The Meepit Show: Valentine's Day Special
Note from the author: Many thanks to doodyduty, precious_katuch14, fish_puddle and kittengriffin for the loans of their characters. For more about Mr. Meepit, Reuben, Mad and Invi, have a look at the linked pieces – and, indeed, if you can correctly match the combinations of funny-looking symbols to the lists in your memory, you could read them as well.
(Setting: The Altador Stadium, as full as a suitable metaphor. 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 four stools. A Mutant Scorchio is standing on the podium, and the chairs are filled with the four contestants – from left to right, a White Blumaroo, a Christmas Koi, a Shadow Eyrie and a Pink Meepit. 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 evening, and welcome to the Meepit Show. Now, prepare to raise your hands in the cold because tonight, glove is in the air, although I suspect that may be a spelling mistake on my card. We have a glorious night of festivities ahead of us, filled with laughter, merriment and a veritable plethora of amusing entertainment. For the simpler amongst you, it’s going to be fun.
PRODUCER: You actually enjoy Valentine’s Day?
ROAN: Oh, definitely. I mean, there’s the companionship, the general good mood that seems to encapsulate everybody – but there are positive points as well. Anyway, contestants, if you’d like to introduce yourself, I’d be very grateful. Naturally, if you wouldn’t like to introduce yourself, I’d probably be angry if I was actually paying attention to what you said rather than looking vaguely in your direction and nodding in the pauses.
BLUMAROO: Hey! That’s not very nice.
ROAN: (Nodding) Of course.
BLUMAROO: Are you even listening?
ROAN: About half past three.
ROAN: Sorry, I was miles away. Well, actually I was here, but I like to think of myself as an optimist. Anyway, have we finished with the introductions yet?
BLUMAROO: Barely started. Anyway, before I was ignored, I was about to introduce myself as Reuben, son of the great Sir Reynold of Meridell, and brother of Rohane.
ROAN: Right. So, who are you going to introduce yourself as now?
REUBEN: (Short pause) Sorry?
ROAN: You were going to introduce yourself as Reuben. Have you changed your mind.
ROAN: In that case, it’s an honour to meet you.
ROAN: Of course. I mean, your father saved Meridell several times. Your brother is renowned around Neopia for saving the vast majority of the worlds from threats more evil and terrifying than any seen before. And you (he peers at one of the cards in his hand) once attacked a Lupe, is that correct?
REUBEN: Yes, but that’s not all...
ROAN: (Sarcastically) Well, I’m just so glad that we managed to get such a great action hero on the show today!
REUBEN: Was that sarcastic?
ROAN: He can read stage directions as well. Magnificent!
REUBEN: You know sarcasm is the lowest form of wit?
ROAN: At least I’m still witty. Which is more than can be said for you. Witless, perhaps – not witty. Next contestant please!
KOI: Hi. My name is Mad. Not that I need to introduce myself, of course – I’m sure you all recognise me.
ROAN: I think I do. Didn’t I buy a book from you the other day?
ROAN: Didn’t think so. Me buying books instinctively sounded wrong.
MAD: But you must have heard of me. I’m the star of a very successful comic series.
ROAN: Yes, I thought you looked like a bit of a joke. Next, please!
EYRIE: Good evening. My name is Invidere.
ROAN: That’s it? You’re done?
ROAN: Can I call you Invi?
ROAN: So, Invi, what brings you here?
INVI: I am sorry, but I am not aware of anybody called Invi here.
ROAN: Do you not like abbreviations, Invi?
INVI: I thought that was obvious - I do not, which I am sure, no doubt, will provide you with much cause for hilarity. In case you would like to investigate further routes of mockery, my blindness may be a cause for entertainment.
ROAN: It’s okay, I don’t need to take suggestions – I’ve got plenty of my own up my sleeve. And, in case you were wondering, yes, all three of those contractions were deliberate. And now, sadly, we reach a milestone in Meepit Show history. Up until now, the Meepit Show has maintained a very proud tradition of having absolutely nothing to do with Meepits. Alas, now, like the time I let go of that helium balloon, the time has come to watch that happy little fact disappear into oblivion as our last contestant introduces himself.
