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Rao's Solution

Rao's Solution

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Rao's Solution

1/5 (1 évaluation)
235 pages
3 heures
Mar 15, 2016


Rao’s Solution is a fast-paced contemporary story about the struggle to end wage inequality—all told in the context of a tale of political intrigue, espionage, love triangles and the struggles of a father, mother and son to resolve their many differences.

Paul Earl, a T.V producer, who has establishment roots, struggles to salvage his career. When he creates a new feel–good game show, based on a fair game of chance that is designed to help the poor during the Holiday Season, his world turns upside down. He finds comfort in the arms of one of his contestants, Maria, who unbeknownst to Paul, is already involved in a love triangle with a rogue fugitive CIA agent, Pete Sanchez. Sanchez, while on assignment in South America, was thought to be involved in a plot to assassinate, Karamchand Rao, the President of his country who had instituted new laws designed to eliminate income disparity amongst his country’s citizens. Sanchez is thought to be New York where he is being pursued by both the FBI and Nadi Rood, the head of a Rao’s intelligence service.

Meanwhile Paul’s T.V show takes an unexpected turn for the worst. The poor contestants, who the show is designed to help, do not fare well, and it is only the rich contestants who appear to benefit from the show’s game even though the game provides a mathematically equal opportunity for rich and poor guests to win. Attempts to improve the show and help the poor take unexpected turns as behind the scenes efforts by network executives unexpectedly result in giving rich contestants even greater returns.

To add to Paul’s challenges, he finds himself at odds with both his estranged wife, Alexa, and with his son, Chris, a college student who is a member of a fraternity, whose activities appear to go beyond traditional fraternity partying and appear to further a decidedly aggressive leftist political agenda. Paul and Alexa are thrown together when their son’s life is threatened.

Paul's fundamental beliefs are challenged.
Mar 15, 2016

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Rao's Solution - David Dixon Lentz



It was a hot sweltering night in the Guyanese jungle. A Jeep with flashing blue lights quickly approached a small bungalow and slammed on the brakes. The driver and passenger quickly alighted and drew their pistols. The passenger, who wore a suit, directed the other, the uniformed driver, to the rear of the structure while he hurried to the front door.

Sanchez, this is the Guyanese Security Service! barked the officer in charge as he pounded on the door. Come out, now, with your hands up! It will be much easier if you surrender!

Inside, a dog, obviously large and aggravated, menacingly barked at the front door. The sole occupant was sweaty, unshaven and unkempt. He had heard the vehicle approach and, surmising the identity of its occupants, quickly placed his just finished letter into a red envelope and stuffed it into his pocket. He then peered cautiously between the cracks of the window shade at the side of the front door. Seeing the Jeep, he clutched his ready pistol. Though his heart was racing, he had been in similar situations before for the agency. It was his training, in fact, that kept him focused and under control. He grabbed his German shepherd by the collar. Max, ssshhhh. Heel boy! Heel! he whispered. He then quickly pulled the well-trained canine to the window at the other side of the room and away from the front door.

The knocking on the door became louder and more urgent.

Come out, Sanchez! I will not ask again!

Sanchez quietly slid the window open. Sic‘em, Max!

The guard dog leaped for the open window. He briefly stumbled as he hit the ground and raced around the corner for the front of the house. Sanchez quickly followed by rolling out of the window. Max could be heard snarling and barking as he attacked one of the officers. Suddenly, the loud crack of a gunshot pierced the night along with barking and then screaming.

Sanchez knew if he was going to get away that he would have to leave Max to his fate. The officers would surely have backup in a moment. He stopped to look both ways to see if either officer was approaching his side of the building. Seeing no one, he bolted into the black jungle. Between the sounds of the swishing undergrowth and the whip of branches, two additional shots rang out, a yelp and then silence.


Friday, October 31st.

It was a Friday afternoon. Paul Earl sat nervously outside the board room of WXBS waiting to be called in to explain his idea for a new television game show. The fact that it was Halloween was not lost upon him. He just hoped that his luck would turn and that the goblins wouldn’t put a hex on the ideas he had for his new show like they had with some of his more recent television production efforts. Quite frankly, Paul was growing a little concerned about his job security as an executive producer at the network. Thank God, his father-in-law was friends with a couple members of WXBS’s Board. Any optimism he felt in that regard, however, was quickly dampened by the fact that he and his wife, Alexa, had separated several months ago.

Just three months ago, the Board of Directors of WXBS had decided that it would require that all programming decisions of the network be approved by the full Board. This was because it was dissatisfied with the performance of series of network officers who were given the responsibility of overseeing the network’s evening news and entertainment lineup. As part of its programming shakeup, the Board had, only three weeks ago, assigned Paul the task of coming up with a five to seven minute game show to compete with a new lottery show on another network. The show, if approved, would commence during the first week of December and run, Monday through Friday, until New Year’s Eve. The Board wanted the show to air between the national and local news. They hoped that it would boost the ratings of the local news show which had been lagging for many months. The Board also desired that the show’s theme be in keeping with the benevolent spirit of the holiday season. In other words, the Board wanted a feel good show that helped the poor and disadvantaged.

