Log Title: Tiger Beat Temptation
Location: Mt. St. Hilary
TP: Flashback TPs
Summary: Before meeting the Autobots, Spike never dreamed he would be in a teen magazine. It's just not something a future mechanic thought about. But the opportunities presented after he met the Autobots have put Spike just in that position. And for a moment, he gets caught up in the seduction of fame.
As logged by Spikewitwicky
It's 1986. A small crew from Tiger Beat arrives at the Ark. Spike, who's almost 16 - is elated. He's going to be in Tiger Beat! But for his father, it may cause him a bit of trepidation. After all, they are a pretty modest family, and any interviews have so far been of the hard news variety. Spike, in his typical work clothes (utility boots, work shirt) looks on as the crew sets up. He looks at Sparkplug and tries to put a positive spin. "I mean, you've done a few interviews with like Newsweek and Time. I think this will be good to like..educate kids...who usually don't read that stuff!"
One of the fashion photographers blanches as he sees the very futuristic, but very decayed look of the Ark. The producer winces. "Oh...the lighting here is beyond terrible. Maybe...one in their like 'big computer room' - but then a few outside."
Sparkplug is in one of the two suits he owns. He is visibly sweating and keeps pulling at his collar. "Sure, son," he says distractedly. "Are you going to have to wear makeup for this?" He eyes the magazine crew as they get set up. "Just remember - I demanded to get final say on what photos they use of you. Try to look dignified. You're a Witwicky, not a Beatle."
Spike rolls his eyes slightly, but sighs obediently “Yessir…”
The producer nods emphatically. "Oh yeah, but that's just for camera work, Mr. Witwicky. The film we are using and the lighting...it just...is better suited when you see the final product. But yes, due to the lighting requirements, makeup will be a must.” He then turns to Spike and looks on in dread. "You're...not...going to wear that...right?" Spike looks at his work outfit, then looks at dad. "Well...I was kind of thinking...I mean...well...yeah." The producer shakes his head. "Oh...no...no." He pats Spike on the shoulder. "Don't worry, we actually got some clothes for you.
Brandi will take you back."
A very beautiful, almost enough for Spike to briefly, for a second, forget about Carly, gestures Spike "C'mon, I'll show you the trailer. I'll take care of you!"
A dumb, eager smile falls on Spike's face.
Sparkplug frowns, his eyebrows knitting together. "No, hold on. Just what are you going to dress him in? Son, I'm going with you." He looks daggers at this 'Brandi'.
Bumblebee mysteriously appears on the set. "All right, so...where do you want me?" He has almost as equally of dumb grin on his face, getting to be in front of the cameras - a rarity given his small size - and the fact that he's routinely overshadowed by the other more boisterous Autobots.
Spike looks over at Sparkplug.
The producer nods, gesturing to Sparkplug. "He'll be fine. We're on a tight schedule." He looks at Bumblebee. "Uh...actually...maybe we can do a few shots of you...at the end (for filler)." He adds "But I was HOPING to get maybe...like, Sideswipe, Sunstreaker...or Tracks." He looks at Sparkplug and Spike "Kids tend to gravitate to 'flashy' cars."
Spike is being ushered away by Brandi. He looks over his shoulder. "But...Bumblebee is like...my best friend!” Bumblebee looks on, crestfallen. He quickly recovers, thinking about Prime's directives to put up a good face for the Autobots - hearts and minds.
”You know what...that's okay. Actually, I got some work I need to do anyway."
Sparkplug looks quickly from Brandi, who's leading Spike away, to Bumblebee, to the producer. "Now, hold on!" he says, raising his voice slightly. "We Witwickys are plain, hardworking folk. We don't need to be putting on airs and pretending we're something we're not." Says the mechanic in the suit. "And Bumblebee here is just as much an Autobot as any of the rest of 'em, 'flashy' or not."
The producer sighs and says "Mr. Witwicky - you want kids to know about the Autobots?" He gestures "Your son looks like damn construction worker right now." He adds "Trust me, I know what I'm doing. I've done these things before."
Spike is brought/lured back to the trailer. Brandi begins to wash his hair. Massaging his scalp, his handler says "I bet you have to be REALLY brave to live here, with all of the Decepticon attacks!" Spike grins and says sort of in a goofy, quivering voice "Not...really...the Autobots really do a fantastic job protecting us...just like they do with all the other humans on this planet!"
Miguel, who looks as alluring as Brandi (but is a guy) - styles Spike's hair. Spike looks at the outfit that's on the hanger. It looks like it came out of the set of 'Miami Vice.' Spike's eyes widen in wonder as he points, "I'm wearing THAT?!"
