The Gopher Part I - Week of Hell
Chapter II - Change of Duties


[ We see Joey in his own bed with Miss Stillman, asleep, clinging to him. ]

Narrator: I never thought anything bad could happen on a Friday. But this is the day when my job got so much worse and I started getting the weirdest nightmares.

[ Miss Stillman begins stirring. ]

Miss Stillman: [mumbling] Thanks again... Joey...

[ We see Joey in his English class. Miss Stillman is up front, proudly showing off a gold necklace. ]

Miss Stillman: Yes, class, Joey was kind enough to buy this for me yesterday. Isn't it nice? He's the best boyfriend a girl like me could ever have. Let's have a round of applause for him!

[ The class applauds enthusiastically. Travis pats Joey on the shoulder. ]

Travis: Joey, you got her in a good mood again. Thanks, man!
Miss Stillman: Because Joey was nice enough to buy this for me and win my heart and show he's ready for commitment...
Joey: Oh God.
Miss Stillman: ... Joey gets an automatic 100% on each and every assignment, quiz, test, essay, and special project!

[ Joey smiles. ]

Narrator: Yeah, look at that dorky smile. I'm in for a real surprise here.
Miss Stillman: As for the rest of you... pop quiz! Get out a pencil and a piece of paper. I hope you read the book yesterday!

[ As the class collectively moans and groans, Miss Stillman passes out the quiz. ]

Miss Stillman: I'll be right back. Be sure to thank Joey for buying me such a nice sign of commitment!

[ Miss Stillman leaves the room. Joey takes a look at the five-page test. He looks up and sees every person in the class stand up and walk slowly toward him.
We see Joey limping into Peck's office. Joey's arms are bruised and battered; there's a small cut on one side of his mouth and he has a black eye. Peck greets him with a smile. ]

Peck: Joey, I'm so glad you came!
Joey: Well, my parents did lock me out of the house.
Peck: Look at you! So healthy and vibrant! You remind me of me when I was a teenager!
Narrator: I think he said that on purpose just to piss me off.
Joey: What do you want me to do today?
Peck: The senior staff is having a meeting. And you're officially one of the senior staff!
Joey: Am I a production associate or an associate producer?
Peck: I have an even better title: "Executive Lackey." Like it?
Joey: Hell no.
Peck: Great! Now, let's be off to the meeting!

[ Peck sits at the head of a large table. Joey sits next to him, across from another man. Four other men line the rest of the table. ]

Narrator: I HATE these people. They're so annoying. I still can't understand how they even have a job.
Peck: Roll call, everyone! Let's see who all is here! I'll start... David E. Peckinpah, but you can call me Peck! I lead this shindig!

[ Peck sits down. Joey reluctantly stands up after everyone looks at him. ]

Joey: Joey Simms.
Peck: C'mon, Joey, tell them what you do!
Joey: I'm Peck's... executive lackey.
Peck: [laughing] Hee hee hyork hyork hyork! Just like I taught him!
Narrator: Putz.

[ Joey sits down. The man across from Joey stands up. ]

Lunchboy: Keith Damron, story editor and Peck's right-hand-man, but you can call me Lunchboy!
Joey: Why Lunchboy?
Lunchboy: Well, everyone loves to hear what I've had for lunch!
Joey: Maybe you just fooled yourself into thinking that since it's all you ever talk about.

[ Lunchboy sits down. ]

Lunchboy: Well, maybe so, but when I found out we were doing a Sliders movie I just had to do it. I'm doing the official "Sliders Movie Journal." Basically, I get to talk about everything I had for lunch every day! Today I had a nice hot bowl of chili!

[ Lunchboy unbuckles his belt and sticks his hand in his pants Al Bundy-style. Joey hears a rumbling noise. ]

Joey: Did you just...? Never mind.

[ The man next to Joey stands up. ]

Bill Dial: My name's Bill Dial. People call me Bill Dial.
Joey: And?
Bill Dial: I'm the leader!
Peck: [angry] Nu'-unh! I said I'm the leader! Only I can lead! Me! Me! Me!
Joey: I'm sure both of you can...
Bill Dial: Hey, shut up! I'm the leader here!
Peck: No! You can't lead! I called it first!
Joey: He did. Let's just drop it, okay?
Peck: Besides, I'm the studliest one here! My wife is pregnant with her fourth rugrat because of me!

