©2009 by Glen C. Davis
Brian Phillips sat in his portable dressing room checking his make-up in the mirror. When he first started in this business, several years ago, he had a chance to view some of the recordings of his newscasts on nanochip. The rest of the crew were laughing and he saw why. He looked like a clown. The answer: learn to do his own make-up. So he did. After his success, of course, he was offered some of the best make-up people in the business. He refused swallowing his pride in favor of making sure he looked good at broadcast time.
After all, his success and popularity led him to this news story. It was not the news story of the year. Not even the news story of the century. This story could justifiably be categorized as the story of the millennium. A story like this could, quite literally, only happen once in a thousand years.
Brian stood up and removed his robe. As he hung it on the chair, he caught a chance glimpse of himself in the mirror. He always managed to catch a “chance glimpse” of himself in the mirror. He smiled to see the whiteness of his teeth. Teeth that cost eight-thousand UN a year to maintain. He placed his hands on his hips and surveyed his slim, sculpted body. He jiggled his chest, as best he could, and thought what great pecs! Three-thousand UN a year gym membership. He stroked his shoulder-length brown hair with his right hand. 500 UN a broadcast. And being the top rated news reporter in the business? Well, that wasn’t priceless. He made almost ten-million UN a year.
They wanted to put him behind a desk, but he loved being in the thick of it. The interviews with famous people. The suppression of those unruly constitutionalists. And, the war years.
He remembered the battle between Sharon Pierce and her estranged husband Harold as they fought over who would get the 2.5 acres in Aspen. Then there was the war between Melissa and George Price over custody of their only Pomeranian. Okay, so the war news was not that great. When Obama took over as Secretary General of the United Nations, he negotiated and signed the Obama Peace Accord. That blew if for everyone. For over nine-hundred years, peace reigned supreme.
There were still some great disasters to shoot, though, thanks to global warming. People caught in flood plains. Drought made great pictures when you included thirsty and starving children. The riots in the supermarkets when they managed to get a shipment of fresh fruit. Ah, those were the days.
The whole thing culminated into this; the biggest story of his life. The story of the millennium. The story that would make his career. A story that would make people remember the name of Brian Phillips.
Maybe even to the of end of the Dr. Cantell Williams, Plastic Surgeon show. The daily, half-hour broadcast immediately followed the newscast. Brian, of course, tried his best to catch it. A show with the latest techniques for cosmetic surgery was important for a man in his line of work. For now, however, he was the man of the hour.
Brian walked to the closet of his trailer and pulled out the red Hawaiian shirt and blue swim trunks that had made him famous. Actually, it was not the same Hawaiian shirt. He used a different one each time in case he got a spot on it or some other disaster that he was not aware of. 50 UN a broadcast. He reached up on the shelf and pulled out the rubber-soled boat shoes that he felt comfortable in. He donned his clothes and went to the door. He took a deep breath. He opened the door and felt the blast of heat hit him. Even at night it was 75-degrees. Soon, that would be over.
He stepped out of the trailer carefully observing that his foot was securely planted on each step as he proceeded. He reached the bottom and walked over to the grip and grabbed his microphone. He clipped the wireless microphone to his lapel as the crew went to work turning on the lights and blanking out what stars remained to be seen.
“All right, crew. Are we ready?”
“Ready when you are,” Samantha said.
Samantha was the best producer in the business. That was one luxury that Brian afforded himself, since the studio paid for it. Well, she might not have been the best in the business, but she was cute and she always wore those tight fitting outfits. When the humidity rose, her auburn hair clung to her clothes. And her eyes sparkled like the waters of the arctic circle. It seemed to make the broadcast go by a little faster. It was strictly a business relationship, mind you. No hanky-panky. His three girlfriends would never understand such goings on.
“All right,” Samantha said. “We have a studio link-up.”
Brian looked over at the 42-inch High Def monitor and saw it light up. On the screen was anchorman George Pierce.
“Hey, George,” Brian said into the microphone. “How’s the sound?”
“Sounds good, Brian. Sounds real good.”
“So how have you been, George?”
You poor sot! he added to himself.
“I’ve been doing good, Brian. And you?”
“Sameo sameo, George. Life is good.”
“Great, great,” George said. “Well, we’re ready on our end. Okay, Brian. You got two.”
Brian turned and slashed at his throat with his finger. The sound man cut the microphone.
“All right, people,” Samantha interrupted. “Final checks.”
Two minutes later, Brian was standing in front of the camera smiling. He knew he had an intro, but he always smiled, just in case. The studio had been known to cut to him without warning.
“Global warming,” George started the intro. Brian could clearly see the monitor behind the camera man. “It has been a problem for mankind for centuries. One thousand years ago, this month, scientist announced that the effects of global warming could not be reversed until now even if we doubled our efforts at the time. This month, one thousand years later, marks that anniversary. And we are here to bring it to you live.
