The Meepit Show: The Edge of Nowhere
(Setting: Mystery Island, at morning, on a beach. The beach stretches on for miles to the east and west. To the north, waves lap on the sand, and, to the south, dense forest begins, and continues as far as the eye can see. As the forest is very dense, the eye cannot see very far, so it could only be a few feet deep, however, for narrative purposes, assume that the trees continue for miles. This may be incorrect, but, as you can only take the word of the person writing this description, you don’t have a choice as to what you choose to believe. Whether you believe the forest myth or not, what is indisputable is the three pets sitting in the sand. One is a Mutant Scorchio, looking rather cheerful, in the manner of the host of a game show, another is a Yellow Korbat, wearing large glasses and the sort of puzzled expression that you would associate with a scientist, and one is a pet of a species that has not yet been revealed, who looks faintly irritated, and rather Producer-esque.)
PRODUCER: (Glaring at the Korbat) And whose clever idea was this?
DR SANE: (Nervously flapping his wings) I assure you, this was not my plan.
PRODUCER: You did install a lab ray into the Altador Coliseum.
DR SANE: (Protesting) Which was perfectly safe!
PRODUCER: It turned you into a Korbat!
DR SANE: That was... er... deliberate.
DR SANE: (Defensively) Yes. I like the wings!
PRODUCER: You were a Scorchio!
DR SANE: Well, it was perfectly safe.
PRODUCER: It destroyed the entire stadium, and sent us to the middle of nowhere.
DR SANE: Firstly, everybody’s still in one piece, are they not? That constitutes safe, in my book. And secondly, we’re on the coast, so, technically, we’re on the edge of nowhere.
PRODUCER: (Looking at the Scorchio) Well, he seems happy, at least.
DR SANE: I think Roan may have lost some of his brain capacity from the transportation.
PRODUCER: That could be dangerous. He didn’t have that much to begin with.
(Roan hums merrily to himself.)
DR SANE: I think we need to try and help him.
PRODUCER: I know. I’ve never seen him happy. It doesn’t really suit him.
(The two pets approach Roan, who is grinning happily to nobody in particular.)
DR SANE: Er... Roan?
ROAN: (Looking at Dr Sane inquisitively) Yes?
DR SANE: Erm... it’s me, Roan. Dr Sane.
ROAN: (Looking confused for a moment). No, you can’t be. Dr Sane was a Scorchio.
DR SANE: But I’m a Korbat now.
ROAN: (Changing from confused to more confused) But you were a Scorchio!
DR SANE: Yes, but the lab ray turned me into a Korbat!
ROAN: (Turning from confused to merely perplexed) What’s a lab ray?
DR SANE: It’s, um, a large device for, er, zapping things. It makes them, er, different species.
ROAN: (Going from perplexed to puzzled) So, am I a Korbat now?
DR SANE: No, you’re still a Scorchio.
ROAN: (Sounding more confident) No, I used to be a Scorchio. The lab ray turned me into a Korbat. You said, remember? (Flaps his arms feebly) Whee!
DR SANE: No, you’re a Scorchio.
ROAN: You’re a Scorchio! (Jumps into the air, and comes back down very quickly) See? I can fly!
DR SANE: (Turning to the Producer, in a whisper) He seems to have lost his mind.
PRODUCER: Oh good. It never really worked anyway. Maybe he’ll find a better one next time.
DR SANE: (Scrutinising the Producer carefully) You seem to have changed too. You’re a lot more critical.
PRODUCER: There’s a lot more to be critical of.
(In the background, Roan leaps into the air, and lands headfirst in the sand. He starts waving his arms and legs around in vague circles, making muffled noises. The Producer and Dr Sane glance at him for a second.)
DR SANE: The lab ray seems to have confused him. If he continues like this, he’ll end up in a vegetative state.
ROAN: (Muffled from the sand) I like vegetables!
PRODUCER: Actually, I quite like the new Roan. It suits him.
DR SANE: But we need to get him his old mind back?
PRODUCER: Why? He seems happy like this.
DR SANE: Yes, he’s happy, but we’re stuck on Mystery Island.
PRODUCER: And? It’s quite nice here. And when we get bored, we’ll just make our way back to Altador.
DR SANE: (Showing signs of urgency in his voice) Yes, but that’s the problem. Roan is the only one out of the three of us that technically exists outside of the show.
PRODUCER: What do you mean?
