The Meepit Show: Issue
400 399 Spectacular
Author’s note – Many thanks to blaumann, silent_snow, a_greenparrot and hedgehog_queen for the loans of their characters. See an accurate summation of Mr. Ticklish, Sojo, Invisibelle and Bluecloud at the respective links. If, however, you’re looking for an inaccurate summation, look no further.
(Setting: The Altador Stadium, almost completely full. Or, if you’re a pessimist, hardly empty at all. 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. There is a faint smell of dung in the air. In a semi-circle around the podium are four stools. A Mutant Scorchio is standing on the podium, and the chairs are filled with the four contestants – from left to right, a Pea Chia, a Coconut JubJub, a Yellow Kau and a Grey Acara. 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’. Underneath the latterly-mentioned exit, a Skunk Draik waits nervously in his role as producer.)
ROAN: Good evening, one and all! Tonight, you join us on a very special occasion. As you will all, doubtlessly, be aware, the Neopian Times has always provided coverage of a show that has often been referred to, erroneously, as ‘unfair’, ‘badly run’ and ‘a quiz show’. It is only fitting, therefore, that the Meepit Show supports the infamous newspaper on this special occasion. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Issue Four Hundred!
PRODUCER: Er... Roan?
ROAN: (Shouting to the crowd) Make some noise!
(The crowd cheers.)
ROAN: (Turning to the Producer, irritated) Do you mind? I’m just getting into the swing of this whole celebration thing. And the audience are too – look at that Techo go!
PRODUCER: Roan, you’re too early.
PRODUCER: Issue 400 isn’t until next week. This is Issue 399.
ROAN: (Silent for a moment, deep in thought) That can’t be right.
PRODUCER: Afraid so.
ROAN: Well, that ruins my plans. What am I supposed to do with all the banners, for example?
PRODUCER: What banners?
(Roan clicks his fingers. A second later, several rolls of fabric unfurl themselves across the top of the stadium, the phrase ‘Congratulations on 400 issues!’, emblazoned on each one.)
ROAN: (Pointing upwards) Those.
PRODUCER: When did you get them made?
ROAN: They’re rented.
PRODUCER: Rented? Surely that’s quite a specific banner to hire.
ROAN: I got a good rate for them – provided they’re returned by next week, when somebody else needs them. Quite the bargain hunter, I am.
ROAN: Oh yes. They’ll need changing, though - you’ve got a black marker, haven’t you?
PRODUCER: Yes - why?
ROAN: (Pointing up) You’ve got wings. It’s not that hard to change.
PRODUCER: They won’t be happy if you return them.
ROAN: They will when they realise they’ve made them a week early.
PRODUCER: Anyway, you have wings too! Can’t you do it?
ROAN: (Incredulously) Me? Do work? That seems like your area.
PRODUCER: (Sighing) Fine. (He flies up to the stream of banners, crossing through and correcting them one by one as Roan continues.)
ROAN: Anyway, to continue the, ahem, three hundred and ninety-nine theme, let’s meet the contestants booked specially for this once-in-a-lifetime occasion.
CHIA: Hi! My name is Mr. Ticklish.
ROAN: Midget Ticklish?
TICKLISH: Not Midget. Mister.
ROAN: Are you denying that you’re small?
TICKLISH: Are you insulting me?
ROAN: Well, my mouth’s open and noise is coming out. The odds would suggest so.
TICKLISH: I’d be careful – you don’t want to end up on my blacklist.
ROAN: You have a blacklist?
TICKLISH: Oh yes - it’s a list of people I’m going to take revenge on. I have lots of evil plans.
ROAN: Like what?
TICKLISH: Oh, various schemes. I might not hold a door open for you after I’ve gone through it, for example.
ROAN: You’re about two inches tall. I wouldn’t expect you to hold a door for me.
TICKLISH: In that case, I might take you by surprise and actually let you through after me! That’d throw you!
ROAN: (Nodding) Very evil.
TICKLISH: I know.
ROAN: In any case, instead of dwelling on an evil genius, it’s probably time to go for something completely different – our next contestant!
JUBJUB: Hi! My name is Sojo.
ROAN: Sojo! Nice to meet you – give me five! (Roan raises his hand. The JubJub glares at him.) Oh, what a shame – you don’t have any arms.
SOJO: (Ignoring him, looking slightly flustered) Anyway, in my free time, I lend a hand at the pound...
ROAN: That’s a challenge for somebody with no hands.
SOJO: ...having spent a while there whilst it was closed for maintenance.
