Jack of All Trades : The Final Adventure, (Daring or Otherwise).
Written in charcoal etchings by xoshade
Now this came to me in a dream one night (long, long ago, so no offence meant, OK, JOATers?), hence the abruptness of the original story (I woke up before the ending was revealed to me), so it's liable to make very little sense.
I happen to have seen an episode of the show since then and haven't noticed any inconsistencies. So....um....Good luck reading it.
Cautiously inching down into the lower depths of the cave, each step fraught with the danger of sudden death in such a trap-laden deathpit as this, the Daring Dragoon bravely forged ahead, banishing fear and panic to the furthest domain of his mind.
Oil-soaked rags were wrapped around a bone taken from the skeleton of a previous mis-adventurer. They were burning steadily, showing the tantalising glitter of some rectangular object up ahead.
He neared his goal.
By his side, his trusty companion, Emilia Rothschild, stashed her half of the tattered treasure map down her cleavage. "Just remember - All that glitters is not gold," she warned.
"No," Jack agreed, "Some of it is silver aswell."
She slapped him.
"Hey! What was that for?!"
"It was a pre-emptive counter-strike," she explained in a logical tone.
"I wasn't planning on slapping you...'least, not in this context. Not without some accompanying tic-"
She slapped him again.
"Your wit and innuendo are possessed of such unassailable power that to even hear one dandy remark from you would physically devastate the surrounding environment, causing untold suffering and quite possibly an apocalypse or two."
"Ah, alright. Uh, 'dandy'? Yeah, well of course!" Utterly ignorant, he continued to cross the cave floor.
She spoke in a way which screamed "Take me now, Jack!"
He ably resisted her understandable plea for complete carnal satisfaction, "What's true?"
"We've finally found the last clue leading to the hidden booty of Anne Bonny."
"Yes and what a lovely booty it is too!"
They were careful to avoid the set of spikes hanging precariously above, careful to avoid the spring-levered granite block set into the east wall.
"This is a unique find," Emilia enthused, "So many priceless cultural artefacts in one place! It's at times like this, I think pirates might be worth something....Did you hear me?"
"Yeah," Jack decided, "Of course I heard ya. 'Priceless artefacts'....'Worth something'."
Reaching the far end of the cavern, they came to a mighty marble column, a gold plaque nailed into the white stone about seven feet up.
Jack arced his arm around Emilia's shoulders, "Here, better keep close."
She gave him a stern glare.
"Hey," he reasoned, "We discovered the existence of this haul together and we just fought off a shipful of angry pirates together. So let's read the whereabouts of good ol' Anne's treasure together."
Emilia consented to be close to him, standing on tiptoes to examine the plaque.
"Well? Can you make it out?"
"It says: 'If you can read this....then you must be standing on the trap door'."
Jack screamed, "Yiiieeeaaaaaarrrrrggggggggghhhhhhhh!"
Jack looks at Emilia. Emilia looks at Jack. They both look at the cave floor.
"Yaia!" cries Jack, expecting to be swept down to an untimely end, impaled upon the spikes of yet another deviously-placed trap.
"Aaaaahhhhhh!" cries Emilia, hoping the rocky ground will give away at any moment.
Jack stamps on the stone, "Come on!" Finally he shakes his head, throws his arms up in exasperation, "People - I can't work under these conditions!" Then promptly walks off-set.
Emilia sits and sulks, "Somebody bring me a coffee, will you? I'm in A Bad Mood."
The sun shines down on the beautiful Pacific beach. Waves lap peacefully at the sand. A cool sea breeze supplies fresh air to the long-suffering cast and crew of the "Jack of All Trades" family entertainment show.
Bruce Campbell and Angela Dotchin laze on sun beds, mirrored shades deflecting the sun's all-powerful glare. They take sips of an indeterminate blue liquid from fancily decorated coconut husks whilst they watch the underpaid, over-worked, malnourished lackeys swarm around the fake quay, preparing for the next shot.
"You know," says Bruce, "It's a mystery to me why no shrewd developer has built a five-star hotel on this spot. This view would look magnificent from my balcony."
"Really. Then when the tropical storm hits, I'll bail and send my agents here for a well-deserved vacation."
Angela laughs delicately, "Agents? As in: More than one? Why on Earth do you need more than one?"
"Chiquita, there's just too much raw talent at stake here for any one mortal to handle - I'd have thought that was obvious!"
"Oh, I'm sorry, your ego was obscuring the talent. Immodesty makes a better door than a window."
