier, and more importantly, far, far more murderous. Also, I do sleep with a lot of babes, fake boobed or not fake boobed." Having recounted all this, I felt cheered right up.

Kramer was looking at me funny. "Jer, are you okay?"

"Do me a favor?" I said, intensely disliking the unctious, sniveling, 'please love me' Jerry Seinfeld whine I heard myself speaking in, "go back out, wait two minutes, and then come back in?"

Kramer cocked his head at me. "What are we, proving we're the master of our domain or something? Because that, my friend, will only lead to trouble."

I sighed a very Seinfeldian sigh. "Just do it, please, do I ask you for much, no, just this one thing, come on, it's two minutes out of your life, and then I'll go get rid of the cable guy, okay?"

So Kramer obligingly went back out, and I arranged the various useful plot devices that this particular literary conceit I seem to be trapped in seems to consistently supply me with correctly by the door, and then went and crouched down on the other side of the couch.

Then I got back up, ran over, and peered closely - yes, I'd placed it right. It's the curve of the thing that throws you off. I dove back behind the couch, just in time for Kramer to throw my door open once more and come sliding right through the trigger wire for the Claymore mine I'd set up, which promptly blew three quarters of his body into something that looked a great deal like a particularly chunky spaghetti sauce distributed at apparent random across my living room's back wall. His legs from the knees down and head from about the upper shoulders on up remained mostly intact and were hurled at high velocity in differing vectors. All the glass in my windows blew out, too, and whatever furniture had originally been over on the other side of the couch (I vaguely remembered a dining room table and chairs) was turned into scorched matchsticks, as well.

Amazingly, the doorway itself was still intact. Peering through the smoke, I could see Kramer's own door had been pulverized by his flying head, and the huge fat cable guy I remembered getting et in the first JURASSIC PARK was lying underneath it, obviously crushed.

Knowing I had mere moments before the rest of Troll Troop arrived at a panicked run to see what the hell was happening to their buddy Jerry, and whether they could somehow benefit from it, I quickly rigged up several more mines in a concentric half hemisphere around the doorway, creating a potential zone of death that even a herd of velociraptors could not hope to survive. Then I made a rope out of the furniture coverings, tossed it out the window, and was halfway down to the street when I heard several running footsteps above, yells of "Jerry! Are you all right?" and "Jerry, hey, buddy, about that money you owe me", followed by loud explosions and blessed silence. My only regret was that I couldn't actually watch George and Elaine being blown into their component atoms.

As I dropped the last four feet or so to the cement, I could see someone who looked a great deal like Marissa Tomei watching me with some puzzlement. "Hi," I said. "Are you just someone who looks like Marissa Tomei, or Marissa Tomei playing herself in this episode?"

She gave me a wary half smile. "I am Marissa Tomei," she said. "I was fixed up on this blind date with some guy named George..."

"Oh," I said, letting a sob come into my voice and my face seem to crumple, "George... George is my best friend... wuh... wuh... WAS my best friend... oh GOD..." I buried my face in my hands. "He's dead... dead... in an inexplicable apartment explosion I myself barely survived... he... he sacrificed himself to save ME..."

"Oh, you poor baby," she said, taking me in her arms.

Hmmm, I thought to myself. Gee, maybe I can do 7TH HEAVEN next...

* * * * *

7th HEAVEN, perhaps wisely, did not put in an appearance. Over my next several morning wake ups, I triggered a disastrous meltdown that wiped out most of the eastern seaboard as Homer Simpson, rigged an 'accidental' toxic waste spill to take out the entire cast, and surrounding 50 mile area, as Francis in MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE , threw Daggett down a well and boned Scully in every orifice as Mulder on X FILES, had a very nice time on THAT 70s SHOW as a strangely persuasive Hyde who managed to talk the annoying but cute brunette, the entirely babeish redhead, and the slut blonde sister into a hot lesbian menage a trois, and, annoyingly, apparently skipped DARK ANGEL altogether on the FOX track and slid right into some horrifying black UPN comedy which made me run right out and buy 50 or 60 gallons of bleach and ammonia to mix into home made chlorine gas in the middle of 'my' kitchen while the entire cast was over saying things like 'you go girl' and 'whaassssUP?'

With a vast burst of focused willpower, I managed to wrench myself off the UPN track before I got sucked into WWF SMACKDOWN and hurl myself onto what was apparently a CBS pathway. I don't watch much CBS so I'm not sure, but I'm fairly certain I took out the casts of EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, FAMILY LAW, CSI and DIAGNOSIS: MURDER with fairly pedestrian boiler explosions. I didn't do anything particularly murderous or psychotic on JAG, although I suppose Catherine Bell and her husband might disagree with me. Still, she seemed to like having her hands tied behind her, and he wasn't there, so what does he know. However, when Roma Downey showed up and gave me a chance to repent and undo all my evil works on TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL, I cheerfully lured her into an Iowa corn field and ran her over with a tractor several times. The interesting thing about angels is that they can't die, but they sure can feel pain as they're ground into the consistency of still living toothpaste beneath the giant quarter ton tires of a John Deere Fieldmaster 2020. My only real regret while on that particular network pathway was that LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE had been off the air for too long to let me burn it to the ground, after first nailing up the doors and windows with the entire family asleep inside.

Then, apparently, I jumped off the TV track altogether for a while.

* * * * * * * *

"No time to argue," the annoying Indio cretin on the other side of the rectangular abyss said. "You throw me the idol, I throw you the whip."

The Hovito temple seemed to be shaking itself to pieces all around us, and he was right, there wasn't very much time to argue. So, I drew my enormous Colt revolver and pointed it at his head. "Let me put this another way," I said, pleasantly. "Throw me the fucking whip."

He gulped and did so, with alacrity, and then turned and ran away, doubtless fearing my righteous wrath. Since I was pretty certain he was about to have a close encounter with a strangely rust-free set of swinging spikes, I didn't bother pursuing him. Walking casually down the subterranean hallway, I tapped here and there and, finally finding a spot that sounded hollow (obviously, all these hidden traps would require some kind of equally hidden network of maintenance passages), I pushed here and pulled there until a secret door opened up. Then, using my compass, and another map fragment I conveniently had in my rucksack, I made my way through the underground maze unmolested, smiling as, off in the distance, I could hear the sounds of Belloq and his Hovito lackeys being crushed into gruel by the big stone ball that had been knocked off its tracks by the rock I'd lodged up there from my newly discovered access point.

I emerged from a camouflaged cave in a small, grassy hillside, strolled down to the lagoon where I'd left the plane floating, shot Jacque's pet snake Wedgie, and flew back to the States.

Several days later, I was in my office, having just finished up finding and deciphering all the messages that one particularly hot co-ed had written in mascara and lipstick in various parts of her anatomy, (most of which were much more explicit than the 'love you' she'd written on her eyelids) when I heard Marcus nattering and bumbling around in the outer corridor. Sighing, I got dressed, patted the exhausted, replete bimbo affectionately on the shoulder, and walked out. "Indy," Marcus said, "there are government men here, and they're really very insistent..."

I handed Marcus the Hovito statuette and did my best not to laugh when his feeble fingers dropped it directly onto his foot. As it was solid gold, it weighed around 20 lbs, and I have no doubt most of his toes were crushed into jelly by the impact. Picking it up again as he sat in the corridor shrieking in agony, I tossed it up and down easily in my hand as I walked up the hall towards the auditorium where the government idiots would be waiting for me.

The fat one had just opened his mouth to speak when I held up one hand. "Yeah, yeah," I said. "Abner Ravenwood. Headpiece of the Staff of Ra. Nazis. Ark of the Covenant. I'm on board. One million dollars, payable in advance."

Both spluttered for a moment, and then the thin one said, "This is 1938! The government doesn't have a million dollars!"

"Come on," I said, "we're already gearing up for a wartime economy. Print some money."

I let myself be bargained down to a quarter of a million, and an agreement that government operatives would be immediately dispatched to whack that miserable millionaire Donovan, so he wouldn't nearly get my dad killed in the third movie. ("America has declared war on irritating Bundist millionaires who want the Holy Grail," I muttered obscurely.) Then I went home, carefully packed three loaded Colt. 45s in my luggage and put one each in my jacket pockets (I had an annoying tendency to get them knocked out of my hand just when the enormous bad guys were getting ready to pound me into gruel) and went straight to Egypt, bypassing the whole stupid thing with the Tibetan mountain bar and Karen Allen and getting a crucial several day lead on the witless Nazis. Hiring Sallah to dig the Ark up (of course, having seen the movie 400 times, I knew exactly where it was), I packed it into a crate, fastened detailed instructions on the proper Jewish rituals to use in opening it, and shipped it directly to Adolf Hitler. When Berlin ceased to exist a few days later and the war ground to a halt, I took my three quarters of a million dollars and set myself up like a king, in a Depression-era economy that now would never end, without WWII to get America out of it.

That was just getting comfortable when I jumped somewhere else, and wound up being a stupid second class angel for a while...

* * * * * * *

"So," George said, the facts he'd just seen only very slowly sinking into his booze sodden head, "if I had never been born, Nick would own his own bar? Geez."

