Dawn took a deep breath as she walked through the crowded studio. Men holding bundles of cables of wires on there shoulders rushed behind the stage. Following closely behind them where women in cream colored blouses and black pencil skirts who held clipboards and spoke in short sentences into black headsets. It a madhouse, of course that was to expected. She was standing in the backstage area of one of Erehwon's most popular Saturday Nights program. Compared to her own "Nippon Desu" she was pocket change.
Releasing her breath, she paused to ponder the events the lead her to be invited onto this show. Normally one had to follow all the proper channels to be given even a chance to be assigned a seat. Even then the odds where a million in one. Hell you had a better chance of going down to the seaside and striking it rich on a long forgotten treasure horde than you did of getting a seat unless you knew somebody who knew somebody or bothered the starlets herself.
"Oh yes." She muttered to herself as peered around the corner and watched the star of the show ham up the audience with a delightful story about going the farmers market and securing a prime cut of meat well below market price because she used her charm and grace on the old butcher who was running the stale. "I remember now." She said pulling her lips back into a tight smile. Meanwhile on stage.
"Now everybody, in a few minutes. I'm going to invite somebody one stage. She tonight's special guess as there no vote tonight." She nodded her head along with a few groans and chores of disappointed sounds. Slowly she shushed them by moving her hands down.
"Yes, yes I know. But things like this do tend to happen from time to time. Now before I bring her on stage, I would like to tell you a little about her. First she a student, second she has her own show. Some silly little on air program called. 'Nippon Desu'. And she working in radio." She paused and clicked her heels together and turned toward the backstage area. She flashed a little smile toward Dawn before returning her attention back to the crowds.
"And as many of you will know, during last weeks episode she made a few little comments about our wonderful house party we have here each and every Saturday night. She also seems to think are program is nothing but a waste of time, money and talent." She sighed and folded her hands in her center and shook her head. A number of people started to voice there disapproval by booing and jeering.
"I know, I know. Such comments where not called for. That's why I've invited her today to properly explain herself. So in a few minutes, I would like you all to welcome Ms. Love to the house party." She winked a little and her eyes seem to twinkle with excitement.
Dawn felt her face flush with color as started to chew over the words. Yes she remembered something like that. Though the details where a bit hazy, a week of schoolwork, Kendo practice and family drama had fuzzed the memories quite a bit. She flushed even more when she boos and jeers reached her ears.
"Your on." She heard a voice from behind her say. The voice gave her a little push and soon she found herself strolling across stage. The décor brought to mind the living room of a country estate. Two full suits of armor stood by a painted on door. Pictures of passed queen and kings lined wall behind her. Stock pictures of forebears dressed in all there Masonic finery where proudly displayed.
Of course none of this registered to her as she made her way onto stage. Taking a deep breath she turned toward the gathered crowds. Some three hundred pairs of eyes just peered toward her. She offered them a weak wave as she strolled toward the center of the stage. Heather Ford, the star of the show was standing in the center of the stage. Dressed in a pencil black skirt, white pantyhose and a cream colored blouse. Her honey blonde hair pulled back in a tight bun and her deep blue eyes. Gave off the appearance of queen beholding one of her subjects.
"Welcome Dawn." Heather said, giving Dawn a predatory smile as she watched her draw closer and closer. She knew she had the girl trapped firmly in her webbing. She also knew that Dawn had been a silly little thing, a very silly little thing who thought she could get away with calling her out and insulting her show. On that pretty little schoolgirl was about to learn a lesson she was not soon to forget.
Dawn felt a growing sense of tension coming over her as she drew closer to the center stage where Heather stood. Her mind was starting to race now, the mental image of a butterfly having carelessly into the complex web of a spider came to mind as she reached down and shook Heathers hand. She tried to return the smile with one of her own. She failed and then resigned herself to her waiting faith. Worst she could do was scold her right? We'll scold her on national television.
