Raw – A Dark Web Game Show Ep.3

The computer screen opens up and I tap the address into the search bar. It already knows it; I’m just in time as the live feed kicks in. I can’t wait. It’s my new favorite show.

The dramatic theme music pumps out the speakers, it reminds me of a Indiana Jones movie. I feel a small buzz of excitement as the spotlights search the crowd in a criss-cross motion until they settle on the left of the stage.

The face of Von D’burgh grins as he enters the spotlight. Tonight he’s donning a sequined jacket that sparkles with the shows light, beneath is a black t-shirt with the face of Stephen Hawking in white along with the phrase, **What’s the Odds**, printed below. No hairy chest tonight.

“Hello, hello, and welcome ladies and gentlemen to RAW your late-night reality show. Brought to you by our proud sponsor Tobias Wade of Haunted House Publishing LLC.”

He throws his hands up in the air as he approaches his large red leather chair. Before he sits, D’burgh flicks his shabby blonde hair out behind him, then waves to a box off to the right of the stage, bows and then sits.

The crowd claps and cheers as the studio’s lights sweeps to the box. A young man with corn rolled blue hair stands with a crystal-topped cane in his hand and a beautiful dark skinned lady beside him in a regal gold dress flashes a intoxicating smile. Surrounding Tobias are a number of other individuals, I recognise one of the ladies from reading nosleep, she’s the one with the halo of sticks with the bird perched on it. They all seem familiar from their Nosleep pictures. A tall asian dude is waving from back, it’s Hayong, from Life Is Beta I’ve just read that book. The Alliance group claps as Tobias reaches up and flicks D’burgh a quick british salute, then they all settle into their seats.

The camera pans back to a waiting D’burgh. “If you missed last month’s show.” D’burgh coughs into his fist. “Well, first off let me and the producers apologise for our axeman’s heinous mistake, he has, as I’m sure you’ll understand, been axed.”

D’burgh’s face crinkles slightly then splits into a wicked smile as laughter pearls from his mouth. The crowd laughs with D’burgh, and then his face goes serious.

“What a show we have for you tonight,” he blows out his cheeks. “Love. It can be the purest thing in the world, it can conquer mountains, but when that love goes bad or even sideways, well, it can ruin cities.”

The audience quietens as we each think about D’burgh’s words.

“I’m sure I’m not the only one whos been cheated on, betrayed by the one you love, the one who you’d give your right arm for. Am I right?” The crowd murmur their agreement.

“Well, let me introduce Gerry.” D’burgh says solemnly.

From the side of the stage a man in blue jeans and a cream shirt enters, a straw hood covers his head. Before the stage-hand turns to leave he pulls off the hood. Gerry blinks in the sudden studio lights and raises a hand against them whilst looking baffled. I can see his lips moving but can’t hear what he’s saying. D’burgh swaggers over and pulls the bewildered Gerry into a side hug.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Gerry has been wronged and he doesn’t know it.”

Gerry looks around at the stage, D’burgh and the studio audience. Suddenly his microphone is turned on.

“What the hell is going on?”

“All in good time. Tell me, do you know this person?”

Our host twirls Gerry around as a segment of the stage opens, a large podium slides onto the stage with a blonde lady stood high on a ledge. Her white jeans blend with the background and her blue low cut top that reveals her pierced navel seems to float on its own. Below her is a tank like the ones at the fair.

“Lisa? Honey, what are you….?”

Gerry pushes at D’burgh and calls to the lady who smiles and waves at the crowd. D’burgh leaves Gerry to his calling as he turns back to the audience and cameras.

“Yes, of course he does. Lisa is Gerry‘s girlfriend, in fact Gerry has been going out with Lisa for three years now, but we know something about Lisa that Gerry doesn’t know.”

The audience and myself hold our breaths, it’s like a Jerry Springer show as another man comes thundering onto the stage, Gerry turns and frowns at the new comer. D’burgh gets in the way of both men as the new comer rips off his flannelette shirt and squares up to Gerry. A moment later and two huge men lumber on stage and stand between the young men. D’burgh laughs and wipes away imaginary sweat to the delight of the crowd. He reaches for Gerry shoulder and squeezes.

“Do you know this man Gerry.”

The new guy sees Lisa for the first time and blows her a kiss. She catches it in the air and plants it on her lips, then blows one back.

“Gerry? Focus man, I’ve got a show to perform here.” D’burgh shakes the man’s shoulder and Gerry faces D’burgh. The look on his face is comical.

“Do you know that man?”

The bewildered Gerry shakes his head and replies.

“Will someone please tell me what the fuck is going on? And why the hell is my girlfriend stuck all the way up there?” He says pointing.

“Well Gerry, she’s up there because of you two.” D’burgh points to both men in turn. “You’ve both put her on a pedestal so it seemed fitting to put her on one now.”