DR SANE: I’m just a secondary character, drafted in to build the lab ray. That’s my sole purpose. So I’ve only ever been inside the Altador Coliseum. And you’re the producer. You’ve never left the Coliseum either.
PRODUCER: What’s the problem with that? I know what the Coliseum looks like.
DR SANE: No! Don’t you see? You know that the Coliseum looks like from the inside! So you’ll only know where you are when you’re there!
PRODUCER: That’s nonsense!
DR SANE: Really? Where’s Altador, on a map of Neopia?
PRODUCER: (Scoffing) Where’s Altador? Isn’t that obvious? It’s... (extended silence) erm... it’s... near... you know, the Coliseum... Yes, the Coliseum. Go on, then. You tell me where it is!
DR SANE: (Exasperatedly) I don’t know! That’s the problem.
PRODUCER: (Suddenly looking shocked) Oh! We don’t know where Altador is!
DR SANE: Yes!
PRODUCER: We don’t know where anything is!
DR SANE: Exactly!
PRODUCER: We can’t get off this island without Roan!
DR SANE: Yes!
PRODUCER: (Weakly) So... our entire survival hope rests on Roan...
DR SANE: Yes... (Realising the Producer’s problem)
PRODUCER: Even old Roan was an idiot. Who’s to say that he will be able to guide us back?
DR SANE: We can’t guarantee it, but it’s our best shot.
PRODUCER: But how do we get his memory back?
(Both think for a moment. The Producer buries his head in his hands. Roan removes his head from the sand, and begins to run up and down the beach, making loud flapping noises.)
DR SANE: (Suddenly) I know!
PRODUCER: (Looking up) What?
DR SANE: Roan’s a game show host, right?
DR SANE: And he’s used to presenting a game show, right?
ROAN: (Running past) I can fly!
DR SANE: So, if we organise a game show for him, then it might help to recover his memory!
PRODUCER: Er... yes, I suppose.
DR SANE: So all we need to do is organise an episode of the Meepit Show here!
PRODUCER: Erm... what?
DR SANE: (Looking puzzled) What?
PRODUCER: You want us to hold an episode of the Meepit Show? Here?
DR SANE: I believe I implied that, yes.
PRODUCER: Using who as contestants?
(Silence for a moment. Dr Sane looks around.)
DR SANE: I’ll go and have a look for some.
(Dr Sane disappears into the dense forest (for a given value of dense) and disappears from sight (for a given value of sight). Roan stops running around, and sits down, panting.)
ROAN: I seem to be having some problems flying.
PRODUCER: (Walking towards Roan) But you’re a Scorchio! How can you not fly?
ROAN: My wings don’t work properly. (Waves his arms feebly. The wings on his back rustle slightly in the wind.)
PRODUCER: What about the ones on your back?
ROAN: What do you mean? Korbats don’t have wings on their back!
PRODUCER: But you’re not a Korbat!
ROAN: Yes, I am!
PRODUCER: No, you’re not! You’re a game show host from Altador!
ROAN: Wait... what’s a Gameshowhost? Is that a new species?
ROAN: Does that make me unique? Am I a unique species?
PRODUCER: No, you’re a...
ROAN: (Interrupting) Shut up, I’m special. I’m unique. One of a kind. (Waves his arms thoughtfully) Shame I can’t fly, though.
PRODUCER: You can fly!
ROAN: I can fly?
ROAN: Then why didn’t you say?
PRODUCER: I did! Great, so, as well as thinking you’re a Korbat, you appear to have a very short memory span.
ROAN: Oh dear. At least I don’t think I’m a Korbat.
PRODUCER: Roan, I really need you to get your memory back.
ROAN: My memory? My memory’s perfect. (Looks down) Hey! I’m a Scorchio! How did that happen?
ROAN: (Looking up, and jolting in alarm) Argh! Where did you come from?
PRODUCER: Roan! Concentrate! We’re going to make you a game show.
ROAN: A game show? (Frowning) What’s one of those? Can you eat it?
PRODUCER: Not really. You ask people questions, and they answer them.
ROAN: Really complicated ones? Like “What is a game show?”
PRODUCER: No. Difficult questions, like “Where is the Kiko mountain range?”
ROAN: But I don’t want to know where the Kiko mountain range is. I want to know what a game show is.
PRODUCER: But you already know the answers. You’ll have them written down.
ROAN: So why do I ask, if I already know what they’re going to say?
PRODUCER: Because they might get them wrong.
ROAN: Oh. And then I console them, and make them feel better.
