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The Gopher Part I - Week of Hell
Chapter I - Change of Sliders


(2.5 Years Ago)

[ A 12-year-old boy walks into an office building. It's a pretty standard waiting room, with chairs, mini-tables, magazines, and a front desk manned by a woman. The boy walks up to the woman and notices for the first time how she's dressed: she's decked out in tight black leather, is covered in tattoos and piercings, and there is a Playboy on the side of the desk. She has a name tag on: "Molly." Joey clears his throat. ]

Joey: [nervous] I'm, uh... Joey... I'm here for the...
Molly: You the new gopher?
Joey: Um, yeah.
Molly: Over there.

[ Molly points to a doorway behind her, and Joey notices that her armpits are completely unshaven and incredibly hairy. Joey opens his mouth to say something, but thinks better of it and closes it again.
Joey finds himself in a typical workplace. He hears a steady stream of chatter (office-related and otherwise) and explores the Byzantine, bustling maze of cubicles. Eventually, he wanders into an office with a door that says, "Tracy Tormé: Executive Producer." He opens the door and steps on in.
Inside the office, he see a large, bearded man sticking office supplies in a box. ]

Joey: [curious] Are you... my boss?
Tracy: Depends. What do you want?
Joey: I got this job the other day working for the executive producer of Sliders, but I haven't seen him yet. I really wanted this job because I'm such a huge fan!
Tracy: Really? For the boss you got, you might as well turn back now.

[ Joey has a dumbfounded look on his face. ]

Joey: What's wrong with working for you?
Tracy: I'm leaving. The FOX network hired some jackass to ruin Sliders.
Joey: How can someone ruin Sliders? It's the perfect show!
Tracy: Have you even seen the last episode? Our female lead fell in love with a ROBOT, for God's sake!
Joey: Maybe I should watch more often. If you're leaving, does this mean I don't have a job?
Tracy: [laughing] Oh no! Your boss is over THERE! Have fun, son, and remember: Sliders will wither and die without Tracy Tormé at the helm! It'll last two and a half years, tops! Just you watch!

[ Joey reluctantly gets up and walks out the door. He checks out the office next door. The door says "David E. Peckinpah: Executive Producer." Joey takes a deep breath and walks in.
Joey looks around and is visibly shocked by what he sees. A tall, skinny man, clad only in his underwear, leaps on top of his table. ]

Peck: [yelling] JEREMIAH WAS A BULLFROG!!!!!

[ The man then proceeds to dance on his table and sing to the tune of "Joy to the World" by Three Dog Night. The song also blares from a boombox in the corner. ]

Joey: [yelling over the music] Excuse me, sir!

[ The man doesn't respond. ]

Joey: [yelling] SIR! SIR!!! [at the top of his lungs] SIR!!!!!

[ He doesn't respond at all until the music stops. He turns off the boombox with a remote control and sits at his desk. ]

Peck: Yeah, what do you want?
Joey: Uh, I've been getting a lot of that lately. You must be David Peckinpah. I'm your new gopher.
Peck: Are you sure? I never hired a gopher!
Joey: Yeah, I'm a huge Sliders fan! My dad's a stage hand here and he told me he'd get me a job here working for you!
Peck: Well, you're in for a real treat if you're a fan. I'm going to be firing one of the actors today! We're replacing him with a beautiful woman who's a great actress! We'll be firing another cast member at the end of the season. Then there are going to be some big plot changes. You'll love it!
Joey: Great. Are you sure you don't remember me?
Peck: [pauses briefly, then smiles] Oh, yeah, that's right! I remember hiring you! Today's your first day, isn't it? By the way, you can go ahead and call me Peck. That's what my wife calls me. Well, I think you'll like your first assignment!

[ Peck walks over and opens a door on the side of the office. Joey looks in and grimaces. ]

Peck: Yeah, that's the bathroom. I'll need you to clean it up. Sorry, but yesterday I just didn't make it in time! I just exploded all over the floors. [sniffs] Ooh-wee, smell that, will ya? I hope you don't mind too much. Here, I have some Pine Sol and a toothbrush for you to use!

[ That night, we see Peck making out with a woman on the desk. Joey is on the phone. ]

Joey: [into the phone] Um, is this David Peckinpah's wife... Great... Well, he's working late tonight... Kari, the new actress is keeping him after to work on a few things... I don't know what things! I'm just the messenger!

[ Joey winces as the woman throws her dress; it hits him in the face. ]

Joey: [in the phone] He should be done at about... 2:00 a.m... Oh, he doesn't mind. You shouldn't either! Yeah... Bye!

