Some Laughs And Games About Redwall
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Slagar the Cruel:
Coast to Coast
Episode 9: TV
[The show opens not in the Dark Forest studios, but in a dark, fog-filled room. Several shadowed forms are present, two playing drums, the rest snapping their claws and softly reading lyrics.]
[Finally, the feed switches to the Dark Forest studios, where Slagar is seated. An unusual roar of applause echoes through the set.]
SLAGAR: Greetings, inferior life forms!
[This trite remark is met with a long bout of laughter.]
SLAGAR: I am Slagar the Cruel! This is my show. Joining me tonight is -
HALFTAIL: Wait, what was that?
SLAGAR: A fair question, security guard Halftail who I had been erroneously referring to as Threeclaws in previous installments of this, Slagar the Cruel: Coast to Coast, brought to you by October Ale, the only beverage with 31 days of flavor! [Pauses.] Wait, what did you ask again?
HALFTAIL: I wanted to know what that thing was...
SLAGAR: You mean the applause and laugh tracks that were finally installed, half-brain?
[Stock sounds of creatures reveling in the wit of a finely crafted insult via exclamations such as "oh no he didn't!" are played.]
HALFTAIL: No, I mean... the whole shadow-thing, y'know? With the things. And drums.
HALFTAIL: Yeah, there were also shadows there.
SLAGAR: Oh, that's our new introduction. Built around a bit of harmless product placement, actually, you musty-lidded mustelid!
TREEROSE: Musty-lidded, sir!
SLAGAR: Oh yeah, I used a bit of the new advertising revenue to increase the salary of the band. Basically I've paid Treerose off to be my subservient sidekick, and the rest of the band not to speak at all. Which, believe me, was pretty tough in some cases.
[Camera pans briefly to Gerul, whose beak is bound shut by titanium restraints]
VITCH: B-but I thought that I was your subservient sidekick, chief!
TREEROSE: Kick in the side, yes! HEYOOOOO!
SLAGAR: Don't worry, Vitch! We still have a place for you on this show...
[A trap door opens on the stage floor, revealing a pool of boiling water]
SLAGAR: Welcome to the Slagar the Cruel: Coast to Coast's first installment of "Will it Sink, and If Not Will It Scald"!
TREEROSE: I say it will do all of the above! HEYOOOOO!
SLAGAR: [Kicking Vitch into the water and closing the trap door] We'll check on that later in the hour. But for now, let's get right to investigating the pressing topics that you, our sponsors... uh, I mean, our FANS have demanded that we feature!
HALFTAIL: Yer listenin' to what yer fans want you to put in your shows...? After complainin' about how dumb yer audience is day after day? Chief, tell me it ain't so! Have ya... sold out?
[Sounds of laughter are played over the studio's sound system. Slagar slumps forward in his chair, holding his face in his hands.]
SLAGAR: Wrong button, Gartar.
GARTAR: o rly
[As the laugh track dies down it is replaced by gasps of shock.]
TREEROSE: You, sir, are one silly, sappy, strangeling of a sell-out, HEYOOOOOOO!
SLAGAR: You see, that other Redwall talkshow -
HALFTAIL: Mossflower Talk?
SLAGAR: No, I mean the other -
HALFTAIL: Late Night with Steeve the Nasty?
SLAGAR: No, not that either -
HALFCHOP: Kachunk kachunk?
SLAGAR: I'm talking about the one that has consistently DOMINATED our timeslot's ratings for the past month or so! That wishy-washy "Warriors Weekly" run by that mousey maroon, Matthias! He's cut into our viewership so greviously that I could only stay off the ground by signing a pact with beings far more evil than I... advertisers. I've had to put in more ads, sell the rights to my likeness, and bow to the whims of my supporters. Of course, they demanded I make my show more generic and conformist, and less "edgy", to cater to a larger viewership. Now for the coup de grace they're making me use ideas sent in by my ridiculous fanbase, who can't even -
[An anvil is dropped on Slagar's head. The band plays a rimshot, and the laugh track plays twice.]
SLAGAR: [Crawling out from under the anvil] Buh... I g-guess that was a message from my sponsors to, uh, get on with the show! Right. Good call, guys! So, I'm sure a lot of you in the audience have noticed this, vermin invade Salamandastron a lot, don't they?
[Audience murmurs in assent. Or a "murmured assent" track is played. One of those.]