MEEPIT: Hello! My name is Mr. Meepit.
ROAN: It’s just a shame that such an historic occasion is met by such trivial murmurings.
MR. MEEPIT: What do you mean, ‘trivial’?
ROAN: Well, it’s not exactly going to go down as one of the greatest quotations of all time, is it? It’s one small sentence for a Meepit, but one giant disappointment for the Meepit Show.
MR. MEEPIT: Pleasure to be of service. Anyway, as I was saying, my name is Mr. Meepit, and my main skill is pranking people.
ROAN: So, you hide people’s socks, put salt in their sugar bowl, that sort of thing, yes?
MR. MEEPIT: (Thoughtfully) Salt in the sugar bowl... that’s not a bad idea.
ROAN: Fantastic(!) Just what we want at a pivotal moment in the show.
MR. MEEPIT: You’re not impressed?
ROAN: By petty little jokes? Inconsequential inconveniences? I wouldn’t call that impressive, even if it wasn’t purely to avoid awkward alliteration.
MR. MEEPIT: Oh, really?
ROAN: Anyway, I’ve got more important things to do than discuss the nuances of prankings with you. Actually, I really don’t, but it serves as a good enough excuse to move on. Now that our preparations are complete, we can prepare to embark on the trek that is the Meepit Show. Points will be awarded to those who climb highest, and will be taken off those who I deem incompetent and push down a chasm. Obviously, though, because we are celebrating Valentine’s Day, it will all be done in a very loving fashion. (Roan pauses) Producer?
ROAN: You know how I write most of my own prompt cards?
PRODUCER: Well, I write most of the cards and you scribble insults around the outside, but go on.
ROAN: Well, I specifically remember making up that climbing metaphor – I was very proud of it. Took the rest of the day off after that, if I recall correctly. And I also extremely specifically recall not writing a sentence that involved doing anything in a manner even approaching loving.
PRODUCER: I thought it might be a nice way for the show to go today. After all, you said yourself that you enjoy Valentine’s Day.
ROAN: Of course I do! The arguments, the fights over one person not doing enough for the other person, the uneasy silences, the opening of a present from that special somebody and your heart sinking when you realise that they’ve bought you an expensive, authentic, beautiful piece of artwork and they’re about to open their gift of a half-eaten berry and a hastily scrawled poem copied out of one of those cheap cards – that’s what the true spirit of Valentine’s Day is all about!
PRODUCER: What about love? And happiness?
ROAN: Unfortunate by-products. If two people are happy together on Valentine’s Day, it’s only because at least one of them isn’t paying attention properly.
PRODUCER: Be that as it may, can you at least try to spread, if not some ‘love’, then at least some ‘like’?
ROAN: Not sure I could do that. I could try and spread a general lack of interest. Or, if you gave me some bread, I could spread some butter. But that’s about my limit. Anyway, if you don’t mind, I’ve got a quiz to do, so if you can stop interrupting me, you useless, pathetic excuse for a pet, I might be able to ignore your disgusting features and ask some questions... my friend. Was that what you had in mind?
PRODUCER: Is that the best I’m going to get?
ROAN: Probably better. And now, let the show begin! Rohane, what...
REUBEN: It’s Reuben.
ROAN: Oh, I do apologise. You see, you do look very alike, but, now that I’m looking a bit closer, it’s abundantly clear that you’re not the successful, popular, strong, useful one, are you?
REUBEN: (Indignant) Hey, I chose to let Rohane go and save the world!
ROAN: How noble of you! I’m sure your medal’s on its way. In the meantime, how about a quiz question - how does Caylis predict the future?
ROAN: You know. The one who saved Maraqua from disaster, the one who’s renowned as a hero – not unlike your brother, really.
REUBEN: (Angrily) Right, that’s enough! I am not Rohane, so can you stop comparing me to him?!
ROAN: That’s not a good reason. Now, if you were Rohane, that would be a good reason to stop comparing you both – you’d be very well matched. As it is, I’m afraid the comparison doesn’t look favourably on you.
REUBEN: I’ll have you know I make some of the finest weaponry this side of Kreludor!
