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"The Pool Guy" is the ninth episode of the science fiction television series 2002 revival of The Twilight Zone. The episode was first broadcast on October 16, 2002, on UPN.

It seems to have been inspired by Shadow Play and is one of the most popular episodes in the 2002 series.

Opening narration

"Name: Richard Almares. Job description: Pool guy. In just a moment, Richie's mundane daily routine will become a never-ending nightmare, one that will give new meaning to the word victim. That nightmare begins now in the Twilight Zone."

Plot summary

A pool cleaner named Richie reads a headline, "Senseless Murder Stuns City, Killer Still At Large". When he looks up a man in a suit tells him to "wake up" and then shoots him in the chest. Right as he falls to the ground he wakes up in bed as if it were all a dream. His friend, Lenny, points out that he has a wound on his chest, right where he got shot in his dream.

He goes to get the wound checked out the by the doctor. His doctor tells him that he should see a psychiatrist. The doctor goes to get a colleague of hers. While she is away, Richie looks at his medical record. He sees "Anger Management Problems". When the doctor comes back, she brings in the same man who shot Richie before. Again the man tells Richie to wake up and guns him down. When he wakes up, Richie has another wound in the place where he got shot the last time.

He goes to work and starts cleaning out pools. A woman comes out of the house, dressed only in a swimsuit, and comes on to him. This woman is the wife of the man who owns the house. He catches them kissing. Richie recognizes him as the man who keeps shooting him in his dreams. He begins to beat up Richie. As Richie is getting up, he is all of a sudden in a laboratory-esque place. A man tells him that he is at VirtuaCorp and he is part of a new dream therapy to study his dreams. Again the man with the gun comes in and says "wake up". Richie is once again shot and wakes up. Lenny comes in and gives him a letter from VirtuaCorp. It is a bill for over $12,000 worth of therapy. He goes to VirtuaCorp and tells them that he did not authorize any dream therapy sessions. He gets very angry with the secretary and she says that she will find someone who can help him with the problem.

When she leaves, he goes into a back room, that leads to stairs, that leads to the room that he had woken up in earlier. He looks on all of the computer screens and he sees the places he had been in his dreams. He watches a news report where a man who is killed by a pool cleaner, the same man who has been killing him in all his dreams. The reporter says that the pool cleaner allegedly broke into the man's home and shot him and that they have arrested the suspect. Richie sees himself on the news report being put into a police officer's car.

A security breach alarm goes off and Richie gets chased out of the building. His car will not start and when he looks up he sees the man again. The man says "wake up" and shoots Richie. He wakes up in his bed again and Lenny tells him that the police are in his living room because they suspect that he killed Mr. Hunt, the man who keeps killing him in his dreams. The police bust into his room and the police officer who has a gun to him is the same man again. Richie begs and apologizes for killing him but the man shoots him again.

This time, Richie does not wake up and is instead back in VirtuaCorp, which is revealed to be a laboratory designed as a remedy for prison overcrowding by killing criminals. A female scientist is telling Mrs. Hunt, the wife of the man that Richie killed, that Richie is undergoing a sleep paralysis that gives Richie recurring nightmares of being shot, which will ultimately kill him.

Closing narration

"Richie Almares' prison has no walls, no bars, not even a single guard. It's simply a state of mind from which there can be no escape. Sweet dreams, Richie."

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