Suddenly, the door to the waiting room opened. You can come in now, Mr. Earl, beckoned the secretary.

Thanks, responded Paul as he rose and walked into the mahogany-paneled Board Room that sat thirty-eight floors above the New York City skyline. He sat down at the long table nodding at his boss, Bill Fieber, who was also Chairman of the Board and President of the network. Respectfully smiling, he also briefly acknowledged the others at the table. He really didn’t focus on any particular board members except Jack Thompson and Sandy Mars because they were also the ones who were the personal friends of his father-in-law, Luther Buckworth. The other two directors were Jack Finley and Tom Groat. The faces of the directors were expressionless, which was of no comfort to Paul.

So what do you have for us, Paul? We’re quite anxious to boost our ratings for the holiday season, began Mr. Fieber.

Paul coughed and cleared his throat. Yes sir. Thank you. I vaguely remember a show from my childhood where female contestants, who were often elderly and who came from poor or otherwise challenged backgrounds, would be put in a position to win substantial gifts and prizes. The prizes were often items that they sorely needed, such as washers, cars and the like. I was just a kid, but heck, I enjoyed the show and was genuinely glad for the ladies who were fortunate enough to win. Unfortunately, that show was a full 30 minutes long. So, and sort of continuing with that concept, I tried to come up with a similar idea that would fit into a very short segment. Because the show must be short and because urgent financial need should be the key selection criteria that would qualify contestants to be selected to appear on the show, I felt that they, the contestants, should be put in a position to win what they needed most, namely cash -- one hundred thousand dollars to be specific.

That’s a lot of money for such a short show, Paul, groused Tom Groat.

Well, if we want ratings, we got to pay the price, Mr. Groat.

Go on.

So, I came up with the idea of soliciting persons who have friends and neighbors who were in urgent financial need to nominate those persons to participate in the game show. As I said, they could win $100,000 if they correctly guessed whether a large replica of a coin turned up heads or tails when it was flipped.

That’s it? A coin flip? How’s that gonna hold an audience’s interest? moaned Jack Thompson.

Jack, sir, if you could wait just one second, there’s a lot more.

Okay. I’ll hold my questions.

Anyway, continued Paul, losing only means that the contestants would go home empty handed. Contestants would have no risk of the actual out-of-pocket loss of any money. The contestant who actually would participate in the show, would be selected by the studio audience immediately prior to air-time from a small group of three nominated participants. We will do contestant selection off-air because of severe time constraints. But at least the studio audience will have a better sense of familiarity with the contestants, because they will know their background. The three nominees will also be chosen, again before the show, by a random drawing of three names from a group of persons nominated by their friends to be contestants. The network would vet all nominees before the show to be sure that they were sufficiently indigent and in urgent need of funds to qualify to be chosen as the contestant by the studio audience. Each member of the studio audience will vote for the nominee he or she desires to be the ultimate contestant by clicking a button on a remote voting device before the show. In other words, each member of the studio audience will, prior to the show, be given a device with buttons allowing them to vote for nominee one, two or three to be the person actually chosen to be the on-air contestant who flips the coin. The votes will be tabulated electronically. The nominee with the most votes will be selected to be the actual contestant for the show.

I hope there’s more, gruffed Mars.

Indeed, there is, continued Paul. To make the show much more interesting and entertaining, another person, a ‘guest star’, a person of obvious fame and fortune, will be given the right to try to buy the contestant’s right to flip the coin. This would happen if the guest star was able to convince the contestant to sell the contestant’s right to flip the coin to the guest star in exchange for the payment of a sum of money that the contestant and the guest star agreed upon. The negotiation, or bidding, between the guest star and the contestant would occur on stage during the show. If the contestant and guest star reached such an agreement then the guest star would immediately, during the show, pay the contestant, in cash, with the guest star’s own money, the amount of the bid or agreed upon sales price.

Paid with the guest star’s own money? asked Mars.

That’s right, paid by the guest star to the contestant right there on stage with the guest star’s own money.

So, the guest star had better be someone with some money, I take it.

That’s right, he would. Also, because of the short period of time with which we have to put this show together, we probably will have to ask each guest star to appear on the show for an entire week.

Go on.

So, if the guest star and the contestant agreed on a price to have the guest star flip the coin instead of the contestant, then the guest star would flip the coin and the guest star, and not the contestant, would either win the $100,000, which the guest star would keep, or the guest star would lose. If the guest star lost by incorrectly guessing a head or a tail then the only thing the guest star would lose would be the money that the guest star had paid to the contestant for the right to flip the coin. Maybe the phrase ‘only lose’ isn’t the best description because the amount agreed upon between the guest star and the contestant to give the guest star the right to flip the coin could be quite substantial, in which event, the guest star would lose a considerable sum if he didn’t correctly call the flip.

