I'm what you would call a lazy son of a bitch. There are only a few things in this world that would appeal to me, and the effort itself to pursue one of these passions is not a part of those several things. So, because I don't have the will to go out and frolic like a fucking fool through a field of tulips and daisies (to be honest, I haven't done anything outdoor-related in years), I sit in front of my prestigious TV. It's nothing new or fancy. At my most generous guess, it would probably be twelve inches. The upside was that it was a flat screen. I also had satellite TV, which was another thumbs up, I guess.
Sitting on your ass in front of an idiot box won't get you any success, it won't better your social life, and it sure as hell won't get you laid, but it has shown me many awful things that I'll be able to keep with me. I'll always remember one program in particular that has had me out of my seat, going through my neighborhood looking for the key to my own safety. It's all because of one of the programs I hate: infomercials. I hate nothing more than seeing "Paid Programming" instead of an actual title. No info, no story. Just some host selling America its next top useless gadget.
What made this infomercial much more different from all the others was not so much what they were advertising, but how they were advertising it. It was roughly fifteen minutes long, and was aired late at night (like how most infomercials are). More and more, as hours pass a new question pops up into my head. Recently, I asked myself, How did it air without struggle during the storm? Just a few moments ago, I asked, Who put that up for the cable company to air? and, How did it even air on TV? My mind can never stay at rest, I swear.
It was roughly a month and a half ago, when I was up late during a humid, summer night. I believe it was around 3:00 a.m. and it was storming out. Since I was sitting on my gradually fattening ass in front of the idiot box, I started to get a little annoyed at the "Searching for Signal" message played for prolonged periods of time. When it did disappear, it was temporary and sometimes all that would play would be a digital "glitch" of whatever was playing at that moment. Then, right back to searching for the goddamn signal.
I grew tired of the silence of the Television. I wanted to hear cars crashing from those "Caught on Tape" shows, incoherent screams of an audience at a pro wrestling event, or even the laugh of SpongeBob and Patrick. I picked up my remote, hidden in the nooks and crannies of the slowly aging and breaking recliner I was sitting in. I hit the "Guide" button to see what was playing on the other channels I normally watch. Most of the titles of the programs were gone because of the storm. The satellite was still trying to "collect data".
I was annoyed and about fed up with the cable. I was going to turn it off and go to bed, but after scrolling up one more page, I saw text in a program box. Alright! I thought to myself. That "Alright" quickly turned into a "For fuck sake!". That program I though I was going to see was titled "Paid Programming".
I humored myself. Most of the other channels I watch were still glitchy and gathering data. I'd rather try to watch something I didn't like so much without the glitches, than the best show ever and miss all the greatest parts because of glitches. Rolling my eyes, I highlighted the box with the words "Paid Programming" to see the info and the channel, which sparked some questions and oddness.
The info for "Paid Programming" wasn't what was usually in the info for infomercials (which was usually the title itself, again). The info said "Supplies are running out." Not only did the words create an odd and curious atmosphere, they also gave me the feeling of Deja Vu. That feeling when you've been there before, experienced this at some point, though I couldn't be sure of anything at the moment. My mind then went to the channel after it was done trying to figure out the info, but failing.
The channel's name and number was one I have not seen before. The channel number was 73, which I don't ever remember ordering, or even watching. What was even odder was its name. ASK-Y. What does that channel stand for? Why am I only seeing this now? More questions. As if I need more to comprehend.
Eventually, the thinking grew tiresome. I didn't want to think, just fry a few brain cells staring at some host make a fool out of himself trying to make cash off of some stupid product most people probably won't even need or use. The program was only 15 minutes long. It was scheduled to air at 3:15 a.m. and end at 3:30 a.m. Not having very many other choices, I highlighted the block, and pressed "Select" on the remote.
Static. That's all it was. All that was visible was fucking static. What little hopes of seeing something I had dropped like a dumbbell. But wait...static? Satellite TV does not show static when the receiver is on. It is only to show the "Searching for Signal" message on a black screen. Why was there static?
It went on for two minutes, and I just sat there gazing into it. I hoped my mind would entertain me and show me a face in the screen, just to fuck with me. I was getting desperate. When I was about to turn off the TV and call it a night, the loud white noise stopped and a sound that was very faintly remembered played in my head. Like I know it from somewhere. More Deja Vu, more stuff to think about (and I thought you fried your brain watching this shit).
I focus my attention back on the TV, and it appeared to be a bog, or swamp of some sort. Bullfrogs' booming voices could be heard, dragonflies could be seen as well as lily pads and dirty, muddy water. I took more notice of the scenery because it seemed to hold a sacred place in my mind. I paid no attention to the mumbles of voices in the background of the shot.