"Absolutely," I said. "And Martini would be working as Mr. Potter's personal valet. And don't forget Mr. Gower, the multibillionaire Nobel laureate drug czar who accidentally mixed up a cure for diptheria and polio in his pharmacy while in a grief induced haze, because you weren't there to interfere."

"Aw, geez, Clarence," George said. "I gotta go see my mom."

"Fine," I said, leading him over to an exclusive gated community in the wealthy section of Pottersville. "We were coming here next, anyway. There's your mother's estate. Don't get to close to the gate or the security guards will shoot you."

George gaped. "But... but how...?"

"When your dad died and Mr. Potter wanted to close down the Building & Loan, your mother drove a very shrewd bargain," I advised the poor clod. "Knowing Potter was absolutely psychotic about getting the B & L out of the way, she made him pay through the nose for her stock in it. Then she had your brother Harry invest it for her."

"But... but... every man on that transport died because Harry wasn't there to save them because I wasn't there to save Harry!" George whimpered, sounding desperate. "He couldn't have invested Ma's money..."

"Oh, piffle," I said, having always wanted to say that and figuring Clarence probably would. "Those big kids who were your friends had no reason to take a little brat like Harry sledding that day. He never broke through the ice and nearly drowned, and freed from the shadow of that childhood trauma, and an overbearingly obnoxious, holier than thou older brother, he became a millionaire before the age of 30 and was eventually elected President. Right now, though, he's just the greatest American hero of World War II, having single handedly captured both the Nazi and Japanese upper hierarchies and forced them to capitulate during a live worldwide radio broadcast."

George's eyes were practically bugging out of his head and he started choking uncontrollably. I patted him helpfully on the back and after a few moments he got over it. "Clarence," he said, "you seem to know these things. Where's my wife? Where's Mary?"

"Why, she's right down the street," I said, leading him onward to an even larger and more imposing estate than his mother's. "As Mrs. Sam Wainright, she's one of the wealthiest women in the United States. Here, if you look between the hedges in through that window..." I helpfully handed him a spyglass. He unfolded it and looked. After a few moments... I figure right about the time Mrs. Wainwright rolled over to let her handsome Swedish masseur do her front, too... George whimpered and hurled the spyglass away from him as if it were red hot.

"Jesus, Clarence, the world really IS better off if I never lived," he sniveled. "Can I just kill myself now?"

"Sure," I said, helping him up onto the bridge railing and resting a foot on his big dumb butt. "Happy landings!" I said cheerfully, as I booted him into the frigid waters below.

"ZuZu's petals my ass," I added, dusting my hands together and turning away, feeling the satisfaction of a job well done.

* * * * * * * * *

After that, I seemed to be on a holiday special binge for a while. From a sniper's nest on a mountaintop, I blew the Grinch's head off just before he pulled the overloaded sledge back up from the cliff's edge, sending all the Whoo's toys, and that aggravating little dog, plummeting into an unfathomable crevasse. I missed a bounding, shrilly squealing Claymation Rudolph with three grenades, but finally getting the range set right on the M203, blew the little bastard into scattered chunks of colored putty with the fourth. Frosty went down before my Vietnam era flamethrower like a birthday candle in a blast furnace, and the sidespray lit up all his cute little kid companions and sent them screaming, a triple play of miniature human torches, across the winter landscape, as well. I nuked the Island of Misfit Toys after carefully strapping Herbie the Elf and the Bumble to the H-bomb, then air dropped the Peanuts gang on to the barren, radioactive atoll so they could act out "A Charlie Brown Lord Of The Flies". Then I stayed on the holiday track but jumped back into actual films for a while, telling Mrs. John McClane that I wouldn't rat out who the interloper in the building was to Hans and his boys if she and her pregnant secretary would sneak off to her office with me for a couple of hours and be my own personal Christmas presents. I carefully substituted bags and bags of deadly coral snakes for the sacks of letters to Santa Claus being carried into a court room in yet another holiday favorite of the masses, paid Bob Cratchit a desperately needed ten pounds to secure Tiny Tim for medical experiments and covertly wired the Little Drummer Boy's musical instrument with ten ounces of impact activated plastique. Then I visited the SCROOGED universe just long enough to pick up a few hundred copies of "The Night The Reindeer Died" so I could distribute them freely to all the network affiliates, to take the place of the traditional Christmas specials I'd rendered, if not unwatchable, then at least, by network standards, unfit for broadcast.

The hectic pace finally slowed down a bit. Having been animated in GRINCH and FROSTY, as well as Claymation in RUDOLPH (let me tell you, THAT feels weird), I immediately realized I was animated once more wherever I was now... and the animation was cheaper, too, as I discovered when I tried to move and found myself jerking and staggering along stiffly and spasmodically, like a four string marionette, in a manner typical of cheap, Hanna Barbara style animation since time immemorial. "Shit," I muttered to myself, looking down at my strange, bright blue sweatshirt sleeve that simply seemed to come down to my wrist and end, with no visible cuff or hem. "When do I get to do ALADDIN or BEAUTY AND THE BEAST or SNOW WHITE?" Immediately as I said it, I realized that all those cartoons, while having eminently doable cartoon babes in them, also had extremely mean supernatural forces in them. "Okay, scratch that," I said. "Never mind. But where the hell...?"

Someone with a deep, booming voice said "Old friend, what is wrong? Are you feeling okay?" and I looked over and saw a stiff looking, remarkably cheerful looking Batman, obviously drawn in a 60s-ish style, looking at me. A similarly drawn Robin was standing next to him. I looked around, and realized we were in some sort of vast, not very well defined or detailed hall, with a vague impression of a long stone table and big, throne like chairs around it, and flat, rectangular, quaint looking viewcreens and control panels on the wall.

I lifted my hands in front of my eyes and then looked down at my chest... my massively wide, broad, deep chest, with the bright red and yellow triangular S symbol on it. "Oh, get outta here!" I said, overcome with delight. "Okay, I'm badly drawn, but you gotta be kidding me, I get to be SUPERMAN? This is SO COOL!"

A firm, contralto voice said "Superman, are you well?" I turned to see a stately, statuesque, stiff, yet still definitely hot Wonder Woman walking... well, okay, sort of jerking... through a boring, featureless doorway.

"This is SuperFriends," I marveled. "I'm in SuperFriends! There's no Supergirl, no Martian Manhunter, no other Kryptonians... she's the closest thing in power to me, and she's a GIRL..." I stopped. I seemed to vaguely recall episodes in which the Flash and Green Lantern had guest starred... I'd have to be careful of them.

At some point, Batman, Robin, and Wonder Woman, had been joined by Aquaman, and they were all staring at me like I'd gone insane. "I'm sorry," I said, my own voice booming out in a way that nearly scared me, "it's just that my super-vision has detected a terrible alien threat approaching! A huge space armada is coming to subjugate the Earth! Quick, Wonder Woman, no time to explain... let me borrow your magic lariat!"

"Of course," the humorless cartoon Amazon said, handing it over immediately. "I shall summon my robot plane..."

"Cool, I'll go warm up the Bat-rocket!" Robin chirped, running out of the room.

"I shall mobilize the fish of the deep seas into a resistance force," Aquaman said resonantly.

"FINE idea," I said approvingly, and with great sincerity. "You hop right to that, Squidmaste - er, Aquaman."

"I'll contact the Pentagon," Batman said grimly, and left the room at a pace barely slower than his teen sidekick.

"Yes," I said, "by all means, contact the Pentagon. On your Bat-phone. There's not a moment to lose, O Gotham Guardian."

He gave me a weird look over his shoulder but continued to stride manfully out of the room.

Meanwhile, at super speed, I slipped the magic lasso around Wonder Woman's neck. "Just be quiet and still and let them all leave," I whispered to her via super-ventriloquism. She glared at me in a manner that promised me a slow and horrible death at some point in the indefinite future out of the corner of her eye, but had no choice but to obey, of course. As the rest of the Super Idiots departed to prepare for the invading armada, I was looking around our remarkably boring and badly drawn headquarters with my X ray vision, until I found the person I was looking for.

Then, with super ventriloquism, I said, "Wendy, would you come to the main meeting room, please? No, don't wake Marvin up, that's fine." After a moment's thought, as I looked over my Amazonian captive and pondered the possibilities, I said, "Bring Wonder Dog, though."

Wonder Woman's eyes went wide...

* * * * * * * * * * * *

After ravishing the innocent and not so innocent for several days as a nearly all powerful cartoon Superman, I admit, I was ready to move on. So when I woke up in a non-cartoon body, I looked around with interest, trying to figure out where and who I was this time.

Someone was knocking on glass up above my head. I looked up, and realized I was in a shabby basement apartment, lying on a pull out sofa bed, with a grubby old bedspread thrown over me and an even grubbier old sleeping bag unzipped and spread open on the foam rubber mattress under me that almost certainly... I pulled it up and checked... yes, took the place of sheets and blankets.

