The Gopher Part III - Production of Adversity
Chapter I - Power Trip

[ Jerry O'Connell is sitting in his apartment watching "Stand By Me" when he hears a knock on the door. Jerry gets up and answers the door. ]

Jerry: Well, if it isn't my own flesh-and-blood brother, Charlie! How nice of you to join me!
Charlie: Can I come back in my apartment now?
Jerry: For you, brother, anything. Step right on in.

[ Charlie walks in and closes the door behind him. ]

Charlie: Oh. What did you want to talk to me about anyway?
Jerry: I'll wait until...

[ Jerry hears another knock on the door. He gets up and answers the door. ]

Jerry: Why, Cleavant Derricks and Kari Wuhrer! How great to see you again!
Cleavant: Why did you want me to come all the way from LA to your apartment in New York? This had better be good!
Jerry: Oh, it is! Step on in!

[ Cleavant and Kari walk in the apartment and Jerry shuts the door behind them. ]

Jerry: So, have we all agreed to act in the Sliders movie?
Kari: I have.
Cleavant: Same here.
Charlie: Did I agree to it, brother?
Jerry: Yes. Anyway, I don't think we're getting enough money for this. We need to do something about it.
Cleavant: What are you saying?
Jerry: We need to find a way to get a higher salary. I propose that we wreak total havoc on the movie set until Peck gets so frustrated he agrees to pay us more.
Cleavant: I dunno. Peck is a friend of mine.
Kari: He's more than a friend to me!
Cleavant: Besides, you can't irritate him. He never even does his job. That little gopher boy of his does it all for him.
Jerry: Then we need to irritate the little gopher boy until he demands to Peck that I get more pay!
Kari: Oh, well, if it's just the little gopher boy, then I can do it! When do we start?
Jerry: Well, we're shooting that scene in a couple days...
Cleavant: The skyscraper scene?
Jerry: Yeah, and I remember Bill Dial saying we're doing it on top of a real skyscraper, so here's the deal...

[ Joey finds himself on the roof of a skyscraper. He looks down and shivers. He looks around the crowded roof. ]

Narrator: Everyone showed up for the skyscraper scene. I'd never seen an actual movie scene being shot before...

[ Peck walks up to Joey. ]

Narrator: ... and that day was no exception.
Peck: Hey, Joey, I have a job for you!
Joey: What now?
Peck: I need someone to catch anyone who falls off the roof! You need to go down to the 31st floor and hold out both your arms! I already set up a room for you down there.
Joey: But that's only two stories below the roof, and I won't be able to react in time! I'm the lightest one here and my arms are too short! I'll never catch anyone!
Peck: Not with THAT kind of attitude, you won't! Just go!

[ Joey reluctantly heads down a nearby staircase.
Joey walks into the room to which Peck was referring. Peck set it up for Joey by placing a single chair next to an open window. Other than that, the room is completely empty. Joey sighs, then sits on the chair and outstretches both his arms out the window.
After a few seconds, Joey hears two people kissing behind him. He turns around and sees Robert Floyd and Tembi Locke, making out on the floor. Joey audibly clears his throat. Robert and Tembi hear this and look up. ]

Joey: What are you two doing?
Robert: We're on our break from the set!
Joey: Why are you two making out here?
Tembi: It seemed like a nice remote spot.
Robert: What are you implying? That we're more than friends?
Joey: I didn't say anything like that.
Robert: That's what you're thinking, isn't it? Tembi and I are more than friends! Well, I don't have to take this! I'm not on trial here!
Joey: What are you talking about?
Robert: Come on, Tembi! Let's go!

[ Robert gets up and walks away. Tembi slowly follows suit. ]

Narrator: Actors are the weirdest people... next to writers... and teachers... and producers...

[ Back on the roof, Peck is talking on a cordless phone. ]

Peck: Yeah, Bruce... Look, sorry, but I just haven't had time lately... Sandy and I would love to have you over for dinner, but I'm kinda busy right now... How about some other time? ... Okay, bye.

[ Peck turns off the phone and looks up to see Paul Leonard. ]

Narrator: That's Paul Leonard, the guy who got all mad because he's the lowest ranking producer... well, next to me, of course.
Leonard: Peck, we need to talk!
Peck: What do you need?
Leonard: I've had enough of this!
Peck: What?
Leonard: I'm STILL the only "associate producer!" Everyone else is a "producer" or a "story editor" or an "executive producer" or an "executive lackey!" I wanna be one of those things, and I want it NOW!
Peck: How about "line producer?"
Leonard: No! I wanna be a PRODUCER producer!
Peck: I think things are fine the way they are.
Leonard: Hmph! That's it! I'm going back to my car and I'm not coming out until I get my way!

