They sat around the boardroom, sipping diet drinks, munching fat-free, sugar-free, lo-salt snacks, all of them thinking of the double burger with cheese and bacon they were going to wolf down after the meeting.
"So, it's agreed. We get someone to play the part of the god." Sam looked around the tired faces.
"Sure, sure. We've got everything we could out of the behind-the-scenes stunt. The public want a flesh and blood god." The producer snorted at his joke and everyone dutifully smiled.
"I suppose the next step it to get someone to play the part." The casting director silently groaned at the thought of all the hopefuls he would have to interview. That almost certainly meant an eighteen hour flight and hellish jet lag. And he had only just recovered from the last trip. Hell of a job.
"Um. I might be of help there." Ron smiled winningly at Sam. "Mike suggested this actor he's worked with a few times. He thought this guy was perfect for the part."
Everyone looked hopeful. Michael Hurst had been really good at finding local actors to fill in, from extras to guest appearances. The casting director sat up, seeing possible salvation within sight.
"Yeah, and Lucy knows him. If he works out she'd be happy to have him in her show too." Ron kept a straight face when he said this. No one wondered why Lucy's likes and dislikes should be so important.
"Anybody seen this guy in anything?" Sam asked, willing to be convinced. An American actor always cost more, not to mention travel expenses; but he wanted to make sure this local boy had what it took.
"Got a couple of things you can view on tape, a movie and a TV show. He's not bad. Got presence, the female audience should go for him."
Sam looked worried. "He won't overshadow Kevin, will he? Can't have the bad guy be more attractive than the hero of the series."
"Nah, we'll have him be a bit stupid, and Herc can beat him up every time. No contest between the two." Actually, this new guy was rather sexy, judging by the make-up and wardrobe girls' reaction, but no need to mention that.
"He was keen to play the part. Didn't care he would be playing the villain. Seems he's done a lot of that kind of thing." he looked significantly at Sam. " Very beneficial to the budget, his keenness."
Sam looked really interested then. " I'll have to get approval from the States, but if this guy is as good as you say, I don't see a problem."
"Good. Great. I'll get him to come in and meet Kev." He smiled with relief. Lucy and Michael would be happy to hear the news. Both had been eager to bring this guy in. Seems they went way back; close knit lot, these local actors.
Hercules sat on the boardroom chair doing his Clark Kent impersonation of, I know-I tower-over-you-puny-mortals-who-I-could-squash-with-my-little-finger, but I'm really just a harmless good-natured actor. They all bought it, of course. After all, who believed in Hercules?
He smiled encouragingly, twinkle firmly in place, the trade-mark open expression pinned to his face, all the while thinking: Shit! Shit! When Ares hears about this there'll be hell to pay. How can I keep him from ruining the show? Think, think. Maybe they'll use the Ares character just the once and Ares might miss it. Riiight.
"So Kev, what do you think?"
God's teeth, what did he say? Something about the new actor, "Well, in principle, it sounds like a great idea." Good, nice, noncommittal sort of approval.
"Great, because if it works out, you'll be working closely with him. You know, make him a regular guest, work him into the story arcs." Ron's face looked expectant.
"Sure, no problem." Ughhh. Regular guest? I'm sunk, the show is sunk. We're done for.
"Knew you'd feel that way about it. So we got the guy to come in today, that way he can introduce himself, and you can get to know him. That OK with you?" Another expectant look.
Yeah, fine. I'd like to meet the guy." Like hell I do.
The door opened and Hercules nearly shot out of his chair when he saw Sam come in, closely followed by a tall dark guy.
Oh Gods and scrawny Fates. He's heard, he's already fucking heard. Can they see him? Shit, shit, shit.
Sam smiled at Hercules. "Kevin! nice you could make the meeting. Ron's told you about the plan, I take it?"
"Er yes, yes he has." Hercules kept his eyes on Sam's face, praying no one had noticed anything. Faint hope. He felt the sweat trickling down his back and hoped he didn't look as frazzled as he felt.
Sam turned and let the other man advance into the room. "Well, here's Kevin." He laughed and Ron joined him. "We're going to have to find some way to tell between the two of you."
"T-tell?" Hercules stuttered, a horrible sinking feeling beginning to take over his guts.
"His name is also Kevin." Ron chortled. "Kevin, meet Kevin." He shared a grin with Sam
"Smith, Kevin Smith." The actor murmured, sauntering towards a very pale Hercules, who looked more like a frozen deer-caught-in-the-headlights than a great hero.
Taking the extended hand in a nerveless paw, blinded by a brilliant smile, Hercules listened in shock as the other Kevin said, " I'm your brother, God of War. Pleasure to meet you, Hercules."
He didn't hear the other two men's laughter as he stared into the mocking black eyes of his brother Ares.