Actually, I felt right at home, especially when I noticed the comics piled up on the old threadbare armchair and spread across the foot of the bed. Then I realized they were X-MEN comics... ick... and also realized that whoever it was had stopped knocking on the basement window and started calling urgently, in a low voice, "Xander? Are you in there? Come on, we have to do graveyard patrol tonight... Buffy is still out of town."

My eyes went wide in horror. Xander? Buffy out of town? X-MEN comics? Good Lord! "Noooooo," I said, rolling over and pulling the pillow over my head. "No no no no nooooooooooo NO there are VAMPIRES OUT THERE --- !!!! Not gonna do it, noooooooo, send me to ROSWELL instead, I'll even be that weenie Alex, or Kyle the idiot, but I'm not gonna play on BUFFY-Earth, nooooooooooo..."

I scrunched down as deeply into the cheap mattress as I could, pressing the pillow firmly around my head, blocking all the light and most of the sound from reaching my eyes or ears. I concentrated manfully on jumping over to ROSWELL, or hell, even GILMORE GIRLS or FELICITY, I didn't care, just notNotNOT a world where vampires and demons stalked the night feasting on human flesh and I lived on top of a Hellmouth and never ever got laid.

Someone tapped me on the shoulder and I jumped out of bed screaming. "No! Not me! I'm evil! Really! Don't kill me!"

I focused my eyes, and Alyson Hannigan, looking utterly delightful with her long straight red hair, but then, kind of frumpy in a pair of bib overalls and a cotton checked shirt, was standing next to my sofa bed. "XANder," she said, long sufferingly, "you are NOT evil, and you PROMised you'd patrol with me tonight, you PROMised, we're meeting GILES, so come on."

"You haven't cut your hair," I said.

"Did you take an overdose of goofy pills today, Xander?" she inquired quizzically. "Why would I cut my hair?"

"This is the first season," I said. "You aren't dating Oz yet. You still have a huge crush on me. Hey, this has potential."

Alyson blushed bright red. "Wuh what are you talking about, I don't have a huge crush on any..."

"Shhhhhh," I said, leaning over and putting my finger over her lips. "Never mind. The babble of semiconsciousness. Sleep deprivation. Or I could just be insane. How could we tell?"

"How indeed," Alyson said dryly. "Xander, it's going to be dark soon..."

"Oh, Willow," I said, walking around and sitting on the edge of the bed next to where she was standing and letting my head droop. "Oh, Willow... I can't hide it from you any more. I don't think I can patrol with you tonight. I... I..." I gave a choking sob. "I'm scared, Willow. I'm... I'm a coward. There. Now you know."

"Oh, Xander, you big silly," she said, sitting down next to me and putting her arms around me. "Of course you're scared. You think I'm not scared? I'm terrified. But somebody has to do it, and Buffy isn't back in town yet from summer vacation..."

"I... I know," I said, turning to slip my arms around her, too, and burying my face in her hair. In the first season she wasn't a witch yet, either, which was good... no telekinetically punting suddenly amorous Xanders out basement windows. "Oh, Willow, you're such a good friend..."

So we were late meeting Giles. It's not my fault the only other regulars during the first season were Cordelia and Angel. And we weren't THAT late; let's face it, I was 16 years old and she looked just like major babe Alyson Hannigan. You can't expect much staying power.

"You two are terribly late," Giles scolded us as we came hurrying up. "And Willow, you have some vanilla pudding in the corner of your mouth."

"Big slob," I sniffed at her in a holier than thou fashion.

Willow gave me a dirty look as she swirled her little pink tongue tip around her lips looking for it. "You could have told me," she said in a low, reproachful voice.

"It was dark, you were in a hurry, and I was... er... very relaxed," I half whispered back. "Don't worry, you look fine."

"I should HOPE so, Mr. Harris," she said loftily, "given how you just totally lost all control of yourself over me."

"Are we patrolling," Giles said, testily, over his shoulder, "or would you two like some privacy?"

"Actually," I started, and Willow hit me. "We're fine," she said.

Patrol was boring, which was just as well, since driving a stake into some Undead's chest really didn't seem appealing to me. Although it did remind me of something I needed to do. Afterwards, I walked Willow home and told her I had to go take care of something that night. She looked disappointed, but I kissed her deeply and said I'd call her when I got home, which seemed to cheer her up.

Then I went over to Angel's basement apartment, which is much cooler than mine, and knocked on the door.

He opened it, looking annoyed. "What? Oh, Xander. What do you want?"

"Well, I just..." I widened my eyes. "My God, what's DARLA doing in there?"

He whirled to look behind him, and I took the hand holding the stake out of my jacket pocket.

"That takes care of several second season complications," I told his little pile of ashes two seconds later. "And keeps Jenny Calendar around to comfort me after Cordelia dumps me, too. Who says Xander Harris can't think ahead?"

Of course, I probably wouldn't be there that long, but what with the whole 'now I'm evil, now I'm not' thing, and Wolfram & Hart resurrecting Darla later on thing, Angel was really much more trouble than he was worth. Plus, he was WAY too good looking. If I was around for another couple of years, I'd arrange a grenade accident for Riley, too...

* * * * * * **

I came to consciousness once more in some truly horrible place. I appeared to have slept on the ground, on a blanket, next to a campfire, and I was surrounded by strangely realistic looking people who, while all fairly buff and attractive, clearly did not reflect the years of physical training and rigorous diet, hours in make up chairs, and thousands of dollars in surgical augmentation that go into the typical cast members of any TV drama or situation comedy.

"Wake up, Richard," some slick looking idiot was saying to me, who DID look vaguely like an actual media thingie. "It's time for today's immunity challenge. Somewhere around the campsite of each tribe, we've hidden a female goat. The first person who finds and buggers that goat will be immune from being voted off the show tonight."

"It's not fair!" some half way decent looking Hispanic chick with frankly huge melons wailed from off to my right. "This is clearly a sexist immunity challenge! Women can't possibly..."

The slick looking doorknob was already passing out phallic objects with leather belts hanging from them, which quieted the shrieks of feminine outrage nicely.

Being probably the only person on the planet other than some Hindu llama somewhere who has never seen the show, it had taken me this long to realize I was now, apparently, immersed in SURVIVOR. Such was my utter horror that I found myself completely speechless for long seconds.

Finally, I said, in tones of awestruck wonder, "Bugger a GOAT?"

"On TV," the slick looking idiot agreed. "We expect at least a 60 share."

I sighed. I was dressed in very little, yet I was confident that the terms of my strange, mentally nomadic condition would continue to supply me with whatever I needed to wreak badly needed havoc and chaos... and havoc and chaos were never more badly needed than here. I felt around behind me, under the thin blanket I'd been sleeping on, and was completely unsurprised when my fingers encountered smooth, cold metal.

The rest of Tribe Whackadoodle had already gotten up and was beating through the local shrubbery. A couple of the guys were making strange bleating noises. Slick TV guy was beaming around fatuously; apparently, he'd already informed Tribe Massivewedgie of the immunity challenge and now he was going to stand around and watch us act like idiots. As with every time I show up in one of these stupid TV shows, there's no sign of cameras or other crew, just the strange reality actually broadcast to millions of salivating and stupid viewers. Okay, then.

"Say," I said, "Slick TV Guy, come over here a second."

"Richard," he said, shaking his head mournfully, "I realize you found fish for the tribe early on, and that has helped your popularity, but I don't think you should pass up..."

"I found this," I said, taking out an enormous .357 Magnum revolver and pointing it at Slick TV Guy's head, "just this second, under my blanket. Whaddya think? 60 share? 70, maybe?"

His eyes went wide, and his voice went very, very smooth. "Now, Richard," he said, "I understand these programs can be stressful, but..."

The .357 caliber bullet fired by the Magnum packs a great deal of ballistic wallop. Slick TV Guy's slick TV head exploded nicely from the slug that struck him between the eyes, splattering a wide radius behind him with grue. "They're going to have to edit that," I said, regretfully, raising the pistol to blow on the smoke curling up from the barrel like someone in UNFORGIVEN. (Actually, I don't think anyone ever did that in UNFORGIVEN. But they should have.)

The loud sound of the gunshot had brought a lot of heads around in my immediate vicinity. The smart half of Tribe Targetpractice, seeing the smoking gun in my hands and the demented gleam in my eyes, hit the dirt screaming for help. The dumb half stood there like lifesize statues in some church's front yard Nativity scene, although I must admit, I've never seen the Three Wise Men with their eyes bugging out, their jaws hanging down, nor have I ever imagined them saying "Holy shit, that's ger-ROSS, Richard", which our tribes' Token Obnoxious Blonde With Big Hooters was saying.

I could have emptied my weapon at them and reloaded, repeating said action until I got them all. Could have, and by any moral law conceivable in a sane, rational universe, certainly should have. However, having blown the heads off probably dozens or hundreds of irritating television and movie characters by that point, I felt something less predictable was in order. So I knelt down and felt around under my blanket again.

