'Ten Minutes Late for Reality' by Lou Morris (c) 1988, 1989, 1991, 2002, 2015. Seventeen:

Seventeen:

   "Names have been changed to pervert the innocent...  I
mean protect the innocent."

                                 - Lou Morris--the author.


   By the way, this is a dream sequence, so relax and enjoy.  
You will not be tested on any of this material.


   "Ouch!" Lou exclaimed in pain, rubbing a nasty bump on
his head.  He eyed the large palm tree that he had just
walked into.  Palm tree?  What the hell is going on here?  
Why did I just slam into a palm tree?  Where am I?
   You're dreaming... shut up and have a good time about it.
   Oh-kay? Lou thought.  I'm dreaming...  "Are you sure?"
   Yes!
   Lou nodded; "Hmn..."  He looked down upon himself and
frowned at the lack of something.
   Since Lou sleeps in the nude, it should be only proper
that he also dream in the nude as well.
   "Uh, could we do something about my lack of clothes..."  
He smiled weakly, "Other people might read this and all..."  
He glanced around for a fig leaf or something.  "As my
favorite salt eater would say, 'This is a family book, not a
family making book.'"
   It's your dream...
   "Uh...  Okay."  He preceded to dream up a set of clothes;
a casual suit from Quails or something along that line.  Pink
and gray.  With a tie; a slim gray tie.  Yeah.
   Much better.
   "Skip-per!" a really thin man called as he walked into
the clearing where Lou was standing.  "Skipp--Hey!  Nice
suit!"
   Lou smiled broadly; "Well, thanks!"
   "Have you seen the skipper?" the thin man asked.  He wore
a white hat and a blood red shirt with an arrow sticking
through the front and...
   An arrow? Lou thought.  What?!
   The man in the bloody shirt collapsed to the sandy
ground, slightly dead.  At least Lou assumed he was dead; an
arrow through the heart is not a minor wound.
   Where did the arrow come from?  Did someone shoot him?  
Or did he just suddenly realize that he had an arrow through
his chest and finally remembered to die, nice and proper
like?  Lou pondered those thoughts for awhile...
   "Little buddy?  Where are you, little buddy?"  A large,
fat, skipper-like person wandered in, wearing a skipper-type
hat and a blue shirt--no arrow this time.
   "Uh?" Lou asked intelligently.
   "Hey, nice outfit!" the skipper said.
   "Thanks, but--"
   "Have you seen aa..."  He collapsed onto the skinny man's
body--dead.  An arrow protruded from his fat back.
   "What is going on here?!" Lou yelled.
   "Just what I'd like to know," said a soft feminine voice.
   Lou turned and saw a body... a body that could only
belong to a movie star.  "Err, hi," he said awkwardly.
   "Hey, nice clothes!" she replied enthusiastically.
   Lou gawked, caught himself gawking but couldn't stop
himself from gawking, so he kept on gawking as if he didn't
even know about it.  Talk to her, he thought.  So he did;
"Thanks..."
   She seductively edged up to Lou.  "It's been so long
since I've seen a real man..."
   "Uh, dim the lights, Lou," Lou whispered upward.
   "I..."  She went limp in his arms.
   "What the hell is going on here?!" Lou screamed.  "Isn't
this my dream, or what?!"  He let the movie star drop to the
ground, next to the skipper.  "Are you going to keep doing
this until the cast of the reunion special of Gilligan's
Island is nil?!"
   "Hi," said a little girl with blonde hair just like her
mother's, all in curls.
   Lou jumped round to stare at the little girl.  "Who are
you?  What's going on here?"
   "Are you the professor?" she asked sweetly.
   Lou glanced apprehensively at the pile of ex-Gilligan's
Island actors then back at the little girl.  "No, no.  Not
me."  He shook his head for extra effect.
   "Wow!" she said, "Nice suit!"
   "Err, yeah," Lou replied, getting just a bit sick of all
this.
   "Are you... Mary Ann?"  The tropical sun shone brightly
on her lovely curls and glinted off the small knife she
pulled from her ruffled pink dress.  She smiled sweetly.
   Lou smiled meekly.  He swallowed, coughed and cleared his
throat.  "Ah, no.  No."  He backed away.
   Cindy advanced slowly; "Then maybe you're--"
   "No, I'm not!" Lou yelled confidently, holding his
ground.  "And since this is my dream, neither are you!"
   Lou waved goodbye as Cindy went "Poof!"
   A second later, so did the rest of the island.
   Poof!