[ Joey hangs up the phone. ]

Peck: [talking to Joey, but obviously more focused on the task at hand] Kid, think up a better alibi next time! I already used that three times this week!
Joey: Sorry. What should I say next time?
Peck: Say I went to the bait and tackle shop or something!
Joey: You fish?
Peck: Nope.
Joey: [pause] Can I go now?
Peck: Of course not. You're cleanup when Kari and I get done here. Now sit on the chair and watch till we're finished!

[ Joey thinks about what Tracy said. ]

Tracy: [voice-over] It'll last two and a half years, tops! Just you watch!

(Present)
(Wednesday)

[ Joey wakes up in his full-size bed to his alarm clock, which plays Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe." ]

Narrator: [voice-over] My name is Joey Simms. This is my life.

[ We hear a moan from a bulge on the other side of the bed. ]

Narrator: This is the first day of the worst week of my life... at least until the following week.

[ A woman pokes her head out from under the covers. She is twenty-five years old with long straight blond hair. We only see her face for a second before it's pressed against a pillow. ]

Joey: Ready for school, Miss Stillman?
Miss Stillman: [voice muffled by pillow] I don't wanna.

[ We see Joey sitting at a dining room table. Miss Stillman is there, wearing only a t-shirt. A husband and wife, obviously Joey's parents, occupy the other two seats. ]

Narrator: Basically, my entire life consists of taking somebody else's shit.
Joey's Mom: JOEY, watch your mouth!
Narrator: Excuse me... somebody else's crud.
Miss Stillman: Joey can be so rude sometimes.
Joey's Mom: I know it. I'm so glad he has a girlfriend like you to keep him on the straight and narrow!
Miss Stillman: What a troubled young man.
Narrator: Yeah, you heard right. My girlfriend is my high school English teacher... and I'm her ride to school.

[ We see Joey driving a car. In the passenger's seat is Miss Stillman, laying back in the seat, fast asleep. ]

Narrator: Nobody seems to notice that I'm only 15. I don't even have a permit yet, and I'm driving every day in LA!

[ Joey parks at Hutaff-Kimble High School.
Hours later, Miss Stillman is in front of her English class. Joey occupies a desk in the front row. A boy in an adjacent desk tries to get his attention. ]

Narrator: I'm always glad I don't have this class until sixth period. That gives me a five and a half-hour break from Miss Stillman... and the people in that class.
Travis: [whispering] Hey!
Joey: What do you want, Trav?
Travis: Did you get Stillman in a good mood? Knowhutimsayn?
Joey: Why do you always assume that just because we're going out...
Miss Stillman: [smiling] So, class, your classmate Joey showed me a VERY good time last night, and cooked a great breakfast this morning, so there's no homework today!

[ The class applauds and cheers. Miss Stillman walks up to Joey's desk, sits on it, and faces Joey. ]

Joey: You sure got the class happy.
Miss Stillman: I have a little extra assignment for you, sweet-cheeks!

[ Miss Stillman leans in close to Joey. ]

Miss Stillman: [whispering] I was thinking, the two of us have been dating for a year and we barely know each other!
Narrator: She's right! I still don't know her first name!
Miss Stillman: [whispering] I think it's time we take our relationship to the next level. I need you to set aside more time for me, you know, "me-time!" I need more me-time, Joey!
Joey: [confused] Me-time?!
Miss Stillman: And another thing... I need to know you're ready for commitment. I need you to buy me a sign of commitment!
Joey: A sign of commitment?
Miss Stillman: [whispering] Yes, to show me you care about me! I know how you enjoy your job, and I want to see if you enjoy me just as much!
Joey: I hate my job!
Miss Stillman: [whispering] So why don't you just quit?
Joey: I need a source of money and nobody else in LA will hire me. Everyone in town has a grudge against Peck, my boss. One guy said he didn't want to touch anyone who worked for such a moron.
Miss Stillman: [whispering] So this is the only way you can get money?
Joey: I don't get money... but yeah, I'm still hoping for a paycheck.
Miss Stillman: [whispering] Well, get more money, so you can buy that sign of commitment! I'll give you time to think about it.

[ Miss Stillman gets up and walks away. Travis looks over at Joey. ]

Joey, Narrator: [in unison] What the hell is a sign of commitment?
Travis: You know, for a teacher she's REALLY hot! When you're done with her I'll take her! She can take a ride on the Trav Coaster! Oh yeah!
Joey: She's a teacher, you idiot, and you're pulling a D in here.