The two men are moved bodily by the burly bodyguards and positioned behind two separate podiums that have just revolved from another section of the stage.

“Gerry you may not know this man but he knows Lisa very well. Tell us Ray, how do you know Lisa?” There’s a moment pause before the man replies.

“We’ve been dating for six months.”

“Ah, and did you know about Gerry?” The man nods his head and continues.

“Yeah, I knew about him, but it doesn’t matter, Lisa is leaving him for me anyways.”

The mans smug smile is short lived when D’burgh coughs.

“Actually, I think Lisa has something to tell you both.”

The camera pans to the attention hugging Lisa and she laps it up.

“I’ve brought you both here because I can’t decide who I love the most.” The crowd boo as the men look at each other. “So I thought you could both fight for my love.”

She sweeps her blonde hair from her face and smiles broadly. D’burgh spins around and waves his hands with spirit finger.

“That’s right folks, and tonight’s show is called Philautia Paradox.”

The theme music pumps out whilst a bewildered Gerry watches D’burgh dance. As the lights settle he walks over to his podium and picks up some prompt cards.

“Let me tell you, this is gonna be a exciting show, our game designers have been working hard to find the right games for you guys and I can’t wait. So let me explain for the studio audience, those of you at home and for Gerry what we have in store.”

The screen behind D’burgh lights up and the shows title is shown in big letters.

“There will be three rounds, after each round we will see who’s the winner. The guy with the most rounds at the end of the show wins. And what do they win Dee Dee?”

Dee Dee appears on the screen in a cute 1940’s style dress, her hair is a vivid red and bunched on top of her head. She blows a kiss to the host and opens her hand like a showgirl.

“The first round is called ‘How well do you know Lisa?’ Round two is called ‘Blackout,’ and it’s my favourite.” Dee Dee hugs herself. “And the last round is a good old fashioned – show me how much you love me – ‘Run the Gauntlet’.”

The audience claps and cheers.

“Also, the winner along with Lisa will get to spend a romantic break on D’burgh’s secluded island courtesy of our very own host.”

Lisa and Ray grin as the audience goes wild. Our host shuffles the prompt cards whilst trying to look modest.

“Ah shucks, what can I say, I’m a hopeless romantic. Well boys, tonight, you will have the opportunity to win not only Lisa but an all inclusive trip to my island. What do you say about that?”

Even Gerry is looking a bit more optimistic now that the situation has been explained.

“Gerry?” D’burgh’s face is serious again.

“Yes?”

“Can you love beyond Lisa’s betrayal?”

Gerry thinks for a moment, the pause gets longer as he looks to his girlfriend on the podium and then at the man she’s been cheating with. Finally, resolution dissolves on his face.

“I’ve not been very attentive to her needs, I work a lot so she can have nice things. It’s my fault really, so, yes, I can forgive her and move past this if she wants.”

He looks up at her smiling face as a tear cascades down her cheek. She mouths the words, “I love you” before a beep is heard. A camera peers over the side of the tank below Lisa, it’s not water but a thick, gloopy liquid. The camera rolls back to D’burgh.

“As you can see gents we have a predicament, I want you both to really be driving to win Lisa, so, we have added a level of incentive for you both. In round one if neither of you are unable to answer a question Lisa’s platform will retract a little. Do you understand?”

Both the guys nod and D’burgh continues. “Ok, let’s play round one.” – He spins around and points to the camera. – “How well do you know Lisa!”

The crowd whoops and whistles as D’burgh reshuffles his prompt cards and a new tune rings around the studio. The crowd cheers and claps to the beat until the host makes a cutting gesture at his neck.

“Ok, fellows,here’s the deal, there will be eight questions in this round all obtaining to Lisa. The first person to tell me the correct answer wins that point. For every question you lose a weight will be placed around you. Like so.”

From the side a burly man from earlier holds out a thick looking chain.

“Thanks Max. If neither of you answers the question Lisa’s ledge gets smaller. You can see that you both have buzzers, please press them. Ray smacks his dinner plate sized buzzer and a high-pitch siren goes off. Gerry sheepishly presses his red buzzer and another deeper siren sounds.

The studio lights lower a little, and D’burghs face falls into deep lines for the second time tonight. The lights flicker and dim further, the audience goes silent.

“Ok, first question in round one, If you took Lisa to a fancy restaurant what dish would she most like to have?” Gerry instantly hits the buzzer and a deep siren goes off.

“Stone crab claws, it reminds her of the time she spent with her father in the lower Gulf waters of Florida.”

“Correct, one point to Gerry.” Ray looks a little pissed as a chain is placed over his shoulders but soon shrugs it off.