"Thank you so much for having me on the show.. Ms. Ford." For once Dawn remembered her manners as she reached over and squeezed Heathers hand, her throat jumped into her throat and her cheeks flushed a deep red. She was totally out of her element now. Radio was another beast when compared to television. "It was quite the unexpected treat.. To find your email in my inbox a few days ago." She said smiling softy.
Heather nodded her head and smiled as she peered toward Dawn, who moved with all the grace of a soaked cat. She could clearly see the girl was totally out of her element. It seemed her plan was already working. Already she could see the girl was starting to shake.
"Come, take a seat." She said smiling a little as she eased down into ornate chair. The chair was carved of exotic wood and was a ebony in color. The chair almost looked like a throne when compared to the simple, plain wooden chair that was left for Dawn. The chair was another way Heather showed her guest that she was indeed queen of her show. For she sat upon the chair like a queen would sit upon her throne.
"Thank you." She said smirking a little as she reached down and picked up a highly polished pewter servant's bell. Giving the bell a little flick of the wrist she gently placed it back down and relaxed into the chair. Her eyes where firmly fixed on Dawn now.
"I hope you'll join me for a cup of tea? I mean tea and business go so well together don't they? Like coffee and donuts." She stated as she watched Dawn tense up.
"Yes.." Dawn said smiling as she folded her legs together and placed her hands in her lap and smiled as a maid placed a cup filled to the brim with milky tea down in front of her, the maid then placed one in front of Heather who smiled.
"I'm sure." Heather said smiling as she reached down and picking up the cup by its handle. "Elizabeth dress is strange to you." She said nodding her head toward the women who wore a black dress. The dress reached down to her ankles and had long black sleeves, the ends of the sleeves where trimmed in white lace, a simple, white apron rounded out the outfit.
"Kind of Victorian." She muttered under her breath as she took a sip from her tea. "But then again, it seems to fit you."
"Of course." Heather said smirking a little. "Now, you and I have a little something, something to talk about. But first, tell me and the wonderful ladies and gentleman at home a little about yourself." She then took a small sip.
Dawn felt her cheeks flush with color. Slowly, she took another sip of tea before easing the cup down upon the saucer. Once the cup was done, she leaned back in the chair and sighed a little.
"We'll, really I'm nothing special. I'm a sophomore, and I tend to be something of a geekette. Being into anime, gaming and a die hard Japanophile." She said blushing. "Anyway, I guess it paid off. Because I'm now Yoake-Hime of Nippon Desu!" She chirped, Dawn was now in her element
Heather blinked several times in quick succession. Her eyes had grown big in the exchange and she was now looking at Dawn as if she had spouted another head and that other head had started speaking Latin and Classical Greek. She did not whether to laugh, sneaker or scream out in confusion.
"Could you please unpack that for me. I understand the first part, the part about you being a sophomore, but and I don't mean any offense when I say this. But the rest of it means nothing to me. Is 'Yoake-Hime' urban slang for something? Or is it your handle? Please do explain for me and the viewer at home. We don't really speak.. Japanese that well dear."
Dawn blushed a little as she slowly reached up and picked up a lose strain of her hair, gently she pushed it back behind her ear. Once the hair was in place, she cleared her throat and took another sip of tea. The rising laughter from the crowd made her cheeks burn a darker shade of red.
"Yes," She started. "I'll explain the best I can.. Its kind of hard to explain these things to somebody not within are circle if you will. I'll start with the 'Yoake-Hime' a lose translation would be Princess Dawn, that my handle if you will. Because I'm the stations late night princess. Bringing you all the latest hits from all of Japan's boy bands, I bring you to tears with the latest radio dramas. I make you laugh at my jokes-"
"You throw mud like its nothing and bash shows?" Heather cut in. "You called my show and I quote." She reached over and picked up a piece of paper on her desk, 'A waste of the tax payers money.' and 'I can't believe even a tenth of the pence of the sixteen quid. The Federal government takes of my pay.. Its still too much.' Really now, even a tenth of a penny, dear.. We run this show on a shoestring budget." She turned toward the camera and winked, the crowd once more roared with laughter.