   Lou squinted in the overpowering light.  He couldn't see
a thing.
   Someone screamed in his ear, "Three!... Two!... One!...
And we're live!"
   A music fanfare blared--some sort of theme song, Lou
thought.
   Lou opened his watery eyes, now slightly accustomed to
the bright stage lights, and realized that he was standing on
the set of a game show.
   "And now for the game show that makes all the other game
shows look trivial, it's 'The All-New Hollywood's Price of
Wheel is Jeopardy!'  And here's your smiling, gift giving
host... Sat Pajack!
   Clap!  Clap!  Clap!  Clap!  Clap! (and so on...)
   "Hi, I'm Sat Pajack and now let's meet our token blonde
hostess; let's have a big hand for... Wanna Vhite!"
   Clap!  Drool!  Clap!  Drool!  Clap!  Drool! (yeah,
yeah...)
   With an exquisite turn then a cutie smile, she said, "Hi
everybody!"  She waved.
   "And now let's meet our lucky contestants--he's a golfer
and future president of the United States, let's have a big
hand for J.D.!"  Sat shook the hand of a quite good looking
man who emerged from the side of the set where Lou was
standing.  He led J.D. to his place by the prize wheel.
   Clap!  Clap!
   "Next, let's give a big hefty welcome to the president of
a local amusement park in Cassville, Pennsylvania--Mr. Way
Rilliams!"
   Cla--Yawn.
   Lou added a hefty "Boo!"
   "Maybe you charge too much for admission into your park,
Mr. Rilliams!  Ha, ahem," Sat laughed.
   Way frowned as he took his place next to J.D. at the
prize wheel.  He did a double take at the small horns atop
J.D.'s head then shook his own head clear.
   "Finally, let's welcome a very special guest..."
   Someone pushed Lou onto the game show floor--on the air,
in front of many, many people.  He froze.
   "He lost his job, his girlfriend, his car and his socks
all in the same week!  Let's give a warm round of sympathy
for... Lou Morris!"
   Clap!  Clap!  Clap!  Clap!  Clap!  Clap!  Clap!
   Sat shook Lou's hand and led him to his place at the
prize wheel.  "Hey, nice suit!" he added.
   "Err, yeah.  Thanks," Lou mumbled, still shocked.
   "The object of 'The All-New Hollywood's Price of Wheel is
Jeopardy!' is, of course, to spin the wheel.  That will
produce a letter of the alphabet, which will be the first
letter of the answer to the question I will ask you.  Answer
the question correctly to be eligible to guess a letter of
the hidden word up on our prize word board.  Guess correctly
to gain a chance to solve the puzzle and play against one of
our Hollywood guest stars to guess the price of the bonus
prize.  If your guess is nearest to the actual price of the
prize, without going over, you win!" Sat blurted in one
breath of air.
   "That's it?" Way blurted.  "I've filled out tax forms
easier than this game show!"  Simply put, Way Rilliams is a
whiny twerp.
   "Oh, by the way," J.D. interrupted, "I don't like to play
golf that much."  He smiled sweetly, showing off his long
fangs.
   "What?" Sat said, trying to keep his cool despite all the
annoying interruptions.
   "I said I don't play golf.  Nor do I plan to run for
president," J.D. said calmly.
   "Oh...  What do you do then?"
   "Well, Sat..."  J.D. smiled broadly--he loved this sort
of thing, "I'm a major devil--the Jersey Devil, to be exact.  
Hence the initials J and D.  And I mostly enjoy killing
people."  He smiled again, revealing many, many sharp teeth.
   "We'll be right back after a few commercial messages!"
the announcer cut in quickly.
   During the commercial break, Sat calmly tried to persuade
J.D. to keep his hobbies to himself, thank you, and to try
not to scare the audience.
   "Hi, we're back!  Since J.D. threatened to kill the
entire state of New Jersey if he didn't get to spin first, he
gets to spin first."
   J.D. spun the wheel around.  And around, and around...
Devils are noted for their strength.
   The letter R came up a minute later.
   "J.D., your question is:  Who is the spokesclown for
McDonald's?"
   J.D. smiled.  "Ronald McDonald," he said surely.
   "Right!  Now pick a letter for our prize puzzle!"
   "Sat, I'd ask for three B's then solve the puzzle, but
since this is Lou's dream and I'm only here as a pilot
character for my upcoming unrelated book, I'll ask for a Z
instead."  J.D. smiled.
   Buzz!
   "Sorry, J.D.!  No Z's.  It's your turn, Way!  Spin the
wheel!"
   "Okay."  Way spun the wheel quite pathetically.  It
almost didn't make it all the way around.
   The letter R shown.
   "An R!  Here's your question, Way:  Name the subatomic
particle that copulates with the nucleus of a cell to
stimulate reproduction?"
   Way smiled a half-ass smile, confident that he knew the
answer.  This game is too easy, he thought.  I can win this
game in a matter of minutes.  "The answer is...  Riboflavi!"
   Buzz!
   "Oh, so sorry, Way," Sat said in a not-so-sorry tone of
voice, "The correct answer is...  Riboflavin."
   "What?!  Oh come on!  I got it right!  Just because I
pronounced it wrong--"
   "Stop your whining!  Don't be such a baby!" J.D. cut in.  
"Or I'll chase you around the prize wheel instead..." he
hinted with a devilish grin.
   Clap!  Clap!  Clap!  Yeah!
   "Your turn, Lou.  Give her a spin!"
   So he did.  Slowing down, the wheel just missed landing
on a "You lost, jerk!" space and stopped on the letter A
instead.
   "Your A question is:  What is the first letter of the
alphabet?" Sat said with the utmost seriousness.  He probably
had to look at the back of the card to figure out the answer.
   You've got to be kidding, Lou thought.  How could a game
show be this easy?  Even my ex-girlfriend Mary could answer
this question right.  Well, maybe?  "Hmn... let's see, uh...
is it... is it an A?" Lou answered with more than a hint of
sarcasm.
   Sat turned over the little card.  "You're right!" he
said.
   The crowd went wild.  Yells of "Good going, Lou!" and
"Hey, nice outfit!" rang throughout the audience.
   Lou smiled and bowed.
   "Now pick a letter to guess our puzzle prize!"  Sat was
really getting into this game, Lou thought.
   "Give me... a B please," Lou said, remembering J.D.'s
earlier comment.
   "There are three B's!"
   The lovely Wanna pranced up and down the puzzle board,
turning block letters here and there.
   The puzzle now looked like this:

