"The Jade Gate"

On the outskirts between Duquesa Bay and Chaparral Heights, lies The Jade Gate Bar. A small, stand-alone establishment with blacked out windows nestled in back of an automotive center. Lieutenant Anita Fiore drags a reluctant Captain Craig Phelps inside after work.

Craig: (Trying to hide his face) I can't believe you made me come in here, Anita

Anita: Why? - you made me suffer through "Caribou O'Callahan's" last week

Craig: (Taking a seat at the bar) You play gigs there!

Anita: (Joining him) That's different... I get PAID to endure it

Craig: (Rubbing his fingers) Where's my payment?

Anita: (Smiling at the athletic, short-haired female bartender) I got your first drink... one Heineken and one club soda, por favor!

The bartender returns the smile and presents the drinks.

Anita: I'm telling you, Craig, we need to put a 24-hour tail on McBride

Craig: I'm guessing you'd volunteer to be that tail

Anita: Look, I'm serious here - if she didn't have us by the curlies with that illegal fishing boat bit, she would have led us right to Aleta Oscura, I know it... Crunch, are you listening to me?

The captain's expression is one of shock as he watches a man enter the establishment. It is George Renselier and he quickly sits at a corner table occupied by Tim Hajanian.

Craig: I don't... I don't believe what I'm seeing

Anita: (Following his stare) OH, C'MON - like you didn't know?

Craig: HOW WOULD I KNOW, ANITA?

Anita: Everyone in town knows, even your fellow breeders

Craig: But... he's our assemblyman

Anita: And?

Craig: He's married with a kid

Anita: AND?

Craig: (Sighing) That's just pathetic, I'm sorry

Anita: But it's OK for you to screw Martel's wife?

Craig answers by silently sipping his club soda.

Craig: Who's the guy?

Anita: You don't recognize him?

Craig: He seems familiar but I can't quite make him out in this lighting

Anita: One hint - SCU

Craig: Wait a minute... is that Hajanian, Sandy and Erika's toadie?

Anita: (Clinking her glass) WE HAVE A WINNER

Craig: Oh man, poor Lydia and Penny

Anita: I'm sure they know as well

Craig: I just... I'm sorry - that's just WRONG - say what you will about me but I'm not an elected official hiding behind a wife and child

Anita: (Picking at some peanuts) No, you only represent the United States military... well, partially - you divorced your wife and see your kid two months a year

Craig: Anita, I am not getting into this with you

Anita: Think of it this way - you now have new leverage with our dear district honcho

Craig: I would NEVER do that to someone

Anita: And that's why you'll stay a captain for the next decade

Craig: At least I'll be a captain with integrity

Anita: I wonder if Doug the Elder would agree with that statement?

Craig: Yeah, he's a prime example of probity

Anita: Here's an idea... let's shut our mouths and play "YMCA" on the jukebox

Craig: Let's just change the subject... how's your sister doing?

Anita: You mean the other married woman you're hung up on?

Craig: I could ask about your folks instead

Anita: Oni is doing fine - she and Sandy might be taking a vacation soon

Craig: Together?

Anita: Yeah, I'm thinking more likely than not

Craig: The kids too?

Anita: (Draining her beer) We didn't get that far into it - I quickly changed the subject back to me

Craig is staring at a man seated on the other side of the room.

Craig: (Discretely) Him again?

Anita: Who are you talking about?

Craig: That guy in the corner with the Dumbo ears - I think he's staring at me

Anita: (Sighing) Jesus, Crunch, just because you're in a place like this doesn't mean every guy is going to hit on you... of course, the uniform isn't helping

Craig: No, I mean I've seen him before - I think he's following me

Anita: (To the bartender) Did you put anything in his club soda?

Craig: (Looking at his watch) Ooh, I gotta take off... thankfully

Anita: (Patting his back) Be sure to give Ursula my very best... literally!

Craig: I'll see you tomorrow

Anita: With a smile on your face... later, Cap!

As he leaves, Anita notices the man with the ears follow him out.

Anita: Huh - I wonder what that's about? - hey bartender, have you seen that guy in here before... the one that was in the corner with the huge ears?

