By Alisha Mobley
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It was a time of rejoicing and celebration for each and every soul living in Sherwood.
For many years, good King Richard remained overseas fighting in the crusades. His brother, the evil Prince John, ruled the land with such hate that no English resident could live in peace and safety. The only hero, Robin Hood, and his merry men worked hard bringing justice to the land, all the while praying for the King’s safe return.
One warm day in June, the warriors’ prayers were answered. Miraculously, King Richard returned, unharmed, to Sherwood. Upon learning of his brother’s evil doings Richard banished Prince John and his evil soldiers from Sherwood and Nottingham forever. The people of the English countryside could finally live in harmony (and Robin and his warriors finally got the break they deserved!)
For three days and three nights, the people of Sherwood celebrated. Robin and his people held their own special celebration in camp in which the Friar made his famous berry ale. Truth to tell, Robin and the other warriors got pretty tipsy.
The third evening of the celebration left a loose Robin craving sleep. It had been 24 hours since he’d even been in his own hut, much less his own bed. That night, as the commotion died down like the embers of the camp bonfire, Robin stumbled to his quarters. The woolen and rabbit’s fur looked so inviting that Robin didn’t even bother to shed his leather fighting vest. Instead, he pulled back the bed sheets and fell into the cot like he could sink into it and sleep forever.
And sleep he did.
This is the story of his dream.
As soon as he closed his eyes, Robin felt himself being gently shaken awake. Oh no, please, he thought as he tried to ignore the potential threat. Not now! I have to sleep!
Robin pushed the "enemy" away with his strong hands and attempted to roll over in bed. But whoever the "enemy" was, he or she wasn’t giving up.
"Matthew, darling!" peeped an angelic voice. "You must get up, the convention is today you know!"
Robin groaned, grabbed his down pillow, and pushed it over his head. Incoherently to the "enemy", Robin mumbled oh Gods, I fought this long. Least I can take is a little extra sleep!
The "enemy" with the angelic voice felt helpless and Robin began to emit tiny snores from under his pillow.
She slid down onto the silk comforter, the lace of her eggshell white nightgown brushing Robin’s tanned back ever so slightly. On the other side of the bed stood an elegant oak nightstand with a large alarm clock on it. The "enemy", a girl with soft, curly brown hair, grabbed the alarm clock and quickly set it 2 minutes ahead. Then she stuck it under Robin’s pillow and waited.
Exactly 120 seconds later it went off. The ringing was so loud that Robin sprang from the bed, falling flat on his face as he slipped on the corner of the comforter.
The girl stood up and folded her arms in satisfaction. "I knew that would work, Matthew honey!"
Robin rolled over slowly and eyed the ceiling, expecting to see the usual wooden planks of his camp hut. Instead he saw a smooth, snow-white painted wall. The hero rubbed his eyes hard and tried to focus but everything was slightly blurry. "I must be dreaming still," he muttered as he tried to lift himself up off the softly carpeted floor.
The girl bent down, grunting slightly as she helped Robin up. When Robin was standing he noted her familiar face and smiled warmly. "Oh Marion, what’s with the urgency? I thought we got some time off!"
The girl tilted her head to the left and raised an eyebrow. "Matthew, honey, are you all right?"
Robin ignored her question as he eyed her attire. Marion was wearing an absolutely stunning nightie with lace that reached all the way to her slim ankles. Definitely not her usual dress. "What happened to the red leather?" Robin asked.
"Uhhh," Marion stuttered, "You know I’m not into that kind of stuff Matthew."
Now it was Robin’s turn to be surprised. "Matthew?" he squeaked.
"Listen," Marion said as she turned on her heel and strode over to the mirrored closet. "The television convention is today and you know what your agent said. You HAVE to be there." Marion began digging through the various articles of clothing hanging in the closet. "You have to look smashing you know".
Robin stood rooted to the spot by a combination of fear and surprise. "What?" he asked.
Marion whipped around and stuck her hands on her hips, frowning. Then her frown dissolved into a smile, and she leaned forward to kiss Robin on the cheek. "My little joker," she said proudly. She turned to leave the room. "Now remember, Matthew you have to be dressed and ready to go by 10:00. Don’t be late!" Marion paused, her hand on the bedroom doorknob and said, "Oh, and by the way, he looks happy this morning."
