The Meepit Show Reloaded
(Setting: The Altador Stadium, full, except for the empty seats. The Yooyuball goals have been removed, and replaced with a large podium in the centre. Scattered around the stadium are scorch marks, and there are gaps in the stand, where seats have been destroyed. In a semi-circle around the podium are three stools. A Mutant Scorchio is standing on the podium, and the chairs are filled with the three contestants – from left to right, a Red Ruki, a Robot Grundo, and a Yellow Blumaroo. At the very top of the stadium, neon letters read ‘The Meepit Show’. 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 afternoon, and welcome to the Meepit Show, the show that takes fragile dreams and rearranges them with a sledgehammer. Some will win, some will lose, but, ultimately, I’ll be the one with the biggest pay packet at the end.
PRODUCER: Don’t you think that’s quite a negative way to open the show?
ROAN: But I’ve got a new book. (He holds up a book. The title reads ‘1001 Hints For Game Show Tips (And How To Get Fired Effectively)'.) It’s really improving my technique.
PRODUCER: But you’re being a bit harsh?
ROAN: I can use a different introduction, if you want. (Roan flicks through the book, stopping on a random page, and reading aloud.) “Contestants come and go, but I have a stable position.”
PRODUCER: Probably not.
ROAN: “Contestants are the glue that hold this show together…”
PRODUCER: That’s better!
ROAN: “…but I am the wood. Without me, you’ve just got a large, sticky mess.”
PRODUCER: That’s not so good.
ROAN: So what do you want me to do? This book contains everything I need to know to become a successful game show host.
PRODUCER: Just be nice!
ROAN: There’s a section about what to do if somebody tells you that. (Flicks through the book) Where are we?... Ah, yes! Ahem… “No!”
PRODUCER: (Sighing) Just introduce the contestants.
RUKI: Good afternoon. My name is Oswald, and I work for the Neopian Government.
ROAN: Really? What do you do?
OSWALD: I’m an investigator for the Regulation and Control of Neopian Game Shows.
ROAN: But I thought there was only one game show in Neopia?
OSWALD: It’s not a big department.
ROAN: So, are you here on an investigation?
OSWALD: (Looking ambiguous) Possibly.
ROAN: I’ll take that as a no. I’m glad. I was afraid I was going to have to be fair for a minute there. Contestant number two, introduce yourself, if you can.
GRUNDO: Good. Afternoon. My. Name. Is. Grundo. Mark. Two. Catalogue. Number. Three. One. Eight. Seven. You. May. Call. Me. Grundo.
ROAN: You’re a robot.
GRUNDO: Affirmative. I. Am. A. Prototype. From. The. Doctor. Sank. Froth. Catalogue. Range. Of. Evil. Robots. Designed. To. Suit. Any. Pocket.
ROAN: Dr Sloth’s catalogue range?
GRUNDO: Negative. Dr. Sloth. Was. Careful. To. Change. The. First. Letters. So. Nobody. Would. Suspect.
ROAN: But you just admitted it.
GRUNDO: I’m. Not. Programmed. To. Be. Intelligent.
ROAN: Excellent. Neither am I. Contestant number three, introduce yourself.
BLUMAROO: Greetings and salutations. My name is Aristotle A. Avinroo, but my friends would call me AAA if I had any. My brain is so large I need to keep part of it in temporary storage elsewhere, to stop me from becoming too intelligent. I am capable of beating the High Score on every game in existence, ever. In short, I am brilliant. And extremely modest.
ROAN: You’re good at every game?
AAA: More than good, my understating friend. I am exceptional.
ROAN: Don’t call me a friend. That’ll confuse people, and lower my reputation.
AAA: On the contrary. I think that your reputation is tarnished enough after destroying half a stadium with a lab ray. And I think that being the friend of the Games Master would do nothing but enhance a clearly collapsing career.
AAA: In fact, I think your self esteem is so low that you actually gave yourself a line in the middle of this speech, consisting of a few dots to prove that you didn’t actually say anything, just to make yourself more self important, and to try to distract from the fact that I am simply a much better person than you are.
ROAN: (Short pause, looking lost for words) Well, we’re done interviewing the contestants, now. Let’s move on to Round One. And remember – at the end of the round, the person with the least number of points will be eliminated. And (glaring at AAA) I think I have a fairly good idea of who that will be. Start the clock.
PRODUCER: What clock?
ROAN: I thought you said we got a clock as part-exchange for the lab ray.
