Getting Arrested on Jeopardy

You are a contestant on Jeopardy and are in the lead. Final Jeopardy comes up and it’s a question you know. As you are on the verge of revealing your correct answer and claiming your winnings, FBI agents rush the stage and grab you and Alex Trebeck and march you both off into a back room and accuse you both of cheating. What happens next?

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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93 thoughts on “Getting Arrested on Jeopardy

  1. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

    I kneeled next to her, and gave her a quick playful nibble on her neck. She moaned and giggled the way I always liked. She handed me a rolled up, black cloth, and the metal contents within it clinked together. She smiled, and without even looking, I knew she had found us the perfect set with which we could work.

    I looked at the gagged and frightened woman in the cage next to us, smiled, and I told the woman, “Thank you.”

    1. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

      Monika grabbed my belt buckle, and pulled me to the box. As we stood there, my pants throbbed as I waited impatiently for her to open the zipper. She kissed my neck, moved down to my chest, and trailed even further until she kissed my pelvis. I looked down, and watched her gently grasp the edge of the satin sheet with her fingers. She playfully bit my crotch through my jeans as she tore the sheet away, and I stared down with unequivocal love for our gift.

      I said, “You didn’t.”

      “I did.”

      “But how?”

      “It took months of planning. I wanted today to be perfect.”

      “Oh, baby,” I said, my fire had reignited for her. I wasn’t sure how long that fire would last, but I knew this was what we needed to rekindle our dying relationship, a jumpstart for a new beginning. “Can I?”

      “Of course.”

      1. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

        Pulling off my jacket, I finally felt how cool it was, and although I was shivering, it wasn’t because of the temperature. I was tremendously turn on, but also there was also a measure of excitement I hadn’t felt in a long time. I kicked my boots off and my shirt quickly followed.

        She came to me, pressed her chest into me, and barely touched her lips to mine. I felt her tongue dancing in her mouth as she spoke to me, “Are you ready?”

        “Yes,” I said, and ran my nails over the soft skin of her perfectly arched back.

        1. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

          I knew it was a bad idea. It always is. I mean, men can sometimes seduce women, but women can seduce men so much easier, and so you can’t often trust them. Your best bet is to say no and walk away.

          I don’t really know why men get stupid when women come at them like this, but it’s always been the case. I guess maybe it exists to balance the s*xes out because I have never met a woman who didn’t use her s*xuality to gain some advantage in life, feminism be darned.

          1. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

            She smiled that smile that had won me the night I met her. I wouldn’t say it was love at first sight, because there’s no such thing. It was, however, lust at first sight, that carnal need to be with someone that gets your blood pumping and your heart pounding. Right then, I felt the cool room get seriously hot, and I heard my heart thumping in my ears.

            She yanked the black tie from her wrist and pulled her golden hair into a bun. She watched me for a moment with those emerald, tear drop eyes, and smiled. She ran her hands up her thighs, snagged the edge of her shirt, and pulled her top off. She hadn’t been wearing a bra, so she stood there bare-chested. Despite how warm I felt, it was obviously cold in here. Either that or she was as heated as I was. Or both.

            She said, “Join me?”

          2. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

            Double sh*t. I had no idea she had bought me something so big, and here I was, giftless and guilty. If she had wanted me to feel that way, she succeeded. I only hoped she could return it and be able to get her money back.

            I said, “Sorry, babe. I can’t accept that.”

            “Sure you can.”

            “I don’t have anything for you.”

            “It’s for us.”

            “Us?”

          3. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

            I never liked going down these old wooden stairs. They would bend when you stepped on them, and often they’d let out this moan with a few unnerving hard snaps. I always expected one of them to give out and I’d fall through the floor. The idea of falling didn’t bother me, though. I just didn’t want to become a pincushion for tetanus shots. Boy, did I hate needles, and that was almost enough to get me to turn back and go home. Almost.

            At the bottom, she switched on the light and revealed to me a giant box covered by a red, satin sheet. Little aluminum hearts dangled from thin string above it, and there was a little folded sign that read: FOR MY LOVE, HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

          4. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

            “Come,” she said, and walked toward the living room. I followed her a few steps, stopping briefly to admire some of the paintings on the walls. I knew I’d never see them again, and wanted to see if I could pull anything else from them before I left. Unfortunately, I learned nothing new. Probably I would have if I had more time to gaze at them, to study the things she had painted on that taut skin. I didn’t, though, and so I continued after her unsatisfied.

            Monika stopped at the basement door, put her hand on the silver handle, and smiled. When she opened the door and turned to lead the way, I wasn’t the least bit curious what she had to show me. Actually, I was entirely preoccupied watching her walk in those tight yoga pants. She may not have been able to offer that special something that I needed, but she sure as heck could turn me on like nothing else.

          5. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

            Okay, so maybe I was a man, and maybe I didn’t always think too clearly. Standing there on her porch with the sun warming my back and the wind nipping at my nose, I figured she wanted to show me only one thing: s*xy lingerie followed by an hour of hard, rough pillow tossing. Just the way she liked it. Just the way I liked it. What kind of man would I be if I turned down some sheet time? Obviously, I couldn’t know for sure she wanted to sweat a little, but I knew I’d regret it if I missed the opportunity to have her one last time.

            I stepped beyond her into that old familiar foyer. As she closed the door, I breathed deep the apple and cinnamon scented oils she warmed over a nearby candle. Her blue canary twittered a subtle song from the niche near the kitchen, and I so wanted to say hello to him as I always did, but I didn’t feel welcome in that house anymore. I felt like a stranger in a home that I had only just visited for the first time.

          6. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

            I paused, considering the ramifications of turning back around. If I returned to her, then I might be offering her a glimmer of hope that this could still work, but I believed there was nothing she could do that could make this better. However, was it my place to take that away from her? I didn’t want to deny her the opportunity to say what she probably needed to say. After all, I wasn’t a monster.

            A cold gust caused me to shiver as I returned to her door. Her gaze seemed as icy as the wind, if not more frigid. I thought that perhaps she might lunge at me just then, slash my throat, and leave me for dead. Knowing her, it wasn’t exactly an irrational thought, but unlikely at best.

            “What’s up?” I said, hoping to break the tension. It didn’t work.

            “Don’t you at least want to see the Valentine’s gift I got you?”

            Red alert. Stop. Turn and run. For the love of God, just get the heck out of here, I thought, but then said, “Sure.”

          7. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

            “It’s not me. It’s you,” I said, and watched the afternoon sun glistened in her glossy eyes. “I could say that it’s my fault that my feelings aren’t there anymore because I’ve lost interest, but that’s not the case at all. I still adore you, but I’ve lost that connection because you haven’t been able to give me that thing I need to keep this relationship alive. We had it once, but now it’s gone, and I’m afraid we won’t ever be able to get that back. Sorry, babe.”

            Monika sniffled, ran the back of her hand under her pink nose, and shifted her weight to her other foot. After folding her thin arms over her ample chest, she said, “Why would you do this on Valentine’s Day?”

            “I, uh…”

            Shoot. I had no idea it was Valentine’s Day. I totally forgot. I spent so long in my own turmoil that I had even called out of a work a couple of days because I couldn’t focus.

            I dug my hands into my pockets and pawed at the floor with my foot. I couldn’t look her in the eyes any longer. I was sure she didn’t want to look at me, either, so it worked out for both of us.

            “Sorry,” was all I could say, and I turned to head back to my car.

            “Wait,” she said.

  2. Mark

    “What is wrong with you people?” Gabriel cried, as they heavy-handedly sat him down in one of the chairs. But Gabriel wasn’t having it. “I demand an answer!” He roared, jumping up; only to slump back down mere seconds later.

    “Demand? That’s funny,” the lone female agent of the group sneered.

    “Cheating little pussies don’t get to make no fucking demands,” the biggest of the brutes growled. “And please, do keep resisting, as I love myself a punching bag”

    Yeah, I’ll pass on that! Gabriel thought to himself, still reeling from the last punch to his gut. “What’s up with all the violence anyway? Even if I did do what I think you guys think I did, I didn’t do it. So, yes, I do believe I get to demand some answers.”

    Alex Trebeck had been silent up until now, biding his time, hoping this was all nothing more than a misunderstanding. But hope was slowly turning into fear. These people didn’t act like FBI agents, not one bit. “How about,” Alex began, doing his best to keep his voice calm and level, “y-you ask us your questions then?”

    “We’ll get to you soon enough, old man.” Was the brute’s brusque reply…

    “Who’s in charge here anyway?” Gabriel interjected, as he crossed his arms over his chest. “Because he or she is going to get an earful.”

    “Am I now?” Came the woman’s reply, as she got in Gabriel’s face. “Well, lets have it then.”

    “Uhm, we didn’t c-cheat. You see, this has to be some sort of mistake,” Gabriel stammered. “Just because I’m some no-life loser with an above average IQ and a penchant for random facts, it doesn’t mean I’m a cheater.”

