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The ultimate taste test:
the original ads versus Commercial Fiction.
Watch, then read.

Taco Bell | McDonald's | Budweiser | IntuitGoPayment
Wrangler | Canada Dry | Lexus | DirecTV
Range Rover | Miller Lite | Subway | Samsung
(more coming soon)

Taco Bell

The inspiration:

From Commercial Fiction:

A new email dings into his box and Miller cringes. Somehow he knows it's from her, something about the ding -- it is insistent, urgent, as sure as a poke in the back of the neck. This will be message number 168 in this particular thread alone, the one with the subject line "The Steak."

The test kitchen is quiet, Green and Jefferson huddled in the corner, no doubt working through the Cool Ranch Burrito that HQ has made the group's second priority. It will never happen, Miller knows. He himself developed the Dorito taco shell, and that was difficult enough. A full wrap, a burrito wrap, no less, is as close to impossible as this particular area of food science gets.

The company's first priority, of course, is Chef Garcia, whose name stands bold in his Outlook: CHEF LORENA GARCIA. He knows it is no mistake that she has chosen to announce herself with capital letters. Perhaps she actually does have a custom ding has paid some entity somewhere to ensure the auditory prominence of her messages over their electronic rivals.

At this point, he would believe anything.

CHEF LORENA GARCIA. The email might as well be ticking.

He can hear her voice: "Guys! We have to do better, guys." That clear enunciation, flat and insistent. The light accent. The humorless certainty of celebrity. More than once over the past several months, he has heard that voice honking at the edges of his mind. In a crowded coffee shop, at the mall, walking down the street, in the background noise of a televised sporting event. "GUYS."

Green and Jefferson are bent over, peeking through the window of the test oven. Not a good sign. . .


The inspiration:

From Commercial Fiction

We pull into the campground and it's just like I imagined it would be: chaparral scrub receding to oaks and firs as we move up into the mountains on a gently winding road. You'd never know we're only an hour outside Los Angeles, the traffic and the smoke and the crowds. I look around the car at Josh and Tommy and Laurel, all of them beautiful and cool and careless in that way that only beautiful people who know they;re cool can be, like they chose the clothes they're wearing by accident, forgot to brush their hair, rolled out of bed and into the car, and still wound up looking like they just walked out of an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog.

If being Laurel's little sister has taught me anything, it's that I don't look like this, that I'm not and will never be one of these people.

I watch Josh and Tommy watching her. They've probably forgotten that I'm even sitting here, next to Josh, behind Tommy, diagonal to Laurel and her jean shorts and a top that I've never even seen before and her blond hair cascading in the wind. She twists in the seat to adjust her shorts and Tommy nearly drives off the road into a sign that says "Welcome to Angeles National Forest."

"Almost here," Tommy says.

"Are those guys meeting us?" Josh asks.

"They were getting the party supplies," Laurel says. She says the last few words like they're the password to some magical kingdom and I picture some kind of velvet curtain rolling back to reveal everything I've been missing so far in my first sixteen years. This is what Laurel's been doing while I've been studying. I'm a muggle and she's Harry Potter, queen of this world that I couldn't even see until today. Of course, I knew it all along, or I suspected. There's always been something about Laurel that's been untouchable, unseeable, a part of her that she keeps just for herself. This, here, in the car with her and Tommy and Josh on our way to something they haven't even seen fit to tell me about yet, is as close as I've ever been. . .


The inspiration:

From Commercial Fiction:

The man woke up and walked to the bathroom. He relieved his bladder and looked at himself in the mirror. He looked at the clock. 6:25. He could either go back to sleep or head down to the basement to do P90X. If he waited until later, there was a chance he would forget or, more likely, would be too tired to even change into his workout clothes. He crawled back in to bed and got under the covers. He would try to do P90X in the afternoon, maybe even at lunch. For right now, there was a warm bed.

Boy, he thought, I sure do miss that horse.


The man boiled spaghetti and opened a can of tomato sauce. Organic. A full dollar fifty more than the usual kind. He wondered if he would even notice. He wondered if it was too late to be thinking about making that kind of a switch. He had grown up on antibiotics and pesticides, Cheez Whiz and Pop-Tarts and Oscar Mayer wieners.

He wondered what that horse was doing now, how his foot hair was coming along. He had tried to groom it, but had never had much luck. And there must be a better word for it than foot hair, right? Surely the Budweiser people knew. This was another difference between them, an example. He took out the notebook that he kept in the back of his pocket, the one labeled REASONS. "I don't even know what that foot hair is called and I bet they do," he wrote.


