“Current” results accurate at time of writing.
The commercial break ended, and Suzi was stood to the left of a large perspex booth. At the top was a large container of lurid, shimmering teal gunge. A shower head was attached to the ceiling right underneath the gunk vat, ready to pour the muck on the poor soul sat on the little white plastic stool on the floor beneath. On the door was an LCD screen displaying a zero, placed in a landscape arrangement. On the right of the tank was a band of five – two men and three women.
“I’m here with melodic metalheads Triaxis. From left to right we’ve got Giles, CJ, Krissie, Becky and Glyn, and one of them is about to face the Five Hundred Challenge,” Suzi explained purely for the benefit of the audience. She turned to the band and asked, “Did anyone tell you what you signed up for?”
“Not really!” Krissie said. “I figure that one of us could be getting gunged though?”
The presenter nodded enthusiastically. “Oh yes! I’ve got five questions, the answers to which are all numbers. For each question you get right, you get no points. That, however, is a good thing, kinda like in Golf or in Pointless, because if you get them wrong then you get one point for every number you’re out for. So, let’s say I asked how many members are in Triaxis. If you were silly enough to say seven, you’d get two points. I shouldn’t need to say what happens if you hit five hundred points!”
“And if we score less?” asked Glyn.
“Then you get to step out of the tank all clean. However, we don’t like to waste gunge on The Splosh Pit, so you get to put one of your bandmates in, and we’ll gunge them instead! Also, whoever has the lowest score at the end of the series will get the Splosh Pit Five Hundred Challenge Trophy!” The trophy was a very simple faux-golden cup with a cobalt piece of metal in the front, shaped like a gunge splat. It had the words “THE SPLOSH PIT FIVE HUNDRED CHALLENGE SERIES 1 CHAMPION” on it, along with space for the musician’s name and band name. A quick cut back to the studio, and Suzi had five thin, red drinking straws clutched in her left fist. “As for who’s playing, it’s as simple as drawing straws. Whoever’s got the one with the black end will be playing. I’ll go down the line, from the closest to the furthest so… Giles!”
Giles stepped forwards and plucked one of the straws from Suzi’s fist. “Red.”
“You’re safe, for now anyway! CJ?”
The rhythm guitarist stepped forward slightly nervously. It wasn’t that shocking that Giles would be safe, but 1-in-4 wasn’t as favourable odds as 1-in-5. “Oh good, it’s red!” she sighed with relief.
Krissie looked to the gunge and chuckled, then stepped up to grab her straw. “Oh, it’s red,” she said, her tone mostly of surprise but with a slight undercurrent of disappointment.
Suzi looked to Becky and smirked meanly. “It’s up to you now, Becky! Will it be you or Glyn in the tank?”
The bassist gave a nervous grin and looked at the two straws closely, just to see if there was any way of telling which straw might have been the killer one. “I’m going to go for…” Her right hand hovered over the two straws nervously as she tried to decide, but unfortunately for her, it was pure luck. Not only was it down to pure luck, but luck was something she was short of. She pulled up the straw and burst into laughter. “Aw no!” she squealed, almost like she’d gone over the threshold already. “It’s black!”
“Then I’m going to have to ask you to take your shoes and socks off and take a seat,” said the presenter, opening the tank door.
Becky obliged, albeit uneasily. She sat down on the seat, legs crossed as her red tartan-patterned miniskirt left them rather exposed. She was also regretting the leather vest she’d chosen to wear during the performance, but of course, she never expected that she would be the one to end up in the gunge tank! After all, it was theoretically a one-in-five chance, and if one of the others won then they’d probably nominate Krissie. She probably would too, though whether she’d even get out of the tank clean was another matter entirely. She curled her toes inwards nervously, but put on a brave face and tried to avert her gaze from the oversized showerhead in the ceiling.
“Comfy in there?” teased Suzi as the door clicked shut.
Becky pressed her right sole on the glass, but her suspicion that the door was locked was confirmed. “I’ve been better!”
“Let’s see how you feel after the first question, then. How long did the Hundred Years War between England and France actually last?” asked Suzi.
