VanCougs Creative Corner: The writing of Megan Peaker

“Maidens and Monsters”

The studio audience is rapt with excitement. The taping of the new Maidens and Monsters is about to begin. Everyone wonders who the lucky maiden will be. The host, Jerky Insaltin runs onto the stage, his eyebrows arched in perfect sarcasm. The audience goes crazy as he smooths his shiny black hair back and flashes a cocky half-smile that lights up his mannequin-esque face. He waves the audience into silence.

Jerky: Welcome back ladies and gents! Let’s get this party started. Audience cheers. You already know the rules but just in case someone here hasn’t seen our award winning show, let me break it down for you! One lucky maiden will be chosen at random from our studio audience. That young lady will then get to question and choose one of three hideous monsters. Remember, audience, etiquette! We cheer for the maiden and boo her monsters. Makes ‘em feel at home.  The audience laughs. Is everyone ready? Everyone cheers. I can’t hear you! The audience cheers louder. Much better! Spotlight please! Spotlights light up, circling the audience. An eerie glow makes their faces look alien. Our maiden is in row G. Spotlights hone in on row G. There are only two girls in this row. One is a chubby brunette wearing jeans and a t-shirt. The other is a perky blonde wearing a cheerleading uniform. They are both staring at Jerky, waiting anxiously for the seat number. The audience inhales slowly. Seat 6! The blonde girl bounds out of her chair and down the stairs towards the stage. The stage is set up for the game. There are four stools, one of which is separated from the others by a partition. The girl is jumping up and down next to Jerky, who puts his arm around her and pulls her uncomfortably close. Tell old Jerky your name!

Girl: My name is Candy Apple!

Jerky: Sounds delicious. The audience laughs. Candy, have you ever seen this show?

Candy: Omigosh, like totes watch it all the time. It’s like my favoritest show!

Jerky: Well Candy, are you ready to meet your monsters?

Candy: YAY!

Candy is escorted to her seat behind the partition.

Jerky: Audience? Are you ready? The audience cheers. Candy? Are you ready? Candy cheers. Let’s get it on. Our first monster hails from Transylvania. He is known throughout the land as a force to be reckoned with and can even drain you of your will to live. Get ready to boo as we meet Count Dracula!

An older gentlemen dressed all in black steps into the harsh studio lights. He visibly recoils as the light touches his skin. His pure white hair glistens in the fluorescents, giving him an otherworldly vibe. Sharp, pointy teeth peek over the edge of thin, colorless lips, grazing against a long, white mustache. The audience boos like mad.

Jerky: Thank you for being here! But aren’t you a little old for this?

Dracula: Zank you for having me. I am excited to meet my next victi-err-lover. And sir, I am timeless.

Jerky: Well gramps, Candy isn’t yours until you woo her to your side. And you have some dreadful competition. Our next monster comes to us straight from the party capital of the world, London, England. Known as a reclusive and secretive man, he is mad scientist meets high school jock, put your boos together for Dr. Jekyll.

The audience boos as a nervous looking, yet handsome gentleman walks out onto the stage. He is dressed in a neat suit and looks clean. His eyes dart shiftily about and he occasionally glances behind him as though he is being watched. He wrings his hands while taking his seat. He greets the host with a shy smile. The audience boos softly, not sure of what to make of this monster.

Jerky:  What’s up, Doc? Ya hiding something?

Jekyll: No, no. He twitches. I’m, I’m good.

Jerky: Well pull yourself together. You’ve gotta win the heart of Candy!

Jekyll: Yes, yes. I’ll be sure to win her heart.

Jerky: Not much of a talker, eh? Well, audience, what do you have to say about that?

The audience boos louder than before. They glare at Jekyll as he shrinks into himself. He is clearly scared. He starts shaking and suddenly the muscles beneath his suit start contorting. He screams as the sleeves of his suit and the legs of his pants begin to tear apart. The sleeves and legs lay against him, tattered beyond repair. The audience gasps in horror as they view the man, who now has an angry scowl on his face.

Jerky: Doin’ alright there, Doctor?

Jekyll: Mwahaha, I am finally free! No more hiding from the truth. I am no doctor. I am Mr. Hyde.

Jerky: What a twist! Two monsters for the price of one. This has never happened before. The audience boos in excitement. Audience, our last monster is a mystery. Not much is known about him other than the fact that he comes from Verona and that he is known by most as Viktor Frankenstein’s worst nightmare. Get ready to boo! He is simply known as The Creature.

An 8-foot-tall man walks into the studio, his flesh a rotting, yellowish tone. His eyes sit quite low in the socket and look slightly to the left. He wears khakis with a tweed jacket and has on a pair of thick, black-rimmed glasses. The audience sits in stunned silence, forgetting to boo as this monstrosity of a man takes his seat.

Jerky: You are positively festering!

In a voice as smooth and creamy as butter, The Creature speaks.

Creature: Why thank you.

