Too Ugly For Television


kristen_icon.gif reuben_icon.gif

Scene Title Too Ugly For Television
Synopsis Reuben's given an offer, a bribe, and a veiled threat.
Date October 23, 2010

Studio K — Kristen's Office

Saturday afternoon, most of the people in Reuben's little corner of the industry are at home or spending time with family, sleeping.. or whatever it is they do. All except for Kristen, Dirk (her assistant), and now the DJ himself. Having been summoned by the Producer's sniveling second, he was told that the brunette expected him in her office within the hour. "Miss Reynolds doesn't wait, it's be a good idea to be there." That was the message left for him.

It'd been quite a night, quite a morning, and now, quite an afternoon. Her most important production's been missing a host for nearly a week and a half, they'd already had to show one rerun, and Kristen's been on the phone yelling at everyone she needs to in order to fix it. This is what Reuben walks in on. His boss, wearing something much less professional than she's usually caught in, and with an ashtray filled with dead cigarettes. It was a habit she gave up in the 90's but with Russo missing, she's picked it up again. "I don't care if you have to rip every drug addict off that island, you find Brad and you find him yesterday."

As casual as Friday, Reuben strolls into the room wearing something equally unprofessional: a set of green cargo pants, a pale yellow shirt with his signature orange jacket and leather sandals. "What's up, Doc? Listen, Professor Snape asked me to stop by… what'd he ask you to?"

He decided to sit down in front of her desk, then take off his jacket and sandals, chewing a piece of gum he'd found in his house that was mostly unchewed.

Kristen hangs up her phone but doesn't rise to greet Reuben at all. Her tongue runs over her teeth before she pulls the glasses off her face and folds them, laying them down on the desk beside a notepad that's been scribbled on in almost an incomprehensible language. "Spencer…" she begins slowly, "I want to talk to you about your career and where you think you're going in this business."

She's not a woman that's known to mince words. Her expression is rather passive and neutral as she stares at the man taking his shoes off in her office. She clenches her jaw tightly and rolls her chair a little closer to the large desk, an audible clump sounding off underneath it. It's not acknowledged by expression or movement from the woman sitting in the large office chair.

"Oh… and you're late."

"Fashionably, of course," he says without the slightest trace of seriousness in his tone. "So, you say you wanted to talk to me about my career and where I think I'm going… usually this winds up with me either being fired or suspended or otherwise reprimanded. I do want to have it put on record that I did yesterday's show all on my lonesome without any supervision and had not one FCC violation that I know of."

Crossing his legs and grinning ostensibly, he waits for her response.

If Kristen has a funny bone anywhere in her body, it might have run away, been kidnapped, or just otherwise gone missing. She just gives Reuben a blank stare for the span of about a minute, finally breaking it with a few blinks to re-moisturize her eyeballs before narrowing them a touch. The edges of her lips curve into a rather pleasant looking Mona Lisa smile that's dropped quite shortly after it's given.

"Well," she begins, a catlike smile appearing on her elfin features. Her tone of voice pleasant and almost musical as she speaks to him. "After you disappeared with my sister, I figured you might have replaced me with someone that fetches coffee on her knees for a living. While I'm glad that you're able to do your job without me hanging over your shoulder, I've been dealing with a few minor crises of my own."

Reuben's smirk stayed slapped across his face. "First of all, we all have crises. Second of all, I wasn't aware that I was replacing my boss with anyone to begin with. You're still my boss and I like to think that you're a friend, however slightly reluctant." His arms cross over his chest and he fixes her with an unsettling stare, as if parroting her earlier gaze.

"So, why don't we cut all of this pseudo-bitterness and get down to brass tacks? What can Revolting Rooster do for you?"

The word friend has her eyebrows going up just a touch before she picks up her pen and begins writing. "How much experience do you have public speaking? And I don't mean hiding behind a microphone in a booth, I mean in front of an audience and having people interact with you that can see you." She looks up from her writing long enough to push her coffee cup across the desk at him and nod toward the coffee pot across the room. "Would you mind getting me a refill? Black."

One hand sweeps through her long hair, pushing it behind her ear, only to have it cascade forward again. Leaning forward, she pushes the intercom button on her desk and says over the speaker, "I need the list of guests for tomorrow. Get me their background checks too…"

Eyebrow quirked, Reuben slowly gets up and goes to the coffee pot, mulling over the question in his mind. A public speaker? No looking up porno during shows? No scratching oneself discreetly without the presence of onlookers? "You know, Kristen, I do want to say something… and it's only because I care: There are many decaffeinated brands on the market today that are just as tasty as the original thing."