ROAN: Shame you didn’t get any maintenance – looks like they gave up halfway through making you.
SOJO: (Quietly) Is this going to go on for the whole show?
ROAN: Why not? It can’t do any ‘arm, can it? Next!
KAU: Hi! My name is Invisibelle, and I work for the Defenders.
ROAN: Yes, I can see. I note you say ‘work for the Defenders’, as opposed to actually being a Defender.
INVISIBELLE: I’m in training.
ROAN: So you’re not a real hero yet? Just helping elderly Neopians carry their shopping – that sort of thing?
INVISIBELLE: (Haughtily) I do more important things than that!
ROAN: Oh, I don’t doubt it, and I’m sure your cups of tea are wonderful.
INVISIBELLE: That’s not all I can do. I can turn invisible!
ROAN: If you gave me seventy thousand neopoints, so could I.
INVISIBELLE: I can fly!
ROAN: Wow! Incredible! (He flaps his wings a couple of times experimentally). You’ll have to let me know what that’s like. Do you have any superpowers that aren’t readily available in your average shop?
INVISIBELLE: (Slowly) I... can fight...
ROAN: Training school.
INVISIBELLE: ...er... think quickly...
ROAN: Books. And, incidentally, you’ve already disproven that one.
ROAN: Well, it’s a pleasure to meet you, Captain Useless. Moving on.
ACARA: Hello. My name is Bluecloud.
ROAN: Bluecloud? Is that some sort of elaborate lengthening of the name ‘Sky’?
ACARA: It’s better than being named after... I don’t know; what is ‘roan’, anyway?
ROAN: I believe the dictionary definition is "one who hosts a quiz show in an admirable fashion, despite being asked ridiculous questions by somebody named after a natural impossibility. How do you get a blue cloud, anyway?"
BLUECLOUD: Does it really say that?
ROAN: I have a very unique dictionary. And so we reach the end of the introductions. Now, in honour of the four hundredth issue, we were going to multiply everybody’s score by four hundred. Obviously, since the powers that be have decided that, actually, they’re going to publish that issue a week late...
PRODUCER: (Landing, pen in hand) Roan, it’s been scheduled for next week for ages!
ROAN: Precisely – time for a change. In any case, asking somebody to multiply all the scores by three hundred and ninety nine would be cruel and unfair of me to do...
PRODUCER: (Sighing) I’ve got some paper – I’ll work it out.
ROAN: Good lad. On that note, let us begin Round One – or, as it’s now known...
PRODUCER: ...Round Three Hundred and Ninety Nine?
ROAN: Correct. Have a point. We start this round with our very own Doctor Evil – Mr. Ticklish, by what other name is the statue of the Darkest Faerie in the Hall of Heroes known as?
TICKLISH: The Sleeper?
ROAN: That’s right. You’ve earned yourself a point there – any nefarious plans for it?
TICKLISH: I might pretend to lose it, and then get another one from you!
ROAN: Would that work?
TICKLISH: Should do. Hey, I lost that point you just gave me.
ROAN: Did you? Do you need another one?
ROAN: Very well – have another one. (He pauses for a moment.) Now, how has that improved your position of evil?
TICKLISH: How? Now, I’m fixed at the top of the scorings!
ROAN: And, let me guess – nobody can stop you?
ROAN: Perhaps you’d like to indulge in some maniacal laughter as well. Perhaps a slow-moving trap to destroy a brave, noble hero would be in order as well.
TICKLISH: The trap’s being repaired at the moment. And I can’t do my mad laugh on a full stomach.
ROAN: Shame. Well, best of luck with your evil, not-at-all-doomed-to-fail plans.
Sojo next. How much does it cost to transfer a pet from one user to another?
SOJO: (Automatically) One thousand neopoints, sir.
ROAN: That was quick. Were you cheating?
SOJO: (Quickly) No, not at all...
SOJO: ...as I said earlier, I work at the pound – after a while, the answers become fairly routine. You see, I help match pets to owners.
ROAN: I wouldn’t imagine that’s a particularly taxing job. Find an owner, point to a pet and ask "Is this yours?" If the answer’s "yes", you’re done. If the answer’s "no", keep going.
SOJO: That’s not quite what I do.
ROAN: What, you do it a more long-winded way?
SOJO: No, I find good homes for pets that have been abandoned.
ROAN: The pound’s always struck me as a good home for them.
SOJO: It’s not a bad place. But there’s no place like home.
ROAN: True. There’s also no place like the Wheel of Monotony. Your point?