Robin watched Marion leave and shut the door behind her. Then he looked down and turned absolutely red.
He was completely nude.
Robin spent a good hour going through the mysterious bedroom and looking over every material possession he could find. It was a true palace; the sheets on the bed were made of pure silk. All of the clothes hanging in he closet seemed to be spun of the Gods’ hair. Robin found a strange box sitting on the top of a wooden crate of come sort that, when you touched it, clicked on and transported faces and words into the room. Robin even located a small plastic unit that controlled this strange box.
He then found the ringing box that had given him a rude awakening and saw that it had the numbers 937 carved into it. Strange, Robin couldn’t feel the numbers as he ran his hand across the face of the box. Then he watched in awe as one of the numbers changed from a 7 to an 8. A knock at the door startled Robin enough to drop the box on the bed.
Marion poked her head into the bedroom and glared at Robin, who was still pretty much nude save for a pair of shorts he had found and managed to slip on the correct way.
Marion walked quickly into the room and grabbed Robin’s arm. "Darn you, anyway. Look at the time!" She picked up the clock and thrust it in Robin’s face.
"You have to be there in less than 20 minutes!"
"Oh Marion, what’s going on here? When did we leave camp for the palace? Where are we going?"
Marion dropped her arms and stared at Robin with total disdain. "Matthew, who is this Marion you keep talking about? Are you seeing somebody else? Not that it matters we have to get going."
Marion stalked off to the closet and grabbed the neatest suit she could find. All the rest of the nice suits were balled up on the floor having already been investigated by Robin. "I declare, Matthew," Marion mumbled as she went to work dressing Robin. "You are acting like you came from a different time or something."
Robin’s jaw dropped. Nah, it couldn’t be.
A half an hour later Robin was on his way to the official Actors Club of America Convention. The dark silver coach that Marion drove was stunning and Robin was amazed at the interior. Then he saw his first hamburger joint and practically jumped out of the fast wagon. "Oh Marion," he exclaimed, "What is that? I’ve never seen it before!"
Marion looked over at him through tinted sunglasses and grabbed him away from the car door. "Oh honestly, Matthew, knock it off ok? You are scaring me." She paused and then added softly, "It’s a McDonalds. You know that. You should also know that my name is Kate, not Marion. Whoever this Marion girl is, she better watch out."
Robin glanced over at Marion and drew in his breath sharply. She looked strikingly beautiful in a pale blue dress suit with gold and diamond buttons. Truth to tell, she looked like a million dollars driving down the road. Robin cold see other men staring out of their own motorized wagons at her. If anyone should be jealous, it was he.
Robin shifted uncomfortably in his wagon seat. "Boy, the English sure do advance quickly."
Marion rolled her eyes. "Matthew, we’re in Los Angeles. The year is 1999. I have no idea where you have been but we are nowhere near any English people. We’re on our way to the Actors Club of America brunch at the Hilton. If you have a problem with this, take it up with your agent. You might as well thumb a ride home if you don’t go with me because I do not intend to miss this event."
Robin shook his head and sank back into the car seat. He had no idea what was going on. His one true love was calling him Matthew. Who was Matthew? She claimed she wasn’t Marion and both were running around in a totally strange place. Robin was clueless and a little scared. But by the time he got up the nerve to talk to Marion again, she was already pulling up the Beverly Hilton. Robin glanced up at the magnificent building in pure awe. The next thing he knew he was looking up into a pair of clear blue eyes surrounded by a fair face with a head of black hair and a flat red hat on top. His car door suddenly opened and the person who owned the face peered around the window at Robin.
"Please," he said gently, "Let me help you sir." Robin allowed the man to help him out of the car and ran over to Marion who was in the process of getting the car parked.
"Watch the paint," she said coldly as she handed the car keys to the bouncer. Marion then took Robin’s arm and led him inside the grad Beverly Hilton.
