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The Script

by LewisPencastle2

Jack Smith bit his lip and glanced around the room nervously, as did the other contestants. The silence in the room was unbearable and felt like an eternity, though in actuality it had only been half a minute. Finally the host came back on, wearing a polished black suit and charismatic smile. As he held a white card to his eye the crowd stiffened. “Ladies and gentleman,” He declared. “After that suspenseful wait, I am pleased to announce the lucky winner of tonight’s game… Jack Smith!”

All of a sudden, lights began to circle the stage and music played in celebration, but from Jack himself only came an awestruck reaction. Then, as if only merely delayed, he began to leap and dance across the platform, now in the realization that he had won. As he whooped with joy the host cheerily announced his prizes. “A new automobile, a trip to the tropics…” Though Jack was fully tuned out in his joy. But as Jack danced across the stage, rejoicing, he slipped. In an instant he crashed into the first row of the audience and the music faltered as commotion arose. Jack quickly stood back up, feeling unhindered and undeterred in his triumph, but it was too late. That was not how the script was supposed to go. And just as the audience began to resettle as the moment seemed to innocently pass by, the lights in the room shut off and without a second commotion the audience and contestants went silent, slumped in their seats.

Late at night in a set quiet suburbs, Jane Doe sat in the living room with her child, watching the nightly game show. Jane had always enjoyed the show, but her son began to find it confusing. As applause erupted onscreen and a man jumped around on the stage, the boy’s confusion only grew. “Did he win Mommy?”

“Yes dear, he did,” Said Jane.

“But he didn’t do anything! How could he have?”

“Well it's a game of luck, dear. He didn’t have to do anything.”

“I don’t really like that,” Said the boy with a frown. “If I ran a show, I don’t think it would be lucky.”

Jane chuckled at her son’s comment but unfortunately, unbeknownst to them both, that was not part of the script. And as a commotion began to unfold on the television, the lights in the living room went dark and Jane Doe lay slumped on the couch with her son.

Noon passed in the Bronx of New York City and in one, unassuming apartment John Brown watched a sitcom with his friend. The show was a bit tedious and dry, but it was one of the few things to watch at the time. “But he didn’t do anything! How could he have?” Piped the boy from the screen. The mother chuckled and began to explain, but not before John’s friend interjected. “You’ve got to hand it to those actors,” He said. “I hear memorizing those scripts can be a pain.”

“Yeah, I hear they’re longer than you’d think too.” John said. Then he got an idea. A far-out, ridiculous idea, but one that entertained him nonetheless. “Could you imagine having to do that all the time?” He asked his friend.

“What do you mean?”

“Well like, living off a script. Imagine if our whole lives we just lived off a script.”

“What the hell are you on about? I hear that’s how the Reds live, you know.”

It was at that moment when the sitcom on the television shut off, and the camera behind John’s head closed.

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Points: 293
Reviews: 2

Mon Apr 13, 2020 11:49 am
AHugeNerd says...

I really liked your short story! Your writing style is something I enjoy, and the twist was well executed! There is no specific criticism I can think of at the moment, so, continue writing! If this is part of a collection, I’ll keep my eye out for the other installments. Have a great day!

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Points: 144
Reviews: 4

Wed Apr 01, 2020 9:41 pm
DustyCat wrote a review...

Hi :)

In my opinion, the twists makes it. I really like the bending together of three different time frames, creating an unexpected picture within a picture feel.

However, this line: " Though Jack was fully tuned out in his joy. But as Jack danced across the stage, rejoicing, he slipped. "

I find that it throws me off and doesn't really flow so well. It could possibly be the 'Though' that is misplaced.

The last line and ending is left so open to interpretation that it really rounds off the mystery.

I like the whole idea.

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10 Reviews

Points: 653
Reviews: 10

Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:30 pm
amazingbt wrote a review...

I really like this. It was really interesting. It leaves a few questions unanswered, but not at all in a bad way. It made me question my life right now. I mean, what if I was being recorded at all times without knowing, just for other people's entertainment? It's a really entertaining story and kept me hooked all the way.

There were a few things in the writing that could have been writen better, but other than that, good job!

Keep up the great work,

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16 Reviews

Points: 2000
Reviews: 16

Fri Mar 27, 2020 3:38 pm
Cici wrote a review...

Hello, LewisPencastle2!

I really liked reading this; it definitely kept my attention throughout the story. I thought the premise of the story was really interesting and left a lot of questions in the air. I'm not sure if you're planning on expanding more on this story because there were some unanswered questions, like who are the Reds? The progression of the story where it went from the gameshow to the sitcom to the last scene was very nice and kept my interest going.

One suggestion that I have would be to gradually introduce the characters. You mention the names outright, but maybe consider incorporating the names in the story. For example, instead of first saying "Jack Smith bit his lip," you could write, "A man about _____high with_____hair bit his lip (the blanks are for you to fill in!)." Then when the spokesperson announces the winner, you could state "From the (prementioned) man with ____hair came an awestruck reaction." You could try doing this for the other characters as well.

Since I'm not sure if the other stories in the collection will emphasize more on the other details, but what exactly happens to the people when they go off-script? Although, I'm guessing you will explain more about the world in the other short stories. I just have a lot of questions, like why is Jack Smith on the game show; why does he want to win?

I have a few small nitpicks/suggestions, but overall, I greatly enjoyed reading this!

Jack Smith bit his lip and glanced around the room nervously, as did the other contestants.

Maybe use, "Jack Smith bit his lip and glanced around the room nervously like the other contestants."

All of a sudden lights began to circle the stage and music played in celebration.

Maybe have a comma after "All of a sudden."

“Did he win mommy?”

I think "mommy" should be capitalized.

It was at that moment that the sitcom on the television suddenly shut off, and the camera behind John’s head closed.

What about, "It was at that moment when the sitcom on the television suddenly shut off"?

I think that's all. This was a really entertaining story and kept me interested. Now, I'm wondering why the camera closed behind John's head and what his ridiculous idea was.

Thanks for sharing this, and good job!

Thanks, these are changes I'll definitely make. I guess I should just say this is a standalone short story and I meant to create a lot of enigma about the setting and characters (Though the "Reds" references the communists/soviets as I meant for this to take place in the period of the 50s/60s.). Thanks again.

Cici says...

You're welcome for the review! :)

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7 Reviews

Points: 253
Reviews: 7

Fri Mar 27, 2020 2:44 am

is this like the magnolia? where there are a bunch of stories that intertwine to create one big story?

I really liked this a lot, I would suggest using more uncommon names to give the story more depth.

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Points: 0
Reviews: 0

Thu Mar 26, 2020 10:49 pm
Bina Fun says...

I like this! Keep up the good work LewisPencastle2

“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents!”
— Little Women