“Not taken Lisa to any fancy restaurants yet Ray? Oh well, there maybe time after, If you win of course. Next question. If Lisa was in trouble who would she call first?”

Again Gerry’s hand flashes out and hits his buzzer. “Me?” He doesn’t look to sure.

D’burgh scrunches up his face, “sorry that’s not the right answer. Ray?”

Gerry slaps his thigh as a chain is placed around his neck and he mutters something under his breath while Ray thinks.

“Umm, maybe Sue, her friend.”

The loud beep from earlier sounds again and Lisa shreeks as the floor beneath her retracts a little back into the wall. A second chain is added to Rays first and his shoulders slump. D’burgh turns back from Lisa and shuffles the prompt cards.

“The correct answer was Linda, her mum. Next question. “Who is Lisa’s favourite Disney princess and why?”

Ray had no chance as Gerry’s hand snakes out and smashes the buzzer.

“We went to Disneyland a year back just to see this princess because it was the first film she ever saw. Bell from Beauty and the Beast.”

Gerry grins as another chain is placed on Ray. The weight looks heavy and he’s having trouble standing up.

“For those of you at home, the weights around the guys shoulders are five kilos each. Right now Ray has fifteen kilos on his shoulders. Some weight eh dude.”

Ray grins and readjusts the weight with a little jig. “No problem, I’ve got this.” He says.

“Confidence. I like that. Let’s see if it’s gonna help. Fourth question. If Lisa was a porn star, what would her name be using her first pet and her mother’s maiden name?”

Neither of the guys look like they know, Gerry’s hand is halfway to the buzzer but he stops thinking. A loud siren whirls as Ray hits his buzzer.

“We did this the other day, mine would be Duke Jordan, her was Mittens Amand.”

D’burgh swirls, “correct. Another chain for Gerry. Can’t believe I three years you haven’t done this Gerry. Oh well, Next question. What is Lisa’s favourite song?”

Gerry strikes the buzzer quickly, “Sunday morning by Maroon 5.”

D’burgh sucks in a breath, “incorrect, Ray over to you.” Ray shrugs and chuckles.

“I have no idea, fuck it, Sympathy for the devil? It’s a shot in the dark.”

Lisa stamps her foot in a imitation of Dee Dee as the loud siren sounds again and the platform slides back a little further.

“Oh boys, if you fail to answer three more questions Lisa will fall. It was Mysterious girl by Peter Andre.” D’burgh shakes his head. “Next question. What was Lisa doing last night?”

Everyone is taken back by the question, and Lisa’s smiling face drops into worried lines.

“She told me she was going out with friends last night.” Says Gerry looking at Ray. “But I suppose she was with you.”

Ray splutters. “She told me she was spending the night at home because of the show today.”

Lisa tries to hide her face from the camera but it doesn’t work.

“Ohh.’ D’burgh shakes a hand in the air and puckers his lips. “I think Lisa thought she was the only one who knew where she was last night. But, unfortunately for her we’ve been following you guys for quite some time and we know where you went last night Lisa. Do you want to do the honors?”

She covers her face with her hand and then blows out her lips. Her cheeks have gone a rosy red as she moves her hair out of her face.

“Ok fine, I went to get a massage.” D’burgh tsks, and she carries on. “Ok, fine, I went to a brothel.”

Both the guys look shocked by the revelation, D’burgh, however, looks delighted.

“Moving swiftly on, Lisa was asked, if she was stranded on a desert island what three things couldn’t she live without? I only need one of the item.”

Gerry somewhat reluctantly hits his buzzer, “Makeup.”

“Correct, that was one of the items she said she would take, heaven knows why though.” says D’burgh.

“Really Lis you went to a brothel?” Gerry looks hurt. “Has our love life got that bad?”

Ray chuckles and Gerry turns on him. “You can shut the fuck up too before I open you up.”

“Oh Gerry, don’t worry yourself over it, you didn’t have the requirements for her sexual needs last night.” Says D’burgh cheerfully while putting scissored fingers against one another. The audience ooh’s and laughter rolls around the studio to Lisa’s hung head. Ray adjusts his shoulders as another chain is added to the present collection. The siren sounds and Lisa’s platform slips a fraction more. Her toes are at the edge and I wonder if next time she’ll fall.

D’burgh shuffles the cards and picks one out. “Which is fine, but lying? That deserves a bit of platform.” The audience agree with a loud cheer.

“Ok, last question in round one. If Lisa was to order a pizza, would she have pineapple as a topping?”

It’s a fifty fifty question in my eyes, and I think Ray knows this as he hits his buzzer first with an uncertain gaze in his eyes. “Yes?”

As the incorrect siren sounds D’burgh points to Gerry. “No need to answer as you get the point. So that’s the final question in round one, let’s go over to my snow angel, the rose of a thousand petals, my lady of perpetual sunsets, Dee Dee.”