[ With tears in his eyes, Leonard runs down the stairs and out of the skyscraper. He goes to his car, sits in the driver's seat, folds his arms, and puts his head down exactly like a little kid throwing a tantrum.
Bill Dial goes up to Peckinpah next. ]

Bill Dial: [angry] Why am I not leader?! I should be leader!
Peck: You're executive consultant! Besides, everyone knows I'm the leader around here! Nobody leads like me!
Bill Dial: [angry] I should be leader. You're just a stupid-head!
Peck: [angry] I'm not a stupid head. You're a stupid head!
Bill Dial: Nu'-unh!
Peck: Yes-huh!
Bill Dial: Nu'-unh!
Peck: Yes-huh!
Bill Dial: Nu'-unh!
Peck: Yes-huh!
Bill Dial: Nu'-unh!
Peck: Yes-huh!
Bill Dial: Nu'-unh!
Peck: Yes-huh!
Bill Dial: [angry] If I can't be leader, then I'm going home! I quit your stupid little movie!
Peck: [angry] Fine!
Bill Dial: [angry] Fine!
Peck: [angry] Fine!
Bill Dial: [angry] Fine!
Peck: [angry] Fine!
Bill Dial: [angry] Fine!
Peck: [angry] Fine!

[ Bill Dial runs away crying as Peck stands there smiling.
We see Joey looking out the window. It's obviously the middle of the night. ]

Narrator: Shit, I was doing this for hours! I don't even know why I was still there... well, I did sleep through most of it.
Peck: [announcing from the roof] That's it for today! If anyone needs me, I'll be in the lobby!

[ We see Paul Leonard, who is still sitting in his car.
We also see Sabrina and John standing on the ledge of the roof of the skyscraper, talking. ]

Sabrina: Geez, John, it's sure been a while.
John: Yes. It's great to see you again.
Sabrina: Do you think it's safe for us to talk up here?
John: We'll be fine.

[ A few yards away, Kari, Jerry, Charlie, and Cleavant are all huddled together. ]

Jerry: Okay, Cleavant, you're lookout...
Cleavant: Why me?
Jerry: Because you're not the prankster I am... It's a big star thing!
Cleavant: [under his breath] Moron.
Jerry: Charlie, Kari, and I will push those unsuspecting actors off the roof! Hee hee hee!

[ Jerry laughs out loud. Cleavant gives him a strange look. ]

Cleavant: Couldn't they end up getting hurt or even killed?
Jerry: It's just an innocent prank to wreak a little havoc until we get more money!
Cleavant: We could be arrested for manslaughter!
Jerry: It's just a prank.
Cleavant: Whatever.

[ Joey is still looking out the window when he hears footsteps behind him. He turns around and sees Cleavant Derricks. He turns his head. ]

Joey: Cleavant? What are you doing here.
Cleavant: Not much. I'm just acting as lookout.
Joey: For what?

[ Suddenly, Joey hears two screams. He turns around and sees Sabrina falling right in front of the window. John follows seconds later. ]

Narrator: Strange thing is, I probably could've caught them if I was paying attention!

[ Paul Leonard is still sulking in his car, completely oblivious to John and Sabrina, who are falling right for the roof of his car.
31 stories up, Joey is looking straight out the window in shock. He hears a loud crash and the sounds of metal twisting and glass breaking. A car alarm starts blaring. Then, with another thud, the car alarm is silenced. Joey hears Charlie's voice two stories above him. ]

Charlie: Dude, that was AWESOME!

[ A few days later, Joey finds himself in a hospital with Peck. Sabrina and John lay on two adjacent beds. They're both heavily bandaged up. ]

Narrator: Sabrina and John both survived the fall. They were hurt pretty bad, but the pain they were going through didn't compare to hitting a rock while skateboarding on a freeway.
Joey: What happened to Leonard anyway?
Peck: He just couldn't take the impact of these two falling on him and his car caving in. Wimp.
Joey: Are Jerry, Charlie, Cleavant, and Kari going to be arrested?
Peck: Of course not! It was an honest accident!
Narrator: Whatever.
Peck: Let's go back to the office. I wanted to talk to Lunchboy, Cajero, and Black.

[ Joey and Peck leave the hospital room together and walk down the hall towards a staircase. ]

Joey: So when are we going to start filming again?
Peck: Tomorrow.
Joey: What about Sabrina and John? Shouldn't they heal first?
Peck: Oh, it's okay. After you got all those actors I took another look at the script. It looked pretty crappy, almost like something that old biddie Tracy Tormé would write.
Narrator: I knew right then I wouldn't like what came next.
Peck: I was able to take out the part with Sabrina and John. They won't be in the movie.

