The studio audience whooped and clapped in the stands, looking down into the garishly-lit diorama of the stage. The Band played a rousing jazz intro, and from a door to the left of the stage a very tall man in a gaudy suit sprinted in front of the audience and rounded the desk where his chair was ready to receive him. "Ladies and Gentlemen," an announcer boomed, "give it up for your host...Slock Cockley!"
The last saxophone wailed out, and the man started in under the lessening applause of the crowd:
"WOW! What a crowd we have here to-night! Hello everybody, and welcome to the set! I'm your host, Slock Cockley, and this is The Show! And how! For tonight, we have none other than our very own B-i-l-l-l-l Flunk, the very average highly depressed middle-class Down-On-His-Luck! As you may recall from last week's episode – although I doubt it! (The drummer played a rim shot; laughter) – Mr. Flunk startled and shocked us all when he drove drunk down an interstate and killed two kids when he collided with a minivan! Wow – what an episode! As we speak, Mr. Flunk is out on bail, pending charges of DUI, reckless driving and vehicular manslaughter, which could put him away from his beloved family for a VER-y long time! Of course, we can't even begin to describe the immense toll of guilt and despair this has exacted on poor Bill! With that in mind, we now turn to our Infamous Omnicam, in order to ask that famous question...What is He Going to Do Next?"
The audience applauded. The screen came on, and there was Bill Flunk, sitting at his desk at home – sitting and sitting, and thinking blank thoughts, as judged by his blank eyes. It was as if a weight was pressing him inexorably into the floor. The seconds ticked by. Bill Flunk opened the desk drawer and pulled out a small revolver and set it on the desktop, and then he sat and stared at nothing.
Slock Cockley broke in with a hushed voiceover. The drummer played a soft drum roll.
"Bill Flunk was born on August 10th, 1960. His parents divorced when he was five. He spent his next ten years living with his mother and her boyfriend, who was particularly abusive to little Bill. Bill was eventually put into a correctional facility for his constant delinquency and suicidal tendencies. When he finally emerged, he had cleaned up, found some religion and was ready to be a benefit to society. And how! Bill served in the navy, and when he came back to the States he married the girl of his dreams, Betty Breckinridge. They had a beautiful son and daughter. Bill's first real job was at Contech, and he has remained in that cubicle ever since! As we speak, Bill is middle age, balding, paunchy, and an emotional wreck! His kids are into drugs, partying, and animal sacrifice, his wife has frequent affairs with younger men, and he himself is addicted to pornography, gambling, drinking, and showing his secretary a good time! In fact, ladies and gentlemen, he was returning from a wild party with this very secretary on the night he collided with that minivan! Wow! Looks like game over for Bill Flunk's whole life...!"
And the moment the words left Slock Cockley's grinning mouth, Mr.