When I stood up once more, I was wearing a WWI issue gas mask... you know, one of the cool ones with the big eye windows and the long elephantine trunk like thing in the front... and had something under my arm that looked vaguely like a vacuum cleaner. I flicked the switch and began waving the hose from it around, sending copious clouds of bilious yellow vapor pouring out across the landscape. "Cool," I said, "just like The Evil in TIME BANDITS!"

There was a cacophony of coughing, choking, gasping sounds from the yellowish mists around me, followed by a chorus of thuds. Then, silence ensued.

"I've voted you all off the island," I announced, in my strangely hollow, muffled voice. "Somebody gimme the million dollars."

* * * * * *

The rabbity little exec producer looked up at me at that point. "So, wait," he said. "Basically, this is like QUANTUM LEAP, except all the character does is leap from one TV show or movie to another and kill everyone?"

"Oh, no," I said. "I'm sorry. I must have miscommunicated. My bad. He doesn't just kill characters, that would be a really stupid premise. Nonsensical. Idiotic."

The rest of them, including the big fat woman who looked vaguely like Cameron Manheim, assuming she'd just eaten Rosie O'Donnell and Rosie hadn't agreed with her, all nodded at that. "Stupid," the thin, storklike fellow with the aggressively shaved scalp agreed.

"We aren't FOX, after all," Fatty said, urping into her closed fist. "Scuse me."

"See, the central character also rapes people," I expanded. "He kills all the really annoying characters, and bangs the really good looking chicks, too."

"Oh," the rabbity guy said, stroking his greying goatee wisely. "Well, hell, that's different. Multifaceted appeal, there."

"Depth," Fatty opined. "A visceral three dimensionality with real paradigmism."

"Proactive," the bald stork murmured.

"And he tortures them, sometimes," I added, as if in an afterthought. "Plus, sometimes he might jump into a chick, so you'd get, like, lesbian stuff."

"Ahh," they all said, in unison.

* * * * * *

I yawned, and looked around me, trying to figure out where I was now.

"CARTER!" some shrewish female voice shrieked at me from somewhere nearby. "If you're shooting up again...!!!!"

A curtain was yanked back with that raking curtain-being-yanked-back sound, and the reasonably cute face and figure of Laura whatshername who plays that trollbitch Carrie Weaver on ER peered in at me, leaning over on her arm-crutch brace thingies.

"Oh my God I'm on ER," I said. "Oh, shit, please God, tell me there's a tactical nuclear warhead under this bed."

"Carter, are you high?" Weaver demanded. "We have patients stacked up out into the parking lot and you're taking a nap? And babbling about tactical nuclear warheads? If you've been into the drug locker again..."

I sighed. Tactical nuclear warhead under the bed or not, it could wait. I reached up, hauled the curtain closed again behind Weaver, grabbed her by the hair, and yanked her head down into my crotch.

"Mmmmphhhh!" she said, sounding outraged, struggling feebly, her mouth muffled in my stomach as I whipped my large Carter-organ out from beneath my scrubs. "Carter," she exclaimed breathlessly as I repositioned her head and my erection slightly, "don't, I'm gay now, goddamit - "

Having fit my bulbous, purplish red dick helmet into her open, outraged lips, I sighed and shoved her head down. "Grmmmphhhhh!" she exclaimed.

"Gay my ASS," I said, as her eyes closed and she began to bob her head up and down while moaning and slurping. "You just never had a REAL man in your mouth, bitch."

"Mmmmmpphh," she seemed to agree, continuing to pump her head and swirl her tongue in a very experienced fashion. I kept my fingers locked in her hair; if there was ever a woman who thought she wasn't gonna swallow, it was Carrie Weaver. A few minutes of skillful head bobbing later, I showed her the error of her ways. She gagged and choked, but got through it commendably once it became clear she wasn't going anywhere until she was done.

She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand as I let her straighten up, while I was getting my scrubs back in order. "Geez, John," she whined, "you could have asked. I mean, I've wanted to do that for years."

"Yeah, yeah," I said. "Don't you have patients waiting?" Ignoring her now that Carter's raging priapism was momentarily sated, I bent down to check under the bed. Yep, sure 'nuff, the strange, unexplained Powers that have apparently dictated I will perpetually roam from one electronic media fiction to another dispensing cosmic justice, disarray, and utter chaos, like some phosphor-dot avatar of Kali-Dhurga, had provided me with the all the means necessary to balance the karmic scale for all the various Best Show Awards that this rotten series had stolen from BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER over the years.

I looked up, and Carrie was quietly crying, a single tear trickling down her cheek. "Is that all I am to you, John?" she said, with great and tragic dignity. "A mere receptacle? I thought... I thought I meant something to you."

I blinked at her. "Damn, you must really want that Emmy this year," I said.

She looked at me, puzzled and outraged. "Never mind," I said, making a few last adjustments to the device under the bed and then getting up. "I'll go see patients now. You come find me if you get all randy again, Carrie."

Randy! That reminded me. I wandered out into the hall, firmly misdirecting some querulous elderly woman who looked quite a lot like Jessica Tandy into the empty elevator shaft, and made my way to the reception desk. If the huge dancing buffoon was on duty, I'd simply have to shoot him (I was sure I must have a gun of some sort in the pocket of my white coat, I always do when I want one), but I was in luck; instead, hot brunette tattooed bikerslut Randi was on duty. Good deal. "Say, Randi," I said. "Let's run away together."

She goggled at me. "What are you, nuts?" she said. "You've never shown the slightest interest in me before, and I'm totally the hottest chick in the ER, too."

"Since Sherry Stringfield left, definitely," I agreed. She looked baffled. "Susan Lewis," I said with a sigh. Her brow unfurrowed. "Look, hon, I can't help it if they've been writing Carter stupid to the point of being borderline homosexual for seven seasons now. I've recently come to my senses. Let's go to Bermuda."

She cocked her delightfully sexy head to one side. "Um... Carter... have you been in the drug locker again...?"

I gave a deeply exasperated sigh. "Randi, my dear, let me explain a few things. (a) you're hot. (b) I look like Noah Wyle. (c) my character is one rich motherfucker. (d) there's a thermonuclear device in Exam Room 3 that is going to turn Chicago into radioactive goo in about three hours, give or take a few minutes, and trusting to the Ukrainian timer mechanism, which frankly, I don't think is wise."

Randi tugged her lower lip thoughtfully... well, as thoughtfully as that total ditz could, anyway. "Hm. Can we bring Chunie?"

I thought. Chunie was pretty hot, too. And she'd slept with Mark Green, so clearly she wasn't very discerning. "Hell, yes," I said. "Maybe if I'm lucky Mark's ex wife is hanging around, too."

Randi's eyes got bright. "Oh, yeah. I'd love to tie her up and flog her for a couple of days."

This was getting more and more interesting, but time and thermonuclear devices wait for no medical drama character. "Call us a limo," I said, giving her one of my many credit cards that draw on the Carter family accounts. (Yeah, I know, Carter has made a big deal for the past seven seasons about not taking any of his family's money, but I always knew he kept a walletful of their credit cards around, and now I found out I was right.) "And round up Chunie and the ex-Green. I'm sure they're both around somewhere."

A bunch of characters whose names I can't even remember, and apparently Carter couldn't either, went by in a big hurry, talking about a toxic waste spill or a massive freeway accident or maybe it was both, in a preschool, and how victims were arriving right then. "Carter!" said the annoyingly good looking one, who I think is some refugee from Eastern Europe or some idiotic thing, "are you coming? We have trauma victims coming in!"

"Um," I said. "Sure. Why the hell not." So I walked out and helped with all the incoming accident victims, wheeling their gurneys accidentally out into busy traffic and down cellar steps into the vivisection lab with great and cheerful alacrity. After my third such accident, good old Dr. Self Righteous himself grabbed me by the shoulder and shoved me manfully into the wall.

"Hey, Mark," I said, in Carter's patented self-depreciating way, "what's up?"

"Carter, what's with you today?" he demanded, in that cold, tight lipped fury that seems to have become his only expression in the past four seasons. "Randi and Chunie are apparently planning to run off with you to Bermuda, and I saw them talking to my ex wife Jen, too. Carrie says you orally sodomized her in an exam room half an hour ago. Now you're wheeling patients down flights of concrete stairs and out into traffic. And there's something about thermonuclear devices melting Chicago in two hours, and Ukrainians, that even I don't understand. Are you high?"

"It's your brain tumor, Mark," I said, pleasantly. "None of this is really happening. You're just imagining it all."

"No," he said, in a whimpery little girl's voice. "No, no, that can't be true."

"Oh, PLEASE, Mark," I said. "Randie, Chunie, and your ex wife running off with me to Bermuda? Carrie the Dyke gobbling me in an exam room? Thermonuclear devices? The saint-like Carter mistreating patients? It must be your brain tumor. There's no other rational explanation. Think about it."

Rocket Romano peeked his bald, gleaming head around the corner of the building and sneered at us. "If you two are done making out we have a shitload of patients out here," he said.

"Mark's gone crazy," I said helpfully. "He thinks I just got head from Carrie Weaver in an exam room."

"No kidding," Rocket said. "Dr. Green, that's without a doubt the most incredibly insane and delusional belief system I've ever had described to me. She's a dyke, after all. Plus, I don't think she can really kneel, what with those crutches she uses."

