Chapter 26: Encountering a tough problem!
1 o’clock, afternoon.
Zhang Ye hurriedly rushed his draft. Behind him, his assistant, Xiaofang, called out to him.
“Teacher Little Zhang.”
“What’s the matter, Xiaofang?”
“Leader said to tell you that the sponsor for your program is here.”
“Eh? So early? Didn’t they say noon?”
“Er, it’s noon now. This is for you; it’s the advertisement copy. The recording studio is also ready. The director wants you to get ready before he brings over the guests.”
Damn, this time I’m done for!
Zhang Ye had only just typed out the words for “Ghost Blows Out the Light”, without any structure or thought. He could only switch off his computer and go do the undoable at the recording studio.
Sometimes, the one who knows you best is your enemy. That is a very true saying. Tian Bin keenly noticed Zhang Ye’s abnormal actions and linked it to the quality drop in the recent two broadcasts of “Late-night Ghost Stories”, where stuttering and the wrong usage of words occurred frequently. Even the recording took longer; where it used to take an hour, it took about 1.5 hours to 2 hours to finish a recording now. Tian Bin guessed that Zhang Ye has reached a creative bottleneck or it was even possible that the novel had a problem. Looking at him now, it was obvious that he had no script for it. Haha, this kid is getting what he deserves. The story won’t be able to continue on from here? I’ll see how you get past this! Tian Bin was over the moon. He stood up and proceeded to the recording studio, ready to see Zhang Ye make a mockery of himself and get what he deserved!
Recording Studio 1.
This was the most prestigious studio in the station. It was bigger than the other studios by at least three times. This did not even include the outside of the studio. There was a small space outside of the studio where the telephone editor worked and on the other side there was a viewing hall. It had a transparent soundproof glass which did not block the view, space for 30 leather chairs on the inside and even a small conference table. The station obviously prepared this place for the advertisers who had a sizeable sponsorship. Otherwise, this sort of a studio was usually only reserved for off-site interactive activities or management inspection use.
It was a situation of great importance!
And the pressure was greater, too!
Zhang Ye went in with the equipment settings readied by a staff member who informed him about the differences between this studio and the others before leaving. Zhang Ye was now alone in the room and felt like he was sitting on a cushion of needles. He mumbled to himself, “What should I do?” Bullsh*t my way through this? That won’t work. The clients were willing to sponsor him because they have heard his program before. Just opening his mouth would let the cat out of the bag. Besides, the listeners would definitely not agree to it. Narrating while coming up with and organizing his thoughts? But he didn’t have that capability; even if he hurriedly composed, the quality would be bad! All his ideas had been exhausted, Zhang Ye could do nothing more. He only hoped that the client would not tear up the contract.
“It’s over here. Please, come in.” The door creaked and then Zhao Guozhou and a deputy led five to six men and women in. “Let’s have a seat. Someone will get you tea.”
A woman said, “Director Zhao, you are too welcoming of us.”
Another person looked through the glass at Zhang Ye, “Is that Teacher Little Zhang?”
“That’s right.” Zhao Guozhou smiled, “Let Little Zhang start; we will listen and discuss at the same time.”
“Sure. I am a loyal fan of ‘Ghost Blows Out the Light’. I even listened to the program late last night. I’m honoured to be listening live on-site today.” a middle-aged man mentioned politely.
They sat at the first row next to the location. They were from the Hua Tian Group, operators of pawn shops, jewelry shops and some auction house businesses. Zhang Ye did not know them from his world; the closest to it that he knew of was the Hua Xia Group’s pawn shop businesses. Seemingly, even pawn shop businesses were altered in this world. Maybe the sponsored amount this time was too high. The contract duration was also longer than usual, not like those of a week or half a month. Because of this, this leading corporation gave the deal more attention. Five to six people from the marketing department, leaders and staff included, came over to discuss the contractual details. Likewise, Zhao Guozhou also had his own entourage. Wang Xiaomei and several other radio host Teachers also came along. The last to join was Tian Bin and he was probably uninvited. But as there were no restrictions on the attendees, the Leaders did not mention it.
