__01.08.2003 @ 10:55_______
The music swelled as the dancing girls performed their carefully rehearsed number under the sparkling lights. In front of them and from the left of the stage on ran Bruce. Bruce joined in the dance and they reached their finale. With a crash of the cymbals the dance was over and the audience applauded loudly.
The dancing girls filed off the stage leaving Bruce alone in the middle of the set. It was a pretty sparse set for a television game show but this wasn't an everyday game show. The applause died down and Bruce began his introduction.
"Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to Death. This is our first show so please wish us luck and let's hope everything goes to plan. The basic premise of the show is that there is just one contestant. Their task is simple. They must die for our entertainment. The more entertaining you the audience find their last moments the bigger the prize for their next of kin!"
With this the audience broke into applause again. Bruce beamed his wide smile and waited for it to die down.
"Right now let's get on our very frist contestant who is going to play Death!"
On walked a short little man in corderoy trousers and a hawaiian shirt. He was quite broad and wore tiny little glasses. He was quite visibly nervous.
Bruce held a microphone up to him and began his interview.
"Welcome to the show. Tell the lovely people your name and where you are from."
"My name is Martin Cook and I am from Darlington."
"Right. Hello Martin. Now tell us why you want to die."
"Well Bruce, It's like this you see. I have had clinical depression all of my life and have often considered suicide. I have never been able to go through with it though. But when I saw the advertisement for contestants for this show I knew the chance to kill myself on TV and win a prize for my good wife Josie was too good to pass up."
"I see." said Bruce and then he turned his attention away from Martin and back to the audience.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, this pitiful man has made a little video diary of his life for us so we can see just what a miserable existence he has. Let's see just how depressed he is."
The lights in the studio went down and a big TV screen on the back wall lit up.
"Hello. I am Martin Cook and here is my life."
The shot was of Martin in a drab living room. Brown carpet, brown wallpaper and brown curtains.
"I live here in Darlington with my wife Josie. We have been married for 8 years and it has not been a good marriage. We have not had marital relations for 6 years and sleep in seperate beds. Despite the antagonism between us I do care about Josie. Hopefully my death will enable her to start a new life. A better life."
The video cut and now was of a large red brick building. Huge chimneys rose up from it and the sky hung grim and grey above it.
Martin stepped into shot.
"This is where I work as a rivets manufacture operative. Let's go inside and see just how dull my occupation is."
We cut again to the assembly line inside the factory. Martin is stood next to a big piece of machinery. He repeatedly use its to cut the hole out of centre of the rivets. He does it mechanically and clearly with no thought at all. Eventually he looks up to the camera and speaks.
"This is what I do to make a living. 52 hours a week of nothing but this. I have had this job since I left school at 16. The pay is terrible too."
We cut one final time back to Martin in his house. Martin addresses the camera once again.
"When I am not working my main hobby are masturbation. What with Josie refusing to let me touch her it is the only relief I can get. Mostly I like to masturbate over magazines I find in the woods. The pages are already damp usually you see."
"So that's my life. Really. That is all my life is. I hope you can now see why I have chosen to come on the show to end it."
The video ended and the lights came up in the studio. Bruce was smiling.
"Yes Martin, I think it's clear that ending your life is the right decision. And you get to do it on live tv! It beats a homemade noose and a tree branch dosn't it?"
The audience laughed and Martin forced a smile.
"The way the game works is like this. Martin here chooses how he will die. We then do everything we can to make this happen. We then gauge the audience's reaction and we give a prize to your wife Josie based on how well they respond. Our top prize being a Nissan Micra!"
A huge "Wooooo!" came up from the audience as Bruce expected.
"So Martin the moment of truth has nearly arrived. Tell us, how will you be dying for us tonight."
"I gave this a lot of thought Bruce and I decided I would like to die choking on rivets whilst being electrocuted."
"A novel choice Martin. Let's see how it goes for you."
Two men wheeled on a trolley with a wooden chair and a big bag. They deposited them both in the middle of the stage. The men left the stage leaving Bruce and Martin stood beside the Chair.
"Right Martin. Here we are then. This is the electric chair and the rivets are in the bag. We got them from your factory you will be pleased to here. Now for legal reasons you will have to electrocute yourself. That's why we have set up this little button on the floor here. When you want to activate the current just press it with your foot and ten thousand volts will zip through you. Right now you sit down."
Martin sat in the chair and Bruce began to fasten the straps around his legs.
"Right Martin, we are nearly there. Just do the strap around your forehead. Right there we go. I am not going to strap in your left hand so you can reach over and take the rivets from the bag. How do you feel?"
"I feel ready Bruce. This is the moment I was born for."
"Okay we are all set. I have to retire to a safe distance" said Bruce as he walked to the other side of the stage.
The lights in the studio dimmed leaving everything pitch black. A spotlight lit up illuminating Martin in his chair.
Bruce's voice began to count down.
"5...4...3...2...1... Commit Suicide now!"
Tense music began to play as Martin reached over to the bag and pulled out a handful of rivets. Without hesitating he shoved them down his throat and began to cough and choke. He quickly reached back and took some more and shoved them in his mouth. He tried to swallow but was coughing too much. Martin's body began to convulse but he continued to grab for more rivets and shove them into his mouth.
Finally his foot pushed down on the button on the floor and a huge current passed through his body. He shook in the chair and rivets and vomit flew from his mouth. Finally Martin's head slumped and he stopped moving, except for a slight twitch in his left foot.
The audience applauded loudly. The lights came up in the studio and Bruce returned to the centre of the stage.
"Well there we have it ladies and gentlemen. Let me just check he actually is dead."
Putting his fingers to Martin's wrist Bruce felt for a pulse.
"Yes I can confirm that he definitely is dead. Now it's time to meet Martin's wife Josie and see what she has won."
A large round woman entered the stage and joined Bruce.
"Hello Josie. You have just seen your husband die. How are you feeling?"
"I am proud Bruce. Martin has done a fine job. I just hope the audience thinks so too."
"Well, let's find out. We recordered their applause after Martin popped his clogs and we can see how loud it was and what prize that entitles you to."
The TV screen lit up again. On it was a vertical line with decibel levels marked on one side of it and names of prizes on the other. The top prize was a Nissan Micra. The bottom was a cuddly toy.
"Now let's play back the audio."
The sound of the audience's applause played back and a marker appeared on the TV screen going up and down the vertical line in response to how loud the applause was.
When the playback finished Bruce looked up at the screen. A marker was left to show how loud the audience were at their loudest.
"73 decibels. That puts you in prize category D. You win a set of steak knives! Congratulations."
"Have you had an enjoyable day my dear?"
"Yes. It has been wonderful."
Bruce turned his attention back to the audience.
"Well, that's our show for tonight and I think you will agree it has been an excellent start. We will be back next with another sad little bastard killing themselves. Thankyou and Goodnight!"
Back on came the dancers and the music swelled and the show ended.
Inspiration For This Tale: I was laid in bed not sleeping. That's about all I can tell you.
Sensory Input For This Tale: Shack - Here's Tom With The Weather
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