Becky looked at Suzi blankly. “It’s not a hundred? I guess it’s two-hundred then?”
“Final answer?” the presenter queried. Becky nodded. “Wrong! It’s 116.” As Suzi broke the news, the number on the display scrolled up to 84. “So, you’ve got a 415 margin and four questions left. It’s quite doable, but still early in the game.” Becky nodded, knowing full well that Suzi’s reassurance at this point meant nothing. After all, she had no idea what the questions would be about. She certainly didn’t expect the next one! “As of the latest set of games, how many Pokémon exist?”
“Really?!” Becky laughed. “I haven’t played that in years! Like, 500 or so?”
Suzi shook her head. “Not a good answer at all there! It’s a whopping 720!” The score display rocketed up to 304. Krissie couldn’t help bursting into laughter at Becky’s predicament, as Suzi promptly summed up. “Three questions and a 195 point safety net. You are in trouble, missy!”
Glyn and Giles couldn’t help chuckling to themselves, while CJ gave Becky a sympathetic look. Krissie kept on laughing aloud, only to be silenced from an outburst from the bass player. “Oh, I’m going to get these right, then Krissie’s going to be laughing on the other side of her face! Just watch!”
“Well, we’ll see. Next question – how many regular episodes of Friends were made?”
Becky took a deep breath. “Okay, so it ran for like ten years, and had about 25 episodes a series, so for a series every year that would be 250?”
Suzi gave an impressed nod. “That’s not far off, actually! Definitely makes up for the last one, since the actual answer is 236!” The number on Becky’s score display crawled up to 318. “You might just have saved yourself there, since you can score another 181 and be safe.”
Becky smiled, while the amusement on Krissie’s face vanished and was replaced with a dreadful pang. “You’ll suit the teal, Krissie!” Becky giggled. CJ and the lads kept watching intently, knowing that Becky had no intention of nominating them if she won. The complete removal of themselves from the spectacle made things a lot more fun all of a sudden!
“You got lucky, Becks!” Krissie stuck her tongue out at her barefoot bandmate.
“Well, there are two questions left. Here’s one of them. The Rugby World Cup started at Twickenham recently. How many thousands of spectators can it hold at maximum occupancy?”
Again, Becky had no idea, but the question had one slight issue with it. “If I’m wrong, how will you work out my score?”
“It’s how many thousands, so if the answer were ten-thousand and you say eight-thousand, you’d get two points.”
“Okay, that’s a relief!” the black-haired woman smiled, trying to think of a likely answer. “150?”
Suzi’s eyes widened in surprise. “That would be a huge stadium – almost as huge as how much you’re out by! It’s an 82,000 capacity, so you’re 68 off!” The scoreboard went up to 386. Becky gulped as Suzi went over the mathematics. “It’s not so bad. You’ve got a 113-point cushion for the last question, so you might just win yet!”
“Good!” Becky smiled sweetly at Krissie. “I hope you’ll enjoy your shower!”
The singer gave a nervous grin. She was actually really up for it on the inside, but didn’t want to let it show. After all, it was great fun seeing Becky in the tank. “I’ll admit, a nice warm shower after a show feels good!”
“Shame that one’s neither nice nor warm! Anyway, final question! How many full kilolitres of gunge does The Splosh Pit hold?” asked Suzi, pointing to the vat in front of Warpaint and Annie.
Becky laughed. “Well, it’s certainly more than this tank! Err… I’m guessing a kilolitre is a thousand litres, so 300?”
Suzi gave a feline grin and read out the answer. “One-hundred-and-seventeen!” she said in a singsong manner. The scoreboard rolled over to 569 and flashed red. “Oh dear, Becky! You’re not going to be getting out of this one clean! Anything you want to say before we let you have it? Last requests, comments, anything?”
“Let me out? Put Krissie in? Preferably both?” Becky smiled nervously but pleasantly, hoping the presenter’s heart may be swayed.
“Hah! No way!” Suzi declared, producing a small remote control from her pocket. “Release the gunge!” she yelled, pressing a big red button.