He lifts up one side of the sunglasses, casts a look at the reclining female homo sapiens next to him, "Don't push it, sister," Then returns to lounging.
Time passes. Various crew members onboard an off-shore launch are dragged into the waters by a giant squid and eaten by ravenous sharks. The Director is handling it.
Angela takes a moment out of her busy schedule to ask a question, "Bruce, can you do me a favour?"
"This isn't anything to do with the outbreak of leprosy on-set, is it?"
"Would it be possible for you to lend me twenty dollars?"
He sits up on the bed, feet in the sandy grass, "Now, Angie, baby darling honey angel goddess....I thought you'd have learnt by now - You can't solve all of this country's socio-economic problems through foreign investment."
She shakes her head, delicately, "No. I need the money to fund my gambling addiction for just one more day."
"Oh. Here you go, kiddio." He hands her the cash, plus a little something extra, "Just remember - Spend it wisely. No more betting on the lame horses simply because you feel sorry for them. In fact, quit betting on the lame horses, period. It's not only you losing out to dogmeat."
"No more 'Forlorn Hope'. No more 'Dead Skunk'. Definitely no more "Lost Cause Number Nine'."
"I understand. Although I did break even on 'Hell's Coming For Your Coins'."
"Can't deny that."
The Director, a short, impassioned individual with an unhealthy air of authority about him, crouches down between his two stars and hands out the script, "Shut up and listen: We got a situation developing here. Firstly, the script is only half finished. The writers have gone native on me; No time to explain. Secondly, the filmstock has been eaten by kiwis - And I don't mean the support staff. This means that we're running low on usable film. But don't worry, I've got that covered and, Bruce, you'll still be paid. Thirdly and finally, the show's been cancelled, so we're gonna make this the most amazingly spectacular finale ever seen by humankind. Within budget restrictions. Wha'd'ya think? Nevermind, I don't care what you think, you're just mobile scenery."
The Director calls to his downtrodden sap of an assistant, "Terry! Get me some ideas for what to put in this episode. I want them big, bold and within budget restrictions. Contact those geeks off the Net and give them a real job writing for Renaissance Pictures. Make sure they're willing and able to work for peanuts. Then run over to the stable and drag Bruce's stunt double out of his drunken stupor. We have a picture to shoot, goddamnit!"
The clueless Terry crosses his arms, "What did your last slave die of?"
There is the sound of a sonic boom as the order is carried out.
They bring on the stunt double. He is 6' 3" and looks even more handsome than Mr. Bruce Campbell Shock! Horror! Is such a thing truly possible?! Surely the stars will fade from the sky and the Earth will begin to spin in reverse?! The cameras roll and the stuntman dutiful leaps down from the horse and is smacked in the face by an uprooted tree held by one of Brogard's hefty goons. He collapses to the floor, holding his broken nose, "I can't take this no more!"
"Quit complaining! You look terrific!" Screams the Director, "Keep rolling! On to the next!"
The poor stuntman puts his feet under him and climbs up a nearby tree as the soldier laughs heartily and chases after him. The soldier strikes the tree trunk with such a force that the stunt double falls from the branches and brakes every major bone in his body.
Thinking quickly, the Director summons an emergency helicopter to lift the man off-set. Flying seven miles out to sea, it finally drops him into the waves far below, his mangled body to be eaten by small fish. And eels. And plankton. And the plankton's best friend's cousin who once had a fling with that bit of alright from the lower depths. Very tasty.
The Director barks orders and the next stunt is set up, "Terry! Get me another stuntman!"
They bring on a short albino woman with incandescent red hair and a beard. She frightens the horses.
"Let's go amigos!" she hollers in a brutal voice designed to punish her larynx for some past indiscretion.
"Get this stuntwoman a cape and mask!"
Dressed to kill, Viva la Senorita puts all of her heart into the obligatory fight scene, showing faultless swordsmanship as she fends off a dozen soldiers, "Uno! Dos! Tres! Cuatro! Ha ha ha ha ha! Aha!"
Bruce is looking worried, the Director puts a hand to his shoulder, "No need to fret. Fret leads to stress. Stress leads to ill-health. Ill-health leads to compensation lawsuits. Don't fret. The sound-tech people are playing up again. Demanding we pay them something, but we'll just dub everything in post-production."
Bruce can't watch, it's too painful.
Brogard rides into the fray, his horse trampling over the limbs of his fallen French army as he aims a musket ball between the eyes of his nemesis, "I shall so enjoy ending your life."