    “So, it wasn’t you who hacked a baker’s dozen worth of servers the past couple of months then?” The woman asked, now standing behind her trembling mark. “We know you did, no point in denying it. And you know what? ” Her voice now nothing more than a barely audible whisper. “You’re going to do it again. For us, that is.”

    “Pfft, dream…” Was all Gabriel managed, as the woman had put him in a chokehold. “What are you…” He started, but not finished, as his focus was drawn to the gun rubbing against his temple. “Lady, are you crazy?” Gabriel shrieked, in a last act of defiance.

    “Liz, what are we doing?” One of the other agents asked, looking at the equally bewildered brute for backup. “I’m pretty sure this level of violence isn’t warranted.”

    “Liz, why don’t you…” The brute started to plead but never got to finish, as his brains got splattered all over the place. Liz was nothing if not a good shot.

    As if on cue, the others all went for their guns. Just not all for the same reason. And unfortunately, for the good guys that was, they had their backs to the one other person in the room they couldn’t trust.

    “Nice shot, honey.” As she gave the dead agents on the floor nothing more than a quick glance. “Shoot the old fart for me, would you? I don’t do old people.” Liz said as she thumbed Alex. “Get over here, Gabriel. You’re going to hack as if your life depends on it. Oh, wait, it does.” She added in an ominous tone…

  3. cosi van tutte

    I was going to bypass this prompt, but then I got the following first line stuck in my head and I just had to see where it would go. Turns out it went slightly off prompt and into very weird directions.

    You have been warned. 😉

    *****

    Just so you know, Alex Trebeck is made out of wood, not plaster of Paris. I think it’s a fancy wood, like something you’d find environmentalists hugging in the rain forest.

    It’s something I’ve suspected for sometime now. Especially after he got rid of the mustache. That’s what clinched it for me. (I have a theory about that mustache being some sort of wood fungus and/or moss, but I’m not going to get into that now.)

    Then, I went on Jeopardy.

    Pure luck, really. Buddy Shummer was supposed to go. He’s the one with all the brains. I know. I’ve seen them sitting in his tool shed, loosely bopping around in jars of preserving juice (or whatever that stuff’s called).

    But I was the one who got the call.

    Pure luck.

    Purely dumb luck.

    Buddy didn’t take the news too well. He went out on the town, shaved his head, pierced his ears, and bought a wild boar he named Alex Trebeck.

    So, yeah.

    I went on Jeopardy.

    And I saw him.

    Alex Trebeck.

    In the…bark? Wood? Can’t say flesh…What would be a good substitute?

    Oh, well.

    So, Alex Trebeck came on over to me and creaked a smile at me. Creepiest thing I’ve ever seen. He must wear a lot of make up on tv, because trust me. Face to face, you can see the whorls and wood worm trails.

    Sorry if that’s gonna give you nightmares. I just figured I’d share the horror and the misery and the three o’clock in the morning Alex Trebeck fueled insomnia.

    “Hello. I am Alex Trebeck.” He clonked his teeth, which served to creep me out even more. “You are my new contestant.” He flung his head back and chortled like a deranged Bond villain. (I wonder if there should be a trademark sign after ‘deranged Bond villain’. Seems like there should be. Oh well. I don’t know how to do trademark thingadoos and oh my this is an insanely long parenthetical thought. I’d better stop now before it derails the whole story.) There we go.

    So, yeah. He cackled and he chortled and he made my skin just…eeehw. Yes. My skin literally went…eeehw. I could demonstrate, but this is a non-visual medium. Sorry.

    “I hope you will have lots of fun today, Mister Anderson.”

    “wha?'” At this point, I was hoping for a big ‘It was all a dream” reveal. But no. The horror show that was Alex Trebeck played on.

    “Yes. Mister Anderson, we will have so much fun on my game show. On my Jeopardy game show. Super deluxe Jeopardy game show.”

    “Could you stop talking?”

    He did, which was tremendously nice of him. He kept clonking his teeth, though. Not nice. So not nice. Twelve thousand million minions away from anything resembling nice.

    He escorted me to the…uhh audience chamber? Game room? Guuhhh. Well. That room that you see on tv. People standing at podiums and all that rot.

    “Okay. Mr. Anderson, we are going to cheat the system.” He threw his head back again and laughed and chortled and wheezed and made some other weird sounds.

    As for me. Well. I was shocked. I mean, he didn’t even whisper it. He just blurted it out into his microphone in front of the paying audience.

    And he just kept on laughing.

    Then, he stopped and he looked at me as if he expected me to…I don’t even know. Agree to cheat? Disagree? Talk about myself? I had no clue.

    “So. My name is Peter Anderson and I like—-”

    “Mister Anderson, we are going to cheat the system and we will both make lots and lots of moolah!”

    Moolah.

    Moolah.

    Huh. Interesting. I never thought Alex Trebeck was the type to use the word moolah. But what do I know? I thought all along that he was made out of Plaster of Paris.

    “Do you want to cheat the system and make a lot of moolah, Mister Anderson?”

    “Not really. I’m not really a cheater-type.”

    “Oh. I’m sorry, Mister Anderson. The correct response is YES!” He hit a big red button on his podium thing and the floor beneath my feet slid open.

    “AAIIIEEEE!” I landed in a prison cell. Or maybe it was a cage. Wait. Are prison cells really just elaborate cages?

    Alex Trebeck looked down at me. “Oh, I am so sorry, Mister Anderson.” He clonked his teeth at me. “I do hope that you will reconsider.”

    And he slid the trap door shut.

    Leaving me in the dark.

    Huh. Interesting. I’ve watched Jeopardy for, I don’t know, all my life. I’m pretty sure I watched it as a newborn. (I have fuzzy, unfocused memories about that. So, it must be real.) I just…I had no idea he had this kind of set-up. I really didn’t.

  4. igonzales81

    This was certainly turning out to be a day for new experiences. First, I got onto Jeopardy, my favorite game show of all time. Then, I swept the competition, raking in almost $25,000 dollars by the time
    Final Jeopardy came around.

    Then, I got arrested by the FBI.

    They hardly said a word as they stormed into the studio, stopped the filming, and marched both me and Alex Trebeck into a dressing room backstage.

    So, there I was, sitting in a folding chair, facing a grim-faced man who’d given his name as Agent Billings.

    “We know you did it,” Billings said, eyes invisible behind dark sunglasses. “We just don’t know how.”

    I glanced over at Trebeck, but he was staring straight ahead, that look on his face like he gets when a contestant makes a bad joke. “Uh, I don’t know what you’re talking about…?” I finished on a questioning note as Billings pulled off his suit jacket.

    “Oh, you’re good, all right,” he said, and I wasn’t sure whether he was talking to me or the most famous game show host in the world. “You managed to disappear, covered your tracks, and then hid in plain seat for decades.” He started rolling up his sleeves. “But you couldn’t keep it up forever.”

    This sense of unreality that had been developing for the last twenty minutes deepened abruptly. Was this guy about to start working Alex Trebeck over? What was this all about?

    Alex still hadn’t made a sound. He might as well have been a thousand miles away.

    “You betrayed your people, ‘Alex’,” Billings said. “And now you’re going to tell me why.” He popped the knuckles of both hands, one by one. “And then, you’re going to help make it all right.”

    I stole quick look over my shoulder, but the two other agents were still there, standing by the door, as motionless as gargoyles.

    “And you’re gonna start,” Billings took a menacing step forward, hand raised, “right now.”

    Trebeck moved, so suddenly and swiftly that I jerked away, flopping out of my chair. Somehow, his handcuffs fell away, and he met Billings’ advance with a vicious punch to the throat.

    While Billings dropped to the ground, choking and gasping, Alex spun toward the other agents, both of whom had surged forward, pulling guns out of their jackets. The first one took a blow to the nose that rocked his head back and sent him slamming into the wall, where he slid to the ground to lie in a heap. The second one nearly managed to bring his pistol to bear, but Trebeck caught his hand, twisted it far enough for bones to snap, then snatched the weapon away and smashed it against its owner’s temple. That one, too, dropped like a sack of wet sand.

    Then Trebeck was facing Billings again, weapon pointed at the agent’s head. It had all happened to fast I hadn’t even had time to make a sound.

    Billings glared up at Trebeck. “You can kill me, but others will be looking. You’ll never escape.”

    Alex stoic look cracked into a smile, the kind you give when a child says something really stupid. “You forgot to phrase it as a question.”

  5. Papa Troll

    A time when all things dealing with order are thrown out the window!

    What is chaos?

    Chaos indeed!

    Trebeck was down, looked like his head is caved in, a gruesome display of carnage in such a well-tailored and expensive suit.

    Absently I wondered what the dry-cleaning bill would be to get the blood stains out.
    I was handcuffed to the podium which served as my point of detainment by the arresting FBI agents.