Dee Dee skips on the stage chewing gum and wearing a black skirt and a pink jacket with Pink ladies embroidered on the back. A board is lowered from the roof and stops a few inches from the ground. Dee Dee reaches up and pulls at the cloth covering.

“At the end of round one, Gerry scored four points to Rays one. So Gerry wins the round.”

The audience cheers and claps along with Dee Dee as the board ascends back up into the sky. The crowd continues to cheer when Dee Dee curtsies, blows D’burgh a kiss, blows a bubble from her chewing gum which pops over her nose and wanders back off stage. With the continual roar of the crowd, the camera zooms in on D’burgh.

“Congratulations Gerry for winning round one, it seems to me that Rays relationship is purely shaboink boink at the moment, as he failed to get only one question right. Stay tuned to see if he can redeem himself in round two and win the affections of Lisa. See you after a quick word from our sponsor.”

The camera pans out and up to the people in the box before the screen fades to display the sponsor’s credits.

***

The advert finishes and the camera flies over the studio audience to the stage and the awaiting D’burgh.

“Welcome Back to RAW. Your newest late night broadcasting entertainment show. Ok lads.”

He says turning to Gerry and Ray who both stand next to a big square room with a windowless door.

“How are you feeling after the first round? Do you think you can claw back a point and maybe win this thing Ray?”

Ray’s face splits in a wide smile, “No probs, I’ve got this, bring on the next game.”

The host grins at the camera and then back at the guys. “I like your enthusiasm,” He chuckles as the lights sweep the stage.

“Well, if you insist. Ready for round two?” He asks the audience and they bellow back like inmates at a loony asylum. A new jaunty tune rings around the studio and the lights flash and pulse. D’burgh shouts above the music “Round two is called – Blackout.” then struts around like a rockstar.

As it finishes, he points to the solid booth. The crowd goes calm as a mill pond before D’burgh speaks.

“This is Blackout, a pitch black six by six room. Nothing will enter that room, not even the faintest fragments of sound or light from outside will get into there. Inside are three objects. You have to enter the room and find the objects, when you find one call out what you think it is. If your right a bulb will flash once to tell you that you’re correct and you can move on. Once all three objects have been correctly identified the timer will stop. Fastest time wins. Quite simple really.”

Ray pats a hand on the side of the wall.

“Gerry, as winner of the last round you can decide to go first or last.”

“I’ll… go last please.”

Dee Dee walks back on stage in a ceremonial kimono and pulls Gerry off with her, the screen behind D’burgh comes to life and we see Gerry being put in a sound booth. He gets comfy on the stool and places the headphones over his head.

“Ok Ray, the timer will start when you enter. Are you ready?” Ray nods his head and reaches for doors handle.

“Ok, quiet please.” The audience’s murmurs soften and stop. “Three two, one, go.”

Ray whips open the door and it slams shut behind him.

The screen showing Gerry splits and the other half new shows the green light of a night vision lens. My breath catches as i see something move. Rays wide eyes seem overly large as he searches the air before him with hands like a starfish. Again something moves at the corner of the screen, suddenly Rays hands find the first object. It’s too small to make out.

“it’s….it’s a… what is it?” He pulls out a length of string from the object. “It’s a yoyo.”

The light flashes and Ray jumps.

“What the fuck was that!” Guys there’s something in here with me.”

D’burgh clutches at his stomach and I find myself laughing with him for no particular reason. Rays hands shake as his search continues, as he nears what looks like a doll. A small child of possibly four sweeps it up into her arms and she hugs it tightly, I don’t know why but I think the child can actually see in there. She keeps dodging Ray with accuracy.

The little girl picks up something from the floor and puts it in Rays path and he trips over it smashing his head on the ground. A bead of white rolls down his temple and he wipes it off. The little girls giggles echo around the studio and it chills my bones. Something about the voice seems off. Lisa cringes on her podium as she watches the event unfold. Ray picks up the offending object and brings it close to his nose, unable to see it he rolls the small cylindrical vessel around his hands, after a quick sniff he grins.

“Lipstick.”

The light flashes again and Rays scuttles back toward the door.

“Argh get me out, what the fuck! Let me out, there’s a fucking child in here.”

He bangs on the door and the child slowly moves over to him. Ray must have heard her move as he sat back to the wall and turned his head away whimpering. The girl reaches for one of his hands and Ray finches at her touch. Then she places something in his palm and moves off. Ray rapidly moves the thing around close to his face.

“Fucking smells like bacon? Is it a pigs ear?”

The light flashes and Ray makes a beeline for the door, stumbles and falls across the stage to pearls of laughter from the studio audience. D’burgh picks up a white looking Ray and pats him down.

