Posted: June 30, 2000
Spoilers: Maybe a couple from "Ocassionally Amber."
DISCLAIMER: Early Edition belongs to Sony TriStar, CBS, and 20 other different factions that have paid a pretty penny for it here and there. Gary, Marissa, Chuck, Jade, Reilly, and the cat? They're all fictional characters...they don't exist in real life. <G> How can you own something that doesn't exist? (Actually, Sony TriStar claims to be their master.)
I'm not making any money off this little piece of fiction and that was NOT the intent when it was written. This story was written to provoke others to join the cause and get new episodes of Early Edition back on the air! Hey, as EE fans, we deserve it!~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Marissa sighed as she drank her cup of coffee. She patted her new guidedog, Reilly, on the head. The dog wagged its tail appreciatively, then laid its head back on its paws and sighed too.
Gary came slowly down the stairs, dressed in a t-shirt, boxers, and a robe. His 5 o'clock shadow looked more like a 10 o'clock shadow. He went over to the bar, picked up a mug and filled it from the tap, then walked over to the table where Marissa was sitting and plopped into a chair next to her.
Marrisa's face changed to one of skepticism. "Gary, are you drinking beer for breakfast again?" she asked.
"What if I said NO," Gary replied.
"I can smell it, you know," Marissa needled.
"It *is* our bar, we ought to be able to do something with it," Gary retorted. He started pushing Marissa's chair a bit with his foot out of boredom. Marissa felt the robe against her leg.
"Gary, please tell me you're not sitting here in your robe and boxers."
"Ok, I won't." Gary smirked as he continued to toy with her chair.
Marissa smacked his knee. "Quit," she replied matter-of-factly. "Gary, you can't sit here every day drinking beer in your boxers."
"Oh?" Gary quiried. "And why not?"
"What if they call us back up again? What if the show gets renewed, or they need us for TV movies? You can't be sitting here swilling beer until you've got a gut the size of John Goodman. How do you expect to save the world like that?" Marissa reasoned.
"I'll have you know John Goodman got hit by a subway train and they gave him a primo body! He was stronger, faster, more studly, everything a man could possibly want to be!" Gary chugged down the rest of his mug and went back over to the bar to refill it.
"I'm not worried. The writers will fix whatever's wrong if they need us back. Heck, if they can completely erase the horror of Erica, they can make me a svelt all-american hero again." Gary smiled wickedly.
"Besides, the cat hasn't been here since the last paper arrived." Gary walked around the bar and picked up the paper off the back shelf. He shook it back and forth and watched the dust fall to the floor. "April 8th, 2000." Gary cocked his head. "Wait, wasn't the paper in 'Time' dated May 15, 2000?"
"They switched the episodes around so people wouldn't think the story was final. Syndication consideration you know," Marissa answered.
Gary sighed. "Carla always did know how to end a season. I'm going to miss having her manipulate my life," Gary said rather meloncholy as he leaned against the bar.
Just then, Chuck and Jade walked into McGinty's. "Hey Gar," Chuck called out beaming. Gary smiled fakely, then sneered as Chuck and Jade sat down at the table with Marissa.
"And just why is it Chuck get's some great looking blonde to spend the rest of eternity with? He didn't even stick through all four seasons with us! How come he gets her and I don't get...I don't get Brigatti???" I LIKE Brigatti!" Gary drained the rest of the beer from his mug and let it drop loudly on the bar.
"Gary," Marissa said slightly exasperated. "You know darn well the actress who played Brigatti had schedule conflicts. Maybe if she could have squeezed her commitments a little here and there you would have had a chance to take care of a baby together and whatever other bonding resulted, but the fact is she didn't and you didn't. All you have left is Brigatti hating you for pouncing on Jade."
"Hey, I didn't pounce on her on my own! They, they, they made me!" Gary growled defensively.
"Yeah, but you sure seemed to enjoyed it," Jade cooed as she softly rubbed Chuck's hand. Chuck smiled back, lost in her eyes.
"We're going to have lots of little Fishmans, aren't we honey?" Chuck offered.
Jade kissed him sweetly. "If they ever get the show back on the air dear, sure we will."
