"Jeff, Jeff, you're breaking up. What did you say? Did you say the contestants are missing?"
"Right George, they're all…" the phone then seemed to whistle, "… a few scraps of clothing…" more whistling, "… blood by one of the…"
"Blood? Scraps of clothes? Damn Jeff, they've only been there a week. Am I hearing right? Jeff, Jeff… Damn it, get me another line out there." George shouted, slamming the phone back in the receiver.
"It's not on this end sir. They are too far to range into a geosynchronous satellite, so we need to wait until we can get the right linkup."
"We've got the globe covered in satellites and we can't reach him? Where the hell is he?"
"It's the island Tongamundo, in the South Pacific. You wanted something remote."
"Hell, remote is one thing, has this place slipped off the edge of the earth. How long until we get a better line through?"
"Maybe 10 minutes sir, I'll let you know when we get something."
"Damn, Marie get in here!" George shouted, rubbing his large hands over his face.
George watched Marie walk quickly in. She wrote in a notepad as she stepped onto the hand-woven rug, recently imported from the last show. Her low-heeled shoes brushed across the rug with a barely audible "schwoosh". "I've contacted security and we are locking off the executive offices here. We've had just that one phone call from Jeff, so I think we have a lid on the media here."
"Hell Marie, we are the media."
"I mean we don't want any leaks," she replied.
"Okay, you're right. At least until we find out what has really happened. Could we have heard right? Everyone is missing?"
"From what I heard on your speakerphone," she said, adjusting her glasses that had slipped down her nose as she wrote, "and what little radio contact we got from one of the helicopter pilots, that's what it sounds like."
"What about insurance," George asked, wiping the sweat from his brow, "what kind of coverage do we have?"
"I've got legal reviewing the policy. Unless it was caused by an act of God, I think we should be covered."
"How many are out there now?"
"Well, only two have been voted off, but they are still nearby. We don't even know if they…"
"Christ, then all of them are at risk?"
"We don't know."
George ran his gaze across his office. The two Emmy Statues collected dust on his wood-grained filing cabinet. "Two Emmys," he thought shaking his head, "Daytime Emmys, for a damn game show." He remembered receiving the awards, feigning appreciation, the whole time thinking, "I am better than this, I am better than a daytime game show producer." He had finished his speech, smiled, kissed the presenter (Susan Lucci, the all-time record holder for losing at the Emmys), and walked to the interview room. Now, he finally makes "prime-time" and it's a game show. A top rated game show, but still a damn game show, and hell, it was falling apart here.
"Where is that damn connection? Can somebody get Jeff back on the phone?"
"They've got something now. There sir, pick up on… What line? Six, is it line six? No, what line then? Five… Yes, five, pick up on line five, sir."
"Finally… Jeff, Jeff can you hear me? You can? Good, I hear you just fine. Look Jeff, I'm gonna put you on the speaker phone. Maria's here and we'll get Fox from security in to hear this," he said, nodding to Maria, who swiftly darted out of the office.
"Okay George. Look, you don't need to yell, the connection is much better than last time."
George nodded as Maria and Albert Fox walked in. "Okay Jeff, we're here now. Let's take it slow, tell us what is happening."
"Well, we were set up for an immunity challenge, over by the cove. This was a swimming challenge..."
"Skip over the details Jeff and tell me what happened."
"I'm getting there man. Anyway, we finished the setup and prepared for the tribes to arrive. The only problem, no one showed up. Neither tribe came to the challenge."
"Both tribes. We tried to radio our individual camera crews, you know, the ones stationed in each camp."
"Yes, I know Jeff, tell me what happened."
"They didn't answer. We tried several times and got nothing. We split the crew up and headed to each camp. And, it was like I said in our earlier conversation. The camps were a mess. Both fires were still hot, but the food and cooking utensils were strewn about. Most of their personal belongings were scattered. Hell, even Jonquil's hat was here. She never goes anywhere without that hat. You remember the hat, large blue flowery thing that hung down..."
"Jeff, stick to the point."
"Right. Well, both camps were like that. We looked for a trail leaving the camps, but they must have brushed out their tracks and we had that big rain this morning. We are trying to get in touch with the local authorities, but the radio…"
"Stop! Look, this is not something for local authorities. Hell, it's a deserted island, what local authorities are there?"
"There's a town on a nearby island, Tongaleenda I think. They have a sheriff of sorts."
"Listen to me Jeff. Don't contact the authorities, we will send our security people to handle this. Do you know what it will mean if this gets out? Mr. Fox, how soon can you get your people in there?" George asked the ex-linebacker security chief.
"I figure about 20 hours, fully armed and ready."
"Okay, Jeff, you still there Jeff? Yeah, okay. Listen Fox's men will get there in about 20 hours, in the meantime get your film crew into both camps, see if you can't work this angle into the game. See about getting a reworked script for this new "twist" in the game. Let me know if anything happens between now and when our security gets there, otherwise call me when they arrive."
