This bit is from my science fiction comedy of bad manners, SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING. TerraNet holovision star Connie Phelan has just taken a boutique beauty product that changes skin color overnight. Unfortunately for her, her skin changed in blotches. The perfect time for her agent to show up.
Excerpt from SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING
by Marian Allen
I hit the remote and clicked open the door.
It was Lester. “It was such a beautiful day, I thought I’d come take you to breakfast.” Then he saw me. “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.”
“No,” I said, “it’s me.”
He laughed. The longer he looked, the harder he laughed.
“I’m glad you’re taking it so well,” I said.
“I love it! What is it, body paint?”
I told him what it was, and he didn’t love it anymore, and he stopped laughing altogether.
He sat beside me and thumped gently on my thigh with his fist.
“Connie…. Why, why, why? You looked great before. Of all the times to try something new with your looks, why now?”
“All the other kids were doing it.” A feeble crack but – to my shame – true.
“This voids the contract. I think TerraNet would be safe in saying this voids the contract.”
I’d rather have had them void it than make me eat it, but I had to kick, out of sheer perversity.
“Why?” I said.
“Look at you!”
“I have been looking at me. I think I look pretty funny. So did you, when you thought it was paint. How come it’s funny if it’s paint and not if it’s skin? I think we’ve got a civil-rights case, here. Maybe a class action discrimination case.”
“Connie, be reasonable. You promised TerraNet a concept for a workable show with you as the star. A workable show. Whatever you were planning to pitch – how can it work now?”
“Lester,” I said, “don’t you get it? This is part of the show. I meant to do this. I expect this new show to run forever. If it doesn’t, I’ll build another show around The Look. It might even start a fashion trend.”
Lester looked unconvinced, the skeptic.
“You didn’t do this on purpose,” he said. “You don’t have a show concept built around this.”
“When is that meeting?” I said. “I’ll have one by then.”
And so CLUB CALIBAN was born; a farce about the great-granddaughter of the monster from Shakespeare’s play THE TEMPEST: Tallulah Caliban’s island will be seized by the Government unless she pays taxes on it. Although she hates people, she can only pay the taxes by opening and running a successful pleasure resort. There’s this corrupt official masquerading as a tourist. He’s trying to ruin her so he can throw the island (and her) to a friend of his who’s into animal experimentation: the wild and crazy Dr. Moreau.
TerraNet loved it, loved me, bought the show and honored the contract.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character makes a cosmetic mistake.