After settling down, Zhao Guozhou signaled to Xiaofang with his index finger.
Understanding his intention, Xiaofang also signalled towards Zhang Ye in the studio and did a countdown from ten. After so many broadcast sessions, the two of them could communicate with just gestures. Li Si was the previous assistant for “Late-night Ghost Stories”. Xiaofang was an assistant to everyone, also known as a helper to all. After Zhang Ye arrived, with the popularity of his program, Xiaofang became his personal assistant. Her previous tasks were all handed over to other assistants, while she concentrated on her job for “Late-night Ghost Stories”. She was part of Zhang Ye’s program team.
By now, Zhang Ye had to step up. With a deep breath, he pushed a button. 3, 2, 1. The broadcast started with the opening, “Hello, everyone. I am your DJ, Zhang Ye. Welcome to today’s “Late-night Ghost Stories”. Casually stating the chapter’s title, Zhang Ye started reading the story.
As he spoke, the others were discussing outside.
“The contract has been prepared. Please take a look?” Zhao Guozhou went straight for the subject.
The woman who looked like she was the leader of the group said, “Director Zhao, it’s okay if you are busy and need to attend to your work. Let’s not rush this. We would like to listen in, first.”
“Alright. Of course.” Zhao Guozhou said.
The women enquired curiously, “Oh, yes. I see… That Teacher, Little Zhang, does not have a script?”
Zhao Guozhou smiled a little, “That’s right. This is also a specialty of our program. Little Zhang has never needed a script. He’s always working off-script for the program.”
“That can’t be true?” the women said skeptically.
Several of the people in the pawn shop business group also felt that they were exaggerating.
In the studio, Zhang Ye read, “The fatty had a piece….a jade heirloom that he always had with him. This piece of jade belonged to a…a northwestern army’s…” Before he could finish a line, Zhang Ye already could not carry on. With his brain trying to organize his words and also trying to recall the plot’s direction, it was beyond his abilities.
Eh? What’s the matter with Little Zhang today? Zhao Guozhou finally realized something was wrong with Zhang Ye!
Tian Bin had realized this beforehand and was laughing at him on the inside. He was gleefully awaiting to see the joke that was Zhang Ye. This was the purpose of his attendance.
“What’s the matter?”
“Eh? Why did he stop?”
The clients looked at each other blankly, not understanding the situation.
Zhang Ye disguised his situation with a cough, switched off his recording, “Let’s re-record this portion. I apologize. My throat is a little unwell, let me get some water.”
Zhao Guozhou looked at him, then spoke to him through the intercom, “Didn’t sleep well last night? Don’t worry, please rest for a few minutes.” To help Zhang Ye smooth out the situation, Zhao Guozhou branched out the conversation and spoke to the clients about other topics.
Xiaofang had a face full of worry!
Zhang Ye’s colleagues also had looks of suspicion!
A lot of the others had the same feeling from two days ago. Zhang Ye’s story did not sound smooth. The novel’s quality had dropped and there were stumbles in the story plot. Everyone wondered, “Was Zhang Ye a prodigy that has wilted? Is it that the story cannot continue on? Why did it have to happen at this moment?” The sponsors were here today to sign the contract, so if any mistakes happened, then all that sponsorship money would go up in smoke. Zhang Ye would then have to bear the responsibility and this would also be a smudge on their Literature Channel’s reputation!
A lot of people held their breaths for Zhang Ye.
Only Tian Bin had a different expression from the rest. He only wished that Zhang Ye would make a mistake. If “Ghost Blows Out the Light” really could not go on, then there would be no need for Zhang Ye’s existence. Ignoring the fact that he would be cursed at by the listeners, the Leaders would not agree to it. Even though over the years, “Late-night Ghost Stories” had stories that were cut short, as they had poor ratings, none of them had been dropped midway. There would always be a simple finale to the stories. If Zhang Ye could not produce a story today, then it would be a broadcast incident and nobody could save him!