SLAGAR: And they always fail, right? So it's like, why do they even keep going there? What are they, stupid?
TREEROSE: Stupid, yes! HEYOOOOOOOOOO!!!
SLAGAR: Without any further delay, let's take a look at tonight's "Elevated Eleven" list: 11 Reasons Why Vermin Continue to Invade Salamandastron!
[The band begins playing a drumroll as the camera pans to a long roll of parchment, that unravels to reveal more items as Slagar announces them.]
TREEROSE: Over-lapping, sir!
SLAGAR: ...yeah. [Drumroll resumes.]
HALFTAIL: Er, I'm confused again, chief. Wasn't that last one just another question?
SLAGAR: Yeah, I know. Also, why is it that the presence of a gigantic treasure trove inside Salamandastron is never referenced in the list? [Eyes fall upon the anvil next to his desk] Er, but I digress. Unlike our show, which will be remaining on-target! Right after this very important commercial break!
ANNOUNCER: Hey dibbuns, have we got something for you to bug your parents to buy you! It's the new ACTION SLAGAR action figure!
[A dibbun is shown holding a tiny, plastic effigy of Slagar, whose proportions are severely off. The figure appears to be wearing a space-helmet.]
DIBBUN: Wow! An exact likeness!
ANNOUNCER: You betcha! That's because Slagar sold the rights to his likeness over to us and now we can do whatever we darn well please with it. But that's not all!
[Camera view switches to the Slagar figurine with a plastic bola in his hand, placed in front of several paper cups placed on top of one another.]
ANNOUNCER: Simply push the button on his back in, and...
[A dibbun's hand from off-screen does so. The figure chucks the bola, which travels a few inches short of the paper cups.]
DIBBUN: He, uh... he missed! How exciting!
ANNOUNCER: Yeah, I know! BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! Action Slagar is also a bath toy!
[The dibbun picks the figure up and immerses it in a nearby bucket of water, then lifts it up again.]
ANNOUNCER: Now squeeze his legs together, and...!
[The dibbun does. Water squirts out of the Slagar figurine's eyes.]
ANNOUNCER: It's... actually, I'd rather not talk about that feature. BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! Kids, have you ever felt like tearing a vermin slaver limb from limb?
DIBBUN: Boy, have I ever!
ANNOUNCER: Well I've got good news for you... Action Slagar's limbs are so easy to tear, sometimes they'll fall off as soon as you open the package!
DIBBUN: What a bonus!
ANNOUNCER: BUT THAT'S STILL NOT ALL! Collect forty-eight proofs of purchase from the back of the boxes from the Action Vermin Toyline, and you can get a TOTALLY FREE special edition Action Slagar! Choose from a clear-plastic model and one that is painted completely black! Pretty incredible, right? BUT THAT'S ALL!
TREEROSE: Ladies and gentlebeasts, heeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Slagar!
SLAGAR: You're enjoying this generic sidekick routine a little too much, you know that?
TREEROSE: Oh, I'm just having a ball watching your show go up in flames, is all.
SLAGAR: I'll show you a ball of flames, you... er, just kidding, of course!
TREEROSE: You are one kooky kidder, sir! HEYOOOOOOOOOOO!
SLAGAR: [Clenches fist, then turns away.] Our first guest tonight is a simply wonderful wildcat maid who barely managed to become a footnote of a footnote in the history of Mossflower. Please give a warm welcome to Sandingomm!
[Sandingomm marches onto the stage to glorious canned applause.]
SANDINGOMM: Thank you, thank you! Nice to be here, I think. What's this show about, anyways?
SLAGAR: [Suppressing anger] Hahaha! This is a talk show, Sandingomm!
SANDINGOMM: Oh! Okay, so what am I supposed to talk about?
SLAGAR: [Suppressing even more anger] Hahaha! AHHHH-HAHAHAHA! HAHAHA! I'm not allowed to throttle you or even insult you, but I don't think there's any rules on this newly reformatted show about refusing to dignify your questions with answers. So Sandingomm, you became romantically involved with Squire Gingivere, correct?
SANDINGOMM: Yes, I did. He is a nice fellow, and dashing to boot. Sometimes I call him "Li'l Gingy".
SLAGAR: Li'l Gingy! How about that? Pretty silly, right guys?