[ Bill Dial sits down, folds his arms, and hangs his head. He does this without making a sound. ]

Joey: That's better.
Peck: That's right, sillyhead!

[ The man across from Bill Dial stands up. Joey notices that he has a big, thick mustache. ]

Black: I'm Chris Black. Y'all can call me Black. I'm a producer!
Joey: Oh my God!
Black: What?
Joey: Your mustache! It's...
Black: Yeah, I know. Beauty, ain't it?
Joey: You look like a child molester!
Black: [surprised] What?
Joey: That's exactly the kind of mustache you see on child molesters on the news!
Lunchboy: He's right. I've seen hundreds of 'em!
Black: Well, I'm keeping it! It's stylish and makes a great soup strainer!
Joey: It's a child molester mustache!
Black: [Valley Girl-ish] What-ever!

[ Black sits back down. The man to Bill Dial's right stands up. ]

Leonard: I'm Paul Leonard, or Leonard for short. I'm a producer!
Bill Dial: Are not!
Leonard: Sorry... [reluctant] Associate producer.
Bill Dial: That's right!
Leonard: Why am I the only associate here?
Peck: Hey, Joey's an associate.
Joey: I'm a lackey!
Peck: Oh, yeah. Never mind.

[ Leonard sits back down. The last man stands up. ]

Cajero: I'm Paul Cajero. I'm a producer.

[ Cajero sits back down. Joey sighs with relief when Cajero's introduction goes without incident. ]

Peck: Well, that wraps up that. Now, I know you all have been busy since Sliders was cancelled...
Cajero: That was the day before yesterday, you idiot.
Narrator: I think I like this guy!
Peck: I know I've been busy, I mean, what with my KISS/Beatles crossover project...

[ We suddenly see a television show in progress. Four musicians are on a stage. Their faces are each half-painted. ]

Announcer: In a horrible accident gone horribly wrong, a horrible accident gone wrong combined the two greatest rock bands of all time: KISS and the Beatles, making for one of the greatest rock concerts of all time: "KISS the Beatles!"
Paul Lennon, Gene McCartney, Ace Harrison, Peter Starr: [singing in unison] You keep on shouting, you keep on shouting...

[ Paul Lennon makes a peace sign. ]

Paul Lennon: Give peace a chance!
Paul Lennon, Gene McCartney, Ace Harrison, Peter Starr: [singing in unison] I wanna rock and roll all nite...

[ We go back to Peck and the others at the meeting. ]

Peck: I've also been working with Jerry Springer.

[ We go to another television show in progress. A giant logo on the screen says "Celebrity Springer." Forrest Gump sits on a seat. Jerry begins to interview Forrest. We also see Peck trying to look inconspicuous in a front-row seat. ]

Jerry: Well, Forrest, we have a very special guest for you here who wants to pick on Jenny.
Forrest: [thick southern accent] He better not be pickin' on my Jenny!
Jerry: Rock, come on out here!

[ Walking in is none other than the Rock himself of WWF fame. The crowd cheers at the top of its lungs. Forrest lunges at him. The Rock sends him to the ground and finishes him with the People's Elbow. Forrest gets up, coughing. ]

Forrest: [accent gone] Oh, damn, this is SO not worth the million Peck promised me.
Peck: I'm not paying you to break character!

[ The Rock picks Forrest up and throws him across the stage. Forrest stands back up and points to him. ]

Forrest: Are you pickin' on m' Jenny?! Are you pickin' on m' Jenny?!
The Rock: Know your role and shut your mouth, Jabroney!
Forrest: Mama always says...
The Rock: I will layeth the smacketh down on your candyass if you don't sit it the [bleep] back down! I guaran-damn-tee it!

[ The crowd cheers wildly.
We go back to Peck and the others at the meeting. ]

Peck: I also did the New Adventures of the Power Rangers.

[ We see six costumed teenagers jumping off a cliff. We hear six successive thuds, six successive cracking noises, and six consecutive moans. We go back to Peck and the others at the meeting. Peck goes up to the window on the side of the room. Everyone else watches him. ]

Peck: Six children broke their necks that day after I persuaded them to do their own stunts. Now they've gone to a better place... [monotonous, with reverence] Yes, go go, Power Rangers... you... [tears up, sniffles] Mighty... Morphin... [cries] Power Rangers!