                       "B-bb-- ---."

   "Do you want to solve it or spin again for a chance at
more letters?" Sat inquired.
   "I'll spin again," Lou said.  And he did.
   "An I!  And here's your I question:  What's the opposite
of out?"
   This too easy, Lou wondered.  Oh, that's right.  I'm
still dreaming--I can't lose!  He answered, "How about in?"
   "That's right!  And what's your letter this time?" asked
the hyperactive Sat Pajack.
   "I'd like a U please."
   "And I'll give you two U's!" said Sat.
   Lou watched the beautiful Wanna Vhite prance about in her
skin tight dress, turning the two U's around.  He wondered if
she had to go to college to learn to do that and if so, what
sort of degree would it be?  He imagined her saying, 'Well, I
received an A+ in "Advanced Letter Placement" but I only got
a C- in "Alphabetic Style."'  Lou smiled--
   Buzz!
   "Sorry Lou; spin again," Sat said.
   "What?" Lou asked, slightly out of it.
   "You didn't solve the puzzle, so you have to spin again."
   "Oh."  Lou spun again.
   A P came up this time.
   "Your P question:  What is the lowest form of United
States coin still in use today?"
   Oh, that's easy.  "A penny," Lou answered.
   "Right!  Now pick a letter."
   Lou glanced at the prize puzzle board.  It read:

                       "Bubb-- -u-."

   "Give me an M," Lou said.
   "One M!" Sat replied spastically.
   Wanna turned an M over.  The puzzle board now read:

                       "Bubb-- -um."