    What is entrapment?

    I didn’t cheat, I don’t cheat, this is a mistake, and I’m that hapless twit who fell for the whole deal.

    Trebeck had met me in the green room prior to filming, and told me that the audience loved me, and I was the one they wanted to win. I was flushed with excitement, but still skeptical. I had spent months, months of work gearing up reading every encyclopedia, watching every episode of Jeopardy, memorizing every passage of literature that contained any trivial fact of some significance, and was repeatedly quizzed daily by my friends and family to point that I now automatically answer any question in the form of a question.

    “Did you and Trebeck meet prior to the taping of this episode?” A burly FBI agent named Timmons inquired.

    “What is no.” I answered.

    “Stop that!” he snapped and backhanded me in the face.

    Trebeck groaned. I was surprised he was still alive.

    “Get Billingsworth over here”, Timmons commanded. “Trebeck’s stirring.”

    The other contestants were nowhere to be seen. The audience had been escorted out the building.

    One FBI lady was at Alex’s podium reading his notes, searching for any clues.

    “Do you know what we do to cheaters?”

    I looked at Trebeck, and then back at him. “What is whatever happened to Alex?”

    He slapped me again. “I told you to stop that.”

    I saw stars for an instance. “Look,” I pleaded. “I didn’t do anything. Trebeck came to me merely to tell me that I was the fan favorite, and they were hoping I’d win.”

    “Were they counting on it?” His brown eyes narrowed as he inquired.

    “What is how could I know?” I flinched when I answered realizing my mistake.

    None came. He was looking up as Trebeck rose from his slumped posture. In his hand was a weird looking electric hand blender.

    “Viva la resistance”, he screamed.

    “What is the chant of the French Resolution!” I yelled.

    A blue bolt of energy shot out of the blender thingy, and all the agents were incapacitated. Smoke appeared out of Timmons ears, as he gritted his teeth.

    Trebeck stood next to me in a flash, and with a strangely electric blade, sliced neatly through the handcuffs.

    “There’s no time to explain,” he huffed visibly shaken and ashen, but conscious. “We have to move now!”

    I stood up, and rubbed my wrists. “What is going on?”

    “You’ve seen the Matrix?”

    “What is yes?”

    “This makes that look like some cheesy game show.” Alex’s eyes were darting back and forth. “Let’s move out. Single file now. Move! Move! Move!”

  6. Pete

    Guys, sorry for this, but it’s the first time I’ve spammed this forum in four years and I promise not to do it again (for a while). Here, I’ll do the sucking up part first, then hit you with the link.

    In the four years of doing these prompts–pretty much all of them–I’ve learned more about writing than any workshop or class I’ve sat through. And the support here is amazing, and has kept me coming back. So thanks!

    Now, I’ve launched a kindle scout campaign. I’m hoping that you guys would head over and check it out. I’m not asking you to nominate, unless you like what you read, but if you have a chance, please check it out. The chances of getting selected are slimmer than getting on Jeopardy, but what the heck, right?

    https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/2BQM8D78OS7QZ

    Okay, back to Trebek. Again, sorry.

    1. DMelde

      I went ahead and nominated your book. Best of luck Pete! For the record, if you were to repost this request under next week’s prompt, I wouldn’t mind a bit. In fact, I encourage you to do that since you only have a small window of opportunity to garner nominations. i don’t think anyone else would mind either.
      ~Dave

  7. Smileyface256

    The FBI in Jeopardy

    “What is the meaning of this?” asked Alex, glaring at the FBI agents.
    One of the agents crossed his arms. “I’m Sergeant Jenson, and we have intel that this game is rigged so that this kid,” he pointed to Steph, “could earn all that money.”
    “This is ridiculous! I had absolutely nothing to do with–”
    “The evidence suggests otherwise, Mr. Trebeck.”
    Steph smirked. “Yes Alex, you gave me a sheet with all the answers to every question, you just don’t remember it.”
    Alex paled. “Th-that’s ridiculous, how could I not remember it?”
    Steph drew her wand out of her back pocket and severed her handcuffs with a nonverbal spell. “No point in telling you; you’d just forget again.” She raised her wand. “Obliviate!”
    The FBI agents dropped their weapons, their expressions vacant. “Stupefy!” They all slumped to the floor.
    “Accio prize money.” A box of cash slid towards her from behind a curtain and bumped against her foot. She pointed her wand at the lock. “Alohamora.” Steph grinned at the sight of thousands of dollars stacked inside. “The Dark Lord will be pleased,” she muttered. “Though heaven knows what he wants with 6,000 American muggle dollars.”

    …This is basically fanfiction, but I hope that it’s at least entertaining.

  8. AlanPaananen

    This is quite the rough draft, but I did this just for the fun of it without taking it too seriously.
    —————————————-
    The black mask slides off my head. A blinding light floods my eyeballs, and I shut them. Somebody shoves the back of my head and shouts, “Eyes open, kid. Pay attention.” I never thought these FBI guys could be such d*cks.

    I blink and slowly force myself to face the spotlight heating my face. I can’t make out anything past the light. But the more I look, the more I can see a shadow between the light and the darkness beyond it. It’s a human-shaped shadow. It must be another person—maybe another agent, or maybe the chief, however this sort of thing works. Whoever it is, the shape is still and quiet as a statue.

    To my right, Alex Trebek is zip-tied to a metal folding chair. He stares ahead, breathing evenly. For an awkward moment, I can’t stop staring at him. Admiring him. Watching him on TV my whole life, I know he never freaks out the way the contestants and reality TV stars do. He never chews people up and spit them out the way Gordon Ramsey does. He’s not a blowhard like Donald Trump. No other TV star compares—Trebek is the symbol of civility and academia.

    The d*ck slaps the back of my head again. “Pay attention. This is serious.”

    “What is your problem?” I blurt aloud.

    When I avert my gaze from Alex, I notice a woman in front of me. She’s short enough that her eyes line up with mine. And they’re sparkling emeralds that shine brighter than the spotlight behind her. I can’t stop staring at them. I barely even notice the FBI body armor encasing her wide body, or the assault rifle in her hands. The only thing that disrupts my attention is the pink bubble that suddenly expands from her thin pink lips.

    When the bubble pops, she munches the gum all up and chews. The constant smacking should irritate me. Maybe it’s supposed to. But for some reason, I like listening to it.

    She speaks with a Brooklyn accent. “So, you think you’re a smart one, don’t cha?”

    I shrug, to the extent I can with my hands zip-tied behind my chair. “I made it to Final Jeopardy. That must count for something.”

    “Yeah, right. A schmuck like you, just barely making it through night school, answering all those questions correctly for all this time. There’s something fishy about all this!”

    “How do you know about my classes? You’ve been spying on me, haven’t you? For how long?”

    “Don’t kid yourself, you had it plastered all over your Facebook wall.”

    “This is ridiculous. You can’t arrest me for doing good on Jeopardy! I have rights…and this is an abuse of power…and…and…I demand a phone call! I demand a lawyer!”

    Another slap on my scalp. “Calm down kid, you’re not being arrested.”

    “What do you call this?” I shake in the chair.

    The woman said, “It’s a test. Just relax, there’s no way you can fail it.”

    From the corner of my eye, I see the d*ck move away from me. He’s just as tall and scary-looking as Lurch, only he’s even scarier with the body armor on. Slinging his rifle around his shoulder, he reaches into a pocket and pulls out a shiny piece of fabric. He walks behind Trebek and holds the fabric thing over his head.

    Alex finally speaks, “Gentlemen…ma’am…I hope you realize that if you go through with this, you will have to answer not only to my lawyers, but also to the studio.”

    The d*ck hesitates, and glances at the woman. She blows another bubble, pops it, and resumes chewing. She gives a slight nod with her chin, and her partner covers Alex’s head with the mask. His entire head now looks like a silver bust, and tiny blue lights pulse from it.

    The woman tells me, “Okay kid, you give us a few good questions, then we’re outta here.”

    “What?” I ask.

    “That doesn’t count. Here’s your first answer: this radioactive element has an atomic number of 94.”

    “What?”

    “Jesus, you are a moron. Come on, you had the right question to this thirty minutes ago. Did’ja forget already? Or maybe Alex gave you some help?”

    Of course—the game. But this is ridiculous. Do they all think I cheated all this time? That Alex helped me? I know for a fact it’s not true. I simply knew the right questions, and I was quick enough to respond before anyone else. To prove my innocence, all I have to do is remember the same responses I have on the show!

    Why then was my mind blank? Come on…atomic number 94…what’s an atomic number? Sh*t! I must have had the right answer during the show—why can’t I think of it now?

    “EEEEE!” the woman shouted. “You lose! The correct question is, what is plutonium?”

    “Oh come on, that’s one of the hard ones!”

    The male agent says, “It was only worth $600.”

