The Meepit Show
For the real Neoinvestigators guild, who are owed a dedication after the misrepresentation of them in my last story
(Setting: The planning room of the Altador Cup Committee. Three smartly-dressed pets are sitting around a large, official looking table. One is an Ixi, one is an Acara and one is a Chia.)
CHIA: So, the Altador Cup is over for another year.
CHIA: So, we need to come up with an idea as to what to do with the stadium for the next year.
ACARA: An interesting problem.
CHIA: Any suggestions? (Interrupting the silence, which should technically be impossible, but is nonetheless done) Here’s one. I think that we should design a competition where people answer questions about Neopia, and whoever gets the most right wins some money.
ACARA: Do you think that would work?
CHIA: Well, we would need an interesting and charismatic host to read the questions.
IXI: An intelligent host.
ACARA: One who everyone will like, and who will like everybody.
(Short pause, then all laugh)
CHIA: No, let’s use Roan instead.
BIT AFTER THE PROLOGUE (AKA THE ACTUAL STORY)
(Setting: The Altador Stadium, virtually empty. 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 Yellow Kiko, a Blue Grarrl, a Green Shoyru, a Red Grundo and an Invisible pet, making the last chair appear empty. 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 ‘Produ’.)
ROAN: Good afternoon, and welcome to the Meepit Show. My name is Roan, and I will be...
(From the ‘Produ’ entrance, a producer of the show appears)
PRODUCER: (In a loud, stage whisper, seriously) Roan, the name of the quiz is Quiz Neopia.
ROAN: I know. I prefer the Meepit Show
PRODUCER: But there are no Meepits involved.
ROAN: Exactly! The perfect Meepit related show!
PRODUCER: (Sighs) But we have a large sign that calls it Quiz Neopia.
PRODUCER: There, in the stage directions at the top.
ROAN: Oh. (Appears put off for a moment) Can we at least consider The Meepit Show as a title?
PRODUCER: No! It cost thousands of neopoints to produce that sign!
ROAN: You spent thousands of neopoints on a sign, but couldn’t afford enough paint to complete the entrance sign?
PRODUCER: (Mumbling) It’s a good sign...
ROAN: It’s an appalling sign. It has the wrong name on it.
PRODUCER: The show is called Quiz Neopia. Now, just introduce it again.
ROAN: OK. (In a monotone voice). Hello and welcome to Quiz Neopia. I’m Roan. Let’s meet the contestants.
PRODUCER: More enthusiasm, Roan!
ROAN: (Still in monotone voice) No.
(The producer withdraws back to the ‘Produ’ entrance)
ROAN: Contestant One, you are...?
KIKO: Hello everybody! (Smiles happily) My name is Jocas, and I’m from the Lost Desert!
ROAN: You sound too happy.
JOCAS: I’m a positive person.
ROAN: No, you’re not. You’re just strange. And you have a silly name. I can’t call you Jocas. I’ll call you Cheerful instead.
JOCAS: But I prefer...
ROAN: Silence, Cheerful. Contestant Two, introduce yourself.
GRARRL: Hello, I’m...
ROAN: (Interrupting) Oh, a Grarrl, I’m sorry. (Raises his voice, and speaks slowly, clearly and deliberately) How... are... you?
GRARRL: I’m OK, thanks...
ROAN: (Interrupting) Don’t... rush... your... thoughts. I’ll... call... you... Grarrl... for... now.
GRARRL: I have a name...
ROAN: Shhhhh. Don’t wear yourself out. Contestant Three, you are...?
SHOYRU: Hello. I’m a Shoyru, obviously. My name is Harris, and I...
ROAN: (Sarcastically) You’re a Shoyru? Really? (Mutters to self) Idiot. (Louder) Harris is a stupid name. But then, you are quite stupid, so maybe it suits you.
ROAN: Can people stop trying to talk here? I know it’s a quiz show, but I want to talk now. Now, let's move on to Contestant Four.
