People do the Funniest Things!
Chuck swallowed a handful of prescription pills, then bent down to polish his camera lens. Today was the big day! It was finally time to put his most brilliant plan into action.
Chuck had once worked for the television industry. He had hoped that within the first week of work, he'd be CEO of the TV studio he worked for. Instead, he had been fired after only a few short weeks. "Outrageous," he said out loud, "That woman had the nerve to accuse me of sexual harassment, when all I did was stick my head up her skirt and bite her crotch. I mean, seriously. I didn't even bite that hard!" He had attempted to redeem himself by proposing a brilliant idea for a TV series: forced cannibalism in front of a national audience! But for some reason, the studio seemed not to like the idea. "Such small-minded people," he said, "I'll show them!"
He had decided that he would make his own TV show, and that it would be so irresistibly entertaining that the TV studio would come begging on their hands and knees, asking Chuck's forgiveness.
After a few weeks of brainstorming, Chuck came up with his brilliant idea. He planned to follow innocent, everyday people around, and film the things they did. Then, he'd send the best moments to the TV studio under the name People do the Funniest Things!
He finished polishing the camera and popped it in to a bag. He also put his trusty pistol into the bag. Chuck could always count on the pistol whenever he needed to defend himself, or generally whenever he didn't like someone.
He stepped out in to the street, ready to film.
It wasn't long before Chuck found his first target. An old lady was preparing to cross the road, her aged back arched against the wind and her cane wobbling in the breeze. "Wouldn't it be great TV if something bad were to happen to her!" Chuck thought out loud, alarming several passers-by. Excitedly he clambered on to the top of a car, taking out his pistol for good measure. Slowly the woman traversed the road, cars stopping politely to let her pass by. This was his moment. Taking careful aim with his pistol, and making sure the camera was pointing forward, he unloaded one of the metal slugs into an awaiting van's gas tank.
The result was as he expected. The van blew sky high, fire and debris in all directions, some of it propelling the old woman into the afterlife. What a great way to kick off the series! "This is so good it should be illegal," he said to himself, smiling.
For some reason everyone seemed to be looking at him, many with their mouths open, others halfway through dialling the police. "Excellent!" exclaimed Chuck. People to interview! What's a horrifying explosion worth if you can't milk it for people interest stories?
Grabbing his camera he leapt down from the van. He had so many people to choose from, they were just standing there, ready for the picking like horrified gawping apples. "'Scuse me sir, do you have anything you'd like to say about the explosion, any thoughts?"
"How, how, how could you do su-
"BORING!" yelled Chuck, brushing him aside into the road. "You!" he shouted, pointing at an elderly gentleman. Perhaps he could get a slightly racist opinion on it which he could turn into controversy. Controversy! "What do you make of it?"
"It's bloomin' terrible. I hope they're alright. Do they know who did this?"
Chuck was itching with impatience, these people were boring him. Screw it. He'd create the controversy. "Sir, did you know that these explosions are a direct result of increased immigration from Mexico?"
"That, that doesn't make sense at all."
Chuck sighed. This was a test, surely this kind of every day expectable public reaction was a test of his character. He'd have to turn it up a notch. "Hey, you!" he yelled to a hard looking bloke over the road. "This guy said you sucked off a chicken."
"He said what?" exclaimed the man.
"I must assert I really did not say anyth-
"Yeah and he also said he screwed your daughter last night. In the belly button!"
"But my daughter's only 4," said the man dumbfoundedly.
Chuck pressed his point, "He likes it like that. In fact he's had her entire school, all of them, even the janitor. In the belly button."
It was all happening too fast for the old man. "But, bu- I am the janitor at that school!" he said, puzzled as to what was going on.
"Not no more you ain't!" roared the guy, sprinting across the road with a bike chain. Within minutes an angry circle of parents had formed around the old man, raining punches down upon him. Sweet, thought Chuck. He'd done it. This fight would happily play out for another five minutes, and then the ambulance would come and Chuck could shoot its gas tank! And who said old people were useless?
Chuck watched with a note of satisfaction as an ambulance pulled up and carried off the old man. By a bizarre coincidence the license plate had read ' Wang' . Chuck smiled knowing its place in the series Box-Set was now forever sealed. This situation definitely called for a dramatic musical back drop, but since he had no editing software, and his Spice Girls CD was back at the apartment, he decided instead he'd simply have to scream "BUM BUM BAAAAAA BOM BOM BOM BOM!" into the camera. Which he did, breaking it.
