Reality Show

by Marc D. Allan

          I wouldn’t even be in here if it wasn’t for that guy, that fucking guy, Stanley Stone. That’s the guy who showed up at my door that Monday morning. And I wouldn’t have even been home except for me losing my job a couple of months ago. I mean, I’m never home at 10 o’clock in the morning. Who’s home at 10 in the morning?

          But this fucking Stanley Stone knocks on my door—him and another guy—and they ask if I want to audition for a reality show. I don’t want them to come in. My place is kind of a pig sty, I say, and there’s fruit flies around the dirty dishes in the sink, but they tell me not to worry—that’s just what they’re looking for.

          Fucking Stanley Stone sits on the couch and says they don’t have a title for the show and they don’t know what channel it will be on, but I’ll be competing against other people for a chance to earn 50,000 dollars and a complete home makeover—new carpet, new paint, the works. I want 50,000 dollars—that’s like two years’ salary—so I say sure. The TV show will be something I can show my kids, if I ever have kids. Or a wife.

          He asks me my name and I say Alex Rauch. He says how old am I and I say 32 and he says good. Good demographics. He asks me if I work and I say I used to work but not now and he doesn’t ask me why which is a good thing so I don’t have to tell him about stealing shit from the company which was so stupid that even my mom was mad at me and she never gets mad at me. He asks me am I in good shape and I get down on the ground and do 10 pushups and he says good. He asks me what was the last year of school I finished and I say I finished high school and he says good. Ever been convicted of a crime? No. Do you use drugs? No, no, no, no. All right, yes. Sometimes. A little. Ever do meth? Never done meth myself. But I know a good meth joke: Do you know the definition of a meth addict? No, what? A meth addict is someone who will steal your wallet and then spend 12 hours helping you look for it. He says that’s a good one! Maybe we’ll have you tell that on camera!

          And I said what do I gotta do in this show, and he says you have to stay in your house for 10 days straight. You can’t leave the house. We’re gonna put cameras all over the house and watch you. So I said it’s kinda like Big Brother, and he says sorta, but you’re gonna be alone. And we’re going to bring you things to do. And I said like what, and he said you’ll see, we’re going to surprise you. That’ll be the fun for people watching—to see how you react and what you do with the stuff. 

          I ask them why they’re making a reality show in Clarksville, Indiana, where it’s all we can do to get cable down here, never mind being on TV. And they say, you know, that people are sick of these reality shows that aren’t even real and have actors and wannabe actors as contestants and playing to the camera. He said he wanted to get real people in real situations.

          It’s not like I have anything better to do. I’m down to my last few hundred dollars and being on TV I’d be famous so why not? Then Stanley Stone—I know I keep saying his name, because I never want to forget it in case I ever run into that fucker again—hands me a contract to sign. There’s a lot of wherefores and whereas and that shit, but I sign. Goddamn dumbass, I am. I guess I should have read it.

          As soon as I sign it, Stanley Stone asks me to walk outside with him. The other guy—I don’t know his name, tall guy, never says a word, he’s gonna put in the cameras and microphones, and they don’t want me to know where they are because they don’t want me playing to the cameras. The tall guy does a good job, because when I go back in the house, I can’t even see where they are.

          The one thing I do see is that Stanley Stone left me a box on the coffee table. I open it, and there’s a clear glass pipe inside. A work of fucking art. Looks like a test tube sticking diagonally out of a bell, with a hole on the opposite end. There’s also a mini-blowtorch, a straw with a curved scoop at the end, and five little plastic bags filled with crystals, like small shards of glass. The shit glows blue. 

          So this is the reality show? What the fuck do you want me to do with this, Stanley Stone? I yell. You want me to smoke this? Jesus, is that what passes for entertainment on TV these days? Are people that bored they wanna watch a guy get high? But then I think yeah that IS the kinda shit people would wanna watch—a guy fucking up just to be on TV. That’s the kind of shit I would watch for sure. 

