|Friends in High Places
Author: kookybloo PM
syrup70 the Wocky auditions to be on a TV show and discovers his hero has a secret.Rated: Fiction K - English - Humor - Words: 3,899 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 11-12-03 - Status: Complete - id: 1597515
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Friends in High Places
As told to kookybloo
Hi everyone, it's everybody's favorite Wocky, syrup70! Oh, who am I kidding? Most of you have never heard of me. OK, then I suppose I owe you something in the way of introduction. (Did that make any sense? No, I thought not.)
I am a blue male Wocky, I love to play foosball with my brother noah_spectrum, I want to be painted electric and I am a struggling actor. I have yet to star in any movies, but I have been in a few stage productions and commercials. There was one for the Grooming Parlour (you know, the one that stressed it was okay for guys to go?), one for the Chocolate Factory (I was in the background eating a Dark Chocolate Pteri), and one for Usukiland (I was cut from the finished product, but I still got paid). I've been in more than that, but those are the ones that stick out most in my mind (which isn't saying much about the others). I started out when I was just a kitten, doing commercials for GaGa Grub. Now before you start picturing kookybloo as some freaky stage owner with a closet full of coat hangers (and no coats hanging on them, if you get my drift), let me tell you it was my idea. There were other baby Wockies there, but I guess I out-cuted them all and got the part. At least, that's what kookybloo tells me. I don't remember it too well.
So, now that you know something about me, I can tell you about what happened. I heard that in the Deep Catacombs, they were holding a casting call for a new TV version of MAGAX: Destroyer, who, as you know, stars in the best Haunted Woods game ever and is my all-time favorite hero! No sissy pink ruff on that guy! Of course, I simply HAD to audition. I told kookybloo all about the casting call.
"Most likely, Magax is going to play himself, syrup. I doubt they need any other Wockies."
"Well, it wouldn't hurt to check it out, would it?"
"A TV show isn't like a commercial, you know. They require commitment day in, day out, for possibly years, if the show is popular enough."
I gazed up at kookybloo and gave her The Sad Wocky Look ™. Being a mere human, she was no match for those folded ears and the lone tear, so she agreed.
The Deep Catacombs was PACKED! There were plenty of Aishas, Chias, and Jubjubs there, many of them painted Ghost. There were quite a few Wockies there too, and as kookybloo had predicted, Magax himself was there, sitting in a folding chair, sizing up all the would-be stars. A striped Aisha holding a clipboard made an announcement just then. "All right, female Wockies will read for the part of Magax's as-yet unnamed love interest over here," she said, gesturing toward one table, "ghost extras should meet over here," gesturing towards the corner of the room, "and stunt doubles and miscellaneous side roles should meet over here," indicating Magax's table. "Chias will read for the part of Hubrid Nox in an hour or so." I padded over to Magax's table, trying not to throw up from anxiety. I was so caught up in whether or not I would receive a part that I didn't bother to ask myself why Neopia's chief ghostbuster would need a stunt double…
Various other Neopets and I were gathered around Magax's table. He scanned the lot of us, then said, "You. Blue Wocky. C'mere." He thrust a paw in my direction. I glanced around nervously, looking for any other blue Wockies around me. "You deaf, boy? I said c'mere!" Cautiously I walked forward, still not quite sure he meant me. "Yeah, I'm talkin' to you! Come on!" He led me to a room in the back and shut the door behind us. "So first off, let's check out your battledome stats." Magax mulled them over for a minute. "Huh. They's good, but they ain't good enough. But maybe you got some lousy owner who don't train you much. Let's see what kind o' potential you got." He stood me on my hind legs, slapped my back, squeezed my limbs, tested my reflexes, had me run a few laps, do some backflips, and practice pouncing. What was my reward for all that? "Naah. You ain't cut out to be a stunt double, boy. But don't worry, it ain't over yet. Listen, uh – what's your name, anyhow?"
"syrup70," I answered meekly.
"syrup, eh? Sounds like you's a real sweetie!" Magax cackled loudly at his own lame joke. I thought it best to join in.
"Listen, syrup, you got somethin' by way of a résumé?"
"I sure do!" I said, handing it over to him. kookybloo had made sure I took it with me when I left. Magax leafed through my résumé. "Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. How 'bout that. Man, I shoulda thought o' this first. Awright, syrup, have a sit-down an' we'll read some parts." Magax took a couple of scripts and handed one to me as we sat down. "OK, page 13… Now, I'm gonna be me, an' you can be my sidekick. He ain't got a name yet. We'll start at the top of the page, my line. You can look over the page real quick."
I quickly yet carefully read over the sidekick's lines.
"Ready?" Magax asked.
Magax pretended to look around. "Well, it looks like the coast is clear, but I want you to stay back here just in case while I check it out."
