TechBlazers - Your Next Great Buddy Comedy

Another bizarre day in the life of our fictional Hollywood super developer, presented to you as a five minute satire. Part of the 5M Projects. Written by Rogue Saint.


    There's an ever-growing number of festivals and new gatherings around the world. Some are weird and cater to a tiny niche, others aim for masses and big bucks. Although folks interested in such things are aware of many if not all of them, I bet you haven't heard of this one. There's a group behind a new concept of gathering-slash-festival. The group has used a large chunk of wasteland to establish several remote unincorporated communities, with each allotment serving as its own big music stage. The inner communities are connected by a railroad, which carries a custom-built train that serves as a mobile music stage itself. In between the assemblages, there are additional territories in which to spend one’s time, labeled with modern slang such as Chill Zone, Do Stuff, etc... The entire thing has earned the reputation of a David Lynch flick on steroids.

    So, I was not surprised when I was greeted at the gates by an uncanny, short, middle-aged man, rounded by years of infusing malted barley from his favorite beer. His curly hair sported the messy pattern of an abused carpet brush. The name tag on his polo read "Jarrod."

    "Welcome," Jarrod opened in a grainy voice. "While your expectations will be exceeded, there's no guarantee you'll like anything that we have to offer."
    "Isn't that a little contradicting?"
    "Contradictions in this case are a matter of perception and opinion. Both of those can easily be distorted."

    Jarrod returned my ticket and let me decipher his coded greetings. I was free to enter the festival I had never wanted to be part of. There's only one place where I can stand tens of thousands of people, and this definitely wasn't it. So, what had actually brought me to Jarrod and his minions, you might wonder? I had done what I rarely do—I lost a bet. My friend knew this would be a torture for me, even for only the one night I had to spend as a losing bettor. My entry point led directly to one of the gargantuan music stages. What had started awkwardly at the gates didn't get any better. Neither the crowd nor the music was my cup of tea. There was more Auto-Tune there than at a mechanic’s. After wandering for a bit, I stopped at one of the information desks.

    "Excuse me..." My jaw dropped when the employee turned. I swear it was the same guy, Jarrod. But his name tag didn't display those letters anymore. It was Chad, now.
    "You're looking for your way out, aren't you?" Chad said in the distinguishable voice of Jarrod.
    "Didn't I see you working the gates?"
    "I never work the gates. You must be mistaking me for somebody else," said Chad, I guess.

    Okay, I might've made a mistake. Not likely, but it can happen. I tried to regroup quickly and move the talk to another direction.
    "What do you mean 'a way out'?"
    "You're looking for a train, aren't you?"

    You see, he answered directly. After all, my negative thoughts about the festival may have produced a slight paranoia.
    "Yes, I'm looking for a train," I responded calmly.
    "Right there." He pointed to one side. "About a two-minute walk."

    As I was ready to walk away, Chad stopped me. A ghost of Jarrod rose behind his next words.
    "Just so you know. The train will take you to another stage, but it won't move you a single inch."
    "Look..." I wanted to start the Jarrod/Chad talk again, but I gave it up. It wasn't worth it. "Forget about it."

    The train tracks in this wilderness were three times as wide as commercial tracks. So was the monster train pulling oversized cattle wagons without roofs, redesigned to pass as cool to the drunk and disorderly. At the front, there was an outrageous performance stage. Bands would use pyrotechnics and props in performance, something you would have seen from Kiss or, to a greater extent, the latest Mad Max installment. As the train peeled off, I heard something familiar, something I actually liked, rock the entire mutant train. The speakers blasted AC/DC's “Rock ’N’ Roll Train”...

    "One hot angel
    One cool devil
    Your mind on the fantasy
    Living on the ecstasy..."

    Inside the glorified cattle wagons, the crowd was an ocean current of pleasure, many of them jacked up on the latest candy from your rogue chemistry teacher. The speakers blasted guitar riffs that tore through the dry desert air, and the power of the drums lifted the nearby sand. The pyro show from the stage paved the Milky Way to the moon, and I finally believed there was a chance to enjoy at least the next few hours... Alas, not even twenty minutes into the ride, somebody pulled the emergency break. Rumors filled in. Panic rushed out. Not even blasting music had stopped the spill of bodies, which rushed into the unknown of the night. Within minutes, the large wagon was almost empty.