          The thing is, Stanley Stone, I don’t really know how to use this shit. But then I think I gotta win this show and so I’m supposed to figure it out. YouTube! So search for “How to Do Meth” and of course it’s there because every fucking thing is there. How to smoke it, inject it, snort it, eat it. Man, there’s a lotta different ways to get this shit in your body, Stanley Stone. This video says to inject it is best, but I don’t have works and there’s no fucking way I’m doing anything with needles again. I don’t want to snort it because I knew a guy who says it burns the shit out of your nostrils. This video says you can put it into a piece of toilet paper and swallow it. You don’t want to just swallow it because it’ll cut you up but I don’t want to swallow toilet paper because that’s fucking disgusting. My favorite video is where you put it into a syringe with no needle, add water, and shove it up your ass. Then pump it in. They call it a butt rocket. Man, I watched that video a lot. That’s fucking funny. But fucking Stanley Stone gave me a pipe, so Stanley Stone must want me to smoke it, so I go with “How to Smoke Meth” and there’s a guy who looks FUCKED UP showing you how to put the shards in the end of the pipe. You gotta pick them up with a straw because this shit will burn your fingers, he says. You put water in the bell and heat it with a torch. The shit turns to liquid and you inhale it from there. OK.

          I fire up the torch. The water starts bubbling and the meth melts. Blue smoke curls up and I suck it in. One inhale and holyfuckingshitholyfuckingshitholyfuckingshit! You know what it was like? It was like getting a blowjob and a full body massage while “Walking On Sunshine” is playing and I’m drinking hot chocolate after coming in from the cold. And I’m sitting there feeling the greatest I’ve ever felt the greatest anyone ever could feel. A wave of warmth is rolling through my body. My dick is rock hard. I have to rub one out right now and I do and it never felt better ever ever ever.

          Thirty minutes later, again. Holyfuckingshitholyfuckingshit. 

          Thirty minutes later, again. Holyfuckingshit.

          Thirty minutes later, again. Mmmm, but where’s my blowjobfullbodymassage? 

          I know I can get that back. I know I can. More. Now. Now. Faster, faster. Fasterfastfaster.

          My body feels hot. Hot. I should take off my shirt, right? And I don’t need my pants. I have gym shorts on under my pants. That’s OK, right? That won’t look bad on TV, right? They’ll be able to show that, right? I don’t want to be one of those assholes with the black squares blocking out my dick and everyone laughing at me.

          This goes on for, I don’t know, six hours? Holy shit, it’s midnight. I know I should go to sleep, but why sleep when there’s so much to do? The kitchen. Gotta clean the kitchen. Scrub the caked shit off the dishes. You know that magnetic rubber strip around the refrigerator door? Did you ever see how much dirt gets in there? I have to scrub that shit. I find a toothbrush and pull back the rubber, inch by inch, and brush and brush the dirt out, but then it’s time to fire up some more. And jerk off. I have to jerk off. Jesus, that feels good. I hope they edit that out.

          And again. I wish I could fucking go out and find someone to fuck—God, I would love to fuck and fuck and fuck—but the rules are that I have to stay in the house and I don’t want to lose the 50 g’s. I wonder if I can sneak out, but I don’t know who’s out there and I know Stanley Stone, that fucker, is watching me. Stanley Stone, are you watching me? I yell that, but the fucker doesn’t answer. Could I maybe tunnel out of the house? Would he notice? How can he be watching me and three other people at the same time? 

          I know what. I bet I can find him on the computer. Let me find him and see if he’s watching me. Letmeseeletmeseeletmesee. I never knew how much I love the clack of the keyboards. Goddamnit, I cannot find his fucking website. I need more. Need more, look some more, need more, look some more. Where the fuck is his website? Oh look there’s porn. And now it’s six hours later. Did I really just go at this for six hours? My dick is fucking raw. Fuck. I need to fix my wobbly kitchen table. Let me get the tools out in the garage. Is that going to count as leaving the house? It’s not really leaving the house. The garage is connected. Maybe it’s in the contract. Where is that contract? I can’t find it anywhere. I bet that fucker Stanley Stone stole it. Hey, Stanley Stone, is it going to count? I don’t want to get disqualified for some fucking bullshit like I went into the garage, which is part of the house. No one can see me in there. Fuck, did he put a camera in here too? They really did a good job. I gotta find those cameras. That is amazing. When I win this I’m going to the Walmart and get some of these cameras. They’re amazing these cameras. You can’t see them. They must be so fucking tiny.

