You are a local news reporter for a failing network. Your boss tells you to ramp up the news by getting “creative” and constructing your own stories. What’s the first fake news story you create and broadcast on air?
* * *
I don’t know where this woman came from, or how she got into the studio, but somehow she managed to walk right up to my desk and confront me in the middle of the newscast. She was dripping wet and wrapped only in a bath towel that nearly covered everything. She would likely be very happy for those little black bars on the screen later.
“You irresponsible idiot! What do you think you’re doing?” She poked my chest with her index finger. “Caprona! Caprona! You thought people wouldn’t bother checking your facts, didn’t you? You needed a fictional minor country to rattle its sabre at America and you chose them! Were you born stupid, or did you take lessons?”
“Young lady, I don’t know what you’re talking about! Caprona is a real place, with real people.” Yeah, the People That Time Forgot, from that old movie. I invented the scare because nothing brings in viewers better than the threat of war, especially with a tiny ineffectual country.
“Of course it is!” Her towel bounced in time with her angry speech; only her clenched hand kept it from falling. “Population Lenore Allen—my mother—and her cronies. They saw your damned newscasts and went back in time to set it up. And they DO have spies in this country!”
Back in time? This woman was obviously some kind of nut. But her rant and her clothing would likely boost our ratings through the roof and might even go viral. I decided to play along.
“That’s what I mean! These people are a real threat, and the public needs to be informed.”
“Yes, but she’s using YOUR fake stories for ideas!” She shook her silky black hair out of her eyes and splatted water onto my desk. “She’s planning something dangerous enough that the Window called me out of the shower to deal with it! Now, what are you going to be reporting tonight? I have to go and stop it before somebody gets hurt, or worse!”
I reached for the papers on my desk. Sure we had the teleprompter, but the papers made me look more scholarly, and were a good backup in case the ‘prompter quit. She snatched them up before I could and started riffling through them. The towel came open at the bottom and I really hoped the camera wasn’t watching me stare (I saw the footage later; it was).
She found what she wanted and grabbed the towel back together. “Commando strike! Dallas! Are you sure my father is hiding in Dallas?”
“Never mind! I have to go prevent a murder! You just lucked out, newsman!”
She stormed off the set, leaving a trail of water drops behind her; I admired her tight glutes for a moment, then turned back to the camera.
“Well that was arousing – er, interesting. More on the Capronian commando raid in Dallas later, but now a word from our sponsor…”
It went viral. WA-HOO!