Although this story mentions real persons, corporations, TV shows and places, it is purely a work of fiction. The story does NOT describe real events and should NOT be taken to accurately portray any real entity mentioned. The events and activities described in the story may NOT be legal, ethical or safe. This site does NOT endorse or recommend their enactment.
This is a follow-up to one of MessySoMessy’s NGYOB stories. Read that, then read this. It makes it make so much more sense. Also, the very first line of this story spoils that one.
Kirsten Daniels. Black Veil Brides fan. Guitar tutor. Now she could add “gunge dodger” to her list of self-descriptions.
It had been a week since her episode of Get Your Own Back had aired, and since then she’d been doing great business thanks to the show. Kids were recognising her in the street as the crazy lady from Get Your Own Back – not great, but their parents recognised her as a no-nonsense guitar teacher. Fellow Brides fans recognised her as that girl who could teach them to play like Jake Pitts. It was great! She was earning more money than ever, all because she appeared on some silly gameshow and won!
One would think she had no reason to feel so unfulfilled, and yet…
She still remembered the day Mable announced her intentions to gunge her. It was about four in the afternoon in an unusually pleasant June, and she’d chosen to wear a Kayotics tank top with some denim shorts. Since it was so nice and she’d be spending the day at home, she had decided to just go barefoot. She’d built a small practice room in her garage, and that was where she also gave her lessons. Mable’s time slot was 4:30, and since her 4:00 client had cancelled she decided it would be a good idea to use the time to get in some extra practice. What was she going to practice? Why, Rebel Love Song, of course! No more than a few seconds after she started playing, she heard a knock on her door. Actually, it wasn’t so much of a knock as it was a bang. Perhaps they just wanted to be heard over the squealing sounds of the amplifier, but maybe it was an attempt to just silence her. She put her guitar (a nice white Gio Ibanez GSA60 – inexpensive, yet versatile) back in the rack with the rest of them and answered it. It was Mable, and she was holding a bunch of papers in one arm. Considering Mable’s thoughts on ‘the Brides’, maybe it was a way of saying ‘shut up’. “Hey champ, you’re about half an hour early. What gives?”
“I sent a letter to Get Your Own Back,” said the pupil, passing the teacher the papers. “They thought the letter was so good that they want me to go on it.”
Kirsten took the papers and smiled. “Hey, I remember that show from when I was your age! It was just the best thing! I’d have loved to gunge someone on it!” Her smile quickly faded when she read the letter. Instead, it was replaced with trepidation. The whole appeal of the show to her was seeing the gruesome grown-ups wallowing in the mire of gross gunge. It looked so horrible, and now Mable was threatening to drop her in it. A shiver ran down the guitar tutor’s spine. “Well,” she said, trying to regain her composure. “I guess I’ll have to kick the other grown-up’s butt and not fall in then!” She stuck her tongue out, as did Mable in retaliation.
“You’ll go on it then?”
“Duh! This show made my childhood! Just because I missed the chance to gunge someone before doesn’t mean I can’t get a good view of someone getting it this time!” Kirsten grinned. “So, do you wanna have our lesson early then fill in these application forms?”
Mable nodded. “Sure, but please no Black Veil Brides today!”
“Okay, fine,” Kirsten sighed as she began thinking about just how to embarrass Mable on national TV. From what she remembered of the show, the grown-ups never just said ‘oh yeah, we’re totally as bad as our Jimmy is saying!’ and played along. Rather, the title of the show worked on multiple levels, as the adults would try and get their own back on the kids by playing up their ‘reasons’ for being there while denying any fault whatsoever. She just chuckled at a little thought she had on the subject. “Maybe that was their way of playing along and making the dunks just so much better!”
About a month later it was filming day. What a day it was too! It started out with the two teams arriving at the studio. They were meant to arrive at the reception at 9am. It may have seemed a bit early, but both Kirsten and Mable knew just how grand everything was on GYOB – Mable moreso due to her watching the current version rather than Kirsten’s reliance on rose-tinted nostalgia. The two of them entered the building and went up to the reception desk. “Hi, I’m Kirsten Daniels and this is Mable Howe. We’re here for Get Your Own Back,” she said to the mousy-brown-haired receptionist.
The reception clerk looked down at a sheet of paper. “Daniels and Howe for Get Your Own Back…” she muttered to herself as she gazed intently at a list of names through her narrow spectacles. “Ah yes. You want to go that way,” she said, pointing to her right/Kirsten’s left. “You’ll be needed in the Green Room first to meet your fellow contestants. It’s the first door on your right. You’ll… probably be able to uh… smell them.”
“Smell them?” Kirsten repeated with a slight laugh.
“The ghastly so-called ‘floral’ perfume! You can still smell it lingering even though the other contestants arrived twenty-five minutes ago!”
