“And the Oscar for Most Socially Responsible Studio goes to…Isaac Ross, Consolidated Studios!”|
With great dignity, Isaac rose from his chair and walked slowly up to the stage. He accepted the award and parked himself at the speaker’s podium. He removed several printed pages from the breast pocket of his tuxedo, smoothed them on the podium, and adjusted his glasses.
“As the CEO of Consolidated Studios, I thank you for this prestigious and important award. By honoring social responsibility, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences demonstrates its recognition of the values of the cooperative society. These values inform every production released by Consolidated Studios. I seek, through the media of film, television, and the Internet, to demonstrate the role that every individual is to play in the world—whether by chronicling the struggles of interspecies couples in Consolidated’s documentary, My Stepmother is a Goldfish, or using the bully pulpit of the Universal Wrestling League to publicize the benefits of recycling. Later this year Consolidated will release Error of the Moon, the thirtieth installment in the Jon Dunn saga.”
At the mention of Jon Dunn, a rope dropped from the catwalk above the stage. A man in a black commando sweater rappelled down the rope and landed stealthily behind the decorative fence. Unable to see the alpinist behind him, Isaac continued his speech.
“Without giving anything away, I can tell you that this will be the most socially responsible Dunn to date. Grant Casey is the first Jon Dunn who has never used tobacco products in any of his appearances. In Error of the Moon we will push the envelope. We will see much more responsible attitudes towards the consumption of alcoholic beverages along with a newfound respect for women. Don’t worry, though, there will still be plenty of swashbuckling and derring-do.”
The audience laughed. Isaac smiled as if the laughter was intended for his little joke and not the antics of the commando behind him. The man in black crouched behind the decorative fence. Although he could see clearly through the grillwork, he used a portable periscope to peer over the top. Completing his reconnaissance, he set the periscope down and vaulted over the barrier, landing right behind one of the life-size Oscar statues. He grabbed the statue from behind and clasped his hand over its mouth to prevent it from crying out. Removing a knife from his belt, the commando stabbed the statue through its non-existent kidney. The knife slid easily into the gold-painted Styrofoam. The man guided the statue noiselessly to the floor before sneaking up on the second statue and slitting its throat.
“It is my fervent hope,” Isaac went on, “that by transforming Jon Dunn into a role model for the cooperative society, we can give back to the community that has done so much for Consolidated Studios and the motion picture industry.” Suddenly he felt an arm flung across his throat and the point of a knife pressed against his neck. Standing behind Isaac, the man in the commando sweater whispered something in his ear and began guiding him off the stage. The camera zoomed to a close-up, just the heads of the two men. Isaac looked genuinely terrified, as if he thought the man with the knife would really use it.
Michael Isenberg is the author of Full Asylum, a novel about politics, hospital gowns, and the movies. Check it out on Amazon.com