Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Pitch For Something Perfect

A Pitch For Something Perfect
by Toby Gard

This is a story about a man living in Irvine California known as Chad Hanson. He works at a Drugstore. Chad lives with his gruff apartment roommate named Marlow Angelo (who insists that his middle name is Doom), and he works as a fry cook at a fast food restaurant.
Both Chad and Marlow have girlfriends; Gale Pryor for Chad and Amy Lucas for Marlow, the later pair barely get along due to their own fiery passion for video games getting in the way--for the both of them. Chad and Gale get along pretty well, and plan on heading for UCI Irvine together when they accumulate enough money.
One day while Chad was working, he came across a girl who was buying a packet of bubble gum. He took a look at her, and noticed that she had long blonde hair, a perfect figure, sunlight draping over her, and that she was causing everyone in her presence to admire her. The blond introduces herself as Princess Clarabelle Aurora Sakura Kawaii-Oninoko Cinderella the 3rd. She possesses pure desires, a modest attitude, and the need for a strong man by her side.
Chad, unimpressed, thinks that she is a popular cheerleader that he had missed, or a variant. He gives her the bubblegum, and she leaves the store with admirers following her around. Later on, Chad’s coworkers can do nothing but marvel over Clarabelle as a whole, her hair, her eyes, her voice, and her overall presence. Some of whom are swept to tears by a mear mention of her! Chad is befuddled to learn that his peers had declared that day as the unofficial Clarabelle Cinderella Day. Chad admits sheepishly that he did not see what was so special, and called her a showoff and attention seeker. Chad’s coworkers are horrified at the statement, and he gets a little apprehensive.
As Chad thinks that his coworkers are just messing with him, he is suddenly transported to a night time city bejeweled with neon, bright colors, and electronic noises at every turn. He slowly explores the area, and sees nothing that could help him tell where he was, or even how he arrived at that spot. Arcade machines, Japanese characters, and anime adorned the strange city of a hyper color, tie-dye nightmare. As he passes a video store, he sees someone familiar out of the corner of his eye. He turns to look and is deeply confused to see Clarabelle Cinderella, on all video covers and TV screens, seemingly the idol of this strange place.
Chad is instantly warped into his moving car, and just about to hit someone at the crosswalk. He swerves out of the way of the oncoming car and continues on, trying to figure out this strange vision. Believing he had been working too hard and studying too long, he heads home to lie down.
Chad arrives at his apartment, and he is disappointed to see that Marlow, Amy, and Gale were hanging out and playing a video game with Clarabelle Cinderella. Amidst the garnishing praise that Clarabelle was receiving in gratuitous Japanese, Chad could tell that his friends were letting her win.
Clarabelle was the first to notice Chad, and she invited him to join them. Chad declined, citing his poor gaming skills, but he was begged to do so by his friends. Chad sighed and conceded for the sake of relaxing. Over the course of the session, Chad found that his friends were cheering for Clarabelle, and they seemed to be holding back. Knowing that he was bad enough at the game to loose triumphantly any day, a surprised Chad finds that he thwarted everyone with ease, repeatedly. All the while, his friends are cheering more for Clarabelle then for Chad, the underdog of their own personal gaming tournaments.
After five rounds, Chad found that he had won every single round, with Clarabelle in second place. He cites luck for his victories, and told Clarabelle that it was a fun game. Chad’s good-natured attitude vanished when he saw a fire in Clarabelle’s eyes, suggesting that the session was more than a harmless game. Chad was spooked by the eyes. Clarabelle’s fire quickly vanished; giving way to her saying how mean Chad was for being too rough on such a tender loving thing like her. Marlow, Amy and Gale became angry at Chad for ganging up on Clarabelle.
Chad, baffled, says that he wasn’t very good at the game in the first place, and that everyone else combined would beat him with one fair swoop. Clarabelle refused to listen, and she stormed out of the apartment, stopping at the door, and giving a half-assed, run-on, sentence-fragmented speech about how people should be nicer, kinder, and stronger, going above and beyond to act more like her.
Marlow, Amy and Gale were deeply moved by her speech, and Chad’s confusion only deepened. He left to his room with heavy chagrin, and denied any sort of jealousy, and animosity toward Clarabelle that his friends were accusing him of.

