"I'm sorry." It was the woman who broke the silence first. Geoff flinched disapprovingly as she spoke. "Were you going to say something?"
"Ooo, rookie movie, Sweetcakes!" Chaz chided. "Never start a conversation. Everybody who's anybody knows you only get conversed to."
"Sorry," Geoff apologized on her behalf, "this is Erika; she's my new PR manager."
"You need a PR manager?" Chaz asked, shifting in his seat and crossing his conspicuously bare ankles. "But you're the man behind the curtain. The great and powerful Foz or whatever."
"Pay no attention to the man in the puppet. That's how that scene went, right? Ha! I love classic cinema."
"No, I don't, actually. I thought we were having phone sex. She told me she was going to 'mobilize her assets to upmarket my vertical base,' and I finished. Then she showed up this morning with a W-9."
"Shit," Chaz swore appreciatively, hiking up his pants legs. "I just finished, too."
"Is it loafer season already?" Geoff asked, finally taking Chaz's baited calfskin.
"Socks are for bankers and accountants, Home Fries. They're like ties for your feet: Anybody who needs them to look respectable probably doesn't deserve your respect."
"You are really proactively assholing today, Sugarpie. You got a move?"
"I got the move, Hot Pockets. Listen up: Here are three words, followed by a beat for reaction and then two more words: The next Twilight ..."
"You get the fuck out of my office, hack!" Geoff snapped instantly.
"... for children."
"And into my car!" Geoff finished, "Because I'm going to take you into the backseat and money-fuck you until your parents call the cops on us for breaking curfew."
"I'm gonna get you pregnant with my cash-babies, and then never call you again."
"It came to me last night. I was reading a bedtime story to my kid --"
"Utter bullshit," Geoff interjected.
"Of course! It's a new theme-brothel outside of Vegas. They do a whole family vibe. You give the kid a bath and read him a story, then you nail the 'wife' as quickly and quietly as you can, without smearing her Vapo-Rub. It's some sick shit, Steak Frites, I won't lie -- but I've ruined so many dreams I can't even jack off anymore unless it's to a mockery of something."
"Word," Geoff conceded.
"Aw, hell, but I ain't mean to digress, Honey Smacks! Where was I?" Chaz sprawled spread-eagle on the oddly textured leather recliner and caught Erika's gaze. She demurely looked away.
"Marketing sex and violence to toddlers," Geoff provided dutifully.
"Right, right. So there I was reading a kiddie book to this rented Thai orphan, and it hit me: What has tits and death and drama and special effects and is solely, successfully marketed to the lucrative K-4 demographic?"
"Nothing." Geoff said darkly, "God knows we've tried: Sesame Streetwalkers, Dora the Sexual Explorer, Blue's Clues Left at the Scene of a Murder/Suicide. We just can't hook the fickle bastards."
"Fairy tales," Chaz put forth smugly. Then he pulled out his Ironic BlackBerry and began punching at the screen.
"Get it? It's totally hilarious and cool because it's a thing that not a lot of people use anymore."
"Fai-- no. No, it can't be that easy," Geoff shook his head sadly. "The sex is only ever implied; the death is always whitewashed. It has to be overt to sell. You know that, Ring Dings; you know that better than anybody. You wrote the book on aggressively appealing to the lowest common denominator."
"Titpistols: The Chaz Blazer Sexogy. Six weeks on The List and still going strong, Mini Corndogs. So we sex the tales up a little bit of a lot, and we put the violence front and center. We give them the grittiest of the gritty reboots, and then we shove them down the audience's throats until they learn to suppress their gag reflex and take it all."
"Gimme examples, Pizza Bagels. Rapid fire."
"I'm thinking Little Red Riding Hood, only now she's barely legal and she bangs the wolf."
"My wallet just got hard," Geoff muttered excitedly.
"Beauty and the Beast, but instead of a beast he's just got a few scars and a motorcycle."
"You just can't Twilight harder than that!" Geoff jumped to his feet. "You just can't do it!"
"But you can try, and we'll accidentally make a million fucking dollars for some reason."
"We can even go the other direction: Big-budget action for the flyover states. Snow White meets Lord of the Rings," Chaz spat the words out faster than his mouth could handle them. He paused briefly to tap furious strokes into his stylishly oversized cellphone. When he punched the final key, Erika emitted a small, sharp gasp.
"Cast Kristen Stewart," Geoff frothed madly, "We'll get the fuckers coming and going!"
"Snow White, but instead of dwarfs they're kung fu warriors."
"You're retarded!" Geoff clapped happily.
"Retarded all the way to the bank," Chaz retorted, "Jack and the Beanstalk meets Cloverfield."
