It’s been a bit quiet here recently, so I thought I’d write a new piece. It’s supposed to be the first part of a series, providing I can find the time to write them all.
Although this story mentions real persons 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.
The house lights went down, the theme music started and Zara Holland, keen to make the most of her recent publicity, strutted onto the set to present her first ever TV program.
Zara: Hello and welcome to Gungement Time – where ordinary members of the public try to win £10 000 with their special talents.
The audience “oooed”.
Zara: In order to win though they will have to impress the studio audience and our panel of judges, specially selected to provide an insight into breaking into the big time.
The camera focused on a desk, behind which sat four people.
Zara: Our first judge is reality TV star Vicky Brown!
A young woman with dyed, straightened, hair waved to the camera. She was a former contestant on a minor reality TV show and had pursued the usual path the fame via the pages of celebrity magazines and the Daily Mail ‘Sidebar of Shame’.
Zara: Please welcome our next judge, Youtube sensation Richie999!
Richie had made his name making videos of himself doing dangerously stupid stunts, usually resulting in hospitalization and/or arrest. He looked like some sort of mid-90s Limp Bizkit tribute act, in a white t-shirt and a back-to-front baseball cap.
Zara: Next we have radio presenter Jimmy B!
Jimmy was a well-groomed young man who hosted a late-night urban music show on an obscure radio station. He gave the camera a cheesy grin and a thumbs up.
Zara: Last but not least we have professional talent scout Alicia Dubois!
The final judge was a 30-something woman with short, platinum blond hair sculpted into an implausible style. Despite her introduction she was no talent scout, but an emerging Lucinda Crow wannabe, desperate to see people humiliated on national TV. She scowled at the camera as it focused on her.
Zara: One every show we have two contestants who will get three minutes to impress our judges and the studio audience with their special talent. The judges will score them out of five, then the studio audience will get a chance to have their say. The two scores will be combined and the person with the highest score wins £10 000. That isn’t the end though – both our contestants will then face a messy forfeit decided by their score. If they score really well they might escape clean but if they do really badly they’ll face a seriously humiliating fate. And believe me, I’ve seen some of the punishments and you do not want to be on the wrong end of them.
The audience “oooed” in anticipation.
Zara: Lets meet today’s contestants. First we have Kayla.
A tall, dark haired young woman entered the stage. She was wearing a white t-shirt and black shorts.
Zara: So tell us about yourself.
Kayla: I’m Kayla, I’m 20 and I live in Glasgow.
Zara: And what’s your special talent?
Kayla: I’m a rhythmic gymnast and I hope to wow everyone with my ribbon work.
Zara: Thanks. Lets meet her competitor, Brittany!
A short, blond woman skipped happily out from the other side of the stage wearing a black t-shirt and shorts.
Brittany: Hi, I’m Brittany, I’m 19 and I’m a Cheshire girl.
Zara: And what are you going to do for us?
Brittany: I’m an unsigned singer so that’s what I’m going to do tonight.
Zara: Are you just trying to avoid the mess or do you want a record deal?
Brittany: I’m sure that as soon as I sing they’ll be a wave of public support and the publicity can’t do my career any harm.
Zara: We’ll see about that. Kayla, are you nervous about facing a humiliating gunging?
Kayla: Well hopefully I’ll win but if not I’m sure I’ll get enough votes to keep it close and stay away from the really severe gungings.
Zara: Hmmm. Maybe. Anyway, Kayla, you’re up first.
As Zara and Brittany left the stage Kayla moved to the centre and took a ribbon that was handed to her. She put together a high-energy routine full of spins and twirls, only slightly marred by the fact she twice dropped the ribbon after she’d thrown in high in the air and tried to catch it. She didn’t let that put her off though and finished her routine with aplomb. The audience applauded as she bowed and then went to stand by the judges’ desk.
Zara: Lets see what the judges thought of that.
Vicky: You looked lovely! Not sure I’m that impressed though – you were just prancing about with a ribbon. 3.
Richie: I was bored – where’s the danger in it? 2.
Jimmy: I liked it, but I’ve got to deduct a point for each mistake you made. Sorry. 3.
Alicia: Useless, you can’t even get your routine right. 1.
Zara: A bit of mixed bag there Kayla, you’ve got 9 points.
Kayla looked vaguely disappointed as she left the stage.
Zara: Now it’s Brittany’s turn to show us what she can do.
Brittany walked onto the stage with a microphone and launched into a full-throated rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I will always love you”; clearly a karaoke favourite. She threw herself into the performance, putting everything she had into the big notes. As she reached the end of the song the audience applauded, Brittany waved to them and walked over to the judges.
Zara: Wow, you didn’t hold back did you? Lets see what the judges thought.
Vicky: Babe, I love the song but I can do better. 2.
Richie: Loved it! It’s a classic and you nailed it! 5.
Jimmy: Not my sort of music but you’ve clearly got a nice pair of lungs on you. 3.
Alicia: That was nothing but screeching. 1.
A few boos came from the audience, Alicia was clearly getting a reputation as the nasty judge.
Zara: Not bad, you’ve scored 11.
The audience applauded as Brittany left the stage.
Zara: You’ve seen both our contestants and now it’s up to the audience – Gungement Time is here! Kayla has nine points but Brittany is in the lead with eleven. Their fate is in your hands: vote to save your favourite or condemn the loser to humiliation, it’s your choice.
I’ll leave the poll up for a couple of days before I write the results. Remember: You are voting for the person you want to SAVE from the gunge (or at least make their messing less serious).