A Debt Repaid: In celebration of Star Wars Day on May the Fourth

A Debt Repaid: In celebration of Star Wars Day on May the Fourth

By Paul A. Freeman

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Job-Job Winks was the most loathed character in sci-fi cinematic history. Critics maintained that his makeup was substandard, his acting ability unconvincing, his voice too shrill and that he came across as unremittingly annoying. However, ‘J.J. Winks’ – as the actor was known to both the IRS and the Actors’ Union – finally endeared himself to millions of Cosmic Conflicts fans by saving the lives of both the franchise director and its lead actress.

This is what happened.

J.J. emerged from his trailer, dressed in full alien garb. “My lines suck, Georgia,” he complained. “Come over here. I need to talk to you about it. Now!”

Georgia Lewis pulled herself out of her ‘lucky’ director’s couch. “Bloody prima donnas,” she said for a cameraman and scriptwriter’s benefit, before adding, more loudly: “Okay, J.J., let’s go inside your trailer and I’ll explain to you where I envision the script’s going.”

Seconds later, the cast and crew of Cosmic Conflicts, Episode III, gasped in horror as lead actress Carol Fletcher tripped on a cable and plummeted from an overhead catwalk. Her hysterical screams reverberated through the film studio, ending with a soft thump.

Some believe Carol survived because a divine force slowed her earthbound descent. Others claim the director’s couch was just in the right position to break her fall. Either way, the incident entered Cosmic Conflicts folklore, generating much irrational hypothesising at press conferences and sci-fi conventions.

“Was Carol saved by the Cosmic Conflicts’ mystical ‘Power’?” fans inevitably enquired of the director.

“Did you always place your sofa in that exact same spot,” other fans asked, “or was the Power with you on that day?”

Other annoyingly recurrent queries concerned Carol Fletcher suing Georgia Lewis Film Studios for physical trauma, mental trauma and negligence. In addition, there were suggestions that the reclusive actor playing Job-Job Winks had the gift of second sight and had in effect saved Carol’s life through precognition.

*****

Years later, in Georgia Lewis’s New Mexico ranch house, the anaemic and pencil-thin J.J. Winks sat at the ailing director’s bedside.

“I will soon have repaid my debt to you,” said J.J., removing his humanoid prosthetics and makeup. “Your time of natural termination is near.”

Georgia Lewis smiled up at the blue-skinned Falosian alien. “I really should have sent you on a sensitivity training course,” she said, recalling in her mind the night J.J.’s spacecraft crash-landed on her ranch. The incident inspired the then-struggling director into making her first science fiction film.

“You rescued me,” said J.J. “I promised to serve you till your death. You’re now dying. Do you have any regrets, friend?”

“Only the day Carol fell from the catwalk. I let you talk me into repositioning my sofa and then you used that anti-gravity gizmo of yours to slow her fall. Saving that cow’s life cost me millions.”

J.J. sniggered, a response to humour he had learned during his years on planet earth. “Any last requests, friend?”

“Yes, there’s. A lifelong ambition. But only if you’ve finally managed to get that ship of yours space-worthy again.”

*****

The mysterious disappearance of film director Georgia Lewis and actor J.J. Winks, along with numerous UFO sightings around the director’s New Mexico ranch, generated much irrational hypothesising at press conferences and sci-fi conventions. Questions on the subject were all the more annoying to lead actress Carol Fletcher, who much preferred talking about herself.

“Of course they weren’t abducted by aliens,” she would tersely inform Cosmic Conflicts fans. “That’s just plain ridiculous.”

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