These pieces were written for the Six Sentence Challenge, with the prompt word ‘ingredient’ This week, one serious, one silly.
You would think that the essential ingredient to any form of dictatorship would be blindingly obvious to even the most casual observer.
Especially when that ingredient is blind obedience to a leader who promises that the reward for that obedience is a future of unimaginable contentment and fulfilment, along with chest-bursting pride in your country and the vanquishment of all enemies that may threaten its future, and thus your future.
And when such a future is threatened from within by those opposed to the leader’s ambition for your national and personal best interests, you will happily go along with as many losses of rights to naysayers as the leader thinks necessary.
Until the time comes when it dawns on you and your neighbours that not everything that the leader says and does is necessarily in your best interests and one of your neighbours ventures to say so, only to end up in prison for ‘re-education’ or facing a firing squad.
And then you realise that while you were dreaming of an idyllic future, the Constitution, The Bill of Rights, the rule of law and anything else that could curtail the leader have disappeared, he has become Leader for Life, and that you have become a slave.
And you remember your parents telling you that Hitler was elected and you recall saying to them ‘That was Germany, we’re Americans and he’s not like that’ as you went out the door on your way to the Capitol.
The Six Essential Ingredients for success in a Hollywood script – A writer’s guide
- When a group of people is faced with a tidal wave, a volcano erupting, bombs falling etc, at least one character has to shout “We gotta get outa here!”
- When the enemy tanks pour over the ridge playing ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ on loudspeakers and firing rocket launchers, someone has to say “Wait, did you hear something?”
- When someone’s partner walks in on them and finds them snorting coke and having group sex with several wombats, they have to say “Wait! I can explain! This isn’t what it looks like.”
- When the last of the engines on your plane dies and it starts to nosedive, someone has to say “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”
- When Genghis Khan knocks on a chieftain’s door and tells him to hand over his lands or he’ll take them by force, the chieftain has to say “Oh, yeah. You and whose army?”
- When a kidnap victim has to sit with their feet in cold custard and with their eyes taped open so they have to watch endless repeats of the Kardashians, the victim has to say “Why are you doing this to me?”