It all began very simply, as all tragic tales do. It began with a simple act of sabotage that escalated into a larger than life fiasco. But first, the story thus far. Cue "Carry on Wayward Son". Hmmm? That's not our song? Oh, okay.
Brick was never a happy man, a popular man or a successful man. Hell, his name was Brickman (or Brick Mann). Can't get far in life with a name that's thick as...well, a brick.
After a failed attempt to become a musician, Brick settled for becoming a lowly maker of promos for a television station he hadn't heard of before he started working there. There he met a beautiful young producer name Amethyst. Her gorgeous violet eyes, infectious smile and killer figure were just the superficial charms this lady had to offer. She was also highly intelligent, sensual and a very competent producer (regardless of what her employer thought). Brick had obviously become enamored with Amethyst, I mean, you'd have to have a heart of stone not to. Ha. Brick, stone. Ha. Unfortunately, men like Brick don't get the love that they believe that they deserve. But more on that in a moment.
In addition to the amazing Amethyst, there was also the boss man, a philosophical giant who tried to help Brick feel at home. Let's not forget Eugene Pterodactyl, who was voted television's most two-faced and psychopathic host of 2010, 2011 and 2012. He's Amethyst's boss and he once warned Brick not to get too close to Amy, for reasons we shall see soon.
Of course we can't forget to mention the Masters of Ephemera: Señor Tigre, the friendly audio expert who is reminiscent of a bass player we once knew; the enigmatic Jacques Ombre, the group's moral compass that strikes a human facsimile of a long lost drummer; and then there's John D. Slate, the egoistic lead editor who risks comparisons with a certain fallen vocalist. Slate, it turns out, managed to sweep up Amethyst's emotions into an ecstatic climax of satisfaction. He recently humiliated Brick by kissing his beloved producer right in front of him. That callous jerk!
We'd be remiss to forget to mention G Mod, the bane of Brick's existence in whatever reality that Brick happened to inhabit (whether it was the carefree rock star-wannabe era or the depressed promo maker era). And, last, but not least, there was the creepy ex-employee who was the catalyst of Brick's tragedy. It all began very simply, as all tragic tales do.
When Brick left his apartment that August morning, he felt a shudder of dark, cold energy that he had never been burdened by. He could feel his heart beat like a flickering candle, but proceeded towards the office anyway.
At his computer sat that creepy former promo maker who was now working as an assistant to the main IT guy at the company. You know, computers and stuff. (Editor's Note: We apologize for the serious lack of knowledge. Our bad. Who says "our bad anymore?") He was busy installing all manner of updates and other technical stuff. (What? Just keep reading!)
"What are you doing?" Brick asked, annoyed.
"Hello..." replied the creep. "Just synching all the computers to the stone tower's network."
"How long is it going to take?"
"Oh, 4-5 hours."
"But I have to do that promo for Pterodactyl's anniversary special...otherwise no one will watch."
"Once this process begins, it cannot be stopped.
"That sounds ominous."
Brick reluctantly sat down on the nearby seat and stared at the update progress screen until he nodded off into a poorly timed nap.
A nap that would prove to be most costly...
"What the **** are you doing?!"
Brick awoke with a jolt. He had no time to wipe the dried drool from his face because John Slate was upon
him like the plague.
"Do you know what you've done?" asked the irate supervisor.
"That promo for Pterodactyl's anniversary show was due an hour ago. Do you know what that means?"
"I can kiss my X-Mas bonus goodbye?"
Slate grabbed the confused editor by the collar and smacked his ruddy cheek raw.
"Do you realize that Pterodactyl's anniversary special has the most valued advertising slot available on our network? 95% of our revenue comes from that half-hour of television. Everything else we do is just filler compared to those thirty minutes that come only once a year...."
"That doesn't really sound like a sound business model, Slate..."
"It wasn't my call, you idiot."
Slate threw Brick down into his swivel chair, causing the plastic to creak from the impact. Amethyst held back her man Slate, preventing another soul-shattering smack to the head of our already beleaguered protagonist.
"Brick," she said with despair, "our division has already been under heavy scrutiny by the owner of the station, G Mod."
"G Mod... is the owner?"
"Where have you been, Brick?" Señor Tigre inquired.
"G Mod owns all of our futures," lamented Jacques Ombre, fulfilling his obligation to appear in a blog entry along with Señor Tigre. And with that, the two of them left for their 14th smoke break (that hour).
"We can still make the promo, " Brick insisted, "there's still time!"