GRUNDO: Hi. I’m Slompth, and I come from Kreludor.
ROAN: (Incredulously) You’re Sloth?
SLOMPTH: No, I’m...
ROAN: Oh my goodness! Dr Sloth! What an honour!
SLOMPTH: Not Dr Sloth. It’s...
ROAN: Oh, of course! You’re in disguise. (Roan winks at Slompth) Say no more. Nice to meet you, (deliberately) Slompth. And that’s all five of our contestants. (Stops for a moment, a confused look on his face. He raises his finger, and counts the contestants he can see, before looking intently at the last chair, which appears empty) That’s not five contestants.
PRODUCER: (From the ‘Produ’ entrance) The last one's invisible, Roan.
ROAN: Oh. Right. In that case, I don’t care who you are. Honestly, if contestants can’t even be bothered to make themselves visible... I mean, what’s the point of appearing on a show which relies on me looking at you, if you’re invisible? Idiot.
INVISIBLE PET: Excuse me...
ROAN: (Pointedly ignoring the Invisible pet) Right, let’s get started with Round One. The rules are simple, but for the benefit of some, (stares for a second at Harris) I’ll explain them anyway. I’ll ask questions until the time expires. Whoever has the fewest points at the end of each round is eliminated. Apparently, this round is meant to go on for three minutes, but if I get bored it’ll stop sooner. Anyway, first question is directed to Mr Cheerful over here. Cheerful, what is the name of Neopia’s moon?
ROAN: That is correct, but I don’t like you, so you’ve lost a point. Grarrl (voice slows obviously) What... is... your... name?
GRARRL: My name is Olvatra. And I don’t see how that question is relevant to the quiz. You do realise that I graduated from Neopia’s top university, with some of the best marks they’ve ever received?
ROAN: Wow! That’s a lot of words for somebody so simple. It’s a shame you don’t know what you’re on about. I’ll give you a point for a good effort, though. Next, we have Moron over here. Moron, who won the Altador Cup last year?
HARRIS: I’m not a big sports fan, but I think it may have been Darigan Citadel.
ROAN: No, wrong! Honestly, do you actually know anything? You lose seven points for being an idiot. Next question, for...
HARRIS: (Slightly annoyed) So, who did win the Altador Cup last year.
ROAN: I ask the questions, not you, Moron. You lose another twelve points.
HARRIS: For what?
ROAN: I don’t need a reason. I’m the question master. Everything I say goes. Now, stand on your head.
ROAN: You heard me. And if you fall over, you lose more points.
(Harris, looking bemused, gets off his chair and stands on his head)
ROAN: Wow, so you do understand English. Very impressive. You’re not getting a point for it, though. In fact, for an obnoxious demand, you lose another point.
(Harris looks about to protest, but Roan starts speaking again)
ROAN: (loudly) The next question is for Dr Sloth, your majesty.
SLOMPTH: It’s not Dr Sloth.
ROAN: Of course, of course (he winks at Slompth). Anyway, what is the name of the King of Meridell?
SLOMPTH: Er... I don’t know.
ROAN: Take a guess!
SLOMPTH: I don’t know... King Meridell?
ROAN: It’s King Skarl, but that’s close, so you get a point. Well done. We go back to Cheerful over there, now.
INVISIBLE PET: What about me?
ROAN: (Looking wildly around) Who said that?
PRODUCER: (From the ‘Produ’ entrance) Over there. (Points to the apparently empty chair)
ROAN: Oh! (sighs) The one who can’t even be bothered to come visible. Well, Lazy, I can’t be bothered to read you a question. So you got it wrong, and you lose a point. Now, we go back to Cheerful over here. Cheerful, what...
JOCAS: It’s Jocas!
ROAN: Oh, we’re not so happy now, are we, Cheerful? Anyway, what’s the answer?
JOCAS: What? What was the question?
