Welcome to LifeGiver, and meet the Savitches. Can Peta and Pavel persuade the shows producers that they have a story the world would like to hear. And will they be given the chance to bring their youngest son back from rhe dead — . Draft — First 3 chapters all still available
Pavel and Peta Savitch waited quietly in the outer reception hall at LifeGiver International HQ. It was the companies showcase building and dominated New Time Square. The couple say nervously, waiting for their names to be called. They held each other's hands tightly as they watched the constant hustle and bustle of the building. The reception was a hive of activity several receptionist where busying themselves as a constant procession of visitors presented themselves.
Everywhere large screens beamed down life affirming images of the wonderful LifeGiver world we lived in. The sun was setting on an expansive savannah grasslands. A lazy heard of wilder beast munched on their bounty. Before switching to the miracle of birth and a doctor holding forth a new baby for a grateful mother to hold.
The Savitches watched wide eyed as the images reflected the hope and expectation they both felt. They squeezed a little bit tighter when a family portrait flashed on the screen. The happy smiling faces of several generations gathered together for the staged photograph.
Tears began to form in Peta Savitches eyes as a young girl riding a small tricycle began nervously pedaling whilst being encouraged by a loving Mother and father. Her husband seeing the tears dabbed at his wife's eyes
Courage mother he whispered
Time drifted by slowly until the appointed hour when a spritely Colby Mcgivern an Approvals Officer for regeneration referrals stood before them and pumped their hands
Welcome to LifeGiver he announced I hope this will be the day we can give a life back to you. It was the standard text book greeting for all prospective contestants. Not that they were aware of this, but it made the Savitches beam, and hold each other a little bit closer, before they burst into uncontrollable floods of tears.
As an approvals officer at LifeGiver displays of emotion such as this were normal. In fact it was positively encouraged if the family was chosen to go forward to the live TV shows. Mcgivern didn't speak. He let the couple share their moment. The Savitches had ticked the first box.
LifeGiver — Second Chance, was the number one rated reality show in the word. Its franchises were syndicated to every country, and it's audiences were in the billions. As a revenue generator it was a financial cash cow like no other.
It's premise was simple, families where nominated in the hope of having a departed relative returned to them. They would tell their story live on air before a telephone poll would choose a winning family who at the end of the show would then have their relative regenerated subject to Federal approval.
The Savitch's story was one Mcgivern had heard a thousand times before in one form or another. So It surprised him that they had reached this stage of the process. The producers has recently complained that the stories where becoming a little bit familiar and they needed some fresh new and exciting scenarios to keep the public entertained.
McGivern had reviewed their case file. Their son Peter aged five had been tragically killed in a hit and run. The car was stolen and the killer had never been caught. Sad, but not enough to excite a worldwide audience thought the approvals officer.
He continued thumbing through the notes. The families back story was interesting. They had arrived in America as political refugees, five years ago escaping from the power wars that had swept most of Eastern Europe and the Arab regions. Their son Peter had been born on the 4th July. The Couple had lost two other children in their journey to freedom.
There was then a section on why the family had been selected for suitability assessment. He was surprised when he noted the authorisation signature. Interesting he thought. Mr Vanburden was one of the LifeGiver presidents. Why would he endorse an application as straightforward as this he wondered. McGivern wouldn't normally have wasted his time with the interview, but if Vanburden is taking an interest he had to at least go through the motions. Not that he thought they had a chance, but it wasn't worth upsetting the boss.
He read through the file, trying to find reasons why Peter Savitch was under consideration to be a candidate for the show. There were photographs of the boy, he looked handsome with his deep dark piercing eyes. The family had provided lots of grainy images and short GIF's of him that would make a good supporting package. They had a short film of the boy holding his first baseball bat and blowing out candles on his birthday. Another of him playing with a puppy, all perfect images to support the families loss, and hopefully get people to pick up the phone and vote for little Peter to be given a second chance. There was also an interesting TV news piece about his birth. A reporter doing a human interest story on 4th July babies had happened to film The boy and the family highlighting their story. A patriotic Independence Day birth was always a good angle, but was it enough? He doubted it.
Mcgivern lead the couple to his office. He offered them drinks which they politely declined, then sat opposite them and began reading their file once more. The husband and wife sat close holding each other's hands. Mcgivern acted out his role to perfection. He pretended to read the pages flicking back and forward as if comparing stories. It was a game. He was not so much considering the merits of the families tragedy, his job was to assess if the mother and father where charismatic enough to be given air time on the number one prime time TV show in the world.
Satisfied he given the file enough consideration he closed it sat back and smiled.
Firstly let me say, we here at LifeGiver feel your pain and understand your loss. We meet with thousands of families who had similar stories as yours, but the good news is that sometimes we can help.
