"This man really needs no introduction." A cheerful MC held his arm out and gestured at the celebrity making his way onto the stage. "William Shatner!"
The crowd of fans applauded. Some made the Vulcan salute, and yet others screamed, "Denny Crane!"
When the noise died down, Bill leaned on the podium and took a deep breath. Still smiling, he said, "Funny how no one screams T.J. Hooker or 911 when I walk out at these things." He laughed along with the crowd, and then launched into a question and answer session. Most of the questions were about Star Trek, his "feuds" with George Takei and Carrie Fisher, and what he thought of the end of Boston Legal. His whole tone changed when someone asked if he and Spader would ever work together again.
Bill sighed. "He hasn't spoken to me since he watched the first episode of . . . the Show that Will Not Be Named. Nimoy won't take my calls either. I had to throw I am Not Spock in his face, but he countered with Kingdom of the Spiders, and I knew if we went one for one on embarrassments, he'd kick my ass. I make Priceline commercials, for god's sake."
A murmur went through the crowd. Bill held a hand up. "Look, I know the show was a bit . . . underdone. I know the actors who played my sons and my daughter-in-law were . . . overdone. And as . . . that character . . . I was just . . . ." He sighed again. "I was done. You've got me. I was phoning it in. It was a nice check and a chance to be on TV again."
He held his hands up. "It meant that Boston ending wasn't also the end of my career. You can't really blame me for that, can you?"
His eyes met a woman's in the front row. She clutched two dolls in one hand--Spock and Kirk, judging by the tunic colors. Neither of them appeared to be wearing pants. He'd noticed her when he walked out, because he'd sworn she'd been pushing them together as if they were kissing. Or something. She wore a deerstalker and a T-shirt that bore a picture of a giant fish. He had no idea that a little ripcord on the Spock doll, when pulled, had the Vulcan saying, "Captain, the needs of the one must be tended immediately. It's Pon Farr time," or perhaps he would have broken even sooner.
The woman's eyes said that they could blame him. Oh, they most certainly could.
"Shit," he whispered. "I'm sorry." He gestured dramatically, in a Kirk-like fashion, as if Romulans were powering up their phasers and they were on the fringes of the Neutral Zone. "There, I said it. Sorry! Forgive me! I made a mistake, and I won't ever do something like that again. I'll let Spader look at the scripts before I sign contracts, like he suggested, and I'll consult with Nimoy before I get excited about something, so he'll start inviting me over again. I'm sorry for the show, and that I didn't storm out after the first hour of having to play off those other people, and having to bug my eyes out and act as if I might be overmedicated. Please don't hold any of this against me, Captain Kirk, or any of my future endeavors. Thank you."
He stepped away to leave and waved, but then leaned in and added, "While I'm at it, let me apologize for Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. I don't even remember recording that. I think someone dropped something in my drink. Okay, drive safely, everybody. Call me, Leonard!"