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George was watching junk TV when Sam came in.
"Building's on fire," said Sam.
"Yeah," said George, watching the woman drop her baby out of
Down fell baby, landing in the blue net down below. But you
can tell that this is just a reconstruction, not the real thing. There
was a cut from the woman releasing baby to baby bouncing on the blue
net. You never actually got to see baby fall, and that was because the
TV people were too cheap to go hire themselves a real stunt baby.
"This is the real thing, man," said Sam.
"Yeah, it's all real," said George, as the TV cut to real
video footage of a real house sliding into a sinkhole in Florida.
"No, man, I mean this building is on fire," said Sam.
"Building?" said George. "What building?"
"What are you on?" said Sam.
And that was when the door banged open and Betty came in, hot
and anxious, holding little Zoey in her arms. Zoey was in her
nightdress, and was crying. A swirl of smoke entered with Betty.
"Smoke," said George, surprised, as Betty banged the door
"I told you," said Sam.
"There's a fire," said Betty. "And the dog’s upstairs."
"So he burns," said Sam. "If George here is awake, let's all
get the hell out of here, okay?"
"Hey, not so fast," said George. "We got our TV to think
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"Live on Channel 10- Creative Writing." 123HelpMe.com. 25 Sep 2018
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"The TV?" said Sam. "Plenty more where that came from!"
"No, no! Not the set, our appearance."
"We could be stars, okay? But we got to do something. Like
save the dog, okay?"
"Why?" said Sam.
"We just walk out the door, that doesn't make a story."
"But why TV?" said Sam. "Why you want to be on TV?"
"Hollywood," said George. "Fame - okay?"
"Dream on!" said Sam.
"It's worth a shot," said Betty.
Hollywood. The magic word had converted her, filling her head
instantly with dreams, her hands wet in the concrete, her fans
"Man, you guys are right out of it," said Sam. "It's only a
The TV was showing a close-up of something which was supposed
to be the president.
"So maybe it wasn't," said George. "Maybe Zoey was up there
and we had to fight our way upstairs through the smoke and everything
to get to her."
"Sounds good," said Betty.
"Man, I got to be in court tomorrow," said Sam.
"So what you going to tell the judge?" said George. "They got
you on video, you know that. You can't say you weren't there. But your
lawyer, he says - "
"He tells the judge," said Betty, trying to take control of
" - you were a hero," said George, speaking louder as he
drowned out Betty, as he rolled right over her, because, hey, this was
his story. "You saved a little girl, you risk of your life, are you
George smashed into Sam with his shoulder. Taken by surprise, Sam
fell. A brief scream, then a knock of impact.
"What you do that for?" said Betty, shocked.
"It was an accident," said George. "Here, let me take Zoey,
you're going to drop her."
And Betty gave him Zoey. George kicked Betty hard in the gut.
Falling down to the smoke and flames. Zoey cried.
George tried to calm her as he took her into the bedroom where
the dog, stoned as usual, was sleeping, unaware of the fire.
But she cried a lot, and it bugged him. He had to wait, and
waiting was something he wasn't good at. Nothing to do while he waited
but watch the dog's TV.
"You and me, we was asleep," said George, muttering his
rehearsal. "Betty too. And Sam. All in this one room. Zoey, she was
downstairs - okay? Fire gets up. Betty and Sam. To the rescue. They
don't come back. You're downstairs, Betty. Pretty fierce heat. I go
down the stairs, I rescue you."
Outside, sirens, bullhorns. They're coming. Someone's called
in the fire. Have to make a move soon.
George threw open the door, revealing a blaze. The stairway in
flames. And here was Zoey in his arms, clean and spotless. Nobody
would ever buy into the story of her being downstairs. Not unless
there were a couple of marks on her.
"Take a walk," said George, rolling Zoey downstairs.
The plan was real simple. Let Zoey get a little burned, then
run down and rescue her. But it went wrong. Zoey exploded, kind of -
nightdress becoming bright, going up in a shriek of flame. George
started down toward her, but the heat was too fierce. And he
registered the fact that she was probably better off dead - 90% burns
already, her chances of female beauty finished, she'd be a hospital
freak if she ever got out of this alive.
So he went back into the bedroom and closed the door on her.
The dog was still sleeping.
"What kinds of lowlifes have a dog that's stoned?" said George
And, coming to a decision, he opened the door again and dumped
the dog into the fire.
Sole survivor, thought George, going to the roof. It wasn't
much of a story, but a hope of fame is better than nothing. The fire
took the dog, took George, took Betty, took little Zoey - sob sob! -
but hero George got out of there alive.
As George came out onto the roof, the helicopter overhead
caught him in its searchlight, and he waved, and the cameras in the
helicopter broadcast his story of escape to the waiting world, live on