The Protagonize Character Placement Agency

Let Rebecca Hargreaves and her staff put your lonely or neglected Protagonize character in just the right environment. Be sure to send your character into the office for a counseling session with one of our friendly placement agents.

Rebecca Hargreaves sighed and switched the phone to her other ear.

"Yes, yes, I know," she said. "I know. But there's nothing I can do about it ... I honestly don't see why you're so concerned about this."

She doodled on a pad of paper while the other party vented further.

"Look, Avery, I don't think you have to worry about that. It's not you, it's the character you played on TV ... Yes, yes, I know that. But that's a different situation entirely ... Look, Mister Shatner is a big boy. I'm sure he can deal with a fictional version of himself being online."

She breathed heavily and looked at the ceiling.

"Yes, the story's been around for a long time, I know ... No, that's well beyond my purview. I can only deal with the Protagonize side of it. Well, to this point, as far as I know, you're not in any stories on Protagonize, so I can't help you ... Like I said, that's a character you played. It's not you."

She leaned back in her desk chair and ran a hand across the top of her head.

"Yes, I will be vigilant for you in that regard ... I promise ... Okay? ... That's the best I can do for now ... Okay ... Thanks, Avery. You take care, now."

Rebecca sat forward, plunked the receiver back in the cradle, and let her head hang forward.

"Actors..." she moaned.

She was about to rise and fetch a cup of coffee when the phone rang again. She hissed at it, then picked it up.

"Protagonize Character Placement Agency. This is Rebecca ... Oh, Hi, Alan ... What? Again? ... No, I thought the Peter Jackson thing was great ... Getting away from the spirit...? ... It's a story about clichés, for God's sake ... Who does he think he is, Viggo Mortensen? ... Well, why should we have to decide whether it's a movie or a TV show? ... It's actually neither. It's a text story on a website. Tell him that."

Rebecca tapped the rubber end of her pencil on the wood veneer surface of her desk. She'd thought she might have merited a real wood desk, but oh, no...

"Oh, not him, too ... Yes, he's a character ... No, he does not get an exemption from that status simply because he can't move ... He has the best lines in the story. What's his problem? ... Alan, he's a stuffed bear, for Chrissakes. How hard can it be to deal with him? ... Oh, really ... Well tell him if he doesn't change his attitude, I'll send him over to Questworld, and he can see how he likes dealing with a wizard named Pickle ... Yeah ... There's so many branches in that thing, he won't know if he's coming or going."

She put the rubber end of the pencil in her mouth and began to chew on it.

"Okay, Alan? Are we good? ... What? ... Oh, her ... Tell her she'll get her memory back when the author's good and ready to give it to her. All right? ... All right ... Take care, Alan ... Goodbye."

Again she laid the receiver to rest, and again she sighed and hung her head. Once again, she attempted to rise for a cup of coffee, but the intercom on the desk buzzed before she could even get her butt an inch off the chair.

She pushed a button. "Yes, Susan?"

"Rebecca," came the voice over the intercom, "There's a Mister Jeeves here to see you."

Rebecca frowned. "Jeeves? ... Oh, he's new, isn't he? ... Okay, Susan, send him in."

A moment later, the office door opened, and a tall, elegant, elderly man entered. He wore a bowler hat and a long black coat.

"Mister Jeeves," Rebecca said as she stepped out from behind her desk. "Please come in." She extended her hand, and Jeeves took and shook it lightly.

"Ms. Hargreaves," Jeeves said, "I do appreciate your taking the time to see me. I know how very busy you must be."

"Not at all," Rebecca said, "Here, let me take your hat and coat."

Jeeves removed his outer garments and handed them to Rebecca, who took them to the corner and hung them on a coat rack.

"Please, have a seat," she said, indicating a chair in front of her desk.

"Thank you very much," Jeeves replied.

Rebecca returned to her desk and sat down. She adjusted her tortoiseshell-frame glasses and flicked back her shoulder-length, copper hair. "So, what can I do for you today?" she asked.

"Well, Ms. Hargreaves," he began.

"Please. Call me Rebecca."

"Oh, how very kind. Very well, then, Rebecca. I have come to seek placement in another story."

Rebecca cocked her head. "Another story. So... you're not happy where you are?"

"Oh, no. It's not that at all. It's quite a delightful piece, actually."

"Then what's the problem?"

"Well, Rebecca, I seem to have... um... 'done my bit', as they say."

Rebecca pursed her lips. "Just refresh my memory here. You were placed in..."

"Joe and Davy's world."

"Right. Joe and Davy. Love that one. Crazy as hell, but it's a hoot."

"Indeed it is. A 'hoot' as you say."

"And you were just placed there recently, am I right?"

"Quite recently, in fact. Mere days ago."

"Right. And they haven't even added a new chapter to that one yet."

"No, indeed."

"Then why are you here? Did they kill you off? I would have gotten a memo about something like that."

"No, no, dear lady. Not at all. I was alive and well when last we saw me."

Rebecca put her hands out, palms up. "Then I don't understand. You're still officially part of that story."

"It's simply the nature of the story that troubles me. I doubt that the milieu of the tale will remain the same for any longer than a few sentences at most. The house and I shall simply disappear and never be revisited again."

"But you don't know that for certain."

"No, but I make my assertion with a reasonable amount of confidence."

Rebecca sat back in her chair and thought about that for a moment.

"Hmmmm," she murmured. "I can see why you'd say that. Based on the chapters so far, I'd have to agree that change is the only constant."

"My concern precisely."

"And you were hoping for something...?" Rebecca let the question dangle for a moment.

"A bit more... stable, shall we say," Jeeves responded.

"Right. Stable. Well, you seem a stable sort yourself, so that makes sense."

"I believe I am -- if I may be so bold -- a rather good character, actually."

"Yes. I quite enjoyed your bit in the Joe and Davy story. It would be shame to lose you." Rebecca pursed her lips and rubbed her chin. "Tell you what. I'll have a look through the files and see if I can't find anything for you. In the meantime, I could use someone around here. You're a butler, right?"

"The best in the business, if I do say."

"Do you make sandwiches?"

"Rebecca, I make the finest finger sandwiches this side of"

"Well, that should work out nicely then. Are you agreeable to the notion?"

"I am indeed. I shall look forward to serving you and your staff."

Rebecca stood and clasped her hands together. "Perfect. When can you start?"


"That's great. Because, you know what? I've been craving a cup of coffee since this stupid thing began."

"Then I shall fetch you one posthaste, madam."

Jeeves rose from his chair and stepped over to the coffee machine near the window.

"Cream, madam?"

"Just a touch."

Rebecca sat back down and leaned back in her chair. Giggling slightly, she put her feet up on the desk. "Madam," she whispered to herself.

She was going to enjoy this.

The End

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