Nate continued to stare at the screen for a good five minutes after it had ended. It was only then that he was able to summon the strength to move his finger the centimetre required to hit the button on the remote and turn off the television.
“No. Not another one of those things. How low can they go?”
It was four weeks later. Nate had attempted to put the trailer out of his mind, to pretend it didn’t exist. But there was little chance of that. The billboards were everywhere. Every other commercial on the television seemed to be for it now. Every website he visited had an advertising banner with COMING SOON emblazed across. The marketing budget for Captain Chair and the Lost Wand must have been huge – well, a lot more than the cost of making the damn film, if the previous instalments were anything to go by.
The fact that it had an internet premiere told you all you needed to. High-quality, well-developed films didn’t have their premieres as streaming videos.
There had been a slight title change somewhere along the way. Nate didn’t understand why a ‘lost’ wand would be more likely to attract an audience than a ‘magic’ one. Maybe someone had just made a mistake typing it out, like with Tomorrow Never Lies or that video game which had nothing to do with donkeys.
“I don’t know why you take it so personally.” Sat next to Nate in front of the computer, Caitlyn typed the URL into the web browser. “It’s just a bit of fun.”
“Fun at the expense of a hero. Someone who gives his all to protect this city.”
Caitlyn shook her head. “Captain Chair must have a better sense of humour that you do. You only have to look at that uniform…”
As she turned away to concentrate on the screen, Nate scowled. A lot of work had gone into putting that uniform together.
“Where’s that link…ah.” Caitlyn clicked the mouse and there it was: a painful read and yellow eyesore that some trainee web designer appeared to have cobbled together in his lunch hour. “I don’t understand why, if you hate these films so much, you insist on watching them with me.”
It was a good question: why did he watch? The films (and the puppet show and the cartoon strip and…) caused Nate nothing but embarrassment, not that he could let on. Other heroes didn’t have to suffer this, why him? He could imagine all the others sitting round, laughing about it over a pint, at one of the hero socials he was certain took place but to which he had never been invited.
He glanced down to the clock in the bottom corner of the screen. It was almost and starting to get dark. He could go on patrol for a while instead. Show that Captain Chair was something other than…than…whatever it was these films made him out to be.
But he had to watch. He had to know. Like it or not, these films were being made and were the public’s main source of information about him.
If only the studio would reach deeper into their pockets and hand out enough money to invest in a decent script. And some better special effects. And some actual actors. And…
“It’s time,” said Caitlyn. The screen had changed and replacing the trailer was the full-length monstrosity of a film.
“Come on then, let’s get this over with.”
Caitlyn nodded, moved the mouse across the screen and clicked ‘play’...