Friday, September 26, 2014

Twistaplot #5 The Sinister Studios of KESP-TV

It's been nearly a year since the last time I looked at a Twist-a-Plot book and to be totally honest that's not some huge coincidence but instead is the result of the amazing semi-volition I'm able to muster. The series was a let-down, simply stated. Time heals the sarcasm and limp plot wounds, though, so might as well get at it. Besides, today's subject looks promising. The premise is intriguing (Sinister...studios???) and it's a nice break from all the space-themed fare we've been getting recently. Back to earth, back behind the camera for the sexy and deadly world of local affiliate stations.

"That's it kid, just repeat what the government told you to say and you won't get blasted."

I'm getting my boredom on in a "careers" class, listening to some teacher drone on about the "real world" and "jobs." Like any healthy person I've got very little interest in this obvious trick bag. That is until the common core dispenser announces unpaid internships. Man, how sweet that would be. Missing school, acting as a go-for, not getting any of that long green but maybe a positive reference and a page or two for the "brag book," yeah this is the stuff. 

Does it get better? Hell yes, it gets better. One of the positions is at KSEP, presumably the fictional analogue of KRON-4. Clearly, this is the time to get hype. As you probably already guessed, I get this assignment. It turns out I'll be there over spring break, so that whole "miss school" plan has withered on the vine, but the prospect of being a tiny part of a soon to be completely irrelevant form of mass communication is more than enough to act as a counter balance. I'm gonna be on the moron box!

"Five hundred hours of work for a possible reference...golly!"

I head down to the studio, not even suspecting it might be of the left handed variety. All is not well, however, because inside the place is as empty as a Coffee Party meeting. Also, there's a letter sitting out suggesting that my glorious non-compensated position was supposed to be cancelled. There's a door, but it's for authorized personnel only, so I decide to sit in a chair and wait. Doing nothing is always the best choice when faced with an ambiguous situation, right?

Despite my best efforts, I can't keep from doing wrong. I answer a phone call. The caller wants to speak with "Betsy" and then I open the door to find her standing there. A bizarre conversation about tornadoes is the result and I get a non-choice where both options go to the same page. Twist-a-Plot, why do you always have to provoke me?

Will ignoring warning signs ruin my are day?

We head into a hall full of colored footprints and I immediately start hurting my chances of getting that slightly positive reference by acting incredulous. It's for tour groups, Betsy explains. We then enter a room full of monitors and at this point it's pretty clear I've stumbled on one of those weather control stations a former pro rassler tried to warn us about. I call her out on this, but get sent out for my troubles. As I leave I see a man in an astronaut suit in front of a control panel on one of the monitors. Space weather manipulation? What is going on here?

From the author of "Unidentified Flying Outrage"

 I decide to come back in, possibly for a final confrontation/last stand against the shadow government and its agents but instead am met with apologies and "It must have been your imagination!" Well, I'm mollified. I'm given a list of weather terms to study and tuck right into that. Suffice it to say the letter is actually a rambling note that explains we're under attack from a weather-controlling "foreign power" and Betsy is actually a secret agent infiltrating the station. I see. 

I'm not sure what she wants from me, but seriously, it ain't happening. I sit and wait, something that is becoming my primary coping mechanism. She doesn't return, so I call the Pentagon and a Deus ex Machina is deployed. Why Betsy just didn't make this call herself is left unexplored. I'm declared a hero and given my own weather station for some reason. Now I want to be a meteorologist. I'm really not sure if this is a happy ending or not.

Living the dream.

This was the usual Twist-a-Plot mess, suffering from a bizarre plot, poorly thought-out decision points and a disappointing ending. I guess the premise had some potential and maybe some of the other paths are better realized but I'd have to say skip this one.

"I would know, I was in an underwater demolition team."

Check Out My Books!

Aaron Zehner is the author of "Posts from the Underground," now available in paperback and e-book. Read free excerpts here and here.

His first novel "The Foolchild Invention" is also available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

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