The Meepit Show Strikes Again
(Setting: The Altador Stadium, not as empty as it could be. The Yooyuball goals have been removed and replaced with a large podium in the centre. In a semi-circle around the podium are five stools. A Mutant Scorchio is standing on the podium, and the chairs are filled with the five contestants – from left to right, a Blue Eyrie, a Blue Korbat, a Blue Xweetok, a Blue Yurble and a Red Ruki. At the very top of the stadium, neon letters read ‘Quiz Neopia’. Around the outside of the stadium, there are three entrances. One entrance is marked ‘Contestants’, another is marked ‘Roan’ and the third one is labelled ‘Producxzq’. A producer stands nervously just under the latterly-mentioned exit.)
ROAN: Good evening, and welcome to the Meepit Show. My name is Roan, and...
PRODUCER: Roan, it’s not evening.
ROAN: (Turning to the producer) What?
PRODUCER: It’s noon. It’s not evening.
ROAN: And who mentioned an evening?
PRODUCER: You did. Just then.
ROAN: Well, I was saying it for the benefit of everybody who lives in Shenkuu.
PRODUCER: (Brief pause) Shenkuu is in the same time zone as us.
ROAN: What about those Shenkuu people who live in Meridell?
PRODUCER: In that case, it may be evening. But for everybody watching, it’s noon.
ROAN: If you insist. (Returning to face the contestants) So, we have five contestants today. I have been informed that I need to refer to you by your real names, which is quite disappointing, but I’ll try to live with it. Anyway, introduce yourselves.
EYRIE: Hello, my name is Poddragos, and I live in Meridell.
KORBAT: Good afternoon, my name is Willine, and I come from the Lost Desert.
XWEETOK: My name is Jocaster, and I live on Mystery Island.
YURBLE: My name is Hakka, and I live in the Haunted Woods.
RUKI: My name is Elgra, and I live in Shenkuu.
ROAN: (Sarcastically) Fascinating. (Normally) Now, this competition has been changed slightly, as some people (glaring at the producer for a second) believe that the points system is a little bit biased. Therefore, I will ask you each a question on a certain topic. You will then have to vote on who you believe is the worst player. Whoever is voted the worst will be forced to leave. Now, we have a special wheel, to help determine which subject will be used first. (Shouting) Producer! The wheel!
PRODUCER: What wheel?
ROAN: The Wheel of Subject Choosing.
PRODUCER: We couldn’t get one.
ROAN: What have we got, then?
PRODUCER: Er... well... we managed to hire... one.
ROAN: What? Which one?
PRODUCER: The Wheel of Monotony.
ROAN: Oh. Well, bring it out.
(The producer disappears, then reappears a moment later with some other pets, who are not described here for the simple reason that they are fairly unimportant. The Wheel, on the other hand, is fairly important for at least the next couple of minutes, and may cause something at least remotely amusing, and is therefore described in slightly more detail. Around the edge, various subjects are stuck on pieces of paper, covering the original symbols. These subjects include ‘History’, ‘Sport’, ‘Literature’ and ‘Entertainment’. The wheel is placed behind Roan’s pedestal, and the unimportant pets depart.)
ROAN: I’ll spin the wheel.
(Roan steps down from his pedestal and pulls the side of the wheel. It begins to spin.)
ROAN: And where the wheel stops, that is the subject you will be quizzed on.
(Wheel continues to spin.)
ROAN: Any minute now.
ROAN: Well, whilst that’s happening, let’s get to know some of the contestants. So, Elgra, how come you’re red?
ELGRA: Well, I suppose it’s just because I am.
ROAN: Interesting. And Hakka, what do you do when you’re not in Altador.
HAKKA: I work part-time for Sidney selling scratch cards.
ROAN: I’m sorry, I can’t do this. (He moves across to the wheel, and grabs hold of the side. The wheel slowly grinds to a halt.)
ROAN: And the topic is... Entertainment! Let the questions begin! We start with the person who is first alphabetically. That’s you, Willine.
ELGRA: I’m first alphabetically!
