“You know, it’s funny…,” Jack smiled weakly at the camera. He sat on the balcony of his favorite hotel suite in Las Vegas. The sun was setting behind him making the scene perfect. “It only took everyone disappearing from Earth to make me a YouTube star,” he grinned. “I couldn’t ask for a more loyal and loving fanbase. You bots are the best. Don’t forget we’re going out to Toiyabe tomorrow to do some forest exploring. Thanks for tuning in, this is Solo_Wanderer signing out.”
Before everyone disappeared four years ago, Jack would have never guessed he’d get so much comfort from anonymous internet bots. Months after the incident he was surprised to still find regular running water and electricity everywhere. He surfed the internet to fight boredom and one day had the urge to upload something himself.
He was surprised to find comments and likes on it the next day, until he noticed all the comments were similar. He assumed they were bots, but he didn’t try to ignore them. Each video he uploaded earned more likes and comments than the previous; and, he enjoyed feeling famous without all problems of being famous. He was currently approaching two million subscribers and it amazed him there were that many bots.
The next morning, Jack was at the edge of the forest by dawn. He wandered in and explored freely. He recorded several clips to edit together throughout the morning. Then, about the time his stomach started grumbling for lunch, he spotted a clearing.
Jack caught sight of a brilliant shimmer between the trees as he approached the clearing. He realized it was probably a stream or a lake and hit the record button on his camera.
“Holy macaroni!” Jack whispered aloud the second he stepped into the clearing. It was a crystal clear lake perfectly reflecting the azure sky. A unicorn at the far edge of the lake looked up from where it was drinking. It saw Jack, then turned around and dashed away. Jack grabbed the camera and pointed it at himself.
“DID YOU SEE THAT!? A real freakin’ UNICORN!” He grinned wildly at the camera. “I think magic is coming back! How awesome is that!?” Jack decided to walk around the lake and try and find where the unicorn went. As he searched, somewhere else, a conversation was taking place.
“A Unicorn? You’re kidding me,” Sheryl said with heavy annoyance. Lenny, her co-creator shook his bald head and smiled.
“It’s no joke. We’ve already had four seasons of him living up to his name. Viewership is dipping, no one cares about a solo wanderer anymore. Next season, instead of adding more humans, The Last Man on Earth learns to become a wizard!” Lenny wiggled his fingers in Sheryl’s direction. “We brought in unicorns and faeries from another Earth. We also added an AlterNet layer so he can learn ‘magic’.”
“Wow,” Sheryl sighed. “I”m not even sure this still qualifies as ‘Reality TV’ anymore. It’s one thing to clear the planet to make someone think he’s the last man on Earth. But now we’re adding magic?” Lenny smiled and shrugged.”So don’t call The Last Man on Earth ‘Reality TV’ anymore. Personally, I like the term, ‘AlterNet Entertainment’.”