Thursday. February 26. Whatever Year We're Currently In.
I called Evans, my reluctant assistant/eventual fall guy at around 1:00pm. He picked up after one ring.
"Evans," I barked into the phone. Then I just barked a few times. Evans is a fantastic assistant, but sometimes he needs a few good barks to knock him down a peg or two. Under the barking, I heard him sigh on the other end.
"Yes, Mr. O'Brien?" I refused to respond to him until he addressed me by my official title. With great hesitation, he does.
"Yes, Lieutenant Colonel Dr. O'Brien?"
"Atta boy. Come to my office, I want to bark at you for a little bit."
I'm nowhere near important or busy enough to require an assistant, but God knows I sure love having one around. He always does his work on time, and he does a damn good job, too (I imagine. I've never actually checked any of the random assignments I've had him do. One of these days, though.) Additionally, as any Internet writer will tell you, it's impossible to write in a vacuum, so it's good to have Evans around so I can bounce ideas (or, alternately, this tennis ball I found in the parking lot) off of him. Also I forget to pack lunch a lot, so I can always rely on Evans to not be aware that I've been stealing his.
Evans approached quickly and tensely, like a man who was often pelted with stolen apples. A brown, leather messenger bag was slung over his shoulder, and a giant top hat sat elegantly atop his head. One of these things was part of the mandatory dress code I'd assigned him.
"Evans," I said, stroking my slightly larger top hat, "you're fired." His eyes lit up.
"Really? Do you mean that?"
"Nah, I'm messing with you, you're never getting out of here."
"Please, don't get my hopes up like that." It really is unfair. I've been dangling this firing in front of his face for a very long time. Keep reaching, Evans. I slowly spun around in my leather desk chair, stroking my chin with one hand like a Bond villain, and adjusting the time on the clock I'd installed in my top hat with the other (also like a Bond villain, if there was a Bond villain who had such a fly hat).
"I think we both know what time it is, Mr. Bond. Hat time. I'm going to kill you."
"Refresh my memory, Evans, what do I have you working on right now?" He took out his small, leather-bound notebook. He uses it to write down my orders and important phone numbers, as well as his own fiction and poetry. Sometimes when he's not looking, I slip in pictures of my wiener between the pages. He reached the page that had my latest batch of instructions and started reading.
"Mornings, you have me hanging around Hannah Montana forums, drawing comparisons between whatever project she's currently working on and Nazism. Most afternoons, you have me either washing your car or breaking into Jack's house and replacing all of the pictures in his picture frames with photos of you, and...let's see. Here it is, last night, at about 3am, you called me up and mumbled something about a parachute made out of bacon."
"Yes! And what progress have you made on the Porkachute?"
"So far, none, sir, but in fairness, you told me about this last night. Also, what you're asking for isn't technically possible."
"Right, this all sounds like really great stuff," I said, my mind wandering as I absently dug around in my bellybutton for awhile. "As much as I love what you're probably doing, I want you to drop everything and work on something new. Evans, I've expressed my love for Watchmenbefore, right? Well, there's a Watchmen press screening at the Ancient Chinese Secret Theater, this Monday. Did you know that?"
"It's- that's not what it's called. It's Grauman's Chinese Theater, but yes, I was aware of it."
"Whatever. Now, I have it on good authority that Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman will be attending, so he can review it for their magazine."
"Alright," Evans said. His eyes narrowed, and suspicion was growing on his face, like a beard, which was also growing (on his face).
"Gleiberman has been with EW since day one, and I've always found his reviews to be very fair and thoughtful. He's never pandering, but he's not elitist either. He's right in the middle, and I really respect his opinion."
"Okay. What does that have to do with... anything?"
"Oh, I want you to break his legs and steal his press passes. Here's his address." I handed him a slip of paper with Owen's address on it. Let's just say the Editor of Entertainment Weekly owes me a favor (I kidnapped his son.)
"Whoa, you want me to steal Owen Gleiberman's press pass?"
"Press passes, Evans, plural. I want to bring a date. Probably your sister, how is she, by the way?"
"I expect those passes on my desk by five, Evans. Maybe a picture of Owen Gleiberman crying, if you can manage it."
"This- can't you just call the theater and get a pass yourself? Wouldn't you be included in this sort of thing anyway? As a matter of fact, I read on the press release that online bloggers and writers were welcome." Ah, reading. It was Evans's literacy that got him this job.
"Evans, pretend for a moment that I didn't read this press release. Humor me. What'd it say I should do?"
"It said that anyone affiliated with some form of press could attend, and it gave you a list of numbers to call to get your tickets."
"I see. And isn't it your responsibility to get me those numbers?"
"It is, which is why I printed them out."
"Uh huh. And did you ever give me this print out?"
"Evans, pretend for moment that I don't know where I put the page you printed out. Humor me. Where is it?"
"It looks like it's tucked into your shirt." Ah, looking at things. It was Evans's knack for looking at things that got him this job.
