To oblige his friend Norton Platt, and maybe to make a little bit of the cash that electronic musical compositions like Untitled #23 haven’t been bringing in, Jason Keltner agrees to babysit Paul Reno (with whom his friendship had cooled when Paul slept with Jason’s ex) by inviting him to rent a vacant apartment in Jason’s building. Why would a grown man like Paul need a minder, even among the fleshpots of Pasadena? If Jason ever wondered—he never does—he’d find out when (1) Huey Benton, the virtual reality star of the party he takes Paul to, drops dead after too much booze and too hard a fall on the party floor, and (2) armed strangers show up at Marengo Manor the next morning demanding “the item” (all right, it’s actually a dongle) from Paul, or Jason, or anybody, and Paul turns out to be missing. If Jason were a kid, this would be his cue to break out his Captain Midnight Decoder Ring, but since, like Paul, he’s a grown man, he hooks up with his neighbors Robert (the really tall actor who plays chess) and Martin (the underemployed artist) to track down the item before the nefarious creatures of Synervision can vaporize Paul. Although Snyder (Show Control, not reviewed) throws in three deadly Ford Tauruses and at least as many Mexican standoffs, the good guys spend less time battling the bad guys than sniping at each other. The title says it all: determined postmodern whimsy for those in the mood.