I was watching THE DARK KNIGHT again recently, and during the scene where the character known as “The Chechan” walks into the big mob meeting, it occurred to me that he somewhat resembled Heath Ledger’s “The Joker” from behind. Then the phrase “the Joker from behind” got stuck in my head.

As I repeated it over and over to myself, it started to sound kind of like “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”, that cool 60s spy series with Robert Vaughn. So then I pictured the phrase as “The Joker From B.E.H.I.N.D.”, and for the next several hours I kept wondering what the hell kind of super spy organization would have such a stupid-sounding acronym as “B.E.H.I.N.D.”? And why would their main secret agent be called “The Joker”?

Before you knew it, I had dashed off a series treatment called “The Joker From B.E.H.I.N.D.” and arranged a meeting with J.B. Chickenstein, the executive in charge of programming for NBC. Later that afternoon in his office, he looked at me across his desk and asked, “What is this series about, porfle?” and I answered, using some Sesame Street hand puppets as visual aids:

“Well, J.B., it’s about a secret agent who works for a super-secret spy organization known as B.E.H.I.N.D., which stands for ‘Bureau (of) Espionage, Headquarters In North Dakota.’ But they’re not really in North Dakota, see–that’s just a clever ruse to throw off their enemies. Their number one agent, around whom the series will revolve, is an ex-Navy Seal and international martial arts champion known as ‘Joker’ Johnson. Not sure if we can afford him or not, but in the lead role I see…David Hasselhoff.”

“Hasselhoff, eh?” broke in J.B. as he stroked his chin thoughtfully. I marvelled at how smoothly J.B.’s famous catchphrase, which he had been uttering intermittently against his will ever since being attacked by squirrels one day in Central Park while eating a ham sandwich, had worked itself into our conversation. Usually it stuck out like a sore thumb, as in the time Rachel in Accounting announced that she was pregnant and J.B. responded, “Hasselhoff, eh?”

“Yes, he is the only possible choice,” I asserted, showing J.B. a cut-out doll I’d made of “Joker” Johnson with David Hasselhoff’s head pasted on it. I moved it around on the edge of the desk to simulate walking, which seemed to elicit a positive reaction.

Suddenly, J.B. buzzed his secretary. “Vera, get security. Tell them there’s an impostor in my office, pretending to be porfle.” He sat back warily and shot me a suspicious glare. “Hasselhoff, eh?” he accused.

I stood up angrily, crumpling the doll in my trembling fists. “Curses!” I shrieked. “For years I’ve labored to perfect my porfle impersonation! Not to mention the endless sessions of painful plastic surgery! What in the galloping blue blazes gave me away?”

J.B. gave me a smug look as he toyed with a pencil. “You overlooked one thing,” he explained. “You, my friend, are left-handed. Whereas porfle, as everyone knows, is right-handed.”

“But,” I sputtered, “I’m NOT left-handed. I’m right-handed, just like porfle.”

“Oh,” said J.B. “I thought you were left-handed. Well then, let’s just call it a lucky guess.”

Just then, two burly, armed security guards burst through the door. J.B. stood up and pointed at me. “Get him!” he ordered. “He’s a porfle impersonator!”

The guards gasped in shock, then advanced with nightsticks and handcuffs at the ready. I sprang from my chair and leapt catlike onto J.B.’s desk. “You’ll never take me alive!” I screamed, executing a thrilling kamikaze dive right through the open window. A sudden wave of terrifying vertigo swept through my body as I found myself in mid-air, rushing helplessly toward the ground. Then I landed in some bushes outside of J.B.’s window, which, fortunately, was on the first floor.

More security guards were already pouring out of the front door as I scrambled to my feet and sprinted toward the fabulous porfmobile, which was double-parked in back of a hot dog stand. Leaping into the cockpit, I flicked a switch to activate shields and punched the power-up button. The porfmobile roared to life like a surging beast and made my seat vibrate really hard, which felt awesome. I looked over at Robin, the Boy Wonder, who was pressing buttons on his control panel.

“Reactor to power!” he cried. “Turbines to speed!” He sat back in his seat and braced himself for the sudden burst forward.

I gaped at him in surprise. “Robin? What the hell are you doing here?”

“I’m ready to help you fight crime, of course!” Robin said breathlessly. “Let’s go!” He sat back and braced himself again.

I pressed the ejector button. A section of the roof blew away and Robin flew upward through the hole like a jack-in-the-box, screaming. He landed headfirst in a garbage can about thirty feet away, which then fell over and started rolling down the hill into traffic.

Suddenly the security guards arrived and started beating on the porfmobile with their nightsticks. Well, I didn’t like that! Springing into action like a coiled cobra, I pushed a button on the door. The power window came down slightly.

“I don’t like that,” I said through the crack. “Would you please stop doing it?”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” said the head guard, lowering his nightstick with an abashed look. “You see, we were just–hey, wait a minute! I don’t care if you like it or not!” He started banging on the porfmobile again and pretty soon they were all doing it.

Well–long story short–I set the controls to emit a sustained burst of deadly radiation which instantly flash-fried the security guards like fish sticks. Then I parked the porfmobile on the lawn across from J.B.’s office, activated my hood-mounted twin M-47 DRAGON Guided Missile Launchers, and blew J.B.’s fat ass to smithereens. I imagined him uttering “Hasselhoff, eh?” one last time as he exploded.

“That’s right, J.B.,” I chuckled, taking off my mask and revealing myself to be none other than David Hasselhoff. “You didn’t know how right you were.” I said it all smart-alecky, too, so it sounded really cool. Then I drove away, admiring myself in the rear-view mirror and thinking of how totally cool it was to be David Hasselhoff. I was doing that when I drove across some railroad tracks and got hit by a freight train, which shattered the fabulous porfmobile into a million pieces. Suddenly I found myself pinned by centrifugal force to the cowcatcher of a speeding train, flying through the outskirts of town as people noticed me going by and said, “Hey, isn’t that David Hasselhoff?” I waved and gave them a “thumbs up”, pretending that I was doing it on purpose.

When the train finally stopped in Butte, Montana, I fell off and took a bus back to my hometown, where the streets were filled with joyous people dancing around celebrating J.B.’s demise, singing “Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead.” I was hailed as a hero. The mayor presented me with J.B.’s ruby bowling shoes, and before long I was skipping merrily along the yellow brick road on my way to the Emerald City. A few hours later I stopped suddenly and thought: “Wait a minute…what the hell am I doing here?” So I turned around and went home.

My cat was mad at me for forgetting to feed her that morning, so I gave her some tuna fish. Then I turned on the TV and sat back in my easy chair to enjoy some fine entertainment. Suddenly a promo for “The Joker From B.E.H.I.N.D.” came on, announcing it as the flagship series for NBC’s new fall season. Damn! J.B. had stolen my idea and sold it to the network before I’d had a chance to blow him up, and now the show was destined to be a big hit without me.

The promo even had David Hasselhoff in it as “Joker” Johnson, which made me realize that I was actually a David Hasselhoff impersonator, which was a huge letdown. My parents, upon realizing that they were actually David Hasselhoff’s parents, disowned me. My cat, who was really David Hasselhoff’s cat, ran away. And I, who was really porfle, vowed never again to use my mind for anything besides looking at internet porn and inventing things that had already been invented, like nuclear reactors and squirrels.

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