PRODUCER: No. You tend to patronise them beyond the realms of common courtesy, and make them feel bad, before crushing their self-esteem, and forcing them into a pit of their own misery.
ROAN: That doesn’t sound very fun. (Looks at his arms) Hey! I have wings! (Flaps his arms and jumps in the air)
PRODUCER: (Shouting) DOCTOR!
(The sound of hacking and slashing is heard from the dense(ish) jungle, and, a moment later, Dr Sane emerges, leading a group of three pets – a Kougra in local garb, a JubJub in different local garb, and an Usul in extremely un-local garb.)
DR SANE: Producer?
PRODUCER: (Relieved) Thank goodness! Doctor, he’s suffering from acute memory loss.
ROAN: Who is?
PRODUCER: You are!
ROAN: Who am I?
PRODUCER: (To Dr Sane) See?
DR SANE: Don’t worry. I’ve managed to find some contestants to take part in a game show.
PRODUCER: Are they any good?
DR SANE: They’ll do.
PRODUCER: Let’s start the show, then!
(The three contestants stand in a semi-circle around Roan. Dr Sane stands next to Roan, for support, and the Producer stands nearby, to do Producer-esque things.)
PRODUCER: Roan, you can start in three... two... one... now!
(Roan stands still and silent. Dr Sane leans across and whispers in his ear.)
ROAN: Ah. Right. Erm... Good evening, and welcome to the... what? What was that? Oh... the Flea Pit Show. I’m... What do you mean? Meepits? What is a Meepit? Oh, if you insist... welcome to the Meepit Show. My name is... (short pause) That doesn’t sound right. Roan? Sounds like an unusual name. Anyway, there are six contestants in front of me today. (Counts with his fingers). No, I’m sorry, there are only three. I’m just dizzy. Contestants, introduce yourself!
KOUGRA: Good evening. My name is...
ROAN: That’s my line!... Oh. Sorry. Carry on.
KOUGRA: Good evening to you
My name is Ratshepsuthol
You can call me Rat
ROAN: So, polite conversation. (Short pause) Was that an instruction? Right. So, erm... what’s polite conversation?
RAT: Polite discussion
Allows people to learn more
About each other.
ROAN: Good. And... what do you do for a living?
RAT: I live in a hut
Generating nonsense that
I call a haiku
ROAN: Brilliant. Let’s meet our next conversation. Contestant? I don’t believe you?
(Dr Sane leaves Roan to discuss with the JubJub, and moves across to the Producer. As two conversations at once are very difficult to follow, and the conversation between Dr Sane and the Producer has more narrative importance, the narration will temporarily ignore Roan.)
DR SANE: It’s good. He’s starting to question what I’m telling him.
ROAN: So... I’m not sure what species you are. Are you a beach ball?
(Ha! Fooled you! Good luck trying to follow the next bit.)
PRODUCER: He’s starting to become more Roan-like?
JUBJUB: Me JubJub! Me Pareg!
DR SANE: His brain seems to be starting to work.
(The two observe Roan.)
ROAN: Pareg? That’s an odd name (Looking curious) I have an odd urge to be rude to you. (Looks pensive for a moment, before shaking his head). No, that would just be nasty. I’m not that horrible.
PRODUCER: (Stopping observing) He’s trying to resist the change.
PAREG: What you doing?
DR SANE: It’s a start. As the show continues, he should start to exhibit ruder characteristics.
ROAN: Do you know, I’m not entirely sure? Isn’t that odd?
PRODUCER: Will it be soon? I want to get back to that... er... Talador place.
PAREG: Me JubJub. What you?
DR SANE: It’s Altador. And I agree – the sooner we get off here, the better. I heard they have cannibals on this island.
ROAN: I think I’m a Korbat. At least, that’s what somebody told me. But I still can’t fly.
PRODUCER: Ah! And where there are cannibals, there are cannons as well! So we can get fired back to Altador!
PAREG: What Korbat? Me think you Scorchio.
DR SANE: (Sighs) I hope we can get another lab ray when we get back. I preferred it when you just got irritated at Roan.
ROAN: I’m going to have to move on there, Pareg. The lack of coherent sentences is beginning to hurt my ears. (Gasps) Oh! I’m sorry! I don’t know what came over me.
PRODUCER: But I feel so much better now! Now that I don’t need to get annoyed at him, I can have more freedom! More lines! I’m almost a main character now!
ROAN: Contestant Three, introduce yourself, please.