This was no good at all, without a camera the best he could hope for was an artsy quickly thrown together power point piece depicting urban life through rapid sequences of images. He shuddered. He hadn't gone into television to be pretentious. Ever since he was a kid all he'd ever dreamed of doing when he grew up was stitching together a mediocre blend of other shows and selling it to the uncaring public.
"Everybody freeze! We're currently undergoing some technical difficulties right now, so nobody do or say anything memorable until I locate a video camera. Please remain calm, your television service will resume shortly." Chuck called out to the onlookers, waving his pistol blindly. A few exchanged glances.
"Hey Britney, check out my giant boobs!" suddenly voiced one girl to her friend rather audibly, as she struggled to pull her top, emblazoned with 'I HEART MAN JUICE AND PENIS!!! PENIS PENIS PENIS', over her massive rack. He desperately needed that camera, the nipples were already hardening against the cold winter wind and would soon be back within the nurturing protection of her top if he didn't act fast. But where would he get a full television camera at this time? He was too poor to buy one, and without a camera to film the event there was no point in stealing one. The top was being readied for replacement over the jugs. Chuck began to cry. One nipple gone. One and half nipple gone. Two nipples gone. Chuck threw a brick at the lady. She collapsed instantly.
"OH MY GOD SHE'S DEAD!"
"Not even on camera", sighed Chuck, hunching his shoulders in despair. Her friend began walking purposefully in his direction; for the life of him Chuck couldn't think why.
"YOU KILLED MY FRIEND!"
Oh right, that.
"Hey come on", he soothed, narrowly dodging a blow from her Chihuahua-sporting handbag. "It was... a... mercy killing. Yeah! She had swine flu."
"Oh, well bless your heart." She said, hugging him. But he wasn't focussing on that, something bigger was happening here, something even bigger than the breasts of the recently deceased female, which, try as he might, he just could not banish from the corner of his eye. They were so... big.
As soon as he'd dropped the Swine bomb, news crews had sprung out of nowhere, the Channel 96 Round-Up swinging in from a treehouse. "This is Myra Journo, reporting live from the scene. Just moments ago an unidentified member of the public accused someone of having swine flu. The police are treating it as suspicious, and are currently in the process of quarantining the entire area. Remember, the virus spreads through idle gossip so before I continue I must first ask you at home to put on your face masks."
This was just what Chuck needed. All around him were guys with cameras. All he had to do was steal one and he could capture a pose of that fine-breasted, and now severely trodden on, young lady while she was still warm. He was just seconds away from making a polite request to one of the film crews as to loan him some of their equipment, when an idea hit him. He could steal it instead! And then use theft of the camera as a means to publicise his show. This was genius.
Roving around, it didn't take him long to find a reporter filming live. Apprehensively, he made his way into shot and tapped the lady on the shoulder. "Excuse me, Fudge Mountain News is it?"
"Yes dear?" smiled the lady sweetly, much to the annoyance of the camera man.
Chuck punched her in the face. "Thank you for kindly including me in your broadcast" Chuck said, shaking the unconscious lady's leg as if it were a hand. "Viewers at home, I have some very urgent breaking news. Come closer to the TV set. Come closer, don't be afraid. Are you there, come on gramps you too, well, brace yourself people this may come as a shock. Ladies and gentlemen, I'M GETTING MY OWN SHOW!!" screamed Chuck simultaneously deafening many fudge enthusiasts. "YEAH!!" He had ripped his shirt off to reveal a website address painstakingly embedded into his chest with a broken piece of glass. He'd even scraped past the hepatitis he'd sustained from the bottle to make a Braille subheading for blind viewers, in the hope sight-seeing friends would translate it for them. "And in other news an anonymous well-hung soon-to-be presenter makes off with this camera. back to you guys in the studio."
Chuck easily won over the camera man; it was plain to see that creating Chuck's show was much more important than him losing all his equipment and getting fired, and he actively encouraged Chuck to take them from him. Chuck reluctantly agreed. The man wished Chuck well and beat himself up behind the back of some bins in the hope it'd bring him luck.
Chuck was overjoyed: the show was finally back on track. Now he even had the right technology to insert fart noises whenever a fat person tried to move. Humming to himself he set off down the road, zooming in on a Sprite billboard for a ten-minute shot, the master of subtle product placement.
A short while later his eyes refocussed, settling on two blonde women sitting on a park bench. "AWESOME!" he said, "More hot girls!! I hope they're talking about SEX!!!"
He crept up behind them, hoping to record a private sexual conversation.
"You see, it really WAS the most important election of that century," said one of the girls, "The bimetallic standard debate would have tremendous impact on economic policy in the early years of the 20th century."