          I better not go into the garage. Fuck it, I’m going. And I go and I don’t hear anything from Stanley Stone and I guess I’m all right because if I was out of the show or voted off or whatever the fuck they do, they’re gonna tell me, right? I should have asked him about that. Why the fuck didn’t I ask him about that? Where the fuck is that contract?

          And so this goes on and on and on Wednesday there’s more at my door and I am ready. I am so ready. I am readier than ever. Smoke. Yeah! Smoke. Yeah! I think the phone is buzzing. Am I allowed to answer the phone? Goddamnit why didn’t I ask? So I answer quick but it’s my mom and I tell her I can’t talk. You know what I’ve never seen? The inside of a computer. But I’ve never seen the inside of a TV. Are there people watching this show yet? I bet they’ve never seen the inside of a computer or a TV either. I wish I knew how to sew. I should look into that. Do you think someone would come to my house to teach me how? Am I allowed to have someone come to my house? Goddamnit why didn’t I ask? Smoke. Yeah! Man there’s a lot of shit inside a computer. I wonder what this thing does? Fuck, I’m tired. Smoke. More! If you took the parts from the computer and put them in the TV and put the TV parts into the computer, what would happen? Could you get the computer on the TV? Wait, you can already do that. That makes no sense. That’s fucking hilarious. I should try that. Damn I bet this is good TV. I have to be winning. Smoke. More!

          And on Friday, I empty the last shard from the bag, light up, and pass the pipe over to one of the three guys Stanley Stone, that fucker, musta sent in there to watch me. But the asshole doesn’t move and the pipe falls to the floor. The bell cracks and fuck now there’s no way to put water in there. Fuckfuckfuck. Hey, will one of your fuckers goes out and get another pipe? They don’t say anything. I say, would one of you fuckers go out and get another pipe? How are we gonna smoke this shit without a pipe? Then one of these assholes just bursts into flames, which is a pretty cool trick except I still need a pipe. Another one vanishes. The third slides under the front door, and good because now he can bring back a new pipe. I sit down and wait. And fall asleep. 

          I wake up and what day is it and it’s Monday and my hands are shaking and where the fuck is the new pipe already? I am shaking like a motherfucker. Hey, Stanley Stone—now I’m yelling—I need more, and I need a new pipe. I hear a voice coming out of one of the speakers that he’s put somewhere in the ceiling—it’s not Stanley Stone’s voice, but maybe it’s that other guy’s voice—that if I need more, I should look in the carpet, between the fibers. There’s not going to be anymore. You’re on your own, asshole. Go carpet mining, he says to me. I’m gonna. I’m gonna look by the couch because that’s the place where I usually smoke and if I dropped some it would be right here and of course I dropped some I had to have dropped some. Here’s something. I don’t know it feels like it could be it’s burning my fingers and making them bleed and I don’t know but I get a hammer and crush it up. You think fucking Stanley Stone is going to keep me from this? Ha. A lot he fucking knows. I’ve got the straw too motherfucker. I can snort it and if I can’t snort it I can eat it, asshole. 

          I snort it and my God its caustic as fuck. I mean, fuck it burns. Fuck. I feel like I got a piece of glass in my eye. Goddamnit I better go to the bathroom and see what the fuck I did. I pull my eye open as wide as it will go and then I see a parasite crawl out. Christ whatthefuck. Then another one starts burrowing through my cheek and Ive gotta find a tweezer or a scissors or something to get this thing out of me. And then there’s more. And more. And now Im thinking Stanley Stone put me in a horror movie not a reality show and now maggots are crawling out of my dead body. Am I dead? I don’t think so. 

