by John Wayne Comunale
Kyle shut the window, closed the drapes, and made his decision. The ratings had been shit for years, despite it being the longest running show in history. He was the President of Television, and tough decisions like this were his responsibility. He was going to have to cancel Outside.
Kyle crossed to a large switch on the wall and slammed it down from its current setting of ‘Live’ to its new setting of ‘Canceled.’ The sound of the show’s death decayed into silence as he strolled over to the coatrack by his office door and removed a black, hooded robe that slipped easily over his presidential three-piece suit.
Stitched in crimson on the left side of the robe was a twenty-one-point star with an eagle-winged spider at the center of it. Now that he’d canceled Outside, which was the final thing his brothers needed
He pressed a button on the wall that opened a door to a dark room where the only light came from a much larger version of the star symbol glowing red up from the floor. The intensity of the light rose sharply as a robot rocking horse with the head of Abraham Lincoln slid from the darkness to the center of the room.
“Did you do it douche-sack?” screamed Abe.
“I told you I’d do it, didn’t I? And it’s Kyle now…right?”
“Don’t bullshit us, nerd-linger!” yelled another robed individual stepping into the light. It was Dave, the shape-shifting alien who’d been every President of the United States since he came down, chopped Lincoln’s head off, and grafted it onto a robot rocking horse.
“I really did it, guys,” said Kyle again, smiling wide. “Now the prophecy can be fulfilled, or whatever.”
“He’s telling the truth,” came another voice from the shadows. A man stepped into the light and lowered his hood to reveal a scaly, reptilian head.
“Fiiiiine,” groaned Lincoln. “If LRH says you did it, I guess that’s good enough for me. Enter the star.”
“Shut up and enter the goddamn star,” yelled Dave.
He stepped into the star and it glowed brightly as Lincoln rocked off, leaving Kyle in the center alone. He felt the heat in his feet first, but it quickly crawled up the length of his body, causing the hair on his arms to go limp and start to singe.
“Uh, hey, guys,” he said nervously through cracking lips. “Do you think we could turn the star down a little? It’s a little hot and…”
Dave stepped to the edge of the star, raised his hands, and began chanting. Lincoln and Hubbard joined him, and as the chanting became louder, the heat became more intense. Tiny flames danced along the edges of the star, and Kyle gasped trying to high-step his way out of the flames, but his hooded brethren would not let him leave the circle.
“Hey, what gives, guys? This is really starting to hurt!”
“Burning alive is supposed to hurt, dingus,” said Dave, laughing.
“What?” The flames crept quickly up Kyle’s robe. “You guys said that canceling Outside was the last thing you needed to fulfill the prophecy, and I did it!”
“Yeah, well, we lied,” said Lincoln.
“The actual last thing we need to do is sacrifice your nerdy, annoying ass,” called Dave through the rising flames.
The flames jumped to the ceiling for a moment before being sucked back down into the star, and Kyle was gone.
“We did it!” cried Dave.
“Wait,” said L. Ron Hubbard, raising his scaly hand to silence the group. “Something’s not right.”
He walked to the window and pulled the curtains aside, revealing nothing but blackness. A second later, there was a flicker and some static before Outside appeared through the window right before their eyes.
“What the hell?” shouted Lincoln.
“That little shitty nerd lied to us!” yelled Dave.
“No, I’m afraid not, gentlemen,” said Hubbard. “Kyle did indeed cancel Outside just as he said.”
“Then what’s all that out there?”
“Reruns,” said Hubbard flatly. “I’m afraid Outside has been put into syndication.”
John Wayne Comunale lives in the land of purple drank known as Houston, Texas. He is a writer for the comedic collective, MicroSatan, and contributes creative non-fiction for the theatrical art group, BooTown. When he’s not doing that, he tours with the punk rock disaster: johnwayneisdead. He is the author of The Porn Star Retirement Plan, Charge Land, and Aunt Poster as well as writer/illustrator of the comic-zine: The Afterlife Adventures of johnwayneisdead. John Wayne is an American actor who died in 1979.
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