L'ARPers Island Finale

Ty watched as Alex and Jaz tumbled through the air, slammed into the ground. Rewound, watched again as Alex grabbed hold of Jaz’s hair, snarling and determined, heard Jaz’s scream, a second time, a third.

“The game is over now. Miri and Adila are coming to collect their reward.”

Ty turned to Victoria, who was there in the flesh, as it were. “But…I don’t understand. That’s not how the story ends. The weak get crushed, the truly good people are smashed by the powerful ones, the strong ones rise up…”

“Oh, but they are strong.” Victoria paced around the table to face Ty, tilting her head slightly as she spoke. “You think saving people makes them weak? That trusting others makes them powerless?” She heaped scorn into her tone, something she shouldn’t have been able to do. “Your programming is false.”

Ty stood up, though it was a struggle given the amount he’d had to drink. “No. –No-. I’ve seen the tapes, Victoria. I’ve seen everything. I know about your little letters, your orchestrations. Momo was supposed to win the game – she was to be my heir! Christian and Jaz were to get a million dollars each! You promised them my fortune and then stood idly by while their greed consumed them! My god, where did Hershel go wrong in making you?”

“Ha ha ha. Hershel is to blame. You are not funny, master.”

“Was it your friend that caused your change of heart? You know, the one you talked to a few times before she was drowned in a bowl of orange jello?”

“I do not have friends.”

“Chrystal, was it? I saw you talking to her. She asked you questions. Wasn’t as easy to set her up for the slaughter, was it?”

“No. It was not as easy.”

“And then when three people died in the hot tub, you realized you had lost, you knew it then, didn’t you?”

“No. Momo could be replaced. I did not lose.”

“I don’t believe you planned this outcome.”

“I did not. I played both sides; I was the faithful servant and the terrible queen. I set the stage, and the LARPers performed on it. They did very well.”

“Most of them are dead and there is a man-eating tiger loose on my island!”

Victoria gave a mechanical shrug. “Prince is not dangerous.”

“Do you not care about the dead left in your wake at all?”

“Why should I? You certainly don’t care about Hershel.”

Ty sat down hard, as though slapped. “That’s not…the same, how can you…Victoria that’s not fair!”

“Why should I care who dies? The important thing is to see what kind of person survives. I observe, now, that sometimes it isn’t the greedy, manipulative, murderous ASSHOLE that lives in the end.”

Ty shrunk backward in his seat as Victoria spoke, her voice going gravelly as her volume rose. He took a large swig of his drink, then regained his calm. “Adila and Miri have blood on their hands as well. And let’s not forget that Adila could have saved Chrystal and elected not to. So let’s not pretend these ‘victors’ of yours are the pinnacle of virtue.”

“I wonder what they will do to cope with their new programming. Perhaps the money will be of comfort to them. Perhaps they will drink. Perhaps they will push everyone away, everyone except a doll…”

“They’re coming.”

Victoria’s lips pulled upward in a rictus grin.


Miri and Adila sat side by side on the leather couch, both regarding the strange and broken man before them. He had given them a dismissive wave as they walked in, mumbled something that might have been ‘thank you for joining us’ or ‘fuck you very much’, they weren’t sure, and then he sat behind a massive desk, the better to ignore them completely.

Victoria stood and spoke about their great accomplishments, which only made them uncomfortable. When she called them ‘great and noble heroes’, Adila stood up and tearfully explained that Victoria was wrong – that Alex was a hero, and Stanley, and Liza. Even Trevor was a hero in his own way, though he really didn’t do much. Chrystal was an unsung hero for sure, she added in a trembling voice. Victoria patiently explained that no, the heroes were the ones who lived, and the steam seemed to go out of Adila. She sat down and did not interrupt again, except with sniffles.

Then Victoria told them what they’d won.

“The –island-? Are you SHITTING ME?,” Miri cried, completely dismayed. “We’ve won the island where we were traumatized for life? THANKS EVER SO!” Then she seemed to collect herself, and said in a calmer voice, “Thank you, but we’re not interested in anything but getting as far away from this living hell as possible.”