ROAN: You don’t have one, do you? And that’s because you’ve just lost it.
SOJO: For giving the right answer?
ROAN: No – giving the right answer was only a very small contributing factor in my decision to deduct. Invisibelle, what is the name of the famous niece of the magician Klum?
INVISIBELLE: Is it Kauvara?
ROAN: Correct – have a point. Ah, Kauvara – such a good magician. It’s always nice to see somebody with an interesting, unique skillset to offer, don’t you think?
INVISIBELLE: (Inquisitively) Well, what superpowers do you have, then?
ROAN: Let’s see... I’ve got an apple at home. I’ve got a rather nice Tiki chair...
INVISIBELLE: They’re not superpowers.
ROAN: Why not? The power you seemed most fixated on was that you can turn invisible – from that, I can only deduce that the main criterion for a superpower is that it is something you can buy.
INVISIBELLE: What about this, then? (There is a slight shimmer, and she turns invisible.) How much did that cost me?
ROAN: By my reckoning, six points.
INVISIBELLE: How did you get that?
ROAN: One for insolence. One for being absent without leave.
INVISIBELLE: I’m still here!
ROAN: And one for lying about it.
INVISIBELLE: That’s three.
ROAN: And then it doubles.
INVISIBELLE: Because of...?
ROAN: Compound interest. You see, you argue again, and it goes up to twelve points deducted. I guess that can be my superpower.
INVISIBELLE: (Sceptically) Compound interest? Really?
ROAN: It’s the most powerful force in the universe.
INVISIBELLE: Bet it doesn’t get you a good costume, though.
ROAN: I don’t see you in a better costume. Anyway, that leaves you with a net score of minus five from that question – you get that, Producer?
PRODUCER: Yes, Roan.
ROAN: And you’re multiplying them all fine?
PRODUCER: They’re all factored up, yes.
ROAN: Easy job?
PRODUCER: Not too bad.
ROAN: Let’s see about that – we’ve still got one contestant to go. Bluecloud, name a Neopian species which wears glasses when painted Zombie.
BLUECLOUD: Is that my question?
ROAN: No – the conspicuous lack of a question mark is your first clue in that department. I would, however, like you to answer it.
BLUECLOUD: I don’t know.
ROAN: That’s a shame. I would have accepted Flotsam or AAA.
PRODUCER: Roan! AAA is not a correct answer.
ROAN: No. But I would certainly have accepted it. In fact, you lose twice as many points as you would normally as a result of not coming up with that witty answer.
BLUECLOUD: So that means... how many do I lose?
ROAN: Let’s see... in a normal show, I’d deduct you two points. But, because all the scores are being multiplied manually... yes, I think approximately pi points would suit.
(The Producer looks up from his calculations.)
ROAN: No, that’s a bit cruel. Say the square root of pi instead.
(The Producer glares at Roan.)
PRODUCER: How on Neopia am I supposed to do that with this? (He waves his piece of paper.)
ROAN: You’re supposed to do it quickly. And now, at the end of the first round, let’s have a recap of tonight’s scores!
PRODUCER: One second, one second! (He mutters to himself.) Carry the three, halve the one, make up a random number... Done! (He jots a figure down quickly and passes the paper to Roan.)
ROAN: And so, the scores. In last place at the moment is Invisibelle, with minus one thousand, nine hundred and ninety five points. Bluecloud is third with an unexpected minus seven hundred and seven point two one points! (He tuts.) You really shouldn’t use such a rounded value of pi, Producer. Amateur mistake.
(The Producer sighs as Roan continues.)
ROAN: In second place, with a far more integer-friendly minus three hundred and ninety nine, is Sojo! And, with a staggering seven hundred and ninety eight points from one question, our leader is Mr. Ticklish!
(Polite applause ensues.)
ROAN: Unfortunately, it has come to my attention that one person here has brought the name of the Meepit Show into disrepute.
ROAN: Fine, two people. But I’m not so much of a concern at this stage. And it comes in the form of our leader. Mr. Ticklish, your evil plans have brought negative attention to the Meepit Show, and we cannot condone such actions.
TICKLISH: Can’t you?
ROAN: No. Trust me – I’ve tried condoning evil plans before, and it only leads to trouble. It is with great regret, and even greater glee, that I therefore have to announce, on this landmark show, that the Meepit Show has its first disqualification of a contestant for being too malevolent.
TICKLISH: You can’t disqualify me!
ROAN: Have you read the rules recently?
ROAN: There’s your problem. Goodbye!
TICKLISH: This isn’t over!
