CASTING AGENT: Alright, Applicant #23, you’re next.
[A spindly man enters the room and takes the chair in front of the casting agent. A gaudy yellow jumper is tied around his neck and he holds himself with an air of unearned confidence.]
CASTING AGENT: It says here your name is Timothy Ovalstone. Do you mind if I call you “Tim?”
TIMOTHY: Ugh, no, how jejune. Timothy will do.
CASTING AGENT: Ooookay. Uh, tell me about yourself, Timothy.
TIMOTHY: With delight, my dear. I graduated amongst the top of my class at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, including an exchange year at the Juilliard School in New York City. Since then I have tread the boards countless times, appearing in Hamlet, Richard III and Macbeth to name but a few — standing ovations bookending all, of course.
CASTING AGENT: I see. So, what makes you ideal for the role “Menacing Death Metal Band Member #3?”
TIMOTHY: Well, I did appear in an episode of CRIME & ORDER: SVS as a member of a fictitious heavy metal band corrupting the innocent minds of youth. The band was called something awful if I recall, one of those obviously on-the-nose names designed to spook pearl-clutching viewers. Necro-something-or-other… Ah, yes, Necromutilator was the name.
[A look of mild interest flickers across the casting agent’s face.]
CASTING AGENT: Tell me a little more about that.
TIMOTHY: [Tossing back his hair with a self-satisfied grin] Gladly. The show was one of those dreary police procedurals. The plot, if you want to call it that, centered on Necromutilator planning to incite mass-murder through hidden messages via the release of their new album, Black Blood Aggression. Dreadful. The writers at least had a spot of fun naming the band members, eschewing titles such as vocalist, guitarist, drummer and instead describing them as Pulsating Vibes of Annihilation, Bursting Hellfire of Death and Devil’s Chainsaws and Black Vomit, the latter being my role.
CASTING AGENT: Alright, that’s probably enough to…
TIMOTHY: And there’s more! The track titles they drummed up for the album, my word, it was hard to keep a straight face while filming. Let’s see now…”Armored Antichrist” was one, all gnashing teeth and buzzing guitars. “Putrefaction Rites,” a real ugly duckling, the… the uh… the riffs! Yes, that’s what they’re called, the riffs were predatory, vicious and brooding, while the vocals resembled intestines escaping the human body under protest. Guaranteed to leave viewers squirming in their seats. Not my cup of earl grey but some of the production crew seemed to tolerate it. Called it “solid, if unremarkable death/black metal,” whatever that means.
CASTING AGENT: You really don’t have to tell me about each and every song.
TIMOTHY: It’s a mnemonic device, darling, it helps me recall the minutiae of the event. Where was I… oh, yes, the music. Such a din, the producers did everything in their power to present Necromutilator as clichéd, offensive murder-music. I mean, one of the tracks was called “Cold Sperm of Sathanas” of all things! Appalling. Worse still, the album cover the art department concocted features a harrowing image of a naked woman being sacrificed on an altar, released by a label called Terror From Hell Records. As subtle as an axe to the face.
The chaps the studio kept on the books to perform musical odds and ends were all rather talented at the very least. I was told that in preparation for the show they researched heavy metal bands such as Obituary, Bloodbath, Dragged Into Sunlight and Blood Red Throne — how do they come up with these lurid names?
[Seizing on the break of conversation, the casting agent slaps down a single sheet of paper in front of Timothy.]
CASTING AGENT: Uh huh, fascinating. There’s your script. Please perform the line.
TIMOTHY: The highlighted part? It just says “Satan.”
CASTING AGENT: That’s right.
TIMOTHY: In that case, I shall channel my Necromutilator character.
CASTING AGENT: Just read the line.
[Timothy draws himself up in his seat.]
CASTING AGENT: Great, we can wrap up and…
CASTING AGENT: There’s no need to…
[Timothy leaps from his chair and turns his face up at the ceiling with arms akimbo.]
TIMOTHY: SATAN! MY ABYSSAL LORD! FLENSE THE FOOLS OF THEIR IGNORANT FLESH AND BOIL THEIR TRAITOROUS EYES! THE WORLD IS YOURS AND I AM YOUR SERVANT! WE SHALL BATHE IN THE BLOOD OF OUR ENEMIES AND SATE OUR LUST WITH THEIR WOMEN! KILL! MAIM! MURDER! BURN THE WORLD IN HELL-FIRE AND LET US DRINK THE MISERY! HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!
[Timothy collapses onto the floor in a heap. Some minutes pass before he clambers back into his chair and composes himself.]
TIMOTHY: And scene.
CASTING AGENT: …We’ll get back to you.