As always, the show’s concluding segment opens with Sian and the guards standing beside in front of the Mucky Dip, the chair beside them waiting for its victim.
Sian: Welcome back to the final part of this week’s Comeuppance, with me Sian Welby! We’ve received a huge crop of votes this evening – far more than any previous episode – but voting is of now closed, so please cease calling. We won’t count your vote and we may still charge you. We’re harsh like that.
Sian walks over to the cages, the ever-obedient guards at her heel.
Sian: But not as harsh as we’re going to be to one of you three! Princess Priscilla, you had an extra large lead at half time; are you all set for your vlog exclusive on Dippe de Muque?
Priscilla: [looking ashen] I’m praying that the lead has changed. I really don’t deserve this!
Sian: That’ll be for the voters to decide! Claire, you were in second place; is a mucky fate written in your stars?
Claire: Over the course of many moons each of us shall reap what we sow.
Sian: [shaking her head derisively] No clue then. Veronica, is there anything you’d like to add?
Veronica makes a noise like a belch echoing in a drain.
Sian: Charming! Well ladies, the verification is complete and I can now reveal the final polling scores.
The lights fade except a spotlight on each of the cages. The dramatic music plays.
Sian: The public have spoken, and their verdict is as follows:
The audience groans and begins a sarcastic hand-clap. The lights go up. The contestants glare at Sian.
Sian: Sorry about this! Minor technical hiccup, bear with us! [Hisses at crew] Can we get this sorted please! ASAP!!
The crew faff about for a couple of minutes while Sian smiles sweetly for the camera. Then the lights go back down and the dramatic music recommences.
Sian: The public have spoken, and their verdict is as follows:
This time the audience gasps with amazement as the lights snap back on. Priscilla blinks for several seconds at the screen in front of her, her mouth slowly rising to a joyous smile as the news sets in. Veronica also stares at the screen, but her reaction is the opposite.
Sian: Wow!! What an inversion! I did say anything can happen on this show, and happen it has!
The guards advance on Veronica’s cage.
Veronica: This can’t be right! I was only on 9 before! Your system’s [moo!] up! Sham! Sham!!
The guards unlock the cage. Sian looks uneasily towards the crew and mouths something that looks like “are we going with this?”
Veronica: [in a death metal growl into the guards’ faces] SHAAAMMMMMUGHH!!
Sian: [regaining her authoritative air] I can assure you the result is proper, correct, and final! Gents, take her away to face the music!
The guards yank Veronica out of the cage and frogmarch her to the chair, while she continues to growl. Sian unlocks the right-hand cage, letting Claire glide out.
Sian: Claire, you haven’t exactly wowed me with your supposed abilities tonight, but if you signed up because you foresaw you’d escape clean and dry, then you’ve been proven right. This result must be ying to your yang!
Claire: [with a sanguine shrug] Your material muck matters not to me; it is spiritual cleanliness that counts.
Sian: [smirks] I reckon you’d feel different if you were going in, but whatever, here’s a Jammy Dodger trophy to take back to Totnes. You can tell those suckers – I mean, your clients – that it’s an all-seeing eye or something. Thanks for coming on the show.
Claire: Sian, after the way you scorned the spirit world maybe I shouldn’t bother to warn you, but… [takes Sian’s hand between] I have a premonition. I see a woman… a blonde woman.
Sian: Of course you do; you’re looking straight at me!
Claire: No, another blonde woman. From an earlier era. [closes her eyes] She was once associated with a coloured man.
Sian: [sharply] Now there’s no need to be racist!
Claire: [gentle gyrating] She’s a spinning Greek goddess…
Sian: Yep, we’re a bit pushed for time after that technical problem, so if you’d kindly—
Claire: [in a more urgent tone] She seeks vengeance upon you Sian!
Sian: Vengeance? What for?
Claire: [waving the Jammy Dodgy in the air as she whirls] Because you beat her to a game of chance… and you near taunt her!
Sian: Meh, I taunt everyone on this show, and there’s no near about it. Ladies and gents, a mystified round of applause for Claire Voyant please!
The audience commence their customary slow handclap. Sian pushes Claire away. The latter pirouettes towards the exit.
Sian: Geddoff wi’yer!! [Walks over to Priscilla’s cage] Well Princess, it really looked like you were for it there, but fate – or something – appears to have intervened.
Priscilla: [back to her usual posing self, her fear forgotten] I always knew the public would spare me; I’m simply too stylish to be slopped!
Sian: Don’t speak too soon! You’ll be back to face the vote next week, and you may get your comeuppance yet!
Priscilla pouts in her best “spoilt brat” pose.
Sian: [scratching her head as she proceeds to the plinth] Whew! This has surely been the strangest episode to date, but rest assured the conclusion will be as entertaining as always! That’s right folks, Veronica Pleasance is about to go from mosh pit to slosh pit!
The funereal music commences. The scene changes to a low, side-on shot over the undulations of off-white, marshmallowy muck, decorated with lines of pink, yellow, green and blue. The camera rises, leaving the gunk behind and meeting Veronica’s bare feet (with unvarnished toenails) a metre up. The view continues up Veronica’s tight black trousers, followed by her scanty lace top which leaves her toned abdomen all but exposed to the muck’s mercy. The camera continues its ascent, sweeping over Veronica’s black bra, and finally stops at her head. Veronica has a palm clasped to her forehead, clenching at her vividly dyed hair, and a perturbed look on her face as she dangles over the gloop.
