6 months ago

Double Feature

Slow down, my inner

Slow down, my inner voice tries to warn me. Think before you speak. You are still new to this game. You are not quite there yet to throw your weight around. “So you want me to kill one of the lead characters?” I ask, just to make sure I calm down a lit-tle. Ed nods. “Sure, what’s wrong with that?” I take a deep breath in before slowly exhaling. Deep breathing helps me to calm down. “I think it’s too early in the show to kill one of the three brothers.” I pause and think. “The show is about three brothers. What’s the point of killing one of them already?” Although, as I think about Ian’s performance the other day, I’m tempted to grab this golden opportunity and kill him. It would almost be a pleasure. As I dwell on this, I start warming to the idea. Ian, if I am brutally honest, is hopeless. “Don’t be silly,” Ed’s voice stops me mid-thought. “What’d you mean?” I must have missed something. “The killing thing. People love to see someone get killed off. It brings ratings. You’ll see.” I’m still not convinced. Something doesn’t sound right about this. And why, as head writer, do I not get a say in this? “But the show has only been going for one season. I can’t see the point in killing one of the key characters already.” I try and make my point. “I don’t want to kill one of them already. Maybe later, maybe when the time’s right.” “You need to kill one of them.” Ed sounds firmer now as though no further discussion will be entered into. “The network expects it, and don’t forget who’s funding this project and with it, your job.” His words feel like a threat. My heart beats a little faster. I don’t want to lose this job. “Looks like I don’t have a choice then, do I?” I mutter and try to hide my disappointment. I had different views of how the story should progress, and it didn’t involve killing one of my characters. “Of course you have a choice, baby cakes.” Ed is smiling his sleazy, slimy smile now. “You al-ways have a choice.” Puzzled, I look at him. “You can choose which one to kill off.”

I prick my ears, and my mood lightens just a little. Ian, I will kill Ian. While his character is a great character, Ian as an actor is hopeless. I can’t understand how he has gotten as far in the acting world as he has. “I–” I start, but it’s as if Ed has read my mind. He interrupts me. “You can kill any of them…except Ian.” Openmouthed, I stare at Ed. Did he really just say I can’t kill Ian? Where’s my choice then? Before I can say anything else, Ed’s mobile interrupts the two of us. Without another word, he leaves my office, mouthing something like “got to take this.” When the door shuts behind him, I feel like screaming, but I refrain myself. Swear words leave my mouth, and I pick up my stress ball. Instead of squeezing it, I throw it at the large window looking out over Venice Beach. I push my chair back and go to retrieve my stress ball. I don’t go back to my desk straightaway. Instead, I lean my forehead on the glass and stare at the people lying on the beach, playing beach volleyball, jogging, and walking. Do those people, some of whom no doubt watch my show The Kings, really want one of the brothers killed? And if so, why can’t it be Ian? Ian’s the weakest out of the trio. He has nothing on Brad and Scott. Why is Ian “off-limits,” as Ed put it? If I didn’t know any better, I’d say it’s because Ed’s got a thing for Ian…but I know that’s not the case. In the end, I walk back to my desk and try one more time to start writing. I put the whole “get-ting rid of one my lead characters” to one side. Unfortunately, I cannot think of anything other than Ed’s words. “Ian is off-limits.”

Best prepared for double features. - Osram Sylvania