Paul looked around the room. He was heartened by the fact that no one was jumping down his throat. Perhaps sensing some momentum, he then quickly continued. As I said, the amount the guest star ultimately pays to the contestant for the right to flip the coin could be considerable. It all depends on how hard of a bargain the contestant drives to give up his or her right to flip the coin. In any event, all guest stars, should be both famous enough to drive ratings and rich enough to pay, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars, to any contestant desiring to sell his or her right to flip the coin.

Isn’t flipping a little bitty coin going to look ridiculous on television? asked Mr. Fieber.

Like I said, the coin will be large. In fact, it will be huge. I was thinking that the coin itself would be a 12 or more foot replica of a coin that had the head of George Washington on one side and an eagle on the other. One hundred thousand dollars would also be printed over the symbols on both sides of the coin. The giant coin would be placed on stage and spun end over end on a hinge that ran horizontally through the center of the coin about seven and one-half feet above the floor.

The Board then asked several more questions which Paul handled, to his relief, with ease. When the meeting finally concluded Paul thought that he had a slightly better than a fifty-fifty chance of getting his new show, the show he tentatively titled Flip for Cash, approved.


Paul sat in his office contemplating the events of the Board meeting an hour earlier. He was thinking about going home because it was difficult for him to concentrate. The meeting itself had left him feeling psychologically drained. Suddenly, his phone rang.

Hello, this is Paul Earl, he answered.

Hi dad, it’s Chris.

Hello, son, how are you?

Hanging in there, I guess. Mom said that I should call you.

Paul winced at Chris’s stated reason for calling. He did not believe that Chris’s mother had asked him to call. Paul felt that Chris was probably calling only for the usual reason. He wanted money and Paul found this to be hurtful. Paul just wished that Chris would, at least occasionally, pretend to care about him. Not thinking, Paul couldn’t quite contain his feelings. He blurted acerbically, I’m doing fine son. I say that just in case you were wondering or cared.

No sooner had Paul expressed his feelings, however, than he regretted his outburst. Not wanting another conversation with his son to go south, he quickly tried to recover and steer the conversation in a more amicable direction.

I’m sorry I said that, son. I’m a little keyed up I guess.

That’s okay, dad.

Anyway, did you hear that the Chinks are trying to build a naval base in Guyana? That Guyana guy…their President…what’s his name?

You mean President Rao, dad. And yes, I’ve heard about the Chinese, sighed Chris.

Excuse me, son. I know. I’ve got to be more politically correct and culturally sensitive. I meant the Chinese and not the Chinks. I guess I’m just jerking your chain, chuckled Paul. Anyway, I do think their President down there must be a commie. I saw on the news where he’s got some scheme going where he takes money from the companies doing business there and gives it to the lower classes. You know, a redistribution of the wealth sort of thing. A government program to give money to someone who didn’t earn it in the first place.

Dad, I really don’t want to get into it again with you, but that’s a gross exaggeration.

I don’t know, son, but it sounds to me like he wants to be another Castro. Next thing you know the Chinese will have nukes pointed right up our ass at Miami and New Orleans.

Well, maybe if we helped President Rao out, he wouldn’t go to the Chinese to help him build his seawall, came the son’s riposte. You know, dad, the oceans are rising, and Georgetown--that’s the capital of Guyana, is six feet under sea level, and the water is rising all of the time. What can I say, it’s global warming.

Mark my words, son, the Chinese want to control the Panama Canal. Carter should never have given it back to the Panamanians. With that base in Guyana, the Chinese will have one end of the canal pretty much sealed off. Oh well, what can you expect from those bleeding heart big government liberals. This country started to go all to hell with LBJ. Where’s Barry Goldwater when you need him? I’m telling you, that the Caribbean is going to be a communist lake if we aren’t careful.

Dad, please. I happen to know something about this. I’ve studied it. Rao isn’t a communist. He believes in free markets. The press has gotten it all a little confused. Yes, Rao did take a fifty percent interest in some of the companies that were owned by large corporate landowners, but he did pay the companies in question for their stake.

Yeah, I’ll bet. He probably paid them ten cents on the dollar.

That may be, I don’t know. I’ve heard that it was more than that, but who knows? I will say this, however, those companies haven’t left Guyana. So they must trust him on some level and they must still be making money. And, in any event, he is also requiring that all Guyanese workers be paid a wage that is based on a minimum percentage of what their bosses make. That way, if the higher ups get paid exorbitantly high wages, the workers will also be paid more. It’s a share the wealth idea that is different than traditional minimum wage laws.

That’s not right, son, objected Paul. "You don’t just take property or money away from someone

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