Dawn wished the ground would open up and swallow her right now. All she could fell was the heat boiling in her cheeks. She opened her mouth to speak and quickly shut it. She then hung her head in shame. Biting down upon her lip she squeezed the chair and looked down at the ground. Her knuckles turned white from the pressure building in them. There was tension there, white hot tension.
"We'll do you have anything to say for yourself? Anything at all, you can't say I've been rude to you. I have invited you onto my show after all. I have given you tea and even listened to your ranting." Heather stated in a matter of fact tone of voice as she reached down and picked up the bell again. She paused though and looked dead into Dawn's eyes. It would be a total victory or none at all.
"I'm sorry." Dawn spat out finally. And then she gave in. "I'm sorry for talking bad about your show, that was totally uncalled for and totally rude." She felt herself spitting out the words, they felt strange in her mouth and even as heard them spoken, they seemed even stranger to her own ears.
"Good." Heather said as she rung the bell. And the grand fireplace to the side of the stage started to spin, soon a very orate looking booth appeared. "Now." Heather said smirking as she stood up. "You know what this is don't you?"
All the color drained from Dawn's face as she peered toward the tank. She knew what that tank was! It was that bloody gunge something she was always stuffing people into. Quickly she looked to her left and then to her right. Then finally she released a long sigh. 'Maybe she just bringing the tank onto stage. Its not like I've done anything to get put in there. I've taken my scolding.' She reasoned as she tried to calm her beating heart.
"Now," Heather said standing up as she walked over to the door and held it open. Heather took a deep breath and opened the door. Once the door was opened, Heather made a motion for Dawn to step into the confines.
Dawn blinked and blinked again as she stood up and pushed her chair back. Taking a deep breath, she started to walk toward the gunge booth, she felt like she was walking toward the electric chair or worst yet, the dreaded punishment room. Stopping at the edge, she paused, looked up at the chamber that held at least dozens of gallons of ice cold gunge.
"You do know what this is right?" Heather teased as she held the door open and nodded toward a cheap plastic chair sitting in the center of the tank. "Because I do believe you called my wonderful tank 'The EBC's version of the bloody electric chair. Some poor guy or gal is picked at random and marched on stage to get shoved in and then there covered in gallons of this nasty stuff called.. Gunge all for the pleasure of the folks at home. Its bloody madness.' such harsh words." Heather said as she gently placed her hands on the small of Dawns back, she then gave the girl a gently push forward.
Dawn blinked and blinked again as she fell toward the booth. Soon she found herself standing in the booth. Giving Heather a pout she eased down upon the chair and watched the door close. Sighing a little she folded her hands in her lap and resigned herself to her fate.
Heather smirked a little and closed the door behind Dawn. Smirking a little she turned toward Dawn and wrapped her slender fingers around the cord. Quickly she leaned in and smiled as she peered toward the girl sitting in the tank. "Any last words?" She teased.
"Please don't do it?" Dawn said looking like a deer caught in the oncoming headlamps of a ATV.
"Sorry, you have this coming dear." And with that she pulled upon the cord, releasing a sudden downpour of thick, colorful slop. The mixture that rained down on her was cold and colorful, a mixture of yellow that was swirled with green and black. As it landed, it did not splatter, instead it clung to her hair, to the back of her dress, to her shoulders and rolled down in thick globs down the front. A girlish screamed came rushing from Dawn's lips as she felt the coldness coming over her. Then at the bottom of the tank she felt something cold swishing around her ankles. Soon pillowing cloud of yellow and black foam started to rise around her ankles, then passed her knees, till at last it reached her breast. Then it started to spill over the tank.
"And there we have it. The perfect punishment for a loud mouth brat. Till next time folks!" Hooted Heather as the ending credits rolled.