    “Give me a $200 answer, and I will prove to you that I know what I know.”

    “Kid, you don’t even know—“

    The woman held up her hand, and the man fell silent. “Okay then, how’s about this? Jane Austen lived in this English city, best known for its Roman baths.”

    Oh! I know this one. Literature is one of the things I was always good at. And everybody loves Jane Austen! Now…where did she live?

    Sh*t! I can’t think of any English city. Can’t be London, can it? No, that’s Charles Dickens. Wait, who says both couldn’t have lived there? No, the answer specified Roman baths? What English city has baths?

    “EEEEE!” the woman says. “The correct question is, what is Bath?”

    “Seriously?”

    The man says, “The correct response was actually in the answer, dummy.”

    “I had a brain fart!” I cry.

    “Yo,” the woman says. “Remove the thingy. We got to show the kid what a false positive looks like.”

    The man removes the “thingy” from Trebek’s head. For a moment, his eyeballs flutter. Was he suffocating under the strange hood? Was it a mild stroke? When his eyes settle, he looks around, breathing normally, acting normally.

    “Okay kid, riddle us this,” the woman says. “This hypothetical particle travels faster than the speed of light.”

    Oh! I know this! The answer pops in my head right away and flies off my tongue. “What is a tachyon?”

    “Congrats, kid. Now, how the hell is it you know what a hypothetical physics particle is? You never even had this come up on the show yet. You don’t look a nerd, either.”

    I shrug. “I just popped in there.”

    “Don’t cha think it’s funny that it popped in there so fast, right after we liberated Alex’s noggin for ya?”

    “Wait, are you telling me—?”

    The male agent says, “It’s a psychic transference, kid. Alex wanted you to win, so he’s been beaming the responses to your head directly.”

    “That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard! I can’t believe my tax dollars pay your salaries!”

    “Well, we appreciate the zero-year funding.”

    “This makes no sense! Even if he could psychically beam me the answers, why would he do it now to prove your point?”

    “Because he can’t help it,” the woman says. “I think it’s time to level with ya. Here’s the real Alex Trebek.”

    In the space of one second, the woman swings her gun in Alex’s direction and squeezes the trigger. A hole pops in his head, and the back of his skull bursts open. The shot makes me jump. When I see the man I always knew and looked up to my whole life sitting limp, my stomach becomes an anvil. It’s so heavy, I can’t keep anything down—vomit spurts from my mouth. The woman jumps back from me.

    Trembling, I shout, “I can’t believe it. You murderous bastards!”

    Then, I see movement from the chair. Alex’s body convulses. My first thought: something in his brain is firing off the last synapses he’ll ever have, and his nerves are just twitching in response.
    Then I notice the blood. The strange yellow ooze dripping out of the hole in his head.

    A spark explodes in his eyeball, and blue liquid spits out of the eyehole. From the back of his head, something slides out and hits the floor with a loud bang. It’s a dark lump with spindly silver legs. It starts to scurry, but the man stomps on it hard. The thing cracks under his boot and oozes yellow fluid.

    He says, “Didn’t take Alex to be one of the Bowvian models. Looks like I owe you a drink.”

    The woman waves her hand dismissively. “He was a hard one to nail down, don’t worry ‘bout it.”

    Shaking and stammering, I manage to release all my pent up confusion and shock in one barely-comprehensible phrase. It somehow comes out in a little girl’s voice. “WHATTHEF*CKWASTHAT?!!”

    A voice answers me from behind that spotlight. “That was a robot, my friend. One of many that has infiltrated show business worldwide.”

    I forgot about the shadow behind the spotlight, watching us the whole time. His voice is so familiar. It’s a voice I knew from TV, so friendly, but with a certain gravitas I always admired. Can it be?

    The man steps into the light, and I behold the face of Tim White. The very same reporter who hosted my favorite show when I was a kid: Sightings.

    The woman blows another bubble, pops its, chews it. “Congrats, kid. You just won yourself the chance of a lifetime.”

    The male agent cuts the zip ties, and I can stand up again. When I try, my legs shake, and I stumble back on the chair. Tim White simply smiles and says, “This is a shock, I know. But I’ve seen others who couldn’t handle the truth nearly as well as you.”

    “What is all of this?” I ask.

    Tim offers his hand. I take it, and he helps me to my feet. Patting me on the back, he says, “We’re building a team, and we need all the help we can get. Trebek was just a pawn—one of many. He wanted to recruit you for the Ultracomglomerate.”

    “The what?”

    The woman says, “It’s kinda complicated, kid. Let’s just say there’s some alien start-up trying to horn in on the human race, enslaving anybody who can be suckered on a game show and replacing them with clones.”

    The man says, “And really, how can you not know Trebek is an alien robot? No human being is that civil or smart.”

    Tim guides me out of the room. “Come. Everyone’s dying to meet you. We’ll have dinner in the mess hall—Sajak’s getting pizza and Bob Barker’s paying.”

  9. Witt.Stanton

    The officer arresting me had rough, callused hands. He grabbed me by the back of my shirt and hauled me to my feet. “Take him down the hall.”

    I was followed down the hall by a trail of reporters. I stared into one of the camera lenses and smiled. My reflection winked back at me. One of the officers pushed my head back down.

    They lead me through the door and pushed me into a metal chair. Trebeck was shoved next to me.

    “What’re you in for?” I asked him. He didn’t laugh, though.

    “You shouldn’t have been mouthing words at me,” Trebeck muttered through clenched teeth. “They thought you were using me to cheat.” He paused a second, then glanced at me with a funny expression. “Who were you talking to?”

    I didn’t want to tell him the truth. “Sorry,” I said instead. He just shook his head and stared at his jacket the police had folded over his wrists. His face was flushed. He looked angry.

    I let my mind wander as the officers talked to us. I felt the cold hands on my shoulders tighten. “Tell them your secret,” the hands whispered. The nails dug deeper. “You weren’t cheating. Tell them about us.”

    There was a large mirror on the wall across from us. There was no one behind me. I stared into my eyes. My reflection blinked first. I watched him lean back in his chair. I copied him. He was my favorite. I loved to make him laugh.

    My reflection mouthed something at me and pointed at one of the officers. I understood what my reflection meant when he mimed shooting a gun. “Kill him,” he mouthed again.

    “No.” My reflection rolled his eyes when the officers stopped talking and turned to look at me. “Why not?” my reflection mouthed.

    One of the officers was heading towards me. “What? I didn’t quite catch that,” the officer said, crouching down to look at me properly. His voice was kind. “Could you say that once more?”

    “No,” I repeated, irritation creeping into my voice. The officer was in my way; I was trying to keep an eye on my reflection. “It would be fun,” I saw him mouth. I shook my head at my reflection. He’d already caused enough trouble.

    The officer frowned, glancing over his shoulder to look at the mirror. The other officers gathered around me. I looked up at them.

    Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my reflection stand up. I quickly tried to copy him, but the officers pushed me back down. When I looked at the mirror again, my reflection was gone.

    I felt the familiar, cold hands creeping down my spine, tearing at my nerves. Fear. A soft, taunting child’s voice sang “Tell them or kill them”. My vision flickered as footsteps shattered across my mind, stamping down on my carefully pieced together memories.

    “No,” I whispered. The cold hands released my shoulders, moving to gently cradle my head. “Tell them or kill them,” the child sang again. When I refused to answer, claws tore through my skull and began to pull it apart. “Kill them.”

    Pain burned in the space behind my eyes, searing itself into my mind and shattering my beautiful glass memories. My head threatened to burst. I didn’t want to kill them. I needed them to remember

    And then it was gone.

    I could feel my reflection standing just behind me, laughing as the cold hands took control of my own. The officer nearest to me was first. I couldn’t stop laughing as my punches broke his teeth.

    With each punch, the metal cuffs ripped at the flesh around my wrists. Trebeck didn’t last long.

    My reflection helped me strangle the kind officer. This one’s body hit the floor hard, landing as nothing more than a rotting heap of fat-covered meat. I watched the blood trace down my arm in silence.

    “The door isn’t locked,” the cold hands whispered in my ear. Tiny rivulets of blood fell from my fingers and onto the floor.

    I stood in a pool of blood, in a room of metal. Drip. Drip. Drip.