The Daring Dragoon yanks the gun from Brogard's hands and with a spirited cry of "Viva la Mexico!" wrestles the horse to the ground like a pro. The horse looks bewildered.
"Cut! OK, Bruce, you're up next," he drags the fully-costumed actor up and over the mass of soldiers, "Right. Stand here. You do know your line, don't you?"
"Close enough." He bounds off-camera, "Action!"
Bruce waves his sword at the fallen foe, "It isn't that easy to capture....The Daring Dragoon!"
"Cut! Print! Lunch!"
"Since you're going to be acting in this next scene, let me give you the details, now shut up and listen!"
Bruce: "I'm listening."
Angela: "I'm shut up."
"Good," smiles the Director, "This is what the cheapo fan fiction writers have come up with as our last ever story...."
There is a pregnant pause, then, "....Emilia gets laid."
"How unexpected, boss."
"And not by the Daring Dragoon."
"There's a new masked man in town. A rogue, a hero, a completely unknown individual. He seduces Emilia in the soft moonlight and they spend some quality time together. Emilia tells Jack to take a hike and he flits. So, maybe we can all get together sometime in the future, depending on where he flits off to. Not you, Angela, you don't count. You should go do porn or something. Better yet, get into daytime TV, you won't bother anyone there and can grow old with a fair degree of dignity still intact."
"I protest on her behalf....She's still got a few good years left in her."
"I can protest on my own, thank you very much - I protest!"
"Shut up or else I'll put miss Viva la Senorita in your role."
"Now, are we going to shoot this next scene or do I have to murderise some people?! Huh?!"
"Terry! Where's that camera crew?!"
It is a garden somewhere and it is night. We know it is night because there are no lights anywhere. Emilia sits all lonely and vulnerable on an ornate wooden bench, staring out to sea with a tearful gaze.
There is a rustle of leaves.
"Jack Stiles - Is that you?"
There is another rustle, this time of fallen twigs. A masked stranger, tall, dark and probably handsome, steps out into the moonlight.
"Who are you?"
"Fear not, for I am, uh, the Proud Picarroon! Ah Ha! Yes, indeed I am....and I've come here to save you from a lifetime of solitude. If you'll let me."
He strikes a match with his teeth, creating a curious 'Tuh-fizzzzzzzz' sound.
There is light.
Emilia walks over to him and he comments on her poise, her elan, her beauty.
Emilia is flattered. She allows him to kiss her hand and he falls deep into her eyes, feeling the urge to quote poetic verse, "Beauty itself doth of itself persuade the eyes of men without an orator."
Emilia turns a darker shade of pale red, "Why, gentle sir, you have made an undoing of me."
"I should not want that, oh sweet goddess. To gaze upon your countenance is enough for my humble heart to desire."
Emilia steps in real close, "There are many men in this day and age who would have made mock of my statement. I know one who would have lived for such an opportunity."
"Surely you can see that I am not one of them?" Now he could feel her heat in the night, "You're too good to be true, can't take my eyes of you. You'd be like heaven to touch, I want to hold you so much...."
"Then hold me!" She rushes into his waiting arms.
They begin a long, slow, intimate kiss.
The newly-awakened Director's voice booms across stage, "Excellent work Bruce! Now this is the moment where we'll bring up the romantic score....."
There is whispering off-stage.
"Eh?" asks the Director.
There is slightly louder whispering off-stage. Bruce and Angela continue the scene in the background.
"Oh," says the Director most calmly, "Aw, jeez....Bruce? Hey, Bruce!"
"You know this is 1801, don't ya?"
"Well, not that you aren't doing some sterling work out there, but could bear in mind that you are in 1801?"
Now he holds Angela in a very 1801 kind of way, with passion and frocks and everything.
Eventually, as the camera runs out of film, the Proud Picaroon and Emilia Rothschild pull away from each other, bemused by the looks of the surrounding camera crew, "What? Was that not good?"
"That was great," salivates Terry.
The Director taps a wad of cash against his elbow, a rage growing hot within, "No, it's OK, really. Just, can I have another take? Do you think we could find enough film to do that?"
"I've got nothing better to do with my time!"
"It's just- Nah, it's not worth mentioning."
"No, what's wrong?"
"Could you remember to take off your sunglasses first?"
"Ah....Gotcha," he turns back to his co-star, whispers, "Your turn."
She slips on her wrist watch, whispers back, "Ready!"