He gave them a little reassuring smile, then went back to reading their file. He was waiting for a reaction, and he wasn't disappointed. it was like they had been given a little hope. The couple had been sitting nervously, but just the suggestion that he might be able to help them made the couple move a little closer. They squeezed each other a little more tightly. The mother began crying the father tried to be strong but he began crying also he kissed mother on the forehead. They looked at one and other lovingly, smiling through the tears.
Ticked another box thought the assessor. He gave them a minute then spoke.
Please, don't get to carried away this is the early stages we still have a long way to go. I've read your story, he patted the file, then found a photograph of Peter he studied the glossy image
Poor boy, so tragic, what a waste, my heart go out to you, I know the pain never goes away. He paused again. And looked at the couple thoughtfully,As if he was undecided.
The mother and father were hanging on his every word what was he going to say, was he going to give them back their son where they really going to get a second chance?
Finally he continued...
I love your story, you should never lose a child like this, you've had to live with this tragedy for how long...he shifted through the file to find when Peter had died but before he could speak Pavel gave the answer he was looking for
five years he offered,
At the same time, he saw the date written on the papers argh yes, five years he studied the couple then gave one of those I can't believe it shakes of his head then repeated five years...I think your deserve a second chance
A little bit of him felt awful for spinning such corny lines, but marketing and his script editors said this is how he should play this out. This is what he should say, no deviations, after all this was all being recorded to possibly be used in the live shows. once suitably edited of course. And he reminded himself LifeGiver president Mr Vanburden had endorsed this application personally.
The Savitches knew nothing of this of course. Their words and responses were natural and from the heart. What they didn't know was that those responses where being monitored, In another room sat a focus group panel of real time observers, who were assessing their suitability. Carefully designed reaction counters were marking the couples every moment and their score. How the panel reacted to couple would decide their suitability to go forward to the next stage of the process.
Mcgivern deliberate pauses where to allow the panel's scores to be calibrated and fed back to him before proceeding. The production editor was directing this little drama from another studio and would guide him through what to do next.
Ok, Colby a little voice said into his ear piece. Feedbacks good, numbers are high, they got a like ability level of 8, he needs to lose some weight, she needs a tan, and new hair, but that's fixable. Good to go for the next level, go with it.
Mcgivern looked up and smiled, now like I said if it was me, no question, he looked at the photograph again , Gorgeous kid, he said again and meant it. The kid had Holllywood 'A List looks. Pity he was dead he thought. The camera loves him.
He stood up for effect, two pairs of eyes followed him as he began to step around the desk. He settled back using his arms for support then began speaking softly and warmly
We have millions and I do mean millions of people who want to be in the position you are in today. They have lost friends and family and they want the chance to bring them back. LifeGiver Second chance gives people that opportunity, but the question is .....
He paused, again for dramatic effect, nut also for future editing time should they need it. the Savitches dare not speak. After a suitable lapse and a queue from his editor, he continued, but this time softer and quieter
When it comes down to it what makes you different? Why should we bring back Peter ..
The question hung in the air, their was a silence in the room broken by the producer in Mgivern’sear
Ok pause again there Colby, no prompts let them speak when they are ready. Came the voice in his ear. Adjust your stance and move your arm your in shot I just need a clear shot on the family. Mcgivern casually adjusted his stance stepping slightly to one side so the hidden camera could cut close up to the now perplexed couple.
Eventually having considered the question thoughtfully, and as if on queue the husband began. He spoke slowly and stutteringly, his mid European accent added a charm to his delivery which McGivern knew the. Producers would like.
The Editor wasn't as impressed. Ok check sound the guys mumbling he said. Colby do something get him to look to camera and open his god damn mouth so we can hear him.
Colby acted instantly he darted forward,
Sorry Pavel, he leaned forward and patted the man reassuringly on the shouldered them subtly pulling the man forward so straightening him up so he would speak more clearly. I have a bit if an ear infection could you just speak up a little, I know this is so important to you both and I want to hear what you've got to say
Mcgivern gave them both a comforting smile he patted the mothers hand, then moved himself back to his seat behind the desk
You where saying, he gestured to continue,
The husband acted as if he'd been told off by the director. He cleared his throat sat up a little straighter then began again
That's better cooed the director. Pavel was talking directly to the camera although he did t know it. His face was hard and weathered. He looked like a man who had suffered hard winters. his skin had that toughened look of the land. The director was writing lighting notes, for future use. He had that tired weary look that framed right could look fabulous. His broken English added another touch of authenticity that might endear him to a wider audience. Pity the storyline was so weak. He was going to make notes but threw down his pen. no point he thought, so he sat back and listend.