"Not true at all! The issue was a dodge. The REAL issues at heart were agricultural production and import/export rates."
Chuck was disappointed. They were talking about academics. Nobody wants to learn when they watch television! Learning was for boring places like libraries and colleges.
Unable to restrain himself, he screamed "SO BORING!!!!"
"WHAT?" yelled one of the girls, startled.
"I mean, SERIOUSLY girls, how could you possibly maintain a conversation like that? There's no way I could air something like that on TV. How about if you made out?"
"Yeah, that would be GREAT television!" he said, pushing the zoom button on his camera excitedly. "All TV shows must have at least one completely random girl-on-girl kissing scene. So come on, what are you waiting for?"
"No way. Get out of here, you creep!"
"Okay, fine. We'll compromise. Just a LITTLE kiss. And perhaps some light fondling."
"Just a quick kiss on the forehead! With perhaps just a LITTLE tongue!"
One of the girls slapped him, and they both jumped up and ran away.
Chuck was momentarily disappointed that they had left, but cheered himself up by getting some excellent footage of their retreating rear-ends. Delicious.
"Okay," Chuck said aloud, "What am I missing here? I've got random acts of extreme violence, random booty shots, but what else....?" He thought of The Real World, a reality show that aired on MTV, just before So You Think You Can Projectile Vomit? In The Real World, there was almost always a night club scene in which drunk people danced with each other for an extended period of time, then vomited.
"I'll have to find a night club and film the drunk people dancing!!!" he said aloud. Then he saw a large group of boys eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, under a sign reading Boy Scout Picnic.
"CLOSE ENOUGH!" he screamed, sprinting over to the picnicking children.
If this boy scout picnic was going to function as a night club, alcohol was necessary. Chuck pulled a convenient bottle of vodka from his pocket.
"Here kids!" said Chuck, "Drink some!"
"But alcohol is BAD!" said one bold young child.
"This isn't alcohol! It's apple juice!!!"
"Oh, okay!" The kids passed the bottle around, and within two minutes they were all unconscious.
"CURSES!" screamed Chuck, "I wanted to film them dancing! They weren't supposed to pass out YET!"
Chuck decided he'd do his best. He found a stereo, and played some very loud rap music. Then, he pointed his camera at the children's unconscious bodies. He ran over to them, picked up a few of them, and shook them vigorously to the beat of the music. "That counts as dancing!" he yelled. Just then, a rather angry camp counsellor burst out of one of the bushes, shaking an angry fist. Chuck grabbed his camera and sprinted away. His only regret was that he hadn't had time to let the kids try cocaine.
"I'm making good progress!" Chuck said to himself, "I've only angered about HALF the town to the point of being in a murderous rage. Which is cool anyway, because even if they murdered me, it would be GREAT television!"
Chuck's eyes then fell on an old man who was standing on a bridge over a nearby river. "A suicide jumper! AWESOME!" said Chuck, "An on-air suicide would surely boost ratings. It would go great with a laugh-track and zany music. I've gotta film his leap to the watery oblivion below!"
Chuck ran up to the old man. As he ran, he violently shook the camera for what he considered a rather professional dramatic effect.
When Chuck reached the old man, he saw what appeared to be a bit of makeup on the old man's face. He was momentarily puzzled, but he simply shrugged and began filming.
"What are you doing?" asked the old man serenely. "Who are you?"
"Oh, don't mind me. I'm just waiting for you to kill yourself. But hurry up! You've already waited about five seconds before jumping, which is definitely beyond the average viewer's attention span."
"I was actually planning to jump off when I came up here," said the old man sadly, "My wife and I just lost our home."
"You're HOMELESS? Jesus, and to think that I'm TALKING to you! You'd better kill yourself FAST, or you'll spread your hobo germs!"
"The thing is, the view is so beautiful from up here. Just look at that river. When you're this far up, you can barely tell how polluted it is. And look at all those happy families in the park over there. And look at those innocent boy scouts...why do they all look hung over? Anyway, this world is a beautiful place, and perhaps I was being hasty when I considered throwing my life away. After all, life is a precious gift."
Chuck was growing agitated. His chances of filming the old man's suicide were decreasing by the minute! And also, the old man's extended speech had lasted over sixty seconds, and every TV producer knows that if 60 seconds have passed without explosions or hot girls, your TV show is a failure. Chuck tried to hide the desperation in his voice when he said, "But you're OLD. You're gonna be dead soon anyway."
"All the more reason to cherish what's left of my life!"