"Alright," says the Director to everyone in the immediate vicinity involved in the production, "This is the most goddamn touching final moment in Jack and Emilia's fragile relationship. So let's be professional, let's be sensitive and let's remember that the script is almost ready. As long as those one-handed cyber-surfers get me the goods on time, we should have the entire world begging for more of Jack and Em's antics. The first episode of the next season will be a flashback to now - Emilia can just wake up and find out that she dreamt it all. No....they can both have a shared dream, that'll make it more romantic and we'll suck in the female demographic. Now - Let's do it!"
Jack stands before Emilia, the two masks, those of the Daring Dragoon and the Proud Picarroon, in each hand. His head hangs in shame, "I was going to tell you."
"You were going to tell me when? Before I bore your child or after? And to think you'd even be trustworthy, galavanting off after those...." the final word spoken with disgust, "....WOMEN!"
"I'm telling you baby, you will never find another girl in this heart of mine, deep in my h-"
"A likely story, Mr.Stiles."
"You can read my diary, you're in every line. Jealous minds are never satisfied." She pointed an accusatory finger at him, "You don't have a diary!"
She went quiet, "Not one worth reading...."
A betrayed tone to his voice, "You read my diary?!"
A betrayed look in her eye, "You tore my heart out!"
"I...I will be faithful....and I don't care if the world around us gives up on us, I will make you see, you can count on me-Terry...? - Are you sure these are the lines?"
"It's in the script, isn't it?!"
Bruce scrolls out the shape of the banner which'll be appearing on the news, "I see 'copyright trial' in my future."
"Get on with it."
Angela takes his hand and thrusts it to her bosom, "Yes, get on with it!"
"First you take my heart in the palm of your hand and squeeze it tight, then you take my mind and play with it all night- Terry!"
"Trust me, you're doing great."
He returns his attention to the story, "Em, I was just being the man you wanted me to be. I never meant to hurt you."
"You lied to me. Nothing will change that."
Emilia turns from Jack and moves to look out over the dark waters, "Illusion never changed into something real."
"You're a little late, I'm already torn," Emilia catches herself crying and sweeps out of sight.
Jack sits on the ground, trying on each mask to see which has the best fit, "There she goes with the pieces from my heart. There she goes and now my teardrops start. Who's going to put back the pieces to this lonely heartache and pai- Terry! Can I please have a word with these so-called 'writers'?"
Off-stage: "Sorry, Bruce, they booked."
An assistant to somebody unimportant runs over to Bruce, "Hey, thanks again Mr.Campbell! You know, for doing that thing that you did which I'm real thankful for? Thanks!" The assistant runs off into the night.
"Ah, you're welcome....Whoever you are...."
"Are you sure I'm on the right set?"
Mr. Bruce Campbell is now dressed up as Ash from "Army of Darkness", except he's wearing the mask of the Daring Dragoon.
He swings the chainsaw around a bit, "What's this in aid of again?"
The Director rolls his eyes to the high heavens and snatches the cardboard chainsaw off his lead actor, "Continuity!"
"Er, yeah. Continuity. How foolish of me....Huh, gee...."
"Don't get sarky. For another dollar we could have hired Ted Raimi...." The Director thinks. (We know he is thinking because he is making humming sounds and stroking his beard. This is a bearded director, by the way. They make them like this in a small Director Factory on the outskirts of Dallas....However, as this director was made in a medium-sized Pinball Factory in Soho, he is apt to do more thinking than beard stroking. But then that's just one of the Universe's many nuances that make up this rich tapestry of depression and inequality that we call "Life").
"Maybe this would have worked better with a female Dragoon....Ellen Degeneres - Now there's a comic performer!" He rushes to scribble Director's Notes on a convenient restaurant napkin. Failing this, he keys his fevered imaginings into his laptop computer.
The cameras roll as the Daring Dragoon, looking less daring with every passing second, (in fact, looking increasing more like an irate actor), stands atop the ramparts to the fort. A native villager rushes up to him and points somewhere out-of-shot, "Look out! They've got Miss Dotchin!" An old boot is thrown. The villager tries again, "Look out! They've got the Lady Rothschild!" Then he studiously pushes the Dragoon off the ramparts.
Cut to: The deathpit zombie beheading scene in Army of Darkness. The Wise Man calls out "Strange one!" and after a bit of belt-strapping chain-climbing, we return to the island of Pulau Pulau (or whatever).
"Cut! Stuntwoman on-set! I haven't got all day! I need to do this stunt NOW! Where is she?! Bruce - Make yourself useful for a change and track her down."
"I can't work like this!"
"Be thankful you're still breathing, you yellow-bellied, sloe-eyed whinger! Now, find my stuntperson!"