          My clock says 4, but is it 4 in the morning or 4 in the afternoon? If its 4 in the morning, I know I can sneak out. I know I can. If I can sneak out, I can go to Walmart and get some black paint and paint the whole house and then that fucker Stanley Stone wont be able to see me. Ill black out the cameras and then Ill be able to leave any time I want. Should I look out the window though? Does that count as leaving? No that’s not leaving and I look and its dark and I think I can get to Walmart by myself. I was gonna take my car, but where are the fucking car keys? Not in the drawer not in my pocket not in the hall. Goddamnit. Fuck it I can walk. Its only three blocks. I can see the sign. Wheres my phone should I take my phone no phone.

          And so I go lurping into Walmart and fuck its bright in here and theres all these other fucking zombies trawling through here and where is the paint? The paint the paint the paint. Heres the paint. Black paint. Two big buckets. Fuck these things are heavy. And you know what else I need? A parakeet. I want a bird to keep me company. Im gonna teach him to talk. Yeah. A parakeet. You know whats hard to do? Find someone to get you a parakeet at Walmart at 4:30 in the morning. Theres no one working there except for one guy who has to go get the other guy who has the keys to open the cages. And I guess I need a cage too and probably a paintbrush. The fucking guy finally shows up and gets me a parakeet and a cage and I pay for this shit and Im glad Stanley Stone cant see me because this would be shitty TV and drag it home and hang the parakeet cage in the living room so he can watch me paint and I can teach him words. Im trying to teach the bird to say Stanley Stone is a fucker, but nothing. But I do a good job painting. Really glob it on good and thick. Man, the room is so black. None more black. Remember that from Spinal Tap, none more black? Doesntmatterdoesntmatterdoesntmatter. 

          Hah! Stanley Stone, fuck you. You cant see me anymore. But I can hear you says a voice and now Im gonna need another I don’t know another what. Wheres that speaker wheres that fucking speaker how can I get him to stop? Is that it? and I paint a blob over it. I do that againandagainandagainandagain. He starts laughing. He’s taunting me. Youllneverfindityoullneverfindityoullneverfindit. You. Will. Never. Find. It.

          Goddamnit, Stanley Stone. At least bring me some more. I need more. Ineedmore. Parasites are coming out of my face. Make them stop, Stanley Stone. No. This is great TV. Make them stop. No. The viewers are going to love this. And then he sends a dog into the house and he says ifyouwannawinyouregonnahavetoblowthedog. And Im like no no no no no fuck you. OK but goddamnit Stanley Stone at least bring me some more. I need more. Ineedmore. Parasites are coming out of my face. Make them stop, Stanley Stone. No. Youre gonna be a star.

          I guess that’s what saved me, because I go running into the street just as my mom is pulling into the driveway. And she says I’ve been calling you and I say I couldn’t talk because I was on this reality show and I don’t know the rules and they’re torturing me and make it stop mom. And I’m crying and crying and can’t stop crying and no one wants to watch this and parasites are sliding down my arms and legs and I’m trying to scratch them away and I’m bleeding but they’re coming out too fast and I can’t make them stop and I need them to stop and Stanley Stone won’t make them stop. Mom wraps the blanket over me and she’s crying and crying and she hugs me so tight and says everything is going to be OK and I tell her not to squeeze me so tight because she’s gonna get parasites on her and she says there are no parasites and why are you naked? And I could swear I was wearing pants before but maybe I took them off to scratch. And my legs are bleeding and she tells me she’s gonna take me someplace where they will clean me up and make the parasites stop and help me find this Stanley Stone because who would do this to someone? 

          And you know what? Mom did all of that except for finding Stanley Stone because I can’t remember what that fucker looks like and don’t know where the contract is and if I can’t give her a description or show her the contract how can she help me? And are you even sure Stanley Stone is real? And now I don’t know. But that’s OK. I’m glad I’m here with you all. And I’m going to get better now and get through this rehab and get a job and not be such a fuck-up, but I wish I had bought some parakeet food. And I don’t even fucking care that I lost the show. 

Marc D. Allan is an MFA student at Butler University in Indianapolis, where he also works in media relations. He spent the bulk of his career as a newspaper reporter, the last 16 years, eight months and 20 days of that time at the Indianapolis Star. He has written for the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Writers Digest, Where to Retire magazine, the Indianapolis Business Journal, Indianapolis Monthly, and many more publications.

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