WHDH-TV NBC 7, Boston, Massachusetts
Liv’s brain hurt. Not a dull headache hurt, but the kind of sharp stabbing pain that makes your stomach quease any time you move. She looks across the room at the wall of televisions, streaming non-stop coverage. It had been this way since the story broke. First MSNBC. Then Fox. Then by the time CNN had it, WHDH-7 was all hands on deck. They even woke up Sam, Liv’s 5AM shift partner who had been sleeping in the basement coffee shop after an ugly split with his wife. Since the news broke, for what sleep was to be had, he savored at home. So there’s that.
Liv checks the mirror a final time before her cut-in during the Today Show. It was only a three minute segment, but it was dedicated to her traffic report. If she wants a shot to jump from the balcony’s green screen down to the main floor’s news desk, she has to nail the details every single time. There wasn’t much competition. She is the youngest and prettiest of the on-air talent. But this is NBC, not FOX, and youth always gives way to the hardened veterans. That and the brass is not terribly fond of her personal instagram account. But if they weren’t going to feature her, she’d do the job herself.
Liv checks the monitor on her desk to see the timing of the Today Show’s team, Jenni Bettis and Rick Williams, or more like Barbie and Ken.
“I hear they’re putting together a new website, Save the Humans.”
“Oh Rick, there’s no Save the Humans site.” Barbie tosses her locks and rolls the baby blues, her signature move.
“That’s what I hear. Save the Humans site with a registration form where you can put yourself on the waitlist for the next spaceship outta here.”
“Stop, you’re too funny.” Barbie slaps Ken’s arm in jest.
Ken was far from funny. Back and forth drivel really. Most of the time silence would be better. If only they would stand there and say nothing until her cutaway. Will never happen. Any other topic would be fine, too. Something other than the world ending. Cause we get it, it’s been announced. The world will be destroyed, along with the sun, then the moon, the cow and the spoon. Ten years, that’s what we’ve been given by some. Others say five. But do we really need the daily banter about it? Is this the morning show routine for the next ten years?
“Liv,” whispers Jean, morning junior producer and countdown specialist. “You’ve got 5, 4,”
“And now we go to your local weather,” Barbie says.
“Don’t forget, sign up at savethehumans.com” Rick injects.
“Oh jeez, Rick.”
Unbearable. Is that how you lead into my segment?
“3,” Jean continues. The 2 and 1 become hand gestures. The ON AIR sign lights up and the camera’s eye turns red. And Liv can’t breath. Her eyes lose focus. She collapses to the floor off-camera, unconscious. On the screen behind her, you might reconsider Sturrow Drive.