"Yeah, but... what's there to cherish? I mean, honestly, is eating oatmeal and taking naps really worth it? Come on, kill yourself!"
"Okay, how about this. We'll compromise. I'll give you my gun and you can shoot yourself in the FOOT."
"Pleeeeaaaaase? It'll be on TV!"
"It will? Why didn't you say so?"
The old man, thrilled to have made it on to TV, leapt off the bridge to the icy waters below. "OH WAIT!" screamed Chuck, "Could you leap off again, maybe this time landing on a concrete boat? That would be MUCH bloodier. I mean, seriously, if you landed on a concrete boat from this high up, chunks of gore would fly EVERYWHERE! We could probably even interview a couple of them." The old man's body had vanished beneath the surface, however. Chuck considered retrieving the body and throwing it off a second time to get the desired effect, but he decided against it.
Staring into the swirling waters beneath him Chuck decided to stop filming for a bit. He'd earned a break anyway, three deaths was more than enough for one episode. Leaning over the bridge he found himself looking at the scene blow, the rushing water was oddly captivating and before long he had lost all track of time. Chuck watched the swell intently, thinking about how all the water molecules were constantly clambering over each other to get to the front, each and every one of their efforts minute and unnoticeable, ultimately failing to stand them out against the collective body of water.
"Is my show doomed to be forgotten?"
If, no, WHEN his show hit the screens, how much of an impact would it leave? Would the viewers at home go away enlightened, recounting its content and the lessons they had learned from it for years to come? or would it simply be followed up by several cash-cow sequels that would quickly erode away any meaning it once might have had? Would it leave a mark? He dropped a stone absent-mindedly into the river below. It fell for a second or two before driving through the water with a small plop, ripples spreading out from where it impacted the surface. Maybe he was going about this the wrong way, maybe making a show wasn't all about rocket launchers, explosions and boobs. Chuck bent down to pick up some more stones. Maybe his job was to give the rocket launchers, explosions and boobs meaning. Letting the stones slide one by one out of his closed fist he recounted the footage he had so far. How could he make it meaningful? What meaning did a granny explosion have? How was a necrophiliac shot of some boobs slowly draining of colour relevant to the viewer's life? He scratched his chin pensively.
"I know! I could film serious issues! Maybe I could catch myself playing footie at a funeral, or burn down a orphanage. That'd definitely help keep my audience informed!" Exclaimed Chuck, unaware that the stones he'd dropped had just killed several geese. "Ahhh, all this thinking is giving me a headache, time for some nudity."
A random pedestrian ran up and hugged him, "Oh thank heavens! You had us worried there."
"Hey, uhh, thanks. Can you hold the camera steady while I take off my pants." said Chuck, already down to one sock.
"SHUT IT STRANGER!"
"Indecent exposure my foot! ... Oh, it was my foot? How is my foot indecent? I know the corns are a bit iffy, and the fungus is beginning to develop it's own personality but surely my exposed genitalia are more cause for concern? Can I at least finish filming, if I don't fulfil my hourly meatspin quota the show loses regional viewers. Please, it'll just take a second!"
Chuck had been arrested.
When the policemen first pulled up, Chuck had done a tree imitation, hoping they'd mistake him for a tree and move on. But they hadn't fallen for it, not even when he did what he considered to be a very convincing impersonation of tree branches blowing in the breeze. The policemen must have been highly trained professionals, however, because they saw right through his clever disguise. He was now sitting in the back of their police car, getting taken to prison. He was thoroughly depressed.
"I'm warning you," said one of the cops, "Any funny business and we'll sick our vicious police dog on you!"
"AWESOME!" said Chuck, "How big are his fangs? Hang on, let me get my camera ready!"
The policeman looked perplexed. Chuck, however, was growing increasingly excited. Perhaps arrest wasn't such a bad thing after all. If the policemen brutalized him, it would generate a lot of audience sympathy. "Okay, go ahead!" said Chuck, "Let the dog attack me. Make sure there's LOTS of spurting blood please!"
The policeman tossed a large dog at Chuck. But it wasn't moving. It was stuffed.
"This dog is stuffed," said Chuck blankly.
"Yeah, it's a prop," said the policeman.
"I mean, yeah it's a stuffed dog. We...uh...when our police dog died, we couldn't afford to buy a new one, so we just stuffed the old one and pretended it was still alive. I think he looks pretty realistic still, especially if you squint your eyes."
Chuck was disappointed. "Must I do everything myself?" he said as he turned on the camera and stuffed his arm in to the stuffed dogs fanged mouth. He screamed his most convincing anguished scream in what he considered a very dramatic shot, although it was slightly ruined when the car hit a bump and the stuffed dog's eyes both popped out on to the seat.