"That's true," Mark admitted. "She... she CAN'T kneel... I... I REMEMBER now..."

"Boy, I don't even want to THINK about the implications of that statement," Romano said with a shudder. "Green, go home, you're relieved from duty. Carter, get back to work."

"Okay," I said. "Say, Dr. Romano, there's a big cybernetic police officer out front who wants to dip you in a vat of toxic waste, if you've got the time."

Romano suddenly paled and scurried back around the corner.

"What?" Mark said, looking confused.

"Nothing," I said. "Something he did in Old Detroit." I looked up and saw a long white stretch limo pulling into the emergency drop off area. "Look, Mark, I have to go get Chunie, Randi, and your ex-wife and get to the airport. You're off duty, so you should go home and fight your incestuous feelings for that cute daughter of yours some more."

"I... I..." Mark looked ready to start crying. "I don't have any incestuous feelings for my daughter! Really!"

"Fine," I said. "I'll stop by and see if she wants to go to Bermuda." The girls were all waving to us now as they walked by and got into the back seat of the limo. Knowing that bitch Randi, I figured I'd better get over there before she realized she still had my credit card. "I'd say see you, Mark, but I doubt I will. Bye."

I looked around on my way to the limo. I couldn't believe I was leaving the ER set behind forever without... oh, wait, there he was.

"Dr. Benton!" I yelled, waving my hand in the air. "Over here!" I added, under my breath, as he looked annoyed and sauntered over, "You black separatist racist misogynist motherfucker."

"Carter, what is it, we're busy, in case you can't see, where the hell do you think you're..." His eyes widened as he saw Chunie and Randi, who were making out in the back seat, while Green's ex-wife Jennifer was down on the floor of the passenger compartment licking their shoes for them. "Jesus Christ, this is unacceptable cross-ethnic racial segregation, Carter, you've got a Hispanic woman kissing a white woman in there, and no representatives of the African-American community at all."

"Can't help it, dude," I said, "all your black girlfriends are too damn ugly for me. Tell you what, though, there's a cure for all forms of cancer and the HIV virus under the left rear tire. I'll give you 60 seconds to get it, then I gotta book."

"Carter, what kind of idiot do you think I am?" Benton demanded.

I shrugged, getting into the car (the girls moved over for me, but otherwise didn't interrupt their libidinous activities). "Hey, Dr. Benton, it's just my way of thanking you for all you've done for me. If you don't want to be the most famous black man in the history of Earth and extort whitey for billions in race reparations, I don't care." I slammed the door closed.

Counted to ten. Then leaned up and tapped the driver. "Back out fast," I said. "Spin those tires. Don't stop for anything."

He obligingly dropped the limo into reverse and floored it. The sickening crunching sounds and very brief, abortive death scream of Peter Benton were muffled by the limo's excellent soundproofing and the expensive suspension barely jounced. Then we were on our way to the airport.

I reached down, grabbed Green's ex wife by the hair, and yanked her head up, unzipping at the same time.

After all, it had been almost an hour since Carrie had done me. And I was horny again.

* * * * * * *

I came to with a start. I'd fallen asleep in a darkened office on an expensive looking couch... well, expensive by my standards, anyway, which means, it didn't look like someone had salvaged it from next to an off campus student housing dumpster.

I sat up, running my fingers through my hair, which felt silky and smooth and well styled. I was wearing an expensive suit that was only slightly disheveled from my having slept in it. I was looking around, trying to orient myself, when the lights went on.

"Sam, what are you DOING here?" said a very recognizable and obnoxiously raspy, hectoring voice.

"Sam?" I said, patting down my torso. "Sam?" I looked up, to see whatshisname... Toby Ziegler, that's it... staring at me. "I'm SAM?" I stopped and thought about that for a second. I watch WEST WING religiously, so I knew immediately where I was. "Josh is a cooler character," I reflected. "But Sam is better looking. Okay. I'll be Sam."

As if the Insane Media Gods had ever given me a choice. "Sam," Toby said, eyeing me askance, "you seem... perturbed... today. Maybe you should go home and get some sleep in your own bed, instead of, you know, taking up space in... what's this place called... oh yeah, MY OFFICE."

"Richard Schiff," I said.

"What?" Toby was frankly baffled now, but I get that a lot. "Sam, what are you..."

"Richard Schiff," I said apologetically. "I couldn't remember the name of the guy who plays you. He's really good. He has that hectoring tirade thing down pat. He won an Emmy. He did a terrorist on NYPD BLUE and BROOKLYN SOUTH before he got this part." Toby was reaching for his phone surreptitiously now, and I realized I'd have trouble ravishing the lovely blonde Republican working in the boiler room if I were straightjacketed and sedated in a padded cell, so I hastily said "Sorry, sorry... it was this weird dream I was having... I'm fine now. Let me get back to work."

Toby paused, looking at me warily. "You're sure," he said, his tone indicating that however sure I was, he was completely uncertain he shouldn't have me shot with a tranquilizer gun and carried away.

"Yeah, yeah," I said, waving my hand and smiling that charming Rob Lowe 'aw shucks, no I don't really tape my sexual encounters without telling my partners, what kind of guy do you think I AM?' smile. "I'm okay. You know... long hours, lots of stress... I'll be fine."

"Fine," he said, gruffly, already dismissing the question of my relative sanity. "You know Leo wants us in his office in an hour for morning briefings."

"Yeah," I said. "Let me go get on that thing."

"Sure," he said, sitting down and immediately forgetting about me.

The thing of it is, is, I like THE WEST WING, so there really wasn't a great deal of chaos and disruption I wanted to spread. Also, there were armed Secret Service agents everywhere, so you had to figure that if Sam Seaborne suddenly pulled out a gun and started shooting people, he'd get clipped pretty fast. In fact, all I really wanted to do while I was here was nail the hot blonde Republican lawyer in the basement... Ainsley Hayes, that was her name. Well, and maybe Zoey Bartlett while I was here. But that was it, really. Okay, hell, I'd sodomize Josh's annoying blonde secretary given a chance, and a couple of the recurring assistant parts in the communications pool were awfully hot... Ginger, I think, was one's name, and the President had a secretary named Nancy who was a babe. So, fine, I could keep busy for a while working my way through the cuties on staff. But would I really want to set off a nuclear warhead in the Bartlett White House, or send mustard gas pouring through the air conditioning vents? I don't think so. The Bush White House, sure. The Gore White House, maybe. But the Bartlett White House? Nah. There wasn't even anyone in the regular cast I found really annoying... although that Marlee Matlin character had better watch out for stray bullets if SHE showed up while I was around.

Somebody clapped me on the back. "Sam Seaborne," I heard a deep, charismatic voice say. "Good to see you."

I turned and couldn't help it, I broke into a big grin. "You know, I just loved your work in ANIMAL HOUSE," I told the Vice President.

"No, that's Tim Matheson," VP Greg Hoynes said back. "I get that all the time, though. People tell me I look like him."

"Yeah," I admitted. "People are always coming up to me and telling me how much they loved ST. ELMO'S FIRE."

"Listen, Sam," the VP said, putting his arm around my shoulder, "I wanted to talk to you about this whole 'Bartlett running for re-election' thing. Now, a smart operator like you has to see how essentially futile that idea is, and I know the President trusts your advice. So I'm thinking..."

I sighed. "Come on, Mr. Vice President," I said. "We've got an award winning show where the internal calendar makes no sense, our creator and chief executive writer is a druggie, our executive producer is treating the writing staff like Chinese coolies, the guy who plays me is constantly sniveling because he gets less attention than the guy who plays the President, and everyone else in the cast is constantly sniveling because they get less attention than the guy who plays me. All that shit, and you want to try to plan further than another season ahead? Jesus, we don't even know if Martin Sheen is going to stick around past this year."

"I don't understand," Hoynes said, blinking at me. "What the hell are you..."

"Just tell me one thing," I said. "Who was our last President? Before Bartlett, I mean."

He looked thoughtful... and then worried. "Uh... well... uh..."

I spread my hands. "See? We should know that. We should ALL know that. But we don't. It's because Bartlett was clearly meant to be a sort of Clinton-surrogate when he was conceived, in the mid-1990s. That would make you Al Gore. But the further we get into a corrupt, hijacked Second Bush Administration, the less timely and cogent those parallels are, and the more dramatic power the show loses."

Hoynes shook his head. A small group of assistant staffers was gathering quietly around us now. "Sam," the VP said, "I think..."

"No, no," I said. "Here. Let's do it like this. When was Reagan elected President?"

"80 and 84," he said immediately. "Everyone knows..."

"Sure," I said. "Who followed Reagan?"

"Er..." Hoynes sounded less sure, but finally said, "Bush...? In... 88, right?" His forehead wrinkled in thought. "That must be right, right?"

"See, it's starting to get weird," I said. "Now, who followed Bush?"

Hoynes thought hard, and slowly his mouth sagged open. "I... I don't know," he said, finally. Everyone around us looked utterly baffled, too.