ROAN: I beg to differ.
TICKLISH: I’ll get my revenge!
ROAN: Get your coat while you’re at it.
ROAN: Look, much as I love delivering these fantastic one-liners in response to your well-worn clichés, I’ve got a show to do here. Can you just make a vague threat that we both know you’ll never carry out, and leave in a suitably dramatic fashion?
TICKLISH: You’d... you’d better not go through any doors just after me!
(With a satisfied ‘humph’, Mr. Ticklish leaves.)
ROAN: Wow – he really ‘slammed’ me with that one.
PRODUCER: That doesn’t make any sense.
ROAN: Fine – I’ll come to you next time I need a door-based pun. But now we come to an interlude in the show, which, I’m sure, is a relief to everybody. For this short break, we’ve managed to book one of the greatest bands in the world – a group so prestigious, they even have a slot in the Tyrannian Concert Hall. Please welcome the four hundred-strong Neopian Philharmonic Orchestra!
PRODUCER: Sorry, Roan, that’s not who you’ve booked.
ROAN: What do you mean?
PRODUCER: I think you must have misread the list of bands. You’ve actually got the four-hundred strong band, The ‘Neopian Phil’ Harmonica Orchestra.
(Out of an entrance of your choice, a lone harmonica player emerges.)
HARMONICA PLAYER: Good evening, one and all. I have been asked to play here tonight...
ROAN: (Interrupting) Yes, yes. Play, not make a speech. Get on with it, King Phil.
NEOPIAN PHIL: It’s Neopian Phil!
ROAN: I thought you were part of a har-monarchy?
(From the same entrance, the rest of the band emerges, arranged in neat, organised lines, each carrying a harmonica. Roan stares at the ranks for a second.)
ROAN: There are four hundred of you.
NEOPIAN PHIL: Yes. Is that a problem?
ROAN: Well, yes – it’s the three hundred and ninety-ninth show. You’re not very fitting.
NEOPIAN PHIL: There’s not much we can do about that.
ROAN: Is there not? (He raises his voice.) Hey, does anybody own a Warf?
(A band member raises his hand.)
ROAN: In the Rescue Team, is he?
MEMBER: Of course.
ROAN: Only, I saw them attempting to save a Kadoatie stuck up a particularly high tree, and I think a few didn’t quite make the top of the tower.
(The member whimpers slightly.)
ROAN: If you want to go and check, that’s fine.
MEMBER: (Voice shaking) I’ll... stay. I’m needed here. It’d... sound awful without... us all.
ROAN: It’ll sound awful anyway. Well, if you’re sure, then stay. It probably wasn’t your beloved Warf that missed the stack and fell all that way down with his parachute closed...
(The band member gulps, turns, and, dropping his harmonica, flees the colosseum.)
ROAN: Perfect. Well, it was nice to have you all here to celebrate with us. Unfortunately, we do need to get on with the show now.
NEOPIAN PHIL: But we haven’t played yet! Just one short piece?
ROAN: If you must.
NEOPIAN PHIL: Excellent. (Turning to band) Ready? One... two... three...
(The band play a note.)
ROAN: (Applauding loudly) Amazing! Fantastic! Inspirational! Just three of the words that utterly fail to come to mind.
NEOPIAN PHIL: That’s not fair! You scared off one of the band – how are we supposed to perform with such depleted numbers?
ROAN: Oh, it can be more depleted. Does anybody own a Kadoatie?
NEOPIAN PHIL: I do.
ROAN: Only, there’s this particularly high tree...
(Neopian Phil turns pale.)
NEOPIAN PHIL: Band, we’re leaving! Now!
(The band smartly rotates, but Neopian Phil is already running through the crowd of harmonarchists.)
NEOPIAN PHIL: (Disappearing from view, followed by the rest of the band) Come on, faster! Does anybody have a trampoline...?
ROAN: The world famous ‘Neopian Phil’ Harmonica Orchestra, ladies and gentlemen. But now, to business, and things have never been closer as we enter Round Seven Hundred and Ninety-Eight. Well, the only time they were closer was at the start, when everybody was on equal points – although, naturally, because of the additional multiplier, some of us were more equal than others. We return to Sojo. In which world were the Bori discovered?
ROAN: As in, a mountain pass?
SOJO: No – I’m afraid I don’t know the answer.
ROAN: So your answer isn’t ‘The pass hidden deep within Terror Mountain’?
ROAN: Are you sure that wasn’t your answer? Absolutely positive?
SOJO: ...come to think of it, it might have been.
