Although this story mentions real persons, corporations, TV shows and places, it is purely a work of fiction for personal enjoyment. The story does NOT describe real events and should NOT be taken to accurately portray any real entity mentioned. In keeping with its fictional nature, the events and activities described in the story may not be legal, ethical or safe. This site does NOT endorse or recommend their enactment.
Suzi’s house, Mudford, 11:30pm.
“I can’t believe Mr. ‘Nilla really wanted me to do a tacky Christmas edition of Slop Drop. Wasn’t Hallowe’en enough? I thought the Slop Drop was going on a hiatus while we all worked on other projects anyway,” an indignant Suzi thought as she clambered into her bed. It was a rather fancy bed too – a four-poster with luxurious silk drapes hanging down. The mattress and pillows provided perfect support and the duvet was warm and snugly. “No, I’m going to enjoy a nice, gunge-free Christmas. No Slop Drop, no Kayotics, no café, nothing.” She yawned and fell asleep.
“Suzi, wake up.”
“Oh for goodness sake, you lazy girl! Wake up!” a somewhat familiar voice called out to her. Male, Londoner.
Suzi opened her eyes and saw the face of Andy Collins looking back at her. Only, he was an eerie white, translucent and… glowing? “What’s going on? I’m trying to get some sleep!” She then took another look at the spectral figure. “Andy Collins from Pump It Up? I had no idea you were dead! What are you doing haunting me? I loved your show!”
“Silly girl, I’m not the ghost of Andy Collins!” the spirit retorted. “I’m the ghost of Andy Collins’s career. I’ve got a message for you.”
“A career isn’t a living thing. How can it have a ghost?”
“Anything that’s dead can have a ghost. Anyway, you don’t want to end up forgotten like me and my show, do you?” asked the spirit.
Suzi looked back at the ghost incredulously. “Come to think of it, since when were ghosts even a real thing?”
The spirit ignored Suzi’s silliness and continued. “Look, let’s just get to the point. You will be visited by three ghosts, each one upon the turn of the next three hours. The first one will be here in about… Oh, 21 minutes? Hopefully they’ll make you see sense and change your ways.”
“My ways?” Suzi repeated in the hopes of some more exposition. “My ways are just fine. Christmas is the most overrated holiday in existence and doesn’t lend itself to messy fun the way Hallowe’en does. The idea of a Christmas edition of Slop Drop is plain ridiculous! You should go haunt old Ebenezer Vanilla for making me work on Christmas, seeing as you’re all going Dickensian on me!”
“Change your ways, Suzi! Change your ways!” the spirit repeated as it faded away.
Suzi sat on her bed, wrapped in the covers. “Whatever. I’m probably just having some kind of silly nightmare.” With that, she lay down and fell back to sleep.
Suzi’s alarm clock started beeping, much to her confusion. Instinctively she reached through a small gap between the bedpost and the drape and whacked the snooze bar. As she opened her eyes she found herself face to face with Yumiko from The Kayotics, wearing a flowing white dress. Like the last ghost, she was glowing white and looking rather transparent. “Let me guess,” Suzi mumbled. “You’re the Ghost of Christmas Past, right Yumi?”
Yumiko shook her head. “Not exactly, Suzi. I’m the Ghost of Gungings Past. Specifically, I’m talking about gungings from your past.”
“You’re gonna be here a long time, spirit,” Suzi chuckled.
“Quite. Suzi, I think you’ve forgotten yourself,” Yumiko frowned as she grabbed Suzi’s left hand. “Come with me.” Suzi got up and walked alongside Yumiko, who just seemed to float in the air. Much to her surprise, someone had erected a large Perspex box in her bedroom. Suzi and Yumiko stepped into the box as a torrent of colourful gunge enveloped them both. Green, purple, red… All sorts of colours intermingled and filled the booth.
Suzi and Yumiko opened their eyes and found themselves lying in some kind of pool. Yumiko levitated and the gunge slid right off her, onto Suzi’s face. “To say you’re the Ghost of Gungings Past, you sure know how to gunge a girl in the present,” Suzi said as she sat up. Unlike Yumiko, she stayed gungy. Suzi took a look around her. “Wait, this is…”
“The year is nineteen-ninety-something and we’re on the set of Get Your Own Back,” Yumiko explained.