HANNAH: My name is Hannah, and I’m an adventurer. I’m here doing ‘Hannah and the Uncultured Locals of Mystery Island’.
ROAN: How wonderful! That sounds really interesting.
HANNAH: (Frowning) Roan? That doesn’t sound like you.
ROAN: Does it not? I’m sorry. How would you like me to react?
DR SANE: (In a hurried whisper to the Producer) This is the important part. His brain’s given up trying to follow the path that the lab ray set for it, and is ready to be moulded. If we can remind him of his old personality, then he should remember it, and adopt it.
PRODUCER: (Suspiciously) You seem to know a lot about this process.
DR SANE: Oh, it happens all the time when I use the ray.
PRODUCER: You mean you knew this could happen?
DR SANE: Well, not the relocation part. That’s new. But complete changes to mind and body, yes, that’s not unusual.
PRODUCER: And you let us use it? In a game show?
DR SANE: (Protesting) You offered money! Nobody’s ever offered me money to use the ray before!
PRODUCER: Only because they spend so much money getting there that they don’t have any money left. Anyway, we need to get to Roan quickly. Here, take these cards. (Produces a pack of question cards from a pocket, and gives them to Dr Sane.
DR SANE: (Looking curiously at the cards) Where did you get these from?
PRODUCER: I’m a producer. It’s part of my job to hoard lots of things that may have some use one day.
DR SANE: Excellent.
PRODUCER: Incidentally, didn’t you say that we needed to get to Roan quickly?
DR SANE: Yes...
PRODUCER: Yet we’ve just spent the last small period of time arguing amongst ourselves.
DR SANE: Oh, don’t worry about that. We’re just flouting the laws of physics.
PRODUCER: Are we allowed to do that?
DR SANE: I don’t expect anybody will complain.
(Dr Sane moves across to Roan, who resumes his conversation with Hannah, both clearly unaware of the flouting of the laws of physics, and neither of whom looked particularly likely to complain.)
HANNAH: I would have thought you would have been extremely critical, and extract some small, fairly insignificant detail, and elaborate on it to the point where it seems to be the most important characteristic of a person.
ROAN: Really? That doesn’t sound very pleasant.
DR SANE: But you’re not really a pleasant person.
ROAN: Aren’t I? Are you sure you’re not just getting caught up in the Korbat stereotype?
PRODUCER: No, it’s true. You’re not really very nice.
ROAN: (Looking dejected) Really?
DR SANE/PRODUCER/HANNAH: Yes!
(Roan’s face falls, before suddenly becoming completely blank. After a second, his features begin to rearrange themselves, into a self-confident, arrogant smirk.)
ROAN: Well, at least I can speak properly, don’t have to talk in stupid poems that don’t make any sense, and don’t go on dull adventures that nobody really cares about, or produce a lab ray that spectacularly fails to do anything productive. And I don’t produce a game show. I host it. I am the host. And, most importantly, I can fly. (Looking slightly confused for a second) I’m not entirely sure why that’s relevant.
PRODUCER: (Smiling) Roan! You’re back.
ROAN: (Frowning) Producer? Why are you pleased to see me? (Gasps) I seem to have a gap in my memory. Don’t tell me I was... nice?
PRODUCER: (Gleefully) That’s right! You were really nice. I mean, you see that JubJub over there! (Points) He’s called Pareg, and he doesn’t speak your language. And do you know what you called him?
ROAN: Something witty and demeaning?
PRODUCER: No. You called him Pareg.
ROAN: (Gasps) No!
ROAN: (Confused) You sound oddly cheerful. What’s wrong with you?
PRODUCER: (Gleefully) The lab ray! It changed my personality! Now I can be a lot more critical. For a start, Roan, you’re an awful host, and you always have been.
ROAN: That’s what you’ve come up with? You’ve got an opportunity to express yourself, to be completely honest, and you come up with that? Even I know that!
PRODUCER: Oh. Well, there’s more!
ROAN: But, alas, not now. We have a show to complete. (Snatching the question cards from the hands of Dr Sane). Now, how many rounds do we have left?
PRODUCER: We haven’t actually started, so probably at least five...
ROAN: Excellent. So, we enter the last round of the show. (Turning to smile at the Producer) Care to correct me?
PRODUCER: (Hesitantly) Erm... no. No, I’m strong and confident, and I don’t need to correct you.
ROAN: Good, good. The first question goes to Pareg.
PRODUCER: You’re calling him Pareg?