Intuit GoPayment

The inspiration:

From Commercial Fiction:

Derek barely slows down at intersections. Not anymore. Not since we got that card reader and "set out toward the sun."

Right now, we're somewhere in Virginia or North Carolina, barreling eighty miles an hour down 77 south. It's been twenty hours since we left Columbus and we've only stopped twice -- once for gas, and once when I told him I'd pee right in the truck if he didn]t pull over.

I can see the intersection up ahead, green interstate signs forming an entryway, a decision-point: we need to head west on 81 or stay on 77. He glances at me and I look down, act like I'm paying attention to the little blue dot moving along the map on my phone, like I'm tracking it, planning, like there's some kind of logic happening in our movements. Like we're not driving an ice cream truck twenty-five miles over the speed limit with no direction other than Derek's wheel-jerking intuition.

He gives me the look, the one he wants to say "isn't this awesome?" What it really says is, "this has to be awesome. If this isn't awesome, then. . ."


The inspiration:

From Commercial Fiction:

"I thought you were going to play football," she says.

"Yeah," I say.

"You're wearing jeans."


She is folding laundry, matching socks. She rolls a pair into a neat ball and drops them into the basket. Even for this, she has a system. She has equipment -- a thirty dollar "Laundry Pal" from Crate and Barrel. She rolls and drops, rolls and drops.

I pull up my pants and reach into the Sears bag for the new socks -- black, UnderArmour. I noticed this last week. Brett wears the jeans, and then athletic socks and the Nikes. But the socks are black, so they go better with the jeans. I had just normal socks on last week, the white ones like we wore in high school basketball. I had it wrong.

"Wait," she says. "I've never seen those jeans before. Those are like Mom jeans. Those are like Eighties jeans."

I can feel the heat rising to my cheeks. My forehead sweats. I look at the socks, take a deep breath. Do I want to get in a fight?. . .

Canada Dry

The inspiration:

From Commercial Fiction:

Excerpt from "Centers for Disease Control" Obesity in Central Florida," February 2019.

Wes Urban, 32 years of age, 298 lbs.

We weren't always like this. How fat we are is what I mean. Most of us, when we first came here, we looked like models, like extras in a beer commercial or one of them romantic comedies. Carrie Newgent? She was here on First Day, same as me. Lives over there at mile post 0.27, near the row of the green portajohns and the FEMA showers? She was one of the first in line. This is before we even knew why we were here, before anybody even asked why a little girl would set up a Ginger Ale stand in the middle of nowhere. I'm talking before the news and the government and what the people from Canada Dry did. Point is, what I'm saying, Carrie Newgent on First Day was a sight to see. Now she's I don't know how much. Big lady. Like everybody from First Day, everybody from Year One, Two, and on like that. Now, we're all big like this. Back then, though, man you should have seen us. . .


The inspiration:

From Commercial Fiction:

Cynthia wakes to coffee smell and the sounds of William getting breakfast ready for the kids. She closes her eyes and for a moment, it is as if everything is normal. Like last Christmas, the one before, like every holiday since they made the move from Hoboken to Greenwich. She holds onto the idea of normal, pushes away the questions, the dark thoughts that wait like traps at the edges of her mind, and lets the sensations take over: the twelve-hundred thread count Kate Spade sheets, the smell of cinnamon buns and coffee, the Christmas music, the kids shouting and asking when they can start unwrapping presents. For a few glowing moments, it is as if all the pieces of her wonderful life are still anchored in place.

But then the glow deadens again and what's left is the pit in her stomach, the pressure on her bowels, the feeling like she's caught in an undertow, being sucked toward some blank horizon. . .


The inspiration:

From Commercial Fiction:

Here is what I know. They wear tights. Their wings are thin flapping things that look more like they belong on dragonflies than butterflies. They never seem to get cold, don't shiver or shake or get soggy like the half a turkey sub they've been loitering next to for almost two weeks now. They don't eat: everything in the refrigerator is exactly the same as it was twelve days ago, which was exactly the same as it was thirteen days ago. Truth is everything is the same since Carrie left. Everything but the faeries.

All they talk about is football and the contents of the refrigerator and how I'm watching television, which the black one says is all wrong but that makes even less sense than the white one's jokes about Carrie's tapenade. . .

Range Rover

The inspiration:

From Commercial Fiction:

Captain's Log: Captain Richard L. Hiltonshire, HMS Evoque, North Carolina Coast. May 12, 1801

The Coast is in sight. America, I pray, although with all that has gone astray on this cursed Expedition, we may just as likely be drifting, rudderless and under power of neither sail nor row, in the shadow of the Dark Continent or astride the Sandwich Islands. This journey has tested reason, and I vow on the sweet Figurehead of Jenny Lind herself, what sits atop the prow of the Ship Evoque, that if through some miracle of our Lord and Savior I am again to step on solid Ground, there I will remain for the number of my days. Let it be testament to our Troubles that I know not another Man aboard the Evoque who has not, in silence or aloud, uttered this very same vow.

