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.