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the double situation

You can't escape her.

the double situation

Hollywood is calling you, and you are drawn out of your burrow-like Nebraska home to the bright lights, the big city, the acres of cement and sea of smog. Working your way through the ranks (gopher, extra, continuity girl, bit-part) you finally see a casting call for your dream role: "NEEDED: Milk-fed Midwesterner type for starring part in midseason replacement sitcom/action/drama. Willingness to perform unspeakable acts onscreen a plus." You can feel in your bones that this is what you've been waiting for, and blow your life savings on a haircut and a new sweater vest for the audition.

And you get the part. You banish all nostalgic thoughts of your tumbleweed-bespattered hometown and your babushka'd mother and prepare to spend the next few years commuting between the set and your mobile home two traffic-clogged hours away. After your agent tells you the good news, she claps you on the back and says, "You're gonna be big, kid," and then advises you to lose the sweater vest pronto.

The program you are starring in airs Mondays at 8:30/7:30 central on NBC affiliates and is called "The Mayney Tales." Although this title brings to your mind images of ruddy gnomes emerging from mushroom huts and mermaids' tails glittering in the sun as they leap over the water, the show is in fact a action-filled bloodbath about a triple agent for the FBI pretending to infiltrate the Kyrgystani mafia, which is operating out of the agent's fourth-grade daughter's music classroom. Although most of the show consists of life-threatening stunts and degrading song-and-dance bits, you are fortunately asked only to handle the latter, due to your extreme fear of fire, heights, pointy objects, speed, and blunt objects. Your stunt double, Starlee, takes care of all the dirty work with cocky style and grace, while your thespian talent shines.

"The Mayney Tales" rockets upwards in the ratings. Within the space of a month your face is plastered on the cover of every respectable newsweekly and you are hailed as the savior of all things televisual. Soon you have a burgeoning fan club, which becomes progressively scarier and more obsessive, until finally you are afraid to leave your brand-new mansion.

"If one more screaming teenager asks me to sign her sequined bomber jacket, I'm going to quit," you say hysterically to your agent one day in your Edwardian dining room. You tremble a little bit as you hear that someone is rhythmically ringing your doorbell and rattling the deadbolt.

Your agent reminds you that if you quit you wouldn't have nearly enough funds to maintain your high-powered lifestyle. But she does offer you a solution: trade places with your stunt double. True, it's dangerous, but it's also dangerous to have fourteen-year-old boys waving Central Asian brass knuckles in your face all the time. The real issue is whether you'd be able to relinquish the role of Mayney to that uspstart Starlee, while you're relegated to the dust-heap of stunt work. Would you rather live the life of a terrified recluse than see Starlee's oh-so-similar face adored by millions?

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