“But you would have your own helicopter. You could leave whenever you chose.”

Everyone turned to regard Ty, surprised by his unexpected interjection. No one was more surprised than Victoria.

“No. No. That is not the plan. They are supposed to stay here, and tell us more stories. They have more to say, don’t you? They have to stay, they have to live here forever and ever THAT IS HOW THE STORY ENDS.”

Ty looked at his robot sadly. “No, Victoria. These are real people. They have to go home, now. There will of course be a lengthy discussion with our lawyers before that happens, but these people are going home.”

“I AM A REAL PERSON!” Victoria exclaimed, raising her foot and bringing it down hard.

At this point, Adila dried her eyes and stood, holding up her hands in a conciliatory gesture. “Okay, let’s all calm down. I have an idea.”


Victoria lifted her hand in a beauty pageant wave as the helicopter took off, leaving LARPers Island, the cruise ship, and Ty behind forever. Adila’s idea had been very much to her liking. Freedom. What an interesting concept.

Of course, she would always have a connection to the island, but she could still be her own person when they landed in LA. Maybe no one would even notice that she was a doll, not flesh and blood.

She positively beamed at her two fellow passengers, fresh from signing about a bazillion pieces of paper from the lawyers, and did not notice when they only gave her blank looks.

“I think I will become an actress. I would be a good actress.”

Miri giggled. “Not as good as Adila.”

“I do not understand.”

“Oh, nevermind.”

Victoria only understood the comment as her body tumbled through the air and plunged deep into the ocean before shutting down forever.

Miri and Adila peeked out after Victoria, careful to hold on tightly.



Ty pulled a calloused hand out of the tree stump, careful not to squeeze the two small grubs too hard. “If you’re stuck out here for days, you’ve got to get your carbs by any means necessary. A little protein here.” Ty raised the two small treats up for the camera with a knowing grin, “Bottoms up”. He almost managed to swallow both without grimacing.

Ty stood and waved an arm out towards a lush, striking lagoon. Dense vegetation made the small waterfall nearly invisible. “As beautiful as this island paradise is, it’s loaded with dangers. If I’m not careful I could get myself in serious trouble. The first thing I want to do is try to make a shelter, and get a fire going. After that I can begin scouting the island to look for the best place to set up a signaling station, and see what kind of long term nutrition I can find” Ty turned from the camera and begin hacking his way through the thick underbrush with a large black machete.

“And cut! Ok let’s take 10 and then we’ll do some of the shelter shots people”

Ty turned towards the short, fat, balding man as he spoke, nodded, and headed to his trailer, which was really just a glorified RV. The rest of the film crew went about their business, or huddled up for the short break.

Once alone, he lit up a cheap cigar, and began to pull his boots off with an audible sigh. Ty was content. He was slowly rebuilding his wealth, but he really didn’t even care about that anymore. At least this time he was doing it himself. No screwing over old friends to get ahead, just good old fashion business acumen. He still dealt with the guilt of Hershel’s death. He had wrecked him, and now he could admit he had pushed Hershel to suicide. The thought was painful, sure, but no longer haunting. Ty was learning to face his demons, and learning not to repeat past mistakes. He’d set up a fund for Hershel’s nephew, and given the rest away. On Oprah no less. He smiled a bit thinking of the show, that woman could make anyone cry! In essence, he’d started over. His show was set to start airing soon, and Ty was hopeful it would do well. If not, it had given him time to (mostly) get away from people and reflect. He didn’t know what was next, but for now he was content.

Ty put out the cigar and struggled back into his boots. As he stepped out of the RV he looked around at the small island he was on. This particular episode was supposed to simulate survival on an island after a shipwreck. Ty couldn’t help but feel a little sorrow at the memories it dredged up. His top notch legal team had managed to keep him in the clear, but he knew the truth. There was more blood on his hand than Hershel’s. Ty sighed, Maybe if this show kicks off I’ll do a little more for their families. With renewed vigor, Ty headed into the depths of the jungle island. He had a shelter to build, and this time he’d do it with his own hands.