  10. cafei264

    “What is Moscow?”
    “Correct again Jason. That brings your lead to over five thousand, and with only final Jeopardy to be played.” Alex says, as he smiles brightly at me while he starts to say the final question. “Which Dickens’ character was always ‘expecting something to turn’. We’ll be back after these messages.”
    “And we’re clear.”
    “Excuse me, where is Jason Greer?” As two men dressed in all black suits come onto the stage. “We have suspicion that this man is a secret agent from Russia. He goes by the name of Anton Kuschev. We need to take him in the back, and Alex as well.” As everyone in the studio is shocked at this information, the two men in suits hurriedly rush Jason and Alex to the greenroom. The door shuts and the other man in the black suit starts to talk, “So, what do you know Alex?”
    “I don’t know anything, please I’m just a show host on a popular show. What’s going on?”
    “He’s not a secret agent, he’s a robot. We’ve been looking at his tendencies while he’s been on the stage and it’s not normal. Plus, there’s been an increase in electronic waves in this specific studio.” He eyes Jason, as Jason sends no facial reaction back to him.
    “Then why say to the audience he’s a secret agent?” Alex says, as he uneasily adjusts himself on the chair.
    “Because they’ll believe anything you tell them, and it makes for a good patriotic story, that once again, America knows best. The real reason we’re here is to take Jason back to testing. Apparently, someone at the lab let him free, not knowing his current condition. And since he hasn’t been fully registered, he doesn’t know he’s a robot.”
    The other man takes out a list of phrases out of his briefcase and informs both Alex and Jason of what he’s about to do next.
    “So, I have 5 phrases that will put him in sleep mode, so we can quickly take him back. Any questions” He says as silence fills the room. “Alright then. 1. Drink the Kool-Aid. 2. Social justice warriors. 3. China. 4. Nasa. And 5. Rodger Goodell.” He pauses, looks up and sees him sleeping. “Did it work?”
    “Yeah, open the door and I’ll get Alex.”

  11. snuzcook

    It’s Really Perfectly Simple

    We were hustled down the short hallway and into the ‘greenroom.’ It happened so fast, my head was spinning. I had been just about to reveal my answer to the Final Jeopardy question when two men and a woman, all in suits, burst onto the set. The two men physically nudged Alex Trebeck off his podium and the woman pulled my by the arm. They hurried us both down the short hallway to the greenroom while the other stunned contestants and crew watched. Inside, we were joined by the head of set security and by the producer, Harry Friedman.

    “Unhand me, Pig!” I demanded. “What is the meaning of this?” I used a voice intended to wilt anyone with good manners within earshot, a voice I had not used since the 60s when our sorority chained ourselves to the old library on campus to save it from demolition and campus security tried to evict us.

    “This is ludicrous!” Alex’s silver hair gleamed as he radiated indignation. He turned to the head of the Jeopardy security detail. “Tell them, Jeremy. You know how we do things. How could I…how could anyone be cheating?”

    “That’s right,” Stokes interjected. “We don’t even let the contestants breathe the same air as the production crew. No one talks to nobody. No one gives no one nothing. We confiscate all their electronics. No way in hell anyone’s cheating. My team does its job.”

    “Well apparently not well enough.” The leader of the FBI team snapped back at Stokes.

    Harry Friedman had been on the phone summoning someone from the network legal department. Now he stepped forward. “All right, everyone calm down. Now, tell me again, Agent Bristoe. What exactly are you saying you think is going on?”

    “We received information that someone was using a digital device of some kind to signal answers to the questions. We’re not sure exactly how it is being done, but we’ve been maintaining a scan of the set and we’ve detected reciprocating signals at both Mr. Trebek’s podium and yours, Ms. Sanderson. My men checked the set, and we’ve determined the signals are actually being produced on your persons.”

    Alex made a comment evoking the aroma of his horses’ stable. Mr. Friedman demanded concrete proof of the allegation.

    “I can do better than that,” Agent Bristoe offered. “Banister, the wand.”

    Agent Banister produced a slim cordless wand and a meter of some kind. “If you don’t mind, Ms. Sanderson.” I assumed the position a person normally uses for magnetic screening at the airport. The little gizmo made a sound like an angry hornet butting its head repeatedly against a window.

    “That’s just my pacemaker,” I explained. “It’s on my paperwork.”

    “And Mr. Trebeck?” The host complied, looking very poised despite the indignity. Again the little meter made the rhythmic buzzing sound. Agent Bristoe raised an eyebrow.

    “He can explain that,” Friedman said nervously. “Can’t you, Alex?”

    “It must be the device my dentist put in last week. It’s supposed to keep me from clenching my jaw. Whenever my jaw tightens, the device automatically relaxes the muscles.”

    “Oh, I’ve heard of those,” the woman agent spoke up. “They’re called EZ Chin Lift. It’s the latest thing among the vanity set. They’re invisible and practically painless.”

    “My dentist says I need it to treat my TMJ,” Alex clarified.

    Bristoe was not impressed. “That doesn’t explain the reciprocal nature of the signals.”

    “Oh, I think I can explain that.” I blushed, “If you’ll forgive me, Alex. It’s just that you are ever so very attractive when you tighten your jaw. My doctor actually adjusted my pacemaker before I came on the show because he said I was having too many anomalous spikes from watching hours of Jeopardy. Apparently when your jaw clenches, Alex, my device goes ‘blip’.” I looked around and folded my hands. “As you can see, it’s all perfectly simple.”

        1. snuzcook

          Well, my besotted matron MC is a bit north of me in the age category. I badly abused stereotypes in this one, and her POV perhaps came across a bit more mine that it truly is. Thanks KC.

  12. Kerry Charlton

    JACK ARMSTRONG

    Jack Armstrong sat next to Alex Trebek of Jeopardy fame. Alex had drained all the blood from his face and looked like a tired bed sheet. Jack on the other hand was beet-red with anger at the two FBI agents who sat across the iron table in a back room off the Jeopardy stage. He knew it was too good to be true, walking with a million three of Jeopardy‘s money.

    What puzzled Jack was agent Stinkbottom’s insistence of Jack receiving information ahead of time from Alex as to the answers. How far from the truth was that?

    “Listen ‘cheap suits’” Jack stated, “you don’t even look like FBI, even with your fake ID’s. Donald Trump’s a friend of mine, if you don’t take these cheap dime store cuffs off, you’ll both be doing guard duty in Syria.”

    Alex began to relax a little, listening to Jack verbally strong arm the ‘cheap suits’.

    Agent As*backwards smirked,

    “Would you rather be water-boarded? We can arrange it.”

    A slight moan emitted from Trebek,

    “Don’t worry about it.” Jack said as he popped the hand cuffs off, leaned across the table and knocked both agents unconscious.

    “I have an idea, they’re fake, neither one has the stuff to be FBI,” Jack said. “I saw two dollys in the hallway, let’s tie them up and roll them on stage.”

    “We couldn’t do this, it’s a live broadcast.”

    “Well Alex, what do you think is going on now? I’m sure it pandemonium. We’ve nothing to lose.”

    It took about three minutes to tie the two agents to the two wheelers and take them down the hall.

    “Are you ready to present them to your audience.“

    “I suppose so, what could happen worse, my losing hosting Jeopardy and both of us doing time?. Let’s go.”

    First a gasp from the audience when they saw the loaded two wheelers, then suddenly when Jack Armstrong gave the thumbs up sign, the audience cheered. Alex Trebek followed with his own thumbs up to louder cheers. The two FBI agents suddenly woke up, untied themselves and also presented their thumbs up. The sound became deafening and was caught live on Jeopardy.

    Alex couldn’t contain himself any longer and broke out in a horrendous cackle,

    “The network knew how smart you were and would walk with the prize, so we threw another quarter million in the pot and put you through the whole sham. You’re right about the two FBI, one’s a chief accountant for the network and the other is a vice president in talent research.

    “Lord Alex, I don’t blame them for killing me.”

    “Well, no one expected you to live up to your name.”

    “Oh that, my father was a big fan of the radio program, “Jack Armstrong, The All American Boy“

    The fake FBI agent, John Hensley, Vice President of the network approached Jack,

    “You throw a mean punch son. Can I make a suggestion to you?”

    “You want me to throw myself under a train, do you?”

    “No, no, I had it coming, I did mention water boarding. I want to make you an offer.”

    Jack thought, ‘here it comes, a law suit.’

    “Will you nod your head yes, Jack?”

    He did so.

    “I have a two year contract for you to work for our network at ten thousand a week plus expenses.”

    “I’m not worth that to anybody.”

    “Don’t argue Jack,” John Hensley said, “you are extremely intelligent and will be a

    big help to us.”

    “Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle, where do I sign?”

    .

    .

  13. Rene Paul

    I stood in anticipation, waiting behind the contestant’s podium as Mr. Trebek read the final jeopardy question, the category: “Presidents and the White House.”

    I couldn’t believe my luck; the White House is a topic I’m well versed. When I was thirteen, I attended a Washington Trip with my 8th-grade class. I wrote a 10-page report on the History of the White House and the Presidents that Occupied it.

    I decided to bet all the points I’ve earned on my final wager. Why not? I’m ahead of the other two contestants, so regardless of what they bet if I’m correct, I will not only win the game but I’ll sweep the entire week. I’ll be a Jeopardy Master!

    Our Host flashed his renowned smiled at the camera, “When the current presidential occupant of the White House was born, this president was living there.”