"Okay, let's try it this way," I said. "What year is it?"

"2001," Hoynes said, promptly cheering right up. That much he knew. Everyone around us perked up, too.

"How long has Bartlett been in the White House?" I asked, innocuously.

"Three... years..." Hoynes said, starting out firm and trailing off uncertainly. "I mean, he's going to run for re-election next year, so..."

"Right," I said. "The show started in 1999, and we know it did because we had a Millenium Christmas episode where Toby and I argued about when the Millenium actually began, remember? First season. Won an Emmy. All that crap about dead homeless Vietnam veterans." People were looking confused again. "Anyway," I went on blithely, "for various thematic reasons, that was established as being the second year of the Bartlett Administration, which would mean Bartlett was elected when?"

Hoynes was shifting his eyes from side to side in trapped semi circles, looking for a way out, but there was no way out. "Errrrr... 1998...?" he finally kind of half whispered, half squeaked.

"Was 1998 a Presidential election year?" I asked. "Could it possibly be, in a world where we know Reagan was elected in 1980 and 1984, and his Vice President was elected in 1988?"

Everyone was staring at me in perplexity... and dawning fear. "No," Hoynes said, his voice nearly inaudible. "No, it wasn't. I... I don't understand..."

"Oh, it gets better," I said. "Remember first season again? The big 'nominate the Supreme Court Justice' episode? The retiring Justice told Bartlett he had waited to retire because he wanted a Democrat in office to appoint his replacement. Remember? That, again, is because Bartlett was meant to be a Clinton surrogate. But by 1999, Clinton was near the end of his second term, so this made virtually no sense and can't be reconciled with the actual calendar. In fact, it leaves us with a vacuum for nearly the entire 1990s. Apparently, Republicans were President up until Bartlett was elected, nonsensically, in 1998... but who were they?"

Drool was starting to run down Hoynes' chin now, and a strange, low, moaning sob was coming from deep in his throat. Everyone standing around was displaying similar symptoms of complete emotional breakdowns. I'd just pointed to an irrefutable lapse in the basic internal logic of their reality, and they couldn't take it. Well, I didn't blame them, I'd have been freaked out, too.

"Well," I said, turning away with a big cheery grin, "nice talking to you." I edged carefully through the ring of semi-catatonic staffers and headed on down to Leo's office. Obviously, I'd underestimated my ability to spread chaos and discord here. Hmmmm.

"Sam!" the President said, poking his head out of his office. "Come in here a second, would you?" He sounded pissed.

"Sure, Mr. President," I said, resisting the temptation to tell him how badly he'd chewed up the carpeting in THE DEAD ZONE. I'd always thought he was miscast as Gregory Stillson anyway; a younger Martin Sheen would have made a much better Johnny Smith. Robert Duvall would have been a good Stillson.

"What the hell is this?" the President said after I walked into the Oval Office, waving a sheaf of papers from behind his desk. "I ask you for a position paper on employers doing criminal background checks on all job applicants, and you give me a load of horseshit about how it's a good idea, and it will help us trade off with the Republicans for support on raising the minimum wage? Did you or did you not just throw a major hissy fit about putting a Justice on the Supreme Court who didn't believe in a Constitutional right of privacy? Are we liberals or what?"

"I'm glad you brought that up, Mr. President," I said. "I was being badly written that episode. Obviously, enabling employers in the private sector to do criminal background checks on all their job applicants is insane and intrusive, a Big Brother nightmare of outrageous proportions, and would only be even remotely considered by deranged Dittohead conservatives who are basically looking for some kind of vaguely legitimate reason to not hire minorities anyway. Clearly, those who have had run ins with the law in the past and paid their debts to society have a right to privacy and the same presumption of innocence as any other citizen, especially when they are attempting to secure legitimate work and become law abiding, productive members of society again."

"I don't know what you were thinking," Bartlett said, sitting down behind his big desk with a grunt. "Or what I was thinking, either, when I told Leo to hire that Ainsley Hayes twit. Jesus, I must have been out of my mind that day."

"It's not your fault, sir," I reassured him. "Aaron Sorkin decided to kiss up to the conservatives in the country by writing in some insane right wing rhetoric in the second season. That's why we wound up with Ainsley, and why in one show I even listened to her utterly ludicrous Republican cant, instead of denouncing it for the wealth-toadying, pro-big business, anti-humanistic drivel that it was."

"Yes," the President said, absently drumming his fingers on his desk. "She does have a nice ass on her, though. How's her head?"

"I intend to find out this very day, sir," I reassured him.

"Good, good," he said. "Well, I'm glad we got that straightened out, Sam. Now, what's this I hear about America being a dream of freedom and a fire that has lit the world for three centuries, and how Soviet spies are committing treason against every hero buried in our soil?"

"Oh, yeah," I said, sounding embarrassed. "I was being badly written that day, too. I mean, America is a pretty cool place, but it's not like we don't have a history of genocide against the Native Americans, interning the Japanese Americans in concentration camps during WWII for no good reason at all, lynching blacks and Jews and Hispanics right up through the 1960s, using government force to oppress social reformers of every stripe, exalt foreign right wing dictators no matter how cruel they were, and attempt to assassinate Communist leaders. Generally, it would be safe to say that our country has betrayed its own lofty ideals in every single year it has has been in existence over and over again, and if I were really stupid, shallow, and sophomoric enough to believe that emotional hogwash someone put in my mouth during that particular show, I'd have absolutely no business being employed in high levels of government as a policy adviser."

"Also," the President said, "you do understand that we recruited plenty of Soviet citizens to spy on their government while they were recruiting ours. I mean, when they did that, was it treason against every Hero of the Soviet Union buried in Russian soil?"

"As I said, Mr. President," I stated, humbly, "I was being badly written that day. It was more of that 'let's suck up to Tom Clancy and Rush Limbaugh' horseshit that nearly prostrated the general quality level of the show for the entire second season."

"And that's another thing," President Bartlett mused. "Now, I know we're busy, Sam. God knows I do. But didn't people used to have personal lives in the first season? Weren't you dating someone? Leo's daughter, or something? Didn't you even get laid in the first episode? And Charlie... I mean, mind you, I don't like to think about it, but didn't he and my daughter have a thing going on? And there was all this romantic tension between CJ and that reporter, Danny Kincannon. Plus, Josh had a thing with that deaf woman who looks like the other deaf woman from PICKET FENCES, didn't he? What happened to all that? Did people just stop having personal relationships this year?"

"Yes, sir," I said. "And I found it especially egregious, since last summer's TV Guide Returning Favorites section stressed that Josh and I were both going to 'feel the love', and then we got a whole lotta nothin'. Apparently, Sorkin really went all out kissing the Moral Majority's ass, or something. We've had a few brief, token mentions of past relationships, but Leo's daughter barely exists any more, Zoey and Charlie hardly even talked this season, Josh is now carrying on some uneasy, ambiguous half-flirtation with his assistant Donna, I have this weird sexual vibe with Ainsley Hayes that never goes anywhere, CJ keeps complaining openly about how long it's been since she's been laid, you and the First Lady apparently haven't had sex in months and you're MARRIED, for God's sake... it's insane. I myself am wondering when Rush Limbaugh gets written in as a recurring character."

"Yes," he said. "After that one time when I got to tell off all the Moral Majority religious leaders and order them out of the White House, I had so much hope that my Administration might finally set a sensible public policy regarding the separation of religion from government... but apparently that would offend too many people, or something." He looked wistful. "Whatever happened to 'let Bartlett be Bartlett'?"

"Well, sir," I said, "I think the real phrase was 'let Bartlett be Bartlett as long as the market share holds up and no one on the far right tries to organize a boycott of our advertisers'."

The President nodded sagely. "You know, Sam, I don't know half of what the hell you're talking about," he said. "But it sounds good. We should talk more often."

* * * * * * * * * *

"Hmmmm," the bald stork said, rubbing his upper lip in a mannerism I found vaguely annoying. "That last one... THE WEST WING episode... may be a bit too... what's the word...."

"Intelligent?" I suggested helpfully.

"Cerebral," he said, loftily. "Perhaps a touch dry, for our target audience. Maybe if you could spice it up with a bit more... hem... er... how do I put this..."

"Gratuitous violence? Graphic sex? Grisly carnage? Full frontal nudity?" I continued, trying to be helpful.

"Oh my no," the Cameron Manheim clone protested. "As we said, we aren't FOX. It's simply that there seemed to be a lack of... energy..."

I sighed. "Yeah, well, Nate says he hates this backstory shit, anyway, so..." Their eyes all widened as I hauled an extremely large automatic pistol out of my pocket and leveled it across the table at them. "I guess you guys get the gratuitous violence. Sorry about you missing out on the sex but..." I averted my eyes from the whale-like woman with a shudder. "Even I have some limits."

The rabbity guy with the greying goatee said, "Uh... but wait! We have a good looking receptionist -- !"

The others glared at him. He held up his hands apologetically. "Look, if he's going to kill us anyway, a little T n' A first will give us a better viewer share."

