Tony didn't bother to knock for the following morning's meeting with Gerald. He walked with Nigel straight up to the big oak door, turned the handle and pushed it open.
“I don't recall saying you could come in gentlemen.” Gerald boomed.
“I don't recall you saying we couldn't.” Tony snapped back.
“Very true, I shall amend your contract to clarify.” Gerald smirked.
Tony walked in and sat down onto the shallow mahogany coloured sofa with a vigour that belied his years, Nigel followed with a slight awkwardness.
“Excellent show gentlemen.” Gerald started. “I thought it was wonderful, the series is starting to hit it's stride.”
“Don't play that bullshit game with us. We know you saw it, and we know you saw last weeks too so quit the act.” Tony gesticulated his arms wildly, had he been acting he would have been ashamed.
“I have no idea what you mean. Our audience loved it. Our online surveys suggest the highest enjoyment of any of the shows so far.”
“I'm afraid not, I'll send you the data tomorrow.”
“There is no way that mess of a broadcast was more popular.”
“No way.” Tony was even more dismissive.
“It was.” Gerald looked as if he was enjoying this.
“Not a chance.”
Gerald smiled. “Keep up the good work gentlemen, but please, knock next time.”
“Can we not find some solution to this problem?” Tony asked, attempting reason.
“No.”Gerald replied abruptly.
“But this is..”
“..is the best ratings the show has got so far.” Gerald interrupted. “We'd be mad to drop it now.”
Tony sat staring at Gerald, his face contorted with contempt and rage.
“You may leave gentlemen.” Gerald pointed to the door.
Tony, still piercing through Gerald's flesh with his eyes, stood up abruptly, walked aggressively to the big oak door and slammed it as hard as he could. The door slammed onto the similarly hefty frame and cause the entire office wall to ripple, sending the pictures of historical LTV stars that hung there toppling from it to the floor in a cascade of broken glass and silver plastic.
Nigel, still stood the other side, crept carefully up the shaking door frame, opened it gently, tiptoed out, and gently shut it again. “That went well.” He said sarcastically to Tony.
“How can he want us to carry on ruining the show?” Tony asked helplessly as he and Nigel walked through the bright reception area to the car park.
“He must think that everything going on will make people tune in.” Nigel guessed. “People love watching a car crash.”
Tony sighed. “Well I'd rather 20 million people see a car crash than a few thousand see me forced to humiliate myself and blow my hard earned reputation by taking those idiot non celebrities seriously.”
Nigel smiled. “If it's car crash you want Tony. It's car crash we can do.”
Tony's spirits lifted a little as they got into his car. “So how did you know I'd met the girl Sarah yesterday on that god awful quiz?”
“I didn't, but I saw the t-shirt and thought you would enjoy seeing it.” Nigel explained. “When do you meet her?”
“I saw her on the train, she told me how people like her, who listen to unusual music or dress differently never get to see people they admire on TV. I think if I ever get out of this stupid contract I'd like to do something that appeals to intelligent people like her.”
“Sounds brilliant. I hope you do.” Nigel nodded. “Oh and, don't worry about the wheel, I've added a control so I choose where it stops from now on.”
Tony smiled. “Thanks Nigel.”
“Not having some wealthy banker taking Gerald's …” Nigel's eyes lit up, and he paused in thought.
“I thought the money came from the sponsor?” Tony enquired.
“Either way, if we keep giving away tons of money, Gerald will want to stop it, or the sponsors will get fed up and quit.”
“We can but hope my friend. We can but hope.” Tony shrugged, slightly disillusioned that anything would ever end the Tony James Show. “Pub?”
“I thought you would never ask. Crank up the A-Ha.”