The convention, which looked more like a singles party to Robin, was already in full swing in the hotel ballroom. Television and movie stars, none of which Robin knew, were wandering around like zombies with their hands full of refreshments and their minds filled with senseless small talk. At first, Robin was sure he would have Marion…Anna….to tag along with all afternoon. But as she led Robin around the room, smiling and waving to people she knew, Marion became increasingly bugged at something.
Finally she turned to Robin and said "Matthew, honey, mingle. I’ll see you later.". Without another word, Marion turned and left Robin in the middle of the ballroom floor to go talk to another group of men.
Robin felt stranded, almost helpless in the middle of the crowded room. So he made his way over to the refreshment table to mingle with some cheesecake.
Little cocktail weenies, pieces of cake, cups of coffee, banana slices, folds of ham, and other grand foods were laid out on a huge table towards the north end of the ballroom. Robin self-consciously selected a small cookie from one of the shiny silver platters and bit into it. It was a dry as sawdust in his mouth. To wash down the cookie, Robin reached a small cup of coffee and, in the process, ran smack into another partygoer.
"Oh! Excuse me, I apologize" exclaimed the person. She was female, about half Robin’s height and looked to be half his age as well. Robin blushed as he looked the girl over. She couldn’t have been a day over 12, but judging from her demeanor Robin guessed she probably was at least his age.
"My fault, miss," Robin stated flatly. "I needed this coffee for my dry throat and I wasn’t watching where I was going."
The girl tossed her wheat blonde hair and smiled. "No problem. I came over to whet my appetite too." The girl turned and surveyed the refreshment table. Finally she reached a hand out towards the massive plates of ham, and selected a small piece of lettuce lying nearby instead. She turned back to Robin and said, "I have to watch my weight, you know."
Robin looked the girl up and down carefully. She was very thin, almost skeletal, and she was wearing a tiny sports jacket with a very, very short skirt that complimented her shapely but skinny legs. Robin, who preferred girls who actually ate, hid his cool appraisal and stuck his hand out in introduction.
"Well, nice to bump into you. I’m Robi….er, Matthew."
The girl nibbled a small portion of the lettuce piece and wiped her free hand off on her skirt. Then she took Robin’s hand and shook it vigorously, her grip surprisingly strong. "Nice to meet you Matthew. I’m Calista. Calista Flockhart. Perhaps you have seen my show, Ally McBeal?"
Robin thought for a minute. "Ummm, no I cannot say that I have."
Calista shrugged. "It’s a hit, let me tell you. Except everybody now is in an uproar over my short skirts. They say that they are "inappropriate" but I don’t think so. I say if you got it, flaunt it!"
As Calista chatted on, Robin tried to tune her out but a question she asked brought him back to reality.
"What was that?" Robin asked as he focused back on Calista.
"I said, you are here so obviously you are an actor. What shows have you been in?"
Robin’s palms began to sweat. What shows? What was he supposed to tell Miss Flockhart? As she stood there, awaiting his answer, Robin’s eyes frantically swept the room for some kind of idea. He saw a sign hung up on one of the ballroom walls and barely made out the word LOVE. "Uhh, The Love…" Robin glanced at the refreshment table and some banana splits made up in little plastic boats. "…Boat." Robin finished.
"The Love Boat."
Calista began bouncing up and down like a 10 year old on a sugar high. "Oh how nice! What was it like to work with Bernie Kopell? I have always been a fan of his, especially when he was on ‘Get Smart’. He was so intellectually stimulating! But he was sexy as Doc on the old Love Boat reruns. What character did you play?"
Robin wanted to sink through the floor and disappear forever. But he was trapped. So he decided to have some fun with the situation. He smiled broadly, leaned close to Calista, and whispered, "I played Doc. It’s me, Bernie Kopell. I got some cosmetic surgery a few years back. This is my new face!"
Calista’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. "No way." She whispered.
Matthew was hoping against hope that she didn’t believe him and, in turn, she’d leave him alone."That’s right, little lady." He exclaimed, allowing a slight British accent to come through.
To Robin’s surprise and horror, Calista grabbed his arm and pulled him away from the table. "Ohmigawd! I cannot WAIT to introduce you to the other actors in here. What an honor!"
