INTERESTING PEOPLE TONIGHT

A sign shows on the TV screen showing in lit-up bulbs, INTERESTING PEOPLE TONIGHT. As the show begins, a young woman is introduced as Rachel Roberts, the show's host.

"Hello, good evening, and welcome to yet another edition of 'Interesting People Tonight.' Once again, we have some really interesting people for you tonight. In fact, my first interesting person tonight is the truly interesting Mrs. Carol Crier from Hollywood, California!" Applause sounded throughout the room. She turned to a very small woman sitting in a baby's chair beside her.

"Hello, Rachel," said Carol in a high-pitched voice.

"So, Mrs. Crier, what makes you particularly interesting?" Rachel asked.

"Well, I'm only one foot tall," she said proudly.

"Yes," said Rachel, "And what makes you so proud of this interesting fact?"

"Well," said Carol, "If the movie, 'The Incredibles,' had been a live-action movie, I hear I would have been excellent for the role of little Edna Mode, that spirited super-suit designer."

"Ah, yes," said Rachel, smiling, "I can see why. You look a lot like E. Mode, even down to the big glasses. How about your husband? How does he measure up to you in feet and inches?"

"Oh, he's only half a foot tall," squeaked Carol.

"Yes!" screamed a high voice from the audience, "And I love it, too!"

"Oh, my honey bunch!" said Carol, blowing a kiss to the audience.

"Well, thank you, Carol Crier," said Rachel, "It was very interesting having you here." She gestured to somebody off-camera.

"I thought you'd find that interesting, Rachel," said Carol, "How about I tell you-"

A couple of hands lifted her up and carried her backstage.

"Thank you very much, Mrs. Carol Crier," said Rachel, smiling. The audience applauded. "Next, let's all greet a man who has come all the way from Iraq, a rarity in the U.S. of A. apart from terrorists. He just flew into Los Angeles tonight, he's Mr. Ahmad Bahadur, he's with us in the studio tonight, and he's ranting and raving!"

A man in Arabic clothes was shouting and yelling unintelligible things in Arabic nearby.

"So, uh, Kenneth," she said to a man off-camera, "What's he saying, exactly?"

"I think he's saying the typical sort of things an Arab from Iraq would say, Ms. Roberts," replied Kenneth, "I believe he's lamenting the suffering of his people."

Ahmad started to get more volatile in his speech.

Rachel smiled nervously. "Maybe you'd better send him backstage with Mrs. Crier, Kenneth, before he gets any ideas," she said.

Kenneth nodded and carried out her request. Ahmad was reluctant to leave, and tried to come back, yelling more Arabic obscenities at the audience, but Kenneth pulled him away from the stage at last.

Applause erupted again. Rachel continued, "Mr. Bahadur, ranting and raving," she enunciated. "Next, we have 'Interesting Music,' and tonight, we witness the xylophone choir of Sydney Elementary School in Australia playing 'Amazing Grace' for xylophones only!"

Cut to a classroom. A whole class full of Australian students sang:

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me,
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see."

Then they played their xylophones to the rhythm of the lyrics.

"The xylophone choir of Sydney Elementary School, really interesting," said a grinning Rachel. More applause. "Now here's an interesting person. His name is Harold Daniel. Apart from being a part-time printer, he can also tame a falcon to the point where he can make it his pet and put it in a bird cage."

Harold Smith smiled for the camera, and put on a thick glove like was used for falconry. A Peregrine Falcon landed on it. Then Harold produced a big birdcage and opened the door, gesturing for the bird to go inside. The falcon got its head through the doorway, and then had to squeeze and squeeze in order to get the rest of its body through. At last, just when it seemed that it wouldn't be able to do it, the Peregrine made it inside and perched on the big perch. Harold closed the door. The bird squawked like it was very uncomfortable and tried to peck at its tamer. Harold merely put the cage at a safe distance from him and smiled at the camera again. Applause.

Rachel, ever happy, said, "Well, you can't much more interesting than that, or can you? With me now is Mr. Andrew Smith, who is totally an exciting storyteller. Welcome to the show, Mr. Smith." She turned to a chair where a man in professor's clothes sat with a boring expression on his face.

