Pointless Boris (Part One of Two)
This is the eighth entry in the satirical series at https://www.abctales.com/collection/pandemic-tales-bojo-and-co
Pointless Boris (Part One)
Things hadn’t been going well in the polls. A cost of living crisis, Partygate, soaring energy bills and unruly hair had made life difficult for the man with the shaggy, blonde thatch. There was only one thing for it – an appearance on TV with the main beneficiaries being several, noteworthy charities. Boris thought about his selflessness as he shook his head; dust gently filled the air and floated to the floor.
“And welcome to the show to this week’s pairs.” Announced the suave presenter in his plummy accent. Alexander Armstrong was an accomplished showman with debonair, good looks, a credible singing voice and was related to the Royal family. The ideal compere to look after a rogue’s gallery of politicians and former civil servants.
“So let’s play and our first question is…..” Alexander or Xander to his friends looked as affable as he did every week. Sharp eyes with beady, round pupils, a pointed nose and grey strands in his short, curly hair was nicely complemented by a tieless shirt and casual jacket. His smile radiated as much warmth with every word as the tiny microphone attached to his shirt made him look the consummate professional. He glanced to his right at an electronic screen.
“Name a prime minister that has been deemed competent.” He looked across at his sidekick Richard Osman who was a giant of man, his legs squeezed under a desk. Osman’s thick-rimmed glasses and greying beard made him look every bit the imposing brainbox he obviously was.
“Yes, we are looking for any prime minister of England that has been described as “competent” according to Hansard – the official record of Parliament.” Osman looked up from his laptop and beamed at the contestants. He too was wearing an open-necked, tieless shirt with casual jacket. It was a subject of ongoing debate as to what he wore on his bottom half. Most suspected Hawaiian shorts and flip flops; others stockings and suspenders. Well he did look like the kind of man who regularly attended meetings of the Rocky Horror Show. The whole “what’s he/she wearing under the desk” was a cliché that had spiralled with the popularity of this format of meeting held on Zoom since the Pandemic started.
The blonde-haired man looked like a rabbit-in-headlights as his brow furrowed and his eyes screwed. He pondered the question, half-glancing around at his partner – Michael – standing on the same podium but separated by a pane of glass for Covid safety reasons. He noted Michael’s pudgy fingers and thoughts of tyres danced through his mind. They exchanged glances, both men dressed down compared to usual, both wearing white shirts (no jackets) and black trousers.
Suddenly, like a moth to a flickering flame, an idea popped into Boris’s brain.
“Ah…..oh….um….well if it’s competent we are looking for then….um….look no further…” He held both arms out straight and pointed, using both index fingers, back at himself. He grinned then winked at Xander, his old Etonian tones matching the host’s for being well spoken.
“So what is your answer then, PM?” the genial compere asked for clarity.
“Well of course…erm…um….it’s me – Boris Johnson.”
“Ah, I see. So you are saying Boris Johnson, Boris Johnson?” There was a small gasp from the studio audience and a ripple of laughter. Michael Gove threw an angry, be-spectacled stare back at the people giggling.
“Well….let’s see how you score. Remember, we are looking for obscure answers, ideally pointless.” Stated the host.
All eyes went to the electronic column to Xander’s left as the score counted down from 100. Plinky music came on to give the moment jeopardy.
“First of all the answer needs to be right.” Updated the compere as the block of red light salted away with the column heading from full to empty going from top to bottom.
“And it is right. We are down past 80….going passed 60 and on towards the 40s.” Everyone was transfixed, anxious to see what the score was going to be.
“Down past the 10 and…..”
The answer was pointless with the studio erupting into spontaneous applause.
“Congratulations PM. You have found a pointless answer. So none of 100 people surveyed thought of you as competent.”
The shaggy-haired man smiled then looked confused. Dazed almost.
Before the conversation could go any further, Xander turned to face his co-presenter and smoothly linked with “Over to Richard.”
“Yes, we were looking for any prime minister deemed as competent according to the official record of Hansard. So the top answers were….”
Focus shifted back to the main screen and on it appeared names of previous prime ministers.
“So David Cameron would have scored you 4, Tony Blair 3 and Harold Wilson 1. Every other PM was a pointless answer. I guess few people cared enough to try and think of a competent prime minister or just couldn’t think of one.” Osman peered directly at the camera ready to deliver one of his carefully articulated, quietly spoken one-liners.
“So you could say, all of the other PMs were incompetent.” He accentuated the “in” part of “incompetent” and waited for the customary gasp of pleasure from those around as everyone remarked how clever he was.