ROAN: I don’t see why I have to read it twice. What’s the answer?
JOCAS: No idea. Yellow?
ROAN: (Examining card closely) Er... well, it’s not to say that... not exactly yellow as such, but... (Throws card away) It was a stupid question.
JOCAS: Do I get a point?
ROAN: Oh, go on then. As long as you don’t get irritatingly happy. Next question goes to you... over... here! Is... that... all... right... with... you?
OLVATRA: Is that my question?
ROAN: (Muttering) Stupid creature. (Loudly and deliberately) Yes... that... is... your... question!
OLVATRA: Then, yes, I suppose.
ROAN: I don’t believe you are all right. So you lose a point. I can’t be bothered to ask any more questions. Let’s have a recap of the scores. But firstly... (He steps off his podium, walks over to where Harris is still standing on his head, going slowly red, and pushes him. Harris falls over) Idiot, you lose a point for falling over. So, the scores. In the lead at the moment is Dr Sloth – sorry, Slompth, with one point. In joint second place with zero points are Grarrl and Cheerful. In fourth place is Lazy, somewhere over there (waving wildly with his hand towards the empty chair), with minus one point. However, at the bottom of the leader board, with minus twenty-one points, is Dimwit, who can’t even stand on his head. So, Idiot, you’re eliminated. Shoo.
PRODUCER: Actually, Roan, the scores you’ve given are a little... inaccurate, do you not think?
ROAN: What are you saying? The scoreboard doesn’t lie. It’s a clear representation that Moron over there knows absolutely nothing about anything. It wasn’t like I scored unfairly or anything. Idiot, just leave. Go. Go on.
(Harris looks to be trying to make a protest, but Roan suddenly leaps off his podium and starts running at him, flapping his hands. In shock, Harris gets up, and Roan pushes him away. Harris runs out through the ‘Contestants’ entrance)
ROAN: (Returning to pedestal) Well, we’ve got rid of him. Now, I’m meant to talk to the contestants here. So, Dr Slompth, where are you planning on invading next?
SLOMPTH: I’m not planning on invading anywhere. I’m not Dr Sloth!
ROAN: Of course you’re not. I won’t ask any further. (He winks at Slompth again) So, Cheerful, why are you so annoyingly happy? Does it not bother you that, after one round, you still have no points. What about the fact that, if you stood on your head, nobody would really notice the difference?
JOCAS: What do you mean?
ROAN: Well, you’re a Kiko, aren’t you? Look, stand on your head and you’ll know what I’m on about.
JOCAS: No, it’s fine, I believe you...
(Jocas rolls on his chair, and turns upside down)
ROAN: I said turn upside down. (Cackles wildly for a couple of seconds, notices that nobody else is, and stops suddenly) Ahem. Well, let’s start Round Two. This round is the Odd One Out Round, and whoever gets the question right gets two points. So, teams, fingers on buzzers.
PRODUCER: We don’t have any buzzers.
ROAN: (Turning to face producer) We don’t have buzzers? And you spent thousands on a stupid flashing sign?
PRODUCER: None of the rounds need buzzers. There isn’t even an Odd One Out round. Where do you plan to get the questions from?
ROAN: I’ll make them up. (Turning back to the contestants) So teams, fingers wherever you like. First question – Which is the odd one out? Fyora, Jhudora, Illusen, and a pinecone?
OLVATRA: (Quickly) A pinecone!
ROAN: (Patronisingly) You don’t need to just shout anything out. You need to choose from the options I give you. Understand? (Smiles extremely patronisingly at Olvatra)
OLVATRA: A pinecone was one of the options!
ROAN: No, it wasn’t!
JOCAS: It was!
ROAN: No, it wasn’t!
INVISIBLE PET: It was, it was the last one you said!
ROAN: (Angrily and loudly) No, it wasn’t!!
SLOMPTH: Actually, it was.
