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Making Reality (pt. 5) by Ray Printer Friendly

So they made the first water drop today. I watched from a distance as the helicopter lowered the huge yellow tank down to the desert floor, and then as the men climbed down and unhooked it. They hooked all the cords to the empty tank, climbed back up into the helicopter, and they flew away.

I have a dozen two-gallon jugs in my tent, and I walk them two at a time to the new tank, fill them up, and then walk back. I donít do it all at once, of course. As I may have mentioned earlier, itís a half-mile hike over there, so you donít want to spend all day walking back and forth. Iíll usually wake up at sunrise and go fill up as many as I need, so that at any given time, I have at least eight jugs of water in my tent. I go in the morning because after a cold desert night, the water is cool and refreshing, and itís a nice walk.

You can go in the afternoon, but drinking hot water just isnít as good, you know? Plus, making that trip while the sunís beating down on you sucks.

Thereís a gauge in the big yellow tank that tells them when itís empty. They decided that filling it would take too long (I might come rushing over pleading for help, and that would really wreck their day, right?), so they just swap them out. The whole process takes about seven minutes. I timed it today, just for the hell of it. Wondering if I could make it over to them in time, if I ever decided I wanted to.

Half a mile isnít really that far, and it wouldnít take that long to run it, especially on the hardpan desert floor. The thing is, theyíve practiced all this, and theyíre trained to evacuate in under thirty seconds. I watched them today and saw that at any given time, they could probably shimmy up their G.I Joe ropes and be gone before I had cleared half the distance.

It was a really big deal with the network that I never come in contact with anyone. Theyíre pretty steadfast in their belief that anyone that came in contact with me would try to save me, if I needed saving. I have my doubts. I met some of the guys that the network hired, and they looked at me like I was just another piece of equipment. I doubt they would be all that inclined to save my ass if it meant they wouldnít get paid.

Itís funnyóI was sitting there, listening to all these executives talk about how humane everybody is, and all the while theyíre working on getting me shipped out to the desert to die.

But maybe Iíll surprise them. I wasnít ever supposed to see it, but they had a pool going on. There was quite a bit of money saying that I wouldnít even last until the first water drop. Too bad for you, suckers.

Any of you guys watching this, Iím glad you lost your cash. Just for the record, I put down twenty bucks saying that I would last for at least two months. Man, I hope they show this part. Maybe just a special advance screening for employeesóthose bastards that had the pool going, and when I say that bit about how I not only knew about it, but participated in it, I hope you all go, ďOh, shit!Ē Because you can be damn sure that Iíll hold out until I get my money back.

You know, sitting here, out in the middle of the desert, thinking about you guys, with your little piece of poster board with my name on it, and the timeline, and the wagers, I just realized something: youíre all a bunch of bastards. But so am I, so Iím not going to climb up on a soapbox and tell you about how itís an actual human life youíre betting on. Seems like you should realize that yourself, though.

Truth is, I donít really care, other than that initial bitterness. Except, it feels kind of like an insult when people bet on your life, especially when they bet that youíll kick it early on, you know?

But itís kind of a harsh wakeup call to realize that betting on someoneís life is acceptable in this day and age, you know? Itís kind of sickening. Even worse is that I didnít even realize that it was sickening until I got out here.

I would be the worst kind of hypocrite to get out into the middle of the desert for a reality TV showósorry, reality movieóand preach about how screwed up society is, especially considering that if I get through this shit alive, Iíll more than likely become just another part of it. But for fuckís sake, people.

Right now, if youíre watching this, you have paid money to come into a theater and watch a man die. No actors, no acting, no script, no special effects, and no movie magic. An actual man, stuck out in the desert, who will more than likely die.

Theyíll have an editing team standing by at the end of my three months. This movie will be released two weeks after my time is up. If I live, I have agreed to spend another month in isolation.

Not in the desert, of course, but in a hotel room (or hospital) under the tightest security, recovering and hiding. For one month after the movie breaks, no one will know if Iím really alive. After that, Iím supposed to go out and promote the movie.

So if youíre watching this during opening weekend, you have more than likely come to watch a man die. Sure, you can tell people later that you wanted to watch a man survive, but I think we all know thatís a lie.

Maybe Iím just being bitter about this because Iím the guy that has to do the dying, but doesnít anything about this seem messed up to you?

Shit. I said I wasnít going to get up on my soapbox, didnít I? Fine, I guess Iím done with my little lecture.

But you know what? If youíre watching this, youíre no better than me.

And if youíre no better than me, you have some serious problems, man.


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