When we came to America it was for a new start. We had lost everything our home our family. We had no jobs, no money and no future, we had nothing. America took us in. Standard opening thought McGivern, who sat listening intently. He nodded when appropriate, which gave Pavel
The confidence to continue. His voice ride up a tone as he warmed to his subject. You gave us a fresh start a chance to rebuild. But then it was taken away when we lost Peter. A moment of silence was followed by a pat of encouragement from his wife. We are broken we need this. He pleaded. He leaned forward,but not so far as to spoil the shot. The Director refocused the camera, the frame was still good, so did t bother to break McGiverns apparent concentration.
Pavel was firmly holding his wife's hand. She did t acknowledge her husband, she was staring my intently at McGivern looking for a hint of approval. It made him feel uncomfortable, he chose not to look at her Incase it broke her husbands intensity. It worked. He continued, but now he sounded flat his words fading away to a whisper. After Peter was born the doctors said that Peta would not be able to have anymore children. He let the last part of his statement hang for a few seconds brushed away a welling tear and cleared his throat and sat up straight. before he spoke again. so you see this is our last chance to live the American dream as a family. His presentation complete, he sat back and hugged his partner.
Mcgivern nodded once more.Then sat back in his seat. He wanted to appear as if he was making a thoughtful and considered decision. Meanwhile the backroom assessment panel where co ordinating the focus group reaction to what they'd heard. To buy himself some time, he opened the families file again and began turning pages. It looked like he was checking facts. It was just a facade. What the Savitches didn't know was McGivern had no say what so ever. He was an actor employed for his theatrical skills.It would be a focus group who would decide if the families story was suitable to be told on TV.
The silence was broken by a voice in McGiverns ear. It was blunt and cold hearted. It's a no, they've got nothing, get them out and well hear the next story in twenty minutes, Go and get a coffee.
Mcgivern didn't respond. He gave a resigned smile closed the file and looked up at the hopeful couple. He done this do many times now, He thought he would be immune to feelings by now, but it still killed him
when he had to deliver the bad news. It should have been easier, after-all he'd expected a no just from reading the file. The story was weak, it was one he'd heard a thousand times before. The parting words of the executive producer of LifeGiver — Second Chance still ran through his head as composed himself to deliver the bad news. We need fresh stories, new angles. Get me something new today. Matt Franklin morning mantra to his team before the production crew and assessors began their daily trawl of people's sadness and despair.
Pavel, Peta, he began, Yours is a truly sad and desolate story, to lose two children, then to overcome so much to make it to America where you rebuilt your lives with your beautiful som Petet is truly inspiring for so many. It is the American dream. McGivern would often tell his friends that delivering the bad news was like clubbing a seal. He imagined the look in their eyes would be the same as he delivered the blow.
The look of hope in both of their faces could be almost to much to bare, if he hadn't seen it so many times before. Now here comes the hammer blow, he thought.
Your story like so many others whilst tragic doesn't lift you above the rest, and whilst every way you are deserving of this second chance so are so many millions of others, and because of that I'm afraid I'm going to have to say that unfortunately LifeGiver will not be able to give you that second chance.
He tried to give a consolatory smile and shuffled the file, not wanting to make any further eye contact with a now whaling mother being comforted by her equally upset husband.
Mcgivern liked to give them a few minutes to recover, he felt it was the least he could do. But not to long he wanted to grab a coffee before his next meeting, and he had to place his power order before lunch if he wanted to avoid a huge energy bill.
The wife was still head bowed weeping, as he stood hoping this would be a signal for the family to join him as he exited the office.
What do you want, said the husband unexpectedly,without looking up.
Want? said Mcgivern taken slightly aback nobody had ever offered him a bribe before.
Look Mr. and Mrs. Savitch it's not about money. Very few people in the world could afford the cost of a procedure like Life Reaffirmation. Never mind complete the very strict protocols required for the authorities. Our show looks for deserving families that have earned a second chance. We see so many deserving couples, this is just the first stage. Should you reach the televised portion, then it would be the world public who would be making the decision. He was trying as best he could to explain the realities of the television programme. You've both seen the show, you've heard their stories so you will know how difficult it is to stand out from the crowd, to make a case that would sway the voting public into giving you this gift of a life, ahead of any other worthy cause. So you see, it might seem an awfully harsh decision now, but imagine the disappointment should you get through the live TV stages, and then to be told when you are even closer that it's not going to be possible bring back your son.
He hoped he said enough. It was totally off script but he felt it summed up the reality of their situation. He made a note to raise it at the next production meeting. The script team will have to put something together. Unfortunately it wasn't enough and the Savitches sat silently staring at him. Which unnerved him.
A voice in his ear didn't help the situation. OK Colby stop playing nice we need the office back for the next interview get them out.
Look guys, he began...Like I say yours is a desperate story, but it is one of many many we hear everyday...,,,
The husband held up his hand,like a schoolboy waiting for permission to speak, McGivern stopped speaking. And allowed the interruption. What if I tell you a different story, said Pavel.
Woah woah said a surprised voice in Mcgivern ear shut the front door and sit your ass down I've got a feeling Colby.....