"I can't tell if you're still pitching or just having a stroke, but I am not calling EMS unless you seizure out three more ideas. GO!" Geoff put one knee onto his desk and began to grind against it, each syllable accentuated by a grunting thrust.
"Hansel and Gretel: Bounty Hunters."
"Haha, fuck you! I'm not even going to listen to the next pitch; that one skipped forward in time and murdered it."
"The Wizard of Oz, but Sucker Punch." Chaz tossed the words out quickly, accepting their planned obsolescence.
"What was that? I didn't hear you."
"Girls ate this shit up, right? It really empowered them, having to strip for their freedom."
"A gritty reboot of Peter Pan," Chaz squeaked. His voice had been steadily becoming more strangled as he rifled out pitches. Now he fell silent, and simply writhed on the recliner audibly, each motion accompanied by the unique screech of Malaysian pygmy cotton grinding against fine Mediterranean eel leather.
"Oh. Oh no. Ohhhh, you lost me. And this desk is nowhere near satisfied," Geoff answered, looking shamefully down at his flaccid pants and frustrated office furniture. "There's been like a million of those already."
"Not like this there hasn't. We're going to flip it. Peter Pan's the villain. Think about it, Mac and Cheese: He abducts kids and takes them off to 'Neverland.' And the hero? Oh, it's just plain old Captain Hook. Plain old Police Captain Luther Hook: A grizzled cop who plays by his own rules."
"There's not going to be any money left in the world," Geoff said, firmly engaged once again in tabular frottage. "You'll ruin the whole economy. You're fucking apocalyptic."
"Sirs," Erika spoke up hesitantly, "there's a problem."
"I swear to God, Erika," Geoff growled, "if you even think about telling me how it's 'cliched to reboot children's stories,' or how it's 'immoral to resex our most culturally significant tales,' I'm going to fire-fuck you into oblivion."
"... keep the glasses on. It helps me to not respect you."
"Of course not, sirs. It's ... ah, quite frankly I think it's brilliant," she stole a fluttering glance at the sweat-soaked Chaz, slipping about on his glistening fish-leather throne. "It's just that I've been Googling these properties as you've gone along, for Precognitive SEO Blitzkrieging, and I-- I don't know how to say this ..."
"Don't worry, Skittles, nobody hired you for your brevity. You take as many fake words as you need to say it in the most impressive way," Geoff consoled her.
"It's just that ... ah ... well, your Unique IP Encapsulations have been Advance Appropriated by Prior Brand Synergists."
"They've already been done?!" Chaz screeched and tried to wrestle himself upright, but finding no purchase on the him-glazed recliner, instead simply flailed in place.
Of course they did. Of course. They did.
"Both in production, sir."
"Existing projects, sir. As is Slutty Schoolgirl Ninja of Oz," Erika supplied, panting lightly and straightening her blouse.
"No. There's no way somebody's actually making Pan -- a movie about a child-abducting Peter Pan being chased by Police Captain Hook. That cannot be a thing that's happening. I will not allow it." Chaz whipped his oversized Ironic BlackBerry across the room. Geoff barely managed to duck the shattering, hilariously dated shards of beige plastic.
"I was thinking about retro-upgrading to a wrist-telegraph anyway."
"It is, sir. I promise you, it is. Every single one of those are real movies that are being made right now, and I'm very, very sorry."
"Erika," Geoff mumbled, deflated, "could you give us a moment?"
"Absolutely, sir. And for what it's worth, Mr. Blazer, may I simply say that you were the best I've ever had: You've synced with my Climactic Outlets in a way that no property has ever executed on before," Erika replied, and then ducked quietly outside. She swung the door shut with the crisp, practiced, professional motions of somebody who's been asked to leave almost every room she's ever been in.
"What did she mean by that, do you think?" Geoff asked Chaz, who sat silent, numbly lubricating his own little patch of eel skin.
"Hmm? Oh, that: I was Bluetooth-banging your PR manager through her iGlasses. It's the new sexting."
Geoff's eyes went wide. His jaw slackened, and his desk rose an auspicious four vertical inches.
"You brilliant, manic cyberpredator! That's it! That's our next movie! Twilight meets sexting: Only instead of vampires, they're, like, werelions or some bullshit. It's got everything: Cellphones, dated references, the Internet, age-inappropriate boning! We shall call it Sex-Sting: Read beTween the Lions."
"BAM! Greenlit!" Chaz shouted triumphantly from his shallow pool of agent marinade. "Nobody beats us in a race to the bottom!"
You can buy Robert's book, Everything Is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead, and follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Or you could donate to his kickstarter campaign and help make Sex-Sting a reality.
For more of Robert's insights into Hollywood, check out 5 Classic Movies If They Got Pitched in Hollywood Today and How Hollywood Decided to Reboot Spider-Man (Probably).