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Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

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The sun shone through the overarching structure of the Rip Ride Rockit lift hill. It was a beautiful day... but not for Universal Studios. 

"Man, dude... it's like, it's not even legal, you know?" Kanye was rapping over the phone, and the poor executive who had to deal with him nodded tiredly. In a bored, monotone voice, she answered:

"I see your problem sir, but you--"

"My problem? Y'all calling me a problem, fuck you, fuck your roller coaster, fuck the world, I'm God and Donald Trump is my wife."

The executive paused for a second, then just sighed. Her name was Valerie Monroe, and she had not left her job at Jurassic Park to deal with this.

"I see your problem sir, unfortunately--"

"I see. I see how it is, I see how y'all gonna play it. I want my song offa that ride NOW!" 

"I see your problem sir, unfortunately you signed a contract stating that we are allowed to use that song--" 

"I ain't signed shit!"

"--you signed a contract stating that we are allowed to use that song, and it would not only be a tiring, financially deprecating delay on ride refurbishments and guest satisfaction graphing, but it would take extremely painstaking technical interfacing to remove your single track from the ride's entire database of selectable audio options."

There was a long pause on Kanye's end. "Wha?!"

"It would be too hard to take your song off the list." 

Kanye very nearly blew up, and Val very nearly went blind because her eyes rolled too far back into her head. Eventually it was decided, it was out of the overworked, minimally paid employees' hands, and into those of the professionals...


"But you said tonight, Jennifer!" A tall, lanky brunette guy with headphones around his neck and tattoos up his arms chased an attractive woman with blue hair through the West Hollywood cafe. She whipped around, almost running into the giant video camera he always brought everywhere.

"Don't you dare call me by my full name in public Chad, you know that's a sore spot!" She fixed her flawless hair.

"Right. Right, sorry! Just... one drink. That's it!"

"What have I TOLD you?!" she snapped, "This is a professional relationship, Chad!!" 

Someone ran past them, and stopped. It was Barack Obama. "Oh my god, Jenny Lulu from Rip Ride Records? Can I please, uh, get your autograph?!" Jenny smirked as she signed this person's arm, then continued on as Chad stood there.

"I give autographs too!"

"Come on, Chad."

She dragged him along out of the cafe, and just as they were leaving, her cell buzzed. She took it out of the back pocket of her low rise jeans, and raised an eyebrow, answering. "Hey Claud."

"Hey girl. We got a major problem on our hands." It was Claudia, their redheaded music producing partner, who was currently working a job in Tennessee with her brother, Frank. Claudia was tall with a ruby red pixie cut, and Frank was short with an afro and sunglasses he never left the house without.

"Yea this is major, major!" Frank started to babble. "Kanye's gettin' all legal on our asses, saying that we stole his song and we're shirking him and--"

"Chill, man!" Chad interrupted him. 

"True. I meant, Kanye's got beef with the Rockit crew."

Jenny narrowed her eyes. "We'll be there tonight."

"Us too. Catch you later, boo."

 With a swift call, Jenny took Chad to the helipad where a helicopter with the orange Rockit logo emblazoned on the side. "Let's hit it," she said.

"HASTA!" Chad responded, turning up his headphones to Kickstart My Heart by Motley Crue.


Once both parties touched down in Orlando, Florida, they made their way to the production office, where their manager, Mika Zhao, was waiting. The group showed up at the doors: Jenny, the music video coordinator. Claudia, the record producer. Frank, the sound mixer. Chad, the cameraman. 

"Hi guys," Zhao greeted them. She was petite, with short, mousy brown hair that she always tucked behind her ears. A previous technical manager for some of Japan's biggest rock bands, she now often went by Tokyo Zhao, or Yoyo, as the Rockiteers had dubbed her cooler-sounding that way. 

"What's good, Yoyo?" Frank ran over to her, doing their secret handshake. 

"Man, you wouldn't believe how busy we've been. The label's picking up new clientele all over the globe-- we just signed some Metallica songs, and I'm halfway to cutting a deal with Marilyn Manson, my teenage crush! Eeeeee!" 

"What song're you trying to score from him?" Jenny raised an interested eyebrow, for she too, wanted to sleep with Marilyn Manson. 

"Kill 4 Me. I wanted This Is The New Shit, but Universal said nada to the expletives." Jenny rolled her eyes again. 

"Just make a side deal with Vevo and buy the 'This Is The New Hit' version." 

Zhao started to nod. "I like the way you think, baby."

"Too bad Kanye's ruining our rep with Universal, girl, or our success would be even bigger," Claudia scowled, taking off her cowboy hat and sitting down. 

"Yeah. End of summer bummer, man," Frank shook his head.

"We've been rocking out, making music video history for so long, we haven't really thought about the deets," Chad moped, and Jenny glared at him.