PRODUCER: No, I said we got a cot. For putting Petpets in while their owners are ritually humiliated by you.
ROAN: Does it keep good time?
PRODUCER: Not really.
ROAN: It sounds perfect. Bring it out.
ROAN: So, it appears we have some alone time, to make small talk. So, AAA, why the stupid name?
ROAN: Why would you call yourself Aristotle? Isn’t that a bit… odd?
AAA: (Drawing himself up haughtily) For your information, Aristotle was an ancient Neopian philosopher of games, who saw them as more than mere entertainment. He predicted that, in the future, we would all play games, and be paid for it.
ROAN: Ha! Well, that’s never going to happen, is it? He sounds like a fool. So that’s why you have his name!
AAA: He was also the second most intelligent person ever to walk the face of Neopia, behind me, of course. So I would appreciate you having some respect for the person who is about to set Meepit Show history.
ROAN: Afraid not, I’ve chucked contestants off for being annoying before. Anyway, you claim that you’ve got a very high intellect. Quick – what’s seventeen multiplied by eighty-six.
AAA: (Promptly) One thousand, four hundred and sixty-two.
ROAN: Is that right?
AAA: Probably not. But you can’t check it.
(Producer appears, carrying a cot with a Harris in.)
ROAN: Yes, I can. Producer!
ROAN: Get me a calculator.
PRODUCER: What about the cot?
ROAN: Just put it down somewhere.
(Producer puts the cot down, and leaves again. Roan steps off his podium, and goes across to the cot.)
ROAN: (Kneeling down) Now, I want you to make a noise when you think the round is over. Around a minute and a half is normal, but if you’re a couple of seconds out, I won’t mind.
(Roan returns to his podium.)
ROAN: And we start the questioning. Oswald, what is the name of Neopia’s northern ice cap?
OSWALD: I don’t know, but do you think that you should be using Petpet labour to time your show?
OSWALD: Do you not think it is unethical?
ROAN: I don’t have any ethics. They just slowed me down. Anyway, you got the question wrong, so you lose a point.
OSWALD: Are you going to give me the right answer?
ROAN: You’re an idiot. You don’t deserve it.
(Oswald produces a clipboard, and begins to write something on it.)
ROAN: What’s that? Are you cheating?
OSWALD: No. I’m starting my review of the Meepit Show.
ROAN: Oh. That’s fine, as long as you don’t write any of the answers. Grundo, what is the incorrect spelling of ‘Kreludor’?
GRUNDO: (Whirring) (Humming) (Beeping) Query. What. Is. Incorrect. Spelling?
ROAN: Incorrect, as in, not right.
GRUNDO: (Humming) I. Am. Programmed. To. Always. Be. Right.
ROAN: I thought you were programmed to not be intelligent.
GRUNDO: (Silence) (Whirring) (Clicking) System. Error. At. Syntax. Point. Three. Close. Non-Essential. Processes.
(Grundo collapses on the floor, making unhealthy noises.)
ROAN: Are you at least going to have a go?
(Grundo twitches slightly.)
ROAN: Very well. The question passes to Aristotle.
AAA: It’s AAA!
ROAN: I prefer Aristotle. It makes you sound… thicker.
AAA: You want me to provide an incorrect spelling?
ROAN: Yes. What are you, an idiot?
OSWALD: (Under breath, whilst writing) Obnoxious to contestants…
AAA: I suppose, then, that an incorrect spelling would be A-A-A.
ROAN: Ah, egotistical. Unfortunately, your arrogance has lost you the mark. The correct answer is in fact any spelling, except the correct one, or one that repeats the same vowel three times.
AAA: It says that?
ROAN: Yes. Just there. (He flashes the card to AAA, too quickly for anything to be read.)
AAA: Technically, I only repeated the vowel twice. The first A was merely a statement.
ROAN: Er… you lose a point!
ROAN: Don’t argue! Oswald, what is the name of the member of the royal family that is searched for in Shenkuu by answering the questions of guards?
OSWALD: (Writing) Oblivious to the complaints of others. (Looks up) I’m sorry, do you want something?
ROAN: Don’t worry, I’m just going to deduct some points for a completely unnecessary reason.
OSWALD: (Writing) Deducts points for completely unnecessary reasons.
ROAN: Hey! That’s not fair! I’ve never done that! In fact, you lose a point for making a mean accusation. That puts you on minus six.
OSWALD: (Writing) Incapable of adding up properly.
