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Television Programming

In the food court of a nondescript mall, our show opens with kiosks and mild throngs of casual passersby in the background. Pervasively smiling host Jim Skipper welcomes Philip Howard of Worcester.

Howard prattles on about this 13-inch Indian figurine chiseled from what appears to be obsidian which he found while having to clean out his late, great auntie’s estate in Providence. He had been due to return for work early the next week so was miserably forced to make a rush of the proceedings, allowing many of his late, great auntie’s possessions to be divided between the county landfill and the Salvation Army. Among the heirlooms he salvaged in his brief time on the property was this strange figure, discovered quite by accident while inadvertently breaking a false floorboard in the basement of his late, great auntie’s cottage.

Skipper feigns interest for the camera, well in keeping with his job description. “Oh really?” he declares.

“Oh indeed,” assures Howard. He continues by saying that neither he nor his business partners, nor his boss’ wife with whom he has been conducting a riotously illicit affair, had ever seen anything of the sort, and so he was quite curious what the antiquarian experts of this traveling broadcast might ascertain of the grotesque mystery. And if it was worth money, because his dear late, great auntie seemed to have left the vast bulk of her actual bank accounts and holdings to her small schnauzer, dreadful little thing.

“Oh really?” retorts Skipper while surreptitiously wiping a minuscule stream of blood from below his left nostril.

“Oh indeed,” answers Howard, before carrying on about the cost of taking the days off from work to travel out of state to go through the dead woman’s horde of meaningless baubles. He mentions having also managed to rescue the contents of her knickers drawer, as when he was a boy and his family visited his auntie he would often touch himself late at night. Though gaunt and willowy of form she was strangely comely in the breezy silk robes she always wore. Why if he had known her as an adult he would gladly have shattered her dentures with his throbbing member, he asserts, glancing emphatically towards the camera.

Lights behind the scene begin to flicker, an indiscriminate shout is heard distantly off camera, with strangers among the background extras apparently starting a shoving match here and there.

“Oh really?” asks Skipper, removing his glasses to wipe the expansive trails of blood which seemed to have appeared from nowhere in the orifices of his face. Hope the camera is not zoomed in enough to catch that! He jokes, blaming the godless foreigners likely in the mall that day and their disgusting diseases and sweat and satanic eyes.

“Oh indeed,” Howard states in powerless agreement to the growing airs of madness to the scene, unzipping his pants to urinate on the floor. The camera suddenly grows shaky, the cameraman audibly more distraught by the tears in Howard’s eyes than the vulgarity of the act itself.

Skipper takes the statue and violently swings it across Howard’s face, a huge swathe of the flesh hanging off as sprays of blood immediately dot the camera lens. Lifting the statue on high above his head, he snarls “We’ll be right back after this word from our sponsors!” before racing to the side of the staging area to force the statue down the throat of a small child whose parent was otherwise preoccupied with biting the fingers off of an increasingly concerned security guard. A crescendo of raised voices further the melee.

The camera surges jarringly, falling sideways down and landing with a crash. The cameraman is heard to yell out “JESUS CHRIST PLEASE OH HOLY LAMB SAVE US NOOOOO…” The camera abruptly auto-zooms to the small black statue, now mysteriously standing upright in a pool of blood on the floor, with pieces of busted furniture, mangled limbs and bloodied relics alike flying in every direction through the air above, screams and shrieks and growls and howls all around. Fade to black.