Miguel nods and says "Yup!" He asks the young man how much he thinks the shirt and blazer cost. Spike shakes his head. "I don't know..."
Miguel whispers into the boy's ear "$2,500!"
Spike's eyes widen "Oh my god, that's more than a used car!"
Miguel and Brandi both laugh. Working folks. Gotta love 'em.
Bumblebee shakes his head at Sparkplug and says in a 'that's okay' tone, but Sparkplug will likely gauge a bit of resentment. "It's fine, Sparkplug." He then leaves. The producer cranes his neck over Sparkplug's shoulder and yells out to Bumblebee "Can you get either Tracks, Jazz, or Sunstreaker, or that Sideswipe to get here?" Bumblebee then turns his head and says "Yes. I will do that!"
As Brandi begins to apply some makeup to Spike's face, Miguel begins to pull, comb, and shape Spike's hair. The teenager frowns slightly as he feels paste, mousse, and goop begin to literally spike his hair. Spike frowns "What the hell? This isn't how I wear my hair!" Brandi grins and then gives Spike an ice cold Dr. Pepper. "I like it...and I bet a lot of girls are going to like it too!" Spike gives a skeptical look at Brandi "Are you sure?"
Brandi nods. Spike then reluctantly nods. Brandi looks like she knows what she's doing, and she wouldn't lie to him.
Miguel brings out the hair dryer. "Besides...the hair style will fit. Spiked hair. Your name's Spike!"
Spike chuckles slightly, getting more nervous. "Yeah..."
Back on the set...
"And what's wrong with construction workers?" Sparkplug demands, raising his voice a bit louder. "I want kids to know the truth about the Autobots - they're not all flashy cars and gammers. We're working here - not goofing off and burnin' rubber any chance we get." He looks around quickly and then scowls at the producer. "Where have you taken my son?"
Spike walks out, almost on cue. He looks like mix of New Wave, Miami Vice, and a little hair metal. He looks at Sparkplug and gives a 'hands up' gesture, showing off the outfit, doing a bit of a runway turn. "Dad...you won't BELIEVE how much this outfit cost! It's like almost as much as you paid for your truck!"
The producer's frown turns upside down as he sees Spike. He claps to Miguel and Brandi. "BRAV-O I was worried - but you...Spike...you like a teen idol right now!"
Spike walks to his dad, waiting for him to express his pride in how far he's come.
Brandi pats one of Spike's shoulder pads. "You...are ready for the camera!" Spike grins shyly. "Thanks...Brandi."
Sparkplug scowls. "What did they do to your hair?" As soon as Spike is in arm's reach, Sparkplug tries to mush down Spike's hair, only to recoil in disgust as he winds up with a palm coated in product. He quickly wipes his hand on his suit pants and turns angrily towards the producer. "What's the meaning of this... getup?" Sparkplug gestures in frustration at Spike's new look. "You're going to make me snap my cap!" he warns.
The producer looks on in confusion at Sparkplug's slang. Spike pulls away. "Dad! You're messing it up!"
Spike gives an irritated frown at Sparkplug, and pulls his arm away from his father's grasp.
"DAD, THESE GUYS KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING!"
Sparkplug looks from the producer to Spike, brows furrowed and with a deep frown creasing his face. "Spike?" he asks in confusion. "You're Ok with this?"
GAME: Spike PASSES an INTELLIGENCE roll of High difficulty.
Spike blinks, Sparkplug's confusion has actually hit the bullseye. He looks at his pressed white pants, and his hot neon pink undershirt and his teal blue blazer.
Spike looks over at Brandi and the producer, who is pointing to his watch.
Sparkplug looks as helpless and lost as Spike has ever seen him, completely out of his element. He seems to be waiting on Spike to decide what's right for him and what isn't.
Anthony, the writer of the profile gives a slightly irritated look. He loved the story about a widowed father and his son, from such a humble beginning is now living with robots, but now, his interview subject is looking at junior Brat Pack member in the making.
Spike blinks and sighs "I...forgot something...I need for this shoot. I'll be back."
Spike looks on at his dad, he hasn't seen that look often, but when he sees it, it cuts. It seems like a look of shame. Spike walks, then jogs to a corridor. He then goes into the makeshift bathroom Sparkplug and Wheeljack made when they first arrived. Spike looks at his face in the mirror. He DOES look like a bit of a rock star. But, it's utterly artificial.