ROAN: (Politely) Oh yes, so I see. Well noticed, Slompth. Have a point. Next question – Which is the odd one out, out of Faerieland, Mystery Island, Terror Mountain and the Lost Desert?
JOCAS: It must be Faerieland, because that’s the only one which is just one word.
ROAN: That’s not what’s written on the card. According to that, the answer is ‘seven’. You lose a point.
JOCAS: I thought you were making the questions up!
ROAN: Yes, the questions. Not the answers. Final question of the round – which is the odd one out, out of seven, twenty-eight, one, and three-million-and-six?
OLVATRA: Well, if you apply Fyora’s second law to the indices of the square roots of the hypotenuse of each of the four numbers, choosing to display the results on a scattered Rooian Complex Diagram, and ensuring that the binomial expansion of the fourth dimension solution of each is correct according to the differential of x, taking care to discover the third coefficient of exposition, then only one number does not have a non-zero integer solution, but is still solvable using the inequality of one compared to the product of the other three, which would make the solution twenty-eight.
ROAN: Well, you got the answer right, but using quite a roundabout method. Twenty-eight is, in fact, the number I was thinking of. Well done, you get a point. You’re... getting... quite... good... at... this... speaking... thing... aren’t... you?
OLVATRA: (Confused) I suppose.
ROAN: Anyway, at the end of that round, I see from the scoreboard that there is no change at the top – Slompth is top with two points. Grarrl over here, with one point, which is very good for somebody who doesn’t really understand what’s happening, poor creature. However, there is a tie at the bottom of the table – Incredibly Irritatingly Cheerful and Lazy are tied on minus one point each. This, according to the rules, would mean a tie break situation, but I don’t want to break my tie. It’s one of my best. So, I’m just going to eliminate both of you, to make things easier.
(Jocas gets up and leaves)
ROAN: (Staring at the empty chair where the Invisible pet is sitting). You too. You can’t stay just because you’re invisible.
(Silence from the chair)
ROAN: Leave! I’m not going to ask you any more questions, so you may as well go!
PRODUCER: Roan, he left with Jocas.
ROAN: (Turning to producer) Who? Who’s Jocas?
PRODUCER: (Taking a deep breath) Cheerful.
ROAN: Oh, Cheerful. Why didn’t you say? Nobody calls him Jocas! At least, nobody worth speaking about. Anyway (turning back to the contestants), we’re due to play lots more rounds. But they don’t sound very interesting, so we’ll skip to Round Fourteen – the final quiz, where each correct answer is worth two points. Before we begin, Grarrl, you’re obviously not without a brain. Do you have any weaknesses in your knowledge?
OLVATRA: I suppose my geography is a little weak.
ROAN: Right. Let’s start the last round. Grarrl, in geography, where is the Kalaman Strait?
OLVATRA: Er... Tyrannia?
ROAN: (Under his breath) Bother. (Louder) Yes, well done. Two points. Slompth, in mathematics, what is two plus two?
SLOMPTH: Oh... wait, I know this one. Is it seven?
ROAN: I’ll allow a margin of error there – you can have one point for a good try. Grarrl, in geography, which sea would one expect to find east of Neopia Central?
OLVATRA: Would that be the Neovian Ocean?
ROAN: You didn’t let me finish the question. Which sea would one expect to find east of Neopia Central, but after having travelled most of the way around Neopia. That means that the correct answer is in fact the Meridellian Straight. Sorry. Slompth, in popular cuisine, name a food.
SLOMPTH: (Curiously) What, any food?
ROAN: Yes, any food.
SLOMPTH: A red apple?
ROAN: Is correct! Two points for you. Grarrl, in geography, where is Jelly World.
OLVATRA: Everyone knows that. It doesn’t exist.
ROAN: Well... er... I suppose... that’s an obvious question. You only get one point. Slompth, in famous Neopians, who tried to take over Neopia using an army of Grundos?
SLOMPTH: Dr Sloth.
