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Disclaimer: The characters Miss Parker, Sydney, Jarod, Broots etc. and the fictional Centre, are all property of MTM and NBC Productions and used without permission. I'm not making any money out of this and no infringement is intended.

Pretender Payback
PART 22: A Little Light Entertainment
by KB

Jarod slipped into the van, one of the man people lingering around opening it for him. He was going to make the other man flip! It was an idea he had been harbouring for some time, ever since he had first seen his ‘double’, in fact. Finally he had broken away from the others enough to make it possible. There had been the moments of wondering whether the ‘gap’ in the wall would let him through, however he gone through without incident. As he settle himself on one of the seats, his eyes roved around the room and lighted on a PEZ dispenser that Michael had left there for use in a late scene. Jarod’s eyes lit up and he moved over and ate one. Mmm. Cherry. His favourite. He wasn’t sure how Terri had guessed that it was his favourite but he was glad she had. Slowly he ate another. He was about to take a third when he heard a gasp from behind. Spinning around, he saw the man who looked just like him standing just inside the door. For all his planning, Jarod hadn’t worked out what would happen when they met. He just knew they had to. He wasn’t even sure why.

"What…who are you?"

"I’m you. At least, I’m the character you play every day."

"Oh, come on. You don’t really expect me to believe that, do you?" (It’s hard to upset a trained actor.)

"Of course. I know things about Jarod that you don’t, stuff that the writers haven’t come up with yet."

"Such as?" (See? I told you.)


At this point, just as Jarod was beginning to wonder how he could convince the other man of his genuineness without simply sounding like an obsessive fan(!), the familiar dimming of the lights began. With a sigh of relief, Jarod looked around, trying to perceive a face in the shadows.

"Hey, Danielle :-), KB, someone. I know you’re there. Come and help me with an explanation, will you?"

The two writers stepped forward and Michael immediately stepped backwards. It was such a similar reaction to the one which Jarod had first made on being imprisoned that the writers behind him tittered softly and he spun around, his hand above his eyes, trying to see into the dark. Jarod, meanwhile, was demanding their help.

"What are we supposed to do? I mean, he’s hardly going to believe that we are who we say we are, or that we’re really here."


Danielle :-) and KB exchanged glances. Jarod begging. This was something that they all had been wanting to see for a while. They thought about prolonging the situation but Michael put an end to it by walking over to the three.

"Look, if you are who you say you are, which I doubt incidentally, then for God’s sake, stop begging."

"God? Who?"

Sarah shook her head with a loud sigh and stepped forward. "Look, never mind. I’ll explain it to you later. Now can we just concentrate on the job at hand?"

There was a muttering of agreement. Then Mandy stepped out of the circle. "Look, Ja - Michael," she corrected herself. "It’s quite simple. This is Jarod. The real Jarod. The one you act almost every day. For every character, there’s a real person."

Michael was standing with his jaw agape. Miss Parker moved through the circle and flicked it shut with a loud snap which made Jarod look over suspiciously. She caught his eye and blushed slightly.

"So you mean…Nah, not possible. Good look-alikes, maybe. But we act out fictional characters. Fictional, you know. As in not real."

Lhani sniggered quietly again and the Princess moved forward. "Oh, I promise you. They’re real. It’s a kind of alternate reality thing. It’s also really hard to explain. We just appeared here one day and had a bit of fun playing around with some of these guys." She indicated the other characters who had appeared through the circle of people and stood just inside the ring of light. "Actually, a lot of fun."

"And you are?"

"We’re the writers."

"Yeah, right. I’ve met the writers. And believe me, they don’t look anything like you guys."

"Better or worse?" A voice came from behind Michael but he only shot a grin over his shoulder and looked back at the people in front of him.

"Oh, better," he responded appreciatively, eyeing the figures in front of him. "Much better."

There were several embarrassed coughs from around the room and he grinned, showing his dimples. Several of the female writers had to be quickly lowered to the floor and were surreptitiously dragged away. Particularly those who thought that, living too far away to travel to the sites of the filming, they would never get to see this man in person. Jarod glanced around, annoyed. "Hey, I never get a reaction like

"Yeah," responded Gena, coyly, "but you’re not really real." She sniggered to herself and Jarod moved to another part of the circle and sulked.

"Anyway, that’s the situation. While you’re acting out some roles in that dimension, these guys are here, acting out the things we write for them." Trisha stated firmly.

"So you guys are the ones who overload the computers over the summer and try to get my character and Andrea’s together and all of that stuff?"

"I think you’re beginning to get the idea." responded Apollo’s Girl with a grin.

"Oh, man." He shook his head in disbelief. "This is crazy…"

"…But heaps of fun. We’ve been doing it for ages." Rebekah grinned.

"Michael!" The yell came from a distance away but a small square of light appeared on the edge of the circle and Craig, Steven, Andrea, Jon, Patrick, Jamie, Richard, Harve and Pamela appeared on the edge.

"Okay," yelled KB above the din, "who forgot to lock the door? Could you do it now, please?"

Craig and Steven took one short look around and then turned to run back to where they had come from, however they were a split second too slow. The door slammed shut as they touched it and a clicking sound told them that it was hopeless. With resigned sighs they turned back. The other people, meanwhile, were staring around at the light and the figures on the edge of the shadows.

"Hey, what’s going on?"

"Craig, Steve, I can usually understand your trains of thought for upcoming episodes but this is beyond me," grinned Jamie. Unfortunately he was facing Sarah at the time and Mandy had to quickly catch her before she hit the ground.

However any smiles were wiped off faces as people began to see their doubles. As only Michael appeared unfazed, their turned to him.

"Look, explanation please. What’s going on?"

Danielle :-) suited her facial expression to her name and stepped forward. "We could all introduce ourselves to you, but that would take too long. We’ll let Michael do the explaining."

"Believe me, it’s way too complicated. Okay, two words then. Parallel universe. And these guys are the fan fic writers."

"That’s at least eight words too many," smirked Brigitte. (No, not Pamela, the real Brigitte. Try to keep up). The lollipop clicked against her teeth and she sucked it lovingly.

"Hey," whined Mr Parker. "You’re never that nice to me!"

"Whoa," yelled Harve. "I’ll be sick if I have to say that sort of thing next season."

"No more than we will," stated Susan. "We all felt nauseous when you married her. That kiss was like a glimpse of hell. Although, the pregnancy’s worse." The other writers nodded and muttered in agreement.

"Look," stated Craig more firmly than he felt. "Is there anything you actually wanted or is this just a get-to-know-you type thing? ‘Cos we’re wasting valuable filming time."

"Actually it’s Jarod’s fault. He snuck through one of the gateways andcaused all of the trouble. We only appeared to give him a hand." Danielle :-) offered.

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