Leslie Murkin, an all-star makeup artist from the 70â€™s whose historic career qualified her to do more than assist in the makeup department, was falling apart. She stared at her haggard features, vacant expression and red glossy eyes in one of the empty vanity mirrors.
WHAP, Leslie felt a back hand strike her cheek. The Director Michael Dicking was standing over her. â€œGet it together woman, the show is still going.â€
A surge of artists busied themselves around him. As Leslie held back tears, someone stepped up to whisper into the Directorâ€™s ear.
â€œOne of the models is a plant.â€ A short blonde girl informed him.
Michael flipped his long silky hair back and screamed, â€œI told everyone no accessories.â€
â€œNo,â€ the assistant shook their head, â€œone of the models is a double agent.â€
Michael gasped, and to validate him, so did his entire entourage.
â€œThis is the worst news ever, LESLIEâ€
She felt the spittle stab at her face as she heard her name.
â€œI need you to transform that ugly orange highlight into a purple.â€
Leslie stormed off towards the front of the line of models, who were waiting to walk on stage.
â€œLeslie, donâ€™t let anyone who looks suspicious onto the stage!â€ he cried out from across the room.
All her experience came in handy as she perfectly executed every look, one by one adding the exact amount of purple highlight.
â€œThat one looks too happy!â€ one of the assistants yelled suddenly.
A short model with a chiseled chin was pulled out of the lineup. Leslie, watching out of the corner of her eye smirked. As an act of defiance, her tone of voice became irritably delightful.
Watching all of this happen within the gigantic amphitheater was a young man standing behind one of the tallest models in the lineup. His eyes darted back and forth between the director crying and his assistants who were running around like bees confused in a storm.
The news had shaken him, but his conviction remained intact. This had to be shared with the world. He stepped forward, making certain to stay in the shadow of the model in front of him.
He wondered how they had found out, and then imagined getting caught. The thought seemed to entertain and terrify him. It could not only hurt Michaelâ€™s career, but also destroy his own. Not to mention there was a very real possibility he could go to jail.
As the line continued to move forward, the young man was wary. Meanwhile the Director had lit a cigarette and was crying as he laughed, his entire entourage of assistants forming a protective hug around him.
â€œWHY ME?â€ he cried out.
One of the assistants who seemed to be thinking for herself eyed the line of models one by one. They warned â€œIf any of you so much as think about doing anything besides walking and standing, I will ruin you.â€
As the line moved forward, the models who were strutting off the runway immediately disrobed while the wardrobe department took care of the garments.
Suddenly the Director and his entire entourage shift their attention towards the wardrobe department.
â€œWhy is that outfit not being steamed?â€
â€œItâ€™s because itâ€™s plastic sir.â€ One of the department heads explained.
â€œNo, No, No, this is all wrong.â€
The Director walked over to one of the models walking off stage and ripped the garment from his body. â€œThis is how you do it,â€ the Director tried explaining as the model shoved him.
â€œThat was a big mistake buddy,â€ the Director responded by waving the steamer around like a club. The model seemed to think twice about the situation, deciding to instead strut out of the room. â€œOkay, back to this, just set it to low.â€ The Director demonstrated and began to burn the plastic.
Across the room, the young man was only a few models away from being the one to walk. He inched forward with anticipation and fear.
When he stepped in front of Leslie, she began to apply the fine purple powder to his cheeks. â€œDonâ€™t look so nervous.â€ She encouraged him, â€œyou wanted to become a model for a reason right? Just get out of your head. This is the best time of your life trust me.â€
She had finished, and the young man nodded with a smile, â€œthanks.â€
As he stepped up the stairs, he felt the intensity of the massive audience around the corner. Bright lights flashing and blinding him, he stepped onto the narrow silver stage.
The runway looked so much longer with all those people crowded around it. Stomping down the platform, his mind went blank, and he felt complete ownership of the moment. Showing off the chic plastic blow up pool toys and a custom printed speedo he stopped at the end and posed for a moment.
Then he let the mic drop.
â€œI have something to sayâ€ he cried out as the music cut.
The Director appeared from behind the corner, clutching one of his assistants, and prepared to throw her.
â€œMichael Dicking has a secret family in Hawaii.â€
Michael stepped out onto the stage, releasing the helpless intern.
The young man continued, â€œIâ€™m his son.â€
The crowd was completely silent as they approached each other, finally hugging for the first time. As they did the entire crowd erupted in applause. The father and son began to tear up as they embraced. They held each otherâ€™s hand as they raised it in front of the crowd and bowed.
The critics ate it up. It was impossible to read a bad word about the show honestly. In every fashion magazine around the world, the headline was â€œFloaties are the Future.â€