Eskimos on TV

“Oh-my-god-oh-my-god-oh-my-god! We were just minding our own business and this blue van came flying up the road and this guy leapt out in a mask and started attacking everyone with an axe.” Lizzie was standing in the front of the burning black truck, wide eyed and breathless with excitement.

“It’s incredible,” said Penny. “She really doesn’t get anything right.”

“Just goes to show how worthless the phrase ‘you couldn’t make it up’ has become.” Brewster was smiling.

“We’re misreporting our own fucking story.”

“We?” Brewster looked at her and raised his brow. “Ready to join the team full-time?”

Although the money was good and the research she gathered was book-worthy, Penny was glad the experiment was failing. She wanted out. The toxicity was draining and she felt guilty by association.

“Full… this is over Brewster,” said Penny. “People are dead. Real people, not your imaginary ones… this… monster…” She motioned to Lizzie on camera, shook her head and sighed. “Time to put the jack back in the box.”

Brewster laughed. “She’s in a new box now Pen – we can’t train this unknowing bell-end confidence into people. They’re born.” He was gleaming. “She’s a fucking star.”

“Don’t-think-he’s-gonna-survive-star-in-heaven-is-shining-that’s-what-my-nan-always-said-and-Mrs-Bishop-who-left-me-money-in-her-will-because-I-was-her-best-friend… meh-heh…”

Casual viewers could presume Lizzie’s tears were from the smoke, panic, horror of losing her beloved colleague. The more eagle-eyed would spot the laugh lines, creases of joy, success, survival, attention. This was the best thing to have happened to her. She was finally, truly happy.


“Twitter is exploding and even oldie phones are ringing,” said #Geek 1, almost Lizzie-breathless. “This is fucking huge.”

Finally, the nation was realising, thought Penny. There was a limit to how much bile is swallowed before we choke.

“Complaints come with the territory,” said Brewster. He didn’t want Penny to be right.

“They’re not complaining,” said #Geek 2. “They’re loving it.” He started to reel quotes from his iPad. “This is popcorn TV at it’s finest. I can’t stop watching. I love this woman.”

#Geek 2 joined in and they bounced in turns. “Where do we go from here? Can you do my town next? Actually, there’s a lot of requests from towns. We’ve got a few councilors who’d like a spot in the sun…”

Brewster looked at Penny and her heart sank. He was glowing and rubbing his hands. There wasn’t going to be any way to tone it down or change his mind. She could see the future and it made her sick.

“Time to move on,” he said. It was both a statement and a question. Was she leaving or following? “Let’s start the next audition.”

He walked off into the hubbub. They had next week’s news to plot. She realised then she had already been placed in a box – moral, uptight, naysayer – left behind as the train rolled onwards. Part of her wanted him to turn around and see her, hear her truth, part of her knew the chance had passed.

He stood amidst the swarm of underlings, firing answers back to every question thrown. The excitement was palpable, joy of creation buzzing the air with panic sweat. She looked at the door and back again and, for a moment, didn’t know which way to go.

“No man chooses evil because it is evil. He only mistakes it for happiness” – Mary Shelley

(NB: Eskimos on TV is a sequel to earlier story The Falling Man – Brewster will return in The Whole Shebang…)


If this story was a movie, here’s the compilation album, retrieved from the bargain bin in Woolies. Listen while reading, or float away on your own adventure…

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