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No really, don’t dress as one of The Wurzels and do stand-up comedy about gunge shows. You are neither one of The Wurzels, nor are you Kevin Bridges. Unless you are one of those, in which case keep doing what you’re doing and don’t do the other one, I guess.
Nicki’s fears were unfounded, as Goo Your Own Way had turned out to be something of a success. Not much had been said about it, but that meant there was very little criticism. One reviewer praised the setup in particular but beyond that not much had been said about the show, which was just how Nicki wanted it to be. Becoming a huge superstar could have been nice, but it wasn’t her goal. She just wanted to entertain people, and she seemed to be doing so admirably.
There was something troubling her slightly though. It was difficult for her to put it into words, as was the status update field on her TwitBook still displayed it’s shallow “How’s it going, Nicki?” message. It was probably pointless anyway, as only one person sprung to mind who could even help. Why even get the others to bother? They were useless last time anyway. Instead she reached for her phone and scrolled through her contacts. Sabrina, Sami, Scotty, Steve… Finally, she’d reached the one she was after. Suzi. Mobile or landline… Purely on a whim, she tried the landline. It started ringing.
A moment later, an unfamiliar voice answered. “Hello?”
“Hi, is Suzi there?”
This strange girl’s hostility was a bit off-putting. “Nicki Stevens, from Goo–”
“Got it,” the girl said. There was a slight clunk as the phone was put down on something. Nicki heard her shout “Suzi, one of your silly gunge people’s on the phone.” Nicki almost felt like shouting back, but decided to be the bigger woman and not rise to it. Clearly this woman had a stick up her arse. Actually no, that was unfair. It was more like a whole redwood.
“Hi Nicki,” a more boisterous and familiar voice came through the line. “What’s up?”
“Suzi, I have a question for you,” Nicki said, feeling a bit awkward as she explained it. “I wanted to know how gunging someone… Erm… Well, how do you feel when you gunge someone?”
“On Slop Drop! How do you feel when you gunge someone on Slop Drop?”
“Hmm…” There was a slightly awkward silence on the line. “That’s a tricky one. I feel a little bit sorry for the person but at the same time, I get a giddy kind of joy out of it. It’s kind of schadenfreude. Why?”
Crap. Now Nicki would have to either lie, or possibly admit something which would sound stupid. “Well, I…”
“You…? What? Didn’t you enjoy gunging Jenny Frost?”
Nicki took a deep breath and continued. “It’s not that. I felt kind of empowered in a really twisted way, like a cat toying with a rodent.”
Suzi almost burst out laughing at Nicki’s explanation. “You sound like a dominatrix!”
“No! It’s not like that! I don’t like girls! I have a boyfriend!”
“You don’t say,” Suzi snarked. “But I get what you’re saying. I mean yeah, you got to be more hands-on with her than I have with most of my guests, but there is certainly a sadist element, even though we don’t play to that fetish…” She cleared her throat, her tone changing to a more caring one. “What brought this on?”
“Erm… I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t weird to feel like that,” Nicki hesitated.
Suzi laughed a little at Nicki’s apparent shyness. “Oh sweetie, go watch some of the other gunge shows. The hosts on those didn’t act radically different to you or me, on-screen at least.” Some girl with an American accent yelled to Suzi in the background, though Nicki couldn’t make out what she was saying. “Ah, I gotta go. My girlfriend’s getting bored of my housemate’s company. Not shocking really. Anyway, I’ll see you tomorrow. Bye!”
“Bye Suzi,” Nicki said, putting the phone down and breathing a sigh of relief. She went to her sofa and turned the TV on. Luckily for her a repeat of the Get Your Own Back revival was on, which was just the thing to see if Suzi’s hypothesis about gunge show hosts having a sadist streak held any water. “Ooh, the one with Jenna-Louise Coleman!” she grinned as the VT of Jenna’s domestic slave driver tendencies rolled.
With the first Goo Your Own Way being a success, Mr. Vanilla decided to up the budget a bit for the remaining episodes. The set was tweaked a little bit and given a slightly more professional look while not changing drastically. He also decided that more gunge should be used. While three buckets was more than enough to provide ample coverage before, it just lacked the epic scale that his previous shows had. The fountain aside, the first batch of gungings wouldn’t have used much more. Another change was that there was going to be a proper warm-up for each episode. Suzi had suggested The Kayotics, but Vanilla turned the idea down, considering them “too big” for such a role in a number of ways. For one thing, there was five of them, including a drummer and a keyboardist. This meant they would take up a lot of space on the stage and time to set up and take down, which wasn’t ideal. For another, they were actually doing pretty well for themselves now and had a tour booked, as well as low-ranking slots at a number of festivals in Europe.
Besides, Becky would insist in them being paid in gunge rather than just cash. The amount of natrosol powder they had to give away after the Hallowe’en show almost killed off the possibility for future shows in the near future, which was another reason for the relatively small messing this time. It wasn’t like they could easily get more in either, as the supplier was having slight problems with production. That was thankfully rectified, and now they could do a show at full capacity.
