A Sunny Day in Esperanza
"Good morning Esperanza!"
The station's logo, "Fox 11", played on the screen, and as it wiped away, the hosts of the show were revealed to be sitting behind their desks, on a set designed with hues of gold, blue, and red playing across the brightly lit view. The hosts, an older, distinguished looking man with a suit to match his speckled, graying hair and a fake tan to match with the gold of the set, and a beautiful young woman with an ethnically ambiguous background and a gold dress, both smiled with pure white teeth while the morning music played in the background; a tepid mixture of acoustic guitars and light saxophone.
"It's 5:00 am, I'm Brett Farthing," began the male host, his Botox lips crinkling as he smiled.
"I'm Vanessa Moreno," said the female, before they both said, "And this is Esperanza Today!"
The screen shifted to the week's weather forecast, while Vanessa's soothing voice spoke over it. "Right now we're looking at a cool 68 degrees, which should go up to a high of 73. Looks like tomorrow we'll be getting a little bit of rain with a high of 50 and a 40% chance of precipitation."
Brett started chuckling. "Looks like I won't be headed to the beach!" Despite the lack of humor, both hosts began laughing with a forcible weight behind it. Vanessa sighed in content before she continued.
"Well Monday we should be getting clear skies with a high of 74!" As the weather forcast played off the screen, she turned back to the older host. "Looks like you might be getting your beach day after all, Brett!" Brett chuckled in response.
"Yeah, weather's starting to warm up." She smiled with a soft coo for a response and the camera moved to Brett. "Later we'll be talking to a teacher at Johnson Elementary who thought of a clever new way of teaching those pesky times tables, and our reporter John Michael will be looking at Starling Science's new exhibit at the aquarium, 'Oceans of the Past'," he said in a jokingly ominous voice, looking to Vanessa before adding, "Should be exciting. But now," he turned back to the camera with eyebrows knit in journalistic integrity, "We've got a representative of Mayor Gartner's campaign for governor, Todd O'Brien."
The camera zoomed out to reveal a new face; a balding man in his thirties with round glasses and a bad suit. One could swear to smell his coffee breath through the screen, and Brett turned to shake his hand. "Todd."
"A pleasure to be here, Brett," the representative said, shaking his hand vigorously and a smile plastered to his unnecessarily shaved face.
"Oh believe me, the pleasure's all mine. Now Todd-" The male host put his hand down on his desk. "How's the campaign?" Tom began chuckling and sat back in his chair.
"Un-believably, Brett. Today the Mayor's headed to San Francisco where he'll be meeting with local charity leaders, and if you look at the polls, this is starting to look like a sure fire victory," he assured with a smile. Brett chuckled back to him.
"That's good to hear. But," He looked down to his desk with a mockery of consternation, "Are you sure the mayor can continue his job effectively during the election?" Todd held his hand up in response.
"Absolutely. In fact, I'd say Mayor Gartner's been doing his job better than ever. New road projects have been planned around the city, unemployed is at an all-time low, education-" Suddenly, a voice spoke from off screen.
"What about the missing people?" There was a lengthy pause after that, and the camera panned out to Vanessa. Her concern was not feigned.
"I-I'm sorry, what was that?" Tom replied.
Vanessa cleared her throat and sat up, preparing her papers. Brett looked nervous, and would have been sweating if he could.
"The missing people. There's been, let's see...fifteen new unresolved missing persons reported since the beginning of 2018. Does the office of the mayor have any comment?" The representative began feeling around his collar at the line of questioning.
"Uh...well the mayor doesn't have time for conspiracy..."
"Well this isn't conspiracy, this is fact. There's been fifteen-"
"Cut to commercial!" Brett shouted, and suddenly an ad for a local orange juice company came onscreen. A few minutes later, Brett was back, faced towards camera with the representative at his side, and his fake smile plastered on a face he wasn't born with.
"We're very sorry about that folks," he began, "my co-host hasn't quite been herself lately. She'll be taking a leave of absence, but when she comes back..." he paused. His face, usually weighted down by plastic and silicone, seemed to twitch a bit, and he let out a soft sigh, looking down the floor and biting his lip.
"What'll it be, Brett?" Todd asked, chiming in, smiling a dagger at the old host, who looked at him quizzically.
"I'm sorry, what?"
"When she comes back, what'll it be Brett?" Todd's hands were clasped tightly as he leaned forward onto Brett's desk. After a second, the same plasticized smile returned to Brett's face, and he turned back to the camera.
"Right." He cleared his throat. "When she comes back, rest assured, it'll be a sunny day in Esperanza."