“Well done Ray, your time was one minute and twenty seconds. How do you feel with that.” Ray looks incredulous at D’burgh.

“You’re joking right, you just stuck me in a dark room with a scary little girl, how do you think I feel.”

D’burgh’s face clouds with anger and then it’s gone as quickly as it came. “I don’t know what you mean Ray? The rooms perfectly empty. As evidence to his claim the screen brings shows the room from all for corners. No little girl can be seen on any. The screen goes back to half half and Dee Dee helps Gerry out of the sound booth. A moment later and Ray and Dee Dee are standing before the room.

“Ok Gerry, you have to beat a time of one minute and twenty seconds. Do you think you can do it?” Gerry smiles and rubs his hands together.

“I’m ready.”

“Three, two, one, go!” Gerry dives through the door like Ray and immediately find the first object, but something’s wrong.

“Umm. It’s sharp…flat…smells funny. Maybe an innersole? No, ok, maybe a shoe horn?”

As befuddlement clouds his face he places the item on the ground and searches for another. Soon he finds the lipstick at the bases of ghost’s little feet. Ray points to the screen and motions to D’burgh. The host snickers and Dee Dee walks off stage.

“Ok, this one’s small and it turns at the bottom,” Gerry’s fingers feel the top of the lipstick that’s protruding out the end. “Gooey, ah wait, it’s lipstick.”

The light flashes and Gerry’s face falls into a horror mask as he scampers away from the little girl. With wide eyes he stares into the darkness to afraid to move as the timer ticks on.

“Gerry this is D’burgh, you have less then twenty seconds to find and identify the last two items.”

“No…no…it’s not real, it’s not real.”

The seconds countdown on the screen until the timer flashes red and stops. Dee Dee opens the door and pulls Gerry out. D’burgh stretched out his hand and faces the audience.

“What can I say ladies and gents? With Gerry losing his cool its given Ray the win at the end of round two.”

The theme music quickly pumps out and then stops.

“ Although there’s no need, I would hate to not let my princess do her part so, over to Dee Dee for the scores.”

D’burgh flicks a Elvis arm towards Dee Dee emerging from the edge of the stage. Her clothes are different like normal. Now her hair is a black bob that matches her checkered black white dress. A large whiteboard wheels onto the stage on its own and stops just before her. The crowd cheers her loudly, and she drops a cute curtsy. A large white cloth hangs over the scoreboard, and we wait for Dee Dee to show us what we already know.

“Dee Dee my love, my dove, my angel. What are the scores?” Says D’burgh.

Dee Dee throws her arms back dramatically and then pulls the sheet away. “At the end of round two,” she pouts. “We have a draw! Boo.”

As the crowd cheer, Dee Dee curtsies again, blows D’burgh a kiss, and kicks the scoreboard which rolls back off stage. With the continual cheers of the crowd, the camera zooms in on D’burghs face.

“Well well well, we are having fun tonight. It looks like this love triangle is turning into a vicious circle of pain and regret as we go to our third and final round, but you haven’t seen anything yet. Stay tuned as we hear a quick word from our sponsor.”

The camera pans out as the screen fades to display the sponsor’s credits.

***

The advert finishes and the jaunty theme tune pumps out again. The studio lights fall on the lavish host, the two men in tight fitting Lycra and a daunting looking assault course. D’burgh flashes his intoxicating smile.

“Welcome back to RAW, While our contestants prepare for this beauty. – ”D’burgh waves a hand toward the first section of the course. A horizontal rope ladder high above the same liquid that’s bubbling beneath Lisa. – “I have another little treat for you. Do you remember last time what happened when we offered someone twenty thousand dollars to last 3 minutes in The Pit?”

The audience chorus together. “Yes!”

“Sadly poor Jeff didn’t make it, so now the prize money has gone up by another ten grand.”

The audience goes crazy. The studio lights dim and a single spotlight searches the eager crowd. D’burgh, along with the audience chant out the catchphrase.

“Studio lighter, pick…your…fighter!”

The light swirls around and finally settles on a lady with mousy brown hair sporting yoga leggings and a gym top as if she wasn’t supposed to be at Raw but rather got waylaid on route to the gym. She shyly makes her way towards the stage. D’burgh greets her with a gentlemanly kiss on the hand and whispers in her ear.

“Veronica.” She says blushing.

“Dee Dee?” D’burgh calls.

The girl from earlier swaggers across the stage; only now her hair is white which shines pink in the show’s lights. As she struts on the podium like the last show, her prowess has the men in the audience whistling and catcalling again, she strikes a few poses and pouts. Dee Dee passes an envelope to D’burgh and then tugs at the lady’s hand and guides her off stage. It’s the hosts turn to fans his hands watching the two ladies walk of stage.