“You don’t say,” Suzi teased as she looked around. There was a Perspex booth on the back wall, which was painted an eerie green. To the right of that a bunch of yellow plastic pumpkins. In front, a chair. The whole area had a very dungeon-like feel to it, though in a comical way. Some compared it to a ghost train. And in front of Suzi was the seating for the audience. She stepped out of the gunge pit, her once-white nightie saturated with the goo. “I’m guessing that like in the book, we’re totally unnoticeable?” she asked.
Yumiko nodded. “Stand at the side and watch. Don’t get too distracted by the Gunk Dunk though, and pay attention to the audience.”
Not that the audience had shown up yet. All that was there was a bunch of production crew, who had just put the last few touches to the Gunk Dunk. That soon changed of course with the arrival of a small boy who stood in the Perspex booth, followed by a pretty young blonde woman wearing blue shorts and a yellow top. “That’s Rachel Victoria Roberts!” Suzi gasped. “Oh my God I remember this one! I was…”
Suzi’s reminiscing was soon drowned out by the cheering of young children who filled the seating area. Yumiko nudged Suzi and pointed to the bottom row, near the middle. A small girl in a red and white gingham dress with pale brown pigtails and freckles was sitting there. Suzi gasped and waved to her. “That won’t work,” Yumiko reminded her. “This was the first time you ever saw a gunging, Suzi. Let’s watch the rest of the scene and reminisce.”
Dave Benson Phillips bounded onto the set. “Oh my!” Suzi gasped as Dave introduced the scene. “I totally forgot that he once had hair!”
“I love how he always says he’s going to throw them a lifeline but never really does,” Yumiko chuckled.
The scene continued with Dave explaining the rules of the game. “Obvious answers beginning with C but she can’t use that letter. This was always a great game to watch.”
“I also love her keenness,” Yumiko smiled.
“Bull!” Suzi shouted at the first question. “She can’t hear me so why not shout some answers, right? Fries! Winter! Stratocumulus! English Channel! Brown sugar! Come on Rachel, I’d have won already!” Suzi giggled as the young boy Joe pulled the lever and sent Rachel into the gunge. Rachel’s head emerged from the gunge as an extra helping of green splattered down on her. “Ah, good times!” she smiled.
“You thought the same thing then,” Yumiko smiled, pointing out the younger Suzi in the crowd, who was watching on awe-struck. Young Suzi laughed as Peter Simon showed up and got thrown in the gunge too. “See, even as a little kid you loved the gunge, even at Christmas! Why don’t I show you another year?”
“I’m guessing we don’t get a shower first?” Suzi asked as Yumiko tugged Suzi’s arms and dragged her back into the Gunk Dunk.
Suzi and Yumiko emerged again, this time in the gunge vat of a more simplistic dunk tank on a wooden stage. “Hey, this is my old high school!” Suzi said, recognising the Georgian architecture of the school hall. “I remember this. We once had a fundraising week before Christmas where, if we raised enough money for charity, we’d gunge somebody,” she explained.
“Do you remember who it was?” Yumiko asked.
Suzi nodded. “It was a very pretty girl in the year above me called Kassidy Harvey. I had a little bit of a girl-crush on her, even at this point when I was in Year 12. I still can’t believe she agreed to this!”
Yumiko hovered and pulled Suzi out of the gunge. “How about we go and watch, huh? You remember this memory too, right?”
The auditorium filled up quickly with students, all dressed casually for the non-uniform day, with teachers standing at the back. On the stage was a man with long, dark hair and a short beard. “Welcome students to the first ever Mudford High Gunk Dunk, all in the aid of Shelter. Before we continue, let’s do our prize draw. Have your tickets at the ready.” He then reached into a bucket and pulled out the first ticket. “Third prize tonight is a box of Maltesers, and the winner is number 622, Madison Kelton!”
“I still kinda wish it was her in the gunge instead of Kassidy though. Always wanted to get my own back on her,” Suzi said to Yumiko.
An athletic blonde girl wearing blue tracksuit bottoms and a white hoodie walked onto the stage and collected the Maltesers box, posed for a photograph and walked off. The head reached for a second ticket. “Second prize tonight is a tin of Celebrations. The winner of that one is number 241, Elicia Mallory!”