Bartender: Sorry, I didn't really notice - I was too busy watching the scene at table six

Anita follows her stare to George and Tim.

Anita: (Rolling her eyes) Cue the Dave Koz CD

The distinguished older man finishes a conversation on his cell phone while his younger companion picks at the label on his empty beer bottle.

George: Yes, that is absolutely doable - be sure to get with the committee on that and let me know what happens, I'll see you tomorrow

Tim: (Sighing) Are you free now, Geo?

George: Sorry, Timothy, you know how it goes

Tim: No, not really

George: Just say the word and I can turn you on to real business in no time - you need to build a solid financial portfolio

Tim: You sound like my dad

George: I'm only thinking of your future - something that selling statues at art fairs or dissecting fish won't provide

Tim: YOU ARE NOT MY DAD

George: Please lower you voice... we do not need unnecessary attention

Tim: YOU have the problem with attention, I don't

George: Listen, I was thinking we could take a drive up to Napa this weekend?

Tim: I thought you had some kind of function with Lydia?

George: It was cancelled out

Tim: I'm so glad to be your back-up plan

George: (Holding his hand) Timmy, don't be this way

Tim: How else am I supposed to be? - I've seen you all of twice in the last month

George: Things are very busy right now

Tim: Uh-huh - I have things going on in MY life as well - have you even asked me about my latest research?

George: I'm sorry - seaweed, right?

Tim: MOLLUSKS

George: Right... I think Penny is doing a paper on something like that

Tim: I DON'T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT YOUR DAUGHTER, MAN, AND NEITHER DO YOU

George: (Angered) That is NOT true - she is the one GOOD thing in my life - we may not be "The Cleavers" but Lydia and Penelope mean everything to me!

Tim: (Sarcastic laugh) I think I just got my answer

George: There was never a question, Timothy

Tim: (Taking out a pack of cigarettes) I'm thinking of going back east, maybe even out of the country for my PhD

George: (Taken aback) I... I thought the department at SCU offered what you needed?

Tim: It does... but you don't

George: Look, I'm sorry for being so distant lately - let's meet up for a bike ride tomorrow afternoon

Tim: WHAT? - you think a quick jerk-off in the park is going to make everything better?

George: That's NOT what I'm implying

Tim: Could have fooled me - it's been over a year, George, I'm getting tired of being your toy boy

George: You knew going in what the situation was

Tim: (Getting up) Yeah, and I had mistakenly thought that you had grown to love me

George: I DO

Tim: (Taking off) WHATEVER - TAKE YOUR DAUGHTER BIKE RIDING TOMORROW

And with that, Tim Hajanian runs out and slams the door of the bar. Anita chuckles to herself as a dazed George Renselier slumps back in his chair. She does not notice as Marcy Nolan takes a seat next to her at the bar.

Marcy: (Low voice) A real soap opera

Anita: (Glancing back) Yeah... HEY

Anita nearly chokes on her beer.

Marcy: Nice to see you again, lieutenant

Anita: (Looking around) I think you and your fiance might be slightly more comfortable at T.G.I. Friday's

Marcy: Ned is back in Melbourne

Anita: Is that so?

Marcy: He'll return in a few weeks after his rock-climbing trip

Anita: So, are you trolling for someone to climb you in his absence?

Marcy: (Half laugh) Actually, I have a two-hour break from shooting - I wanted a whiskey sour, nothing more

Anita: (Eyeing her up and down) Right... Jamie

Marcy: (Miffed) I'd sincerely appreciate it if you could separate fact from fantasy and call me by my real name... Marcy

Anita: (Softening slightly) Marcy it is... although you gotta know that people's gut reaction is to call you "Jamie"

Marcy: (Scowling at her drink) I haven't played that character in years

Anita: But she was... is adored by everyone - you were a large part of my childhood, every Thursday night from 8:30 to 9:00

Marcy: So I've been told

Anita: Wow, and I thought I dripped with resentment when I spoke

Marcy: Let's just say my memories of "Life's Little Lessons" are not as fond as yours

Anita: (Calling for another beer) Yep, I can see where big money and fame just ruins a good time!