Tonight the pre-show entertainment was being provided by some local stand-up comic whom Troy had recommended. He was a bizarre one, getting laughs probably as much for being weird as being legitimately funny as he spouted his wackiness while dressed like one of The Wurzels. Still, his material was fitting enough. “Did anyone ‘ere ever watch the game show Twister?” he asked in a very thick Somerset accent, getting a few weak cheers from the audience. “Wa’n’t it a load o’ crap? It was like the most pathetic rip-off o’ Fun ‘Ouse! Loads o’ gunge, a go-kart race, an end game in a big play ground but none o’ the charm. Instead o’ Pat Sharpe they had this non-entity who just kept talkin’ about ‘ow much gunge they ‘ad, like ‘e got paid a quid for every litre mentioned! And you know who they had instead of those fit twins? Nobody!” The fact that Nicki not only understood him but knew what he was talking about made her feel a little bit dead inside.
With the bizarre Wurzel-wannabe finished, it was nearly time to start the show. She looked at herself in her dressing room mirror quickly to just check that she looked perfect. Hair: wavy and full of life. Make-up: bringing out her eyes and lips without looking tacky. Outfit: a nice blue minidress with matching stilletos; presentable without too much to ruin with gunge. Not that she expected to get messy, of course. She walked out onto the stage to the sound of the theme tune and started the show. “Hello and welcome to Goo Your Own Way. I’m Nicki Stevens and I’m here to give another celebrity a very sloppy treatment,” she beamed as the crowd cheered. As a VT rolled, which was more of a compilation of music video clips set to an instrumental rock track, Nicki explained who tonight’s victim was to be. “Tonight, we’ve got another singer, but she’s very different from last week. This girl can play guitar and formed her band with her brother who plays drums. They tour almost constantly and had the dubious honour of having one of their songs covered, sort of, by Glee. They’ll soon be back in the country supporting Bullet For My Valentine. It’s Halestorm’s very own vowel-phobic Lzzy Hale!”
“Welcome to Goo Your Own Way, Lzzy,” Nicki said warmly. “So, how come you’re here now?”
Lzzy hesitated for a moment. “Well Nicki, it started at Download last year. Apparently, someone took some slime there and a girl got covered in it. When we found out about it, the rest of the band started joking about how great it would be if it was me instead.”
Nicki nodded as she listened. “And this inspired you to come on my show and get gunged for real?”
“They dared me to get slimed. How was I supposed to refuse?” Lzzy said, turning slightly red. It sounded pathetic to her, and no doubt to everyone watching.
“So, a bandmate dared you to come and get slimed and you said yes. That’s it?” Nicki asked, no doubt reflecting the thoughts of the viewing public.
Lzzy just shrugged. “Does there need to be more to it? At least this way I’ll win the dare.”
“I suppose,” Nicki said airily, before turning her and Lzzy’s attentions to the screens at the back. The graphics on the computer animated displays were much better than before, almost looking photo-realistic. “Here are tonight’s four gungings. Returning from last week we have the fountain,” she said as focus shifted to the top-left display. “You will be stood on a small round podium and gunge will be forced up from behind, leaving you nowhere to turn without getting messy. Any attempt to escape will end up with you in the moat of gunge surrounding it,” Nicki explained, as Cybernicki was doused with green sludge before falling into the moat.
“Right, what else is there?” asked Lzzy.
The picture shifted to show the second display. “The conveyor. You’ll lie down on a large conveyor belt which drags you through a gunging machine,” Nicki explained as Cybernicki lay down on the conveyor belt, her feet pointing into the machine. She soon disappeared and came out of the other and completely covered in multi-coloured goop. “There’s also a nice little drop-off at the end now,” said Nicki as Cybernicki was dumped into a shallow pool of green gunge.
Lzzy laughed at it. “I’d go on that! Looks fun!”
“You’d not just go on; you’d get off,” Nicki smirked, while Lzzy gave a little smirk at the reference. Meanwhile, focus shifted to the third thing – a large booth perspex with nine nozzles inside the ceiling and one large fountain-like thing at the bottom. “Next, we’ve got a twist on a classic. This is our gunge tank, which doesn’t need explanation,” said Nicki as Cybernicki went inside and stood precariously. Nine different colours of gunge rained down on her – red, blue, yellow, orange, purple, grey, black, brown and white. A surge of green forced up from the bottom, completely immersing her legs and coming up to just above her waist. “Needless to say, I wouldn’t get in there myself,” snarked Nicki.
“No kidding,” Lzzy said as she bit her bottom lip nervously. “And the last one?”
“The final one is simplicity itself,” said Nicki as focus shifted to it. It showed a bathtub filled with green gunge, which Cybernicki hesitantly clambered into. “It’s a bathtub filled with gunge. This one’s great since technically, you’re gunging yourself! Of course, I’ll be on hand with some buckets in order to help you wash your hair and face,” Nicki said, trying not to giggle with anticipation.
Lzzy shuddered. “I take it that it’s not water in those buckets?”
“Nope,” smiled Nicki. “So I take it the conveyor is your favourite?”
“Hell yeah!” Lzzy laughed. “None of the others look like they’d be as fun as that. The bath looks horrible and the booth is a little bit scary.”
“Not so scary you’d chicken out if it came up though, I hope,” Nicki said before turning to the camera. “But of course, we don’t decide. It’s you people, the viewers, that do. Whichever one comes first gets used, whichever one comes last gets taken out. Both get replaced next week with something we hope will be even better. Details are on screen right now so get voting and I’ll see you in a few minutes.”
As the show cut to break, Nicki and Lzzy headed backstage to the green room.
Vote closes on Friday with results by the following Monday.