Chaz Blazer, elite Hollywood agent and avid sharking enthusiast, coasted his lime green ElliptiGO into the office of high-powered studio executive Geoff Chaser. Or at least he would have, if that had existed: Instead of the normal, tasteful Power Maximalist office decor, he found only a vast, empty space surrounded by small, walled-in cubes. Two men stood at its center, arguing.
"Geoff! Baby! My sultan of swing, my queen of the Stone Age, my ayatollah of rock and rollah! How it be? What happened to your office?" Chaz shouted, circling the pair.
"It be," Geoff conceded, "and it's not an 'office' anymore, you nasty little money-minx. It's an 'inverted workspace.' Why should I, the most powerful and therefore best living thing in this office, be the only one confined by walls? I figured, if anything, all the inferiors should be penned in and I should be the only one roaming free."
"I adore it! You're friggin' wasted on power!" Chaz hollered from the distant end of the vacuous, echoing space.
"I said, 'Anybody with a new and interesting idea can stay,' and the whole industry just went home."
"Nope: That's salvia!" Geoff shouted back, "And I gotta tell ya -- it is doing things for me. My creative juices are flowing like Jamba; I'm downright wet with creativity over here."
"Ironic word up, bro! So what's with the suit?" Chaz spat contemptuously at the flustered man in the khakis, whose cut bespoke equal parts poverty and desperation (they were pleated).
"He's a scriptwriter," Geoff answered, dizzily attempting to track Chaz's ceaselessly circling elliptical bicycle.
"Ew," Chaz replied simply.
"I know, right?!" Geoff laughed, then raised his hands in placation. "But I've got an idea, 20 minutes and a massive ball-trip going; I figure we can just write this thing and have it out right now."
"Sir?" the writer yelped, as Chaz quickly executed a furious series of pumps that sent him charging erratically, elliptically toward the man. "I can't write a script in 20 minutes!"
Yes, this is actually an LA thing. It's for people who are worried that they don't look like a big enough asshole on their Segway.
"Of course not!" Geoff hollered, and attempted to put all of his fingers into his mouth. He spoke with remarkable clarity around the stuffed digits. "You'll only have 10, after we brainstorm."
"This is madne-" the man began, but was cut short by another ElliptiGO stampede.
"Sometime last night -- right after the screaming started -- I got to thinking," Geoff continued, the flesh of his cheeks undulating with his own wriggling fingers. "You know who we haven't fucked in a while?"
"Whoa-ho-ho," Chaz said, gritting his teeth through the pain. His calves were really starting to feel the burn -- in fact, all of his skin was kind of burning, now that he thought about it. "Geoff, honeybutt, sugardick: This isn't the annual retreat to Phnom Penh. You can't go around saying stuff like that in front of the Normals."
"Look at them all down there, like ants. Like ants you can molest for $6 an hour."
"I mean metaphorically, Ironic Esse! We really need to shake up the scene to get at the kids today. You know -- mess with their memories, wobble them loose from their jaded little media comas. And I know just how to do it: We introduce another subpar manipulated rehash! Give them a massively inferior version of something old and irrelevant to them, rather than something new that can be all theirs. Really destroy the sense of pop culture ownership that previous generations had. Something that'll get great PR from the butthurt fanboys and nostalgia crowd, but still do a quick profit from tired parents needing two hours to bone."
"Isn't that why we have Transformers?" Chaz asked, his feet partially fusing with his bicycle. Funny, he didn't recall reading about human/machine fusion in the ElliptiGO Digitally Organic Owner's Dossier & Text Package.
"Luminous! Chaz, my baby bubeleh bitch; my empty tube of animated meat where a man should be -- you're a fucking savant! Did you see that Michael Bay thing the other day?"
"Yeah, yeah, on Nickelodeon? That was hilarious! Who let him out of the Money Cage? Was he authorized to talk about new projects?"
"Of course not! You know he can only parrot back what you say to him and make explosion noises with his mouth. Somebody must have left the door to the Kafes open, and he probably overheard two wholly different conversations about '80s cartoon shows and immigration on the way to the stage. We're just lucky he didn't start screaming racial epithets and hurling dynamite again. But you know what? We're going to do it: We're going to make his insane blathering a reality. We're going to reboot the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as aliens."
"Hahaha," Chaz giggled, giddy at the mere prospect of the callousness. "We totally have to do that, Ironic Homeboy! That's so delightfully, needlessly awful; I won't sleep easy for a week! Hey, you ever wish the Southern Oracle from that Neverending Story movie was real, just so you could beat the shit out of yourself?"
"And also to do ... other things."
"Nah, Chaz, that's pretty twisted," Geoff answered. "I just wish for the machine from The Prestige so I could watch clones of myself drown."
They laughed and high-fived, but their flesh stuck together, confusing the lines between beings for a moment. Chaz felt a ripple of fear flow up his spine; Geoff felt the first stirrings of an erection awaken from the awful novelty of the moment.
"Excuse me, gentlemen?" The bespectacled peon in the dismal pants forgot his place and spoke. "Maybe this is because you're both more bird than man, or because my eyeballs are having ideas independent of one another, but I don't think a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie works if they're aliens. I mean, it's right there in the name: Mutant. It's already the dumbest, most straightforward and explanatory title in history. It has four words that tell you the premise: They're teenagers, they're mutants, they're ninjas and they're turtles. It explicitly spells out the only four aspects you can't mess around with ..."
Everything else is fair game: Weapon specialties, mask colors, general quality of humor ...
Chaz screeched like a hawk, leaped off the elliptical bike and swooped onto the writer. To the man's credit, he immediately started hyperventilating.