[ Lunchboy walks up to him and pats him on the shoulder. ]

Lunchboy: There there.

[ Peck turns around and hugs him. ]

Narrator: I still don't understand how a staff this stupid can do a project this big.

[ Peck and Lunchboy eventually get back to their seats. ]

Peck: Well, there are seven of us. We'll need one person to do the story...
Lunchboy: Someone else can do it.
Joey: It's YOUR job.
Lunchboy: Oh. Then I guess I'll take it.
Peck: Then we need five people to hire the rest of the crew and one person to hire the cast. Who wants crew duty?

[ Peck, Bill Dial, Black, Cajero, and Leonard simultaneously raise their hands. After a small hesitation, Joey raises his. ]

Peck: Sorry, Joey, you're responsible for recruiting the cast!
Joey: But I had my hand up!
Peck: Sorry, that's the rule!
Joey: What rule?
Peck: Just do it!
Joey: Why do I have to do it? I didn't know this was a hand-raising contest!
Peck: Ignorance is no excuse.
Joey: You ignore me all the time!
Peck: I'm glad you're so eager to do this, since casting is a lot harder than getting the crew, especially since I have a major grudge against everyone in the cast! The five of us have the easy job! You have to get all eight members of the main cast! THEN you have to find a supporting cast!
Joey: Where do I find these people?
Peck: Sorry. Nobody knows their addresses, but we know the cities where they work, so we'll be able to send you on a plane!
Joey: You're going on a plane with me?
Peck: Oh, of course not, Joey! You're making each visit yourself! Don't worry about how much it costs me, though; I won't have to pay any of it. It all comes out of your paycheck!
Joey: Oh, come on!
Peck: Hey, it won't be so bad! You can get all the supporting actors easy-as-pie. There's a "Supporting Actors 'r Us" here in LA! You just have to visit the eight main actors! All you have to do is find their addresses, go to where they live, show them the screenplay, convince them I'm not such a bad guy, and they'll be good to go!
Narrator: You'd think it'd be easy to kill yourself in LA, but at the time I had no idea how I would have gone about it. I was stuck.
Peck: Don't worry, you don't have to go anywhere until next Wednesday! But we'll still have to make a few changes to production for the movie, so don't think you have it easy until then!
Narrator: Considering my first task for this guy was scrubbing the floor of his bathroom I'm surprised he ever thought I'd think this job is easy.
Joey: Can I go now?

[ That night, Joey is laying in his bed. Miss Stillman is tossing and turning beside him, hogging all the covers, but Joey's mind is elsewhere. ]

Miss Stillman: [sleepy] Honey, quit it!
Joey: Quit what?
Miss Stillman: [sleepy] Just go to sleep.

[ Joey shuts his eyes, trying to sleep. He eventually succeeds. He finds himself drifting somewhere vaguely familiar. A portal opens up in front of him. ]

Joey: Whoa, this is just like on Sliders!

[ Joey goes inside the portal. The next thing he sees is a fist that hits him square on the bridge of his nose. Joey sees that the fist is attached to Travis' arm. ]

Travis: That's for the pop quiz, prick!

[ Joey finds himself in Miss Stillman's classroom. An eighty-foot-tall David Peckinpah rips off the roof of the building, screams at Joey, and waves his hands at him. ]

Peck: I'll get you, Joey, and your little dog too!

[ A little dog runs up behind Joey and barks. Joey turns around and discovers its face looks just like Cajero's. Joey finds himself entangled in the coils of a humongous snake. Joey is somehow not surprised when that snake turns out to look (and dress) like Miss Stillman. ]

Miss Stillman: Sign of commitment, Joey! Sign of commitment!

[ Joey falls through the coils and finds himself falling. ]

Narrator: Even my nightmares have reached a new level of suckage.

[ After falling for what seems like a mile, Joey hits the ground face first. He finds a way to get his head up. He sees Scooby Doo riding by on a unicycle. Scooby Doo looks Joey in the eyes, arches his eyebrows downward in contempt, and gives him the finger.
Joey sits bolt upright in his bed. His heart races in his chest and he looks around in panic and fright, realizing now that he's finally awake. Miss Stillman looks at him. ]

Joey: [shocked] What the hell was that?!

[ Joey falls back down in the bed, unconscious. ]

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New base of operations.
The day Sunday died.
Da, not Nyet.
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