Sian: Oooh, not looking so fierce now, is she? This, everyone, is the girl who loves to crank up the volume; now we’ve cranked her right up to eleven, and it’s time to drown her out!
Sian lays her palm on the big red button. Perhaps in defiance to Sian’s goading, Veronica raises her hands in the familiar devil-horns gesture, but her face twitches with disquiet.
Sian: Veronica, on behalf of everyone who’s had their peace shattered by garage band rehearsals…
Sian and audience: HERE IS YOUR COMEUPPANCE!!!
Sian smacks the button down, setting off a sound and light show to rival any rock concert. The winch releases and Veronica free-falls. Her face grimaces but her arms remain raised, the gesturing fingers being the last part of her to disappear into the vat. There’s much less of a splash compared to previous episodes, owing to the soft and extremely sticky nature of the gunk, and the overflow down the Mucky Dip’s outer walls is also muted. In fact, a wave of the whitish goo rises at the rim and remains stuck there.
The cables thrash about, accompanied by a gargling sound effect, which could easily have issued from Veronica’s own throat, were she not submerged in goo. Then the winch kicks in, hauling Veronica out of the frothy depths.
As the fanfare of humiliation heralds Veronica’s emergence, the audience’s cheers and laughs are joned with gasps; Veronica has taken a good portion of the Mucky Dip with her! With her arms (presumably) still raised, she is contained within a great cloud of unappetising off-white, streaked with the various bright colours. After a few seconds motionless, the cloud begins to thrash, arms punching and legs kicking. A few mounds fall away but most clings on, stringy and cloying, fluffy yet sticky. Veronica clears an adequate cavity to breath, and then the gutteral groans enamate from inside the gooey cocoon, more heartfelt than on any of Cyanide Honeymoon’s studio recordings.
More lumps of muck drop off into the Dip from whence they came, but Veronica remains entombed. Her hair has been swept upwards, and sits encased on the top of her head in what resembles a giant ice-cream flurry. The sticky goop envelops her body, and has permeated her lace top to stick to her skin (front and back – the wire mesh of the chair offers no protection either). Her feet are now sealed inside an impromptu pair of slippers. Veronica tries to clear the clinging gunk off her, but it is so sticky that she succeeds only in transferring it from one part of her to another. Even getting it off her face proves difficult; she manages to clear her mouth and eyes but not much more.
Just when Veronica couldn’t look any more ridiculous, huges torrents of red and purple gunge fall from above, split into multiple jetlets, NHP-style. Veronica’s head shakes in defeat as she takes this secondary coating.
Sian: [slapping the plinth in hysterics] Ohhhh!! Wonderful stuff! She got pretty much every colour except black, ironically! Vron, you can wear that generous coat to your next gig. You’ll certainly have a frightening stage presence, and for once something will stink more than your music! Ha ha ha!!
Judging by the screwed-up expression on what can be seen of Veronica face, the stuff really does smell quite bad.
Sian: But in all seriousness Vron, you’ve been an excellent sport and we wish you and Cyanide Honeymoon every success. Who knows, if in years to come you win “best heavy metal” at the Brits, the journos might dig out this old footage of you covered in muck!
Veronica: [snarling] One, we are NOT “heavy metal”!! Two, I wouldn’t allow my corpse to be seen at the Brit awards! And three, if it turns out I’ve been wrongly dunked, YOU will have all HELL to pay!!
Sian: Oh pipe down and have some more muck!
Straight on cue, two more showers rain onto Veronica, this time green and yellow, flowing over her head and landing in her lap.
Sian: [turns to the camera] Unfortunately, due to that tiny technical matter earlier, we don’t have time for the slow-mo replays. But fear not, because Veronica’s comeuppance and all the others are available at comeuppance.tv, with a variety of camera angles and speeds. You can watch all day long, and judging by our viewing stats, many of you do! Thanks for tuning in tonight, and remember, don’t be inconsiderate to other in your community. The consequences, as demonstrated by Miss Pleasance, are not pleasant! Goodnight!
The funky outro music plays, but instead of waving from the stage as usual, Sian goes to the side of the stage and huddles in conversation with the crew. As the titles scroll across the screen, various shots of people in the audience are shown. Attention then turns to Princess Priscilla, who has her hand over her mouth as she looks up at Veronica’s fate. Finally, the scene returns to Veronica, wriggling about in a vain attempt to get some of the fluffy muck off her. Just before the scene fades, she gets her third helping of gunk from above – this time blue and brown. The programme closes with very brief before and after replays of Veronica plunging into and emerging from the Mucky Dip.
Author’s note: If you find these results almost as fishy as the Mucky Dip itself, then you’re not the only one. The total number of votes cast is far higher than usual (nearly 700 versus the usual total of about 400) and Veronica’s count shot up from about 20 after three days of voting to 200 over a single night!
It doesn’t seem the case that a link was posted on a site where the users might be minded to vote for Veronica, because I would have seen the incoming clicks in the stats. That leaves me to conclude that an individual went “full Lauren Freeman” on this poll.
But whatever happened, I’ve gone along with it, because (a) I can’t prove any foul play, (b) I don’t have a fallback procedure (the perils of live telly), and (c) someone who takes the trouble to sabotage a poll for an imaginary gunging of a fictional character based on stock model photos evidently needs all the fulfillment they can get in life.
It’s a pity for those of you who vote honestly, await the outcome, and treat the whole thing as a bit of fun. I find it very annoying myself when I put the work into writing these. I hope whoever did this will reflect on the inconsiderate nature of their actions and that this kind of thing won’t happen again.