"Mr. Smith," said Rachel, "Are you sure you're an excellent storyteller?"

"Yes, I certainly am, ma'am," he said in response.

"Oh," said Rachel, surprised by the apparent bluntness of his response, "Well, how do you know this? Is it pride?"

"Oh no, not that," said Andrew, "People have been telling me all my life that I am most extraordinary for a storyteller. They say that no one can tell stories quite like I do. For instance, let me tell you a little short story about what it's like to be a fisherman." Rachel noticed that he was talking a little slower than before.

"First, I get myself a boat. Then, I get myself some fishing equipment. I always get the fishing pole first, then the tackle and the bait, and then everything else, in whatever order suits me. Then I get in the boat, and I row away from the shore, and then I put the bait on my pole's tip, and I cast it into the water. I wait for hours and hours for a fish to bite. Sometimes it takes as long as half a day for a fish to bite my bait…"

"Well," said Rachel, deciding to move on to someone more interesting than the storyteller, "While we've got interesting people, we almost showed on the show tonight…"

"…The little fishes just won't come to snag my pole for a long, long time…" continued Andrew, but everyone ignored him.

"…We almost showed tonight a Mr. Jules Docter, who claims he can recite the entire book, 'Breaking the Spell: Religion As a Natural Phenomenon,' by Daniel Dennett, in five seconds, while being struck on the head by a big sledge hammer. Well, we've since discovered that he was a lie and a fraud." She grinned. "Yes, that's right. He didn't, in fact, recite the entire book; he merely recited the first three words of chapter 1, 'What's going on?' and now he is in the hospital, awaiting trial for his deception."

Cheers from the audience as sports montage is shown on the screen. "And now it's time for 'Interesting Sport,' and it's all-in hockey, live from online, the National Hockey League,.com."

In a wrestling ring, two young men with hockey sticks started clubbing each other with their sticks, as well as wrestling each other for the hockey puck. One beat down the other, only for the other one to recover and beat his opponent back. They just kept going up and down, up and down.

Rachel looked at a card. "And now, we have Mr. Bob Jones, forty years old, married, childless, five times voted the most interesting man in Kansas City, Kansas. Mr. Jones, I believe you're interested in playing with children's toys."

Bob Jones appeared, and he's playing with a choo-choo train and a set of little tikes. He's wearing clothes like a man's imitation of a little kid's overalls and long-sleeved shirt. "Yes, that's right," he said happily, "I'm very interested in children's toys. I don't see why grown ups have to stop playing with them unless they have children to play with, too. This is what I live for, and wow, is it fun! Choo, choo, choo!" he said as he rolled his train along.

"Ah, yes, that's very interesting, too," said Rachel, laughing good-naturedly, "What does your wife think of children's toys, if I might ask?"

"I agree with him!" shouted a woman's voice as a toy airplane flew through the air and landed at Bob's feet.

"Careful, Audrey!" he yelled, "You could've hit my leg!"

Andrew Smith was still droning on. "…I get filled with more and more suspense as the fishes continue to resist me…"

"Ah, this next person looks pretty interesting," said Rachel, as she directed a man and a woman to put a tub of water in front on her desk. She looked off-camera and said, "You are Mrs. Julia Dower, right?"

"Yes, that's me," said a middle-aged woman as one of the cameras panned toward her.

"And I think that's your pet Pug, too?" Rachel asked.

"Yes, this is Cookie," said the woman, stroking the dog lovingly like a lap dog. "He's my delicious little sweetheart." She kissed him. Cookie yawned.

"So, what does he do?" Rachel asked next.

"He flies across the room, and lands in a tub of water," said Julia.

"Do you throw him?"

"Of course not," said Julia, "He can leap like a leapfrog."

"Oh, that's extremely interesting," said Rachel, "Nice to see a talented dog that can jump like a frog. Okay, let's see him do it."

Julia whispered something to Cookie, and the little Pug got up, shook his behind, and readied himself to leap. Julia said, "Jump!" and Cookie made the leap. He landed safely in the tub, getting all wet in the process, and gave a triumphant woof.

Applause.

"Aw, that's so cute!" said Bob naïvely, "I bet my wife and I could have fun all day playing with that lump of irresistible fur!"