[ Joey and Peck near the staircase. ]

Narrator: I don't know what came over me... Okay, so I know exactly what came over me. It was still a surprise.
Joey: [incensed] You mean I took coffee on the crotch and I got locked in the trunk of a car overnight for nothing?!
Peck: Well, I guess so. Don't worry; nothing's changed for you. I'm still taking those plane rides out of your paycheck. This just means Sabrina and John won't be getting a paycheck.
Joey: But all that work...
Peck: The script just...

[ Peck is interrupted when Joey uses all his energy to push Peck in the belly. Peck recoils, then falls down the flight of stairs. Joey sees him bounce off the stairs about three times before he hits a landing, at which point he collides with the back wall. Peck gets up and looks up at him. ]

Peck: It's okay, Joey! I'll forgive you for that honest accident.

[ Joey is so angry he starts to dance and jump around, screaming. ]

Narrator: I'd have actually been happy to get that anger out of my system, but when pushing the idiot down the stairs didn't sink in I just got pissed off more.

[ Joey finds himself in front of the clock tower of Back to the Future fame. The crew is there, setting up cameras. The actors are also there. ]

Narrator: This is a backlot. This is where Sliders production goes when Peck doesn't feel like using real places as sets. This is from that movie Back to the Future.

[ Joey does a little walking around and sees a man wearing disheveled clothes sitting against the wall on the side of the clock tower. ]

Joey: I could swear I've seen you somewhere before. Hey, who the hell are you?
Derelict: Thomas F. Wilson. *
Joey: Hey, I know you! You played Biff in those Back to the Future movies! ... Dude, how long have you been sitting here?
Derelict: Nine years.
Joey: Shit.

[ Peck runs up to Joey from behind. ]

Peck: Hey, Joey!
Joey: [startled] What now?
Peck: Kari's having another mood swing. She locked herself in her trailer. Nobody wants to go in there.
Joey: So you want me to go in there and try to get Kari out?
Peck: Exactly. You do know how to pick locks, right?
Joey: Why doesn't anybody else want to get her out?
Peck: One of the crew tried and she almost sawed his head off with a butter knife. I think you'll do fine. Now get going!

[ Joey knocks on the door of the trailer. ]

Kari: Go away.
Joey: Peck needs you on the set.
Kari: Wait, are you that gopher boy?
Joey: I guess so.

[ Kari opens the door to her trailer. Joey reluctantly steps in. ]

Joey: What's going on?
Kari: I'm not in the mood to go out there. One of the crewmen accused me of pushing John and Sabrina off the skyscraper! Can you believe that! He's accusing me of trying to hurt them!
Joey: Isn't that exactly what you did?
Kari: Yeah, but I shouldn't have to put up with accusations! [pauses] Hey, you know, you're kinda cute!
Joey: What?
Kari: Hold on. Let me get comfortable.

[ Kari grabs on to her hair and rips it off her head. Joey discovers with a degree of horror that Kari is completely bald; the "hair" was just a wig. ]

Joey: You're... bald?
Kari: Well, duh! How do you think I changed my hair so often?!
Joey: [without shifting his eyes] Hey, look at the time! I better go!
Kari: Well, thanks, Kid! I'm ready to act now!
Narrator: What did I do, anyway?

[ That night, Joey finds himself drifting into sleep. The next thing he knows, he's falling from a skyscraper, screaming all the way... into Kari's trailer. He gets up and takes a look around when Kari Wuhrer goes up to him... only Kari has no hair, no arms, and one leg. She hops up to him. ]

Kari: Hi handsome!

[ Suddenly, Miss Stillman and Larva come bursting in the door. ]

Larva, Miss Stillman: [in unison] You're sleeping with another woman?! How could you?!

[ Joey then sees Scooby Doo riding by on a unicycle behind Larva and Miss Stillman. Scooby Doo looks Joey in the eyes, arches his eyebrows downward in contempt, and gives him the finger.
Joey wakes up with a sudden full-body twitch, and can't see a thing. As he moves his head, he discovers that Peck is sleeping right on top of him, and has his arms positioned in a way that his left armpit is right over Joey's face. Joey passes out again. ]

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ˇ Exit one producer.
ˇ Exit another producer.
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* AUTHOR'S NOTE: Contrary to what I said in this story, Thomas F. Wilson is actually a very talented, respectable, interesting actor whose career is far from over. Even though I don't know him, he seems like a nice guy too. You can learn a lot of great things about him at his official site,