This one was just FUN to write!
Real-time, after filming ends, before Premiere
"What do you mean, you can't open the door?!"
"He's got it locked, I don't have my key, and the hinges are on the other side. I mean I can't open the door. We're just going to have to wait until he decides to come out."
"We can't do that. In his state of mind, he might wind up destroying tape that we need to keep, for the episode to make any sense. And we have neither the time nor the money to re-shoot!"
"What do you suggest, then? You want to blow up the door?"
"Hey, I was just kidding! We can't do that!"
"Again I say, 'Why not?' We can use small charges of plastique, placed over the lock, calculated to just blow out the bolt, without radiating much force into the room..." Maureen continued, as she dragged the protesting film editor down the hall.
Inside the editing room...
Mr. P cackled with glee as he found another section of tape with the face of one of his tormentors on it. He carefully checked the film, frame by frame, to be sure he got it all, then cut those frames out of the reel. He dropped the film he'd excised on the floor, and went on to the next part of the reel. I've got to get it all! he thought, Or the dreams will never go away! He shook his head, trying to get his thoughts to come more clearly. The fact that he'd barely slept for the last month was decidedly affecting him. The dreams... the dreams kept waking him, and then he'd be afraid to go back to sleep again, afraid of what would happen to him in the dreams.
Maybe I'll just cut out all the fans. No, I can't do that, he thought as his producer's instincts kicked in for a brief moment. Some of them were actually quite good on film. Oh yeah, we also need some of them to advance the plot... His thoughts wandered away again, and he went back to searching out the hated faces.
Some time later, the floor of the editing room was piled with bits and pieces of film, as he sat in the midst of one large pile, desperately trying to set fire to one piece of film with a cigarette lighter. Damned safety stock! Doesn't film burn at all any more!? as the piece of film melted onto his fingers. He barely felt the pain from the melted plastic, as he grabbed up another piece of film and tried again to set it alight. He looked up briefly as he heard something at the door, then down again at the film, his post-traumatic-stress-demented mind not caring about anything but the need to edit...
He looked up groggily as he heard someone calling to him through the door. "Mr. P? Can you hear me, Boss? Come on, Boss, just answer me, please? Pretty please?"
"Go away! I'm not opening the door, so just go away!"
"OK, I'm not going to ask you to open the door. Just do me a favor, go stand over by the corner where the fire extinguisher is, OK? Please?"
"Why should I?" he asked petulantly. "I don't want to!" he added, as he went back to the piece of film in his hand.
"Come on," Maureen wheedled, "Just do it as a favor to me. You trust me, don't you? Don't I keep you safe? Didn't I get you that chocolate pudding that you like so much, but couldn't find in Canada? Right?"
"Chocolate pudding..." he said, realizing for the first time how hungry he was. "You've got chocolate pudding for me?"
"I promise you some chocolate pudding, if you'll just go stand over by that corner."
"Oh, okay, if you promise," he said, as he got up from the floor and staggered over to the corner furthest from the door, then collapsing on the floor again as a wave of dizziness passed over him.
"Boss? Are you there?"
He could barely hear her through the door, and he tried to raise his voice enough so that she could hear him. "I'm here, already! What do you want?"
There was a pause, and he started to get up, then decided that it was too much trouble, and decided to lie down, on the nice soft, comfortable floor, and take a little nap.
There was a soft "boom!" from the door, and it swung open.
Maureen was the first one through the door, looking frantically around for Mr. P. She ran over to him when she saw him on the floor in the corner, and started to check him over to be sure he wasn't hurt, when the film editor came in and screamed.
She jumped up, startled. "What the...?"
"Look at this! Oh my god, look at it! It's ruined!"
Maureen looked down at all the pieces of film on the floor, then bent down and picked up one of them. "Well, can't they be spliced back together?"
The film editor picked up a piece and shoved it toward Maureen, and she winced, seeing that it was half melted. "We can't splice this! And besides which," he moaned, looking at the chaos of pieces, "Re-ordering all this... if it can be done at all, is going to take forever. We're not going to have time!" And he moaned again, holding his head in his hands.
Maureen looked again at all the pieces, and said, "Um, I hate to ask this, since I guess I know the answer, but... isn't there a back-up copy of the film?" The only response from the editor was another moan. "I'll take that to mean 'no'." She sighed, and said, "Well, since we don't have much time, I guess we better get to work," and, stooping down, started to gather up pieces of film.
She stopped for a moment, looking down at the weary producer, and smiled. He looked so peaceful, for the first time in weeks, as he lay curled up in sleep on the floor, with a sweet smile on his face. "Sleep well, Boss. You've earned it!"
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