    Yes! I know the answer. Contentment flushed over me as the director called for a commercial break. The countdown or ‘think’ music plays. I smiled a grin of acknowledgement back at Trebek. He nodded. I picked up the
    light-pen and scribbled Who is John F. Kennedy? on my electronic display pad and waited.

    The director counted 3-2-1 as the break ended. He pointed a finger at our host, signaling him to welcome the TV audience back. That’s when A commotion broke out behind the stage and two men in black suits strolled on the set and grabbed Mr. Trebek. They ushered him off stage.

    A few minutes passed before the black suits reemerged.

    They approached my location, I could sense the tension in their stride. I swiveled my head around, wondering who or what they were after, they motioned for the other two contestants to move out of their way. They surrounded me and latched onto my arms and said, “Relax, Mr. Smith, come with us.”

    The command didn’t lessen my apprehension. Never-the-less, I did as requested and the men in black marched me across the stage and into a back-room office where they had sequestered Mr. Trebek. He was tied to a chair.

    “So, you claim you’ve never met this contestant before… is that correct?”

    Trebek answered, “What is, Yes?”

    “Don’t play games with us, Trebek, answer in a normal manner.”

    “OK, Yes… that’s correct.”

    The taller of the inquisitors turned toward me, “And you, Mr. Smith? Smith… couldn’t you be more creative than Smith? Do you also claim to not know Trebek in this world or any other?”

    “What?” I said. “Yes… I mean that’s correct. Hey… who are you guys and what’s this about?”

    “We’ll be asking the questions, Smith. You speak when spoken too.”

    The shorter man stood in front of Trebek and to my surprise punched him in the face. Not once, but again and again. He punched him so hard Trebek’s head bobbed back and forth like a punching bag. His nose seemed to press into his face and bounce back like a hard-struck tennis ball. I thought it strange when no blood appeared, just something green oozed from his nostrils.

    “You’re a liar, a cheat and an intergalactic spy, Trebek, or is it, Orion?” Next, he turned and walked over to me. His fist balled, was he about to punch me too? Instead, he stuck a flashlight in my face and examined my eyes.

    “No slits,” he said.

    His partner asked, “Then how does he know so much useless information? He’s not human I tell you.”

    I answered his question before a fist landed on my face, “I went to college!”

    His partner came over and stuck a needle in my arm drawing blood. “Damn,” he said, “It’s red.”

    They both threw their arms in the air, “You had us fooled, Mr. Smith,” the tall one said. “We apologize.”

    Then the short one held up a silver gizmo and told me to look directly at it, it flashed.

    1. snuzcook

      Delightful, Rene Paul. Of course, Trebek had to answer at least once in the form of a question, and at such an inappropriate time he had to be an alien. Low blow, that swipe at college education but works in this context. Didn’t see the MIB coming, tho. Fun take on the prompt.

  14. Pete

    No arrests were made. I hardly followed the prompt at all.

    Trebek rambles on, another gracious anecdote that carries us through commercial break. I’d always thought these little chat-ups were fake, but Trebek’s full of himself, extolling the virtues of Malaysian fruits to the giggly delight of Sue, a teacher from Milwaukee.

    My mike pack digs into my sweaty back. It’s the first taping of the morning, Double Jeopardy time. Carefully, I reach back and adjust the position of the .38 with my right hand. Where it needs to be.

    Somehow, I win. And now Trebek has come and gone. The second taping starts and he’s already laughed at my stammering and been an arrogant prick and bolstered my resolve. Only I can’t stop sweating. I’m wiped down on commercial break, producers going on, telling me everything’s fine. They think it’s nerves. They’re right.

    39, 625 contestants have been on this show over the years. And Alex Trebek chose my wife to seduce. Now, with Trebek retiring at the end of this season, it’s my love for my wife that carries me through. I know it’s fate. As sure as the blue on the screen, it’s fate.

    By the third show I’m in a groove. The producers treat me like royalty. The opportunity never reveals itself. Stage people everywhere, like worker ants, skittering behind the scenes, commercial breaks. Alex doesn’t like his water. They fetch him another one. Alex wants his Danish. Alex said aloe tissues. Meanwhile I keep winning. But the money isn’t important. I’m not here for the money. I’m here for Alex Trebek.

    He probably doesn’t even remember. 1998. Episode #1658, Frida Kapinski vs Walter Goldberg vs. Aaron Tucker. Frida went bust. But Alex saw something he liked.

    I’ve watched the episode over one hundred times. How she giggles—like Sue the teacher did—when he takes her hand. Later, I found out about the candlelit dinner. The swanky hotel.

    Frida never returned home, at least not whole. I picked her up at the airport, $1,000 richer but without a soul. He’d ruined my lovely Frida. For the next few weeks she roamed the house in a daze. She said my voice was too high pitched, that I was unsophisticated. I mispronounced words, had no knowledge of ancient Greek pottery.

    Frida had been Trebeked.

    We lasted a year. She drank wine by the bottle. Her eyes rapt with lust, as the camera zoomed in and Alex announced what show we were watching. I sought help, finding an AOL chat forum of other saps who’d lost their wives to the gallant host. Trebek had done this before. He had all the questions, but no answers.

    Desperation peaked. I grew out a mustache. A devilish thing that tickled my nose. My dear Frida laughed in my face. She said I looked like a rodeo clown. A few weeks later she was gone. Off to Canada.

    It’s taken me almost twenty-years, but here I am. Afternoon session, and Alex is in his fifth suit. He’s gotten chummy with me the way that he does all winners. He doesn’t suspect a thing. If he did, he would tuck that smirk away and run for cover.

    Final Jeopardy. 19th Century Politics. It’s go time. I bet the house. Thirty grand. Who cares? I haven’t even read the answer, because the question I scrawl is simple.

    “Who’s about to die right now?”

    But something happens to the board. The music halts and everything goes blank.

    Tebek sighs and removes his head piece. Technical difficulties. He wanders over as a moon-skinned techie fiddles with the buttons. I wonder how many women he’s seduced. I reach for my back while the other two contestants make small talk. But then Trebek ambles over and leans closer. And like my screen, I freeze up.

    He’s chatty, calm, suave. I can see it now. How Frida fell for him. The professorial way that he adjusts his glasses, cuts his eyes to us. “How’s that pottery, Ralph?.”

    Sue giggles. Hell, I giggle. The lights flash back on. I let go of the gun and make sure my mike is on. Pottery. It clicks. And this time I fill in the answer. Henry Clay.

    I’m right, and I’ve bet the house. I can’t be caught.

    Because I want to win. I want to stay.

    Maybe Frida is watching.

    1. pvenderley

      Thoroughly enjoyed this story to the point that I decided to check who was in episode #1658 (don’t judge, I get hung up on those details). Turns out it was Scott Gillispie vs. Steve Robin vs. Lois Kurowski, but that episode aired in November 1991 (http://www.j-archive.com/showseason.php?season=8).

      That silly little fact doesn’t detract at all from the story. It’s a fantastic narrative, imaginative and very believable.

  15. jhowe

    “What is Romans: 6:23?”

    “Correct,” Alex Trebek said, holding back a crooked smile. “That triples your lead over Karen’s and Ed’s combined scores.”

    “King James Version for two thousand.”

    “And the answer is… the Daily Double.”

    “I’ll wager twenty thousand, Alex.” What the hell, go big or go home.

    “Cut!” the director shouted from the side of the set.”

    “What do you mean, cut?” said Alex. “We have a live studio audience here.”

    Two Men in Black wannabes strode onto the set, the cameras still rolling despite the director’s order. One of them walked to my side and pulled an opaque insert from my ear.

    “How do you explain this, Mr. Charlton?” the agent said.

    “What?” I said, squinting, cupping my hand over my ear.

    “Don’t give me the deaf act, sir. You’re under arrest for grand theft.”

    “Grand theft of what? I haven’t received payment yet.”

    The agents looked at each other. “Ok, conspiracy then.”

    “Which one has the lesser sentence?” I said.

    “So, you admit it?”

    “No, I asked which is the lesser crime.”

    “Uh, conspiracy, I’d say,” the agent said.

    “But it takes more than one to conspire,” I said.

    The agents both looked at Alex Trebek, who tugged at his shirt collar.

    “Are you prepared,” I said, “to implicate Mr. Trebek… arguably the most famous game show host in the world?”

    The director spoke from the side of the set, “We have to break for commercials. Can we put this on hold for ninety seconds?”

    The agents shrugged. “I suppose so.”

    Effervescent make-up girls came out and started dabbing the agent’s faces with powder puffs. I took this opportunity to slip back stage and exit through a fire door. An alarm went off so I started to hurry. The sidewalk was a mass of pedestrians and soon I walked smoothly, safe in the throng. I powered up my phone and ordered an Uber.

    The driver said, “You’ll never believe what just happened on Jeopardy.” He turned up the radio.