ROAN: And I make some of the best comebacks this side of Kreludor. Doesn’t make me better than Rohane. Can I take it that you don’t know the answer?
ROAN: Shame. I’d heard your brother wasn’t very good at general knowledge quizzes – you might have had a chance to overtake him there. You lose one point for getting the answer wrong, and another for good measure. Just for the record, you’re now technically losing to Rohane at this as well.
(Reuben glowers at Roan.)
PRODUCER: Aren’t you supposed to be being nice?
ROAN: Those closest to you are the ones you hurt the most.
PRODUCER: Who says that?
ROAN: I just did. Were you not paying attention? I should have expected that from you, you disappointing old stickler for the rules...
(The Producer glares at him.)
ROAN: (Quickly) ...with quite dashing wings. (The Producer appears slightly mollified.) Anyway, Reuben, I do apologise. It must have been difficult, what with Rohane being so much older than you, growing up with such a role model to follow... yes?
(Reuben mumbles something.)
ROAN: What was that?
REUBEN: (Quickly and quietly) He’s my younger brother.
ROAN: (Feigning horror) He’s younger than you? But how is that possible? He’s so brave and heroic, and you’re so... you.
REUBEN: (Annoyed) Thanks(!) Does it not say that he’s younger on your card?
ROAN: (Smugly) Yep. That was purely for me. Moving on to our next contestant. Since you’re positioned between the one who isn’t famous and the one who’s very formal... you must be Mad to sit there.
ROAN: Ah, the joys of predictable puns. It’s what I built my career on. Anyway, Mad, who infamously turned five Meercas into a Meerca pie?
MAD: Was it me?
ROAN: (Carefully) Is this a confession? (Rapidly) You’re not going to do anything like that to me, are you? Because I didn’t even hear what you said. I didn’t even know you said anything. It was all him, anyway. (Roan points to the Producer.)
ROAN: (Short pause) What?
MAD: Oh, I stopped listening when you said ‘infamous’. Just assumed you were talking about me.
ROAN: Er... right, of course. So you don’t turn people into Meerca pies?
MAD: No. I star in a comic series.
ROAN: Do you? I’ve never heard of you.
MAD: Not possible. There’s a mania about me going around. They call it Madness.
ROAN: I think I’m experiencing it. Anyway, I can’t remember what your answer was, but I know there was some threatening involved. Now, my will is strong, so I’m tempted to not give you the point. However, I am particularly weak, so I will give you the point provided you don’t do anything to me.
MAD: I had no intention of doing anything to you.
ROAN: That’s the spirit. And now we arrive at Invi. Can you tell me a three word phrase that indicates lack of knowledge on a subject?
INVI: (Pausing for a moment) I am not...
ROAN: Unfortunately, that exceeds the word count. Another go?
INVI: (Smiling slightly) You may think...
ROAN: Oh dear, you overshot again. Can you not think of anything? Like, oh, (very deliberately) "I don’t know". Or perhaps "I’m not sure". Words to that effect.
INVI: Well, I am very grateful that you are giving me answers as well as the questions – I was starting to worry that this would not be a legitimate quiz.
ROAN: It is legitimate!
INVI: Of course. And I am also sure that the point scores are completely valid and accurate.
ROAN: Oh, so you don’t value the points I’m trying to give you?
INVI: (Smirking slightly) Incorrect. I do not value the points you are trying to give me.
ROAN: Interesting. Just as well, since you’ve just misplaced one. Incidentally, why are you so afraid of apostrophes? Did you have a bad experience with grammar as a child?
INVI: No. Did you have a bad experience with somebody with a brain?
ROAN: I’m not sure why that would be relevant.
INVI: That does not surprise me. I knew that coming on this show would be pointless.
ROAN: Oh, you’re not pointless here.
INVI: What makes you say that?
ROAN: You’ve got a negative score – you’re more than pointless.
INVI: More clever wordplay. Unfortunately, your idiocy meant that you missed my point. Perhaps a clearer way to say it would be "Shut up!"
ROAN: Ah, right – you should’ve said. Will do.
(There are a few seconds of silence.)
INVI: Pray continue – I would not want to deprive myself of your sparkling wit and repartee for too long.
