Tuesday, April 27

Adventures in SPACE!

Me and Mr. Happy Puppet Head are suspended by wires in front of a blue screen wall. Our tech crew has chromakeyed it so it looks like we're in space. In space... having adventures.

Hey Mr. Happy Puppet Head, I think I see an alien over there. Let's float over and talk to it.

My cape is also on a wire, and one of our interns in the rafters pulls it to simulate billowing.

The alien is a stuffed racoon wearing a red and tan plaid suit. Someone off camera shakes it to make it look like it's talking. It says how glad it is to meet us and asks if we'd like to drive around really fast in its space pod. He knows of a really great asteroid field where we can zoom around.

We both decline. You shouldn't be driving around really fast anywhere, especially not in an asteroid field. That's just asking for trouble.

The racoon shakes as it laughs, its arms posed to look like they're waving around in the air. He is pulled off stage.

A space pod replica zooms past on a wire above our heads and bumps into an asteroid. There is an explosion sound effect and the pod is dropped to the stage floor. A disembodied racoon head is thrown into frame and sits underneath us, staring blankly at the audience.

I'd like to say something important about not driving fast, but Mr. Happy Puppet Head explodes in tears, and struggles against the wiress to go to the racoon head, but he can't. He yells for the tech guy to drop him, and after a moment he does.

Mr. Happy Puppet Head picks the racoon head up the only way he can, with his big puppet mouth, and runs off stage sobbing loudly.

The tech drops me to the floor as well. I motion for the intern to continue billowing my cape. I forgot what I was going to say. I hear the door to Mr. Happy Puppet Head's dressing room slam shut. There is about ten seconds where I just stand there, staring at the cameras and the stunned children. Ten seconds is a very long time to not be doing anything on tv. Especially in front of a live audience full of kids. They begin to get antsy.

I've been doing this show for a while now, and usually know how to handle stuff like this. But this time I run away. Only I'm still attatched to the wires and I fall, except I don't hit the ground. I just swing around in circles a few inches above the floor. The kids laugh. A stage hand asks if he should come help, but I wave him away. The kids continue laughing.

And that's good public access television.

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