“While we wait for Veronica to get in position. Let’s find out more about these jilted lovers. Ray, we can see way Lisa took a fancying for you, but where did you meet her?”

Ray pinches at his tight shorts embarrassingly and blushes slightly before answering.

“We met at the gym, she needed some help with her squats so I thought I’d…you know.” He shrugged one shoulder to the amusement of the audience.

“Sadly I think we do know. And where were you while your girlfriend was,” D’burgh air quotes, “at the gym.”

“Working my butt off probably, and she goes there five days a week.” Gerry folds his arms and sulks. D’burgh looks up to Lisa and she covers her face with her hair again and shakes her head.

“How many times a week do you go Lisa?” He asks. Her voice is muffled but still audible.

“Once, maybe twice.”

“So, again Gerry you’ve been lied to. I’m beginning to wonder why you put up with this?” Gerry’s face settles into a scowl.

Just then the screen behind them lights up to reveal the pit, a modified bullring with a high grey metal fence that surrounds the enclosure, and a scattering of various vicious looking weapons dot the straw-covered floor. The audience cheers as Dee Dee and Veronica enter through a missing section. D’burgh gestures to the screen and the camera pans in.

“Lets see how our audience member feels as she faces three minutes in the pit. Dee Dee?”

“Hello, D’burgh. I’ve been speaking to Veronica here and I’ve learnt that she’s a twice medalled triathlon winner, and she also thinks she can win tonight, isn’t that right?” The young lady snatches the microphone out of Dee Dee’s hand.

“Damn right I can, I’m mean, I’m lean and I’m a killing machine.“ The crowd cheers for their champion as Dee Dee smiles and gestures to the iron gate.

“So, you think you can last three minutes with whatever comes out that there?” She puts the microphone back to her mouth.

“I’ll take on Cynthia any time.”

D’burgh’s chuckle echo around the arena, then he says, “Who said it would be Cynthia your facing?”

The camera pans to the slowly opening grate, again it reminds me of a medieval portcullis as the spikes emerge from the ground. The camera’s audio picks up some crazed laughter before a small clown on an oversized red tricycle wobbles into the pit. Attached to the back of the frame is a bubble making machine that releases a steady stream of bubbles. Behind the tricycle another clown tumbles and them jumps up popping the bubbles. The laughter is coming from him.

Veronica stands with her hands on her hips then throws them in the air as if to say, ”is that it?” D’burgh’s voice echoes around the pit again.

“Oh, they might seem harmless, But can you out last the Grimaldi brothers? If you can you’ll get thirty thousand dollars.”

Behind the laughter is a deep thud, I didn’t hear it at first. The concussions make my computer’s speakers vibrate. A second late and the sound becomes apparent by a large clown wielding a huge candy coloured hammer. Red and white stripes spiral down to a blood covered head. The clown’s face is hidden by a thin white membrane, although as he expels each breath the cloth vibrates.

Veronica walks slowly away from the brothers as they circle the enclosure, the clock reads 2:35 left as the tricycle clown honks a black horn on his handlebars and the bubbles stop. The tumbling clown stops suddenly and breaks down with fake crying. The wheels of the tricycles sprout spikes like the Roman gladiators chariots. Somehow the little clown makes the tricycle accelerate towards Veronica. She’s bouncing from side to side as he approaches. Oh my god, she dodges the bike and he continues around the arena. I don’t think she’s noticed yet, but the hammer clown has stopped banging the floor and is watching her movements. I didn’t expect that he could see through the cloth but maybe he can.

The tumbling clown has gotten up off the floor too and is watching her. He looks to his bigger brother and cart wheels over to him. The crazy laughing has started again, it’s unnerving. Veronica is waiting for the clowns on the other side of the pit. Oh shit, she’s just waved for them to come get her and the big one has taken the offer.

He crosses the arena in a few giant strides, his hammer clawing a gouge in the floor, as he comes close to her he stops and roars, the membrane covering his face splits and the face beneath is revealed. It was better not knowing what it covered, this thing isn’t like any clown I’ve ever seen and I think Veronica feels the same. Her face has drained of colour, and she’s backing up to the fence while trying to keep all the brothers in one place.

The clock flashes two minutes left.

My God I’ve never seen so many teeth.The clowns face is painted beneath the white cloth in a mockery to clowns the world over, but his paint job does little to bring joy, the only thing it will bring me tonight is nightmares. It’s face is lipless, and I can’t make out a nose either, apart from two small holes where nostrils should be.

The big clown makes a dash for Veronica and she barely makes it under his arms before it turns and kicks her in the ass. She goes flying in the dust and comes up face to face with the tumbling clown who’s come to see what’s going on. Veronica reaches to a nearby hatchet that’s laying in the dust and brings it up to connect with his chin. The three brothers roar in unison as blood splatters the floor. Each of the clowns are clutching they chins, and blood coats they hand. How can that be, she only hit one of them?

