Nikita Srinivasan

Saturday Afternoon Live Starring Jerry Demeanor

“And next, the man you all love, Jerry Demeanor - up in five minutes folks, so stay tuned!”

Jerry surveyed the tiny room, the same one he had spent his Saturday afternoons for the past fifteen years. The familiar coffee stains on the littered desk, and the mosaic of dirty fingerprints on the once-white wall restored peace to Jerry's mind. Despite his vast experience in the field, Jerry had never been able to overcome his last minute “on-air fright.”

“3...2...1” The red light blinked, thrusting Jerry into the spotlight.

Jerry began his show with his well-memorized line, “Welcome to the Saturday Afternoon Live Show! This is Jerry Demeanor, and it's 1:30 pm on Saturday January thirteenth, and you're wasting your time with me!”
Although S.A.L. featured a panel of diverse and intellectual guests each week, the success of the show really hinged on Jerry's dynamic personality.

His lucky rabbit foot clutched tightly in his hand, Jerry opened his mouth to introduce his panel- when his mind suddenly blanked.

“Hello America! This is Sheryl Streep, I'm a political analyst for the New York Times. We're here to, um, I guess, discuss the war in Iraq, and well I have to say what an exciting topic to discuss on a Saturday afternoon!” Her shrill and artificial voice cut through the air, and she paused for a quick breath before continuing,  “I have to agree with my good friend, Rumsfeld; staying course in Iraq is the best way to go...”

Before she could continue, she was cut off by a stale, wary voice; the voice of Mr. Jonathon R. Lake.

“That makes no sense, Mrs....”

“Ms. Streep”

“Miss Streep, it is clear from the Iraq Study Group Report,” he said, waving a tattered, and bookmarked copy of the Iraq Study Group Report as proof for his claims,  “that Iraq is a failure. There is nothing GOOD about the way Iraq is going right now.” Mr. Lake’s voice showed a marked change in tone. He was now anxiously fingering his rabbit foot in his left hand, and clenching more tightly as the debate progressed.

“Well, it is obvious that that report was created by a bunch of narrow-minded, liberals, that don't care about the future of America!”     

“You mean the future of the Bush family,” a new, lower, and more sleep-deprived voice joined the debate.

“No! President Bush has done everything in the interest of the country!” the vein in Streep's forehead began to throb.

“All right, all right, chill out, but honestly Mrs. ... Miss Streep, there is no warranted way you can call this book, right here, biased,” Mr. Lake paused, and waved his tattered copy again, this time with more gusto, “…in fact, it’s written by the most unbiased group of men in Bush's cabinet – and that's saying something!”
Jerry suddenly snapped back into attention, much to the relief of the other staff members frantically pointing to his cue card. “Well, folks this has been a hearty discussion, and now its time for a little commercial break. Stay tuned for more of Saturday Afternoon Live with Jerry Demeanor!”

Jerry quietly sipped his ice-cold decaf mocha latte while the superficial sounds of the advertisements ran through his head. He stared blankly at the familiar wall in front of him, engulfed by the deafening silence, and his hollow eyes showed as much emotion as the rest of his body did.

“And we're back! This time we will be joined by a former member White House staff - Steve Rice!” Jerry’s pasted smile faded, and he turned his throbbing head away from the mike.

“Hey folks, I have to agree with the previous comments made by the lovely Msss ... Miss. Streep - Mr. Bush has done an remarkable job in quelling those terrorists.  Staying the course in Iraq was an ingenious idea and definitely something we should continue doing.” He paused, unsure of whether to continue his scripted speech, or pass on the mike. He stumbled again in the deadly silence. He looked down at his torn-up copy of the Iraq Study Group Report with intrigue and malice.
Mr. Lake decided to come to his rescue

“Well, I have to disagree Mr. Rice, I mean there are too many deaths in Iraq for us to be able to call it a “success.”
And so continued the debate; there were (very few) laughs, and there were (many more) distressed cries, but in the midst of the heated discussion, Jerry stepped in cautiously, and with an energy that almost equaled that of the debaters, he exclaimed his famous closer,

“Well that marks the half-hour folks. I hope to see you next week, but now just to keep you on your toes, here's another puzzler: what can you catch but not throw? The winner of this week's riddle, just like every other week’s will be chosen at random from all of our correct responses; but, mail in your answers soon, the deadline is in three days! Oh, and before I forget, the answer to last week's puzzle was “a towel,” and the winner was Nikita Srinivasan! Happy weekend to all, and hope you tune in next week!”

With a sigh, Jerry switched the mike system off and slipped the heavy headphones onto the cluttered desk. As soon as he stepped out of his office, the crew pounced on him with praises. His ratings had gone up by tenfold, second only to the Daily Show hosted by Jon Stewart. But, Jerry remained placid, with only a slight look of triumph spread thinly across his lips as he walked out of the red brick building. A Marlboro hanging loosely from his lips, he exited the stage of his one-man show.


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