Mable and Kirsten sniffed the air and winced a little. “So that’s what that is,” Mable said.
“We didn’t wanna say anything because we just assumed it was you,” added Kirsten.
“I assure you my taste in perfume is far better than… well, this,” said the receptionist, cracking a wry smile.
“Cool. Well, I’ll make sure she comes up smelling of goo then!” Kirsten smirked as she headed for the Green Room.
“Not if I can help it!” laughed Mable, running to catch up with Kirsten.
As they approached the Green Room, the smell grew more and more intense until sure enough, they arrived there. There was a boy there, slightly younger than Mable, and a very nervous Chinese-looking woman. “Hey, are you guys here for Get Your Own Back?” asked Kirsten.
“We’re the yellow team. I’m Adrian and I want to get my own back on Mei here for…”
“The perfume? Yeah, I feel for you, buddy!”
Mei suddenly stood up and turned her nose up. “There is nothing wrong with smelling this beautiful! Not that you’d understand when you look like a demon!”
“I’m just saying, ‘beautiful’ isn’t the word I’d use,” said Kirsten, laughing on the inside at the demonic comparison. “Anyway, I’m Kirsten, and Mable here wants to gunge me because she thinks I’m too much of a Black Veil Brides fan.” Kirsten deliberately stretched to fully show off her chest, clad as it was in one of her favourite BVB t-shirts. “I mean, just because I really like one of the best bands ever and really think she should learn to play guitar like Jake Pitts! Is that so bad?”
Adrian laughed. “No!” he shouted.
“Then let’s make a pact and get Mei here dunked in the gunk!” said the guitar teacher, holding her right hand in a fist for Adrian to bump. “Sweet.”
Mable looked over at Mei, who seemed quite flustered with Kirsten and how into the show she was. It was only just turned nine and they hadn’t even been given their team colours yet! What’s worse, it seemed like the rocker chick had it in for her already. “Uhm, we can make a pact too,” Mable smiled at the dramatic lady. “I don’t want to let Kirsten get away clean and you probably don’t want to get messy after all!”
Before Mei could answer, the door burst open and the four Green Room occupants were greeted with a very loud “GOOD MORNING TEAMS!”
“It’s Dave!” Mable said with a wide grin as the contestants looked to the doorway. Sure enough, Dave Benson-Phillips was stood there in a blue shirt, orange trousers and red shoes which were almost as loud as his voice.
Although he wasn’t quite the idol that Jake Pitts or Andy Biersack was in Kirsten’s eyes, she was still thrilled to see him. “Hi Dave! Can I just say that you made my childhood?” she smiled, her heart beating double time.
It didn’t matter how often Dave heard those words, since he never got sick of them. He answered with a hearty laugh. “Wahahaha! You must be Kirsten! Thanks for the kind words, but flattery’s not going to save you from the gunge!”
“I don’t need it to!”
“Ooh, you’re confident! I like that! And you must be Mable,” he smiled at the young aspiring rocker.
“How do you know?”
“I get notes about the contestants, and the chance to read the letters and application forms. I loved your little rhyme at the end!” Mable blushed a little at Dave’s approval. He then looked to the other team. “I didn’t want to say anything, but you weren’t joking, Adrian! Phwoar!”
The other contestants just nodded in agreement, but Mei turned red. “There’s nothing wrong with my perfume! Just you wait – Mable and I will make sure your fangirl gets it!”
“Jeez Mei! Did you not have a childhood?”
“Woah, woah, woah! Ladies, save the rivalry for the show! Wahaha! Anyway, can’t stick around. The dressing rooms should be open now. Adrian and Mei, you’re this episode’s yellow team, which means Mable and Kirsten are the blues. Dressing rooms are just across the hall and colour-coded. Can’t miss ’em!”
With both teams kitted out, the four contestants waited in the wings. The kids were with Dave, but the grown-ups were with a load of stage hands. One of them was a girl sitting on a cart with a pillory on it. Next to her was another identical cart and pillory She had bright blue hair in a bunch of dreadlocks tied in a loose ponytail. She spoke with a broad Welsh accent. “Alright loves, what’s going to happen in this bit is each of the kiddies will explain why they want to gunge you. Then, we’ll wheel you on in these things and you can say your counterpoint. When it’s time to move on, Dave will stick a sock in your mouth.”
“This sounds a lot kinkier than I remember,” Kirsten said, her expression hidden behind her hair. She was smirking a little bit, eagerly awaiting Dave’s reaction to the make-up job she’d done.
“Yeah, I’m not entirely comfortable with–”
“Too bad!” the Welsh girl said as she stood up and clicked her finger. Gently, another female stage hand helped to gently place Mei in one of the pillories before the two of them wheeled her out, accompanied by a few more crew members. They made it look a lot worse than it really was, but the dramatic Mei played her part in that too, crying and wailing as they dragged her on. The crew walked back. “Your turn, love,” said the blue-haired girl.