As the week went on, Chad noticed that things got stranger and stranger. Everyone had begun to loose their interest in their own everyday lives, and focus more attention on Princess Clarabelle Cinderella. Chad’s coworkers bowed to her and offered to pay for her snacks and necessities; she got free food at the local upscale Tex-Mex place. She even got a 1958 top-of-the-line luxury car that played Ode to Joy on the horn and had her own chrome statue as a hood ornament. The most disturbing thing that Chad noticed was that his own nu-metal loving friend, Marlow Angelo, with Amy’s help, had thrown away all of his music, and changed to the bright, sped-up and upbeat sound of the Eurobeat genre, a staple for arcade game lovers with happy feet. Chad was also distressed to learn that the funds Marlow had been saving for a high end sports car had been given to Clarabelle for no reason. Marlow and Amy seemed to be pleased with the decision, and thought about buying a lower end car.
Chad tried to talk with Marlow, but he was stopped short when he learned that his college funds were also given to Clarabelle under Gale’s command; over four thousand dollars. Chad blew up in fury at his friends, saying that his chances at having a good life had become nil thanks to them. Their excuse was that Clarabelle thought he would be all right with the decision. Chad demanded to know what they were going to do when all their money was given to Clarabelle and they were on the street, but no one had an appropriate answer.
Chad stormed out of his apartment and met Clarabelle, standing in the middle of the empty lot, glaring disapprovingly at him. Chad marched up to Clarabelle, raised his finger to tell her off, and blacked out for the second time to that strange city filled with Neon, and Clarabelle’s face.
Chad, too angry to think straight, decided to run, and find a car so that he might be ale to escape. Unfortunately, he found neither cars, nor people, just bright neon, drowning arcade and Eurobeat music, and TV shows with Clarabelle being the best in Sailor Moon, Harry Potter, and Twilight, all anime adaptations, of course.
When Chad stopped to take a breath, he heard some cops call out to him, and he felt relieved, wanting some answers. Instead of getting what he wanted, the cops slapped some handcuffs on Chad, and told him that he was supposed to be at a mandatory seminar being given by Princess Clarabelle Cinderella. Chad did what he thought was right and fought the cops. Chad escaped and ran away with the cops close behind. He got no more than sixty feet down the road before he ran into some more cops, who pinned him down, threw him into a squad car, and drove him to Clarabelle’s seminar.
Chad begrudgingly sat through it, swearing that Clarabelle looked at him with menace several times, as the audience wooed her, and wished to adorn her with gifts. Clarabelle simply told them, with a run on sentence, that she had a hard life as a lowly street urchin with a heart of gold, until she learned that she was half-human, half cat, half giant lizard, half wizard, half vampire, half karate master, and half godlike alien on her sixteenth birthday, and became Sailor Cinderella, the official strongest hero ever. Unfortunately, she had died in her lovers arms by her mortal enemy Indoles Maturus. She was soon reincarnated back into herself with ultra powers, and angel wings that she could bring out whenever she wanted. Using her new abilities, she vanquished Indoles Maturus a second time. The audience ate it up, all the men were madly in love with her, and the women wanted to be just like her.
Chad was escorted outside for loudly throwing up.
After Chad finished showing his disapproval, the cops led him back to the police station for resisting arrest, and showing displeasure for Clarabelle and all her perfect glory. Chad sat in his jail cell bed, studying a poster of Clarabelle staring him down disapprovingly and superiorly.
Chad snapped back to the real world, where he was looking down at a form that he had just signed. In his confusion, the form was taken away. He was told that he had just signed away every penny of his future income to Clarabelle Cinderella. Gale, who he did not know was there, hugged him, and promised only good things for Clarabelle, neglecting to bring up themselves. In a growing fury and panic, Chad tried to take back the form and void it. He learned though, that after he signed it, he couldn’t back out on the deal that was made, and he fully signed away his life’s earnings to Clarabelle with no legal loopholes. Every leak was sealed.
Chad was livid! He stormed out of the bank with Gale trailing behind, telling him to think about how Clarabelle would feel if he did not sign his assets over to her. She did not understand why Chad was suddenly against the choice; that he was fine on the way over to the bank, supporting Clarabelle and all. Chad stops, looks Gale in the eye, and tells her that Clarabelle Cinderella was a fraud who had somehow hypnotized everyone. Gale thinks that he is crazy. To prove his point, Chad reels off some events that he had noticed: how everyone was talking about Clarabelle like she’s a savior, Marlow drastically shifting gears, and, as Gale noted, the city naming Clarabelle mayor.
As Gale dismisses Chad’s findings, they were confronted by a weathered man with chin stubble, and toned muscles named Stu. He says that he used to be just like Clarabelle, but he was reformed when he found out the consequences of his empty role as a Deus Ex Machina. He soon decided to set off to try and help others stop Clarabelle’s reign of perfect terror. Stu says that for Chad and Gale to help, they would need to use Clarabelle’s own reality warping power against her. Stu is very pleased to find someone who has not fallen under Clarabelle’s charms when not blacked out.
Stu, in his aforementioned Deus Ex machina way, gives Chad a small leather-bound handbook telling how to defeat Clarabelle. Chad pockets the book and asks what the blackouts are, as Gale urges Chad not to trust Stu. Chad ignores her, and listens in. Stu says that the blackouts are Clarabelle’s method of trying to make Chad see her way of being, and effectively hypnotizing him, temporarily turning him into one of her drones. The place he goes is called Akiba, named after the Tokyo district of the same name. It is a location that Clarabelle sees as her ideal fantasy world, where she is the center of attention, and is everywhere at once, worshiped, and adored.
Chad asked how to use her own power against her, but he is cut short by Clarabelle suddenly arriving and shooting Stu with a pink pistol. He went down with a dramatic yell in B sharp. The two argue with each other, Stu saying that Clarabelle’s actions are not right and that they need to end, and Clarabelle saying that Stu, her one true love, could have continued with her after she killed Indoles Maturus. Stu ignores Clarabelle, and tries to tell Chad how to stop her, but she shoots him in the head, causing Chad to run away with Gale in tow.
Clarabelle shouts out to them that they were making her goal far more frustrating than it needs to be. The two ran down the road with Clarabelle behind them, and her townspeople-turned-drones ahead of them trying to stop them. Chad and Gale rush off to their car, and drive off, deciding to leave Irvine, and see what horrors that they could mend off, and how they would defeat Clarabelle and her minions with the knowledge contained in the book.
Chad, and a freed Gale drive away, and a ragged and frantic Clarabelle marches up to Stu. She glares at him for a long time, and demands of him why she cannot be a perfect thing. In Stu’s last breath, he says that nothing can be perfect, and that’s what makes life interesting is a set of imperfections.
Clarabelle raises her pistol again, says he is wrong, and shoots him in the head, vowing to become a perfect person, adored, and loved by all, no matter what.

