Bewildering Stories

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by Thomas R.

Kathleen Huey entered the theater. Some truly awful looking biker/horror fusion film seemed to be playing. However the only one watching was a small odd-looking man. She smiled at him and waited for intermission before starting. “My home office sent me to see you. However I don’t quite understand the situation. Could you explain to me in your own words what you do here?”

He smiled. “It is simple Ms Huey. The Americans send us their crap. Then we judge whether or not to bury it.”

She looked at him askance. “Oh I know that, but I need more specifics.”

He started again. “They make some dreck so bad they wouldn’t mind just purging it from recorded history. So our job is to judge whether what we gets deserves that treatment. When we find one with no redeeming qualities, we destroy it.”

She seemed unnerved. “That sounds too much like censorship.”

He shrugged. “Not really. These are not controversial works of politics. They are more like idiotic comedies and B movies. Plus we destroy films only when all involved in the project agrees with the destruction.”

She seemed pleased, but curious. “So that includes even the extras and the writers?”

He stated proudly. “We give high respect to extras. After all, being in a film may be very important to many of them. It may be their only shot at fame amongst their peers. So, I assure you, we would never destroy a film without getting the consent of all the extras first. Granted, tracking them all down is so difficult that we destroy few films, but the principle demands nothing less.”

That seemed noble, if naive. “And it’s the same for writers, correct?”

He shrugged. “Not really. I mean we’re destroying movies, not scripts. The script- and book-destroying group is in Singapore. They say it’s nice work, but I would not live in the tropics if you paid me.”

She gave him an odd look. “Well anyway I have to tell you that your services are no longer required. For one, you are way over budget, and I think I understand why now. For another, in this day and age even an awful film can be useful. ‘Buddhists Nuns versus the Robot Tarantulas’ has been turned into a VR experience. Threats of re-releasing ‘The Bluegrass Biker Mafia of the Apocalypse’ has been used to lower the salary demanded by a now-famous actress. If those two had not fallen through the cracks of the system, who knows where we would be?

He just looked sad. “So it’s over?”

She looked at him with sympathy. “Surely you have noticed that you have been reviewing fewer and fewer films for a long time now.”

He looked down at his feet. A tradition was gone. Now he would have to try to get his old job back. The thought of leaving show biz galled him. It had always been his dream, but the world changes. He grudgingly called up one of his old connections to plan his return to the Senate.

Copyright © 2003 by Thomas R.

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