It was 3:18 when an Indonesian man stepped in front of the camera. Finally, something was going to happen. Only to be bullshited again for another minute. He was talking to someone outside the shot, and seeing as how the camera shook a little bit during response to the man in front of the camera, I figured it was the camera man being spoken with. The man in front of the camera turned away from the screen, to his right (left from my perspective) and yelled at something. The yell was full of rage, like it said something hostile or violent. Maybe a threat?
At 3:19, the Indonesian man spoke with a heavy accent. So heavy, most people wouldn't even be able to understand what he was saying. I don't know how, but I was able to decipher most of what this man was trying to say. He started, "Good evening, We have yet again, our high quality product available for sale! Stay tuned to watch us perform three tests with it to show how top quality it is." What are they selling?!
The host made a motion with his hand that said, "Come here". It was gestured to his left (the right of the screen from my perspective). At 3:20, a large alligator appeared. It had jagged and rough looking skin, and its teeth looked like they had been sharpened with a hard mineral. It was something out of a horror movie. It wasn't that creepy though; because of all the Deja Vu moments, I felt like this could very well be a part of them as well.
At 3:21, the host said, "Okay, first, we will test the quality of this creature's skin!" His hand reached up above the view of the camera and he was handed something. Bringing it back into the view, we see it as a sharp, serrated blade. With absolutely no expression of fear whatsoever, the host casually walked up to the gator like it was a domesticated pet. My heart dropped as he began to saw at the skin of the gator. Very oddly, and predictably, the alligator did nothing at all. He just lay down and took the cutting like it was a normal thing.
The host finished up at 3:23 and said, "See? Not one scratch is left on the skin." He was telling the truth. Not one scratch could be found. I was almost impressed by it. I kind of wanted to see if it would cut it. "We seem to be running out of time, so we shall begin the other two tests at the same time using the same subject!" He said it all with a smile. "We shall test the cutting capability of the teeth, and the power of the jaw." He backed away from the camera, and looked to his right, and screamed. He made a quick and violent gesture for whatever it was to get to where he was at. Screaming could be heard off screen, and the host got fed up and walked towards the source of the scream.
At 3:25, the host walked back into the shot with someone over his shoulder, fighting him to let them down. It appeared to be a teenage girl. She had jeans on (which seemed to be dirty from mud), and a long sleeve shirt. She wasn't from anywhere that infomercial was being filmed. She had no accent, and in fact sounded American. What should have been shock for me, was simply an expression of indifference. A Poker face, of sorts.
The host was having trouble controlling the girl and gestured for the help of the cameraman. The view shook once, and a fat man wearing a dirtied shirt with khaki shorts was now in the view. The cameraman picked up the girl's head by her hair and hit her in the face with a hard hay-maker. The sound of the blow was impressive; it was enough to control her and settle her down, for the moment. It made it easier for the host and the cameraman to grab her by her wrists and ankles and toss her to the left. Where the alligator is. That is when my heart dropped a little bit.
The alligator wasted little time. As soon as the girl landed with a thud, the alligator bit at her and consumed her entire arm. She let out a wail painful to hear for the normal person, and with that was heavy gasping and sobbing. None of that noise lasted long, as the alligator bit her neck from the side and consumed half of it. The screams and sobs turned into gurgling. Blood, I thought. The alligator let go of the neck and dug into everything else like it were a feast before death. It went from the neck, to the head, consuming it whole. The cracking and crushing sound of the skull made me flinch a little. From there, it went to the torso, to the legs and so on.
At 3:28 there was no longer a corpse for the alligator to tear. Body pieces were all over the swampy floor. Even the nearby water had a faint red tint in it. The camera then went back to the host, who said nothing. He just stared into the camera. He stared through the TV. He stared into me. The stare is what sent chills down my spine. It was like he was watching me, waiting for me to move or say something. When I did move, his eyes followed, and this continued until 3:29 when he said "Order it soon, because we are running low on supplies." Even while saying that, he had that soul piercing stare in his eyes. The channel went back to static, and the infomercial was over. All of that night was over to me, but what stuck with me was that stare.
From then on, I couldn't sleep as well as I used to. When I closed my eyes, I saw his. When my eyes were open, I saw his entire face. It was happening so often, I considered learning how to live with it. Eventually, I saw him on the television again. His entire face with the stare would be on for five minutes, then it would cut to regular programming. I grew fed up with it, I didn't want to see his face anymore. I ended up tossing out the satellite receiver and started reading to forget about him.
However, in the small sewers of my deepest system of thought, I had to go back over those questions. I had to ask why I was so sick of seeing the host's face. I had to look through all my thoughts that weren't fried by the idiot box. Did I not want to see him because of the stare on screen that I despised so much, or was it because he gave me that stare in the past and said, "We're low on supplies, so help me with this girl, or our restock will be instant."
It creeps me out, what he threatened. It creeps me out even more than the thought of being watched through the television screen.