Gary rolled his eyes in disgust and filled his mug up again. "Chuck's got Jade, Marissa's got Reilly...geesh, I don't even have the stinking cat anymore!" Gary tipped the mug up and took big gulps. "Diaz has his girlfriend, Armstrong has his wife and child, heck, even Marion has a beau from The Play's the Thing. But me? The hero of the whole stinking story? They couldn't even throw me a crumb!!!"
Gary walked over to the window. "And look at this! There isn't even one person out there walking around to choose from!"
"They were just extras Gary. They didn't have a permenant place in our universe," Marissa replied. "The only thing you can do is hope the show gets renewed, then demand a wife."
Gary flopped into the last chair at the table. "Demand a wife...like *I* have anything to do with it. How am I supposed to demand a wife? I'm a fictional character!"
"Do what I did Gar," Chuck answered. "You've gotta whisper it in their ear. Wait until it's late at night and they're all tired and thinking they'd do just about anything to get the script completed and get out of the office. That's when ya spring it on them."
"That's when I spring it on them," Gary questioned?
"Yeah," Chuck answered. "Make them think it's their idea to begin with! Just whisper in their ear until you see them start writing it down, tell them exactly how you want it and it will flow from their pens like honey. As you can tell I was VERY specific with Jade," Chuck smiled happily, then turn his attentions to coo at Jade.
"Honey, huh?" Gary said sipping from his mug.
"Pure honey," Chuck replied.
Gary tilted his chair back away from the table and let his legs sway back and forth. "Anything I want...." he murmered putting the mug back up to his lips to take a tug. He closed his eyes and thought of Brigatti. "Mmmmmm.." Gary moaned. "Brigatti..."
Gary tried to imagine a smiling Toni Brigatti standing before him instead of the grumpy one trying to beat him over the head with the bride's bouquet. As he imagined her through his somewhat drunken haze though all he could see was 6 inch black stilleto heels, a tiny thong, and sheer black thigh high stockings with lace at the top.
Gary's chair fell back hard against the floor, causing the mug of beer to spill all over Gary's chest. The THUD of his mug against the floor made it clear to everyone that he had inadvertantly passed out in the process.
Detective Toni Brigatti stormed into McGinty's. Chuck giggled. "I hate when he does that," Brigatti sneered. She walked over to the bar, grabbed a glass, then filled it with ice and water. As she stormed back to Gary who was passed out on the floor, Marissa, Chuck and Jade pushed their chairs far away from the table. It wasn't the first time Brigatti had stormed into the bar since the show had been cancelled. They knew what was coming.
"HOBSON!!!" Brigatti growled. She dumped the entire glass of ice and water over his face. Gary woke up with a start and began choking. "9:00 AM is ENTIRELY too early to be consuming alcoholic beverages!"
Gary wiped the ice from his body as Chuck smirked. Gary sneered at him, then noticed that Brigatti was tapping her foot impatiently. Gary tried to look like a wounded child, Brigatti wasn't buying it.
"It ain't gonna happen Hobson, no way, no how," Brigatti said sternly, then turned and stormed out of the bar with the same determination she had entered.
"You think they can really fix her?" Gary questioned as he tried to pull himself up with the chair.
"Hey, writers can do anything Gar. The pen IS mightier than the sword," Chuck replied.
"You should have told her about the paper Gary," Marissa chimed in. "If you had been honest with her about it in the beginning..."
"If I had been honest with her about it in the beginning she would have had me shipped off to the funny farm!" Gary interupted.
"If you had been honest with her about it in the beginning," Marissa tried to continue "maybe she would have had a little more sympathy for you when the police tried to convict you of killing that newspaper reporter. Now she just hates you for getting her locked up in the basement when Chuck was getting married."
"Ya know, its been over a month since that happened, you'd think she'd be over it by now," Gary griped. He took his empty mug back over to the bar and contemplated filling it up again.
"Awww, screw it," Gary complained and he pushed the mug aside. Gary turned around to the bar and grabbed a bottle of scotch. He grabbed a clean glass and tried to pour scotch out of the bottle, but it was empty. Gary shook the bottle a couple of times, then pulled out the dispenser top and heaved it towards the trash can. The bottle missed and bounced on the floor. Chuck tried to cover the smile coming over his face, Marissa just shook her head in disbelief.
"No more scotch," Gary grunted. He looked at the other bottles sitting on the counter behind the bar. As he shook each one of them, they revealed their empty status.