“When one reflects on the mood of our forefathers, one cannot help but….”
Come on, George, you putz! Brian thought with a frozen smile on his face. And don’t mention the forefathers. You want us taken off the air? After a minute more of his incessant rambling, Brian heard.
“And our own Brian Phillips is there to bring it to you live.”
The red light came on and Brian saw himself glaring at the monitor.
“That’s right, George,” Brian said as the smile returned to his face. “We are, here—in Greenwich Park, U.N. District of England—at the point where time begins on earth to bring you, live, the end of global warming. But first, my friend Scott Thompson is in Greenwich at the site of a massive celebration for the end of this era. Scott?”
The monitor, now, displayed an image of a younger, up-and-coming reporter said to be the sure replacement for Brian, which—of course—he hated hearing.
“Thank you, Brian. That’s right, we are here at a celebration similar to others being conducted around the world. A thousand years ago, there was a man with a vision. A governor of a tiny spot on the globe know as California who uttered these immortal words—”
As Brian walked to stand by Mike, the camera man, to watch the monitor, the scene cut to a scene of a man sitting and talking to a camera with a lower third indicating that his name was Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“Great. This kid needs a new writer. He’s always using these old film reels.”
“California,” Governor Schwarzenegger began, “even though a little tiny spot on a globe—barely can find it—but the power of influence that we have over the rest of the world is an equivalent of a whole continent.”
“Barely can find it,” Brian scoffed. “Buy a map! The arrogance of this guy? The power of influence is an equivalent of a whole continent. Go back to Australia.”
“Austria,” Mike corrected.
“What?” George said.
“He was from Austria, I believe. Germanic accent.”
“So what. It’s just a little spot on a globe—barely can find it.”
Mike shook his head.
“Well, you gotta admit, his policies started a trend. And here we are at the result a thousand years later.”
“Yeah, what ever. At least I’ll find out what a cool summer night is all about.”
Brian returned to his mark when he heard the cue.
“Now let’s go back to Brian Phillips who will bring us the last few minutes of global warming. Brian.”
“Thank you for that report, Scott. I really can’t tell you how I felt when I heard those truly visionary comments from the great Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Really. Without him, we might never be here to see this event unfold.
“And as I look over my shoulder, I barely perceive the first rays of light appearing over the horizon. A bright herald bringing us a message of hope. What you are witnessing, ladies and gentlemen, is the dawn of a new era.”
As the ball of the sun just broke the horizon, a black mass across the sky hidden by the darkness began to be revealed. A mass that moved toward the television crew. The crew was gawking at it in amazement. Even as the sun rose higher, its light did not touch the earth as it was soaked by the darkened mass.
“Ladies and gentlemen—.” Brian began
A white bug fluttered in front of his face and he swatted at it.
“A mass of clouds is moving toward us actually soaking up the rays of this new sun.”
He paused to swat at another insect as the clouds drew quickly over them.
“What the?” Brian exclaimed.
Hundreds of these insects swarmed around him as the temperature rapidly dropped. For the first time in his life, he felt a chill. The insects began to land on his clothes and skin and he began to dance around swatting at them. He began to realize that they were not insects at all. They were specks of some kind of cold dust. He collected some in his hand and saw that they were some kind of crystalline formations.
“What is this?”
Samantha quickly typed something into her keyboard so that it would appear on the teleprompter, but the white crystals obscured the screen.
“I can’t read that!” Brian complained.
“Snow,” Samantha called quietly trying not to be picked up by the microphone. “It’s called snow. Remember the Internet research?”
“Snow? This is snow, ladies and gentlemen. It’s cold and crystalline. It’s amazing.”
Brian was starting to shiver, but was more amazed when the camera man left his post to stand beside him.
“Uh, Mike? The camera?”
Mike just stood and stared. Brian turned around and was stunned by the sight, as well. Trees, rocks and grass; all were turning white.
“What is that!” Brian squealed.
“That, I believe, is ice,” Mike said.
“Ice? You mean, like an ice age? Oh, that’s just great,” Brian turned back to the camera.
The snow was beginning to accumulate and grow into piles in spots around Greenwich Park. The world had prepared for the end of global warming by carefully planting and watering trees and shrubbery. They were now covered in ice.
“They could have told us to expect this! This is cold! Ladies and gentlemen, the scientist were correct. Global warming has ended. And now—grab the skies, folks—it looks like we might expect a thousand year ice age. Mrs. Pierce, it looks like that 2.5 acres might just be worth a mint, now. This is Brian Phillips, reporting from Greenwich Park.
“Has anybody got a coat?”