ROAN: Don’t argue. Willine, in Turmac Roll, the base value of an Aquaberry is how many points?
WILLINE: Er... (starts counting on her fingers) One... two... three...
ROAN: You’ll never get there. We’re looking for two hundred. Jocaster, Snowmuncher launched to fame which Polarchuck?
JOCASTER: That would be Dieter.
ROAN: I’m sorry, we were looking for ‘two hundred’.
JOCASTER: No, it’s definitely...
ROAN: You lose ten points!
JOCASTER: But we don’t score points.
ROAN: Just because you’re losing. Hakka, in Neoquest II, what is the name of the main character?
ROAN: No, it’s Dieter! Silly blue Yurble. Fancy thinking that Rohane was in Neoquest II!
PRODUCER: Roan, there’s been a slight printing error on the cards.
ROAN: The answers seem right to me. Elgra, the name of the game where two Petpets battle each other in an arena is called what vs Feepit?
ELGRA: Erm... Rohane?
ROAN: Is correct. I do love a good game of Rohane vs Feepit. Poddragos, the game where users are able to use a mallet on the team of people who make Neopets is called Whack-a-...what?
ROAN: (Whispering) Not so loud! They’ll hear you! They don’t like that game. (Normal voice) Yes, that is correct. And that is the end of the round. I’ll start the wheel now, so that it’s chosen a subject by the time we need it. (He spins the wheel.) Right, please state the name of the pet that you wish to leave this show.
ROAN: (Short pause) You’re not allowed to do that! You’ve all got to vote for different people. Do it again! And you can’t vote for the same person again.
ROAN: (Longer pause) Are you doing this deliberately? Are you trying to test my patience?
ROAN: Answer me! You, Jocaster. Why?
ROAN: Don’t interrupt me. Right, we’re doing it again.
ROAN: (Interrupting) No, stop. We’ve got a unanimous decision. Sorry, Elgra, your game is up.
ROAN: And, as a result of a generous donation from our sponsor, Dr I. N. Sane of the Neopian Laboratory, we have a special method of removing our unwanted guests. ACTIVATE THE LAB RAY!
(From one end of the stadium, a cannon rises out of a seat, aims itself at the unfortunate Elgra, and fires a beam. Elgra vanishes. The other contestants look startled.)
PRODUCER: (Hastily) Don’t worry, it’s just... sent her home, that’s all.
ROAN: (Turning) Really? I thought it turned them into soot? (Producer makes silencing gestures.) Wasn’t that what you said? You said that you didn’t really have any control over it (gestures grow more frantic), and that they’d be lucky to arrive home in one piece. (Producer throws rock at Roan.) Ow. What was that for? (Glares at Producer, before turning back to the contestants) We move on to Round Two.
(Roan spins the wheel. The wheel spins. And spins. And carries on spinning.)
ROAN: (Stares at the wheel for a while before giving up) Tell you what, I’ll choose the next round. Let’s go for... History.
(Loud klaxon sounds from somewhere)
ROAN: And that sound, kindly provided by our sponsors from Loud And Pointless Noises Inc., means that the subject is swapped for its direct opposite. Therefore, you will now be quizzed on events in the future. Poddragos, what major event will happen six years from now?
PODDRAGOS: Er... Neoschools will be released?
ROAN: (Scoffing) No! That’s not going to happen as soon as that. No, the answer we were looking for was ‘Neopia will be invaded by mutant Meepits.’ (Takes another look at the card). Really? (Frowns at it for a second, then shrugs). Oh well. Willine, in Geography, in what year did Dr Sloth finally take his revenge on Neopia?
WILLINE: (Long period of silence) Pass.
ROAN: Correct. We don’t know either. Jocaster, in Meridellian Royalty, when will King Skarl announce his abdication from the throne?
JOCASTER: ...Next year?
ROAN: (Interested) Will he?
JOCASTER: (Uncertainly) Er...yes?
ROAN: Oh, OK. That’s not what I’ve got written down, but I’ll believe you. Hakka, this is an audio question. In which month will this happen?