Marcy: Your life is never your own

Anita: Hmm, it must be difficult for someone whose sole employment is based on playing other people

Marcy: You fans think it's so easy!

Anita: Yeah? - is it harder than sitting on your ass doing spreadsheets all day for a company that screws you every chance it gets? - is it harder than waiting on rude people who will stiff you with no tip because you didn't bring the butter fast enough? - I don't need to hear you whine, lady!

Marcy: OK, try this - as a child, your parents basically whore you out to this TV show because you're cute and you can make more in six months than what your father brings home in six years - meanwhile, you're forced to grow up too quickly, there are no such things as real school or friends, everything revolves around learning your lines and hitting your marks

Anita: GIMME A BREAK - believe me, school was no picnic - the kids in elementary made fun of me and my sister because we were so poor at one point, we had to wait at the end of the cafeteria line to get the free lunches - in junior high, I had teachers of both sexes hitting on me - in high school, I was constantly being beat up and was banned from my prom because I wanted to bring a girl... oh, and there are these little things called "tests" that can annihilate your self esteem for years - so, Miss Actress, you didn't miss much, not much at all!

Marcy: I'm sorry your scholastic experience was on the down side, I have heard other stories that were the complete opposite of yours... besides, you didn't let me finish

Anita: By all means, please go on - tell me how doing a photo shoot for Vogue can be such a total bummer

Marcy: Tell me, did you enjoy the interaction between "Jamie" and her sister "Jenny?"

Anita: AY - I LIVED FOR IT

Marcy: Yep, you and the LLL writers - unhappy with their own lives, these twisted fucks deliberately created subtext between my character and my "sister" and then blamed the resulting sexual tension on something conveniently called "duality" - the sicko producers saw it and ran with it, they dressed my character in every pattern of plaid available and all but outed me on national TV before I even realized what the hell I was

Anita: (Banging her fist down on the bar) I KNEW you were one of us!

Marcy: No, lieutenant, I am NOT "one of you" - stop trying to pigeon hole me to raise your own self worth

Anita: My self worth is just FINE, chica - I'm not the one hiding behind the space frog mask

Marcy: At least "Sigma 7" allows me to stretch beyond the stereotype of Jamie

Anita: (Mimicking Marcy's voice) Yes, exalted one - we will overtake Krakus Prime with the help of the moon wraiths

Marcy: (Now mimicking Anita) Sir, may I see your boating license?

Anita can't help but laugh as Marcy stirs her drink.

Anita: OK, you got me there - so tell me, what happened during the time between the end of "Lessons" and the start of "Sig7?"

Marcy: During the first few years, I played every girlfriend/wife/mother/hooker/rape victim role I could get my hands on just to bust the Jamie image

Anita: Oh yeah, I remember one movie where your husband kept you locked in a trunk and drilled holes in your feet?

Marcy: Yes, a real reel highlight

Anita: Then what did you do?

Marcy: Drugs... lots of them - the white dragon express took me to Europe for awhile - I was able to indulge in every form of decadence over there in relative obscurity

Anita just drinks her beer and shakes her head.

Marcy: When the money ran out and my mother had a massive heart attack, I returned stateside to be close to my family - took small roles in local theater, playing off what little name I had left - at the same time, a crappy but effects-laden show called "Ancient Space" starting turning in big syndication numbers - the powers that be decided to hire someone with actual talent as a head writer and they spun off "Sigma 7" - they asked me to join the cast and here I am

Anita: Playing Bogree, the frog lady

Marcy: Hey, this character has more depth and complexity than all of my others combined - I LOVE playing her - besides, it's bringing in the money again

Anita: Not to mention a handsome Aussie bartender boyfriend

Marcy: Fiance

Anita: (Winking) Gotcha

Marcy: (Checking her watch) Well, I guess I should be heading back to the set - maybe I'll see you around again?

Anita: (Not looking at her) Maybe

Marcy: Goodnight, Anita

Anita: Goodnight... Marcy

.

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Surfaced on July 1, 2000
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