ROAN: A very sensible thought – you can have your point back for that. We move on, to what must, I suppose, be considered our headline act. Mr. Meepit – where’ve you gone?
(The chair in which Mr. Meepit has been moments earlier is now empty. Since this hasn’t been mentioned previously in the stage directions, it has the potential to cause awkward situations, especially since, without looking at the seat, the seat is technically both occupied and not occupied. And possibly in a box, although that part might not be so important. All the same, producing a seat that both does and doesn’t have a Meepit sitting on it is quite a challenge for any set producer, and any reading will be relieved to know that, at this moment in time, the seat is definitely not occupied.)
ROAN: (Turning to Producer) Did you see where Mr. Meepit went?
PRODUCER: Sorry, no.
ROAN: Well, he must have vanished.
(Or he didn’t vanish. Without observation, he could be both there and not there.)
ROAN: Yes, but I’m observing, and he’s not there.
(Look, it’s a thought experiment, all right?)
ROAN: Not a particularly good one.
PRODUCER: Roan, who are you talking to?
ROAN: (Nonchalantly) The stage directions.
PRODUCER: (Pausing for a moment, as if to argue further, and then shrugging) Fair enough.
ROAN: Anyway, following the mysterious disappearance...
(...potential mysterious disappearance...)
ROAN: ...of one of our contestants, the scores are as follows. In first place, with one point, is our Maddening friend. In second is our resident abbreviation-hater, the Big I, with a nice round score - zero. But, sitting in last place – a position I’m sure he’s fairly familiar with – is the noble champion of Meridell... ’s brother. Reuben, with minus two points, it’s you we have to say goodbye to at this stage. Not that it’s the last we’ll see of you, I’m sure.
REUBEN: Do you think?
ROAN: Oh, certainly. When Rohane collects his massive trophy for saving every single world in Neopia, I’m sure he’ll let you come to the ceremony. Maybe defend his suitcase from all the wild Petpetpets.
REUBEN: (Haughtily) Well, I’m going to go back to where I’m truly appreciated as a hero! Good day to you.
(Reuben turns and stalks off.)
ROAN: (Calling after him) Go quickly – I’m sure your tiny village will be struggling to fend off the wild Babaas without you there!
PRODUCER: Is that intended in a loving way?
ROAN: Naturally. You know, I think you get the wrong impression of me on this show sometimes. I’m actually a lot more friendly and sensitive off the show.
PRODUCER: No, you’re not.
ROAN: I am when you’re not looking. Why, only today I gave somebody a Valentine’s poem.
PRODUCER: Did you?
ROAN: Oh yes. (He pulls a piece of paper from his pocket, and reads aloud)
"Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
You’re a florist,
It’s about time you knew."
PRODUCER: That’s... lovely.
ROAN: Isn’t it? Well, I thought that old Kyrii at the Altador Flower Shop would appreciate it – on the one hand, the ambience of the place is lovely, but on the other hand, I can’t count the number of times I’ve gone in, ordered a bouquet of pansies, and walked out with her cup of coffee.
PRODUCER: I wouldn’t have thought she’d have got that confused.
ROAN: No, she doesn’t - I’m normally just thirsty when I go in there. Besides, what would I do with flowers? You can’t eat them, and apparently insulting them makes them grow slightly better. Something to do with plants living on the wrong sort of air. You’d have thought somebody would have told them.
PRODUCER: So you went in today, read her a poem, and stole her coffee?
ROAN: What? Take her coffee? Today, of all days? What do you take me for?
PRODUCER: I... I’m sorry, I just...
ROAN: It’s a Saturday. She has tea on a Saturday. I took that instead.
ROAN: Look, we’ve got a quiz to do here – we can’t stand around talking all day. Now there are just two of you left, the format of the show changes slightly, in that I have slightly fewer people to ask questions to. We’ll start with Mad. Mad, what does Sally the Usul collect?
MAD: Dunno – my comics?
ROAN: Correct. You get a point.
PRODUCER: He does not get a point. Sally collects Usukis.
ROAN: Well, that’s the answer on my card. But who’s to say she doesn’t collect other stuff as well? I reckon she’d collect this guy’s comics...
