“He’ll take disillusionment and disenchantment for three-hundred, please.”
What the heck Danny Glover, you can’t pick categories for other contestants, I think to myself.
“What the heck Danny Glover, you can’t pick categories for other contestants.” Trebek echoes. “Dead Abe Vigoda, please pick a category.” Dead Abe Vigoda, propped up with thick shafts of bamboo, says nothing.
“So, let’s get right to it. Where is it? It used to be right there.” It’s hard to tell where exactly she’s pointing, but we know she is pointing at Trebek.
“Mrs. Walters, I refuse to answer questions I don’t ask and you don’t get wrong on my own program. I respect your journalistic drive and curiosity, but I just asked you a question. Let me repeat: Aristotle said that an ancient Athenian law made uprooting one of these trees punishable by death.”
“What is where the fuck is your mustache, Trebek?”
“Don Cheadle is in the lead with $30,550,004.”
Don smiles. It’s a large smile that captures the attention of the other contestants. K.D. Lang looks to be in a state of euphoria while Arthur, the small animated aardvark, seems startled. Trebek walks up to Cheadle’s podium, asks politely, then promptly kisses him on the mouth. Their hands move furiously over each others bodies. In moments their shirts are off, revealing a large tribal tattoo that winds up Trebek’s arm like a snake before cascading down his back in a rush of thick black lines. Cheadle moans as Trebek takes him in his mouth and we cut to a commercial.
“In a 1962 hit, Neil Sedaka said this ‘is hard to do.’”
“What is Sudoku.”
“That is incorrect, JTT.”
“What is to love someone despite how they’ve hurt you, to look past the past, and to come to terms with the fact that they still have a vial of your blood that they could use to clone you?”
“That is incorrect, Billy Bob.”
“What is driving?”
“That is incorrect, Billy Joel.”
“Alex, I have to go to the bathroom.”
“You really should’ve done that before the game started now shouldn’t you.”
Shakira pushes over her podium. “Don’t talk down to her you wrinkled marshmallow!”
“You’re right. Sincerest apologies Madonna. Please, go use the bathroom and we’ll get started when you return.”
Shakira picks her podium up, taking a moment to align it properly with the others.
“Hey, where are the other contestants?”
“Prospect Point provides excellent views of this attraction; Queen Victoria Park does the same from the other side.”
“And isn’t there supposed to be a studio audience?”
“Robert Edwards won the 2010 Nobel Medicine Prize ‘for the development of’ this type of ‘fertilization.’”
“What is going on here?”
“For centuries wood was the main fuel used in lighthouses; in the 1700s this animal product became the primary source.”
“I don’t know what’s happening and I’m going to leave.”
“Michigan’s state motto mentions this type of land area.”
“Oh shit, I know this one. What is a peninsula?”
“That is correct, Michael Phelps.”
The camera pans around the set. We see the host, the studio audience, and a pigeon perched on the lighting rig above the contestants. It waddles back and forth. No one notices it but us. Does it have a growth on its leg? It’s hard to tell now that the tracking on the television is off. The bird seems to be thinking, its head tilted back in that position that people think in sometimes. Does having your head back like that help you think? I try it and don’t notice any immediate results. The pigeon falls from the lighting rig and lands on Winona Ryder’s podium. It is either dead or still deep in thought. Either way it doesn’t matter because Winona immediately picks it up and bites into its flesh, blood and feathers dripping from her face.
“This is fucking bullshit!” Meatloaf screams. He is upset. He wagered all of his money and he was wrong which means he has no more money and that is upsetting.
“You fucking Canadian hack-job!” Meatloaf barks at Trebek. Jim from The Office gives the camera his famous look that says, “why bring nationality into this, that is completely unnecessary. It’s not Trebek or Canada’s fault that you didn’t know that blumenkohl is the German name for cauliflower.”
Timbaland’s new remix of the Jeopardy theme song is distracting the contestants. The fresh, catchy hooks are causing John McCain to dance instead of think. He grinds up on Sally Jesse Raphael and then Michael Clarke Duncan grinds up on McCain. They start to sweat. The lights are pulsing, the timer expires, none of them have answered the Final Jeopardy question, and none of them care.
Don’t move, she told him. So he didn’t. He stood as steady as he could. He tried to think of sturdy things he could emulate and be inspired by. Beefeaters at Buckingham Palace. The new towel rack he’d installed in the bathroom the other day. Germany’s economy. This helped. He held his hand, palm down, out and in front of him. It didn’t waver. Good job, he thought.
Look up man! Fer fuck sakes. I almost had it, she barked. He looked back up at the ceiling fan. There was dust caked on top of its spinning blades. How did the dust not just fly off? He was impressed by the steadfast little particles. They inspired him much like the Beefeaters and Deutsch GDP did before them. He felt pride in his own anchoring. The little dots he watched float through the light of the ceiling fan looked to him like confetti––celebratory confetti for a job well done on being so stable. As it donned on him that the celebratory confetti was actually dust from the fan above, he screamed. She’d finally gotten it out from underneath his eyelid, waving his errant, freshly clipped toenail in front of his face like a dog biscuit.