Jerky: Candy!

She sits upright, her wandering mind startled back to reality.

Candy: Yeah!

Jerky: Since you’ve seen the show, you know the drill. You will ask your monsters here three questions. The monsters will respond and then you will get to use that information to decide your one true horror!

Candy: Omigosh!

Jerky: Maiden! Ask your first question.

Candy: Like, this one is super easy! Where would you take me on our first date?

Jerky: Great question. He winks obviously at Candy, trying to flirt with her as she vacantly stares back at him, oblivious to his come on. He rolls his eyes and turns to Dracula. So, Count, where would you take this lovely girl out?

Dracula: I vill vhisk you avay to my castle, captivating you with its old fashioned-charm. Once there, you’ll feel right at home, not like a prisoner at all. Vith my own two hands, I vill craft you the most exquisite five course meal. I make sure zat it is vegan, I can tell you are friend to animals, yes? And all the vhile, Dance Jams of the Century vill be playing in the background. Ve vill dance all night to Gven Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” and Eminem’s “Shake Zat Ass.”

Candy: Oh em gee! How’d you know those are, like, my fave songs? And you’re vegan?

Dracula: My dear, I am a bit of a mind reader. I don’t eat animals, if zat is vhat you mean.

The audience boos.

Jerky: Next monster please! Where would you take Miss Candy on your first date?

Hyde: My name is Mr. Hyde. And I would take Candy out on the town. We’ll tear it up, wild

style. We won’t be famous, we’ll be infamous! I’ll show her the good life—Mr. Hyde fights against himself, the scowl leaving his face.

Jekyll: HA! I have regained control, foul one. We will not be going out on the town. A quiet evening with close friends is in order. I will show her off as the classy woman she is.

Candy: Um, can like, Mr. Hyde come back? No offense but you are super boring. Like, a night on the town is totes more interesting than a boring house party.

The audience shuffles uncomfortably. This second monster was boring.

Jerky: Candy. Has. Spoken! Bring back the monster! Bring back the monster!

The audience quickly catches on and chants “Bring back the monster” until Jekyll retreats and Hyde’s scowl returns.

Hyde: As I was saying, I’ll show her the darkest side of the night life.

The audience boos, excited.

Jerky: Last guy, err corpse? What even are you? Okay, Smelly Giant, where would you take Candy on your first date?

Clearly annoyed, the creature responds.

Creature: Well, I like intimacy. Getting to know one another over a cozy fire as I read aloud from the classics. We’ll sip cocoa and just enjoy one another’s company.

Candy: Awe, you’re so sweet!

Jerky: Rotten! Moving on. Candy, what is your next question?

Candy: Hmm. What should I ask? Her bounciness affects the audience and they start bouncing with her as she thinks. Like, I love animals. So if you could be, like, any animal, which one would you be and why?

Jerky winks.

Jerky: Naughty little mink.

Candy: Naughty?

Jerky: Never mind. Old man, answer the lady.

Dracula: Vhait, I have to pick just vun? Let me reflect for a moment. Zhere are times vhen I feel batty, other times I vant to just scale a building. I have a volfish hunger, so much hunger. Hmm. Are imaginary animals acceptable?

Jerky: Candy? It’s your question, you call the shots.

Candy: Of course! Like, your wildest fantasies are totes okay with me.

Jerky wiggles his eyebrows suggestively. The audience snickers.

Dracula: Then I vould like a chance to be a unicorn. I vant to feel pure and beautiful.

Candy: Omigosh that’s, like, totally cute! I think I like you.

Jerky: Points to the elder dragon! Mr. Hyde, your animal?

Jekyll: Excuse me? I am Doctor Jekyll. And I would be a cat.

Hyde: No! A dog is so much better.

Jekyll: Cats are independent.

Hyde: Dogs are loyal.

Jekyll: Cats are cuddly!

Hyde: So are dogs! And dogs are smart.

Jekyll: Dogs are not smart, they are just obedient!

Hyde: Then do as I say and go away.

Jekyll: It’s you who’s the dog, now lay down!

Candy: Hyde is right, dogs are, like, so much better.

Jekyll: Why don’t you like me?

Candy: ‘Cuz I’m here for a monster, not like a normal human. And you are totes boring.

Jerky: Doctor Borin’ ain’t doin’ it for you? Let ol’ Jerky have his way with ya!

Candy: You’re so silly.

Jerky: And you’re so oblivious!

Candy: Thank you!

The audience groans.

Jerky: Let’s just keep it going. Uncle Fester?

Creature: Animals are the purest form of life, innocent and beautiful. I do believe that I would take a chance at being a serpent. Serpents are wise and observant, quiet and deadly.

Candy: You, like, are so thoughtful!

Jerky: For a terrifying abomination, you do have good insight. The Creature’s putrid flesh flushes a deeper, smokier yellow. Ew! Well, Candy, we are like so totally almost done!

