Disclaimer: All rights belong to Wolf Films and Warner Brothers.

Author's Note: For those aware of the final episode of "Clerks" (the short-lived, animated version), then this may be droll for you. In the episode, there was a subplot, poking fun at the first "Matrix" movie (the episode was done in 99). Originally, it was going to be a Livejournal exclusive, but with Sam's 67th birthday today, I figured why not. I'm not sure why I wrote it, so skip the obvious questions.

Timeline: Somewhere in the course of "Collision," and leave it at that.

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A gangling, older gentleman trudged to his ringing home phone, half-asleep. "Hello?"

"Neo, I've been looking for you. Are you ready to learn the truth about the Matrix?" The caller had a gruff male tone.

He abruptly hung up. "I hate crank calls."

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"So, this man crank calls me, asking if I'm ready to learn the truth about the 'Matrix,'" he crustily uttered from the far-right corner of his office.

"Jack, you've obviously never watched the new 'Matrix' movie," declared a husky female voice.

The door obscuring him, he swapped his casual attire for a three-piece suit. "Why would I? If I'm in the mood for bad sci-fi, I'll watch 'Soylent Green,' thanks."

"Hey, don't be so quick to knock the movie — it actually made me think on perception."

"Abbie, you're clearly better than this."

The Junoesque young woman glowered. "Tell me that whenever you find yourself in a pod, with tubes sticking into every orifice."

"Uh-huh."

The touchtone phone hummed. "Hello? He's right here." Abbie handed the answered device to Jack.

"Hello?"

"Neo, it's me again. I'd still like to tell you what the Matrix is."

"Look, if you don't leave me alone, I will call the police." He placed his hand on the disconnect button. "Unbelievable. Now, can we focus on actual matters, like the Harvey Bower case?"

She did a handshake. "Jack, can't you, at least, appreciate the irony, here?"

"There's irony to this?"

"Yeah, we're currently dealing with a man's problems with reality, and you're getting a crank call based from the movie that challenges reality itself. I mean, you don't see it? For all I know, maybe my own hair and clothes are just figments of my imagination." Fingertips wandered from her straight black strands to her light gray business jacket.

He dialed a phone number, caterpillar eyebrows at the hilt. "Maybe you're a figment of my imagination. Anyway, I'm calling Melnick to discuss a plea. Danielle?"

"Yes, hello, Jack, how are you?" The speaker was in a high-pitched, nasal accent.

"Danielle, are you alright? You sound a little sick."

"Oh, I'm not sick, Jack, I just want to show you the truth about the Matrix."

He pressed down on the tab once more. "Uh, I'll call her back."

"I'm guessing Melnick wanted to tell you about the Matrix?"

He pointed at her. "Abbie, don't taunt me. If I could yank the phone cord out, I would."

"Yes, but you need it for that pesky thing called 'work.'" She waggled her eyebrow ridge.

"Fine, we'll work in your office."

"Don't we always?"

The pair headed for her smaller workspace, the phone buzzing. "Wonder who that could be?" Abbie again picked up. "Carmichael. I think it's Detective Briscoe, and he wants to talk to you."

Jack gripped the receiver. "McCoy."

"Is your refrigerator running?"

He scoffed. "That's the oldest one in the book."

"Please, Neo, let me tell you about the Matrix."

"No, I'm hanging up."

"Don't hang up. We don't have to talk about the Matrix. We could just talk about stuff: your favorite bands, chicks who've broken our hearts, uh, the Matrix."

She grabbed the plummeting handset. "Him again?"

He seized at his bushy, salt-and-pepper hair. "Is this going to happen on every phone I come into contact with?"

"So, let's crank call him."

"I don't have his number."

"Star sixty-nine. Granted, he's supposed to be a master hacker, but even they can screw up every once in a while."

"He probably figured out a way around it."

She tapped the appropriate buttons. "Trust me, if I can't get around Star sixty-nine, no one can." She severed the connection after the line clicked through.

"What happened?"

"The other end was Penthouse headquarters, and I didn't think you'd want a subscription."

"Thanks, no."

"I prefer Playboy, myself."

His jaw plunged. "Abbie!"

She lowered her head. "Jack, I've told you about my rape, so I think I can trust you with my pornography."

"Gee, I feel so close to you, now."

Abbie mockingly grinned. "Maybe that's what the Matrix wanted."

"Please, stop that. All we can do is ignore all distractions and burn the midday oil. Agreed?"

"Agreed."

A secretary then popped in. "Mr. McCoy, someone has keyed your motorcycle."

Jack balled his fists, lip curved inward. "What?! Come on, Abbie."

"Why am I going?"

"Because I may need someone to restrain me, and I don't trust anyone else."

She rolled her eyes. "Oh, fine."

Exiting the courthouse, they entered into an omnipresent, white space. Jack viewed the vacant atmosphere in all directions.

"Abbie, what's all this?"

"It's the Matrix, Neo."

His arms were akimbo, chin jutted out. "I am not Neo, and this is not the Matrix."

"Oh, yeah? Spare ribs." Rows of spare rib dishes instantly appeared in front of them, and she had a bite. "The Matrix is telling my brain this is hickory."

Her companion's eyeballs bugged out. "You're taking this awfully well."

She shrugged a shoulder. "I saw the movie. So, why don't you try one? Anything you want, no matter how bizarre."

He snorted. "Fine. Um, since we were talking about pornography, I guess… Asian porn stars?"

As the plates dematerialized, nothing else occurred. "Great, you broke the Matrix, Jack."

"I didn't mean to. Maybe we should try a location instead?"

Instantaneously, the ambience transmuted into a crowded room with young ladies garbed in the Playboy Bunny uniform.

Abbie clenched her jaw. "You couldn't think of One Hogan Place?"

"My mind thought about your Playboy comment for a second, and…."

A buxom blonde approached her. "Hey, you're hot. So, lips or hips?"

"Uh, hips?"

"Oh, I like hips!"

The prosecutor glared at him, high cheekbones reddening. "Think of somewhere else, Neo!"

A brunette was gyrating at him. "I'm drawing a blank!"

"Whatever you do, don't think about the Matrix."

Jack suddenly found himself exposed in a translucent, oval case, tubing connected to every orifice.

'I hate the Matrix,' he mused.

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