Friday, 1 March 2013

Friday Flash Fiction - The Real Martin

Martin was not an upstanding member of any level of society. He drank too much, had frequent violent outbursts and smoked unusual substances like he was going for some kind of record. He had a famous musician for a father and a semi-famous mother who had very little to offer society.
In other words, Martin was perfect reality TV fodder.

The station hounded him non-stop about it, saying, among other things, that it would help get the papparazzi off his back. Never mind that the station sent most of the photographers in the first place to make their point.

When Martin finally agreed (somewhere in the middle of a drunken tirade about there being no good clubs in the city) the lawyers pushed a pen and contract into his hands and the deed was done. They set him up with jobs at big, respectable firms, and he would be fired very quickly afterwards, sometimes on the same day. He would throw reams of paper at people in the copy room, spike the water cooler with vodka, proposition the secretaries and took clients to lunch at disreputable establishments.

And the whole world loved it. It was the easiest reality show the network had ever produced - they didn't have to fake, set up or prompt anything. In that sense, Martin was the easiest reality star they had ever worked with.

If not for The Incident, life would have continued to be roses for both Martin and the network for a long time.

In the middle of season 3, Martin was working at an industrial bakery and had just been fired for getting his cigarette ash in the dough. He was sitting in the gutter outside, cig still in one hand, 9am beer in the other, when an ex-girlfriend wandered up. The crew fired up the second camera to get good footage of the inevitable fight, but they weren't prepared for what happened next.

As she recognised him, the girl sat down beside Martin and just started asking, softly, "what's wrong?" over and over until he spilled his guts.

"It's just ... I try so [bleep] hard, you know? I have a good time at work, try to make friends - I'm really trying, right? And then they fire me and it's like, what was I doing wrong? What do people want from me?"

"They want you, Martin. They want to get to know you, without the drugs and booze. You remember why we broke up?"

Martin sniffed and wiped his nose with hsi beer hand. "Love, I hardly remember your name. Oh, [bleep], I'm so sorry. Who are you?"

She smiled. "I'm Angela. I tend bar at The Twisted Weasel?" Martin nodded, eyes somewhat glazed. "It's okay. The point is, even with your fun-loving personality and your camera crew, people can't see you. I couldn't see you when we were together."

"What do you mean?"

"All I mean is that people don't need the party animal. They just need you."

Martin set his beer down and dropped his still-burning cigarette butt into it, though neither was even half finished yet. He gave Angela a hug, which was almost unheard-of for Martin, and she excused herself, wishing him well, then glaring daggers at the cameras as she left.

From then on, Martin just wasn't as much fun for the cameras. He cut way back on his drinking and smoking, and he held down jobs for weeks at a time. Despite the crew's prodding and tempting, he just wasn't interested in wild parties any more. The crew scrambled to find more interesting footage than Martin calmly making fifty copies of a report and turning them in on time. The whole show crumbled, but Martin seemed a lot better. It just turned out that happy Martin was bad TV, so the show had to be cancelled. And that, finally, was what made Martin truly happy.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - This is much later than I usually post for Friday, so I'm sorry.
PPS - But it is still Friday.

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