“Stop, stop right there.”
“What now sir?”
“This person, your Claire, that’s my daughter’s name, you know, your Claire, she is a god of some kind…”
“A Mary Sue, sir.”
“Whatever. Your Claire, is some kind of god-thing, and wants’ to take over the world by turning everyone into Borg slaves, and this one guy whose name sounds like what they use to count punch card votes, or not, is immune to her. Is that right?”
“Well, uhhh, yeah, that sums it up.”
“Kid, you have a lot to learn about making a television series. With a project like that, it could cost millions of dollars to produce. Not only would there be the standard fare of writing, casting, locations and such, but also it sounds like there would be far too many visual effects for us to spend money on. Moreover, I don’t think that our sponsors would go for such a TV show. It’s just not what the public wants.”
“Sir, with all due respect, I came from the public, and I would have to say that I know that Chad and Clarabelle’s story would attract many fans, and warrant artistic gratitude for all of us.”
“Artistic gratitude? Ha! No one wants shows like that when they sit down and watch TV, they want reality on TV, invading the lives of their next door neighbor, and seeing what kind of trouble they will get into. All with an occasional celebrity thrown in to mix up the scene, and rake in huge ratings in the teenage demographic.”
“Oh God… I’m speechless, that sounds wonderful…”
“Heh, glad you like that. Tell you what, if you change this around a little bit, we might have a deal.”
“Well, what sort of changes did you have in mind, sir?”
“Well, instead of Clarabelle, why not Jane, her name is too long already, and also, why not make Chad into a gung ho take no excuses macho man with the skimpy girl by his side. Oh, why not make Jane a failing political leader, sending Rambo-Chad into a war where he fights some kind of Bond villain.”
“I can’t make those changes! It demeans the whole story! Chad’s allure is in his humbleness, and the story doesn’t work without Clarabelle’s--”
“…The story doesn’t work without her supernatural abilities to empower, and Chad trying to stop her.”
“Then I can’t let this show pass. Hell, I can’t even let you make a pilot and show me how you would do it without those changes.”
“Can I ask you something sir? What would be better, a show that is completely original, and shows the public nothing like they have ever seen before, and said show making a lot of money, or making a show something that you think that the public would like, and earning a quick buck after you give the order to cancel it when the ratings plummet.”
“Kid, a quick buck is better then no bucks.”
“Well, then I’ll take my pitch for something perfect somewhere else. This is only the sixteenth time I have been rejected for reality TV, even by the Sci Fi Channel...”

The End…

  Ahh, Ms. Clarabelle Aurora Sakura Kawaii-Oninoko Angelina Contessa Louisa Francesca Banana Fanna Bo Besca Cinderella the Third, such a perfect woman of radiant beauty, of radiant desires, of a poorly written character that only an (or more precisely, the solitary) author would love. I am not that author.
  This story came about while I was surfing TVTropes. I landed upon the Mary Sue article and it's branches and varieties, and wondered how I could write about an all powerful being. I knew that writing about such a character, Peter Petrelli, Superman, et al., was extremely difficult, so I went in a different direction and made a satire.
  How to integrate an all powerful Mary Sue into a satire though? She cannot be stopped, she's adored by all, she takes over the town and makes the citizens her slaves... of which a protagonist would not be affected and would rebel... but against an unstoppable villain that's more powerful than an evil Plastic Man analogue, how would he succeed?
  I dunno!
  ...Well, it is a satire, and if that's taken seriously, it is a pretty interesting spin on a world domination story... why not just end the story right as it gets interesting? Firefly, Arrested Development, and Star Trek TOS were cut short, Firefly with a big damn story arc at that, so why not use the ending to take a shot at TV networks?
  So, what does that make Pitch out to be true believers? A love letter to the TV networks.
No more no less, and I think it did a pretty good job at it too.

I hope that you enjoyed my very first ever short story written as a professional writer. I'll see you guys next weekend, where I'll talk about my experience in writing. 

(Away Italics! Shoo!)

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