Due to the sudden lacks, Veronica has picked up another weapon from the ground, she wields the hatchet in her left hand and what looks like a trident in the other. With only one minute and forty seconds left i think she might do it. But, the hammer clown has recovered and is making a beeline for her. But she dodges him again and swipes at his ankle with the hatchet. Again they roar as the big guy falls to the floor. The tricycle clown has geared it up and is charging around the arena. Veronica hasn’t seen him as he changes his direction and plows right into her. That’s gonna hurt.

No, she’s fine, and she’s up and running. But so is the tumbling clown and he tackles her to the ground. After a brief struggle he’s get the advantage and pins her to the floor. Shit, she’s in trouble now. Just a minute left, but I don’t know if she’s gonna make it.

The laughter of the tumbling clown is really starting to get to me. He managed to relieve Veronica of the trident but in doing so has left himself open to another attack with the hatchet. Veronica buries it deep in the clowns chest and he slumps backwards off her. Both the other clowns have stopped and are clutching their chests as blood seeps through their fingers.

The clock is ticking down, thirty seconds to go and she wins.

Veronica is back up and has moved away from the other clowns, they still haven’t moved. Wait, the big one is getting to his feet and moving towards his brother.

Fifteen second.

Tricycle clown has recovered too and is wobbling slowly over to his fallen brother as the large clown bends down to pick up the his wounded brother. Ten seconds. Veronica is as far as possible from them and I don’t think they could get her even if they charge now. Hold on. Hammer clown is cradling his brother in his arms, his mouth is serrating the air as they stand starting her. Somehow I don’t think thirty grand is going to help Veronica, she’s just made some deadly enemies and I for one wouldn’t want then finding me in the outside world. The buzzer sounds and Veronica runs to the opening grate and squeezes through even before they get it a fraction open. Dee Dee is there to meet her.

“Well done Veronica you said you could win this thing and you did. How do you feel?” Veronica relays between heavy breaths.

“Thankfully I’m not afraid of clowns or that could have gone a lot worse, but I’m delighted in the outcome and the thirty grand will come in handy.”

“What well you do with it?”

Dee Dee moves the microphone towards Veronica but her attention is taken up by the clowns who have wondered over and are standing behind them.

“It’s going to pay for some renovations and then a nice little holiday to Jamaica.” The hammer clown slams a meaty fist against the fence and veronica jumps.

“You…hurt…brother…we…not..forget.”

With another slam he turns, picks up his brother whos regained consciousness and walks of to the portcullis. The camera peels off the visibly shaking Veronica and gradually comes back to a ghost-silent studio, and a stunned D’burgh.

“Well I didn’t see that coming. The Pit didn’t claim anyone tonight ladies and gents but we do have a winner.”

The screen in the background shows the brothers moving through a dark tunnel, the small tricycle wobbles from side to side. The crowd’s silence breaks as new music fills my room. D’burgh points to the camera.

“Don’t go far because coming up is the third and final round, as you don’t want to miss it. Who will win Lisa’s affection and get an all inclusive trip to my very own island? See you in a bit after a quick word from our sponsor.”

The camera ascends and flies over the gauntlet, Lisa is positioned at the end the pool of good knows what still bubbles beneath her.

***

As the adverts fade, Raws theme music pumps out again and I hum along to it. The camera flies over a cheery audience and settles on D’burghs smiling face.

“Welcome back to Raw, If you’re just tuning in you’ve missed quite a show. Veronica has won Thirty grand by being the first person to survive three minutes in the pit, and Gerry and Ray have been competing for the love of one woman. Who will get to take Lisa home? For those of you just tuning in.”

He waggles a finger at the camera and continues.

“Don’t be discouraged, you can watch all of our episodes on our new app, The link will appear at the end of the show. Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Dee Dee?”

The camera pans to Dee Dee who’s standing on a podium between two lanes of the gauntlet.

“Thanks D’burgh, so Gerry and Ray have to compete each section of the course. They are; The rope bridge, each contestant has to traverse the bridge without falling into the pig fat below. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, that’s the same stuff you see beneath Lisa. If one of them happens to fall in they have to go back to the start of that section. Once across the bridge, they will be faced with the balance beams, but watch out for our pitchers. They well be throwing shit as you, literally. Take one to the face and you’ll know about it.”

D’burgh, surrounded by numerous unidentifiable individual dressed in baseball jerseys, gives a thumbs up from the pitcher’s platform.

“Once across the balance beams they are faced with the glass crawl. That’s right, it’s not jewels you see sparking under that sheet but crushed glass. Each contestant has to crawl on his hands and knees to reach Lisa’s podium. The winner is whoever hits the big red buzzer first.”

