“Gooooood evening, Los Angeles, and a special shout out to any celebrities tuning in.” A blindingly white smile juxtaposes Tawny’s spiraling tone as she leads off the nightly news. The remaining organic pieces of her face make an effort to frown as she squints at the teleprompter. “This evening’s hard-hitting lead stories, ‘Violence in the Mid West, I mean Middle East – will it affect the Oscars?’ and ‘Fatal Shooting on Highway 101 – will it affect your commute?’ will be preempted by a special report, ‘Raeliens Among Us.’ Earl, what’s a Raelien?”
Tawny and the camera turn to the decrepit corpse of an anchor propped at the desk beside her. At the mention of his name, Earl grunts and adjusts the shock of white hair perched atop his head. The sudden lifelike action sets off his hearing aid, a high pitched squeal that continues throughout the broadcast, undefeated by Earl’s persistent pounding the side of his head. The camera cuts to Tawny, who stares intently at one of the studio lights, waiting for it to turn off, signaling her time to go home.
After a moment of silence, the audience reels from an abrupt cut to Doreen McDonald, the legitimacy of her journalistic skill directly proportional to her lack of makeup and any trace of a comb. She leans in close, nodding at the gravity with which the young man across from her delivers his story of an alien race, which clone and inhabit our world. Proximity to a Raelien, he explains “has been shown to cause death and accidental dismember…” A flashing light and siren drowns out the sound of his voice, and as he holds his ears and shrieks in pain, Doreen turns in excitement to her camera, “What time is it? It’s time for our ‘man on the street’ interviews! Dusty Drainpipe, what do local Angelenos think? Have you spotted any stars?”
“The only stars are in my eyes at seeing so many people out around Los Angeles, enjoying this artic cold snap. It must be near 50 degrees, but I reckon there are approximately 41,542 people just sitting on the sidewalks around the city.” Dusty, chattering teeth framed by an enormous faux fur parka hood, prances gleefully amidst cardboard boxes and ragged pup tents.
“Whoever said downtown shuts down after five pm never got a load of this crowd! It appears we may see some stars yet, as the locals seem to have camped out here, possibly for a premiere or opening night of the next big blockbuster! What dedication! It seems as though they’ve been here for weeks, maybe months! Some have gone without shower, shave, and it seems, even food!” Dusty chuckles at those zany citizens.
“If our viewing public at home will follow me, our team has set up its own tent of sorts, in which to edit a short teaser of my time interviewing these fine folks about Raeliens living among us.” Dusty beckons, and pulls back the flap of a brightly lit, gadget-filled circus tent. He sits in a lazy boy, accepts a steaming latte from the P.A. behind the espresso bar, and watches as a large flat-screen television raises from behind the caterer’s station. “Let’s take a moment and listen to the people.”
“In a world where a young lad from Westlake Village beats the odds, moves to the west side, and navigates treacherous freeway offramps…” a booming voiceover narrates Dusty’s arrival in downtown Los Angeles. Dusty is shown picking his way through boxes, holding his microphone before silent men, women and children. As one young girl holds up her sign and starts to talk, Dusty sees a man muttering to himself and smells a good story. When the man sees him coming and runs into a tunnel, Dusty, no longer breathing, signals to Scotty, the camera guy, who drops the camera on its side to give chase. The rolling camera chronicles, sideways, Scotty’s tackle and struggle to pin down the man. Dusty arrives, gives a thumbs up for ratings, and leans into frame to ask, “Sir, as a man on the street, what is your opinion of Raeliens among us?” The man laughs maniacally, then whispers, “Read the signs, man.”
“Hmm. Cryptic.” Dusty stands and pulls his parka tightly about his hefty frame, then drapes his arm about the shoulders of a man who stands at a streetlight, bearing a styrofoam cup and cardboard sign. Dusty signs off, “Stay tuned next week for our undercover investigative report on Vampire Love.” The credits roll over a two-shot of Dusty and the homeless man; the latter stares directly into the camera as cars whiz by. He stands quietly, a sentry with his sign, magic marker on wet cardboard detailing the Raelien plan to seize world power.
Fade to Black.
The Emblem of This Era
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