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       Once a pit bull refused to go for the throat of every other dog around.
       How had things descended to this appalling state of affairs, it shuddered with revulsion? It certainly didn’t bear other canines any particular malice. In a better world, the pit bull was convinced, it might even have found life-long friends among them.
     But not in the world of  Reality TV survival shows. That was made clear to it soon after it balked at filming one more episode of the hugely popular “Mutt Madness.” It felt it needed time to reflect on whether this was really the life it wanted to lead.
      “Of course it is!” was the response from the whiz kid with spiky hair and a toothy smile who’d been sent out from network headquarters to troubleshoot the dog’s refusal to go on with the show. “You can’t quit! Not with your star power. This is the perfect vehicle for you, believe me. You’re on top of the heap, so why quit now?”
      “I simply don’t see the value in any of this.”
       “Who’s talking value? It’s just a game, remember.” 
       The pit bull wasn’t particularly reassured by this reply.
       “Look at it this way,” the whiz kid went on, “we’re not dealing with Einsteins out there. We give our target demographic what market research tells us they want. And market research tells us the target demographic is beginning to get bored with contestants acting out sham betrayals or chewing the bark off trees in front of the camera. That goes for watching disappointed contestants attempt suicide, as well. Audiences want something more this season.”
       “Like eating one’s own kind on cue?”
       “Believe me, none of us in Ultimate Brute Programming are comfortable with that. You think every last one of us doesn’t wish we could offer more quality content these days? I’ve got a hundred absolute knockout ideas right here in my own head. How about this, just as one example: an “Unwanted-Baby Giveaway” contest? Problem is, viewers just don’t have the attention span any longer for that level of complexity. So we have to settle for dogs eating dogs. Especially during sweeps week.”
    “But it’s all so degrading.”
       “Of course it is. That’s the beauty of it, don’t you see? Giving contestants a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a winner and then humiliating them in prime time is epic in a way. Epic!”
    “But what does that do for me? I can’t go on anymore making this vicious spectacle of myself. And for what? What do I get out of it?”
    “Okay, okay. How does this sound: a seven-figure book deal with the prestigious publishing house our parent company just bought? We’re already kicking around a few catchy titles. My favorite so far is Down and Dirty with a Real Dog. Like it?”
    “I honestly need some time to think about where all this is headed.”
    “Sure thing. Take all day if you want. You can never give these things too much thought. I’m with you on that, one million percent!”