"You idiot," Slate growled. "Our audience decides what they want to watch way in advance. They go with whatever promo catches their attention. Usually our promos are the best among our direct competitors. That is, we win when we actually have a promo to compete with theirs. BUT WE DON'T NOW, DO WE?"
"But loyal fans will know to watch..."
"The people are sheep! They're easily confused and led astray."
"That's a serious indictment of the television viewing public."
"The television public is a serious indictment of the television public!"
"How could you do this?" Amethyst asked.
"How could you throw away our futures like this? We were so close from getting out of debt... Brick?"
"It wasn't my fault. That creepy IT guy was here this morning and he disabled my computer for a few hours... Amy. Amy?"
Amethyst was seized with terror. Standing in the door way to the "Other Side" was Pterodactyl, enraged.
The enraged, deranged host named after the flying dinosaur swooped in with a frightful speed and threw Brick against the stone wall, causing a bruised rib among other humiliating injuries. There was no compassion or mercy. There was only the brutality of an inevitable retaliation.
"You miserable excuse for a whore's son!" exclaimed Pterodactyl as Brick wiped the blood from his brow.
"Eugene, I didn't...."
"I DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT!"
Amethyst, finally able to speak in the face of this red haired menace that TV guide once called the Randall Flagg of talk show hosts, pleaded with her boss for mercy.
"Please, Eugene, it wasn't his fault. He didn't realize..."
"Enough from you!" Pterodactyl screamed, his voice pushing Amethyst to the floor with its sheer power.
Brick managed to stand up but he felt a powerful hand upon his shoulder keeping him back. It was the boss man.
"Things have progressed in an undesirable direction, my young friend."
"It wasn't my... that creep...did an update...the stone tower network... I couldn't get any work done."
Pterodactyl was insatiable. "You ruined my career...YOU MOTHERF***ING INGRATE!"
He struck at Brick with his potato-ey fist, bruising the cheek below Brick's left eye. The boss man twisted Pterodactyl's arm and tossed him aside.
"That's enough of the histrionics, Eugene."
The emasculated host looked at Amethyst with malevolence. "You can forget about me getting your debt cleared. I hope you enjoy the world beyond the protection beneath my wing."
No one laughed at that. That's how grave the mood was.
The crime of not airing a promo during the most crucial timeslot of the air was nigh unforgiveable. Costing a television company precious ad revenue was the equivalent of blasphemy, treason and infidelity wrapped up together in a trifecta of betrayal. And when that television station depended on that precious timeslot for the majority of their annual budget, that made Brick public enemy numero uno.
The walk to the station owner's office was fraught with tension and indigestion. Adding insult to injury was Brick's upset stomach. It churned and turned with prophetic intensity. All of Brick's negligence had finally come back to haunt him, including his poorly cooked breakfast.
The door opened and Pterodactyl shoved the unfortunate video editor into the room to face the music. ha...sorry. Amethyst and Slate entered just before the door slammed shut behind them.
"Sir," began the perturbed Petrodactyl, "here is the punk responsible for the missing promo."
The swivel chair behind the ultra retro mahogany desk at the other end of the room turned around, and it was G Mod sitting there. He was wearing his trademark golden shirt, beige slacks and his sunglasses du jour.
Hey, if this is going to be the season/series finale, we might as well bring things full circle.
"Brick, Brick, Brick. How do we keep getting caught up in such schemes?" asked the sleazy man.
"Sir, I take full responsibility for my actions. Even if that creep from the IT department prevented me from completing my task on time, going unconscious was my fault. I admit my mistake."
The owner was impressed. "That's very refreshing, Brick. Taking responsibility for your own failures instead of hiding behind others. It's almost as if you finally became an adult. Oh, what a long road it has been."
The disturbed host named Pterodactyl interjected: "Sir, this exchange of pleasantries is not addressing the issue. My career is ruined. No one is going to watch my anniversary special now. The promo never aired and now the sheep who watch this network have been seduced by other shows on competing stations. I demand vengeance on this simple-minded simpleton."
The ever pleased-with-himself G Mod smirked. "What say you, Brick? Do you deserve the full penalty of our wrath?"
In a surprising act of selflessness, Amethyst pleaded on Brick's behalf.
"G Mod, please. I implore you. Show mercy...."
"Yeah, yeah. To err is human, to forgive divine. I did not expect this from you, Amethyst. Self-centeredness is the number one characteristic listed on your dossier. Now you're begging on Brick's behalf even though your own job is at risk? What do you think about that, Slate?"
The blonde ponytail man responded: "Let the fool burn for what he's done. Amethyst, how could you? Let's go and leave the jerk to his fate."
