Saturday, June 18, 2016

Countdown to comedy

Here's a couple more recent entries into the 2000AD forum short story competition. This one was for a television themed contest. I'm not entirely happy with it and it didn't trouble the scorers. I still can't resist the last line reveal of a well known 2000AD character.

Down for the Count

The studio lights glared down on the simple set, four desks, a letter board, and the clock that gave the show its name. The red light lit up on the Tri-D camera as the floor manager silently counted down from five and then pointed at the host.

"Welcome back to the world's longest running quiz show, I'm Nat Bunderson. Just before the break the delightful Delilah had picked nine tricky letters for our contestants, let's see what they made of them. First of all our defending champion, Reg Trunion. How many, Reg?"

"Only five I'm afraid, POLKAS, like the dance."

"Very musical, Reg. And our challenger, Jam Bepy?"

"Nine, APOKALIPS, as in the war."

"That's rather an unusual spelling, we better go over to dictionary corner. What do you make of that, OED-1?

"[Unusual but accepted spelling variant. 20th century usage. Judgement = allowed]"

"Another nine pointer, Jam, continuing the strange spelling from your first round winner of Nekroplis?"

"Just dumb luck, Nat"

"Let's see if that luck lasts. Onto round three and back to our lovely lady of letters. What have you get for our wordsmiths, Delilah."

"Here they come from the random letter generator.


Another strange selection, Nat."

"Strange and almost explosive, Delilah. OK, contestants, your thirty seconds start now!"

The single hand on the clock began to move as the familiar music faded in. Reg Trunion was scribbling furiously but Jam Bepy seemed to be struggling with his pencil. Their deliberations were suddenly interrupted as the floor manager ran on to the set waving her arms and shouting loudly.

"Bomb! There's a bomb in the clock! Clear the set now. Oh Grud, someone stop the countdown!"

The explosion ripped through the studio, destroying the three desks nearest the clock, and the dictionary computer. As the smoke cleared the production crew looked on appalled at the devastation. Both presenters, the floor manager and one of the contestants were dead. Only Bepy had survived, shielded from the blast as he scrambled under the steel desk to retrieve his dropped pencil.

A production assistant with a clipboard and a headset strode through the carnage issuing instructions to summon paramedics and judges. She took the dazed Bepy by his elbow and led him away from the mayhem.

"This way, sir, we'll make you comfy in the green room. I expect the judges will want a statement later, then I'll need you to sign a release form and talk about you coming back for next week's show."

"Next week? I sort of planned on this being a one off performance. Will there be another show?"

"Of course there will. C4 won't want to break the streak. If Chaos day can't stop us then neither will this. The show must go on and you'll be back as defending champion."

"Champion? I do like the sound of that. Can I think about it?"

"Of course. For now I'll just put you down as a definite maybe."

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