I put on my best whiny voice. "Awwww, Magax, can't I come too? Pleeeeeease? Pretty please with sugar?" I read.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Cut!" Magax threw his paws in the air. "Awright, so the kid's a pain, but he ain't THAT big o' one! The way you's doin' it, everybody's gonna HATE 'im!"
"Nobody likes sidekicks anyways," I muttered.
"Yeah, well, somebody's gotta play 'em. OK, syrup, turn to page 18, same parts. Start at the middle of the page, at 'Why don't we go…'. Whenever you's ready."
I scanned the page and began to read. "Why don't we go get some of that vile Ghost Chia barf cleaned off you?"
"Not right now, boy. Duty calls," Magax read, sounding every inch the hero.
The director's notes said I had to sound "awestruck", so I gave it my best shot. "Wow, Magax! So great is your loyalty to your calling that you care nothing for vanity and…oh, Magax, these lines are awful!"
Magax chuckled. "It don't get much better. Read on."
I shuddered and continued to read. "…and I idolize you to such a degree that I would lick your boots and comb your goatee and wipe your...NO! I'm not saying that!"
Magax let loose the laughter he'd been holding in for so long. "I know, ain't these lines the worst? Finish up this line an' you's done with the sidekick."
I grimaced and picked up where I left off. "…wipe your windows."
Magax clapped me on the shoulder. "I have to say, that was mighty impressive, boy. You managed to convince me, even though the material was a load o' dung. Now let's pick up on page 25, at the start of Scene 3. Now this time, you be me, an' I'll be the damsel in distress."
I fought a smirk. "OK…"
The scene started with Magax's line. "Oh! Help! Help!" he said in this ridiculous girly squawk, eyes wide, paws clutched together.
"Don't worry, ma'am. I, MAGAX: Destroyer, will save you from the perilous poltergeists!" I tried to sound brave and heroic, however, I didn't attempt to imitate Magax's voice, because it would have been totally pathetic.
"Whoa, wait!" Magax said in his normal voice. "I don't sound like that! syrup, you's talkin' like you! You gotta talk like me!"
"I don't think I can," I said sheepishly.
"How do you know, boy? You ain't even TRIED yet!" Magax protested. "Listen, syrup, I won't make fun or get mad. Just give it a shot."
I reread the line, this time doing my best Magax impression. I could have sworn Magax was talking and my mouth was moving. It felt really bizarre. Magax himself was impressed too. He literally jumped out of his chair, slack-jawed. "Holy Toledo!" he exclaimed. "You sure we ain't twins or somethin'?"
I grinned and kept reading. "You know where the ghosts went?"
"They haven't gone anywhere! They're haunting my house! They rearrange the furniture during the day and wail constantly during the night! Oh look, here comes one now!"
Now Magax play-acted both the roles of the damsel in distress and the ghost. He ran over, picked up a stray folding chair, unfolded it and ran towards me carrying it.
Suddenly Magax dropped the chair and ran over to me, clutching my shoulder. "Oh no, Magax, look! That meanie ghost has my dear old granny's best chair! You simply can't let him get away with it!" Magax did a mock swoon, then raced back to the chair and resumed his role as ghost.
I pretended to gun the ghost down, but Magax bobbed out of the way just in time. Magax looked straight at me and made a disgusting retching sound. Apparently, this ghost was a Chia. I fired again and this time Magax flopped over. I retrieved the chair and Magax got up and scurried over to me.
"Lookit that! Your dear old granny's chair is still in one piece!" I proclaimed.
"Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!" Magax squawked. (In case you hadn't already guessed, Magax and I had abandoned our scripts long ago.) "Look out! More ghosts!"
"Now stay calm, ma'am. We need to fly you to safety." I actually picked up Magax and started running. He was heavy, so I set him down pretty soon.
"Oooh, you're my hero! I love you soooo much!" Magax threw his arms around my neck and kissed my cheek.
"Oh, gaah!" I said, wiping it off. Magax burst out laughing. It wasn't long before we both were collapsed on the floor, laughing to the point of tears about the ludicrous scene we had just enacted.
"That was the cheesiest thing ever!" I howled.
"All we need now is some o' them Batman-type sound balloons!" Magax gasped.
"WHACK!" We laughed too hard for words.
"If anyone had seen us, they'd have sent us to a special place in the Pound for sure!" I said, finally catching my breath.
Magax staggered to his feet. "Awright, syrup, I'll let you go now," he said. "We got other pets to audition, you know. You just wait for a call from us. I got a good feelin' 'bout you, boy." I walked out the door grinning from ear to ear. I was so happy I turned a perfect backflip in the hallway. Now if only Magax had seen that.
I ran back through the would-be cast members to where kookybloo was sitting. "How'd it go?" she asked. "It went really well," I told her. "Magax said he had a good feeling about me."