    I made my way to the exit steps and sat down. I didn't panic—I never do—but I couldn't fight the feeling that something was odd. So I replayed the film from the moment I had entered the event, and in the middle of my thoughts, words breezed toward me.
    "Crazy night, huh?"
    "Indeed it is." I responded without connecting at first, but then...

    I had heard that voice before. As a matter of fact, I’d heard it more than once. Quickly, I turned, and there was Jarrod—wait, Chad—behind me. This time his name tag read Delbert.
    "Look... pal. This Lynch stuff you've been playing all night needs to stop."
    "Anger is disappointment of the inner self—"
    "Just cut it. And take that name tag off. I know your name isn't Delbert. What is all this about?"
    "We like to scare people, and people like to be scared. There's always a new story to experience, and that's why they come back. Different methods, but the goal is the same."
    "I figured that out myself. It's you I asked about. You're popping up everywhere I go."
    "Oh, that?"
    "Yes, that."
    "I'm the manager of customer services, and I can switch my positions. I recognized you at the gates. Thought I'd have a chance to chat with you."
    "Quite an odd reason to empty the entire train in such a manner, isn't it?"
    "It worked."
    "Spreading panic always works. You're lucky nobody got injured. Okay, start with the chat part."
    "You see, my high school yearbook projected me to be a successful writer. It literally said, I quote, ‘screenwriter.’ But Hollywood has so many options to get in the way of your dreams. I might've bought into my own hype a bit..."
    "Shorten the life story, spit it out. What can I do to enjoy my only night here and leave this place forever?"
    "I was thinking about a buddy comedy..."
    "All this for a stupid idea?"
    "Something that would appeal to a worldwide audience," Jarrod continued, undeterred. "Something to vindicate me as a writer and prove the naysayers wrong."
    "A buddy comedy will vindicate you as a writer?"
    "I think there's room atop the pyramid of success for comedy writers and creators. They've all had major flops on their records."
    "You're for real with this?"
    "I have a way to make your lone night a night to remember."

    I admit I didn't know where to begin, but a chance to survive this camp with the help of an insider made my brain race for answers. As many times before, I was saved by the bell... I mean a guitar. The drums hit the speakers, too. The voice of the Starchild opened it all up.

    "People try to take my soul away, but I don't hear the rap that they all say
    They try to tell us we don't belong, that's all right, we're millions strong..."

    "You're gonna build an idea on Kiss and ‘Crazy Crazy Nights’?"
    "It's been a crazy night for me."
    "Fine. What is it?"
    "A couple of young programmers design an algorithm that predicts the success of a movie. Their initial accuracy buys them an audience with Hollywood's decision makers and turns them into instant celebrities. TechBlazers."
    "Entourage meets Wolves of Silicon Valley, I mean, Wolf of Wall Street? Interesting. What's the catch?"
    "The algorithm is actually an unstable beta and their success is pure coincidence."
    "They're frauds!”
    "Or just lucky. But one of your buddies buys his own hype. He's the Lonesome Rhodes of your duet who wants to be the king of Tinseltown. He dates the daughter of a Hollywood mogul, drives a Ferrari, and sleeps in Chateau Marmont."
    "The other one is more grounded and worried that the entire charade will blow up."
    "One more thing. You're ready?"
    "Oh, I'm ready."
    "Channel your inner Mel Brooks into this script to give it irresistible depth and flavor the worldwide audience will devour."
Jarrod—Chad—I mean Delbert melted like a butter cake.
    "You really think I've got some Mel Brooks in me?"
    I took a long pause. An unnecessary one, as the answer was always the same.
    "I don't think, I know."

Read more short stories about our fictional developer at VillanLabs' Five Minute Projects - 5M Projects

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VillianLabs by Rogue Saint: TechBlazers - Your Next Great Buddy Comedy
TechBlazers - Your Next Great Buddy Comedy
Another bizarre day in the life of our fictional Hollywood super developer, presented to you as a five minute satire. Part of the 5M Projects. Written by Rogue Saint.
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VillianLabs by Rogue Saint
http://www.villainlabs.net/2017/06/techblazers.html
http://www.villainlabs.net/
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