Here’s my take on the “Twilight Zone” edition of Sketchwar.
INT. SALES OFFICE – DAY
A late-50s sales office. A bit plain-looking. All shot in black-and-white. A couple of 20-something SECRETARIES type at their desks.
JERRY HAGMAN (mid 20s) all but jumps out through a door marked “Carlyle Cinchman, Sr. Assoc.”.
Get out! And stay out! And don’t set foot in here until you’ve got some sales numbers, Jerry!
You got it, Mr. Cinchman!
Ah, if I could just catch a break, I know I could nab a big sale!
Suddenly, everything FREEZES -- the secretaries go still, the typewriters go silent -- except for Jerry.
A DEMON materializes. The demon has the form of a dapper, white-haired Englishman -- unflappable confidence, with just a hint of smug.
Did you just ask for a ‘break’, Mr. Hagman?
Yeah -- wait. Who are you? How do you know my name?
Oh, we know everything about you: Jerry Hagman, 25 years old, a go-getter at Cinchman & Caldwell who so far hasn’t gone and gotten anything.
Jerry waves a hand in front of a secretary.
How’s everything frozen?
We have stopped time, so we can be undisturbed while we discuss your contract.
The demon waves a hand, and a contract appears.
We are prepared to offer you a million billion dollars, even, just so long as you --
Now Jerry freezes as well.
The DEMON TRAINER materializes -- he looks much more traditionally-demonic, but has an air of wearied patience.
Suddenly, the demon looks worried and apologetic.
Okay, what did we do wrong there?
The demon thinks a moment.
Um... too... too much...
Too much money, right. That number doesn’t even make sense to the mark.
You can offer money, but not so much money that it upturns the entire economy.
Can I try again?
The trainer nods and waves a hand.
The screen BLURS and we’re back to...
The demon materializes the contract again.
A contract that will reward you with not one, but two free movie tickets for the showing of your --
Jerry looks confused.
Way too little. Try again.
The screen blurs, and were back to the demon, holding a contract.
This contract stipulates that if you do not accept these terms, we kill this adorable kitten.
He points at a desk. A kitten pops into existence on it. Mews.
The trainer appears, freezes Jerry.
What? What is this?
It’s the right amount, right?
Killing kittens is tacky.
Do we have to do this sales office? I’d rather visit a castle!
Close this deal first, Bruce.
The trainer waves a hand, and the screen blurs back to the demon holding a contract.
This contract will give you a silver tongue. You’ll be able to sell anything to anybody!
That sounds perfect! Sign me up!
Of course, your near-hypnotic powers will alienate the public, and eventually you’ll probably get taken down by a lynch mob.
The trainer enters again, freezes Jerry.
What’s rule number three, Bruce? “Never...
TRAINER & DEMON
“... mention the deal’s inherent drawbacks.”
Okay, okay, I got it this time.
Trainer waves a hand; screen blurs; back to the demon holding the contract.
Actually, y’know what? Forget the contract. Let’s just time-travel back to medieval France. Have you ever seen a jousting tournament?
The trainer walks on, freezing Jerry, and gives the demon a long, disappointed look.
Well, why not? Why do we have to keep offering cruelly ironic bargains to these people? Can’t we do something fun?
I want you to go over there, and take a few minutes to think about how stupid what you just said is.
The demon sighs and stomps off.
The trainer finds a seat, sits.
Suddenly a classic gray ALIEN appears.
Demonic trainer number 5821. We are prepared to offer you a gift that will make you a million billion times better than all other training employees.
Oh, that’s just weak.
You stay out of this, Bruce!