    I leaned back, pretending I didn’t hear. At the airport, I bought a ticket to St. Croix with my credit card, to get a trail established. I’d lied about not receiving payment. I didn’t have all of it but I’d received an advance for a hundred seventy thousand dollars. At the security check, I sweated through my shirt as my belongings, including a fat money belt advanced on the conveyor. I assumed I didn’t have a lot of time before the APB went out.

    In San Juan, I didn’t board my connecting flight. I took a cab to a marina in the old part of the city and negotiated with a raggedy fisherman for the purchase of his boat. It wasn’t a great boat but I only needed it to make eighty miles or so.

    The crossing to Dominican Republic was choppy but uneventful. I traded the boat for a cross country ride in the back of a covered truck delivering bottled water to Haiti. At Port-au-Prince, the conditions were not great but nobody questioned my reasons for being there. I pitched in with the humanitarian efforts and befriended a very pretty doctor from South Africa who was currently borderless in her profession. It seemed we hit it off and she welcomed my help. I wouldn’t be rich as I’d intended but life was looking good.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Hi John, I’m honored to be in your story. To think of it, I am kind of devious, so I hope I fit in. Not only is this a good story, it’s totally believable. In that part of the world, you wouldn’t need much to have a good time. Your pretty doctor could keep you healthy.

  16. Beebles

    It’s a bit off prompt. Buyer beware.
    ——————————–
    Eddie Rex

    That it should end with my own fluids coming out of my mouth was fitting, because that’s how it started.

    An alley behind a bar in Corinth, Alabama, my head under a boot, stamping, as I spat blood from the incessant pummelling. He was screaming, calling me ungrateful, slime, mother-fu##er, yelling that I’d kill Dad with all my sh#t and Mum was so ashamed she just stayed in the house and watched gameshows all day.

    ‘Brother,’ I pleaded, laughed through broken teeth, numb to the pain from my last hit. He just pressed harder. ‘You’re not my fecking brother, Eddie!’ He cursed me, cursed me with every oath in hell.

    I cursed him, as I nursed my swollen face on the train out of Corinth, blood congealing into resolution. Buried deep within me I knew he was right. For their sake I had to get out. I’d show them, though, Mum, Dad and my dear brother. I’d show them, from the comfort of their own living room. I had it planned.

    Mum’s favourite show was Jeopardy, so that’s where I was heading, for a meeting with the man himself, the unflappable Alex Trebek, the master of ceremonies, the lord of answers, the king of questions. The first question was finding which part of the flaccid underbelly of society I needed to scratch. The answer to that riddle was ‘man’. One man. The man Trebek met up with in a lonely rest-stop toilet.

    Faced with my portfolio, Alex wasted no time in getting me on the show. Between us we toppled the King of Jeopardy, Larry Wreks, unbeaten champion of twelve weeks, and installed me on the vacant throne. I pictured my mother’s face, the realisation, her calling my dad and brother to come see, their slow incredulous open-mouthed descent onto the sofa.

    And like a BOGOFF came Josie Wreks. The cougar left her dead meat husband to pursue more tender flesh. And I let her have it, in every nip and tuck that Larry had paid for. I didn’t intend for it to last, but Christ that woman knew her way round every muscle in a man’s body, so just I lay back and let her feed.

    It was the bullet coming out of the back of Larry’s head that blew the whole thing open. Josie cracked first when they pulled her in. I didn’t know it then, but given what they told her, I’d have blabbed. So, before Trebeck jumped from his penthouse balcony, I was gone, a single bag, riding the train out into the styx.

    I read the story, shaking as old habits died hard, in a squat in some eclipsed Illinois town. That’s when I was sick. It was all there, everything about me, column after column lining the chthonic temple to the altar of my putrid ego. Stuff I didn’t even know, but my brother had. He was right, he wasn’t my brother. Paul and Muriel had adopted me, abandoned at birth, the son of Laurence and Josephine Wreks.

    When every eighth of self-respect and bile was drained from me, Thebes spat me out. I stumbled away, blinded by self-loathing and regret and dogged by the relentless fury of those pursuing sirens.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Your story reads like a Greek Tragedy, complicated, surreal and sultry. In today’s Hollywood, it would be a screen play. What kind of inspiration are you getting from your Manor House? Are the ghosts talking to you?

  17. Nathan the Great

    They placed us in adjacent interrogation rooms. A large window let us face each other. I thought at first it was a one-way mirror, but the seething Trebek was mouthing “I will kill you” at me over and over. After the feds calmed him down, they turned on the speakers for both rooms.

    “Fine, fine,” Alex said. “It was all me. That nincompoop over there didn’t have anything to do with it. I told him all the answers.”

    “How?” asked the senior agent. He was chewing on a toothpick and looked unimpressed by the happenings, though the younger agents were in thrall they were talking to the great Trebek.

    “Telepathy,” answered the host. “I have one way telepathy. I’m not able to read minds, but I can send my thoughts to other people. I’ve been controlling the Jeopardy! champion for years.”

    “Why?” the agent asked. “What do you get out of it?”

    “The thrill, the rush, the pleasure of using my power!” Trebek laughed until he looked at me again. His eyes went cold and he ran his finger across his throat.

    “What we’ve suspected for a long time,” said the agent. “Who else can do this? I know you know. I want names. Drew Carey, can he do this? What about Steve Harvey?”

    “Harvey? Ha! He can’t control his own thoughts, let alone direct them anywhere useful. Carey’s innocent. There’s only one other I know of. By now he’s probably halfway to Mexico with his lovely assistant. He’s craftier than he seems; you might catch him, you might not.”

    The agent stood and slammed his hands on the table. “You’re not a host anymore, so stop playing games! Give me the name!”

    For a moment, betrayal passed over Trebek’s face. He shook his head, and the answer was so quiet I almost couldn’t hear in my room.

    “Sajak. Pat Sajak.”

  18. pvenderley

    She said: “We can end this now.”

    “You’ll let me go?” I asked.

    She walked across the room, high heels clacking a deadly staccato on the cold stone floor, gray suit nearly camouflaging her against the gray wall. She turned back and smiled once she reached the locked door.

    “Hm. No. But I’ll stop all this,” she said, waving at the buzzing caged fluorescent lights and the ceiling speakers.

    “I told you. I don’t know anything.”

    “But you certainly knew plenty on set, didn’t you?”

    I stare at her. “That’s kind of the point.”

    She brought out her phone and pressed a button. Alex Trebek’s voice blasted through the phone’s speaker.

    “This command center for the defense of North American air sovereignty can be found at 38.7 -104.8.”

    A buzzer sounded.

    “Jason.”

    “What is NORAD?”

    “That is correct!”

    She pressed her phone again, cutting off the audience’s applause.

    “40.39 – 111.93,” she shouted. “47.20 -97.56! You and Alex? Working together, giving the exact locations of our military assets on the air.”

    “It’s a TV show. The category was GPS Coordinates.”

    “I couldn’t help but notice you were the only one with the answers.”

    “It’s a… hobby of mine. Memorizing latitude and longitude of famous places.”

    Skepticism reverberated through her stony face.

    “It’s espionage…”

    “What?!” I asked. “What?!”

    “Who were you working with! ISIS? Russia? China?”

    “Nobody! I… I just look this stuff up online! Try it! Anyone can do it!”

    She looked through me, then pivoted on her heels.

    “Fine,” she said, slowly walking to the door. “I hope you like it here. Because Mr. Trebek has chosen to work with us.”

    The door swung open, revealing two ramrod guards and a hallway as gray as the room. When the door loudly clicked shut behind her, the ceiling speakers burst on again, and “Weird Al” Yankovic began screaming at me, over and over, about losing at Jeopardy.

    1. pvenderley

      Of course, NOW I think up the line: “We know this wasn’t you, Jason. It has Mr. Trebek’s fingerprints all over it. Cooperate, tell us what you know, and I’ll make sure things go easy for you.”

  19. Bushkill

    Getting arrested on Jeopardy

    “Yes, Alex, I’ll take Causal-reasons-for-arrest for $600, please.”

    “Certainly. True or false: the more police we have, the less crime there will be.”

    Nuts.

    I looked around the room. Today’s show was being filmed live in front of numerous representatives of The Thin Blue Line from across the country. There were police officers everywhere and I was definitely not at peace.

    I shifted uncomfortably as the incessant jingle played. The audience, a more humorless bunch of humanity had never before been assembled, sat with arms crossed. Several feet tapped, I could see those in the front row easily enough, and I had flash backs to the last time an officer asked me if I knew how fast I had been going.

    Cold sweat trickled down my spine and held me fast on the spot.

    The jingle continued.

    I noticed the doors at the back of the studio swing open, ushering in a flood of light, noise, and several more uniformed officers. They wore their hats, though, and came striding down the aisle as if they owned the place.

    Everything happened very fast, then.

    Alex bolted like a rabbit caught away from his hole.