"He must have! I could hear you two laughing from out here! I guess Magax is a lot more personable than he seems. Then again, you do have a knack for winning people over." She stroked my ruff. "C'mon, let's go home and tell everybody."
"Guess what, everybody! I have big news!" I said to my siblings EzraJane99 the cloud Grundo, noah_spectrum the rainbow Zafara and lulubelle48 the glowing Aisha. "I'm gonna be on a TV show!"
"As an extra, or, like, do you have a real part?" lulubelle wanted to know.
"A real part! Well, I haven't got it yet, but I will, I know I will! Guess who the show stars!"
"You!" Ezzie ventured.
"Don't I wish! I'll give you all a hint: His name starts with M, ends with X, he has a scar across his eye and a goatee."
They all thought for a minute.
"Master Vex?" lulubelle guessed.
"The similarities between the two border on frightening, but no. It's MAGAX: Destroyer!"
"sywup's gonna be on TV!" Ezzie yelled.
Just then the phone rang. kookybloo answered and then handed it to me. "Hello? Yes, this is syrup70…WHAT?! Really?... Wow! That's fantastic! Thanks so much! … He did? That's great! … Okay, I'll mark my calendar…Thanks again. Bye." I hung up the phone. "That was the striped Aisha from the casting call. It's official, I'll be playing the role of Magax's sidekick!"
"When do you start filming, syrup?" kookybloo asked.
"Next week," I told her. Next week couldn't come soon enough.
Well, it finally did come, and I met up with Magax in the NTV studio lot A-7.
"Don't worry 'bout the sidekick, syrup. Lawrence there" – he indicated a spotted Blumaroo – "he directs and produces, an' he made sure all the old writers got sacked, an' he hired a whole new bunch. Best in the biz, Lawrence is. He'll do anything you ask."
I grinned impishly. "You mean, I can demand chocolates on every shoot and harp on him to do an all-musical episode in order to showcase my previously undiscovered singing skills?"
Magax had a hard time resisting a grin. "Aw, syrup, you's gonna be the death of us all."
I found out the sidekick's name was Joey. Magax was right, he had much better lines now. Then again, he'd almost have to. I studied the script for awhile, then we were ready to film one of the scenes.
According to the plot of this episode, Magax had been summoned by the Space Faerie to a black hole which led to Jelly World in the eighth dimension. Of course, it was infested with the ghosts of jelly pets who had been flattened by the Jelly Chia. (Hey, I trusted Lawrence. He knew his audience for this show.) In this scene, we were already in Jelly World and Magax was preparing to fight the ghosts...except for one thing.
"Lights – camera – action!"
Magax flew around, energy bolt poised, and pretended to mow down some neopets made, by some sophisticated makeup, to look like they were simultaneously painted jelly and ghost. They were suspended in midair by some pfishing line. (The special effects would be added in later.) "Now, Joey – HEY! Stoppit! Quit eatin' the buildings, boy!" I was chewing on a wall made of fake jelly. It tasted horrible. "But Magax, it tastes so good!" "CUT! Cut!" yelled Lawrence. "syrup, how can you say it tastes so good while grimacing garishly?" "In reality, it tastes awful," I choked. "Water!" A stagehand gave me a cup of water, which I gulped down gratefully. "Are we too cheap around here for a real jelly wall?" I demanded. "Umm, they're not cheap, syrup," Lawrence replied. "Now that you've washed it down, let's take it from here. Places! And…action!"
"But Magax, it tastes so good!" I repeated, much more effectively this time. "I don't care! We got some ghosts to bust, and all you can do is stuff your face with the place! Now c'mon!" Magax and I zoomed off to battle more ghosts (me with the aid of pfishing line) and after we finished them off, along came an enormous fleet of gigantic ghost Chias led by a Chia who was very effectively playing Hubrid Nox. "Give it up, Magax," snarled the Chia. "Jelly World will be mine! All mine!" "Oh, you think so?" countered Magax. And with that, he took off and started taking down Hubrid Nox…or he was supposed to, but his eyes widened and he started wheezing. "Cut!" yelled Lawrence. "Stunt double!" Magax descended and the stagehands lowered me down. Magax was sitting on a bench, breathing into a paper bag. I ran over to him, tripping on all the pfishing line. "Magax, are you okay?" I yelled. He held up a paw and barely managed to pant, "I'm good, I'm good," before he collapsed on the bench. I was the only one who even seemed to notice Magax's trouble. Everyone else was focused on this Wocky who was impressively made up to look just like Magax – well, if you kind of squinted and tilted your head, maybe. That didn't matter. You would only be getting a glance of the double anyway. What did matter was I got a whiff of this Wocky and the scent was…not what I expected. I did a double take.
"That – that stunt double is a FEMALE!"
