"You hate me don't you?" she whimpered, teary-eyed.
"Nobody hates you, Spooki," Bill assured, "It's just business."
"Just business?" she spat, the hurt spilling from her mouth, "Who died and made you king?"
"I thought you didn't want to hear about it."
"Never mind. We're already in Season 4, our ratings are tanking and you want to bring in who, exactly?"
"Well, we have some options. You know, other leading characters from bloodsucking tales -"
"What, the Lincoln Lawyer? You'll never get Matt to sign on -"
"No attorneys. People don't like to mix attorneys and bloodsucking, no matter how cute it sounds."
"Worked for Angel."
"Or not. He's in syndication now, right?"
"Then, like Lugosi?"
"Well, Bella anyhow, but that's not important. What's important is that we reel in this storyline so people can actually follow it."
Spooki rubbed her shoulder, pressing the fabric against her skin, "Where did we get this wardrobe? It's itchy."
"Wolfe collection. Has a lot of wool in it, none of us have problems with it."
"Did they think we would boost ratings if they got us all to wear Wolfe?"
"Some of us, anyhow. Were you like, asleep for Season 2?"
"Look, Bill, I've carried this series for three seasons, so - "
"But you're not a name-brand player, and we need some lift. I mean, not just to pull the ratings out, but to scale to more viewers. We're all over the world now. Streaming internet video, graphic novels, action figures -"
"That's just great. Merchandising. It's all about merchandising."
"No, it's all about scalability. The storyline's not scalable unless we bring in some power hitters."
"So the critics snipe at us and all of you go running to momma," she barked.
"Speaking of Snipe -"
"Oh no way, you're not bringing in the - the -"
"Daywalker. Yep, he's got more chops that the rest of us combined."
"Karate chops, you mean. He's a vamp-killer, Bill. Bring him on board and the storyline will die because all of you will be dead."
"Hey, the best vamps survived the Mighty Buff, so I think the writers can handle this."
"Speaking of buff -"
"Writers seemed to be cramped on it, I know, but hey, it's about ratings after all."
"So why isn't anyone blaming the writers?" Spooki cried, "I mean, the show is only as good as the writing, right? Make the writing more efficient and we get more lift, right?"
"I know it's easy to blame the soft skills but the problem is the platform itself."
"Me. You mean the problem is me?"
"Look, Spooki, I'm just the messenger so -"
"What's Blade got to offer the franchise? I thought he was off on his website Fantasy Pro Golf Assoociation."
"Yep, well, fantasy golf has taken off, worldwide has more participants that we could hope to amass in a hundred seasons. By bringing Blade into the picture, we automatically get the FPGA to join us. It's not about Blade alone, but Blade and the FPGA together."
"I don't get it."
"Following, it's all about following. Blade and the FPGA will eclipse you into the twilight."
"It's so unfair. Let's talk about it over dinner."
"Sure, who are we having?"
"That's not funny."
"Over, I mean, Who are we having over?"
Spooki rolls her eyes, weary of the double-speak.
"We could go into town and have a sit-down, maybe have a nice Merlot -"
"Now why would you say that? Sam's a nice guy even if he is a little shifty."
"Ahh, he's a vendor rep. Some of them are that way. He hangs out with shifty people, you know."
"I'm just trying to get my head around all this."
"Let me put it to you this way. Your character has become too complex. People can't keep up with all the different facets. We certainly can't add any more character features. It's just better if we sunset Spooki and take it into something simpler, easier to manage."
"Are you saying," she swallowed hard, "That I'm a high maintenance character?"
"Well, not to put too fine a point on it -"
"How am I too complex?"
"Rather than staying grounded in the everyday, it's become a fairy tale. Our fans are not just moving away, they're hemorraging. It's a true bleed."
"A fairy tale? Seriously?"
"People want to get back to roots. You know. good and evil. Black hats and white hats. Battle lines obvious. It just simplifies the story for the viewer. They need simplification or they will get lost."
"Where's Travolta when you need him?"
"Look, if I get knocked off, I have other options."
"Oh, what that BBC show with the cross-dressers? Get real."
"Hey, Ex-Men is very popular."
"I don't think the viewers are lost. They asked for more meat in the storyline and more depth in the characters."
"Yeah, but like anything else, the extra character features don't lead to scalability of the storyline. We've reduced the entire story to just a few people. Now we're bleeding out because we can't spin off."
"Spin offs? They want spin offs?"
"If you can't spin off, you can't scale."
"Spin off! I'll show you spin off!"
"Now Spooki, don't get carried away. Not all of us have a fairy godmother looking after us."
"Actually, thanks to you, none of us have one of those."
"Let's go into town. They just opened a new Which-Wich and I want to check it out."
"You would. I just don't see how Blade will change anything."
"He has more bandwidth and better technology. Lookit, how do you think Blade got so successful? He could find vamps practically anywhere, no matter how deep they tried to hide themselves."
"Yeah, how did he do that? And why can't we have writers that good?"
"Feature films, Spooki. Different realm altogether. Just ask Bella."
"Bella has hers, I have mine," she sighed, "So how does Blade do it? Haven't our writers gone to every extent to boost the story?"
"Simple. He knows where the vamps aren't. Not at the supermarket. Not at the cinema. Just by process of elimination, Blade can zone-in on his prey anywhere on the map. He's groomed for it. He doesn't have to go to every extent to find what he wants."
"There's just got to be some way we can reclaim our lead in all this. I can't believe we've been eclipsed."
"Hey, reclaim is a thing of the past. We groom our characters now. It's the only way to fly."