TREEROSE: Lih-tuhl, Gin-gee, siiir... HEYOOOOOOOOO!
[Sounds of people weeping are heard.]
SLAGAR: Blue button, Gartar, BLUE button!
GARTAR: ya i know dat, lol
[Sounds of people shouting tribal chants sound throughout the studio.]
SLAGAR: Not green, BLUE! You know, the color of water? The color of your bizarre artificial hair dye?
GARTAR: a loeser is me :(
[Laugh track finally plays.]
SLAGAR: So Sandingomm, I hear you're appearing in a movie soon! Have you brought a clip?
SANDINGOMM: Movie...? What? I don't understand.
SLAGAR: [Pauses.] So Sandingomm, I hear you have a funny name! Sandingomm... does that rhyme with anything?
SANDINGOMM: Hmm... maybe "landing bomb"?
SLAGAR: No? Didn't think so! Well, it's been fun, but never show your face again you miserable... uh, you lucky person!
SANDINGOMM: Thank you, Slagar! It's been a pleasure appearing in this shoe.
[Slagar fingers his bola, but remains still as Sandingomm leaves the set.]
SLAGAR: Wow. What kind of pin-headed vomitous mass would think of requesting her presence on -
[A flaming arrow thuds into Slagar's desk, right next to his paw.]
SLAGAR: Er, joining us next is Ruggan Bor, the golden-furred leader of the Juskabor tribe - Ruggan Bor!
[Ruggan Bor walks out to thunderous applause, both recorded and genuine. He makes a few evil gestures towards the crowd, causing every vixen in the audience to swoon.]
RUGGAN BOR: [To clamoring audience] Greetings. Sorry, no autographs.
SLAGAR: Our audience seems to be familiar with you, Ruggan. Do you mind if I call you Rug?
RUGGAN BOR: Why would you do something like that?
SLAGAR: I was, uh, trying to spark some banter?
RUGGAN BOR: That's a ridiculous approach to dialogue, but I'll play along for now. No, you may not refer to me as anything besides my true, full name.
SLAGAR: Thanks for this. In life, you worked a lot in the management of a Juska vermin clan, right?
RUGGAN BOR: As you mentioned yourself only moments ago.
SLAGAR: How does one become a clan leader, anyways?
RUGGAN BOR: It's mostly predestinate, actually... usually linked to natal deformities. My fur color and a mole on my right footpaw got me my first job in management, and things sort of took off from there. A birthmark, though... that would have been really beneficial. That's how we unearth our elite class of legendary super-warriors, you see.
TREEROSE: Birth-mark! HEYOOOOO!!!
SLAGAR: For fate's sake, Treerose, that wasn't even a joke!
TREEROSE: Not, a, joke, sir! HEYOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
SLAGAR: So, uh... Ruggan! You're a golden fox. How would a fox such as myself make their fur golden?
RUGGAN BOR: If it isn't natural, such as my shining coat? Probably via golden fur dye. Actually, at times certain patches of my fur becomes discolored, and I'll simply bathe in the stuff...
SLAGAR: Ah! You take these golden showers on a regular basis, then?
RUGGAN BOR: Yeah. There isn't a lot more you can say about that.
SLAGAR: Debatable, but I won't press my luck. So Ruggan, why do you think the stupid Redwallers always run around trying to solve stupid riddles that were created because of prophecies long ago?
RUGGAN BOR: How should I know? If I found a prophecy from long ago, or received one in a vision, I would just force someone else to tend to it rather than bothering with futile unreliably-delivered missions. But really, why would you even ask me that question?
SLAGAR: Because I was trying to make conversation. Come on, lighten up! Life's too short to stay angry.
RUGGAN BOR: Can this be true? Slagar the Cruel, the Sly One, the original fox antagonist, is spewing platitudes at me? I have to say, I used to feel sort of unworthy when I'd show you up in every "Greatest Fox" poll conducted, but you and your show have utterly disappointed me.
SLAGAR: [Through clenched teeth] So Ruggan, why don't you tell us what it was like literally crawling on your belly all the way to the South Coasts from Redwall after getting stared down by the least threatening badgerlord ever?
RUGGAN BOR: Hey, at least I managed to live a long, fulfilling life. I became the greatest Juska chieftan ever after that one defeat. Made me a better person, changed my whole perspective and everything. Much better than falling down a well before any catharsis can take hold, if you ask me. But, never mind that, it's time for me to depart. See you around, Slag.
