Content copyright © 2019 Robert Jack

Marc studied their faces, most of them still glued to the viewer long after the holo-vid flickered out. He'd been trying to gauge their reaction from the moment he hit play, but they offered nothing more than stunned silence. It could be interpreted either way. He took a deep breath. “So?”

 

Nina was first to speak. “I guess I don't understand,” she said. “What did we just watch, exactly?”

 

“That was it. That was the pilot.”

 

“But it wasn't real,” one of the nameless suits said.

 

“No,” he said, “it wasn't. That's the whole point. This is a product of imagination. My imagination. It's what our viewers have been waiting for, what all of us have been waiting for.”

 

Nina jabbed a bony thumb at the projector “And those people?”

 

“Actors. I paid them to say and do things that I'd written beforehand. They memorized it and acted it out during filming.”

 

“Paid them?” she snorted. “Hopefully that came out of your pocket.”

 

Marc sank into his chair. He knew this had been a risk, and apparently he'd deluded himself into believing it would actually pay off. He looked beyond the dumbfounded expressions leveled against him and watched taxis lifting off in the rain.

 

“I'm sorry, Marc,” Nina said at last. “I just can't imagine anyone paying to watch something that isn't real.”

 

“I agree,” another suit said. “People don't want to sit down and watch some idiotic fantasy. That's what drugs are for.”

 

Nina offered a conciliatory smile. “What about that pitch you made last fall? Some sort of hidden camera weight gaining competition or something. What was that called?”

 

“Fat House,” Marc said with a sigh.

 

“Yes, that's the one. Fat House. That's the sort of thing this network is looking for. Tell us more about Fat House.” 

 

Copyright (c) 2015 Robert Esckelson