"Are there NO highly alcoholic beverages in this place?" Gary questioned.
"You know they stopped delivering it when the show ended Gary," Marissa reminded him...for the 100th time.
Somewhere in the suburbs of Ohio, a young woman took a fat red marker and circled an article from the front page of her local newspaper. Then she neatly wrote in block letters "GARY HOBSON COULD HAVE PREVENTED THIS TRAGEDY." She looked at her handy work and smiled. She took one more glance at her letter. "Dear Mr. Moonves...." Approving of both, she folded them neatly into her Priority Mail envelope and sealed it.
Gary pulled his mug out of the sink. He began pouring the foamy brew into the mug when he heard a strange sound.
Gary jumped a mile. Chuck and Jade looked at one another. "Gary?" Marissa called.
"Did you hear that?" Gary said, his eyes round as saucers. Gary set his half-filled mug down on the counter and started looking in all the crevices of the bar. "Was that what I think it was?" Gary questioned.
"I don't know Gary, I thought I heard the cat but I could have been mistaken," Marissa replied. Gary checked wildly around the bar, looking for the orange tabby.
Somewhere in North Carolina a young woman typed eagerly away at her computer. "Dear Mr. Moonves...." The front page of her local paper lay on her desk, an article circled in flourescent pink. As the printer coughed out her letter, she smiled and signed her name to it. She folded both the newspaper and the letter down to fit in the Priority Mail envelope and sealed it shut. Having purchased the correct stamp at the post office when she picked up the envelope, she left the envelope in her mailbox for the mailman to pick up.
"MEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOW." The noise definately wasn't a hallucination.
Gary turned around wildly. "Where is it? Where's that cat?"
Marissa shrugged her shoulders and looked at Gary blankly. "I'd be the wrong person to ask," she replied.
Gary looked at Chuck. "Come on! Help me find that stupid cat!" Chuck watched Gary tear up the stairs to his apartment.
"Oh, this should be fun," Chuck offered. He got out of his chair, kissed Jade, then walked towards the stairs.
Gary was running around in circles. "Here cat, here cat," he called out, making a wreck of his apartment as he threw things about. Chuck walked through the door.
"Where's the cat...do you see the cat anywhere?" Gary asked desparately.
"The cat's not here," Chuck said as he looked around.
Gary crawled under a table. "He has to be here," Gary insisted "he's my ticket to Brigatti!!!"
"There's nothing more pathetic than a desparate man," Chuck pondered aloud.
Somewhere in Texas a young man handed a piece of paper to his sister to look at. "Whatta ya think?" he asked.
"I don't think he's gonna buy the C4 thing," she said exasperated.
"Fine, I'll take it out," the younger man complained. He took a large black marker and crossed it out. "There," he said looking rather satisfied. He folded his letter into a front page from his local newspaper and stuffed it into a Priority Mail envelope with Les Moonves' name on it. "Let's go to the post office now," he told his sister.
Gary lifted his head out of the closet and looked around quickly. "Where is it!" he demanded.
"I dunno Gar," Chuck answered. "I can't tell where it's coming from!"
Gary raced around the room like a wild man, throwing cushions here and there, pulling clothes off hangers, knocking canned food off the shelf.
"WHERE ARE YOU CAT!!!" he shouted.
Downstairs Marissa felt something soft and furry rub against her arm. She reached down by her side and felt Riley. A puzzled look came over her face.
"Jade?" Marissa questioned.
"Yes?" Jade answered as she sipped on a cup of coffee.
Marissa heard a distinctive purring. Something smelled very familiar.
"This wouldn't happen to be a big orange tabby cat, would it?" she asked Jade.
Jade looked at the cat. "As a matter of fact...." she said as she smiled evilly. The cat sat on the table in front of Marissa and began to clean its paw.
"Wet cat fur," Marissa said as she wiggled her nose.
Jade laughed. "You think we should tell them the cat is here yet?"
"No," Marissa answered. "Let's see how far they're willing to trash Gary's apartment to find it." She giggled.
"There wouldn't happen to be a paper anywhere on the table or around the bar, would there?" Marissa asked.
"Nope, no paper," Jade replied as she scanned the room.