Magax, still conscious, shakily sat up on the bench. "Yeah, ain't show biz weird?" he said, weakly attempting a grin. I began to get mad at everyone on the set. "Don't any of you care about Magax? He could be deathly ill for all we know!" He was lying down again. "syrup…syrup," he said, his voice low and quiet. "They's used to it by now." I couldn't believe what I was hearing. "USED to it?!" "Yeah. This crew, they know all about it. They's done my commercials an' my talk show interviews. This ain't the first time it's happened, an' it won't be the last. I ain't gonna lie to you, boy. I just ain't what I used to be. I'm gettin' old." Another weak grin. I was incredulous. "But – but what about fighting ghosts in real life?" "Well, that's where you come in. I'm gonna need some help with that –"
"All right. syrup and Magax, places!" Lawrence called out. I was in a daze the rest of the shoot.
I was in a daze after I came home, too. I barely touched my dinner (even though we had Sphinx Links, one of my favorites). Everyone noticed something was wrong. " 'Kay, so what's your deal already?" lulubelle asked. "Something is very wrong with Magax. He has to have a stunt double while we're filming. He has trouble battling ghosts in real life too. He wants me to help him."
Everyone began asking questions at once. "What? How? Why? What's wrong?"
"I don't know what exactly. He started wheezing and had to lay down. He says he's getting old. He wants me to help him fight ghosts in real life, I guess." The table exploded. "syrup! That's great! Awesome! Will he train you or what? Will you learn to fly?" I held up my paws for silence. "One at a time, please! I don't know the details yet. I'll find out more tomorrow."
On the set, I asked Magax about what he had started to say before Lawrence interrupted him. "Oh yeah. I'm gonna need your help in ghostbustin'. I'll show you the finer points of marksmanship, an' how to tell real ghosts from pets painted ghost, an' – Oh, wait! First I gotta learn you how to fly! Man, I got my work cut out…"
"Umm, what about my stats, Magax? When I first auditioned, you said I wasn't good enough to be a stunt double, let alone a ghostbuster."
"Huh. That's right. Well, don't worry 'bout that. Ryshu and I, we go way back. I'll make sure you get all the trainin' you need."
"OK, places, everybody!" Lawrence called out.
Magax growled. "I swear I am gonna bounce that Blumaroo into next week. Anyway, you been trainin' since then?"
"No, kookybloo sells all her codestones. She's saving her money to get us all painted."
"Awright, well, she'll appreciate the free trainin' you's gonna get. How 'bout each day after the shoot, we get you trained and then I'll learn you 'bout ghostbustin'?"
I resisted the urge to pinch myself. "Sounds great!"
"Hel-LLLOOOO???" Lawrence said in an obnoxious voice. "Earth to Magax and syrup! Places, people! Work with me here!"
Magax had had it. "SHADDUP, LAWRENCE! We's talkin' 'bout how we's gonna protect Neopia's very future here, an' all you's thinkin' 'bout is some dadgum TV show! Let's see you direct the stupid show when you's DEAD!" Lawrence withered. Who wouldn't, under that gaze? Still scowling, Magax sat on a bench and stared at the ground, his head in his paws. Nervously, Lawrence hopped over to him. "M-Magax, let me know when you want to start filming, okay?" "Awright," Magax mumbled without looking up. Cautiously, I padded over to him.
"Magax, is everything okay?" I asked as politely as possible. I didn't want him to yell at me too. Magax looked over at me. He looked about a million years older. "I dunno, boy. Part o' me wants to pass the torch, but part o' me just don't."
"Is it because you still have some unresolved issues against Hubrid Nox?"
"Think I always will, syrup. No, it's somethin' else too."
"You're worried about Neopia's safety?"
"Oh yeah. But it's somethin' else too."
"You'll miss ghostbusting, won't you?"
"Oh, for sure. But it's somethin' else too."
"I dunno, it's a million things."
"You don't have to give up ghostbusting right away," I told him. "I could get on-the-job training, if you will. You know, be your real life sidekick."
Magax sat up straight and looked me in the eye. "Not a bad idea, boy. Hey, Lawrence, we can start filmin' if you's ready."
We trained that day, and the next day, and the day after, and the day after that. I'm happy to say I've aided Magax on a few of his ghostbusting ventures (including one where we faced down Hubrid Nox himself). My stats are much better now, and Magax says my flying is improving every day.
In case you're wondering, the show never aired. Well, that's just fine by me. Acting will have to go on the back burner for now. Then again, Lawrence just mailed me a movie script titled "Mad Magax Beyond the Battledome." (He wants me to play the lead.) It looks interesting, I haven't read the whole thing yet. But right now, I'll be happy to continue my apprenticeship, looking forward to and at the same time dreading the day I'll take over for the Wocky who's always been my hero, only now he's my hero for the right reasons.