Andrew Smith just wouldn't stop. "…I think I've finally got a fish, but it turns out to be a false alarm, and I try again and again…" Kenneth stepped out again and pulled Andrew backstage with the others.

"Well," said Rachel, "perhaps our most extraordinary interesting person we have with us tonight on 'Interesting People Tonight,' is a woman who claims she can strip a person of all his or her clothes by meditation. Ms. Jennifer Flex from Oregon."

"Good evening, everyone," said a young woman dressed like a Buddhist nun.

"Jennifer, you claim you can take a person's clothes off without touching them?" said Rachel.

"Yes, that's right, I can," said Jennifer.

"Entirely through Zen meditation," said Rachel.

"Yes, when I'm in touch with Nirvana, I can make a person's clothes come off. Of course, I usually use it only on myself, because I'm a Nuddhist, a Buddhist nudist, and when I'm in touch with the bliss of Nirvana, I make my clothes lift off my body and float in the air, so I can feel more like I have no barriers between myself and the infinite."

"Is that right?" Rachel asked curiously.

"Yes," said Jennifer, "I simply meditate on the infinite, and I or someone near me is completely nude. Of course, I once used it to play a prank on some people at a show once. It was quite a party, I can tell you."

"Well, why don't you demonstrate for us, Ms. Flex?" requested Rachel. "Meditate a little, and we'll see what you can do."

"Okay," said Jennifer, and she soon slipped into a state of meditation. For a few moments, nothing happened.

"Uh, well, give her a little more time, folks," said Rachel, "I'm sure we'll get an answer pretty soon, and then we…"

There was a neat ripping sound. Rachel's entire newscaster outfit came off and flew into the air, everything, leaving her nude as the day she was born.

Rachel gasped and covered her chest. The audience stared in astonishment and then laughed. Jennifer came out of her trance and looked surprise that Rachel was the one with no clothes on. Rachel's torn clothes fell to the floor behind her.

"Oh, sorry, Ms. Roberts," said Jennifer, "I didn't mean to undress you, I meant to undress myself. But now you know that I can do what I said I could."

Rachel blushed. "Uh, yes, thank you very much for coming on the show tonight," she stammered. She looked at the camera. "Well, folks, I guess that about wraps it up. But now, it's time for our judges to decide how interesting our guests were tonight. Uh, judges?"

The judges came out, and they gave the following ratings:

Carol Crier: 7.1
Ahmad Bahadur: 5.5
Xylophone Choir: 6.5
Harold Daniel: 8.0
Andrew Smith: 2.4
All-in Hockey: 7.9
Bob Jones: 8.3
Cookie: 9.1
Jennifer Flex: 10.0

Rachel stared at the ratings board. So did Jennifer. "Well, it looks like we have a 'Most Interesting Person' tonight," Rachel said, folding her hands on her desk, forgetting to cover herself, "the lovely Jennifer Flex! Whoever knew that meditation by a Zen Buddhist could remove clothes so easily?" The audience applauded with ecstasy. "And in second place is cute little Cookie with his grand leap, and in third place is Bob Jones with his toys. It looks like everybody did pretty well tonight, though, except for Andrew Smith. He must have been bluffing or deluded when he said he was an exciting storyteller."

"Remember," Rachel concluded, "If you're interesting, and you want to appear on this show, please send your name, email address, phone number, and a brief profile of yourself to this online address: .org."

More applause. Rachel remembered her nudity again and said, embarrassed, "Uh, I think I shouldn't be showing this off like I was. Anyway, good night everybody, and we will close our program tonight by showing the progress of the all-in hockey match."

The end credits of the show rolled, with footage of the hockey players still beating each other up.

Later, as Rachel was going home, dressed in her shoes and overcoat, the only clothes she wore to the studio that were still in one piece, Jennifer came along and asked her, "You know, you looked very attractive with nothing on in there. I wish I could've seen it come off. Say, how'd you like to go on a camping vacation with me?"

Rachel became wide-eyed, grinned from ear to ear, and said, "She asked me! She asked me!"


A/N: The URL address listed at the end of this story is not a proper email address. I just made it up for this story, so don't try to look for such a website, please.