Snakes and Pills

105 - fanning

kay, here's a gimmick for you," said a stocky old man as the elevator doors slid open. "You're a family man, you are after all, now old enough to be a family man," he continued as he followed a handsome, taller man through a hallway, past strings of offices. His last comment drew a quick facial expression of ire from the apparently family-aged man, but he continued on down the hallway. The stocky man continued on with his proposition, undeterred by the one facial rebuke he had already received.

"But you're also someone that the community comes to. You know, for advice with their problems? Maybe a pastor or counselor or something." The duo arrived at an anonymous wooden door, and the tall man pulled out a key from his pocket and effortlessly unlocked the door and entered the room.

They both slipped into the room, which appeared to be yet another office. The tall man took his seat behind the desk, which was terribly disorganized. Messy stacks of paper and other documents appeared ready to tumble down without a moment's notice. The stocky man closed the door behind him and continued rambling while he, too, took a seat.

"So, you see, you've got lots of opportunities to help people with their problems, and a lot of the show's storylines could come from that. But on the other side you've got your family to deal with too, and we could build some drama from that. I'm tellin' ya, people would eat it right up." There was an awkward pause, and then the stocky man finally got up the nerve to ask, "So, Max, what do you think?"

The tall man, Max, rubbed his fingers around the bottom of his chin for a few seconds, pondering deeply. "Well, a couple of things," he finally replied. The stocky man eagerly lit up at Max's words. "Yeah?! Like what?"

"For one, I don't want or need any gimmicks. What I need is just one solid, good role to get me back on my feet. A part critics will applaud me for, instead of that latest schlock you booked me in."

The stocky man was now somewhat tempered, since Max's first comments did not make him sound very enthusiastic about his idea. But, he sat there, still waiting, still hopeful that Max had more to add.

And he did: "Secondly, and fortunately," the stocky man's eyes lit up a bit as that word rolled off Max's tongue, "I'm not really sure that anything you said actually qualifies as a gimmick at all."

In light of what Max had just said, the stocky man read this as a compliment, and was quick to agree. "Yeah, no gimmick. Just an idea. That's all."

"Yeah, just an idea," Max echoed. "A terrible idea. I mean, it's not even original. It's been done, man, and done to death I might add. If that's my manager's idea of my comeback, my triumphant return to glory, then I might as well just throw in the towel right here and right now."

The stocky man slumped back into his chair, the blow from Max's words every bit as physical as a blow from a fist.

A much longer awkward silence passed over the small office this time. Finally, Max, sensing that his words had sucked a little too much wind from his manager's sails, spoke up. "Look, I know you're trying. But, it's just, garbage like this isn't going to cut it. I need that one silver bullet, the one golden role to bail out this sinking ship."

"I know, Maxie. I know," the stocky man replied.


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