Kirsten shrugged her shoulders and stepped onto the remaining cart. She didn’t even struggle – just placed her hands and neck into the gaps while the crew prepared her to be wheeled on. It may not have been her idea, but her fun was just about to begin…
The first game didn’t end too well for Kirsten, but beneath the glop she was smiling. “At least it wasn’t the gunge” she thought as she walked off-stage, accompanied by the blue-haired Welsh girl from before.
“Let’s get you washed off, then. You’re lucky that the first Bit on the Side section is for the other team.”
Kirsten let out a slight laugh and nodded. “Yeah, this stuff’s gonna be interesting to wash off!”
“You’re taking it well enough, love. Have you been gunged before?”
“Never. Never really wanted to either. Have you?” Kirsten asked.
“Eh… sort of. I work on shows like this for a living. As well as doing this, I’m the head of the build team at Panicked Productions, so getting a bit messy is inevitable. Never had a proper ritual gunging though.”
‘A proper ritual gunging’. The very idea made Kirsten tingle a little for reasons she couldn’t quite fathom. Perhaps it was just the turn of phrase, but it conjured up the image of an audience baying for a gungee to be slaughtered. Surely, quite a few gungees probably wished they had been afterwards. Mei sort of struck Kirsten as that kind of person. Still, there was one part she didn’t understand. “Panicked Productions?”
“The Suzi’s Slop Drop and Top of the Slops people. Now hurry up and get showered up!” said the Welsh Woman as they arrived at some shower cubicles.
Kirsten took her shoes off and stepped barefoot into the cubicle. She left the rest of her outfit on as a way of cleaning them while cleaning herself. She pressed the button and was immediately hit with a nice blast of warm water. She hadn’t even pressed the button on the shampoo dispenser but the cake from the game was already disappearing rapidly. It was heavenly! She vigorously rubbed shampoo into her ruined pink hair, smiling and laughing as it returned to its glorious ebony black. “Yes! This is brilliant! Ooh…”
“Alright, calm down! It’s not Herbal Essences, love!” the Welsh girl shouted from outside.
“I know, but you have no idea how good it is to be free of that pastel crap!” The Black Veil Brides fan sighed contently as she rinsed the shampoo out. Her make-up was now a streaky mess thanks to the steamy warm water, but she didn’t care. She was nearly done in the shower anyway, and there was still plenty of time to redo it. “There, that will do!” she smiled as she stepped out, dripping with warm water. The t-shirt was clinging tightly to her slim body and the leggings felt a bit constrictive, but she kind of liked that. It was almost like being in her favourite skinny jeans. “That shower is really something!”
“That’s nothing. You should see what they’ve got at Panicked!”
Kirsten laughed. “No, you’re alright! I’ve already got way messier than I planned to!”
“Well, here’s a towel,” said the Welsh girl as she handed it to Kirsten. It was warm, fluffy and pink. “Sorry about the colour.”
Kirsten didn’t care and rubbed herself all over with it vigorously. Within a few seconds she was dry, though her hair and makeup were really disheveled. She picked up her shoes and started to walk back to the dressing room. “Thanks for letting me clean up. Come find me when it’s time for the next game.”
The rest of the games had gone far better for Kirsten. Not only did she end up with the lower score, but she managed to talk her way into dunking Mei in frigid water! That was fun, and she loved Mei’s reaction. All that was left was the Gunk Dunk. She stood at the bottom of the ramp, barefoot. The Welsh girl was there too. “Alright love, this is it. I’ll give you a hand into the seat.”
“How come it’s just you helping me but like twenty women helping Mei?”
A shrill shrieking “NOOOOO!” from the other answered Kirsten’s question quite succinctly. ‘Twenty’ was of course an exaggeration – four strong-looking security women cautiously placed Mei in her Gunk Dunk seat.
“Is this entirely ethical?” asked Kirsten.
The Welshwoman shrugged her shoulders. “Love, nobody comes into this ignorant of what the show is, and submitting an application is our form of consent check. She’s already agreed to this as far as we’re concerned. If she wants to chicken out, tough shit.”
“Fair enough then!”
“Not to be funny, but I kind of hope Mable turns it around,” the blue-haired woman admitted.
Kirsten gasped. “And why would that be?”
“You seem easier to fish out. You’re certainly more chilled!” The cybergoth looked down at the guitarist’s feet. One of them had sank into the gunge.
Kirsten’s gaze followed that of the stage hand. She blushed a little and withdrew her foot. Why had she done that?! Perhaps it was curiosity. No, it WAS curiosity, but of what? How it would feel for Mei? What was awaiting her if Mable DID turn it around? Something else? She had no real answer, but she felt reviled by the goo. Why couldn’t she withdraw her foot then?!