   "Solve or spin, Lou?" Sat asked.
   "I'd like to solve the puzzle, Sat."  Lou smiled; he knew
it.  "Bubble gum," he answered, grinning.
   Dan-da--dada!  Clap!  Clap!  Clap!  Clap!  Clap!
   "Yes!  You've solved the puzzle round!  Now you get to
play against our star-of-the-day to win a wonderful prize!"
screamed Sat.
   Clap!  Yeah!  Clap!
   "Oh, but I'm sorry, J.D. and Way.  You didn't win a
thing... But we have some wonderful parting gifts for the
both of you!  Tell the both of them about them!"
   "Well, J.D. and Way, you'll be both receiving a years
supply of styling mousse and a copy of our board game!  
Thanks for playing!" an announcer screamed.
   "Well, Sat," J.D. replied after the announcer shut up,
"give my share of the hair mousse to Way Rilliams, here."  He
patted Way on the back, sending Way to the floor in pain.  
"I'll take Wanna instead."
   "Uh..." Sat replied.  "But..." he added.
   "Thanks," J.D. said as he charged past Sat, knocking the
prize wheel out of kilt.
   "And we'll be right back after these messages!" the
announcer cut in once again.
   "Hey, you broke my prize wheel!" Wanna yelled, holding
her ground to the fastly advancing Jersey Devil.  "How dare
you!  Who the hell do you think you are?!"  She poked an
annoyed finger at his breast bone, stopping him cold.
   "I think I am the guy with two sets of very sharp
claws..." J.D. replied calmly.
   Wanna looked down at his hands--no fingers, she thought,
just very sharp claws...  "Oh.  Well, at least we got that
straight.  I'll be going now..." she said as she backed away
quickly.
   "No you don't!" J.D. yelled, revealing his shark-like
fangs.  He ran after her--into the next set, which just
happened to be the filming of "A Nightmare on Peachtree
Street."  That ought to be good.
   Clap!  Clap!  Clap!  Clap!  Yeah!
   "Uhgn," Way stirred, lifting the letter P from his chest.  
He stood.
   "Are they gone?" Sat asked as he emerged from his hiding
place beneath a pile of letters.
   Lou nodded.  Strange dream, he thought.  They never seem
this real, though.
   "Good!  Now for the bonus round!"
   It was amazing how Sat could just pick up where he left
off.  He didn't even give Wanna a second thought.  Oh well,
Lou thought, at least she was cute while she lasted.
   Sat kicked Way out of his way; "Get outa here.  You
lost."  Way left, dragging the letter Q behind him.
   "Tell Lou about the bonus prize he'll be playing for!"
Sat continued.
   "Right, Sat!" the announcer chirped, "It's a car!"
   Clap!  Clap!  Clap!  Yeah!
   "That's right!  A 1971 Buick Riviera, complete with
pitted rally rims and a brown door.  That's a prize package
worth sort-of nearly two thousand dollars!"
   Yeah!  Clap!  Clap!  Clap!
   "You can win that beautiful car!" Sat screamed, "All you
have to do is guess closest to the actual price of this box
of plastic wrap, without going over and you'll win!"
   Clap!  Clap!
   "Sounds easy," Lou smiled uncertainly, "But who's the
guest star I'm going to play against?"
   "Todays guest star is none other than T.V.'s number one
shopper--Bob Barkster!" the announcer announced.
   Clap!  Clap!  Clap!  Clap!
   Lou freaked.  "The host of the Right is Price?!  I'm
playing a pricing game against the king of pricing games?!"
   "Oh, come on Lou, don't be a spoil sport," Sat grinned.
   "But--"  Wait a second, Lou thought.  This is a dream--my
dream.  I can't lose!  Ha!  "Okay, Sat," Lou smiled, "Tell me
about the product."
   "It's a box of Generic brand plastic wrap, Lou!  It
contains a lot of clear, crinkly stuff that bunches up a lot.  
Guess the price, Lou!" the announcer yelled.
   Lou studied the generic box of Saran-Wrap.  Nothing
special.  He picked it up.  Nothing special.  He turned it
every which way.  Nothing special.  He looked at the bottom.  
Nothing special except a small price tag that read, "$1.39."  
Lou smiled and put the box down.  "A dollar thirty-nine," he
said.
   Clap!  Clap!  Clap!  Clap!  Clap!
   "And your guess, Bob?"
   The venerable Bob Barkster walked over to the pedestal on
which the box sat, smiled and announced, "A dollar
thirty-nine and nine tenths, Sat."
   Uh-oh, Lou thought.
   "And the correct price is..."  Sat hesitated, slowly
opening the envelope.
   Hush.
   "is..."  He withdrew the small price card.
   Silence.
   "Is a dollar forty!!  Bob is our winner!"
   "Shit!" Lou thought outloud.
   Clap!  Clap!  Clap!  Clap!  Clap!
   "So sorry, Lou," Sat sympathized in a not-so-sorry way.  
"But you do receive a very nice parting gift!  Tell him about
it!"
   But, but...  "Uh, hey," Lou said.  He wanted to scream
out and tell everyone that this is his dream and how he
should win and--
   "Yes, Lou, you've just won yourself a Dodge Dart!  Owned
by a little young girl with dirty blonde hair from Pemberton;
It's old, green and rusted!  It also comes with a bonus
stupid little yellow sign in the back window!  And it's all
yours, Lou!"


   "Aaaaaaaaa!!"  The shock woke him from his terrible
nightmare.  He dripped of sweat; the bed was soaked.  "Why
me?" he asked himself.
   Because that's the way life is, Lou.
   "Great.  Just great," Lou pouted.  "Why must I be in this
book, anyway?  Nobody writes themselves in their own book!"
   Well, you can't say it's cliche or anything like that.  
Why be norm--
   "Where am I?" asked a pretty voice from somewhere in the
darkness of Lou's bedroom.
   Lou froze.  That did not sound like Lou's voice.  "Uh,
err... Who's that?"
   The owner of the pretty voice stepped into the filtered
streetlight of Lou's bedroom window.
   Imagine the feeling you get when you pull over to pick up
a hitchhiker of the opposite sex and the hitchhiker turns out
to look like a very cute friend of yours, only with bright
purple hair and antennae sticking out of his or her head.  
This is how Lou felt when he laid eyes on his new house
guest.
   Both Lou and the girl turned to the ceiling.  "Huh?" they
remarked.
   "Are you trying to confuse the readers into liking this
book?" Lou added.
   It wasn't that bad, was it?
   They both nodded.
   Okay, how about this:
   Lou was both awed and confused--for two very good
reasons:
   Reason #1:  She was extremely cute (two and a half
shoofs).
   Reason #2:  She was almost transparent.
   "Better," Lou said.