Friday, 17 April 2015

'Box Office Smash' by R A Roth

Two men wake up at the wheel of a bus with two sets of navigational apparatus, two steering wheels, brake and accelerator pedals, and so on, but only one set works and the men can’t tell which one of them is actually driving the bus, and if the real driver takes his hands off the wheel, the bus blows up instantly. But if one of them doesn’t remove his hands before a timer set for 90 minutes expires, the bus blows up. The conundrum is how do they determine which man is actually driving the bus? It’ll never work, too easy. One of them hits the brakes while the other accelerates. The end. A two minute film. Wait. Maybe if I add a complicating factor. The men can’t see each other or communicate directly. But then how do they know about the other driver? Maybe I should get some scalding hot coffee and dump in it my lap. That’s how the Epstein brothers came up with the basic concept forCasablanca. It could be a rumor but it’s worth a try. Why am I so desperate? It isn’t good form to think in terms of desperation. Slow down, relax, don’t try so hard. Try softer. Does that work? Has anyone ever relaxed into a great screenplay? Francis Ford Coppola wroteApocalypse Now in a sauna. So I heard. Sounds relaxing. But I hate insufferable heat. I sweat a lot without being in a sauna. I have a self-diagnosed condition. Shit. Back to the bus. How do I make the premise last 90 minutes? Who else is on the bus? It can’t be just two men. There have to be passengers. Babies. Lots of babies. The audience will identify with the plight of the babies. But not too many babies. The audience won’t sit still for 90 minutes of babies bawling for their mothers. So the mothers are on board too. Good. Babies and mothers. Before the second act begins, there’s a mass breastfeeding scene. Tits and milk flying everywhere with lots of close-up jump cuts to the men licking their lips. Film it all in slow motion set to the newest pop music abortion. The kids will go gaga for it. But wait. It’ll never get a PG-13 rating with a busload of tits. Strike the tits. But I like tits. Never mind that. My personal tastes take a backseat to marketability. Maybe if I can work in a Holocaust angle, the MPAA will go soft on the tits. Didn’t stop the bastards from giving Schindler’s List an R rating. Were there tits in that? I can’t remember. Even if there were, do they count in black and white? That’s it! Film it in black and white. Grainy textured shots like Eraserhead, but no deformed babies reminiscent of E.T. That’ll earn it an NC-17 rating. Back to the men driving. They don’t have to be men. Breastfeeding Holocaust victims in Vietnam jungle attire would work just as well…



FlashFlood is brought to you by National Flash-Fiction Day UK, happening this year on 27th June 2015.
In the build up to the day we have now launched our Micro-Fiction Competition (stories up to 100 words) and also our annual Anthology (stories up to 500 words).  So if you have enjoyed FlashFlood, why not send us your stories?
More information about these and the Day itself available at nationalflashfictionday.co.uk.

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