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Thursday, May 26, 2011

The King and Prince George

The King sat quietly in the back of a still, dim room. Light came only from the neon glow of the large computer screen. The King--a sexagenarian that looked ten years younger, maybe fifteen on a good day--was wholly focused on the contents of the screen.

Accordingly, he did not hear the faint knock on his office door, nor did he hear the little man enter. In fact, it wasn't until the King smelled the odor of the man that he knew he was no longer alone with his thoughts. The odor, thought the King, was of cheap, greasy sausage with a sprinkling of cheap cologne.

All man could muster resulted in a sheepishly unsure "Sorry to bother you, sir; I hate to distract you from your work."

The King said nothing, but looked away from his computer screen for the first time since the man appeared. The King waited quietly.

"Should I come back later, sir? I know your work is very important."

"No," said the King, flatly. "You're here, aren't you? Go ahead and say your piece and then leave me to my work, Prince George."

"Y-yes, sir, of course, sir." The weak reply hung in the air like dust over a windless desert. The Prince ran his tongue across dry lips, but mouth was too dry to be any help. "Well, sir, as you know, I'm working on a new project--"

"--yes, I've heard."

"--and...well, I need to ask you a favor. I've hit a snag." Quietness filled the room.

"Let me guess, George. You've finished half the project and now don't know what to do?" The King had heard all this before.

"Yes, s-sir. I'm afraid so. I've written all this great, wonderful dialog, but I just don't know how to do the action pieces. It's so hard!"

The King said nothing for a moment. "George, we've been through all this before. I can't help you. You have to finish this yourself. I'm not going to let you take credit for my work anymore. You know your best movie, the one where the young prodigy learns the bad guy is his dad?"

"Yeah, it's a great movie, isn't it?" George replied gleefully.

"Yes, George, it is. But you know what else makes it a great movie, and so much better than all your others? You weren't in charge. You found someone that knew what they were doing and put them in charge, and then waited until the movie got popular and took all the credit publicly. All your others are shit, and I'm tired of protecting you. Tired of giving you a writing credit on movies that I wrote and directed. You have to finish "Space Drama Episode XIV: Departure of the New Bad Guy" yourself, George. I have my own work to do."

The Prince was flabbergasted. "But Steven--"

The King cut off the Prince immediately and delivered a quick "No buts this time, George!" as he returned to his work on the computer.

"Well, can I read what you're working on then, sir?"

"No, George. The last time I let you read what I was working on you stole it and used it in your own movie."

George piped up. "That's not true!"

"Oh yeah? Then why did the title change from "Untitled [insert title easily marketable as action figures and video games] Project" to "Nebraska Smith and His Close Encounters with an Extraterrestrial Jaws?""

The Prince was getting desperate. "Okay, sir, I'm sorry." He waited a beat. "Will you at least read my script and tell me if you think I'm on the right track?"

"No, George. I did that on your last movie and it took me three weeks because you'd written two hundred and fifty pages of dialog in the first act."

"Can I borrow your producer?"

"No."

"Can I talk to your wife?"

"No."

"Can I use that awesome musical sound effect from that alien movie? I want to make a not-alien movie with that, but I definitely won't be remaking that movie. Actually, my movie is about, um, not aliens. I swear."

"No, George."

"But I won't use the full duh-duh-duh-duhhhhhhh. I'll tweak it. Mine will be all like, duh-duh-duh-duh-duhhhhhhh. Totally different!"

"Please leave, George."

"Okay, one last question."

The King was completely exhausted with this line of questioning, but indulged his pitiful acquaintance one last time. "Go ahead."

"Can I digitize Schindler's List and release it in 3D?"

The King said nothing; he simply turned back to his computer screen and began typing. Prince George left the room quietly, using the sleeve of his flannel shirt to wipe tears away from the fleshy area where his neck should be. As the door shut, the Prince was certain he heard faint words from inside...

"It's good to be the king."