Production meeting: 24 hours until broadcast
‘Run it again,’ said Angela.
‘I will run it again’, said Pete, ‘but it won’t change a thing.’
He clicked the play button on the preview screen.
‘Shit!’ said Angela.
Tommy came into the edit suite, ‘So, guys what’s this emergency?’
‘Pete found something on the tape, Tommy, when he was putting the package together for the broadcast tomorrow,’ said Julie. ‘Take a look.’
Pete ran the footage of Mary and the kids. The camera caught her carefully helping one of the kids into his coat, giving him a big hug, a big smile, then standing up and watching them walk away. She put her hands into her pockets as she did so, looking angelic.
‘What is wrong with that?’ asked Tommy. ‘It‘s fine.’
‘I am going to run it again, but I am going to slow down the footage this time. Keep an eye on her left arm as she goes in for the hug.’
They rewatched the footage. Mary wrapped the boy in the coat, then went in for the hug.
‘There is nothing wrong with hugging a child,’ said Tommy. ‘This is political correctness gone mad!’
Almost imperceptibly, Mary’s left should began to dip as Pete advanced the footage frame by frame. She began to pull out of the hug. Her right hand came up to give the boy a playful pat on the head, as her left hand moved back towards her own pocket.
The hand was not empty. The hand was holding something.
‘What is it?’ asked Tommy.
‘It’s money, Tommy. Our “angel” is robbing the kids. She is a pickpocket.’ said Julie.
‘We can’t use this story, Tommy,’ said Angela. ‘We just can’t.’
Tommy shrugged, ‘just get a different clip of her with the kids,’ he said.
‘You cannot be serious,’ said Julie, ‘This woman is in a position of trust. She is working with kids and she is stealing their money.’
Tommy sighed, ‘BJ is not gonna like this. Anyway, do we actually know it is money? I mean, are we actually sure? Or maybe she could have been holding the money before and it just looks like she took it. There could be a thousand explanations for that.’
‘She didn’t have anything in her hands before, Tommy,’ said Angela, ‘we checked.’
‘Just use a different kid,’ he repeated.
‘It is not that simply, Tommy,’ said Pete,’we spent so long with the principal that we were losing the light when we shot her – and we were doing it from a distance. This is the only bit of usable footage we have.’
Tommy’s phone started to ring. He got up.
‘You,’ he said, pointing at Julie and Angela, ‘are producers. You,’ he said to Peter, ‘edit. So stop looking for problems and produce some edited footage we can use, because we go live tomorrow, and we go live with this woman. We don’t have time to find another and I am certainly not going to tell the sponsors. ‘
He picked up the call as he moved to the door.
‘Hi Honey,’ he said leaving the room.
‘He must have made up with his wife, then,’ said Angela.
‘I don’t think so, said Julie, ‘that ringtone was Hot Stuff by Donna Summer. That is not the ringtone he has assigned to his wife.
‘What does he use for her then?’ asked Pete.
Julie sighed, ‘The theme to the Rocky movie.’
‘Let’s get to work,’ said Angela.
Live Broadcast: Winner announcement
‘And coming up, the moment I know you have all been waiting for. We reveal live on air, the winner of our very special competition: Act of Kindness, brought to you by Instapocket. We will be right back, stay tuned!’
Tommy beamed into the camera as the show cut to commercial break.
Angela had brought Mary and the Principal from the green room and showed them to their positions.
‘Ok – so we have some footage that we will show, then Tommy will introduce BJ from Instapockets and he will hand you the cheque.’
‘I am so nervous,’ said Mary.
‘Yeah I bet you are, ‘ thought Julie, ‘Probably because the cops are looking for you.’
‘Sorry?’ said Mary.
‘I said it happens with lots of people looking at you,’ said Julie. ‘Don’t worry, you will be fine!’
BJ appeared on the set floor, carrying a huge cardboard cheque.
‘Just put that on the floor, face down, BJ, you can pick it up while we run the video package.’
‘No problem,’ grinned BJ, ‘Hey – will there be a glitter bomb when I announce it?’
‘I think the cheque will be enough, BJ,’ said Angela. ‘You have been very generous,’ she added.
‘Ten seconds to air,’ said the floor manager.
‘Here we are back again,’ said Tommy, ‘ready to meet the winner of our Act of Kindness competition. And here in the studio with me is BJ from Instapockets. BJ welcome.’
‘Well thank you Tommy, it’s great to be here..’
The video package rolled: some outside shots of the school, an interview with the principal. Footage of Mary helping a small child with a coat, then back to the Principal’s smiling face, ‘She is like an angel,’ she said, as the shot cut to Mary standing with a beatific smile on her face, hands in pockets, watching the small boy skip away.
BJ presented the cheque, Tommy gave the winner a big hug and the show was a wrap. Mary and the principal left the studios.
‘I think we did it,’ said Pete.
‘We sure did,’ said Julie. ‘We sure did.’
‘Thank God we had all that footage of the principal smiling at the camera,’ said Pete, ‘I was just able to cheat it so it looked like she was watching Mary with the kids.’
A roar sounded from the green room. Tommy appeared.
‘That cow!’ He shouted.
‘What is the matter, Tommy?’ asked Julie, ‘I noticed you getting a bit cosy with Mary after the show. Did she decline to give you her phone number? ‘
‘NO!’ he yelled. ‘She’s nicked my wallet.’