"Tucked into my shirt, yes, I see that. Now, why did I do that?"
"If I had to guess, I'd say you were using it as a bib. It's covered in barbecue sauce, and it looks like some Skittles are stuck on there, too." I looked down and, sure enough, everything that Evans was describing was true. I pulled the makeshift bib out of my shirt. Luckily, all of the numbers I needed to call would be completely readable, once I'd given the paper a few strong lickings.
With two fingers deep in my bellybutton and the juiciest part of this press release dangling from my greasy mouth, I asked Evans the big question:
"How do I translate any of what you're saying into getting free Watchmen tickets for your sister and me?"
"Just call up one of those numbers and ask for one. Tell them you're a writer."
"'Writer?' I barely know her!" I laughed for about six minutes.
"Will that be all, then, boss? I've really got a lot of paperwork to do."
"Yeah, that's probably all I need from you for right now. Excellent work as usual. You keep it up and you just might get that firing you've been begging me for."
"Don't tease me, Lt. Col. Dr. DOB. Alright, I'm going to head back to work. Let me know if you need anything else."
"'Anything else?' I barely know her!"
"I don't think you know how that joke works."
"Works? I barely-" But Evans was already gone. I wrote down "barely know her" so I could remember it for next time, because I know how much Evans likes my funny funny jokes.
I thoroughly licked my info page-bib and went over it diligently, peeling off skittles as I went. Sure enough, they were inviting all members of the press, even from the retarded Internet. I couldn't believe it. This is perfect, I thought, as I sucked on a barbecue-sauce-drenched Skittle. I forget sometimes that Cracked.com is a wildly popular and influential website and that, as an employee of that website, I'm entitled to tickets to fancy Hollywood events, and bottles of fancy Hollywood cocaine (I also think it means I'm allowed to have sex with Denise Richards at least once, but I'm not positive). There were three different numbers to call on the press release- one for online, one for print and one for TV. I called up the representative for the Online Press branch, who I'll call "Orna."
Because that was her name.*
[EDITOR'S NOTE: As anyone who was in the Cracked offices on February 26th can attest, what follows is a pretty honest account of how these five conversations actually went. Unfortunately.]Call # 1: Orna, Warner Bros.' Online Press Representative:
ORNA: Orna [last name deleted]?
DOB: Orna, hi, this is Dan O'Brien. Regarding the Watchmen premier, I'm calling from-
ORNA: Sorry, we're totally full.
DOB:...I'm calling from Cracked.com, it's a comedy Internet, and I-
ORNA: We're totally full, I'm sorry.
DOB: ...And I'd like press tickets for the premier. Internet.
ORNA: Again, we're completely full.
DOB: No, but I want a press ticket, for me, for the premier. I'm huge on the Internet.
ORNA: I'm sorry.
RESULT: Not great, but I'm still optimistic. To tell the truth, I was a little late to the game. Every idiot with a website probably already called and reserved the spots set aside for Online Press so, in retrospect, I didn't have a chance. But what I did have was the number for the Print Press representative. I also have incredibly negotiable morals that make it really easy to lie to people. People like Gina [last name deleted].
Call # 2: Gina, Warner Bros.' Print Press Representative:
GINA: Afternoon, this is Gina.
DOB: Hi, this is Dan O'Brien with Cracked dot--- (Shit. Think fast.)...Magazine... Cracked. Dot. Magazine. (That wasn't fast at all!)
GINA: I'm sorry...Cracked Dot Magazine?
DOB: Yep, that's us.
GINA: 'Cracked' like 'broken?'
DOB: Yes. 'Cracked' like 'broken.'
DOB: Dot Magazine.
GINA: Okay, how can I help you?
[This part is crucial, DOB. You need to charm her before she has time to lookup 'Cracked Dot Magazine.' Charm her, dammit.]
DOB: I want Watchmen tickets for me, please. Free. I'm with the Press, so they'd be free, for Monday, at the Chinese...Chinaman's Theater.
GINA: Grauman's Chinese Theater?
GINA: I'm sorry, but we're all out.
DOB: No, but for the press. I'm with...(Don't you dare say it again.) A magazine.
GINA: I understand, but we're still out, unfortunately.
DOB: Okay, but, just what about one, for just Daniel?
GINA: Who's Daniel?
DOB: I'm Daniel.
GINA: What magazine did you say you were with.
RESULT: Again, not totally terrific, but I feel like we're getting closer. True, I didn't technically get the tickets, but Gina sounded really attractive, so on the whole, the call was very pleasant. Also, I still had another trick up my sleeve of ethical flexibility. It was time to call Warner Brothers
on behalf of television.
Call # 3: Kim, Warner Bros.' Television Press Representative:
KIM: This is Kim.
DOB: This is Dan O'Brien with [series of unintelligible slurs to cloud the fact that I'm not technically affiliated with a television station.]