Slate tugged at her arm, but she refused him.
"No, I can't."
"You are my woman, so you'll do as I say."
Amethyst kicked Slate in the groin.
"No, I am my own person and I will say what I came here to say."
"This is getting exciting," said the amused G Mod. "We never had this much drama when it was just a rock band... since there were never any groupies or girlfriends. Female characters are the tops. We should've had more. So, Amethyst, why would you defend Brick?"
"He is not a bad person."
Pterodactyl boiled from within. "Don't you dare defy me, Amethyst. This won't end well for you!"
"Easy, Eugene," said G Mod before turning to Brick. "Hey, it looks like the last woman who broke your heart ended up being the only one to try to save your neck. That must be worth something, huh?"
Brick remained silent, looking at Amethyst with quiet acquiescence, the love long since dissolved into despair. She could not stand the look in his eyes.
"Please, G Mod. Don't take this out on Brick. He's been through a lot. Especially all of the mind games I've subjected him to. I broke his heart."
"Well, it's nice to see that your self-esteem is through the roof, Amethyst. Dating a hot-headed idiot while rejecting a sensitive, caring soul that would have done anything to make you happy... Yes, the world is a fair and just place."
"I'm not an idiot," mumbled the hunched over Slate. Amethyst kept on ignoring him.
The Bossman broke his silence. "Brick is a talented young man with a troubled spirit. I was hoping to have the chance to help him turn things around. It seems that I have missed my chance."
G Mod reflected on the words of the wise giant and raised his hand, indicating that no more outbursts would be tolerated.
Slate tried to say something, but G Mod managed to spring from his seat and grabbed hold of the cranky supervising editor's throat.
"You never do learn, do you Slate? No matter how many incarnations I give you, it'll never be good enough, will it?"
He squeezed Slate's throat tighter.
"How much can I give you? Isn't it enough that I gave you Amethyst and she was attracted to you and not to Brick, at the cost of her sanity? Hmmm?"
Slate writhed. "G Mod...."
Slate started flashing in and out, alternating between his douche bag, blonde professional look and the heavily tattooed, spiky haired poseur at his core.
"I'm so tired of putting up with your insubordination. This isn't your story. It's always been mine. I just made you up to hurt myself."
With horror in his eyes, Slate evaporated until all that was left was a glass replica of himself.
"There is no you, there is only me..."
Amethyst didn't shed a tear. In the instant before G Mod descended upon her and the others, with her final breath she uttered, "I love you too, Brick." The final syllable uttered just before her lungs crystallized and her redemptive glance of hope was captured forever in glass. Next went Pterodactyl and finally the noble giant was converted into glass as well.
Only Brick and G Mod remained intact. Outside the window, the stone tower glowed against a desolate dark sky.
"It didn't have to be this way. This is all your fault. You had one simple task, Brick."
"And what was that?"
"Play. Your. Part."
"I made you a guitarist, but you stopped playing music. I made you a video editor, but you refused to make promos. Why do you keep doubting me?"
"I... can't trust you... I remember... the light... it's fading...fast."
G Mod grabbed brick as he was falling. He supported his head and looked into his diminishing eyes.
"What's wrong, Brick?"
"I... can't go on like this. You've ruined my life."
"What are you saying? I've done everything I could to keep you going. Every time you are about to destroy yourself, I bring you back to life. I try to change your surroundings...but your darkness keeps following you. I can't always keep up with it."
"What are you talking about.... You're evil."
"I'm afraid that, in your paranoia, you've chosen to think of me as your biggest enemy. That couldn't be further from the truth. You don't see things clearly. It's all tainted by your dark thoughts."
"Who the hell are you?"
G Mod removed his sunglasses.
"My name isn't G Mod. That was just a ruse so you wouldn't be suspicious. Little good that did. My name is Mike, and I'm a writer."
"A writer? What the...?"
"You are one of my characters. Everything you see is from my imagination. I've been trying to help you, but my actions have gotten distorted by your faulty perception."
"No, this can' be.... So Amethyst, Slate..."
"All from my imagination."
"A part of me. A part of me that's struggling and on the verge of disaster."
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"A part of you always knew that there was something wrong with me. You pushed me away, cast me as a villain."
"So if this is all fake, what's that tower?"
With a quiet look of resignation that had long become his natural countenance, Brick declared, "I quit," before plunging out of the window and began floating towards the tower. He didn't know what lay beyond the tower's mysterious and malevolent glow, but he no longer cared. He was free from the lies that he had been crushed by for too long.