Candy: Omigosh I’m super excited!

The audience stares in awe at the vacant stare of Candy as she smiles sweetly at Jerky’s insult.

Jerky: One more question and then you get to pick your monster!

Candy: Okay! I am so totally thinking. The audience is brought to tears in laughter as Jerky mimics Candy’s placid thinking face and the way she bounces up and down in excitement. So I totally have lots of awards from being a cheerleader at my school. Go Delta Squad! Candy squeals in excitement and flails out a mediocre arm dance. I like winners, so if you were to win an award for anything, what would it be?

Jerky: What a stup-err-unique question. Transylvanian Tyrant, your response?

Dracula: I vould vin an avard for persuaviness. I am quite adept at convincing others to do my bidding. Er, um, well I mean getting them to see things my way comes naturally. You could say I have a biting charm.

Jerky: Heh, heh kinky. The audience chuckles. Splitty-Mcpersonality?

Hyde: I would win an award for most awesome night life. I know how to party and to leave a room in awe. My killer personality allows me to trample over all who cannot keep up.

Jekyll: No! I’d win an award for advancement in medical sci—

Candy: Next monster please!

Jerky: Hey, leave the insults to the host! But good on you. Jerky winks at her. You know what you want!

Candy: ‘Kay.

Jerky: Sir Smelly?

The Creature glares slightly to the left at Jerky, his eyes not connecting well enough for a proper stare down.

Creature: My award would be for my ability to love others. I know how to take care of others because I learned to read on my own, cook for myself, and do what it takes to survive. I just want someone I can take of and make them happy.

Candy: Omigosh, you are so sweet! Candy makes a heart shape with her hands. The audience boos, not sure of how to react when the maiden does something monstrous.

Jerky: Now now, save your booing for the monsters! The audience sits, bewildered at the weirdness of this episode. Candy, you are so close to picking your monster!

Candy: Yay!

Jerky: Jerky wiggles his eyebrows and the crowd cheers wildly. He quiets them with a wave of his hand. Candy! Let’s review the candidates and then you’ll choose your monster! What do you think of Count Dracula?

Candy: Well, like, he seems like a real romantic. We could totally stay up all night talking while we eat yummy food. I totes like dancing and he likes my favorite music. He’s kinda hot!

Jerky: Kinda hot for an undead creature of the night. How about the man within a man, Dr. Jekyll?

Candy: Dr. Jekyll, well, what can I say? He’s, like, a boring human. Gross. I want a monster. But Mr. Hyde, oh he is so dreamy. I super like to party and go out, and I kinda, like, want to tear up the town with him!

Jerky: But can you handle the boring side?

Candy: I, like, don’t know.

Jerky: Onto our vision of life after death, how about The Creature?

Candy: He seems so sweet. And not gonna lie, I kinda like to be spoiled. He sounds cute and nerdy and that’s like so totally in right now!

Jerky: Guess that leaves me out. Jerky pouts, his perfect face drawn in sarcastic sadness. But Candy, what about your host with the most, Mr. Jerky Insaltin himself?

Candy: You’re not a monster! But I love you anyway. You, like, host my fave show of all time.

Jerky: Ah, stop, I love you too. Jerky blows a kiss at Candy. Audience? Are you ready? Do you want to know who Candy will choose? The audience cheers wildly. It takes Jerky an abnormally long time to quiet them down. Candy, who do you choose?

The lights dim and the spotlights return. They circle the studio again, lighting the stage. The lights focus in on Candy until they unify on her bubbly, bouncing body. She smiles brightly and gives her answer.

Candy: I totes pick The Creature!

Jerky: Well he certainly is a hunky piece of rotting flesh. Are you ready to meet your monster?

Candy: I totes am!

Dracula and Jekyll are escorted off the stage as the partitions drop and Candy meets the eyes of her monster for the first time. She tries to meet the gaze of The Creature, and she tilts her head to the left. They share a smile as she walks towards him. She gives him a big hug and smiles up at him, his giant size casting her in shadows.

Candy: You are so tall!

The Creature giggles nervously as Candy slips her hand into his.

Creature: You’re cute.

Candy and The Creature exit the stage amidst a raucous round of cheers and boos. Jerky is alone in the center of the stage. The camera pans to him and he gains the crowd’s attention.

Jerky: You saw it here folks! Another maiden-monster connection made on this very stage. Join us next week as we connect more maidens with more monsters. Only this time, we have a twist. Next week, a monster will get his choice of three lovely maidens. Who will he choose? Stay tuned after this broadcast for a sneak peek at our newest show, Knights and Nightmares. Our valiant knights will fight to win the hearts of the most vicious harpies and succubi we can get our hands on. Thank you for watching and see you next time!

The camera pans around the audience one last time and lingers on Jerky’s perfect face as he smiles unblinkingly as the lights finally fade out.

Submissions to the Salmon Creek Journal have closed for this year, stay tuned for instructions next year.

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