They all looked thoughtful for a moment at that, then in unison, nodded. "Yeah," the bald storklike fellow said, "I can see that."

I sighed. The things I do for corporate profit margins. "Fine," I said. "Call her in here. But I really am going to kill all of you."

"Oh, sure," the rabbity guy said. "We got that."

"It's for the network," the fat broad agreed unctiously.

I realized I should have pitched this idea first to FOX, after all.

Most likely, they had a cuter receptionist.

* * * * * * * * * * *

I woke up, on someone's couch. I opened my eyes blearily and looked around. Messing around at some kind of bar apparently dividing the living room from the kitchen was a familiar looking, reasonably hot redhead. It took me a minute to place her.

"Hey, you're Donna Abondondo's hot, slutty younger sister," I said, sitting up. "I must be Greg Medavoy during the first or second season of NYPD BLUE. Cooooooool."

I looked around, already plotting the erotic fun of a Medavoy sandwich between two slices of Abondondo, when the redhead gave me a weird look. "Jack, are you all right?"

"Jack," I said, feeling vaguely queasy for no reason I could put my finger on. "Jack, Jack, Jack... who's a Jack?"

The apartment door opened and this ridiculously... I mean, just frankly absurdly... good looking and well groomed guy came in. "Grace, I give up, I can't find him anywhere..." He did an exaggerated double take when he saw me. "Jack! You spent the night HERE?"

"He slept on the couch, Will," the redhead expostulated. "Really. Nothing happened."

There was, as always, a cold lump of lethal ironmongery in my pocket. I reached in, and then said, "Hey, guys? I'm feeling kind of fragile. Can I have a hug?"

When the two idiots came over and embraced me, I edged the pin out of the grenade and held them tightly while waiting to be put out of my misery.

* * * * * * * * * *

I woke up on another couch. George Hamilton was standing over me, shaking my shoulder. Laura San Giacomo was bound hand and foot, in panties and bra, with a ball gag in her mouth, and chocolate frosting smeared all over her, on a nearby coffee table. A snoring, apparently nude Wendie Malick was lying on the ratty carpet next to the coffee table with an old bedspread strategically thrown over her. She had smears of chocolate frosting on her lips, chin, and the tip of her nose.

"Finch," Hamilton started to say, in an obviously exasperated tone.

"Scuse me a second," I said, and took the large revolver out from under the couch cushions, put the barrel into my mouth angling upward, and blew most of Finch's brains all over the wall behind me.

* * * * * * *

I woke up again, more warily this time. If this was more Must Kill Myself Immediately TV, I wanted to know ASAP. I let my eyes open a crack and looked around as best I could.

I was sitting in a small but fairly luxuriously appointed room, full of comfortable chairs. There were two doors in opposite walls, and a large TV set in an expensive looking entertainment center against the wall. It appeared to be set to the OPRAH WINFREY SHOW. Oprah was, at the moment, talking about her next guest, the amazing Dr. Phil.

There was an electronic sign of some sort on the wall, and as I noticed it, it blinked on, saying GUEST ENTER NOW. I stared at it bemusedly. After about ten seconds, some thin little very black skinned woman poked her head into the room. Her hair was in corn rows so tight it looked like it wanted to scream in agony. "Dr. Phil," she said, testily, "that's your cue. For God's sake, wake up."

Oh, no, my mind gibbered at me. Oh no no no no no no nooooooooooo.

But I found my borrowed body getting up amiably enough. "Wait," I heard myself saying, and bent down and picked up the odd, backpack like device with the strange, corrugated, metal nozzled hose coming off it. "Oprah will want to see this."

"New diagnostic tool?" the thin very black chick said, her nose wrinkling. "Well, screw it, just get your ass out there."

On the way out to the stage, I concentrated hard in the back of my mind. I had no idea if my conscious whims and impulses would translate into actual reality, but I did seem to have strange and overly convenient, not to mention completely arbitrary, abilities in these weird media fiction worlds I kept making my nomadic, slaughterous way through.

I reflected momentarily that 'slaughterous' probably isn't a word, but it should be.

The audience... mostly women, but with a few thoroughly whipped looking men scattered around, mostly wearing paisley... applauded as I staggered out wearing my strangely high tech, somewhat sinister looking backpack. As I'd hoped, and concentrated on somehow making happen, Oprah's other guests were... well, people I didn't care for very much, either. If you're going to wipe out one truly obnoxious media icon female, you might as well get a bunch of 'em.

Oprah got up and walked over to me, hands out, saying "So, Dr. Phil, what's this new...?"

"Just a second," I said nicely, and walked up the aisle through the audience. I went to one set of doors, then to the other, opening one side of each carefully, then closing them again. When I opened them, I slipped a tube of superglue out of my pocket and liberally coated the locking mechanism with it, then pulled on the door bars to close them firmly. Then, whistling, I walked back down to the stage.

Oprah, and her two guests, were looking at me warily. But Oprah is nothing if not a professional show woman. She smiled, radiating false sincerity once more, and again walked up to me, hands out. "So, is this some new technique for..."

That's as far as she got when I whacked her solidly up side the head with the metal nozzle of the backpack's especially reinforced asbestos hose. Her eyes rolled up in her head and she hit the soundstage like a hammered steer. "Shouldn't have lost all that weight," I told her as I stepped over her unmoving form, "you'd have had more hit points."

Oprah's guests were looking at me, eyes and mouths making large Os of outrage and horror. "Dr. Phil!" Rosie O'Donnell said. "What the fuck...?"

I sighed, triggered the blowtorch built into the front of the nozzle, then twisted the nozzle all the way open, and played the jet of flaming napalm over her and Cameron Manheim. Fortunately, I had a full pack; the two of them took a lot of coating. Of course, they jumped up and started screaming and running around but all that really did was spread the joy. By the time they both collapsed into twitching, smoking heaps of smoldering flesh, the rest of the set was burning nicely and two thirds of the audience was packed around the fire exits, vainly trying to open the superglued doors. The other third was groaning, unconscious, or dead in the aisles where they'd been trampled by a high heeled, panicked mob.

I was out of jellied gasoline but it didn't matter; the whole place was going up like a tinderbox and no one was getting out THOSE exits. I sat down in a chair in a space that was still, for the moment, free of flames, cleared my throat, and said, pompously, "Now, what's interesting is the way a nominally civilized, rational audience reacts to a situation where they're about to all be burned alive. It just points out one of the tragic flaws in our basic make up as a society."

* * * * * * *

"Well, sir, do you have anything further to say in your own defense?"

I looked around in confusion. I was in a court room. Was this THE PRACTICE, or maybe JUDGING AMY? I had a vague recollection I'd already killed nearly everyone in JUDGING AMY and spent a few weeks in a motel with the main character, but I couldn't be sure; all those CBS shows blur together to me. As do all the various sexual binges with fictional characters that look just like hot actresses. You wouldn't think that would be true, but unfortunately, it is.

Some horrible looking she-beast in glasses and a robe was giving me a laser-like glare from behind a judge's bench. "I find for the plaintiff," she sneered at me. "If the defendant doesn't even have enough respect for this court to pay attention..."

"Judge Judy!" I gasped. I looked around again. An obnoxious looking black woman was behind another podium a few yards away from me. Some fat guy in a fake cop's uniform was leaning on a door with his arms folded. There was an audience.

The obnoxious looking black woman was now dancing around. "BOO yeh BOO yeh," she was saying, or something like that, "we gots justice, we gots justice, BOO yeh..."

I mentally reviewed the catalogue of various horrible deaths I'd meted out to previous electronic milieus. Conventional explosives, nuclear warheads, automatic weapons, long range sniper fire, napalm... but no. This called for something... better.

"Excuse me," I said, and took my communicator out of my pocket. "Spock, are we locked on here?"

"Captain," Uhura's voice came out of the communicator, "you had Mr. Spock transported into space, remember?"

"Yeah, yeah," I said. I remembered now. Everyone in Judge Judy's court room was giving me dirty looks. So I had a cell phone that looked like a classic Star Trek communicator, those looks said. So I was a geek. So what.

"Beam me up, Lieutenant," I said, "and prepare to reduce these coordinates to radioactive goo by phaser and photon torpedo barrage."

"Right, sir," she said cheerfully, "reduce the coordinates to goo with phaser fire and photon torpedoes, and then beam you up."

I paused. Then said, "Now, listen, you uppity little bitch..."

There was a blinding flash of light.

Ooooh, I was gonna get her.

* * * * * * * * * * *

I woke up once more, sprawled across a pool table. My face made a sticky sound as I lifted it up off the felt, with some resistance. I realized I must have passed out in a puddle of my own vomit.

"Hey," I said blearily, "I'm in ANIMAL HOUSE. Cool. Bring on that 13 year old Mayor's daughter. I got somethin' for her."

"Cisco," this very well made up and reasonably buff senior citizen in a cowboy hat said, in a quiet voice, "you're disgusting."

I squinted as I looked around the inside of this seedy, sawdust strewn bar I seemed to have passed out in. "Say," I said, horror dawning on me," you look just like Chuck Norris, if he got really, really old."