ROAN: Until something witty comes into my head, yes. Pareg, complete this quote by ancient Meridellian poet Shaking Spear: “To be or not to be... ”
PAREG: Me not know answer.
ROAN: Correct. You lose a point. Hannah... (reading card, before tossing it away). I have a better question. In the next five seconds, name somewhere that you haven’t visited in an adventure.
ROAN: (Happily) Time’s up! What a shame! (Turning to Producer) Look at that! Ignoring questions and being horribly condescending to a contestant!
PRODUCER: I... don’t care.
ROAN: Brilliant! The next question is for you, mysterious, local-dress-wearing Kougra. What is the next number in the sequence – one, two, three... ?
RAT: After careful thought
I have chosen an answer
I think it is four
ROAN: I’m sorry, we were looking for ‘four’. Actually, I’m not sorry. You shouldn’t have added a load of unnecessary words at the end there. No points.
RAT: I am offended
This quiz is not a fair one
I am leaving now
ROAN: You can’t leave! There isn’t an official exit written into the stage directions!
PRODUCER: Actually, he can. This is Mystery Island. They do things differently here.
(Rat leaves, as Roan looks confused.)
ROAN: Mystery Island? What are we doing there? Shouldn’t we be in Altador?
PRODUCER: Do you not remember arriving here?
ROAN: Not really. I remember being attacked with a rogue lab ray, and then I think I was a Korbat for a bit, but, other than that, no, nothing.
DR SANE: Basically, (Roan turns to face Dr Sane, and starts at the sight of the Korbat) you’re the only one that knows where Altador is. So, we couldn’t leave here until you regained your memory.
ROAN: So, we’re stuck on this stupid island?
DR SANE: Until we build a boat.
ROAN: Then why are we messing about with an irrelevant quiz show?
PRODUCER: It’s not irrelevant!
ROAN: It is if I say it is. I’m never wrong.
PRODUCER: Yes, you are!
ROAN: No, I’m not. I said I was never wrong, and I’m never wrong.
PRODUCER: At least finish off the show.
ROAN: Very well. The final scores are as follows. Pareg, you have minus one point. Hannah, despite getting a question wrong, you’re still on zero, and are our leader on points. Therefore, I declare the winner of this show to be Pareg!
PAREG: Me confused. Me not know what me won.
ROAN: But what? You don’t mind, remember.
PRODUCER: Yes, but...
ROAN: You’re carefree, and free to do whatever you want.
PRODUCER: I know, but...
ROAN: So I can do what I want. Pareg, you win!
(The Producer’s expression suddenly goes blank. It is replaced a second later with the anguished, tortured face that would be associated with anybody who had ever met Roan.)
PRODUCER: You can’t do that! Hannah wins!
ROAN: You mind?
PRODUCER: It’s my job to mind!
ROAN: So, you’ve changed back as well. (Turning to Dr Sane) And you’re the only person here to remain changed by this experience?
DR SANE: Yes. But I quite like being a Korbat. It’s useful for getting to high places.
ROAN: Won’t that have narrative implications in the next story?
DR SANE: Probably. There’s not much they can do, though. Is there?
(A boat, in the middle of a rocky sea. Three pets sit at oars.)
ROAN: It’s odd, that, isn’t it?
PRODUCER: Very odd.
ROAN: Strange that, straight after we finished building this boat, Dr Sane suddenly had the urge to abandon science and join the Hidden Tribe of Techo Mountain.
PRODUCER: Indeed. And even stranger that he was hit by a large boulder on the way up the mountain.
ROAN: A very unfortunate accident. An almost Meepit-Show-career-ending accident.
PRODUCER: It’s a shame.
ROAN: Not as much of a shame as the fact that we had a three person boat, and only two people, so we had to get somebody else to help out with the rowing.
HANNAH: Come on! This’ll make a good adventure.
PRODUCER: But we’ve been rowing for days! Roan, are you sure we’re going in the right direction?
ROAN: Certain. We just slip past Lutari Island, and we’re straight into Altador. We couldn’t be going the wrong way.
HANNAH: (Pointing into the distance) Look! My queendom! Roo Island!
PRODUCER: Roo Island? Isn’t that completely the wrong direction from Mystery Island?
ROAN: Oh. My map seems to be upside down.
ROAN: It doesn’t matter. Neopia’s round, and we’re only on completely the wrong side. Basically, from here, we can go in any direction, and be closer than we are now. Surely that’s a good thing.
PRODUCER: Please shut up!