THE FLUFF PIECE

“On the air in five, four, three…” Marc, our producer, trails off as he signals the rest of the countdown.

Smiling, I read the teleprompter. “Good morning, Seattle. I’m Reece Brady, reporting live from the office of a world-leading anthropologist, Dr. David Rosen. He and his team excavated an artifact that could firm up our understanding of the Pre-Mesopotamian era.”

I’m vibrating with nerves. After seven dedicated years at Sunrise Seattle, I finally have a headline-grabbing story. And just in time. I’ve heard the rumors: they’re looking for a reason to replace me with a new “fresh-faced” reporter. Marc thought this was just a fluff piece, but I stood my ground. If this segment doesn’t rock the ratings, I’m toast.

My smile grows. “Good morning, Dr. Rosen.”

The camera pans to Dr. Rosen who’s standing by a veiled glass case. “Good morning!” He does an awkward bow-curtsy. “It’s extraordinary to be here.”

I can’t tell if he’s serious, and I’m distracted by his big eyes and thick unibrow. He’s a chipper Bert from Sesame Street. “Can you tell viewers what we’re about to—”

Dr. Rosen yanks the curtain away.

“Oh, wow!” I flash a thousand-watt smile. “Here it is, Seattle, the artifact that has captured the attention of museums across the world.” This thing, whatever it is, looks less relic and more phallic. It’s a long wooden tube, flanked on one end by two large lambskin balls.

I fix my face. “Can you tell us why this discovery is so remarkable?” 

“Absolutely.” Motioning to the open case, he continues. “In contrast to the typically stubby weapons of its period, this beauty could achieve deep penetration.”

He did not just say that. This has to be a prank, right? Playing along, I bark out a laugh. “That’s what she said.”

“I beg your pardon?” Dr. Rosen’s brow zigzags.

Okay, then. This isn’t a joke. Sweat beads on my forehead as I fumble for words.

Dr. Rosen looks back to the camera. “This blow dart’s creator understood physics.” He waggles a finger. “It appears that he, or she, had an intimate knowledge of how tension and pressure heighten a release.”

“Fascinating.” I look back at the teleprompter, but there’s nothing there. Dr. Dick has gone off-script. I can improvise, I’m an experienced reporter for hell’s sake! “So, could this have been why the Sumerians had such great sex…” I trail off, swallowing hard. “Rather, had such great success thriving in that high-conflict region?”

“No…” he trails off, tilting his head. “We can’t draw that conclusion without considering the warriors’ stamina for prolonged rides.”

The sweating is now a full body predicament. I lift my elbows to draw a breeze under my arm. “So, what—”

“As you can see,” he interrupts, pointing. “On the sides are two sacks. Warriors pumped these for forceful discharge.”

Grasping for words, I croak, “That seems like those would be a heavy load, no?”

“You’d think, but…” He reaches inside, groping the sacks like a physician. “These balls may be big but they’re lightweight!” He removes his hands. “Go ahead, give them a squeeze.”

Smiling, I cup the sacks. The wooden tube launches forward before a dart flies out, piercing the opposite wall. Shocked, I leap away.

He gasps. “Oh my! It’s quite fickle, shooting off prematurely with the lightest touch.”

Nodding wide-eyed, I chirp, “Indeed.”

His smile grows. “But no blowing necessary.”

I blink, speechless.

Dr. Rosen waggles his Bert brow. “Finally, you’ll note that the shaft is exceptionally long.”

I signal Marc to cut as he scrambles around. His expression tells me I’m definitely fired.

Bert the Blurt continues, oblivious. “We surmise the reason is because there’s greater thrust with elongated cocking.”

“Well, there you have it, folks.” I shoot the camera finger guns. I might as well go out with a bang. “The Sumerians put this debate to bed thousands of years ago. The size of a cock matters.” 

Marc signals to cut, his face a disturbing shade of purple. 

“And we’re out of time,” I continue. “Thanks for joining us, Dr. Rosen.”

When the red “off air” button flashes, Marc packs up and storms off.

I return to work, shutting myself in my office all day as I pack all my things.

I’m about to leave when Marc busts through my door. “Your segment went viral on YouTube. These are the best ratings we’ve ever had. Great job, Reece!”

“You’re kidding.” My head buzzing, I check my silenced phone. I’ve missed a barrage of texts and calls from friends and fans.

“I think it’s time we made you anchor.” Marc winks. “You nailed it.”

My face glows. “Apparently, I should blow jobs more often.”



As a former Director of Awards for Georgia Romance Writers, Terra Weiss has won numerous manuscript awards and is a two-time NYCM Short Story contest finalist. She had a flash piece selected to be published in an TL;DR Press anthology.

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