After a brief moment, the audience guffawed with laughter as the PM remained baffled, unsure as to whether to laugh or be offended. Michael Gove smiled cunningly beside him. He still coveted the top job and was willing to patiently wait for the right time.
“Right and on to our next couple. So we have Priti and Matt. Welcome to the show, both.” Xander had a glimmer of fear on his face as he stared at the woman in front of him. She was wearing a dark, purple dress with high collars. A silver amulet with the symbol of a pentagram hung around her neck, her eyes as black as coal.
“So your question is..”
Focus switched again to the main board as Xander read out “Name any screen monster. Richard…”
“Yes, we are looking for the name of any character from movies or television that would be classed as a monster.”
With those present paused, waiting to see what happened next, just to the left of one of the cameramen a buzzing presence twisted and spiralled in the air. The invisible cloud was made up of microscopic particles, too small to be seen with the naked eye. The virus had been around for quite a while now. It looked at the participants at the podiums and remembered. It recalled the portly man with thick lips and how he had labelled it as an invisible mugger. It panned to the short, balding one at the far side and how it had infiltrated his body only to discover he had no heart. Finally, it noted the woman that looked like a vampire. Pure evil. It winced in its own way and decided that discretion was the better part of valour. It filed out of the studio looking for easier victims.
Both presenters looked at Priti and Matt. The latter had an expression of shock at the question and was feeling his shirt collar looking decidedly uncomfortable. Before an answer could come, the studio lights flickered and then failed as the entire set was cast into darkness. As technicians scrambled to fix the problem, a muffled cry could be heard from the audience. The lights came on again after what seemed an eternity but was actually around thirty seconds. One of the seats in the viewing gallery was now empty. Matt looked through the separating pane of glass on the podium and saw faint drops of blood dripping from Priti’s mouth. He mumbled to himself “Oh no, not again.”
“Well apologies for those technical difficulties.” Xander reassured everyone. “Now let’s get back to the quiz. Don’t worry, we’ll edit that last minute or so out. So the question to you Priti is: Name a screen monster.”
Priti stared back soullessly. She pondered the question and answered “My answer is…..” and she rasped the name “Dracula”. This final word was exaggerated and pronounced in a Transylvanian accent, somewhat theatrically. Again, the studio lights flickered, worried eyes looking all around. This time there was no blackout.
“O….K…..let’s see if Dracula is there.” Xander still looked nervous as the readout on the electronic column wandered downwards, not falling far to realise a score of 74.”
Xander and Richard looked at each other and exchanged the same thoughts.
“Moving on quickly….” Xander looked at the final pair.
“So last but not least we have Nicola and Dom. Welcome to the show.”
On the third podium which was level with Boris and Michael’s with Priti and Matt’s being in the middle of the other two and a few steps lower, Nicola was wearing a tam o’shanter on her head along with a blue jacket and tartan skirt. With her ginger hair she looked a bit like C U Jimmy from Russ Abbott days. On the other side of her podium was a diminutive man with a balding pate and fox-like eyes. He too was wearing a white, tieless shirt with navy blue trousers. The studio light bounced off his forehead.
“And so the question to you is…” the unlikely duo on the final podium both breathed in and stared at the main board.
“Name any country that has gained its independence in the last 30 years.” Xander’s final words trailed off quietly as he realised the significance of the question. All eyes were fixed on Nicola as she took in what was being asked.
“Ye cannae ask me that. Mah referendum is comin'. It's nigh!” Nicola growled.
The studio went silent as Nicola’s face first went pink, then scarlet and finally purple with rage. She grabbed at the podium and wrenched it from the floor, hurling it to her left. Dom reached for his microphone attached to his shirt, twisted it in his fingers and quietly uttered into it “This is an emergency. Now leaving. Recording stopped at…” He glanced at his watch “15:17”. He bent down and picked up a tan briefcase which was out of camera shot. He quickly picked it up and shuffled off towards the back of the studio and the exit.
By now, the set itself was imploding as the audience ran in all directions, screaming in panic. Walls fell and neon lights exploded.
The blonde-haired man thrashed around, sweat pouring from his musty body. He murmured “No…NO….NOOOOO!!!” The nightmare was a familiar one. His eyes opened and he realised that he was in a four-poster bed in a beautifully decorated bedroom. He threw the bedsheet off and raised himself up. He was a guest of the French President in a State Room.
This is a work of fiction.
Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents
are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a
fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental
Image free to use at https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/b6/Pointless_titles.png