"Hey, Geoff," Chaz stopped pecking the harangued scriptwriter long enough to squawk, "he brings up a good point ..."
"What?! No! Fuck that guy -- hey, guy," Geoff said, drawing the huddled man's face up to within inches of his own. He held the shivering fellow's gaze for a long moment, then savagely reiterated: "Fuck you."
"No, no, of course fuck him," Geoff said, forgetting that he was Chaz -- forgetting that he was all men at once. "I mean that stuff about eyeballs having ideas and me being a hybrid raptor and all -- that's weird, right? I'm pretty sure that's weird. So that's a good point: Why is reality so wrong?"
"Oh! Right!" Geoff clapped happily. "Been pumping the salvia in through the vents. Ain't got time to smoke. I have worlds to devour! Sorry if I forgot to mention it, but honestly, after about 72 hours of straight exposure, you kind of forget that there was ever a time when you weren't the King of the Colors, you know?"
And that you ruled those imaginative pricks with an iron fist.
"They can't be," the writer muttered from the quivering ball he'd formed on the bare carpet, "they can't be aliens. There are too many problems."
"Did you forget about 'Fuck you,' buddy?" Chaz asked, laughing.
"I think he forgot," Geoff nodded, "maybe you should carve it into his face."
"Jesus, no!" the man quailed, "I just mean that there are logistical problems! How can they be aliens and know how to skateboard? Why do they love pizza?"
"Because I fucking told them to," Chaz answered, making a wanking motion with his hand. The universe helpfully filled it with the phantom cock of the cosmos itself.
"But ... but why would they be named after Renaissance painters, then? Did they have a Renaissance identical to our own on the alien planet they were raised on?"
"Yes," Geoff replied coolly, his eyes going unfocused, "... or no. Maybe we can't pronounce their real names, so we give them new ones. Don't get bogged down in the details."
"Maybe they're salamanders now. Maybe they're cowboys. Maybe there's a fifth turtle who's just a weird hippie in a paisley vest who likes puppets."
"But how?!" the shell-shocked man's voice was steadily escalating into a high-pitched wail. "How does Splinter exist then? Did they have sentient rats and turtles on this planet? How do we get any of the other characters at all? I'm not saying the ooze was a sacred idea; I'm just saying that the whole point of this franchise is to sell toys, and the ooze lets you make a new animal character every day! Why mess with that? How does that work with aliens? Are Bebop and Rocksteady and like, that fly-guy -- Professor Fly, maybe? -- are they all aliens from different planets?"
"Yes, you amorphous blob of complaining flesh! I do not recall, exactly, but I believe that you may have been a man at some point, so who are you to question us?! Why not have them all be extraterrestrials?" Chaz tipped the ElliptiGO on its end and began entwining his limbs between the bars. "They come to Earth with hostile intent, and have to contend with this thankless group of secret underground protectors, who are the only ones that know about the aliens and the threat they present!"
"It's ingenious! All the screeching voices agreed last night, when I shouted every word of this plan into the empty night air!" Geoff joined Chaz in snaking his limbs throughout the upturned bicycle, executing an elaborate Kama Sutra position of man and machine.
"But we already made that! It's called Men in Black! Why not just make another one of those? Why bother with the Turtles at all?" the writerball asked, speaking entirely in a singsong, wavering falsetto.
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"We can't. After you make a pug a central character, the whole series goes to shit. It's called the Joe Pesci effect."
"Because we're fucking Hollywood, you little punk," Geoff and Chaz answered, having become one being joined through the medium of ElliptiGO frame, "and we're engaged in a giant game of chicken with the audience's wallets. With every terrible new release, we dare them -- defy them -- to swerve first, but the pussies never do. The game must continue until we collide. The game must continue to the end."
The writer had no rebuttal but his plaintive song, which merged seamlessly with the screeching echoing all around the vacant space; the screeching that became a choir of formless sound of which every living being was a member --
"All of humanity had at last merged into one single, beautiful, luminescent, omniscient life-form. And it was a total asshole."
"Whoa, hey," Chaz said, shaking his head clear and briefly realizing that he was but one of two men crouching atop a novelty exercise bike. "I thought you were joking about the screaming earlier, but I hear it now, too."
"Of course," Geoff answered, frowning up at that-which-was-once and now-was-not Chaz. "I told you: Inverse Workspace. I had every other cubicle on this floor walled up."
"While the workers were still in there?" Chaz chuckled admiringly. "There are no doors."
"Nope," Geoff replied, clutching at Chaz's leg and trying to force it back into his own.
"Haha, and the salvia? You didn't close off their vents, did you?"
"Oh shit," Geoff exclaimed at the realization, "they've been in there for three days. In the dark."
"OK! So I'm done experiencing all the myriad forms of madness. Now, what'd I do with that Dilbert calendar?"
"We should do two things," Chaz said, allowing his form to again be atomically merged into Geoff's with an impatient eye roll. "First: We get the guy who did Wrath of the Titans to direct Teenage Alien Ninja Turtles."
"BAM!" Geoff shouted, "I'll greenlight that whole fucking franchise, right now! What's the second?"
"We open these doors, and let our co-workers out," Chaz answered flatly, his voice devoid of all intonation.
"But Chaz," Geoff stated, his voice an equal monotone, "they'll eat the world alive."
"Of course they will," both answered as one. "That's the whole point."
You can buy Robert's other book, Everything Is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
For more from Brockway, check out The Pitch Meeting Behind The Worst Movie Idea Ever Approved and 5 Classic Movies If They Got Pitched in Hollywood Today.
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