The octogenarian in the Western outfit drew himself up off the wall where he'd been leaning. "Cisco, get yourself together. Nuclear terrorists have taken Daisy Mae hostage down at the rendering plant. They're threatening to set off a home made atomic bomb and ruin the cattle grazing for the next thirty years! We have to get down there."

"Wow," I said. "Do they have machine guns?"

"Of course," he said, laconically, picking up a pool cue and casually chopping the lower, thicker third of it off with one hand, then hefting that short length experimentally. "This'll be fine."

"Grenade launchers?" I asked. "Flamethrowers? An Army surplus Abrams tank, perhaps?"

"Exactly," he agreed, making the thick barrel of the pool cue walk across the back of his knuckles, then up and down the rippling muscles of his forearm several times, before letting it fall adroitly into his hand again.

"And they demand that you come in unarmed, or they'll set off the bomb," I said.

"Sure," he said. "Cisco, you know all this. Seems like we have to handle these guys, or guys just like them, about... oh..."

"22 times a year," I said. "Uh huh."

"The weird thing is, though," he said, scratching his unshaven jaw with his other hand, "besides me being a Texas Ranger and having a beard, I mean, is that I don't think your name is actually Cisco or my wife's name is actually Daisy Mae."

"Yeah, well," I said, "I don't think the writer has ever watched this show, so he doesn't know what my name, or the love interest's name, actually is. Be glad he didn't call me Robin and her Lois."

"Right," he said. "So, shall we go?"

"Okay," I said. "Say, look, is that Steven Siegal?"

"WHERE?" the geezer demanded, spinning around. I drew my service issue revolver and blew the upper hemisphere of his head into a fine, spreading mist, then took my cell phone out and hit the speed dial button marked 'EPISODE VILLINS'.

"Hello?" said some guy trying to do a bad Russian accent. "I mean, dosvedanya?"

"Yeah, right," I said. "This is Walker, Texas Ranger. You won't set that bomb off. You're too scared. You're big wussy boys who love to suck dick, and dicksucking wussie boys like you would never dare to set off a nuclear bomb. Nyaaaaah." I stuck my tongue out and blew him a juicy raspberry through the fine, fine wireless link supplied by Verizon.

There was a pause, at the other end of the connection.

Then, there was a blinding flash of light.

* * * * * * * * * *

"I'm getting really tired of dying," I grumbled, when I woke up again. "Why can't I be on BOSTON PUBLIC or something? I'll even be Guber. Lots of babes on BOSTON PUBLIC..."

"Well, I'm waiting until the next season starts," this very reasonable voice said reasonably, from off to the side. "Then I can have you do Jeri Ryan."

"Oh," I said. "Oh, yeah. But why can't you just put me in VOYAGER and let me do her there?"

"I've been avoiding all the modern STAR TREK franchises," the voice told me. Looking over, I could see it belonged to some long haired fat guy sitting at a computer. "I just hate them."

Some whiney song was playing in the background; I realized with a start it was Dan Hill's "Sometimes When We Touch". Much to my horror, the fat guy began singing along, in a cracked, really awful, tuneless voice:

'And sometimes when we touch
the honesty's too much
and I have to close my eyes and hide
I wanna hold you to 'til I die
'til we both break down and cry
I want to hold you 'til the fear in me subsides...'

I felt around in my pockets for a gun, and strangely, found them empty. "What the hell," I said, desperation and nascent terror in my voice as I realized I JUST COULDN"T SHUT HIM UP. "What the HELL...?!?"

"You're not in a TV show now," the fat guy told me, again in very rational tones, which he had to stop singing to do and thank GOD for that. "This is reality. Kind of. It's a sort of expository passage where I explain things."

"What," I said, "are you CRAZY? Audiences hate back-story! You'll lose 20 share points!"

He scowled at me. "Back story can be interesting it its presented well," he said, finally. "Anyway," he went on briskly. "Like I said, I hate all the modern STAR TREK franchises, so I've been avoiding them."

"Good reason to blow them up," I said, looking around hesitantly, then tentatively sitting down on a ratty looking couch. "Plus, Marina Sirtis... oh, baby!"

"Yeah, yeah, and Nana Visitor, and Terry Farrell, or whatever Dax's name is," he said agreeably. "And whatshername who played the little blonde chick in the first few seasons of VOYAGER."

"AND I could blow up Neelix," I said. "I mean, come on, you can't pass on that."

He looked mournful. "True. Blowing up Neelix... ideally, while he's in the middle of a hot gay 69 with Wesley... would be fun..."

"See?" I said. "It practically writes itself." There was something vaguely shaped like a coffee table a few feet away from me covered in geological stratas of rubbish. I was bemused to see about half a dozen different remote controls scattered around on roughly the uppermost layer. "Dude, do you have enough remotes?"

He waved his hand dismissively. "One is for the TV, one is for the VCR, one is for the CD changer, one is for the stereo receiver..."

I held up one vaguely phallic shaped one. "What's this one for?"

"That one controls WB hotties," he said matter of factly.

"Really?" I said. "Say, look behind you, it's Katie Holmes in a thong!"

He folded his arms and gave me a reproachful look and a long suffering, exasperated sigh.

"Okay, okay. I'm just going to steal it anyway," I said, after a second.

"Fine," he said. "It's not like I ever see any WB hotties here. Anyway, like I was saying, I've also been avoiding the modern Star Trek franchises because there are so many of them. Having you run through one right after the other would seem awfully geeky."

"Yeah," I said, tucking the wand-remote thing carefully away in a pocket. "Yeah, I can see that. So why not run them all together? Come up with some thing where, like, I don't know, the Enterprise D is docked at Deep Space Nine and Voyager comes whipping through the warp hole?"

He just stared at me. "Dude, that wormhole... wormhole, not warp hole... leads to a completely different quadrant of the Galaxy."

Oh, Jesus. "You idiot," I said, "this is STAR TREK. Like anyone would CARE."

He looked affronted. "Look, this has to make consistent sense. It's a requirement..."

"Oh fucking PLEASE," I said, totally exasperated now. "Come on. I've been in Classic Star Trek, Season One of BUFFY, SUPER goddam FRIENDS, a bunch of awful Christmas cartoons, a couple of shows you clearly don't even watch... consistency is not a requirement here."

"I suppose I could make it a holodeck adventure," he said, rubbing his annoyingly closely clipped goatee, which was clearly only there to cover up his several chins, anyway.

"NO holodeck adventures," I said firmly. "Everybody dies and/or gets buggered for real."

"Reality?" He gave me a very weird smile. "What's reality? YOU wouldn't know reality if it bit you on the ass."

Something bit me on the ass. I leapt to my feet with a shriek of pain and surprise, and...

* * * * * * * * *

"Is something wrong, Colonel?" I heard an irritatingly whiney voice say.

I looked around. I was naked, standing in a large tent of some sort, with a wooden floor. The tent was olive drab. I seemed to be surrounded by a collection of furniture shaped debris intermixed with a lot of old looking, Army issue equipment.

"Geez, Colonel, you're hurting my feelings," the annoying voice sniveled from behind me. I turned around, and nearly went insane at the sight of a naked Radar O'Reilly sprawled on his flabby stomach, cellulite laden ass upward, staring at me reproachfully from a cot with an Army blanket crumpled up across it, underneath him.

"YAAAAAHHHHHHH!" I shrieked like a little girl. "NO NO NO NO NO!!!!! No character in M*A*S*H ever ever EVER buggered Radar! NOOOOOOOOOO!" I felt my sanity tottering on the edge of utter collapse.

The Adam West Batman poked his shiny cowl into my tent and said, in that oily Adam West voice, "Heck no, Colonel, and you never had Bat-guest stars, either!"

Burt Ward in a domino mask poked his head in from the other side of the opening. "Holy Buttfucked Corporals, Batman!" he exclaimed. "Hey, can we do the big fight scene with all the super imposed sound effects now?"

Suddenly, some skinny guy in a red shirt, white pants, and a really stupid looking white hat ran into the tent. "Skipper, I mean Colonel, the Howells have cornered the market on coconuts..." He stopped, and looked at Radar, who was beaming up at him fatuously, then at me. Tears welled up in his eyes. "You told me you were just friends with Radar," he said, sniffling.

I looked around in horror. "Okay," I said, "I give up. You're right. I wouldn't know reality if it bit me on the ass. Get me the fuck out of this horrible, horrible place."

From outside the tent, there was a roar. "Where dat Colonel Blake? I pity the fool who don't have Vaseline when I get my hands on his scrawny white ass."

I searched the tent frantically with my eyes for something to kill myself with. Naturally, there was nothing. Even the surgical scalpels were made of rubber. "Okay, okay, okay! No Star Trek franchises! Or all the holodeck you want! PLEASE! GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!"

A voice sighed and said "End program." The figures around me vanished, to be replaced by a yellowish grid superimposed on blue surfaces.

"Shit," I said, after a second. "I should have figured that out." I paused again. "Actually," I went on, "suddenly this makes much more sense." I thought further.

"You know," I said, "Rick Berman's gonna sue our asses off."

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