Robin tried to protest but it was hopeless. For the next half an hour Calista dragged him around, introducing him to every actor in site. There was Fred Savage, Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, Angelica Huston, Madonna, some guy named Greg Porretta, and even Sir Anthony Hopkins. When Calista introduced the two, Hopkins said "Oh dear, Mr. Kopell, you must tell me the name of your surgeon." Robin again was speechless, but fortunately Calista came to his rescue and dragged him off to another actor. Robin was grateful, sort of.
Before Robin knew it word had spread of his "other" identity. After 30 minutes of hearing his tall tale told again and again, Robin thought Calista had run out of energy. But she wasn’t done then. When Robin spied an open door towards the back of the ballroom, he started over to it. But Calista grabbed him and pulled him back. "I have a surprise for you, Mr. Kopell," she exclaimed. She yanked him hard towards a stage that had been set up on the other end of the ballroom. A podium sat ready to be used. Calista jumped to it and grabbed the microphone.
"Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please?"
Every head in the room turned to Calista and the stage. Robin buried his face in his hands and prayed while Calista continued.
" I know by now you have heard that we have a very special guest with us today. Well, ladies and gentlemen, it’s my honor to introduce to you actor Bernie Kopell!"
The whole room went up in applause. Robin tried to run but he was frozen, too petrified to move. He should have been able to resist Calista’s constant pulling, but he held back as she pulled him up on stage and over to the podium.
"Now I think we need a speech don’t you audience?" Everybody nodded and a smattering of applause echoed through the ballroom. Robin scanned the crowd and saw a shocked Marion standing near an actor Robin remembered as a former martial arts expert named Chuck Norris. Marion turned to Chuck and began talking quickly to him, but Robin couldn’t make out what she was saying. He had no choice but to go ahead with the charade.
Robin cleared his throat. "Umm, well hello folks. I guess I have to explain how I got this way right?"
"Just a moment!" Came a voice from the back of the ballroom. Everybody in the ballroom turned to look at who spoke. Robin himself wasn’t surprised to see it was Chuck Norris who had spoke. Next to him stood Marion, who looked as thought she was barely keeping her fury contained.
Chuck began towards the podium in a slow run. When he got there he pushed Robin out of the way. "Excuse me folks, but I have been informed by this man’s wife that he is NOT Bernie Kopell, never was and never will be."
Calista, who stood behind Robin holding his arm, now ran forward in his defense. "He is too! You can see it in his face!"
Chuck folded his arms. "Look at him, Miss Flockhart. Does he look like Bernie Kopell to you?"
"Don’t judge a book by its cover," she retorted.
"Wife?" Robin shrieked.
"Oh so you don’t remember getting married but you DO remember changing
your face, eh Mr. Kopell?" Chuck started towards Robin but Calista threw
herself between the two men. She did so with such force that she bumped hard
into Robin, sending him crashing backwards off the stage. He fell to his
back and was knocked out cold. The concerned cries of the partygoers were
the last thing he heard.
"AHHHHHHHH!!!" Robin woke up screaming. He was afraid he would either find himself beaten to a pulp by Chuck Norris or lying back in the fancy bedroom he shared with his…wife? But Robin saw his camp tent. He was lying on rabbit furs, not satin sheets. The same wooden planks that held the building together were in place as real as Robin himself. He was home.
Robin sighed deeply and placed his hand over his rapidly beating heart. It had to be a dream. Or was it? It was so real. TO be sure, Robin leaped out of his bed and headed out to find Marion.
Everything was back to normal. The cars were gone, everyone was dressed in old leather and not polyester and cotton. Robin found Marion on the outskirts of the camp showing one of the youngsters how to shoot an arrow. Robin was unsure of what just took place, so he decided to prove to himself that it was all a dream.
"Good morning, Marion," Robin said.
Marion turned to him and smiled warmly. "Good morning, Robin! Good to see you up!"
Robin cleared his throat. "Marion, I have something to ask you."
Marion smiled again, sure of what he was going to ask her. "Why Robin! You have nothing to be afraid of! Ask away!"
Robin grinned back. "Well, Marion, have you ever heard of a place called Los Angeles?