He places the mug back down on the desk and slides it towards her, then moves to sit back down, brushing back some of his long brown hair and watching her face concernedly.

Again, Reuben gets fixed with a blank stare. Either she didn’t hear him, didn’t understand him, or a bit of both. “I’m sorry, I must have misheard you. Did you say… No Miss Reynolds, I don’t have any experience but I’d sure like to learn under you!… Because that’s what I want to hear.” Her long fingers curl around the cup and lift it up to her lips where she takes a long drink.

The producer’s eyes never leave his glasses and there’s a small smirk on her lips when she’s finished. “I’ll be honest, Bradley Russo’s been missing for more than a week. I’m scrambling to find a replacement for his show until we can track him down.” How she’s tracking him down isn’t said, the normal way would be a missing persons report… but there’s been nothing on the news. Everything’s been hush hush. “I’m hoping he’s in rehab but my sources haven’t been able to confirm anything and there hasn’t been any tabloid news… Right now I’m just crossing my fingers that he’s not dead in some Staten Island drug den.”

Reuben’s smirk slides off of his face like a damp towel off of a coy sorority pledge. He gazes over at Kristen for a few moments before he finally manages to start speaking again. “Would you accept that I’m too ugly for television? Not me personally, I think I’m cute as a button, but my material… not so much. I mean Jon Stewart’s still out there, and he’s still doing his thing. Do you really want someone like me taking a piss in his corner of the playground?”

Kristen’s dark brown eyes narrow a little and there’s the slight shake of her head. “I’ll make you a deal…” The tone of her voice would suggest that she’s already made up her mind and the guest host of The Advocate will be Reuben Spencer no matter what the radio personality has to say about it. “I met a couple of girls last night, we’ll just call them the Barbie Twins to get your mental image into gear. Now… if you agree to host The Advocate for one night, I’ll give you my personal permission to get them on your show and do that thing you always wanted to do.”

The thing isn’t actually announced or even said out loud, just in case the woman’s assistant is listening, which is usually the case. The end of Kristen’s pen is tapped against the side of her mug in a quick staccato as she waits for a reaction or answer from Reuben. The thing is a rather enticing offer, since she’s held it over his head from day one.

Reuben stands up with a shake of his head and a narrowing of his eyes. “You know, Kristen, if you think that by using veiled threats, intimidating facial expression and offers that would never be made by any sane television producer that you can get me to become your slave, well… that’s where you’re right. You’ve discovered my weakness, my Achille’s Heel, my Hercules’ drunkenness and my Mercury’s fondness for well-oiled men with short man-skirts. I accept your offer,” he says with a dramatic flair, as if this speech had been accompanied by a swell of emotion-inducing music.

Then, he just sits back down and crosses his legs. “So, what’s the pay raise going to be like and do I get to have a ton of DUI’s and arrests before I finally get an official reprimand, too?”

“No pay raise, no DUIs, no arrests. You get the Barbie Twins on your show.” Her impassive answer is accompanied by a quick scribble to her notepad and a check-mark. Obviously finding a replacement host at the last minute is the start of a long list of things she needs to do. “I trust that you’ve actually watched The Advocate?” The tone of the question and the stare across the desk suggests that a negative answer might be a bad one. If Reuben was attempting to ruffle feathers this would be the perfect opportunity.

Wheeling her chair around, Kristen leans down and grabs something from under the desk before she pushes herself to a stand and begins hobbling out from behind it. The possible reason for her bad mood (combined with her star’s disappearance) might be the fact that she’s got a giant blue boot on her right leg. Her jeans have been ripped from the hem to the knee to accommodate the apparatus.

“Yeah, I watched it, but I was on some rather strong psychedelic mushrooms at the time,” he said, preferring to give her some middle ground to get angry with rather than a bad answer. Obviously noticing her foot cast, he decides to recover quickly with a snarky remark. “Hurt your feet driving to work, Flintstone?”

Before she could even give him a glare for his remark, he leaned back in his seat and plucked idly at his goatee. “So, if I’m the new host of The Devil’s Advocate, what’s going to happen to my radio show?”