HAKKA: Will... what happen?
ROAN: (Turning to Producer, and talking in a stage whisper) Have we not got the live band?
PRODUCER: (Whispering equally loudly) No. Live Bands Ltd pulled out, because they thought the show wasn’t worth it.
ROAN: At least they had a valid reason. So, we can’t do the audio questions?
ROAN: (Returning to the contestants, smiling) So, Hakka, produced an answer yet?
HAKKA: (Confused) But I haven’t heard my audio yet.
ROAN: (Appearing puzzled) Haven’t you? I heard it. Did you, Producer?
PRODUCER: (Quickly) Oh, yes!
HAKKA: (More confused) Can you play it again?
ROAN: (Slightly flustered) Er... well... we, er... um... yes, of course. (Short pause) Did you get it that time?
HAKKA: (Extremely confused) But you didn’t play anything!
ROAN: I think somebody’s playing for time. Just answer the question!
HAKKA: Er... the Month of Gathering?
ROAN: We were looking for the Month of Eating, so close enough.
(Another klaxon sounds.)
ROAN: And I have no idea what that one means, but it sounds important, so it’s probably the end of the round. Vote, please, for the contestant you don’t want to not miss the chance not to fail to get to the final.
ROAN: Place your votes now!
PODDRAGOS: (Uncertainly) Hakka... I think.
HAKKA: (Hesitantly) Er... Poddragos.
ROAN: Poddragos, you’ve received the most votes. Unfortunately, you now have to leave...
PODDRAGOS: (Interrupting, panicked) But Hakka got the same number of votes!
ROAN: (Pausing for a moment, and counting on his fingers) Oh yes! Thank you. You get a point for that. In this situation, then, we do a tie break. PRODUCER! FETCH THE TIE!
(Producer produces a tie and a pair of scissors, producing things being the speciality of a producer.)
ROAN: (Cutting the tie in half) Right. That’ll decide it.
ROAN: (Staring thoughtfully at the two pieces of tie) I’m not entirely sure. (Dropping the pieces) Oh, let’s just let the lab ray decide again.
(The ray rises from the stand again, and fires down. The beam hits Jocaster, who turns into a Mortog.)
ROAN: (Nonplussed) ...Erm... OK... right... anyway. (Regrouping) Very well. Jocaster, you have been eliminated from this round. Producer, go and tell Kiss the Mortog that we’ve got a new contestant for them. Make sure they pay for it this time – they’ve had the first two free, after all.
(Producer scoops up the Mortog, who looks confused, and carries him away. Jocaster croaks.)
ROAN: We move on to Round Three. Let’s check the wheel! (The wheel continues to spin.) Let’s not check the wheel! Round Three will be a pot luck round!
(Excited murmurs from the crowd)
ROAN: Don’t worry, it’s not that interesting. Basically, I’m going to show all of the contestants a pot, and they’ve got to tell me how lucky they think it is.
(The Producer, returning remarkably quickly from delivering the Mortog all the way to Meridell, arrives with an ordinary flowerpot, which he gives to Roan. Roan shows the contestants the pot.)
ROAN: So, Poddragos, how lucky do you think this pot is?
PODDRAGOS: Er... quite?
ROAN: Interesting, interesting... Willine?
WILLINE: (Examining the pot carefully) I would say it would probably not be very lucky at all.
ROAN: (Attempting to raise a suave eyebrow, but failing, raising two instead and merely looking startled) Controversial, certainly. And Hakka?
HAKKA: (Confidently) I think it’s very lucky.
ROAN: And, by ‘very’ lucky, do you mean more than ‘quite’ lucky?
ROAN: Congratulations. You have won this round! (Hakka looks pleased.) And, as your reward, you win the pot (Roan passes the pot to Hakka), and the honour of testing the luck of the pot against our ray!
(The ray appears again, and fires a beam at Hakka. Hakka vanishes, along with the pot)
ROAN: Turns out to be not so lucky after all! (He laughs nervously, seeing the petrified looks on the faces of the remaining two contestants.) Don’t worry! He’ll probably turn up in Neoquest sooner or later. Somebody will find him. Hopefully.