Of Men we are down to Twenty-one from our original Seventy-five. Of these, at last count only Eight have been spared of the Bleeding. The afflicted Thirteen are locked in the Hold. This is cruel, certainly, but the only way I can fathom to protect the Health of the remaining. Though I watch its encroaching clouds with great foreboding, I also pray that the coming Squall drowns out the screams of the stricken.

Rich Hilton checked in at Dancing Turtle Coffee, Cape Hatteras, NC, 10:30 AM, May 12, 2013

Oh, new Barista chick: your so hot, but a capachino isn't a latte! Trying to kill me with all this milk LOL.

Awesome waves, today, brahs. Best swells of the week. Sweet way to start a sweet day. . .

Miller Lite

The inspiration:

From Commercial Fiction:

The Hound

I never should have said anything. What happened the night before. . . it wasn't the first time. It was the first time sober. For him. For me, well, I've known who I am for a long time.

We were taking shots at the bar before the bar, pre-gaming, game-facing. We did a round of jaeger bombs and Fixer knocked some dap and went outside for a smoke. Only when he's drinking, like that makes a difference. I turned to Easy and tried to be cool about it, like, "you know what you're doing later?" Like, "if you wanna come by and play some Call of Duty, that would be cool."

He was tweeting something about the Jets game and he paused, just for a second. Then he finished the tweet and hit send. He turned to the bar and waved for another round.

"Easy," I said. "Don't be like this, man."

Fixer came back in, holding his cell and smelling like Parliament Lights. "'Sup?" he said. He gave me that look like he was disappointed. He checked Easy. He knew what was going on.

"Let's take shots," Easy said. "Let's get fucked up and meet some ladies." He looked at me when he said ladies, drew it out, something in his face like a door closing. . .


The inspiration:

From Commercial Fiction:

The first thing was, everybody's voices changed. Not changed deeper, like puberty. This was changing back: they went high, squeaky, like we were seven years old again. This is right after we all started eating the sandwiches. This is when the shit went down.

Fitzgerald from HR was the first to go high. He came back from lunch waving six inches of a twelve-inch Tuscan Chicken around: "free subs at the Subway in the lobby, suckers!" he shouted. Only it didn't come out in his usual smoker's rasp: it came out munchkin, like he was being overdubbed by a first grader.

We laughed, of course. Only the laugh wasn't normal, either. The guffaws were replaced with tee-hees, the usual roar a shrill tinkle.

"Wait. What's happening?" said Brown from Research. Her husky alto had turned soprano. She gasped, grabbed her neck. She whispered something to herself, then sprinted toward the ladies room. . .


The inspiration:

From Commercial Fiction:

MARCH 18, 2013:

Bam! Posting this from new gig as a Junior Creative Developer and Aesthetic Management Contributor at Meta Games, Inc. So what will I be doing" Oh, just working on a little game called Unicorn Apocalypse. UNICORN APOCALYPSE, BITCHES! This game is gonna be some next level shit. Angry Birds plus Gears of War times Minecraft with some special sauce thrown in just because. Unicorn Apocalypse!

All right, they're calling me in for orientation. More later, suckas.

TAGS: Job, new gig, Unicorn Apocalypse, UNICORNAPOCALYPSE!, myjobisbetterthanyourjob

MARCH 19, 2013:

Day two and getting settled in. First of all, our offices are fucking sweet. They look like the set of a sitcom about startups in the Nineties: all glass, brick, big open spaces, these awesome red chairs that kind of look like old diner chairs, but old diner chairs in goddamn space. There's a nap room and a Pac Man and a mini basketball court and free soda and a massage therapist. Massage therapist! I don't even know what that is but I know it's awesome and I have one at work and you don't.

One thing I know: this sure as hell isn't Epic Games, where if you remember, I did my internship last summer, and I thought was awesome until I walked into this place. You'd think it would be all bro-ing down and crunching code, but those guys were more like accountants than anything else, all bottom line and Dockers and project management software (hey Basecamp: suck it!) and timetracking and fourth quarter projections.

I'm going to learn so much from these dudes. Meta rules!

TAGS: Job, new gig, suck it Epic, suck it google, Idranksevensodastodayforfree, MetaGamesRulez. . .

Commercial Fiction
by Dave Housley
98 pages
$12.00 paperback ISBN 9781937402600
$9.99 ebook ISBN 9781937402617

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