DOB: I'm calling regarding acquiring press passes for this Sunday's Watchmen premier.
KIM: I'm sorry, we're filled past capacity at this point.
DOB: (Enthusiastically.) Okay.
KIM: Oh... So there's... There's no room, anymore, we can't fit anyone else in.
KIM: I'm sorry.
DOB: I see.
[At this point, I stopped really caring about the press screening. I just wanted to not pay for the movie.]
KIM: So I guess there's nothing we can-
DOB: No, no, hold on. What about another time?
KIM: What? Monday is our only press screening.
DOB: Uh huh.
KIM: And then...and then the movie opens.
DOB: Right, it's cool that I can't get to the press screening, but can you just give me tickets to, like, a Friday showing or whatever? At an AMC or
something? I can send you the addresses of AMCs in my area and you can just tell them it's okay to let me in. I'll take a Wednesday.
KIM: No, we don't... We don't do that. We don't just give out tickets. Who are you with again?
DOB: TV, television, Inter- Uh, thanks for everything, have a great day.
Result: Okay, so while I didn't exactly nail the dismount, I think, in general, that call went better than the first two. Unfortunately, I ran out of Warner Brothers contacts but, luckily, I was going to go above and beyond Warner Brothers. Let it never be said that Ole' Dirty Dan O'Brien the Bastard, (ODDOBB) has a shortage of tricks up his sleeves. I decided to call Paramount, Watchmen's distributor, probably.
Call # 4: Schalah, Paramount Pictures. I Forget What Her Title is:
SCHALAH: This is Schalah.
DOB: This is Dan O'Brien with Internet.
SCHALAH: Terrific! How can I help you?
DOB: I'd like free tickets to Watchmen for Monday, please.
SCHALAH: ...Excuse me?
DOB: The Watchmen premier, the press screening. It's this Monday and I am the Internet and I'd like a ticket, please.
SCHALAH: No, I know that but... I'm... This is Paramount Studios International. I- We have nothing to do with giving out the tickets, we're in charge of... everything else. We're Paramount Studios International. That's not at all something that we take care of. You need to contact people at Warner Brothers, or the theater.
DOB: I did, and they said they didn't have any.
DOB: So I was just checking if you personally had any. Like, hidden somewhere.
SCHALAH: No... No I do not.
DOB: Like in a drawer.
SCHALAH: I'm in charge of getting the red carpet set up.
DOB: Dammit. Alright.
Result: Shut up. Remember what I said about my sleeves? And all the tricks concealed therein? That still applies.
Call # 5: Bebe, Cruel and Unusual Films:
BEBE: Bebe's office.
DOB: Hi, Bebe, is this Cruel and Unusual Films?
BEBE: Yes it is.
DOB: Thank you, Bebe, and this is Zack Snyder's company, right?
BEBE: That's right.
DOB: And with whom am I currently speaking... with?
BEBE: ... I'm Bebe.
DOB: Right. This is Dan O'Brien, from the Internet.
DOB: I'm calling about this Monday's Watchmen premier, about getting press passes.
BEBE: Oh!, Okay, let me check on something, hold please.
(Holy Shit. Holy Shit. Holy Shit. Holy Shit.)
BEBE: Hello? I'm sorry, who did you say you were with?
BEBE: The Internet.
DOB: Cracked? Cracked.com?
BEBE: I'm sorry, Crack?
DOB: No, Cracked....Cracked.
BEBE: Oh, Cracked.com, I'm sorry, yes, I know your site.
DOB: Terrific. Now, about those tickets...
BEBE: Yes, I'm pretty sure you need to go through Warner Brothers for that.
DOB: They said...to call you.
BEBE: Did they?
DOB: ...Not, with words or anything, but in a way, yeah.
BEBE: Well there's a mistake, then, because we dont have any. I can give you the number of their Online Print-
-CLICK.Result: Dammit. I tried every branch of Warner Bros., Paramount Studios, and finally the director of the film, and none of it worked. What the hell does it take to see Watchmen? Money? Horseshit. Okay. Okay. I still have one more plan.
Call # 6: The Undiscovered Country:
JARVIS: Hello, you've reached Guest Services for AMC Movie Theaters, this is Jarvis speaking, how can I help you?
DOB: (Shouting) Give me free Watchmen tickets!
DOB: FUCK YOU, JARVIS.The Result: I don't know what you want, America. I've done everything I could think of, short of actually paying for this movie, (an idea that still strikes me as ludicrous). I didn't include the transcripts, but when I hung up with Jarvis, I called eight other random phone numbers barking about free Watchmen tickets, and no one thinks I deserve them. Some of them hadn't even heard of the movie or, more devastatingly, of me.
You're lucky, Zack Snyder. If I wasn't planning on paying for this movie with money I'd stolen from Evans, you just might have a very angry fan on your hands.
* That isn't, I should say, her picture. For some reason, no one I called was comfortable with sending me pictures of themselves.