A Simple Survey:Volume1 File15
File 15: Better Made than the Real Deal
A girl with a childlike face and large breasts knelt down in the courtyard behind a television station. She was stirring something within a pot set atop a portable stove, but she was not cooking curry for a campout.
“Chief, do you not feel like you’re wasting food when you cook ketchup like this? And there’s mizuame in here, too.”
“Twenty percent of the money our shows get is given to the white cross. People who do nothing more than put some loose change in the container next to the convenience store register have no right to get mad at us. …But this really stinks. Paint isn’t supposed to be cooked in a pot.”
It was thanks to that smell that we had to make this prop outside rather than while holed up in the station’s storage room. This was a trade secret. I hoped no information on it would be stolen by doing it out in the open.
The new young girl (with large breasts) stirred the contents of the pot like it was a stew.
“Chief, couldn’t we leave the fake blood to an outside company?”
“No. The default fake blood is too plain. The color is too subdued.”
The new young girl tilted her head cutely despite the fact that no cameras were running. I proceeded to explain it to her in detail.
“Dramas have to be really flashy, right? Just look at the actors’ makeup, the costumes, and the sets. The colors have to be bolder than they are in reality because powerful lights will be shined on them. A normal blood color won’t cut it. If you used real blood, it would actually look unnatural.”
“Oh. So it has to be brighter than normal blood?”
“…You mixed it up without knowing what you were trying to do?” I sighed. “Once you have the base color made, mix in some black, bit by bit.”
“Why? I thought it had to be brighter?”
“There are different colors depending on the amount of time that is supposed to have passed. Normal blood changes color over time, but fake blood won’t. That means we need to create different types of fake blood to represent the hardening process over time.”
“That’s a lot of work.”
“And for all that work, it isn’t even being used as much anymore. That’s why there are fewer people that know how to do it. That’s why someone with as long-winded a title on his business card as me is stuck cooking it up in a pot.”
“Come to think of it, the revision in broadcasting ethics led to scenes with blood being a lot less common.”
“The drop in the popularity of period dramas and police dramas was another big factor.”
“They still have police dramas.” The new girl made a gun out of the hand not stirring the pot and said, “Bang.”
But I shook my head.
“But they don’t have flashy gunfights or anything. It is true that resolving anything and everything with an action scene gets predictable, though. These forensic dramas advertise themselves as always catching the criminal from the smallest piece of evidence, but I always have to wonder why there are never any bloodstains.”
“What about medical dramas? The surgery scenes use blood in a non-violent way.”
The large-breasted girl seemed to be trying to make a surgical gesture, but it just looked like she was cutting a piece of meat with fork and knife to me.
“Those are always about the human drama leading up to the surgery, so the actual surgery scene isn’t all that important. They can get by just by showing a close up of the doctor’s sweating face.”
“That is because actual surgeries take hours. The doctors’ movements are small, so it is difficult to give them much impact.”
“Yeah, so they just play some random background music and show the family praying for the patient’s survival. They just have to use a sprayer to put sweat on their faces.”
I stuck a clear plastic plate into the pot to check on the redness of the fake blood.
…It was no good.
“Instead of mixing in black paint, it might be better to just burn it bit by bit.”
“I think that would make it difficult to make it in large quantities.”
“Something dark…dark… Brown sugar maybe?”
“If it wasn’t for the paint, you could eat that fake blood.”
“But paint is the easiest.”
The broadcasting industry sounded like a flashy thing, but this was the kind of thing you ended up doing.
“Anyway, newcomer. Are you keeping notes on what you’re putting in and in what quantities?”
“Yes, I am. I would like to create an instruction manual for this. I don’t want to have to go through this guessing game every time.”
The new girl pointed toward a pastel-colored memo pad lying on the asphalt of the courtyard walking path. The pages had bears, chicks, and other animal mascots printed on them, so it looked like it would be difficult to use. I caught a whiff of some sweet smell, but I was unsure if it was part of the product or if it was coming from the large-breasted girl herself.
“By the way, chief, what show is this going to be used for?”
“A variety show.”
“…That seems like the one most likely to make people angry if it has this kind of red in it.”
“A former wrestler is coming on as a guest. We’re going to hit him with an 18 liter container and ‘bloody’ him up.”
“And it won’t be staged!?”
“The screen will say in giant letters that it was, but the former wrestler himself will be the only one in the dark. How seriously he treats it will make the viewers laugh.”
“Ohh.” The new girl looked like she wanted to say something. “So you’re getting ratings by ruining your human relations?”
“He’s the one who gave up fighting but is now coming to us begging to be paid for an appearance. We have to embarrass him a bit.”
“You made a whole bunch of fake blood back when your title was more like mine, right?”
“Yeah, the police dramas of my day were something else. We used such an insane amount of fake blood that the actors sometimes almost drowned.”
“Then shouldn’t you already have notes on how best to make fake blood?”
“I do. Or rather, I did. The past tense needs to be used here.”
“Why can’t we use that? Oh, is it a station or patent issue?”
“No. The notes on how to make fake blood were lost.”
“When I was new here, the station made fake blood all the time. Another reason for that was simply because it was cheaper than buying it from some other company. By the way, do you know what show used the most fake blood?”
“Some kind of legendary police drama? Period dramas have surprisingly little blood for how much slicing there is.”
“It wasn’t either of those.”
I suddenly wanted to smoke a cigarette quite badly.
It was probably because I was being reminded of the past.
Or perhaps I wanted something to calm myself given what I was about to talk about.
“It was a cryptid research show.”
“Eh? What’s that?”
“I guess you might not know if you were born in the Heisei era. They would do things like head somewhere overseas to search for the mysterious giant known as Bigfoot. Naturally, these types of shows faked things all the time. Nowadays, that kind of things violates the broadcast ethics, so you don’t see those shows on the air anymore.”
“What was the fake blood needed for? Did they fake being attacked by the mysterious giant?”
The large-breasted girl let out a roar and flung her arms up in imitation of a monster. But she was still holding the ladle used to stir the fake blood, so she got everything dirty.
“Ahh! You idiot! This is a suit!!”
“It’s 30,000 yen for two of them, right? And that’s for the top, bottom, and tie set.”
“If you think that’s so cheap, then pay for it!!”
“You know how much my hourly wage is, so how can you say that!? Just write it off as a business expense. It was a loss caused during proper work! Anyway, back to the cryptid thing. How was the fake blood used on the show?”
“I don’t know,” was my honest answer.
Twenty years had passed, but I still had not come up with an answer.
“The cryptid research show was a special program that ran at a pace of about one episode every 6 months, but they asked for tons of fake blood every single time. But that was it. I never learned what they used it for. There was never a scene with blood in the actual broadcast show. No one understood what they were using it for. All I know is…”
“All you know is…?”
“When the series was about to be cancelled, someone trashed the station’s storage room, throwing every single bit of stocked fake blood everywhere. The lock hadn’t been picked. It looked like it had been forced open by some great force. The notes on how to make the fake blood had been stored with the fake blood itself. It was stained with so much fake blood that no one could read it anymore. The guy who had made the recipe had resigned by then and he said he didn’t remember the particular amounts, so we just gave up.”
“Eh? What do you mean by ‘some great force’? Do you think it was something faked by that show?”
“It might have been.” I yawned. “The director who went to all the overseas locations for the show had someone trash his house in a similar fashion and he never returned to the house. We also received a few suspicious phone calls from a foreign number, but only ever heard animalistic growling. My best guess is it was all a last ditch attempt to revive interest and keep the show’s ratings from falling any further.”
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