ROAN: That’s not fair, either! I can add up perfectly. It’s just subtracting that I have problems with. If people would get questions right, then I wouldn’t have to worry with these stupid minus scores.
OSWALD: (Looking up) Do I get a question?
ROAN: You’ve already been given it. I refuse to repeat the question.
OSWALD (Writing) Refuses to…
ROAN: Fine, you can have the question again. How many ‘i’s are there in ‘Shoyru’?
ROAN: Incorrect. Shoyrus have two eyes. You lose another point. (Oswald begins to scribble furiously again) Grundo, a pet of which species runs the Auction House?
(Grundo continues to lie on the floor, twitching.)
ROAN: Twitching is rude and insensitive. Stop doing that or I’ll deduct you points!
GRUNDO: (Hiss of escaping air) (Buzz) (Crackle)
ROAN: (Shouting) What do you think you’re doing! Get up and answer some questions! You lose ten points!
ROAN: Don’t you beep at me! Get off my show!
OSWALD: What about…?
ROAN: You too! I don’t want an interview for a stupid magazine.
OSWALD: It’s not an interview, it’s a review.
ROAN: What’s the difference? PRODUCER!
PRODUCER: (Appearing, bearing a calculator) Yes?
ROAN: What’s a review? (Sees the calculator) Excellent. Give me that. (Roan snatches the calculator and begins mashing buttons.)
PRODUCER: Well, a review is where a reporter goes and tests something, and then writes about how good or bad it was.
ROAN: (Looking up from the calculator to grin at AAA) Ha! It’s one thousand, four hundred and sixty-two! You got it wrong!
AAA: That’s what I said.
ROAN: You lose a point for getting the answer wrong, and another point for lying about it.
AAA: But I’m not lying.
ROAN: Oh dear. Losing more points, are we? (Suddenly looks horror-struck, and turns to face the Producer) What did you say?
PRODUCER: About the review?
ROAN: Yes. You mean… Oswald’s actually going to be writing about how the show goes?
ROAN: (In a stunned silence for a moment, before turning to Oswald with a huge, welcoming smile on his face) Oswald! My favourite reporter! How good to see you!
OSWALD: What’s wrong with you?
PRODUCER: (Whispering to Roan) Be subtle.
ROAN: So, you’re writing a review, are you?
PRODUCER: (Whispering) Nice subtlety.
ROAN: (Whispering) Shut up, I’m making conversation.
OSWALD: Yes, I am.
ROAN: And you’re going to write that I’m a horrible, demeaning bully?
OSWALD: No, don’t worry about it.
ROAN: (Turning to the Producer) See? Crisis averted. This is the point where Oswald says that all the other game shows he has reviewed were too nice to him, and he appreciates the refreshing honesty, and he’ll give the Meepit Show a glowing review, which will launch us into a golden era.
OSWALD: No, that’s not what I was leading in to. Actually, this show has been the worst few minutes of my life. I feel diminished, insulted and offended. I happen to enjoy using negative words in my reviews, and I was just saying that you didn’t need to furnish me with any. I expect to be using every one in the dictionary to describe this… charade!
ROAN: Oh, I love that game! (Draws a box) Two words.
OSWALD: ‘Complete failure’?
ROAN: ‘Meepit Show’.
OSWALD: I was close, then.
(Oswald haughtily draws himself up and leaves.)
ROAN: (Turning to the producer) That’s not very good, is it?
ROAN: And that’s the end of Round One. What an eventful round it’s been. Now, I see that AAA is currently at the bottom, but, unfortunately, since eliminating him would be adhering to the rules of the game, I’m forced to say to you, Grundo, that you are the one going home today.
ROAN: Producer, clear him up.
(The Producer drags Grundo, still clicking and buzzing, out.)
ROAN: And that leaves us with just one contestant. (Rubs his hands together) This is going to be good. AAA, the… you know? I can’t call you that.
AAA: Why not?
ROAN: I miss my witty selections of names.
AAA: You don’t have a witty selection of names.
ROAN: I will have, shortly. I’ve decided to call you the names of famous, or infamous, idiots. So, Captain Threelegs, the Eyrie who lost his leg in a Tombola accident, your previous score has been wiped, which was nice of us, since it was negative. The grand prize today is one million neopoints!
AAA: I already get that every day from playing every game.
ROAN: And every gaming trophy in existence!
AAA: Got them.
ROAN: And Nigel the Chia’s car.
AAA: (Eyes widen) I could practice racing games for real!
