"Huh, Janice? It's a simple god damn question."
"Sir?" The assistant inquired politely.
"Are you a down-on-your-luck recovering drug addict trying to sell me a magazine subscription? Then don't you 'sir' me, Janice!" Geoff picked at the plaque on his door with the hope that it would just slide out. It did not. It was screwed.
"No, you're screwed!" Geoff screeched.
"Sir, I think you're doing that thing again. Where you mistakenly believe you've said something aloud that you only thought," She spoke softly, an exactly measured portion of concern seasoning her tone.
Geoff Chaser needed a new plaque, and now he was hungry too. Great.
"Shit and god damn, Janice! I need a Plaque-Maestro and a plate of waffles and I need them yesterday. I suggest you look into time travel, Janice, because that was not a fucking idiom. If I don't see a door that properly proclaims my status and fondly remember a delicious and nutritious breakfast the next time I turn around, I am going to make you live under your desk for a week."
'Geoff Chaser: Studio Executive, Power Everything, God Amongst Men ...' the plaque began, and continued on in that fashion for several lines.
He belched, and tasted the sickly tang of syrup, felt the heaviness of batter in his gut.
"Pancakes. You devious cunt. I'll allow you a hotplate, but no blankets. One week, Janice!" He exclaimed over his shoulder, as he stomped back into his office, "and I don't mean a business week, you got me!?"
"Desk housing?" Chaz Blazer, elite Hollywood agent and Hot Bushido enthusiast, inquired casually.
"Bitch masters time travel and still can't work a waffle iron," Geoff explained, flopping exhaustedly into his chair. He swiveled it to face the stranger.
"Who the fuck are you, and should I make you a star, or skin you like a grape?" He asked the man.
The stranger stammered, and started frantically rifling through a ream of papers.
"GRAPE!" Geoff screamed, pulling the combat knife from where he'd left it -- stabbed upright into the dead center of his massive oaken desk.
"I named it 'Constructive Criticism.' It's amazing: Most writers actually ask to be stabbed with it."
The man yelped pathetically, and flinched. A tiny hat, no bigger than a doll's, rolled from his head and across the floor.
"Baby! Sugar! Pork Cracklins! No!" Chaz held his hands up plaintively, "this is my nephew, Ethan Blazer, remember? He's been in this meeting for what, an hour now?"
"Um, forty-six, actually," Ethan answered timidly.
"Time jumps!" Geoff swore vehemently. He pressed the button for his intercom. "Janice! I hope you had fun on your little excursion, because now we've got the fabric of time fraying thin in here! I'll be docking the days we skip from your vacation time, I'll have you know. CHRONOLOGY IS LOSING RELEVANCE, JANICE!"
"I think it's the Methamphetamine Luge, actually," Chaz said, gesturing to the carved ice pipe melting quietly in the corner. The stack of cloudy chips in the bowl on top was getting dangerously low.
"Now that's what I call ice! Hahaha but no seriously, I'll suck your dick for a rock."
"We'll see about that," Geoff narrowed his eyes at Ethan, "what's this so-called 'meeting' about, then?"
Ethan Blazer cleared his throat, shuffled his script, and picked up where he'd left off.
"Bailey: Charlie, please. It's me, baby, it's Bailey. Charlie, Charlie I need you to open your eyes. You're just sleeping, baby. You're just tired is all. You ain't hurt. You ain't! It's just been a long shift at the mill, baby - that's all that happened to you. And I know it feels worse, but it ain't, okay? You're not gonna die, Charlie! You can't die, baby! You gotta pick Maxy up from practice. You gotta open your eyes!"
"No no no, god damn it, if we wanted to hear dialogue we'd hire those Filipinos to knife fight for us again," Geoff waved his hand dismissively.
"Tagalog," Chaz corrected, then turned to Ethan: "Give us the gist."
Man, if there's something Filipinos do better than knife-fight, I'm kind of scared to know about it.
"Gist me you poncey little son of a bitch!" Geoff hollered.
"Poncey? Nice. Classy. Got a flavor to it, kind of oakey on the fore-tongue," Chaz pondered it, rolling the insult around in his mouth and spitting it, along with a not-insignificant amount of actual saliva, into Ethan's face.
"Good, right?" Geoff smiled. "British, I think. Finishes strong, but smooth, and pairs well with lineage-based epithets - your 'whore mothers,' your 'bastard fathers,' your 'slut ancestors,' and so forth."
Ethan interjected forcefully: "It's the story of Charlie Kenton, an old-school, washed-up boxer who's finding himself lost in this era of Mixed Martial Arts and glorified ultra-violence. Charlie's not a good guy, but he's trying to be. This is the story of his comeback, but moreover, it's the story of how he reconnects with his estranged son, Max."
"Sounds like Rocky IV," Geoff noted.
"LOVE Rocky IV," Chaz appended.
"It's the best! It's fantastic! Find me a man who doesn't like Rocky IV!"
"You can't! Can't do it!"
Proof: Ask any man aged 20-50, and they will flawlessly reproduce Drago's "I must break you" line on command.
