Brent Spiner - news
Brent Spiner - convention reports
Brent Spiner - fan fiction
Brent Spiner - "Memories of 1776"
Brent Spiner - roles
Brent Spiner - sound files
"The Bridge Game" is a five-part serial in soap-opera style. Installments average 1500 words each. Enjoy them, don't take them seriously, and please comment. It was written for fun and with honest respect for Brent and all his fans.
Disclaimers: "StarTrek" is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures. This story is a work of fiction. All names, characters. places and incidents are either products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously without permission. i.e: Paramount owns Data but Spiner owns himself.
"THE BRIDGE GAME"
BY PAT RICHOUX
PART 1 OF 5
 
        At the exact point when the big charity benefit party slid from mediocrity into total dullness, the Three Musketeers rallied to Brent's rescue. A tall guy, a short guy and a medium blonde surrounded him, eased him outside and into a waiting taxi.
        "My car's in the parking lot--"
        "We'll collect it later. You need peace and privacy, right?"
        They must have known his tastes. A fairly-empty cocktail lounge off Sunset offered low-level lighting, good piano and no gyrating dancers. The blonde swept the scene with a cool glance, headed for the farthest corner and seated Brent with his back to the action. "Okay? You don't want to sign napkins or defend your shirt buttons?"
        "Not right now, thanks. I'm not complaining about the fans; they come with the territory. If my own face was as famous as Data's I couldn't leave home without a bodyguard."
        His rescue seemed more than coincidental, less than threatening. The man they called Jon wore a camera bag slung over his shoulder. No one asked Brent what he liked to drink, yet his preferred brand kept materializing out of the replicator, so to speak. They let him talk uninterruptedly on his own subjects. The blonde listened and commented while Hank and Jon drifted into artistic shoptalk.
        He didn't need liquor to loosen his tongue. He had always known it was hinged in the middle and flapping freely at both ends. When she seemed genuinely interested in his pre-Data career he ran through the resume-- films, TV, on and off Broadway--mostly minor but a few deserving recognition. "'Sunday in the Park with George' was somewhat noticed. Actually two roles, one in each act."
        "Not twin brothers?"
        "Unrelated. Dennis was a nerd like me but people remember Franz the coachman, obnoxious and sexy and comic. I hate to think it's type-casting but I'm usually someone weird or warped. I could be serious. Patrick isn't the only Shakespearean aboard. I could play Hamlet or Shylock."
        "Or Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern?"
        "Hey, there you go, side by side on split screen? Did you ever see Tom Stoppard's version of their offstage story during 'Hamlet'? Everybody confuses R and G; even they themselves forget who's who. That's me, I forget everything except plays and films. Have you and I, uh, met before?"
        "Once last year, filming a fantasy about dreams and Dr Soong."
He nodded. "'Birthright.' Patrick introduced us. You're an agent."
        "Not a business agent, a publicist. I put my clients' names in the papers, TV interviews, celebrity benefit carwash. Coverage and exposure, unless you prefer the opposite, like right now."
        "But those are already opposites. You wear clothes for coverage. The reverse is indecent exposure."
        She smiled. "You're quick with words. Are you a writer too?"
"When I was a kid I made up adventure stories but I couldn't spell, and acting was all I wanted to learn. In high school Mr Pickett gave me character parts--the sidekick, wimpy loser, doddering old man, crooked sheriff. Randy won the fights and the pretty girls. That's Randy Quaid, he's famous now."
        "He's a sexy hunk but I'll bet you make more money. You're famous and versatile."
        "Versatile? Seven long years an android with three distinct expressions. Count them." He gulped half his drink and flicked through the appropriate moves. "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered. When 'StarTrek' ends I'll need work. Maybe you could expose me more? I'd like some stimulating roles with a broad approach-- Uh-oh, you're laughing. I'm not worth promoting?"
        "But definitely you are. Abort this mission and explore an alternate universe. I've heard you can sing. How about 'Music Man?'"
        "Whoo-ee! Yes, ma'am, I'd take the anvil salesman but I was born for Harold Hill. 'Ya got Trouble, my friend...' Trouble is my bad ol' brother Lore's middle name. And you're Loree, isn't that strange? I can remember that. Lore's your natural con man...rainmaker... pitchman." He coughed. "I'm talking too much, my mouth is dry."
        Hank passed a fresh drink from the back-up supply. "Here you go, Harold, one sarsaparilla on the house."