A loud klaxon blared across the studio, ensuring focus was on the gunge tank as the teal sludge poured from the tiny holes in the shower head, creating a huge deluge on poor Becky. She could only hunch over and put her arms over her chest to try and protect herself as the cool goop washed over her. The width of the shower head made her attempt to protect herself from the gunge rather fruitless, as it splashed all over hair and down her back. She closed her eyes and squealed at the sensation of thick, cold slop pouring onto her exposed skin, coating wherever it hit. She very quickly realised that all attempts to duck and dive would be fruitless, so she sat up and took it. Before long she was totally covered from head to toe, gunge dripping off her face and fingers. She wiped her hands on the perspex walls and then cleared her eyes to see Krissie and the two men laughing. Even CJ, who was probably the most sympathetic of her bandmates, had a wide grin on her face.
“Wow, Becky! That tank got you good! How do you feel?”
Becky shivered a little as she spoke. “Really cold! I’m amazed at how thick it was too!”
“Poor you! Oh well, at least you have a good seat to watch the rest of the show from!” quipped the host, while the rest of Triaxis laughed among themselves.
“Can I just take one for the TwitBook page?” Krissie asked, producing her phone. Suzi nodded. “Okay, smile!”
Becky didn’t so much smile as pout and give a half-hearted horns gesture as the singer snapped the teal-covered bassist. “That’s probably the worst photo you’ll ever get of me!”
“Better you than me!” Krissie chuckled as she uploaded the picture.
Suzi shrugged. “Maybe it will be you next time. One thing I didn’t mention before is that we’re inviting whoever has the lowest score of the series back at the end to try and beat it. I know Becky lost, but it’s possible that everyone else could lose by more!”
“Another go in the gunge tank. Great,” Becky sighed.
“Maybe not! However, since you’re the only person to have played so far, it means you’re in the lead! Anyway, not to be rude but we do have other stuff we need to be doing, like checking up on the vote results. For now, give it up for Triaxis, and especially for Becky!”
It was a rare thing for the bassist to be getting the most attention from the crowd, and Becky could only grin and accept it. If only it was for a performance rather than for a gunging!
While the camera had focused on Becky and the gunge tank aftermath, Suzi walked back over to the Splosh Pit. The camera cut back to her, sat on the dunk tank seat again. “While we’re on the topic of gunge, let’s have a quick chat with Theresa and Annie, the two ladies who might be taking a dip in this ridiculously huge goo pit!” she said. “Annie, you seemed fascinated with this stuff, and you just saw Becky get it. Still fascinated?”
Annie nodded. “It really does look interesting, and Becky wears it well! I think Theresa will suit it just a bit more, though!”
“No way!” Theresa squealed. “You’re going down, Annie, and we’re going to play at the end of the show!”
“Sure, and my name actually is Vincent!”
Suzi looked to the Warpaint guitarist. “So you’re confident that you’re winning?”
Theresa nodded. “Definitely! You Brits are nice people, and you’d go for the crazy one rather than the nice one!”
“I’m not crazy!” Annie gasped.
“Oh my, this has got quite heated already!” the presenter sighed. “Well, I can reveal that so far 64% of the audience want to see Warpaint play at the end, meaning that you’re on course to end up in the gunge, Annie!” Suzi announced. Theresa took a deep sigh of relief and embraced her bandmates. Seeing Becky get drenched in colourful sludge did nothing to make the prospect of a bath in it appealing.
Annie meanwhile chewed her bottom lip and widened her eyes. “Suddenly I don’t think the gunge would be quite as interesting an experience as I thought! I certainly didn’t expect the public to want to see me in that badly! I don’t think it’ll last though!”
“No? What about you, Theresa? Anything you want to say to the voters?”
Theresa looked into the camera and grinned. “Big thank you to all the Warpaint fans! Keep voting for me and we’ll put on a great show, with Annie front of stage in the slime pool!”
“Well, here’s a reminder of the voting details…”
“Up next, here’s Catfish and the Bottlemen!”