[ Later that day, Joey goes to Peck's office. He walks in and sees Peck with his head down, crying.]

Joey: Um, Peck, is there a problem?
Peck: [crying] My Sliders was CANCELLED! Cancelled, Joey, cancelled!
Narrator: At least he gets my name right now. He used to call me "Jiminy."
Joey: Huh. Does this mean I'm done with this job?
Narrator: If only...
Peck: [crying] Oh, but I worked SO HARD! I put all my heart in this show and now it's CANCELLED!
Joey: All you ever did was screw the show up, and that's when you were doing ANYTHING!

[ Peck gradually stops crying. ]

Peck: Good point.
Joey: Now, maybe you can spend all your time at home with your family.
Narrator: Assuming they'd even speak to him again. Peck's cheated on his wife with every woman in Sliders production. One of the women in accounting had three kids AFTER her husband became impotent. Molly got so tired of him she quit and moved to New York.
Peck: I don't think so, Joey. There must be SOMETHING I can do! SOMETHING to make a difference in... [starts crying again] Sliders!
Joey: Can I PLEASE go now?
Peck: [crying] Just GO, Joey! I don't need you anymore! Sliders is over! It's all over! WAAAAAH!!!

[ Joey gets up and walks out the door. When he hears Peck caterwauling, he speeds up. ]

Narrator: Don't jump to any conclusions here.

(Thursday)

[ Joey wakes up in a distinctly different bed to the alarm clock, which blares out Smash Mouth's "Then the Morning Comes." Miss Stillman is on the other side of the bed. ]

Miss Stillman: I'm so glad I got you to spend the night at my house, Joey! See, this is what I mean by me-time! Now, take me to school, my knight in shining armor!

[ Later that day, Joey is in Miss Stillman's class, watching as she lectures. ]

Miss Stillman: [lecturing] Well, I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, and Joey still hasn't bought me that sign of commitment...
Travis: Shee-it!
Miss Stillman: [pauses] Tonight, read the last fifteen chapters of the Grapes of Wrath and answer all the questions. Remember, you have a 5-page essay on the novel due on Monday!

[ There is a collective moan from the class. Travis hits Joey upside the head.
Later that day Joey is sitting at home using his computer. He's visiting an online bulletin board dedicated to Sliders. ]

Narrator: Yeah, my hobby is checking out the Sliders fan community. Those idiots all think they have all the dirt on Sliders! [laughs] Hell, I saw Peckinpah in his underoos. You don't get much more dirt than that!

[ Joey hears the doorbell. ]

Joey's Mom: Joey, one of your little friends is here!
Narrator: Trav likes to come down to my house to kick my ass on days when Miss Stillman assigns a lot of homework.

[ Joey goes up to the door, and is surprised to see Peckinpah still crying. Peck hugs him tight. ]

Peck: [crying] It's all over! My life is all over!
Joey: It's only a TV show! You can let go of me now!
Peck: [crying] You're all I have left!
Joey: You have three kids and your wife hasn't left you yet!
Peck: [crying] No, I mean, you're all I have left of... [sniff] SLIDERS! Waaaaah!!!
Joey: Maybe you could write the Great American Screenplay! I'm sure from your experiences on Sliders...

[ Peck stops crying. ]

Peck: That's it! That's a great idea, Joey!
Joey: Yeah...
Peck: [happy, interrupting] I'll do a Sliders movie! It'll be a good one too! We can use all eight actors that were in the cast!
Joey: Great. You'll have fun.
Peck: [happy] Of course I will, Joey, and YOU'RE going to help me!
Joey: I don't wanna.
Peck: [happy] You don't have a choice! Besides, it'll be fun! I'm sure your parents will agree with me there!
Joey's Mom: Go work for Mr. Peckinpah, hon!
Joey: Don't I have a choice? Mom? Peck?
Joey's Mom: No.
Peck: [happy] Come on, we'll go back to my office!
Joey: Can I at least stop on the way to buy Miss Stillman a sign of commitment... whatever that is?
Peck: You mean, like a necklace or a ring? You betcha!
Joey: What the hell? Since when did you know something I didn't know?
Peck: I'm a pro at these things. Why do you think I get laid six times a week?
Narrator: Shit.

[ Joey and Peck leave. ]


NEXT: Change of Duties
Joey's new assignment.
Scooby Doo nightmares.
Making Stillman happy.
NEXT >>>

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