ROAN: Now, come, Slompth. We’re all friends here. You can admit to your glorious deeds here.
SLOMPTH: (Exasperated) I’m really not Dr Sloth!
ROAN: (Puzzled) Really? But you said you were!
SLOMPTH: No, you said I was!
ROAN: Did I? I’m sure I’d remember saying that. So, you’re really not Dr Sloth?
ROAN: Right. Of course you’re not. (Winks at Slompth) Anyway, back to the questions. You each have one question left. Grarrl, in sport... (Roan looks at the question, makes a small noise, and throws the card away. He reads the next one, and throws that one away. He begins to flick through the stash, tossing cards wildly away, until with a shout of triumph he holds a question card aloft) Aha! Grarrl, in geography, what do you get if you multiply the number... (He frowns at the question card for a second, then tosses the entire pile in his hand away). Grarrl, in geography, where is the Castle of the Unbelieving Techos?
OLVATRA: I’ve never heard of it!
ROAN: I know, I just made it up. Where is it?
OLVATRA: (Frustrated) In your head?
ROAN: I’m afraid I need an actual place here, Grarrl.
OLVATRA: (Makes furious gestures, then sighs) Meridell?
ROAN: I’m sorry, the clue was in the question. It doesn’t exist. The answer I was looking for was ‘in my head’.
OLVATRA: I said that!
ROAN: No, you said ‘in your head’. There’s a big difference. Slompth, in... er... (He looks around for a question card scattered on the floor) Oh, I don’t care. Do you want to win this?
SLOMPTH: Yes, I do.
ROAN: Then you have. Well done.
PRODUCER: (In a stage whisper) The audience have paid for a one hour show. You need to think of something to do for the next thirty minutes!
ROAN: (Turning to face the audience) I’ve just been asked to give the scores, but I’ve lost count, so I’m not going to. (Smiles) I’ve also just been informed that we have half an hour left to go. So, I suggest that you all stare at the big neon flashing sign, and try to think of a better name for this show. Or, alternatively, you could find something better to do with your time than sit here in this stadium listening to me rant on.
(Roan picks up one of the question cards, and throws it into the audience)
ROAN: There. That’ll keep you entertained for half an hour.
(Roan leaves the pedestal, and disappears through the entrance marked ‘Roan’. The producer, looking exasperated, runs off to somewhere undoubtedly important. Olvatra, looking extremely annoyed, leaves her chair and leaves through the entrance marked ‘Contestants’, leaving just Slompth in the stadium – at some point during those last couple of lines, the audience, grumbling, all left)
SLOMPTH: (Quietly) That was a close one.
(Slompth pushes a button on his chest, and the robotic Grundo suit lifts off him, to reveal Dr Sloth underneath)
SLOTH: I don’t think he noticed, though.
(Sloth departs in a suitably befitting fashion)
EPILOGUE (AKA THE BIT AFTER THE BIT AFTER THE PROLOGUE)
(Setting: The planning room of the Altador Cup Committee. Three smartly-dressed pets are sitting around a large, official looking table. One is an Ixi, one is an Acara and one is a Chia)
CHIA: So, we have a show that was a complete disaster.
IXI: The audience all demanded refunds – it cost us thousands.
ACARA: And all the contestants felt abused.
IXI: Not to mention the fact that we invited Dr Sloth onto the show.
CHIA: So, it was, frankly, a total failure in every way, shape and form.
IXI / ACARA: Yes!
CHIA: But, we’re going to keep it going, of course.
IXI / ACARA: Obviously.
CHIA: So, when shall we hold the next one?
IXI: Well, that all depends. Roan has a very busy schedule.
(Short pause, then all three laugh)
ACARA: We’ll try to arrange it as soon as possible.
Author's note: Thank you for reading – feedback is always appreciated, and I will try to reply to all sent to me, although I will not give any refunds for claims on time wasted reading this.