Category Archives: Cartoons

Focus Pocus

by Mark Fearing

Kids and adults say the darndest things at a focus group for a cartoon show. 2,630 words. Story and illustrations by Mark Fearing.

Kate DeMarca sat in a reasonably comfortable chair behind the glass in a darkened room watching eight and nine year olds file into a fake living room. She was working on her third latte. That isn’t a good way to keep calm but the interns, who seemed impossibly young and thin, will bring you anything you want during a focus group.

Focus Pocus was a faceless building buried amongst the strip malls in the Valley and it was already 95 degrees at 9 in the morning. Normally this wouldn’t be a big issue but for the fact that the air conditioning was on the fritz. So Kate, Stanley Demowitz and Leah Cause were starting to feel like they were in a sauna.

“It’s not just me, right? I mean, it’s hot in here, right?” Stanley said.

Kate rolled her eyes because he was the SVP in charge and now Stanley needed permission to feel hot. If his Dad wasn’t the CEO of Bank of California and who happened to be best friends with the head of the animation studio Kate worked for, he’d be… what? A banker? A stay-at-home dad? A regional sales manager for toilet paper?

“But the kids are comfortable, that’s the important thing. Their room still has cooling,” said Leah, always the voice of staying-on-track and getting-to-the-point and getting promoted.

“It’s fucking hot,” confirmed Kate.

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