The two guys have been limbering up while Dee Dee spoke, Ray is smiling wide and smacks his face psyching himself up. Gerry on the other hand looks nonplussed. The crowd cheers as Dee Dee dressed in leopard print leggings and a black jacket throws her hands in the air.

“Three, two one, Go!”

Both men reach the rope bridge first and reach up to grab a hold on the first rung. It’s neck and neck as they both swing hand over hand across the bridge. Rays feet make contact with the red padded floor, Gerry is close on his heels. The balance beam is proving a bit difficult. Shit is literally flying everywhere. A piece hits Ray in the chest and he makes a mistake looking at it as another hits him on the cheek, he stumbles and falls off.

Gerry seems to be in control but he’s going really slow. D’burgh’s blurry but grinning face is seen in the background as another folly of excrement peppers Gerry. Ray, however, has caught up, no wait, he’s overtaken the slow moving Gerry. Gerry has noticed and puts on a burst of speed himself. But Ray is first off again and the first to crouch on all fours by the glass tunnel.

He’s tenderly feeling the ground and is already looking at his hands. It looks like he’s got some stuck in his palm already. Gerry has joined him and the shard in his hand is forgotten as he plows through the tunnel. Gerry has stopped, the camera positions over the see-through ceiling. A smear of blood is visible on the ground where the guys have been, there’s only another few feet but both seem to be having difficulties with this section. Ray has moved to using his forearms like skis, and is pushing the glass away. It seems like a good tactical move and Gerry has noticed too.

But I think it’s too late, Ray is nearly out the other side. The camera follows Ray out of the enclosure as he darts up the steps to the podiums button. Gerry had emerged too but is to late. Ray has stopped and is grinning at Gerry. He blows a kiss to Lisa, who grips the sides of her podium and bounces on her small ledge. It’s short lived as Ray smashes the button and the last piece of Lisa’s ledge slips back into the wall. She falls into the bubbling pig fat and jumps up spluttering. Ray covers his laugh with a hand as Lisa wipes the goop from her eyes.

D’burgh appears out of nowhere with Dee Dee by his side. Gerry has sat down on the podium steps a picking glass from his hands, I feel sorry for him.

“Well, ladies and gentlemen we have a winner, Ray and Lisa will be spending their lives together and will get a trip to my secluded island.“

Dee Dee hugs D’burgh as Ray goes to help Lisa but she pulls him into the pig fat and they play around in it.

”D’burgh laughs as the cameraman swings the camera to face the audience who are up and about dancing to Raws theme tune. The camera continues to move about the audience as we hear D’brurgh’s voice cut above the music.

“That concludes the show for tonight. Tune in next month for another episode of Raw. From me, Von D’burgh and Dee Dee, Until next time, goodnight internet.”

***

The screen fades to a black background, white words appear. **Six hours later** The screen opens up to D’burgh sitting in a armchair by a enormous unlit fire, Dee Dee is resting on the arm nearest to the camera, a small British bulldog lays by they feet.

“We couldn’t finish the show there, without showing you watch we had in store for the cheating couple, because we don’t like cheaters do we Dee Dee?” Dee Dee shakes beer had with a pout.

“Do you want to see how they got on on my island?” Dee dee nods her head as D’burgh aims a remote at a large tv above the fireplace. The camera zooms in on the tv and a planes interior. Ray and Lisa are in jump suits with parachutes on their backs. A man is speaking to them but it can’t be heard above the wind. The next minute they jump from the plane and the feed switches to their Gopros and the descent over a crystal sea and a large island with an abundance of foliage. As they near the island something large and black scuttles through the ferns towards them, and Lisa starts to scream.

“There was one thing I neglected to tell the happy couple about my island.” Says D’burgh as the camera focuses back on his room, the tv continues to pay the live feed from the Gopros.

“Because we took Cynthia away from her natural environment she needed somewhere to stay, and where better than a remote island in the south Pacific sea.” The picture on the tv is green as one of them lands in tall grass, a loud chittering accompanied by Lisa screams blair out of the speakers but D’burgh aims the remote turning down the volume as Cynthia’s spiky pole leg strike at the camera. The Gopro’s camera falls cracked too the floor and stills.

As for Gerry,” says D’burgh, “I thought it only fair that he has another shot at love, this time with someone who might appreciate him.” A second chair by the fire swings around and Gerry, accompanied by someone who looks very similar to Dee Dee sat on his lap raises a flute of champagne to the camera and chinks it off the woman’s glass.

“Until next time internet.” The camera pulls back as they group converse. Slowly the camera fades to a logo of Raw before cutting out.

**

Next episode – unavailable

Episode 2.

Ko-fi

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