Bruce skulks off, muttering contempt under his breath.
The errant woman is quickly found behind the stables, attempting to drown herself in a muddy puddle.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," warns bruce.
"Guh blay!" Comes the bubbled response.
"No, seriously now....Do you remember it raining in the past few days...?"
Viva la Senorita lifts herself off the ground and rushes to dunk her head in the nearest water trough, "Eugh!"
"Why were you attempting suicide when you're urgently needed on set?"
She sits down and starts babbling in unintelligible Spanish.
Bruce frowns. Sits beside her, "Uh....En que puento ayu udar...?"
The fiery stuntwoman takes a moment to stare at him.
"Is it the stress?" He asks, "The day-in, day-out soul-sapping torment of working for that tyrannic despot? The stress of being a little more than....mobile scenery?!"
"Then why were you doing....what you were doing....in the mud?"
"It is my lover, Hernandez."
Bruce gives a sigh of relief, "Aha! I see....It's like that, eh? No need to fear on that score....Give me your sit.rep and I'll give you the solution to all your woes."
"He send me flowers today."
"He send me red roses. Aiai! Such cruelty!"
Bruce is once again frowning, "Ah....The brute! Roses....and red ones at that. But at least you have a well-paid job working for Ren-"
"He is trying to destroy me!"
"O.....K. But at least he isn't the only stuntbeast on this set, so he can't ask the Director for a rai-"
Viva la Senorita explodes into tears. Sort of.
"Er...." Bruce stands, looks around, "Angie? Can you help here?"
In a magical puff of smoke, Angela Dotchin manifests herself behind the stables. She sprinkles faerie dust over both the stuntwoman and the actor,
"No need to be blue,
Think of the stunt!
See how it's true,
Hernandez is just an annoying, irksome, little c-"
"Angie! That's not the kind of help we need right now, is it?!"
Viva la Senorita begins to giggle, "You funny lady."
Angela smiles, "So....Strange little woman....are you going to set yourself on fire and throw yourself over a cliff for me....?"
Face contorted in utter disbelief, Angela vanishes in a purple puff of smoke.
"Hernandez!" Wails the stunt woman.
Bruce attempts to comfort her, "Now, I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but there's nothing wrong with him sending you flowers. It's a tradition, in fact. Time honoured."
"But if he loved me, he would leave me to my work. He knows when I am reminded of him, I cannot do my job. He wants to make me unemploooooooyed!"
An interstellar spacecraft from an incredibly advanced civilisation lands on top of the stables. After three seconds determining that there is nothing of interest on this planet, they leave.
"Have you told Hernandez how this is making you feel?"
"I do not ever speak with him."
"Then maybe he's just trying to get your attention."
"You know what they say: 'Faint heart never won fair lady'."
"Then why he not wrestle bulls for me?"
"Uhm....Perhaps he's in fear for his life. He might be fragile when it comes to large horned creatures charging towards him."
The stuntwoman says something unintelligible. In Spanish. Again. Then stands up, ready for action. She nods decisively, "Fuego!"
"That's the spirit," He jumps to his feet, calls out to the crew, voice suddenly toneless, "OK, guys, let's flame the stuntbeast."
A merry cheer goes up from around the set. The horses relax a little.
In an unexpected twist of fate, a nearby migrating volcano covers the set in layers of white-hot lava, providing an excellent conclusion to the concern of Napoleon's forces in the East Indies. Many extras are hideously killed in the event, but as they are still in costume, the Director decides the best way to honour their memory would be to televise the footage of the screaming and the death.
Three months later: The cost of the copyright infringement paid off through Angela's fortuitous win on the 7004-1 outsider "Not Gonna Die" has meant no more jail time for the cast and crew of the now astronomically popular family entertainment show "Emilia of All Trades".
Viva la Senorita has found gainful employment in the shark-devouring industry and owes it all to Mr.Bruce Campbell, who just happened to have said the right thing at the right time.
The Director has died under mysterious circumstances, having been stabbed, shot, poisoned, gassed, hanged and drowned. The mystery is why having no soul to speak of has prevented him from continuing in his chosen profession.
Bruce Campbell is now working on the fourth Evil Dead movie and is a recognised collector of knives, guns, prescribed medicines, airborne toxins, fancy ropes with knots in them and, um, water. But I'm not infering anything from this. You ain't seen me, right?
The characterisation within this story is a complete work of fiction and any resemblance to persons living, or formerly living, is highly unlikely. And the lyrics aren't mine.