[Ruggan Bor begins to exit the stage, as Slagar shakes with rage.]
SLAGAR: Go soak your head in a vat of - [Another anvil crashes next to Slagar.] Wow, those guys are pretty prompt, aren't they?
TREEROSE: Hey, Slagar.
TREEROSE: As a host, you are only marginally better than Bill O'Reilly.
SLAGAR: Oh. [Pauses] Who is that? Should I be insulted, or what?
TREEROSE: I have no idea. That remark was made to answer another fan request. HEYOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
SLAGAR: Speaking of things that are incredibly stupid don't hurt me, I've invited several of my captives from the good ol' slaving days to the Dark Forest studios! Miraculously, only one agreed to come. Please welcome that champion of whining, Mattimeo!
[Mattimeo strides out from behind the curtain, wearing a smirk on his face. The sounds of a crowd making rooster noises meet him.]
SLAGAR: By the mustache of Vulpuz, Gartar, if you can't do it right don't do it at all!
MATTIMEO: Having some trouble, Slagar?
SLAGAR: Trouble? Clearly those milky orbs you keep stashed next to your tiny brain in your infernal skull are suffering from some malady, friend! Hopefully a terminal one, pal! Because things are running completely smoothly over here! [Notices the anvil and the flaming arrow still on his desk, and quickly sweeps them off.]
MATTIMEO: Is that right? Because from the sound of things, your show is only keeping afloat in your competition with my father's infinitely superior talkshow - which is on at this time every week on DFBC One - by becoming more commercial and less overtly violent.
SLAGAR: Er, indeed, haha! So Mattimeo, why do you think the stupid Redwallers always run around trying to solve stupid riddles that were created because of prophecies long ago?
MATTIMEO: [Raising a staff] Hey Slagar, remember this old thing? Brings back old memories, doesn't it?
SLAGAR: [Nervously] Uh, so Matti, have you, uh, are you getting enough oxygen...?
MATTIMEO: Haven't seen a slave-beating stick in a while, have you? Let's see if this one still works...
[Mattimeo begins beating Slagar senseless with the staff, while Slagar feebly attempts to shield himself with his arms. Halftail and Halfchop dive towards Mattimeo, but he leaps away laughing.]
MATTIMEO: To be truthful, my dear old slavering slaver, I didn't really come here to be a guest on your show so much as to show you up in front of a live deadbeast audience. [Shouting] Down with support for vermin in the Dark Forest television industry! Get evil off the airwaves! Take foxes out of the idiot boxes! [Flees.]
[Slagar, who had toppled off of his chair after the assault inflicted upon him, climbs wearily back to his desk.]
SLAGAR: S-send... send in the next guests. P-please, give a warm Dark F-forest welcome, for... somebody. [Collapses.]
TREEROSE: Er... yeah. Right after this commercial break! HEYOOOO-
MARIEL OF REDWALL: This...
[She holds up a candied chestnut.]
MARIEL OF REDWALL: Is your brain. And this...
[She holds up her gullwhacker.]
MARIEL OF REDWALL: Is a knotted length of rope. This...
[She smashes the chestnut into many pieces with the gullwhacker.]
MARIEL OF REDWALL: Is your brain after getting smashed by a knotted length of rope. [Pauses] Any questions?!
[Someone standing in front of the camera raises their hand, and Mariel charges after them with a fierce roar.]
SLAGAR: We're back! And joining me at this leg of this failed television program is... a beaver. And a horse.
BEAVER: Pleased to meet you.
[The horse neighs. In the background, Halfchop is whispering into a device. He does not appear to be using the word "kachunk".]
SLAGAR: I'm told your races were never seen before the time of my first encounter with Redwall and were never seen again. Is this due to shared shame at the uselessness of your existences? Or was it just mass suicide?
BEAVER: Neither? We just missed our families, is all, and we migrated back to our native lands. Just as the town dog and the greased pigs did before us.
SLAGAR: [Glancing towards Halfchop] Huh? Oh, is that so? Now beaver, how much wood can you chuck?
BEAVER: I don't rightly know, as I am not a woodchucker by trade.
SLAGAR: And horse... why the long face?
[The band plays a rimshot, and Treerose belts out another "heyo".]
HORSE: Not that funny, brah.
