“My name is Mark Tanenworth and I see the truth.”
Mark Tanenworth was reading from the manifesto. He had read it before, thinking it was a joke at first, and kept it as possible material for his stand-up. He had been performing at some open mics for the last week or so but it had been far from the saving grace which he had been looking for. The lack of interest and the fact that nobody was into his jokes had left him disenchanted. He had expected this to be the turning point in his life, but it seemed to be more like a slap in the face from a hand reaching out to save him.
The second night of his stand up career he drank for courage, but he still couldn’t get any laughs. He drank afterwards too and woke up the next day with a bad cut above his eye and a sore shoulder.
“Walter Wallace is a fraud and a conspiracy. He is a puppet and a puppeteer and you are the act – you are your own audience, incapable of understanding happiness as it is no longer on the channel you are watching.”
The third night Mark blacked out again after bombing on stage. The fourth he was ready to pass out before he had even taken the stage. “Is anybody else out there really fucking depressed? I mean what’s the point of all this? Walter Wallace...this guy comes out of nowhere and tells me to do a fucking crossword. I wanna find one fucking person who feels better for seeing his face on the screen every fucking night. How about they just stick some blonde whore with a dick in her ass and a clit on her face night after night and I’m sure we would see some fucking morale boosts.” The next morning he had found the manifesto in his pocket.
“There is action. You can boycott the Walter Wallace fanfare. You can promote a new way of life. You can join the Band of William Unston. Become a member and make a change.”
The fifth night was not an open mic night. There was a local comic due on stage soon and Mark decided to stay and watch. He continued his spiral into alcoholism. He had been reading the manifesto over and over and found himself agreeing with it in theory. The comic was OK but lost Mark’s vote when he started talking about Walter in a positive light. Mark reacted on drunken instinct, calling Walter a fraud and the comic a hack spreading propaganda to keep the machine rolling.
“I don’t know man,” the comic had responded, “I think I feel a little more comfortable taking advice from a guy who jumps into burning trains to save hot lady doctors than some fat, lonely drunk heckling a no name comic with some conspiracy bullshit. Why don’t you fuck off and do something with your life.”
The audience backed him up with some resounding cheers and laughter. Mark had wanted to retort but he was already being dragged out by security, the manager telling him not to come back.
“Walter Wallace was a pre emptive strike against a revolution which was long overdue – but it backfired and now the movement has finally been given incentive. Momentum is growing and we can change the world before the Walter Wallace think not campaign takes its toll. The mind numbing, brain washing idiot brigade will not hold us down.”
Two nights ago there was another meeting at Citadel Towers. Mark was slurry and surly from the get go. He saw his brother sitting high and mighty at the head of the boardroom. He had looked down over the others with contempt. It was funny how much he hated their mother and yet how much he turned out like her. The topic moved to the Soldiers, the henchmen.
“We need to discuss what has happened with Chips and Whisky.” Sammy had said.
Mark snorted, “Ha! Sounds like what I had for breakfast this morning!” he felt proud of his wit, and had barely noticed that nobody laughed. “Is that the meeting agenda or did you print my fucking room service bill?”
“Mark!” Simon had barked, “If you’re not going to contribute then just get the fuck out of here, OK.” Mark obliged, smiling like the friendly drunk who had just been refused service at the bar. He took a bow and made for the door. Simon added, “And if you get lonely in the elevator try and keep your dick in your pants.” Laughter rose from the majority present - they all had known about his elevator fantasy session. He was hurt and left quickly, his earlier pride and confidence rocked. He had ordered some more breakfast.
“This is my action. This is how I will be heard. This is how the world will learn. Join the Band of William Unston before it is too late and help save the world from Walter Wallace.”
Mark was in tears. It was after that last sentence that the participant would kill themselves in honour of Brian Unston – Unston was the one who had called Walter Wallace on the live special so long ago and argued him down before taking his own life. The manner of suicide was up to the reader. Mark had bought a revolver with a box of rounds.
He thought of his mother who had loved him too much. He blamed her for his weaknesses but that alibi was wearing thin. He blamed his brother for his lifestyle and his job. But who could he blame now? His dream was to be a comic but it was over before it began. He wanted to call Stevie, his psychologist and only friend - but Stevie was dead. He had been killed because Mark couldn’t keep his mouth shut about Walter fucking Wallace.
This was his last chance. He was on the website, had already filled out his details, had loaded the revolver. All he had to do now was press the play button on the live web feed.
He clicked the mouse.
“My name is Mark Tanenworth,” he began, his voice shaking, tears filling up his eyes, “and I see the truth.”