        "Sarsaparilla? Oh, good, I thought it was scotch. Cheers, y'all. Me an' my mean ol' twin are big troublemakers from Tayxus. If--"
        "Try again, Rosenkrantz," Loree said. "Data never saw Texas and you have no twin brother."
        "Whatever. Now where I might enjoy stirring up trouble would be in a circus, I think, my own little old tent show like--Did you ever see 'Chad Hanna?' Henry Fonda and Dorothy Lamour in old Erie Canal days, with fancy trained horse acts they called Equestriole. I saw it five times as a kid. I like horses and clowns but not high altitude stunts, nobody shot from cannons or walking tightwires. No flying trapeze for me, but down on the ground I'd be texspacular."
        "As a bareback rider?"
        "Or the Equestrian Director with the whip and whistle. 'LAYdeeez and GENnelmen, welcome one and all to Spiner's Great and Only International Circus, after twenty conspicuous appearances before the Royal Crowned Heads of--' No, that's too stellar, like Captain of the ship. Most likely I'm the skinny guy in a white cap who climbs up the aisle yelling 'Peanuuuuhts, popcohhhwn, crackajaaack' and beats the big drum in the parade."
        "That beats shovelling out the animal cages, but you were meant for greater things."
        "Thank you." He sipped his drink and considered careers. "Loree, you have observed me closely for--" he squinted at his watch, "thirty-seven, no, forty-seven minutes. What was I really born to do?"
        Without hesitation she said "Talk." Jon and Hank laughed. After a moment, so did Brent.
        "Hmmm. Right. Politics, maybe? People believe my long fancy words. 'Captain! The annular axionic containment beam is actuating warp decay. We must divert more interphasic impulses immm-medjitly.' Patrick nods wisely. 'Indeed, Mr Data, make it so.' Did you know if I say it all backwards this room will vaporize into stardust? Shall I vaporize everybody except you and me? It's painless. Watch. 'Immedjitly--'"
        "Not just yet. Have another sasparilly and finish 'Chad Hanna.'"
"Who? Yes, thanks, but this must be the last. At eight o'clock I'm preserving endangered scuttlefish or something equally vapid."
        Jon and Loree exchanged a smile. "That's already been and gone."
"Oh, it has? Were you there? Was I there?"
        "The life of the party. Your clever impersonation of Captain Jean-Luc Picard raised a thousand dollars for new fishtanks."
        "Hey, good for me! I am usually so shy and reserved at large functions. Now to clean up after the circus, if I remember--" He put a hand to his head. "I can sell ideas and lie straight-faced. My role in the remake would be-- the advance agent, Mr B.D. Bisbee. He travels ahead, y'know, rides into town on his big black horse to post the posters, find the best open field for the tent, book hotel rooms and distribute free passes, big promises and humbug."
        "But that sounds like my job," Loree said.
        "You can coach me. There's a safety factor. Later, when the mediocre four-horse show rolls into Canastota, the advance man is shooting more bull over in Herkimer or Ilion. Not a star role but just about my size. A few good scenes, a few clever lines--"
        "With provocative camera angles among the high-stepping fillies," Jon said. "We may have a winner."
        Hank raised his glass. "Brent D. Bisbee rides again."
Loree also rose. "Saddle up, folks. They're waiting on the back lot."
        "I need a tall horse and a fast hat for my getaway."
        "Well, it's pretty late to round up the horse but I'm sure they'll manage the hat."
        How they entered Paramount so late at night was a blurry scene Brent didn't try to remember. Oh, what the hell, another adventure. He had been a hopeless movie buff far too long to expect reality in a haunted dream world. In his trailer dressing-room he was tempted to flake out for a nap, but his guests hadn't come at this hour for the ambience of Paramount or to listen to him snore.
        He thought hard..."Were we supposed to see a man about a horse?"

  "There you go, Spider." Hank shoved him toward the long mirror.
      "Spiner," he said absently. He had needed three seasons to accept gold skin and yellow eyes but this new get-up was instantly flattering, head-to-toe Fifth Avenue society. They had left him his shoes, pinstriped shirt and cuff-links. All the rest belonged to a Vanderbilt scion at least five-foot-ten and slightly broader in the beam. Black dress-coat, striped pants, red paisley vest, and, of course, the black top-hat from which everything sprang at the wave of a magic wand. It was safer not to know exactly how it sprang into his trailer but he felt like a new man in it. "What time is the parade? Or, uh, wedding?"
        Hank slapped him on the shoulder. "Come check him out, folks. He's assembled for better or worse."

Picture design by Data2 from an original in TV Guide

Part 2 
ŠPAT RICHOUX 1999