The Reality Zone
(Richard Heene, father of Balloon Boy Falcon, is sitting in his backyard with his head in his hands. Falcon walks up to him and Heene looks up sadly.)
BALLOON DAD: Why Falcon? Why did you tell Wolf Blitzer on live TV that I told you to hide in the attic for the show?
BALLOON BOY: Because that is what you did tell me, Dad.
BALLOON DAD: But that was the real reality we must never talk about. What counts is TV reality. And now I can never return to TV reality shows like "Wife Swap." My credibility was blown and I am now facing jail time plus big fines because of my TV reality stunt.
(Heeney buries his face into his hands again. Falcon throws up on him and walks away as Rod Serling walks into the scene.)
ROD SERLING: Meet Richard Heeney, father of Balloon Boy. He is a fraud looking for a reality but only the reality that exists on television. Heeney doesn't know it yet but he is about to have a close encounter with...The Reality Zone.
(Heeney's head is still buried in his hands. Suddenly a high-pitch whine is heard. Heeney looks up and sees what looks to be his infamous helium balloon up in the sky. The balloon lowers but apparently it is a solid flying saucer which lands in Heene's yard. A hatch door opens and out floats a half dozen balloons that look just like miniature versions of his helium balloon. One of the balloons starts glowing on and off and a voice from it can be heard.)
GLOWING BALLOON: Greetings earthling! We are from the planet Zandax to deliver an urgent message to earth.
BALLOON DAD: Huh! You really are extraterrestrials! I can't believe it.
GLOWING BALLOON: You better believe it, earthling, because we are here to tell you how your planet can avoid being destroyed by a solar flare in your earth year of 2012.
BALLOON DAD: The Mayan prediction was right! I was right! I'm gonna call all the news outlets right now. Don't go away, guys! I need you to restore my credibility.
GLOWING BALLOON: We will return in exactly 24 earth hours. You are hereby appointed as our representative to earth. Inform all to be here in one day to hear our message.
(The balloon aliens float back into the flying saucer and it takes off into the sky. Next we see Balloon Dad hours later furiously yelling into his cell phone.)
BALLOON DAD: Yes, CNN, I know I caused that balloon hoax but this is no hoax. A flying saucer shaped just like my helium balloon landed in my backyard and a bunch of extraterrestrials shaped just like little helium balloons told me they would return tomorrow with an important message. Please! YOU'VE GOT TO BELIEVE ME! THIS IS THE REAL DEAL!
(Hours later and an even more frantic Heene is working the phone.)
BALLOON DAD: Hello, Wife Swap? I've got an idea for the best show you ever had. My wife swaps places with the wife of an alien from the Planet Zandax. No, I'm not on meds! Hello? Wife Swap are you there? Hello? Hello? ...It's no use. No news outlet believes a thing I tell them. Not even the Reality shows. Okay, time for Plan B. In order to get them to appear here I'll call them back and tell them I will make a full confession right here tomorrow on TV. It will be at the exact same time as when the space aliens are scheduled to return.
(The next day. News crews fill Heene's backyard.)
BALLOON DAD: Ladies and gentlemen of the press. I know I told you I would make a full confession today. Okay, I was flat out lying when I said that I didn't know where Falcon was when the helium balloon was in the air. In fact, I did tell him to hide in the attic for the show because I was desperate to become a Reality TV star. However, the really big news today is that a flying saucer, shaped like my helium balloon, landed right here yesterday and space aliens that looked just like little helium balloons from the planet Zandax told me they would return today to tell us how we can avoid being destroyed by a solar flare in the year 2012.
(A collective groan is heard from the press.)
BALLOON DAD: I don't blame you for being skeptical in view of the fraud I perpetrated but I assure you this is the real deal. Your attitude towards me will change from utter disgust to one of awe and admiration.
(Heene looks at his watch.)
BALLOON DAD: And now the helium balloon shaped aliens from the Planet Zandax will appear in 10 seconds. 9... 8... 7... 6... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...
(A few more seconds tick by. Nothing happens.)
VOICE FROM THE PRESS: Heene, you're sick! Get help, man!
BALLOON DAD: But...but the space aliens said they would return!
ANOTHER VOICE: You're dangerous and delusional! Let's get the hell out of here!
(The assembled press begins to leave the yard.)
BALLOON DAD: NO! WAIT! COME BACK! I SWEAR TO YOU HELIUM BALLOON ALIENS WERE HERE! THIS TIME I'M NOT KIDDING! PLEASE COME BACK!!!
(We see this scene being played out on a big screen TV. In front of the TV are green extraterrestrials with small antennas on their heads wearing T-shirts and reclining on a big couch while they are in the middle of a laughing fit. Behind them helium balloon shaped aliens dissolve and re-materialize as the green aliens. They are also laughing loudly. Richard Heene is continuing to scream about space aliens from the planet Zandax on the television screen which makes all of them laugh even louder. One of the aliens hands a can of beer to his companion.)
SPACE ALIEN #1: BWAHAHAHAHA!!! One of the best shows yet. Hee! Hee! HEE!
SPACE ALIEN #2: Ha! Ha! Ha! Wait until you see next week's show. It's even funnier.
SPACE ALIEN #1: Really?
SPACE ALIEN #2: Yeah. We found another earthling by the name of William Rivers Pitt. He was the guy who perpetrated a fraud several earth years ago by claiming that Karl Rove had been indicted on May 12, 2006. Then when the indictment didn't happen, he said it would happen in just 24 business hours. He is still waiting.
SPACE ALIEN #1: So what did the writers come up with?
SPACE ALIEN #2: We told Pitt that we will be returning to earth in 24 business hours to arrest George W. Bush and deliver him to the planet Hague to try him for war crimes.
SPACE ALIEN # 1: 24 business hours?
SPACE ALIEN #2: Yeah, we convinced him he has to tell the press "24 business hours" because that will be the secret phrase we will be listening for to set the process in motion.
SPACE ALIEN #1 (doubled up with laughter): HOO! HOO! HEE! HEE! Our comedy writers are the best! THE BEST!!!
(Rod Serling walks into the room. Behind him the space aliens are laughing uncontrollably at a frantic Richard Heene who is still yelling on the big screen TV.)
ROD SERLING: These are the intergalactic pranksters. They travel the universe looking for victims fraudulently trying to get on the fast lane to fame by faking reality yet end up on the off-ramp to oblivion as the butt of the joke in...The Reality Zone.
- - - - -
By Charles Henrickson, the wag tailoring the doggerel
ON THE GOOD SHIP JIFFY POP
Tune: "On the Good Ship Lollipop"
You had your wife and boys
Helping on your balloon
Then it comes loose, deploys
That fateful afternoon
Soon it began to fly
You said your son's inside
When it came down, what we found
Was that Daddy lied . . .
On the good ship Jiffy Pop
Just a loose lip made your flight a flop
When Falcon slipped
And departed from the prearranged script
Cable news crews everywhere
More and more clues fill the air
And there you are
Heene standing at a criminal bar
You were on "Wife Swap," but you couldn't stop
You just had to get back on TV
So your kid did--ooh ooh
Just a fluke that he had to puke
Make a new ship Jiffy Pop
Use a foil strip from the prison shop
And sail away
On the good ship Jiffy Pop