The Eighth Page

Pre-Game Stalking

Contestant: (To son) Oh my God, I am so excited to finally meet Billy Ruben! It’s like a dream come true! Contestant’s Son: Me too daddy! He seems like such a great guy, and he’s my favorite game show hos– Contestant: Shut up, Mordecai, you idiot. He’s coming! I don’t want to seem overeager. Now, get the fruit basket and life-sized Care Bear to give him. Ruben: Oy! What are you doing in my house? And where is my dog? Contestant: Oh yeah, your dog. He’s…sleeping. I was worried he might attack Mordecai so I gave him a little treat. Ruben: A treat? Contestant: Let’s just call it a healthy meal of Kibbles-and-Bits of Tranquilizers. Ruben: Why would he have attacked you? He’s a poodle! And why the hell are you in my house!? Contestant: Sir, sir, sir! Please calm down, or my son and I may end up having some Kibbles and Bits of Ruben for dinner tonight! I’m just nervous about tomorrow’s show. I’m the third contestant. Ruben: Yeah, I always like to help my nervousness by knocking out the host’s dog. Do you always bring your kid with you when breaking and entering? Contestant: Only when I’m doing it to get into a game show host’s home to steal all the pictures of his children, kill his dog and then confront him while wearing his wife’s bathrobe. So, I’ve only brought him with me like seven or eight times. Ruben: I thought I had seen that face on the news about seven or eight times! I knew it! Anyway, what do you think I can do to fix your problems, which I’m sure scientology, lithium and multiple therapists all have failed to fix. Contestant: Just give me some advice. I’m not used to being on TV, and I’m worried about disappointing my boy here. Ruben: I get the feeling any disappointment will be revealed anyway, probably in a few years from now after a few trips to the therapist, a plane ticket back home and the purchase of a new shotgun “for” daddy. Mordecai: Daddy taught me how to shotgun a beer once for my eighth birthday. Contestant: That’s my boy. That was certainly the best petting zoo he’ll ever remember…whatever parts of it he actually does remember, at least. Mordecai: Horses are mean when you throw up on their hooves. Ruben: Okay, if I give you some help will you leave my home? Contestant: As long as you’ll introduce me as President Roosevelt. Ruben: Okay, just try to remember that everyone is nervous. I’ve been hosting this show for nine years and I still sweat before every episode. Contestant: You get nervous? Ruben: Of course. I sometimes take a little hit off my flask during the bonus round to calm my nerves. It makes it easier not to laugh at how ugly some of these people are. Contestant: Hmmm… A flask huh? Well I am legally barred by the state from drinking alcohol thanks to Judge O’Connell and that daycare center; but I guess I could just put in some gasoline or antifreeze or something…that might help. Mordecai: Daddy used alcohol to make me fall asleep when I was a baby! Contestant: Okay, so I’m also nervous about people’s impressions of me on television. What should I do? Ruben: We all have such worries! That’s why I have a small step stool next to the podium so I can look taller to viewers. Contestant: Well, that doesn’t help me much, seeing as I am not a member of the pygmy… Ruben: Regardless, you have to make yourself look good by emphasizing your good features and hiding your bad ones. For instance, I would try to cover up the “Satan is my homeboy” tattoo on your forehead if I were you. I also wouldn’t wear that children’s fireman helmet that you’re wearing now. People will consider it creepy. As for your good qualities… it seems as if dogs like you, try to work that into the game show. Mordecai: Actually, it’s my helmet! Daddy just took it from me because he doesn’t love me. Contestant: Well, son, when daddy drinks he usually somehow gets involved with fire, hence the helmet. But sober or not, nobody loves you. Ruben: Okay. So now that I’ve helped you out, can you please leave my house? Contestant: Sure! Mordecai, get your leash. -Ben Nichols