ROAN: ...whether or not they actually exist.
ROAN: The point stands. Invi, which...
INVI: May I interrupt you there?
INVI: Is this question intended to be yet another predictable jibe at some aspect of me? For example, you do not seem to have mentioned very much about my inability to see. Perhaps a picture round would be amusing?
ROAN: Well, now that you mention it...
INVI: Unfortunately for you, I have different plans for the ending of the show. Are you familiar with the phrase "Out of sight, out of mind"?
ROAN: Yes. Why?
INVI: (Smirking) Who said that?
ROAN: So your plan is to ignore me.
(Invi says nothing.)
ROAN: Sounds good to me – and I do mean that literally. In any case, after one elimination on points, one unexplained disappearance and one contestant completely ignoring me, now seems like a good time to declare the winner of yet another fairly standard Meepit Show. The final point scores. In last place, with minus one point, is Invi!
ROAN: Any final words before you leave?
INVI: Only that it has been a pleasure to be here with such an intelligent, charismatic host.
INVI: Certainly. It is especially nice when said host has no appreciation of sarcasm.
(Invi spreads his wings and flies out of the stadium.)
ROAN: (Staring into the sky) What’s the point? What is the point of us building all these beautiful exits if you’re just going to use the sky? Producer, can we get a retractable roof or something?
PRODUCER: An automatic closing roof?
ROAN: Yes, one of them. You know, to prevent "rain stopped play". Or "heat stopped play". Or, for that matter, "any slight change in the weather stopped play" – I’m a firm campaigner for the latter. The budget’ll cover a closing roof, won’t it?
PRODUCER: I doubt it. We still can’t afford paint to replace the signs. And amulet portals don’t come cheap.
ROAN: I’m sure you could snipe one from the Shop Wizard. And, also in last place, only with a higher score, on two points, is Mad!
(Slightly less polite applause)
MAD: Do I get a prize?
ROAN: Er... yes. It’s... being presented by your fan club.
MAD: Really? Where are they?
ROAN: Not far. Tyrannia, I think.
ROAN: Silly pet. Imagine him thinking he had his own comic strip.
PRODUCER: Er, Roan? (He produces a copy of the Neopian Times, and passes it to Roan.) Page forty-two.
ROAN: (Opening the Times and scanning said page) Hey, look! It’s somebody who looks like him. (Roan closes the paper and hands it back to the Producer.) Looks like you’ve caught his Madness too – you seem to think he has a comic strip too.
PRODUCER: Because he does!
ROAN: (Patronisingly) Of course he does. (Normal tone) And now, as everybody starts to get into the spirit of Valentine’s Day, all that’s left for me to say is... what was that?
PRODUCER: Aw, that’s very... sorry, what? That’s not what it says on the card.
ROAN: No, the card says something soppy. With a pencilled note from you at the top saying ‘Read this verbatim; it might stop you sounding like an emotionally-impaired robot’.
PRODUCER: You weren’t supposed to read that bit.
ROAN: But I did. Verbatim. Anyway, I was distracted by that loud rumbling sound.
PRODUCER: What loud...?
(There is a loud rumbling sound.)
PRODUCER: How did you know that was going to happen?
ROAN: I read ahead. Do you have an umbrella?
PRODUCER: No. Why?
ROAN: Oh... you’ll see. Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody.
(Roan leaps off his podium and dashes down a nearby exit. As the Producer stands looking slightly puzzled, the scene pans upwards, out and away from the stadium, to a small Meepit standing on the crest of a nearby hill.)
MR. MEEPIT: Right, the catapults are in position, and the Second Hand Shoppe has been emptied of all its dung. Positions!
(From behind the hill, the rumbling continues, as a horde of trebuchets move into positions – a casual observer would estimate the number to be in the hundreds. Unless the casual observer was a mathematician, in which case he’d analyse the formations and conclude that there were two hundred and forty seven. But there’s a reason mathematicians generally don’t write stage directions.)
MR. MEEPIT: Aim!
(The appropriate adjustments are made.)
MR. MEEPIT: (Quietly) This’ll show him that there’s more to pranks than salt in the sugar bowl. (Out loud) Fire!