"What kind of twist George?"
"Damn Jeff, you're supposed to be the talent, work something out. Just let me know what you are planning before you jump in the middle. I don't want another stunt like Wally pulled at the finale last year. I'm still hearing about us giving all those cars away."
"Just do it Jeff," he said as he punched the button disconnecting the call. He then reached into his desk drawer, pulled out a medicine bottle and took out three pills. He tossed them in his mouth and swallowed. "Some game show we got here Marie. What would Bob Barker do now?"
"What do we do?" she asked.
"We wait. No we don't. Marie, get the writers together and see what they can work up. Make them think it's just a "twist" we want to through into the game. See what they come up with. Jeff's a nice face, but let's face it Marie, a Shakespeare he's not."
"Right away sir."
"Damn, why didn't I stay on "The Price is Right?" George muttered, slouching back in his chair.
--- ----- ----
"Mr. Shumm, Mr. Shumm, line five: it's Tongamundo."
Sitting up in his chair and shaking his head, George reached for conference button. "So soon?"
"Sir you've been asleep forever. Mr. Fox is already there."
Pushing the button, George began, "This is George, what's the situation."
"The security team is here George, we have briefed Mr. Fox and he has looked over the situation. He has a fax setup with a secure line, says he is up and running."
"Great. Jeff, our writers are gonna fax you a script. I want you to get on it right away. While you work on that, I am putting Fox in charge."
"No arguments here Jeff, we need you for the on air stuff, let Fox handle behind the scenes. Now let me talk to him."
"Albert, what's the situation there?"
"Hold on for a moment Mr. Shumm." George heard footsteps, then a door closing and footsteps again. "Look, I've been here about an hour, but my team has been here for about eight hours. They have searched the island and located the tribes. Apparently, some of the contestants have been taken hostage by two cameramen and several other contestants. We got in close enough to talk to some of the hostages."
"It's pretty strange here sir. The hostages said they didn't want to be rescued."
"Don't want to be rescued? What the hell?"
"Apparently, some of the contestants had been sampling some of the local flora."
"Yes, a number of the plants here have an hallucinogenic properties, while others will affect different parts of the nervous system. It started out innocent enough with the 'E Lusticus' plant and a few small orgies, but then some of the contestants mixed 'E Lusticus' with the 'Irritableus Paranoius.' They ended up with several very amorous, but very paranoid people. They quickly formed an alliance and, between their frantic sexual escapades, they convinced a cameraman to join them.
“Hell man, it’s a fuck fest up here, if you excuse my language. I just spent the last have hour witnessing about 3 different orgies, they got on woman here must be working on some type of record. She convinced three guys to do her at the same time, had one on his back as she rode him, one crouched down behind her reaming her in the ass while she sucked off a third fellow. Last I saw she had two more guys waiting in line. You can say they went native, but this is ridiculous.
Look, in addition to the orgies they took an untested mixture of the Yellow Bellium and 'Violetus Giggletus' and quickly subdued the non-alliance members. The mixture made the captives fear the alliance, but while doing so they just couldn't stop giggling. They decided that this life is pretty good, especially since they are spared the physically exhausting dalliances the alliance members seemed so caught up in."
"Maria, get me some Tums. And get the writers in here," George shouted. "Albert, do you think you can…"
"Wait Mr. Shumm, there's more."
"Well, go on."
"It seems both tribes fell into a similar circumstance. While searching a wider variety in their physical combinations, both tribes decided to merge. They have now created one tribe, the 'Shakabootie' tribe. There is a ruling class, which seems to be caught up in a non-stop orgy and a servant class that gets them food, watches and giggles. And there are the cameramen, they just film everything."
"Yeah, I've never seen a happier film crew. Anyway, during a momentary rest break, representatives from both classes here talked to my people, and apparently they want to stay here. Looks like you signed up a bunch of nuts, Mr. Shumm. I have my crew ready to round them up and get them back to the film schedule."
"Wait a minute Albert. You say the cameramen have continued filming."
"And these people have gone completely native."
"And we have the signed rights to film and release whatever happens on the island."
"Well, I'm not from legal…"
"Albert, Marie is nodding. Look Albert, get with Jeff. Tell him to trash the script we just sent him, tell him to be prepared to get a script within 2 hours. Tell him to roll film in 3 hours."
"Albert, if Jeff gives you any trouble, just give him a dose of that flower mixture. He'll be serving this show for at least a season or two."
"Yes sir." George could almost hear a smile.
"Maria, get those writers to work, they have two hours."
"Right away Mr. Shumm."
"And Maria, place a call for me to National Geographic. Tell them we have some native footage that will knock their socks off." As Maria walked to her phone she heard George laughing, "This ain't a game show anymore!"