“Ah, Ellie! She was a pretty fun girl,” Suzi reminisced. She watched as the girl, who was a bit overweight even under her baggy t-shirt, jeans and trainers. She had short red hair. Like Madison she collected her prize and chocolates and went to sit back down.
Butterflies began to fill Suzi’s stomach as she remembered what was about to happen. Things like having butterflies in her stomach as the build-up to the gunging continued. The head announced the next prize – £20 of HMV vouchers, and the winning number. “619, Suzanna Harrison!”
Suzi knew exactly where to look – fourth row from the front, over to the left. She watched her younger self, dressed in a red mini-dress with white fake fur trim, with a Santa hat, black over-the-knee socks and mules, stand up and walk onto the stage elated to win the top prize. Temporally-displaced Suzi followed teenage Suzi onto the stage, excited for the chance to relive this day. Teenage Suzi accepted her prize and was about to sit back down when the head announced something. “Harrison, would you do us the honour of dunking our volunteer?”
Teenage Suzi gasped. Her smile reflected the pure bliss of the moment. “Of course!” she grinned.
“Then let’s meet our volunteer. Students, staff, let’s hear it for Kassidy Harvey!”
Both Suzis turned bright red as Kassidy entered stage left, her buxom figure dressed in a white t-shirt and black shorts. Her nails, all twenty of them, had been painted red especially. Her ginger hair spiralled down her head to just below her shoulders. “Congratulations Suzanna. Congratulations too to Madison and Elicia, and thanks to everyone for raising so much money for Shelter,” she said, her voice being like pure silk to Suzi’s ears. Kassidy gave three tennis balls to Suzi. “Suzanna, how would you like to make a bet?”
Teenage Suzi nodded hesitantly. “I’m listening.”
“What you have to do is hit the target with one of the three tennis balls from the front of the stage. If you do, I get gunged. If you miss with all three, the tables get turned. If you refuse, it doesn’t matter to me but it does make you look like a bit of a wimp.”
“Well it might ruin my outfit. Plus it’s cold and I don’t want to be wearing a gungy dress tonight,” said Suzi.
“We’ve got clean clothes backstage,” Kassidy pointed out.
With the crowd and (unbeknownst to her teenage self) the out-of-time adult Suzi cheering for her to do it, she was left with one option. “Okay!” teenage Suzi beamed as she walked to the front of the stage. Kassidy sat atop the dunk tank seat and crossed her legs. The crowd were pretty divided, but wild nonetheless. Half of them were chanting for Suzi to dunk Kassidy, the rest wanted to see her miss and end up in there herself. Suzi threw the first ball and missed entirely. The second one was a lot closer, but didn’t quite hit the target either.
It was all down to this last ball. She might have agreed to get gunged if she missed, but Suzi still didn’t want to end up in there. Although, a part of her began to wonder what the gunge felt like. It was probably the only chance she’d have to ever find out.
No, that was silly. Kassidy put herself up for it and to try and get out of it by betting her cleanliness against Suzi’s? That was more than a little bit mean. But then, meanness was the name of the game when it came to gunge. Perhaps this was all a ploy on Kassidy’s part to make her try harder.
Suzi took a deep breath and closed her eyes. She reopened them, locked onto her target and threw the final ball. She couldn’t bear to look as the ball flew towards the target.
Teenage Suzi turned around and saw Kassidy plummet into the thick, green gunge at her feet. She emerged completely covered, with a slight smile on her face. “Good work, Suzanna!” she said, clapping her slimy hands together. The audience began to cheer too, even the ones who were a bit disappointed Suzi didn’t actually lose.
“Okay, so I have a couple of good Christmas-related gunge memories. So what? That doesn’t make Christmas Slop Drop a good idea, does it?” future Suzi asked.
Yumiko shrugged. “Well, it’s your call in the end. Still, at least you recognise that your present mindset is at odds with your past. Which means, my job is done and I’ll leave you to return to the present.” Yumiko picked future Suzi up and dropped her in the Kassidy’s gunge pit.
Next thing Suzi knew, she was back in bed, still dripping with gunge. She considered getting up and taking a shower, but she knew she had less than an hour before the next visit. Besides, she knew better than to risk waking up Ashton.
To be continued.
At the risk of contradicting the disclaimer, if anyone can manage time travel and link it to deposits of gunge, I’d be impressed!