I’m the guy with the ideas. That’s how I’ve always been, that’s how I’ll always be. And my ideas have taken me to some interesting places I must say. Not places I would have expected, or even imagined in my wildest dreams – and I am capable of some epic, wild dreams I can assure you.
I just wouldn’t have dreamed my recent life in a million years. It’s utterly crazy, even to me. It’s also perfect. I have come to see that. I have come to revel in it. When you reach the precipice that divides accepted reality and real reality, and you just decide to jump off, everything changes, everything is illuminated.
Most of us walk dazedly and purposelessly through our lives with no idea that otherness even exists. I don’t know, perhaps that is just as well, and is a comfort rather than a lack. But for me now, knowing more, knowing this whole other realm, anything less than this would be unacceptable. I’ll take the risks, the madness, and even on occasion the horror, rather than boredom, any day.
Perhaps we are all sociopaths in our heart of hearts in some essential way, and we realize it when it emerges because we finally see a way to get away with it. So something in my nature fits their nature after all, and I belong somehow.
Even though ‘them’, what ‘they’ are, and how long they’ve been around, I don’t know even now and probably will never know. And even though I’ll never be one of them, because I can’t – even with all that, while I perhaps should be afraid, I’m not. I’m like the kid who gets to join the cool gang for some unknown reason, or because I have a talent that is useful to them. And I guess that’s the case, I guess it’s just a matter of need, in the end. And I suppose I should be afraid that someday that need runs out and then there is just me, knowing about them, as I do, and what that might entail. But I’m not, I’m not afraid. They’ve had their journey too, their evolution, and I’ve witnessed it. Even those who lurk in the dark don’t have to be part of the dark ages forever.
But speaking of my talents, and so my induction to strangeness, I’m also the guy who has a mean way of handling a camera. I’ve got an eye for the best shot, the most flawless sequencing. I should be working in the movies. That’s where I’d shine. I’ll get there one day too. Everything happens for a reason, even the oddest of things.
One day I’ll be a lot further than where my ideas and camera savvy had gotten me less than two years ago, working for that fuckwit Roger on his prissy little home shopping channel. I mean, there’s only so much artistic satisfaction one can strangle from the choice of zoom in/zoom out shots on some stupid model’s fingers for the jewelry segments, or so many lighting and perspective intricacies one can elicit from boring twats rabbiting on about home cleaning products as though they were the latest highway to orgasm heaven.
And then, if that wasn’t enough of an indignity – four years at film school to shoot fashion sprees and fat loss programs for the terminally obese – Roger went and fired me. Nothing personal, of course, budget cutbacks.
Where once we filmed about twelve hours of new material a day, the hourly segments started to be in high rotation, often repeated three or four times for every couple of days. That meant far less film was needed to keep the 24 hour operation transmitting. Round the studio the presenters were joking they’d also soon be out of work once the internet shopping for the channel really took off. Or maybe virtual animation could replace them. Privately I doubted the average customer would tell the difference. In any case, it meant no more filming for me.
I’ll remember the day of my dismissal till the day I die I think. I’d not even imagined it coming, though on reflection I probably should have realized the programming changes were financially inspired. I’m just not really a businessman at heart. That’s my father’s thing. I’m creative. So you can imagine both my dismay and personal chagrin at actually feeling terrible, in the pit of me, when Roger minced his way into the control room that day and said we had to talk.
Roger has an affected effeminate style which he uses deliberately to make him seem to fit in more with the entertainment industry. As if anything about Roger is remotely entertaining. This cynical act does nothing to deter the harassment of all the female models, mind you, much to their distaste. Roger thinks he’s pulling off “modern metrosexual” when all he’s really pulling is his own leg. But that’s Roger for you. He’s just a confused, deluded little man.
You’ll think me bitter? I’m not exaggerating one whit. But I digress.
We had to talk. Expressed just like the lexicon of couples in relationships. I didn’t like relating to Roger at all. The less relating the better I thought. Ditto that re talking. Still he was the boss, so I’d set the filming to operate on auto (my ease in doing that should have been another clue had I been thinking about it all, which I hadn’t). And I followed him out, down the corridors, and into the broom cupboard he liked to think of as his office.
Still I think I knew just before he said it. Roger had never had occasion to think we should “talk” before. He didn’t invite people to his hallowed broom closet, sorry office, with any regularity. He liked the distance of power.
He also looked rather awkward in the moment, which was unusual for him. He usually looked smug and stupid, but now it was worried and stupid. That worried me. I watched a nervous bead of sweat meander down his forehead from his obvious hair piece, and I felt a small, growing fear.
“We’ve had to make some difficult budgetary decisions,” he started. He couldn’t look at me. He kept looking just beyond me at the photos he had hanging on the wall, as though he was really talking to the people in them. But then, they were all pictures of him, so he would be talking to himself really.
Nothing new there. Damn it, I need to concentrate. Something is happening here, something important.
“So we are cutting back on staff. With the new schedules we don’t need to film as much live content. I’m sorry Peter, but we’re letting you go.”
“I wasn’t aware I was in captivity” I said.
“Huh?” Roger asked. His brow crinkled. He didn’t understand. Trust him to not get the joke. He missed most things really.
“Letting me go? Setting me free? End of indentured servitude?”
The last line got him completely. I don’t think he understood the words or the concepts. Too many syllables. I felt disgust, but I wasn’t sure it was just with him. I’d just been fired. Perhaps I was also disgusted with myself.
“Don’t worry Roger” I continued, “I understand”.
“Oh? Oh, good,” he said, finding equilibrium again. I saw the old Roger rise out of the confusion, the smugness returning like a color to his pallid, murky cheeks. And that was all I could take of the moment. I turned and walked out.
There really was nothing left to say, after all. Little bastard. Imagine being fired by someone so inconsequential. Just this silly, strutting peacock and he was able to fire me. The universe is perverse.
(c) Helen M Valentina 2015, All Rights Reserved