In Germany, a woman carefully proofed the address on her express envelope. She checked it against her print out from the early-edition.com web site. "I hope he can understand my English," she muttered under her breath.
The cat stopped in the middle of cleaning its paw and cocked its head. Jade gave it a concerned look. The cat turned its head slightly and appeared to be off in the ozone somewhere.
Jade nearly jumped out of her chair. "Think that was loud enough?" she scolded the cat. Marissa just smiled and tried to find the cat's head to scratch it behind the ears.
All at once, Gary Hobson came tumbling down the stairs, half trying to descend in great leaps, half simply falling from his partially drunken state. Chuck came down behind him, shaking his head in pity.
The cat went back to licking its paw.
"Gary?" Marissa called out nervously as she tried to make her way over to the stairs.
"He's alright Marissa," Chuck answered as he swaggared down the last two stairs.
Marissa ran her hands over Gary's face. "Everything seems to still be there," she said sarcasticly.
"Where's the cat, where's the cat," Gary said rather unsure of his whereabouts after falling down the stairs.
The cat purred as it began to clean its face.
Gary scrambled over to the table where Jade sat, playing with the cat's tail. He pulled himself up to the table and looked the cat square in the eyes.
"Alright furball, where's the paper!" Gary demanded.
Somewhere in San Francisco someone's grandmother was slowly signing her name on her favorite stationary. "I'm sure he'll see that he simply MUST return the show to the air waves," she said. She put on a pair of clear plastic gloves to keep the news ink from her skin and began folding her headlines, singing a happy tune with each crease. "I'll be so happy to see that nice young man again," she smiled.
That nice young man had both his hands planted firmly on the cat, enough stubble to be considered a beard and reeked of stale beer. "Where's that paper cat! I need that paper before I go crazy!!!!" Gary screamed.
"Gary, it's just a cat," Marissa tried to reason. "You're acting like it hatches the paper or something." Gary returned the cat to the table top from the bar. It stood up, shook its coat, then sat down again.
The little old lady went out the front door and walked to the corner where the mail box stood. "Best of luck to you," she said as she let the envelope slip into the mailbox.
Gary looked at the cat, but the cat was completely ignoring him. The cat lifted its head up in the air, moving it from side to side like it saw something too discriminate for human eye sight. When it seemed to focus in on its target it let out a loud cry.
Gary half expected to hear the paper drop. He looked around wide-eyed and frantic. "Where is it cat? Where's the, where's the paper?" The cat looked at him like he was crazy and went back to its bath. Gary grimmaced at the cat, then went over to the bar.
"Maybe if I get the old paper and stick it under him..." Gary offered. He scattered around the bar looking for the old dusty copy. The more places he looked, the more immediate his need became.
"Chuck?" he called out.
"Hmmm Gar?" Chuck replied.
"Chuck, what happened to the old paper...the one with the date on it?" Gary asked.
"I dunno, it was on the bar when we went upstairs," Chuck replied.
Gary unturned his final stone to no avail. The paper was gone. Gary eyed the cat. "You took it, didn't you?" he questioned vindictively. The cat looked at him and made a strange noise. Gary looked back at him even more strangely.
"Give it back," Gary demanded very self-righteously. The cat, now done with its bath, laid down on the table, ignoring him.
"Give it back!!!" he demanded after his first request when unheeded. The cat ignored him again, closed his eyes, and began purring.
Somewhere on the internet, three women were in a chat room trying to piece together a letter appropriate for a corporate giant.
"We definately have to mention the generation of children this is going to effect," one said.
"You're selling our future away?" another offered.
"Little more than just sell it," the other responded.
"Okay, let's start with this theory...you're 98 years old and in a nursing home. Do you want a child that was brought up on Early Edition taking care of you or a child that was brought up watching Survivor taking care of you?" the first woman said.
"Oh that's a tough one," the second said sarcasticly.
"Heh, heh. I guess that means I get thrown off the island," another snorted.
"Ok, so that's the picture we have to paint. Early Edition HAS to be on the air because we want the next generation of care providers to understand man's humanity to man, not man's INhumanity to man...let's see, how to phrase it...." the first drifted off.
As the three started playing with sentence structure, off in another universe the cat cocked its head.
"Wait, something's happening," Gary said, his eyes fixated on the cat.