    My fellow contestants made for the shrinking glow of the closing entry door only to run into rank upon rank of blue clad muscle and grit.

    I chose the more practical route and fainted dead away.

    When I awoke, I was in the host’s dressing room. Alex was trussed like a calf at a rodeo and staring daggers at the gentle giantess that held his leash. Her face of granite composed all the compassion and tenderness of stone. When she turned her pitiless eyes at me, I felt an over-strong urge to confess to multiple misdeeds I had heard total strangers talk about at the local pub as if they were my own. I cringed. Even my cringe, cringed. That last glass of water I had before the show was starting to make noise about an exit strategy.

    Her gravely voice shattered the silence, “Your shoes. Give them to me.” She had a slight Austrian accident.

    Weird.

    Well if momma wants new shoes and they happened to be on my feet at the time, who am I to argue?

    Alex was staring at me now, and I thought I saw the slightest inclination of his head saying don’t do it. So I did it anyway, silly rabbit.

    As I slid the shoes off, the other officer present took them from me. His name tag read Pebbles. Funny stuff, that. He peeled back the soul of the shoe and half a dozen credit cards spilled out onto the floor. Officer Pebbles looked at me questioningly.

    I stared at the contraband. “Huh.” Guttural and questioningly at the same time. I hardly winced at all when Pebbles slapped the cuffs on.

    I looked straight at Alex. “False”

        1. Kerry Charlton

          It read so real, it hurt my eyes
          Somehow, I got totally wrapped up in the story line and began to worry about my own mis-deeds. Boy that’s a weird feeling. Good job on the realism and action. The “faint” line was especially real.

  20. Tysheena Jackson

    Does this mean I can blame my life issues on Trump, too!? P.S. Greed is never a good idea even though the entire United States has been built on it.

  21. DMelde

    I was in the middle of a dream playing tennis against the Williams sisters and the score was tied at love-all when out of the blue Alex Trebeck runs onto the court and grabs my balls. I remember they were bright lime green and fuzzy new. Then he runs off the court and yells over his shoulder “Follow me!”

    So I start running after him when I should have stayed with the Williams sisters, but I was sleepy and people do stupid things in their dreams, myself included.

    I turned my head to tell the sisters that I’ll be back when I see two black suits running after me as I was running after Trebeck. I was pretty sure they were FBI because they looked just like the suits that ran me down under a heavy rain in Lafayette, but that was in a different dream, and just like that, I knew I was dreaming.

    Normally, when I wake up in a dream I start to fly or find the nearest topless bar, but this time I decided to see where we were running to, so I picked up my pace to catch up to Trebeck.

    “Mind if I ask where we’re going? I said.

    “We’re in jeopardy!” he yells out, looking around wild-eyed. He’s clutching my balls like there’s no tomorrow.

    “What’s the answer?” I ask him, because everybody needs to know the answer. Otherwise, how will you know the correct question?

    “You haven’t picked a category yet!” he yells back at me.

    Okay, now he’s annoying me.

    “I’ll take the FBI for $2,000.” I said.

    “Double jeopardy!” he yells.

    Now I’m just confused.

    “What do you mean? This is a double jeopardy question? Or is double jeopardy the answer?” I said.

    “It’s the answer! Hurry up, they’re gaining!” he yells.

    I look back and sure enough, the suits are getting closer. I started to think about the question, and pondered what double jeopardy was the answer to, when it suddenly hit me.

    “Does this have anything to do with Lafayette?” I said.

    “I’m sorry, no help from the judges!” he yells.

    I stopped running. Lafayette was either the question or I was leaving this scene to go find a bar. When he saw me stop running Trebeck stopped running too. The suits soon caught up with us.

    “You’re both being arrested for fraud!” one of the suits said.

    “You can’t arrest us.” I said. “That would be double jeopardy.”

    “How do you figure that?” the suit said.

    “Because you already arrested us for the same thing in Lafayette. Do you remember Lafayette?” I said.

    I heard Trebeck let out a sigh of relief.

    “That is the correct response.” He said.

    “You win.” The suits said, and then they disappeared. People come and go so quickly in dreams, like in Oz.

    “C’mon Trebeck.” I said. “Let’s go back and find the sisters.”

    “I like your balls.” He said. “Can I keep them?”

    “In your dreams Trebeck.”

    1. Tysheena Jackson

      I’m sitting here in my office trying to stifle a deep laugh that rests in the pit of my stomach. Your take on this prompt was done in a superb way; quite unique! I wouldn’t have thought of the cheeky one liners you daringly gave voice to… Thank you!

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I’m glad I read this by myself because I .really sound stupid when I.chuckle. the one liners were popping up so fast, it amazed me. Also you portrayed the frantic pace of most dreams. I.liked the topless bsr one liner

  22. mayboy

    My inside voice whispered: “I knew it. Alex was the one who set me up.” He was there waiting for hungry fish, pretending to start a romance. I was ready to fall in love, and the competition became thrilling. The viewers wanted more; they were breathing with us. Now, he ruined it all. I was more than hundred per cent sure that he blamed me for the forgery.

    From the first moment, there was a wall between us. I was the one who couldn’t understand. I was the one who couldn’t see Alex’s real intentions. Here it goes, we all have to pay the price once. Mine is sitting in the interrogation room instead of listening to Abba, Super Trooper. “How are you going to get out of it?”, the voice insisted. My lips were mumbling: “Swordfish.”

    The FBI agent asked: “Do you have anything else to tell us? In the meanwhile, I will go and get you a sendwich, in the meanwhile think about it.” I was sitting there like a grilled piece of meat, and many voices in my head forced my spirit to recuperate. “I do,” I squeezed my mouth, ready to defend myself, knowing Alex better than himself, knowing his weak side. But I didn’t want to reveal his little secret yet, his valuable source of information. Klick in my head changed me in the monster of revenge.

    Oh, yes, in the meanwhile I will torture him as a voodoo would. He will feel every painful sting in his skin. I was on the track of his bed intention to ruin me. The lead was on the table, in front of me. If the people could correctly understand me, I would be able to serve them the main dish on the plate. Even the FBI agents persuasion to admit; the crime couldn’t distract me from my intention to fight back. The inner voice of revenge whispered: “How small is the line between the life and death?”
    Now I know. –

  23. jhowe

    How many hindsight aficionados do you know? How many times have you heard, “If I could go back, I’d do it differently.” That’s what I thought, so I’ll spare you the sob story and get down to it.

    I’m convinced if the election had gone the other way, I’d be a free man today. It seems the opposite should be true, but the drama, innuendos and finger pointing, in my view, have created the holier than thou atmosphere that exists now, a political climate in which the slightest of Jeopardy scandals could result in a lengthy prison sentence.

    If you’re wondering, the food really does suck here.

    But who did I hurt? I won’t say we. Alex had nothing to do with it. At least that’s what the authorities have concluded. I do appreciate the big screen TV though. It seems he could have sprung for the plasma model, and we’re still working on the Net Flix installation. Technology moves slow around here.

    Forty seven straight weeks as Jeopardy champion. The highest ratings in game show history. Cash and prizes in excess of one point four million dollars. My name and image emblazoned almost everywhere. And now it’s all gone. Wiped out like a cheap skateboarder. Re-reading my eloquent words, I think I see it. Cash and prizes obtained under false pretenses. Hmm. That could be it.

    I should explain the false pretenses reference. You’re probably aware that Alex gets the answers piped into his ear, complete with pronunciation clarifications. So, when I got the chance to get the same info, I pounced on it. Ratings were down and what better way to boost them than to have another long term champ. Like whatshisname, the one with the condescending sneer.

    I shouldn’t have ditched the ear piece. As soon as I got wind of the investigation, I ground it up in my girlfriend’s garbage disposal. Now it’s my word against his. And guess who wins? Now I have to look at him in high def with my cellmates hollering about my TV being too loud and the guards watching through the bars. And believe me, I get no sympathy. “You should have settled for a half mil,” they say. “See what greed gets you?” they say. Well screw them. It’s all Trump’s fault anyway.

  24. thecoffeemaster

    “Hey! Stop it!” shouted Alex. “We didn’t do anything!” I added. “You did, Mr. Williams, and so did you, Mr. Trebeck.” said one of the FBI agents. “You cheated on today’s Jeopardy.” “No we did not!” protested Alex. “Then explain this.” said another agent. He got out a laptop from his backpack and opened up a video and pressed play. The video began with Alex and I sitting at our seats behind the Jeopardy counter conferring over a piece of paper. “Oh no…” I muttered, looking at Alex. The agent zoomed in to show what the paper said. It read “Answers” and below was listed every single one of the Jeopardy questions and their answers. Alex looked at me in horror and mouthed “They know.”. The agent then paused the video and looked at us. “You did cheat, and this is proof.” he said. “We’re taking you to jail.” said the other. They handcuffed us and marched us off.

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