Sparkplug looks at the producer and says vaguely, "Uh... give him a minute."
A sad expression falls on Spike's face. He pauses and then goes to his cot and gets another pair of his work clothes (another pair of jeans, same dusty utility boots). He then goes in and takes a shower. Which takes him about 15 minutes to wash out the goop.
Sparkplug rasps, "He, uh... should be right back."
The producer yells out "Jesus Christ, I have ANOTHER shoot today!" Anthony, the writer walks up to Sparkplug and frowns at the producer. "Give the kid a second..."
Sparkplug takes the lifeline from the writer. "Yeah. This piece is about my son! You asked for it! You're getting it! Now give him a minute."
Spike gets out. Good ol' fashioned Ivory soap. He frantically dries his hair with a towel, and buttons up his tan shirt. He looks at his face in the mirror and gives a sad smile. He does put some stuff in his hair, but it's minor, and it's the grocery store brand he bought with his own money. He walks back sheepishly and looks at Sparkplug and gives a slight smile.
The producer gives an almost comedic look of horror. Miguel looks on "My work! What did you do?!"
Spike walks to his dad and stammers slightly "Heyah..."
Anthony smiles wryly to the producer, "You're right. You have another shoot today. You're going to have to shoot this kid and his dad 'as-is' or have nothing!"
- NOW* Sparkplug beams with pride. "Like I said -- you wanted my son. You're getting my son. Not some -- Buster Crabbe version of him!"
Spike blinks and gives a look at confusion at Sparkplug's remark.
Anthony grins and gestures outside. "Let's maybe do a bit of the interview outside." He gestures Sparkplug and Spike outside. As Spike and Sparkplug walk, as soon as they get out of earshot, Spike looks over to Sparkplug. "Sorry I kind of got carried away earlier..."
Sparkplug grins and pats his son roughly on the back. "It's no problem, son. The important thing it, you realized it was better to just be yourself, rather than what others want you to be. You keep that in mind, and you'll stay out of a lot of trouble," he advises sagely.
Walking by his dad’s side as he heads outside, he mutters “Yessir.”
Anthony sits Spike and Sparkplug down on a large rock and begins to ask a series of questions about Spike and the Autobots. When asked what Spike wants everyone reading this to know about the Autobots, Spike takes a long moment to think before saying "I guess I just want people to know they have almost the same feelings as us. And they hate war as much as we do. And they'd lay their lives down to protect us."
Anthony smiles at that. He says "I think the Autobots are lucky to have the both of you." He looks at Spike. "Who would you call your 'best friend' here?"
Sparkplug falls silent, continuing to beam with pride and letting his son do the talking.
Spike smiles and says "I mean, Bumblebee...I would have to say him." He looks at Sparkplug "But...I mean, honestly, I'd have to say it's my dad." He smiles at Sparkplug and says "He's always there for me. I know he's my dad, but I feel like he's my best friend as well.”
Anthony smiles and says "I think we're done..."
Sparkplug opens his mouth, looking both flabbergasted and proud at the same time.
Anthony looks at Sparkplug. "You were going to say something?"
Spike looks at Sparkplug, waiting for him to say something.
Sparkplug stammers, "Oh, uh... No, I think Spike said it all!" He reaches over to further muss up his son's hair.
Spike chuckles, he's a bit old to have his hair messed up, but he doesn't seem to mind. As the producer looks around frantically, Spike runs to where Bumblebee most likely is. He spots Bumblebee and clears his throat. "Heyah Bee..."
Spike grins sheepishly. "You mind takin' a photo with me?"
As everyone waits for Spike to return, Anthony grins to Sparkplug. "You sound like you're an awesome dad. It was a pleasure talking with you today, sir."
Bumblebee is just a little ways away, trying hard not to look like dejectedly he's watching the setup while waiting for one of the 'flashier' Autobots to arrive. He looks surprised, however, at Spike's question. Voice rising to an even higher register than usual, he asks, "Me? You mean it?" He looks touched.
Back on set, Sparkplug grins at Anthony. "And a pleasure talking with you - the only one interested in meeting my actual son, who is a great kid!" Sparkplug holds out a calloused hand, still slightly greasy from Spike's hair product.
Spike grins and gestures "C'mon, let's get these hot shots outta here." He grins "I don't want to be photographed with any other 'bot." He pats Bumblebee's arm.
If anything, the goop may help seal a cracked valve head gasket if they got into a tight spot.
"You got it, pal!" Bumblebee says enthusiastically, and heads over to take part in the shoot.