Not that it mattered. Neither Mable nor Mei were willing to accept losing!
As peculiarly enticing as her gooey foot spa was, Kirsten found herself going up several notches during her experience on the Gunk Dunk. Still, she was victorious and had a spectacular view of Mei’s comeuppance – far out of the splash zone, giving her an unobtrused view of the gunging. Throughout the whole dunk, a myriad of thoughts rushed around her head. “What a wuss. Face the gunk with dignity!” “I kinda feel for you, Mei. That stuff feels freaking weird.” “Actually, that looks like SO much fun!” “Yeah, she totally deserved that.” That’s how her thoughts cycled. She may have cheekily winked to imply that some certificate wouldn’t be adhrered to, but she didn’t pay that much attention. She was enjoying her victory too much.
So why did she, back in the present, feel so empty?!
She closed her eyes and thought back to shoot day.
The cameras had finished rolling, and it was time to pack up. The crowd were long gone, and Adrian and Mable were getting changed in the dressing rooms.
Mei was still in the gunge, still petrified to even be there. A large wheelbarrow was parked in front of the vat, and it had a seat inside it. The cybergoth was there too, her boots and socks discarded a fair distance from the gunge. She reached over the gunge in a calculated manner. “Alright Mei, I’m going to get you out. Grab my hands, love!” she called out. Mei squealed as she placed her slimy hands in the Welshwoman’s, grabbing but recoiling without letting go. While Kirsten had been bonding with this strange lady, she couldn’t help giggling as the pale blue-haired one vanished into the goo. Her chair descended in a slow, controlled manner, stopping where she first got on it. She pondered whether or not to jump in… Why? Why did the idea cross her mind?
Mei and the Welsh girl waded through the goopy mire. At the edge, some stage hands assisted them into the wheelbarrow, Mei clinging to Ms. Formerly-blue-hair for dear life. Kirsten clambered off the seat and took a towel from a nearby stage hand. She cleaned her dainty white feet and head back to the dressing room.
Later, after she’d finished getting changed back into her t-shirt and skinny jeans, Kirsten heard a knock at the door of her dressing room. It was just her in there – Mable had gone to chat with Adrian. Perhaps the other blue had returned. In fact, it was someone soggy and draped in a large towel. It was the cybergothic woman she’d befriended. “Kirsten, love. I want to give you something.” She handed the guitarist a small card laminated in clear plastic. All the.lady’s details were there – name, email, phone number et cetera.
“What’s this for?”
“It’s my business card. I like you more than most contestants and since I don’t have a lot of friends, I’d like to stay in touch. Also if you ever want to gunge someone, I can arrange it!”
Kirsten giggled slightly malevolently. “Did you enjoy yours, by the way?”
“You’ve got to laugh! Otherwise I couldn’t do my job!”
“Would you count it as your ‘ritual’ gunging?” asked Kirsten as she read the card. Apparently the Welsh lady’s name was Natalie, but she also went by r1vetgrrl.
Natalie giggled. “I think my colleagues enjoyed it enough for it to count!”
“That’s a shame. I’d love to get you after you said you’d rather it was me than Mei!” winked the BVB fangirl. She was only teasing at the time but in the time she’d gotten to know Natalie since shoot day, the idea seemed more appealing. Maybe it was the idea of turning a creation against its maker, or maybe it was just how up for anything Natalie was – something Kirsten had in common with her.
“I still do! She was nightmarish!”
“Then I promise not to be nightmarish if I get gunged!”
Back in the present, Natalie was in her practice room, still trying to figure out her emptiness, and now she had an idea. She’d been on her favourite gunge show from her childhood, but as an adult. She’d seen not only her rival get dunked but also her new friend get dragged in. There was one person she’d have loved to see go in, and she hadn’t, nor would she ever in all likelihood.
That person was none other than herself.
There was no time for moping or wondering what could have been. She just had to tell someone how she felt, and who better than someone in the gunge industry? She picked up her phone and called Natalie. “Alright Kirsten, what’s occurring?” came the voice from the other end.
“That is so Welsh!” Kirsten said with a smile. “Actually, it’s not what’s occurring that’s made me ring you. It’s what I want to occur.”
“And that is…?”
There was no way back now, even if every sensible part of her body said to make up something about going to see a band together or going shopping. Once again her heart thundered, her stomach infested with butterflies. She struggled to say, only able to stammer quietly.
“I WANT YOU TO GUNGE ME!” blurted Kirsten. “Please! It is like, the one regret I have right now!”
Natalie chuckled to herself. “Oh, it can be arranged! I’ll make some preparations and get back to you, okay?
“Thank you so much!”
To be continued…