ROAN: That’s a shame – the correct answer was simply ‘Terror Mountain’. No idea where you got that pass idea from – did you just go out on a limb?
SOJO: Very good.
ROAN: Thanks. You lose another point, though – maybe you should have wasted less of your time volunteering and revised.
SOJO: But... I...
ROAN: It’s no good changing your mind now, you know. Some people have the required dedication to these shows, and others just don’t. Invisibelle – are you still here?
(Invisibelle reappears in her chair.)
ROAN: Neopia not bothered with crime this evening, then? You’ve got time to gallivant around on game shows, rather than roughing it with the shadier characters of this world?
INVISIBELLE: I’m here with you, aren’t I?
ROAN: (Silent for a moment) Good comeback. Anyway, Invisibelle, who is the enemy in Carnival of Terror?
INVISIBELLE: (Shuddering) Don’t mention them!
ROAN: Mention what?
INVISIBELLE: The clowns!
ROAN: What’s wrong with clowns? Surely if you were afraid of people who wore funny outfits and made people laugh, you’d never be able to look in a mirror again.
INVISIBELLE: I just... don’t like them!
ROAN: It’s a shame we’ve got a circus act booked for the next interval, then.
INVISIBELLE: (Gasping) Have you?
ROAN: Oh yes – they’ll be performing to the Gullible Waltz from the famous musical You’re An Idiot. (Pauses) See, I can do quick, witty responses as well. You can have a point for getting the answer right, but you lose it again because it was probably cheating for you to have that clown standing behind you telling you the answers.
(Invisibelle jumps and looks behind her.)
ROAN: (Gleefully) My mistake. Bluecloud, how many digits are there in the authorisation code required to enter the Kreludan Mining Corp?
ROAN: You don’t know? That’s awful. In that case, you lose a number of points equal to the sum total of all the digits in the code.
PRODUCER: How am I supposed to work out the score for that one? Nobody knows the code.
ROAN: I believe the official mathematical method for finding it is the one known as ‘Think Fast!’ It’s time for the scores again.
PRODUCER: Er... I’m going to go with the odds here and say that Bluecloud is at the bottom at this stage.
ROAN: Excellent – thank you. And, since I suspect this is a show record, what is the exact number of points she has?
PRODUCER: Well... (He scribbles a few numbers down, then his shoulders sag.) Er, not many, Roan.
ROAN: Great. In that case, we say goodbye now to Bluecloud, with an incredibly low score of three hundred and ninety nine lots of ‘not many’. Any parting words?
BLUECLOUD: This show’s not very good, really, is it?
ROAN: Pleasure to have you too. Goodbye!
ROAN: And so we arrive at the finale of this show. Alas, like a bad doctor, I’m quickly running out of patience; as such, the last round will be a quick fire round. You both signed contracts with the show, correct?
INVISIBELLE AND SOJO: Yes.
ROAN: Fantastic. I’m delighted to announce the termination of both those contracts. You’re fired!
PRODUCER: Roan, the terms of the contract are primarily that they’re not allowed to come round to your house after the show armed with large sticks to rearrange your hit points.
ROAN: I’ll take my chances – I’ve not had problems with it before.
PRODUCER: That’s because of the contract. You’d be surprised how many people we’ve had to remind of the clause.
ROAN: Well, it’s worth it if it brings about the end of the show – after all, with no contestants, how can we crown a winner?
PRODUCER: According to my notes, we do still have a scoring contestant on the cards.
PRODUCER: Me. You gave me a point at the start of the show, which means that I, as the sole remaining point-scoring participant, must be the winner!
ROAN: Really? Is there not a rule against that sort of thing?
ROAN: In that case, congratulations to the winner of this very special Meepit Show – the Producer!
(The crowd applauds politely.)
ROAN: And, of course, commiserations to our two runners-up, both, due to disqualification, reaching the grand total of non-applicable points!
(The applause becomes ruder. It’s not applause you’d let into your home without making it wipe its feet.)
ROAN: And now, as we reach the end of the show, it’s time to reflect back on what three hundred and ninety-nine issues of the Neopian Times have brought us.
PRODUCER: Is it?
ROAN: Oh yes. Quiet reflection, I think.
(There is silence for a few seconds.)
ROAN: Yes. That thought definitely sums up perfectly what it all means for me.
PRODUCER: So, no more twists this week?
ROAN: None. I’m saving them all for next week.
PRODUCER: You’ve got things planned for next week as well?
ROAN: Of course. Who else was going to organise the Issue Four Hundred And One Spectacular?