20

 

Really? ...Sure I can fit it in my schedule... Sure... Well, send her right over... no wait, I'll send a car. That just kind of spells class, don't you think... Anyway, thanks a lot, James. I'm going to owe you for this.
ding dong
Hi there, I'm Reese Witherspoon, the actress.
I know who you are, Ms Witherspoon. Won't you please come in.
Actually, I was looking for Peewee Herman...
You jest. I'm Paul Reubens. I've been a little out of the spotlight for a while. Of course I did play Peewee, but that was quite a few years ago.
?
I'm saying that Peewee was just a character I played.
Am I character too?
Apparently... Anyway, let's talk. My agent said that you were interested in working with me.
Oh dear. You think I want to make a movie with you, don't you? Not that I would mind, Peewee, but...
Paul, Reese. The name is Paul.
...this is so much bigger than any movie, even bigger than 'Walk the Line'. This could effect the fate of the entire world. Do you know the president of the United States?
Not personally, but I've heard of him. Go ahead.
Well, I was invited over to his house after I won the Academy Award, and anyway, don't ask me how, but this Genie shows up...
I don't like the sound of this... Did the Genie happened to be named Jambi?
Yes it was, Peewee. Your old friend.
He's no friend of mine, Reese. And the name is Paul.
Well, to make a long story short, he ended up switching minds with the president, and now he's running the country. He's getting more powerful and arrogant day by day, and the only way we can fight him is by teaching the president to use his magic so that he'll be able to do the Jambi mind meld and switch back again. We know that you spent a lot of time with Jambi, and thought maybe you could train the president.
I hate that Genie, Reese, and I spent a lot more time around him than you can ever imagine. Just like your president, I also was a victim of the Jambi mind meld and I spent nearly three years in that accursed Jambi box.
Oh my gosh. Please tell me the story.
It's not much of a story, Reese, but here goes. After knocking around the comedy clubs during the seventies, things started to click for me. By 1980, I was starting to work with some big names - Steve Martin, Cheech & Chong, Robin Williams. Then a couple of years later, Phil Hartman and I came up with an eccentric man-child character that we called Peewee Herman...
YAY!!!
Things were - pardon the word - magic from that point on. A hit play, a big part in 'Meatballs 2', and my first screenplay picked up by Warner Brothers and directed by a young Tim Burton. Then came the TV series.
I feel apprehensive, like something bad is going to happen any minute now.
Your trepidation is warranted. It was the summer of '88. I was on the Playhouse set late one night, trying out some new props. I was alone. Alone except for one man.
That is if you can really call that evil floating head a man. I never cared for Jambi, never thought he added much to the show. Sure, he'd grant me wishes, but they were all penny-ante stuff - a dish of ice-cream soup or a new horn for my bicycle. But that night he told me that he had something special for me.
I looked into his eyes and felt myself being sucked up into some unknown vortex.
You know where I ended up. But I vowed I would never resign myself to such a fate. I practiced my magic constantly, feeling increasingly in control of my Genie powers. I knew my day would come.
Meanwhile, Jambi was enjoying the fruits of my labor. For a while it was all wine, women, and cocaine. But I knew that he would screw up, Reese. It was inevitable. Genies always do.
The day came when Jambi hit rock bottom. Being me was no longer fun for him. And thanks to my long months of practice, when he was ready to return to the box, I had the power to perform the mind meld.
Sure, my life was in shambles, but I had the most important thing in the world - my body.
Oh my, what a story. So will you help us Paul? Will you come to Washington and train our president in the way of the Genie?
You bet I will, Reese. I hate that Genie as much as I love my country. And you can call me Peewee, because if it helps ensure victory, I'm dusting off the old bow tie.
YAY!!! But we really need to hurry.
Why is that, Reese?
Because if Jambi is ready to switch after he hits rock bottom, we may be just about out of time.

to be continued

 

2006, Mark Hoback