[Halfchop closes his device and walks towards Slagar.]
HALFCHOP: Uh, Mr. Slagar? Hi, my name's Halfchop, I'm the security guard you hired a while back. I'm afraid I ain't been entirely honest with ye on me resume. See, I'm actually an undercover agent workin' for the Dark Forest Supervision Force, an' I was hired to keep KACHUNK! - I mean, tabs, sorry - on you an' your operations t' make sure they wasn't a threat to Dark Forest stability, in exchange for bein' able to say stuff besides "Kachunk!" again.
[Slagar stares blankly at the rat.]
HALFCHOP: ...anyhow, I just spoke with my superiors in the DFSF. They agreed that yer show has gone so far downhill and yer evil prestige has been so wasted that you no longer present a threat. Because of this, all the surveillance you an' your show had been under is now being dropped. Well, with one exception. But anyways, me an' my fellow agent Halftail are gettin' out of here. Be seein' ya, sir!
HALFTAIL: Er... yeah, what he said.
SLAGAR: Halftail... my old friend... comrade... mi amigo! You, of all people, stabbed me in the back?!
HALFTAIL: Well, you know how you kinda lied to me in order to guarantee the death o' me an' everyone I knew? I dunno, I felt like a little payback was in order. Sorry 'bout that. But hey, now we can just call ourselves squaresies, right?
SLAGAR: Squaresies? SQUARESIES? Oh, I'll cut you up INTO squaresies!
[Slagar pulls out a contract and tears it into ribbons]
SLAGAR: I'm reneging on my vow to sell out! The MAN (or the ANIMAL, as the case may be) can no longer keep me down! And without further ado, I'm going to dice you up and eat you with chopsticks, you traitorous weasel!
HALFTAIL: Hey, now that's just insultin', chief! You KNOW that I'm a stoat.
[Slagar whips out a bola which is somehow already ablaze with fire and chucks it towards the security guards. The fire frightens the horse, sending him into a rampage over the tiny audience. Complete and utter pandemonium ensues.]
CLECKY: Wait a minute, does this mean I can talk again?
SLAGAR: [Tackling Halftail.] YAAARGH! Yes, unfortunately. DIE, YOU FOOL![Drags the stoat off-camera.]
ROOP: Hurr hurr, 'ay Treerose?
TREEROSE: Yes, Roop?
[Roop hurls one of Gerul's drums towards the squirrel.]
ROOP: That be furr sayin' huyyoo lon' after et be funnee, burr oh aye!
[The band joins the growing melee, and an enormous studio-filling battle ensues. Blows are exchanged, body parts are lost, the works. It is the sort of battle which might be chronicled in epic detail. Twenty minutes later, the dust settles, and everyone sits marred and out of breath.]
CLECKY: That was kinda fun, wot?
HORSE: Maybe for you. My hoofs are killing me after all of that trampling... [Begins drinking heavily out of a flagon]
BEAVER: Uh, horse, are you sure that's a good idea?
HORSE: Hey, I ride better when I've had a few!
BEAVER: Hrmm... I know I'm going to regret this...
[The beaver hops onto the cart trailing behind the horse, and the two ill-used cameo creatures ride shakily out of the studio.]
SLAGAR: I guess this ends the sorry chronicle of... Sell-out: Coast to... Lame Episode, huh?
HALFCHOP: I s'ppose. No hard feelings about desertin' you and conspirin' behind your back?
SLAGAR: Eh, don't worry about it. I'm used to not being able to rely on any of you.
HALFCHOP: So then, me an' my partner will be headin' back to the secret headquarters now. HALFTAIL: Hey, uh, Halfchop?
HALCHOP: Kachunk! I mean, what?
HALFTAIL: I forgot where those secret head-thingies are.
HALFCHOP: Again? [Sighs.] I need to draw you a map or somethin' one o' these days...
SLAGAR: I guess that ties up all of the loose ends, then!
VITCH: [From beneath the floor] I'm still soaking in boiling water!
CLECKY: "Will It Sink and If Not Will It Scald" was a stupid idea for a feature in th' first place, wot?
VITCH: C-could someone please conclude it anyways?
SLAGAR: Eh, it builds character. Let him stew for a bit longer.
Redwall, Slagar, and all related properties (C) Brian Jacques and the Redwall Abbey Company. All rights reserved.