“You’re not a permanent host. It’s one night that you’ll be filling in, your show will go on as usual.” Kristen limps over to the coffee stand and grabs a couple of creamers and a couple of packets of sugar before making her way back to the desk. “Brad’s a professional, he wouldn’t just leave me in the lurch like this. We’ve been through way too much together.” It’s a safe bet that she’s banking on an old friendship to keep her ass off the line.

The hows and the wheres of her recent injury aren’t on the discussion table. Moving on with her list, she taps the end of her pen against the paper a few times before looking up at Reuben again. “You have twenty four hours to prepare an opening statement and to watch a few of the programs. I don’t expect you to be Brad and I don’t want you to be Brad. You have your own …” And she waves a hand through the air to fill in the words she’s not saying.

“Chutzpa? Aura? Chippe-chawa?” He sighed and nodded. “I assume you’ll also want me to wear the same kind of monkey suit he usually wears as well, right? You know,with this kind of exposure, I’ve gotta wonder just how much freedom I’m going to have with The Advocate. I’d like to put my own spin on things, but then again, I’d rather not get fired for incurring FCC violations for having a sexy party on the air,” he says, leaning forward a bit in his seat.

“No, wardrobe will dress you but you’re not going to be wearing a suit.” Kristen’s eyes narrow with masked pain as she turns and takes a seat in her overly large office chair again. A long sigh of relief passes through her as whatever slight weight she’s put on her foot is now gone. “Brad’s show is work, he does a lot of prep every week and you have twenty four hours to figure out the format, get your opening statement prepared, and research the topic. While you’re not going to be following the same format he has, you will be expected to maintain the professional integrity that we’ve fostered on that show.”

There’s no room for debate on that. Not with twins and the thing on the line.

Leaning over again, she grabs a stack of file folders from the floor and slams them on the desk. Then she repeats the motion with a few DVDs that are piled on top of the already tall stack. “This is the stuff, we’ve got two guests coming and you can pick up their names and background checks at the front desk.” Her voice cuts off and her jaw tenses once as though she’s contemplating more orders. Then she just flicks her hand and places her pen tip on the paper, “I think that’s everything for now. Unless you have more.”

“Not to my immediate knowledge,” Reuben says with a smirk. He picks up the folders and DVDs, looking them over. “Hey, these were made with Nero software! I use that when I make copies of…” he trails off, looking up with a slight smirk. “Well, copies of family movies.”

“Alright, I’ll make sure that I’m well-equipped for The Advocate. Maybe afterwards, we can have an afterparty if the audience wasn’t too offended with my material,” he says, eying her blue foot cast under the desk.

“I’m sure my sister will be waiting with the appropriate after party for you.” The impassive manner that the producer broaches the subject is mixed with a narrow eyed look that clearly says ‘yes I know’. “As for me personally, I’ll probably be working through the night to make sure it gets aired on time. My celebration comes days later.” She looks down at her notes again and rips the page off, placing it to the side. Then she begins writing again. “So I hope you and Kelly have fun, watch out for disease…. Anything you catch is not covered by workman’s comp.”

Reuben nodded slowly, wondering how to gauge the response. Personally, he liked Kelly, but Kristen was supposed to be her polar opposite. Now, the two of them seemed indistinguishable. “Yeah,” he says simply, looking down at the folders and putting his most undisturbed look on for Kristen’s sake.

“Well, I hope I see you at the show. I’d rather know if I majored ballsed things up or not before I go off to celebrate,” he says, getting up and moving to leave. “Anything else you wanted to throw at me while I’m here?”

“I take my talent very seriously,” the producer adds in before he gets to the door. “I don’t like to see them screwing up because when you succeed, I succeed. I take my job very seriously, I’m sure when Brad gets back you’ll get to know each other and be best pals… “ Kristen’s voice cuts off and her eyebrows knit together as she tries to hide a worried expression with a scornful one. “… and probably spend weeks playing pranks on me. Right now I’m trying to keep everything together and I’m not going to let Kelly tear it all apart. You might not think it’s any of my business, Kelly might think it’s not any of my business… but it is. You are my business. Got it?”

Maybe when they find Russo again he’ll be able to tell Reuben about all the creepy ways that Kristen is able to keep tabs on where he is at all times. How she can come up with bits of info that he’s tried to keep to himself, too bad she lost him almost ten days ago.

Reuben glances back at Kristen with a look that isn’t as easily hidden by his flippant persona. “I’m hearing you on FM, boss. See you tomorrow.”

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