15 minutes later the trio was done. "I think that's a keeper!" said the third woman. "Let's send it off and see if the Goodyear blimp costs millions of dollars to get a message on." She pasted the text into the e-mail form, crossed her fingers, and hit send.
Gary's knuckles where sheer white from the grasp he had on the table.
"Gar...." Chuck said.
Gary ignored him completely.
"Earth to Gar....hey there Sparky, I think you've lost the circulation to your fingers."
Gary screamed at the top of his lungs. He unclasped his fingers long enough to stretch them out and reach for the piece of paper now positioned underneath the cat.
"It's..., it's..., it's the paper!" he said as he began tugging, bringing the cat along with it. Gary pulled the piece of paper towards him as if it were fragile as tissue paper. Unfortunately, he didn't stop when the cat got to the edge of the table and the cat rowled loudly as it suddenly lost its footing.
"It's the...., it's the...., it's blank?!?!?" Gary questioned as his face scrunched up into a big question mark. "The cat made a blank paper?"
"Gary, you can't have a paper without the writers," Marissa offered. "No writers, no story, no story, no paper."
Gary looked at her like she was from another planet. "So what's this supposed to mean?" Gary turned the paper around and looked at it from both sides. It was blank from every angle.
"Maybe someone's trying to do something about the show," Marissa answered. "Maybe that's why the cat's here. Maybe the network has to believe there's a reason for the show to exist before they can be convinced to spend millions of dollars producing it." Marissa shrugged.
"Gary, it's not up to us, we're fictional characters," Chuck said. "We don't mean a hill of beans to the network now that they've cancelled us. Everyone's gone home, the sandbox is empty, the baseball field has been cleared, Elvis has left the building, the fat lady...."
"Ok, Ok, Chuck, I've heard enough," Gary said trying to dismiss the notion that the entire rest of his life would be spent in some bar swilling beer in his boxers. "Someone must believe in us, fictional characters or not or the cat wouldn't have come back here."
"We have to get a message to someone on the other side," Gary announced. Marissa cocked one eyebrow.
"A message to the other side Gary? We're fictional characters. The only way anyone is going to hear anything from us will be if a writer is commissioned to put pen to paper."
"Well, what about what Chuck said," Gary pleaded. "Waiting until they're really tired and whispering it in their ears? We can do that."
"Who's ear are we going to whisper it into Gary, everyone's been laid off, all the sets have been torn down," Marissa spoke rather hopelessly.
Gary turned a chair from the table around and sat in it backwards. He laid the blank piece of paper on the table, then placed his hands on the top of the chair, laying his chin on top of them. Chuck began pacing nearby. Marissa crossed her arms and sat back in her chair.
Jade, who had been sitting here taking the whole scene in cocked her head. "Does it have to be a commissioned writer?" she questioned. Chuck stopped pacing and turned around.
"Well who else IS there? The writers have ALWAYS been responsible for who we are now," Chuck responded.
"What about the fans?" Jade countered. "Certainly they must be doing something, or the cat would have never showed up. Maybe if we can get word to them that we're trapped in here..."
Gary looked at the blank newspaper page in front of him. He tilted
his head one way, then the other. Then he sat back in his chair and
rubbed his neck. "So Chuck," Gary questioned. "How exactly did
you FIND the writers to whisper in their ears...."
She sat at her computer wading through e-mail. The familiar bing of her AIM program went off. "Finally," she said rather exasperated. She clicked on the new arrival and sent off a note. "Hey girl, how's life?"
"Just peachy" came the reply with it's familiar yellow happy face.
"Man, you're never going to believe the wild dream I had last night," the first woman continued. "I've gotta stop falling asleep at the keyboard...Gary was sitting at the bar in his boxers, a t-shirt, and a robe swilling beer, then Brigatti came in and hit him in the head with a frozen tub of cool whip. I swear, that renewal project's affecting my health. *G*"
"LOL!," came the reply.
"You think that's bad...then Gary turned to me and said, 'Are you going
to let her get away with that for the rest of my life????' Ya know,
we really need to do something a little more drastic to get more people sending
in their headlines. How about the three of us..."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Do something a little more drastic for the gang. Visit http://early-edition.com and follow the SupportEE link to make your voice heard today. Gary will be forever thankful. ;)
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