"We'll deal with Kanye's petty ass, then it'll be back on track. Literally. How's our ride doing otherwise?"

"Great! Everyone still loves it," Zhao nodded. 

"Except Kanye," Chad whispered.

"Zip it, Chad!" Jenny snapped. 

 "He's meeting with us tonight at 7," Zhao said, "He's flaming mad."

"So what's his deal?" Chad asked, "He thinks he didn't sign the contract?" 

"He thinks he signed it under duress. It's a stupid cover story, but he wants to get back at Universal for something. Not my business to know, not my business to care."

"All we gotta care about is makin' sure the best song on the Rockit stays put!" Claudia said, "Then Frank and I've gotta get back to Tennessee, or Dwight Yoakam'll walk!" 

"I dunno sis, he seemed pretty keen on the whole Guitars and Cadillacs thing," Frank mused. 

"Look, we gotta keep our focus in sight here," Jenny reminded everyone, "Halloween Horror Nights is less than two weeks away, and that's when everyone loves our ride the most." They looked at the time... 6:59 PM. They waited. And waited. 

And waited. 

Finally, at 10:30 PM, the doors burst open. "ALRIGHT KANYE'S in the BUILDIN fuck you, fuck you, you're aight, fuck you, peace out!" He turned around to leave, then remembered why he was there. "Oh yea, get my song OFFA THAT RIDE!"

"Hold up," Frank said, "You gotta chill man." Everyone did cowabunga symbols. "Your song Stronger is the best song we've got on the Rockit. Don't you care that you'd be taking that away from all the park guests and fans?!"

Kanye thought about it for a second. "Nah." 

"Well then," Jenny said, "Guess we've just gotta do what the safety video says not to do." 

Frank pressed a button on his studio mixer pad, and phones and other loose articles began to drop on Kanye from above.

"What the--"

"And THAT is why we have metal detectors, baby!" Frank laughed. Kanye began to scream. 

"It's Satan! IT'S SATAN!"

"Say, say, say 10," Zhao whisper-sang, giggling. 

"AHHHH! KEEP THE SONG, DEVIL WORSHIPERS! GOD IS IN MY HEART AND I TAKE JESUS IN MY ASS, HAIL TRUMP!" Kanye yelled, tripping over himself to leave. They all watched him, confused. 

"Well. This is totally gonna go down in music video history," Chad snickered. He had been filming the entire thing. 

The next night, everyone gathered around the Rip Ride Rockit, as the news of Stronger being saved on the playlist reached the world. 

"I'm so glad they won the lawsuit," Corinne said to Natalie, "I don't know what I'd do if they took that song off."

"Listen to Rainbow Connection probably," Natalie said, and they both laughed, because true. Val descended down to mingle among the living, and spotted some old coworkers in the crowd. She pushed her sunglasses up, pulled her hat down, and stuffed her hands in her pocket. 

"Bret? Adam? What are you two doing outside of the Park?" 

"Val!" Bret greeted, "Jurassic Parker and I decided to check this out. Before their boat got eaten up, the four record people behind this ride dropped a business card. Don't know how they survived the T-Rex, though." 

"That's the magic of Jurassic Park, River Adventure, I guess," Adam grinned, hugging his taller boyfriend. 

"Right," Val said, and gagged. "Where's--"

"They FINALLY agreed to an audition!" Edward came bounding out behind them, getting into line. 

"Amazing," Bret sighed, "Really happy for you."

"Hey hey hey," Terry approached with buckets of popcorn, "Popcorn, courtesy of Uncle Steve." Steven Spielberg came over, waving. 

"I love this ride," he said. "So glad Kanye agreed to keep his song on, or it just wouldn't have been the same here at Universal." Rob Zombie walked by, since he was there promoting his House of 1000 Corpses horror nights house and Hellbilly Deluxe scare zone. 

"Fuck yeah, man!" he metal-screamed, and slammed in the back of his Dragula.

From the control booth, Frank, Claudia, Jenny, and Chad watched the people on the ride, making sure the cameras on them all were functioning. 

"Great idea having the riders be a part of the music video, Chad," Claudia punched his shoulder. 

"Yeah... you get good ideas sometimes," Jenny huffed. 

"So can we grab drinks then?" Chad asked excitedly. 


As they were bickering and Claudia was trying to pull them apart, Frank put the headset on, and did the voice-over over the speakers of the roller coaster car as it ascended up the lift. 

"Hold on tight, baby, cause we're taking you skyward. Are you ready to rockit?!"

Six months later, the phone in Val's executive Universal office started to ring. 

"Hello, Monroe speaking," she finally answered after ten rings.

"No, this is Manson."


"No, fuckwit, he's dead. It's Marilyn."



"My last name's Monroe, sir."


"Who is this?"


"Oh. How are you tonight, sir?"

"Are you seriously using the censored Vevo version of This Is The New SHIT?! I'm suing."