Zero Showmanship

[OT] Friday Free-Form: Let’s Get Down to Business!

“I don’t like your show, Mr. Sero,” Dana Sharp said. She talked to the bald, suited man sitting on the other side of her desk. He smiled broadly.

“Please, call me Bald Lenny. I hope you didn’t drag me across dimensions just to insult my program,” Bald Lenny said.

“No,” Ms. Sharp said. “No, I did not invite you here to insult your show. No, I will not call you by that ridiculous stage name.” Bald Lenny shuffled uncomfortably in his seat but remained quiet. “I don’t like your show in its current format; I find the unnecessary bullying of Zeros mean-spirited and childish. However, you’ve already established quite a large audience in a relatively short time.” Bald Lenny nodded with pride. He was the most watched show in 30 of the 50 universes his broadcasts reached. “From a business perspective I can’t ignore your show, but I want nothing to do with it as it is. To that end, I have an offer for you.” Ms. Sharp paused to ensure she had his full attention. The bald man sat on the edge of his seat staring at her intently.

“Change your program from hidden camera pranks to a reality show contest for Zeros. I’ll sponsor your show and increase your reach.”

“A reality show? I’m assuming you’ll bankroll the prizes too?” Bald Lenny asked. Ms. Sharp nodded.

“There’s only one prize. The winning competitor gets to become a Unique.”

Become a Unique? Bald Lenny’s eyes widened. “You can do that??”

“I can,” Ms. Sharp replied.

“That’s amazing! Which one did you become?” Bald Lenny asked.

“We’re not talking about me. Do you accept the sponsorship.”

“Well, hang on a minute,” Bald Lenny found enough courage to voice a concern. “I gotta say, you dodging the question like that is a tad suspicious. Now, personally, I don’t care what you picked but I cannot promise my contestants something if I can’t guarantee it’ll work. Let me rephrase it. Instead of, ‘which did you become?’ I should have said, ‘I need proof this works.'” Ms. Sharp nodded.

“That’s easy enough to arrange. We could do a live demonstration during your next episode if you’re willing to volunteer.”

“Me? I get to be a Unique??” Ms. Sharp nodded.

“What better way to foster goodwill from your audience than by going through the procedure yourself?”

“You’re right!” Bald Lenny grinned and nodded, but then his face turned serious. “Wait. Does it hurt?”

“Yes.”

“What, like a lot or a little?”  Doubts formed in the back of Bald Lenny’s mind.

“My favorite description I’ve heard is: ‘It feels like flaming fire ants are trying to eat their way out from inside you.’ ” She replied with a smile.

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