(The lab ray makes a loud humming noise. Roan looks nervously at it.)
ROAN: (Turning to face the Producer) That doesn’t sound very healthy. Is it supposed to be doing that? (Producer shrugs.) Well, go and find Dr Sane, and ask him!
(Producer runs off, and Roan turns quickly back to the contestants.)
ROAN: (Speaking quickly) And now, we move on to the final, quick fire round. And we turn to the wheel for the subject of this round. (Roan turns to face the wheel, which continues to spin.)
(The wheel continues to spin. Although this was also said in the previous paragraph, writing it again emphasises how long it is taking.)
ROAN: (Nervously) Hurry up! Come on, choose a subject. Don’t worry, it’ll be fine.
PODDRAGOS: Actually, I’m not that worried...
ROAN: Shut up, I wasn’t talking to you. (Muttering to himself) The ray won’t go off any time soon, and if it does, it’ll miss you, won’t it? It only recognises contestants, and you’re the host, aren’t you? You’re not a contestant. It won’t hit you. If it aims at you, it’ll miss. It’s not very good... (muttering continues)
(A blast erupts from the ray. Roan jumps, and hides behind his pedestal, but the ray instead hits the wheel, which grinds to a halt. Roan leaps back onto the pedestal, and checks the wheel.)
ROAN: The last subject is Entertainment. (He checks his cards.) Oh, we’ve already done that one. We’ll need to spin again. (He pushes the wheel, which begins to rotate again. He resumes his nervous muttering, which is becoming more and more unintelligible.)
(The wheel clicks around for a long time, and the humming gets gradually louder. Eventually, the producer returns, dragging a Scorchio in glasses with him.)
PRODUCER: Roan, Dr Sane has no idea why it’s making the noises.
ROAN: (Whimpering slightly) Oh great, he doesn’t know. He has no idea why the big lab ray thing doesn’t work. We’re all going to be zapped. I’m going to stop being a Scorchio. I’ll be turned into a Korbat with no wings, or... or a Flotsam with no tail. And I’ll probably have no hit points. And purple. And female! (He shudders) I can’t do this anymore. I quit!
PRODUCER: (In a side whisper to Dr Sane) Can you turn the ray off?
DR SANE: No. It’s self sufficient now.
ROAN: It can’t be turned off! Oh no!
(The humming reaches a crescendo, and, suddenly, the ray starts firing beams wildly around the stadium. The audience screams as various parts of them are zapped into different colours and species, and make for the door, where their owners eagerly stop them from leaving, in the hope of getting a free rare colour. Roan screams, and begins to run around in circles. The two remaining contestants flee through the ‘Contestants’ exit.)
(Suddenly, the ray fires down into the central pedestal, where Roan had been standing before. A large explosion racks the whole of the Altador stadium, and pets are blasted out of the arena left, right and centre. Roan, the Producer and Dr Sane huddle together in the middle of the ground.)
PRODUCER: (Looking around, at the fires starting all around the stadium) This doesn’t look too good...
DR SANE: I think the ray may be misfiring...
ROAN: (Whining) I can’t think of a witty, sarcastic remark, but I can at least end my sentence with the three dots...
(The ray, with a strong sense of narrative purpose, turns to face the three pets in the centre of the stadium)
PRODUCER: I think now might be a good time to end this show.
ROAN: Probably. Well, that’s all we’ve got time for in this edition of the Meepit Show...
PRODUCER: (Whispering) Faster, it’s about to fire.
ROAN: ...we hope you enjoyed it! Stay safe – we probably won’t – and we’ll see you next time. Hopefully. Thank you, and good...
(Unable to wait another word for the sake of the narrative, the ray fires at the three. They vanish. Echoing unsaid, amongst the columns of the stadium, is the last word.)
UNSAID ECHO: Evening...
UNSAID ECHO OF PRODUCER: It’s noon, Unsaid Echo.
UNSAID ECHO: Does it really matter? Nobody can hear this, anyway.