They soon arrived at the prison.
""Lock me up with your most dangerous criminal," said Chuck eagerly as they walked up the gravel path towards the prison gate, "Have you got any cannibals in there?"
"We had two of them, but we let them go to free up room for the gay couple that tried to get married."
Chuck shuddered. "Well don't lock me up with the gays. Nobody wants to watch THEM on TV. Got any serial killers?"
"A few, yeah. We can put you in with them I guess."
"YEAH! Maybe they'll DISEMBOWEL me! You'll let me keep my camera, right?"
One of the policemen whispered to the other, who snorted. "Sure," said the policeman.
"Hey, how are you doing that?" said Chuck, ignoring their sniggers.
"Doing what?" asked one of the officers.
"You know what I mean, making the ground around you two magically darker." said Chuck already fumbling with his camera. "It's amazing."
And indeed it was. The ground on which the two policemen were standing was steadily becoming encompassed by a mysterious shapeless black, growing rapidly in size as the sound of screaming began to fill their ears. The policemen looked up.
It was a long while before the dust finally settled. As Chuck unsteadily got to his feet he couldn't help but notice the two policemen who had previously been escorting him were lying obviously dead underneath huge weights, a letter attached to each reading "Termination of Employment" in dull black print.
"There's one here for you too." Chuck heard a voice say from behind him, its owner's hand offering out a similar letter to the ones that lay on top of his crumbled escorts. Still largely concussed from the crash, the look Chuck gave the man wasn't one of his better impressions of a serious investigative journalist.
Ignoring his subject's open mouth and vacant eyes the stranger continued. "Ratings have been going downhill since you filmed those two girls talking about the election. ..To think of it, a black President." The man shuddered. "We were going to let it run on for another couple of episodes, see if it picked up again, but when some eejit spilled coffee over themselves watching the show and threatened us with legal action up-top told us it was time to go."
Chuck stared at the man without blinking, his mouth still wide open. The stranger was carrying a boom in one hand and a pad of paper clearly marked "SCRIPT" in the other. A director's cap sat proudly on his head. Chuck had no idea what was going on.
Mustering what he thought to be his deepest most intellectual voice, Chuck queried the man.
Unfortunately droning "Buuuuuuuuuuuuuh?" for a full 30 seconds did not have the effect Chuck had hoped to convey. The long strand of dribble that had slowly been lowering from his mouth finally made contact with the ground and began to flow away from him. The man pitied him.
"Anyway, I'd best bring you up to speed. Sign this release form for me quickly." said the man, forcing a pen into Chuck's hand and squiggling it across the form he'd suddenly produced. "Brilliant. Ok, quick debriefing. 'People Do the Funniest Things!' is, well, was a show on the FOX network where we find a mentally unbalanced member of the public and subtly convince them to maim and slaughter all in the name of television!"
Now Chuck thought about it, the idea for the show did seem to be inextricably tied in with the moment he bit that female lighting technician's crotch back in the television studio. The devious bastards.
"So this whole time you've been filming ME in secret, and making a television show out of THAT?!" said Chuck, slightly bewildered.
"Yup," said the man, "We thought it would make for great, entertaining television. But viewership has been steadily declining, and the critics have been slamming the show because when you kill people, they don't bleed enough. The public also despises the show because the title has too many words in it. So we're cancelling the show we had planned where we secretly filmed you, and replacing it with Miss Anorexia. It's a competitive show where supermodels see whose eating disorder can lose the most weight, and the goal is to actually become transparent. Based on the pilot it already has better ratings than your show did, probably because men can masturbate to it."
"So...I had my own show along and didn't know it", said Chuck in a daze.
"Yep! We were filming you that whole time. Show's cancelled now. We will be permitting you the courtesy of a series finale, where you get eaten by lions. We wanted to do an entire second season of you decomposing that we could put between the family sitcoms and the news hour, but we ran out of budget money. We also can't afford lions, so we figured running you over with a truck would be close enough."
"OH WOW MY OWN SERIES FINALE!!!!" screamed Chuck, as a massive truck came crashing out of a nearby alleyway and rushed towards him. He turned to a camera and screamed "I HOPE YOU ENJOYED PEOPLE DO THE FUNN-" before the truck collided with him.
Several months later, the show aired, and families across the globe roared with delight at the spectacularly violent finale to the show. Then the credits started to roll and the families all turned off their televisions, because looking at the credits involved reading.
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