ROAN: Yes. Just don’t run out of petrol. In order to win these prizes, you, Nigel the Chia, the Chia who gave us the only working car in Neopia, need to answer one out of the next five questions right. But get them all wrong, and you’re doomed to go home with less than you came here with.
ROAN: It’s only fair. We give you something, you give us something. If you lose, then you lose all your gaming trophies, and all your money.
AAA: But you’ll never get that.
ROAN: Where do you think we got the prizes for the show from?
AAA: You’re more intelligent than you look.
ROAN: I highly doubt that. Anyway, your time to answer the question will be up when the Harris makes a noise. So, question one. What is…
(The Harris squeaks.)
ROAN: And on to question two.
AAA: That wasn’t long enough.
ROAN: On the contrary, Rohane, the person dim enough to travel over many worlds simply because he locked himself in his own spaceship; the question is over when the fat Harris sings.
AAA: He’s not fat.
ROAN: It’s an expression. Question two: What species is Mrs Prenderghast?
AAA: I used to have a neighbour called Mrs Prenderghast, who was an Aisha, so I’m going to guess that.
ROAN: Is that your final answer?
ROAN: I’m sorry, we were looking for the Mrs Prenderghast who is a ghost, and haunts a mansion.
AAA: And what species was she?
ROAN: She was an Aisha.
AAA: So I was right! I win the car!
ROAN: No, you were lucky. We don’t reward luck on this show. In fact, we don’t reward anything at all. But luck is in the eye of the beholder.
AAA: Isn’t that beauty?
ROAN: No! That’s another one you got wrong!
AAA: But that wasn’t a question!
ROAN: But I’m the question master. Everything I ask must be a question.
ROAN: Don’t interrupt me.
AAA: You weren’t talking.
ROAN: You’re doing it again! Question four: How many neopoints is a Gold Trophy in Neoquest II worth?
AAA: 50,000 NP. I win a car!
ROAN: Actually, you don’t. The trophy itself isn’t worth anything, as you can’t sell it.
AAA: It was a trick question?
ROAN: No. I just said it in a way that was easily misinterpreted to provide a wrong answer.
AAA: That’s a trick question!
ROAN: Is it? Never mind. It’s not like anything’s at stake.
AAA: My trophies!
ROAN: Finally Sutek, the king who guarded all his most valuable treasure behind an ‘unsolvable’ code that is easily solvable, we reach question five. If you get this wrong, you lose all the money you’ve ever had, every trophy you’ve ever had, and I get a free car.
PRODUCER: (Returning) Roan!
ROAN: Fine, we don’t have the car. You’re only playing for your own stuff.
AAA: What kind of quiz is it?
ROAN: You chose to be on it. Anyway, question five: Admit that you’re no good at games, and that you stole all those trophies.
ROAN: You heard. Admit that you can’t play games, or you don’t get any of your money or trophies back.
AAA: I’m sorry?
ROAN: Why would you compete so hard for trophies you can win back, and money that you can replace? Unless you were unable to earn them back, because you took them from someone else in the first place!
(Silence for a moment. AAA glares at Roan for a moment, before bursting into tears.)
AAA: (Sobbing) It’s… true. I can’t… play games… at all.
AAA: (Stopping crying instantly) Do I get my money and trophies back now? I got that question right, didn’t I?
ROAN: Yes, but, unfortunately, you’ve just admitted that none of them are yours. So, sadly, we can’t return them. You’ll just have to earn them back.
AAA: (Stunned) But… you said… if I got one right…
ROAN: Really? Perhaps you should have thought about that before you agreed to the terms, Gilly, the Usul dim enough to continuously re-enter a house known to be full of dangers, in exchange for very little reward.
AAA: You… can’t do that!
ROAN: We have.
(AAA lets out a genuine sob and runs for the contestant’s exit.)
ROAN: And there goes AAA, the Blumaroo so dim that he didn’t realise we have none of his possessions. Never mind. He’ll get a pleasant shock when he gets back home.
PRODUCER: That wasn’t very nice.
ROAN: Do you think? I thought he was too egotistical and arrogant, and needed to be taken down a peg or two.
PRODUCER: And you felt that that needed doing?
ROAN: Yes. I happen to be the best in the world at noticing that sort of thing.
ROAN: (Producing his book) And, to conclude the show, ahem, “As all the contestants leave, safe in the knowledge that they know nothing, the only thing left to say is, I want a pay rise.”
PRODUCER: Do you?
ROAN: Well, since you offered…