"Janice!" Geoff screamed into the intercom, "find me a man who doesn't like Rocky IV and doesn't run track, because I'm going to kick out his knees!"
"Yes, sir. Right away, sir." Her voice returned all crisp, curt, clean, clear and cookies.
"Pancakes just don't fill like waffles," Geoff observed sadly.
"LOVE waffles!" Chaz appended.
"They're the best! They're fantastic! Find me a ma-"
Ethan cut in again: "It's not like Rocky IV."
There was stunned, offended silence in the room as the men tried, and failed, to process this concept.
"Wha- what is it, then? Karate Kid? Raging Bull? Fucking Gymkata?! You can't just make up ideas out of thin air!"
"Well, it's not JUST like Rocky IV," Ethan finally clarified, "it's more realistic, for one: Charlie doesn't get back in the ring, himself. He's too old to fight, see. So he finds a kid named Adam: A strong, scrappy young punk, working in a junkyard. He starts training him, and we come to see that Adam represents Charlie's attempt to regain his youth and glory. He dedicates his every waking moment to Adam's training, even while his own son Max goes largely neglected. Charlie and Adam, they get a bit of a reputation coming up through the exhibition matches, and somehow Charlie gets Adam a shot at Zane, this big, heavyweight monster. But Adam dies in a car wreck a week before the fight. Charlie goes off: He goes crazy, he loses it, he's on a bender."
Ethan sucked in a huge gulp of air and continued: "He ends up picking a fight in a bar, and we flash into his head -- he's seeing it as the big match, his chance to shine -- but he's too far gone, and the guys are too big, too young. He gets beaten, real bad. He'll never walk straight again, much less box. But when he comes to in the hospital, his eyes blur into focus, and what does he see? His son there, playing on the floor of the hospital room. He's playing Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots, and Charlie's just watching him, quietly. The boy is really getting into it, totally oblivious, and we can hear the sounds of a real match in the distance -- the cheers, the hits, the bells -- everything. Charlie starts to smile through his shattered face, because he's realizing, see, he's getting it: All the thrill, and the glorious youth that he's looking for...it's Max. He's looking for Max. He's found Max."
"... and now they team up to fight crime!" -Hollywood
Ethan was breathless, panting, his eyes glimmering with restrained tears.
"It's uh...it's kind of about my dad, too." He added, then fell silent.
Chaz and Geoff sat, dumbstruck and still. They could hear vacuuming, somewhere in the far distance.
"Wow," Geoff finally breathed.
"Holy shit," Chaz agreed, "that's like the most amazing story I've ever heard."
"R-really? You like it?" Ethan half-stood with excitement.
"Like it?! You're gonna win an Oscar! All the Oscars!" Geoff raced over to the Luge, hit the Igniter and sucked up the torrent of chilled smoke that came billowing down the ice-pipe. When he spoke again, his voice was still thick with held breath: "Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots: The Movie!"
"BIGGITY BAM! THAT IS HOW YOU FUCKING DO IT!" Chaz whooped.
Ethan emitted a high, thin keen, and then sat down hard.
"We're going to have to do something about the title, though" Geoff mused.
"What? No! Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots: The Movie! It's the best sentence in the history of sequential words!"
"Oh, agreed, baby, agreed! But we'll never get the rights. You know how sue happy Big Plastic is. Their elite team of billion dollar lawyers will tear us apart."
"What then? Rock Socks? Robot Rocks? Sock Robots? Pop Rocks, Lox and Smocks, Robot Jox ..."
"This is totally a concept worth revisiting." -Hollywood
"Please," Ethan spoke shakily, "please don't do this to me. Please don't do this to the world."
"Tough Tungsten, Buff Bronze, Macho Metal, Real Stee-" Geoff was brought up short by the buzz of an intercom.
"Sir? I have a Mr. Jensen to see you. It's regarding the matter we spoke about earlier."
"Send him in! Send everybody in! Ha ha ha! We're gonna have a fucking party! Young Ethan here just pitched us the property of the decade!" Geoff seized Chaz by the nose and shot a thick stream of smoke down his throat. Chaz absorbed it, then leaped to his feet and punched Geoff in the solar plexus. When he finished hacking, they both laughed and executed an elaborate handshake that ended with the two men pantomiming mutual masturbation.
The door swung open and a portly, sweaty man in a tweed vest shuffled in nervously.
"Y-you wanted to see me?" He asked meekly.
"Did I? What about?"
"I ah ... I don't know, sir. Your assistant just sent out an urgent email asking all employees for their opinion on Rocky IV."
"And what did you answer?" Chaz genially threw an arm around the man's shoulders.
"It um ... it was a little too brutal for me? I don't really like violence," Jensen answered blankly.
He screamed like a pig when he saw his own cartilage.
You can buy Robert's book, Everything is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead, or follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Special thanks to Ian Toohey for the only usable suggested subject matter in the history of this column. Congratulations! You win! You win a great big heaping mound of jack shit! Hahahaha!
For more from Brockway, check out 7 Real Car Chases Way Crazier Than Anything in the Movies and The Brainstorm That Led to Hollywood's Most Unlikely Remake.