Harley Quinn to be replaced by Catwoman as Host of Game of Mass Destruction the newspapers say. The First Lady of the United States of America tossed a copy of the Daily Mail in the bin. Laughing as she twirled in her chair. “Ha! Nobody can replace me, as the host of Game of Mass Destruction.”
First Lady Harley Quinn was ready to unveil the new plot twist for the seventh season of Game of Mass Destruction. She had left the paparazzi, and bar the senior production team, in the dark about it. More shocks will cause more outrage and reaction, which in turn would create more publicity. More publicity meant more money.
Anyone could become a contestant on the Game of Mass Destruction. There were only three rules: be over the age of eighteen, be able to walk, and not be pregnant. Retired headmistress Agatha Trunchbull wrote to Harley Quinn requesting the age limit to be removed.
Every year the show gathers hype and hate. It seems to get better and worse each year. If President Joker had it this way, the three rules would have been long-abolished by now. Harley Quinn had spent countless hours of negotiations to make both sides happy. The three rules made the show feel justified.
The Robots Have Feelings Corporation was the one agency that Harley Quinn could never please. “She even suggested that next year’s models not attack any of the contestants at all and would just be there for the sci-fi flavour. The suggestion only seemed to offend them further.
Harley Quinn shrugged her shoulders with a tequila in her hand. She flicked open her laptop and started watching clips of some of the chosen contestants in their own home. The fact that the government spy on contestants before the show started is one of the biggest secrets of the show. There were two contestants that had really caught her eye: Luke Wright and Susan Ashworth.
Both contestants were British and had tragic childhoods and fascinating life stories. They were different, but with common themes of death popping up in their profiles, it would be interesting what would happen when the two of them finally meet.
Luke Wright was a bastard child of a sleazy businessman and a drugged-up whore. The current owner of Wright Enterprises, he had access to all the money he could get. His German butler, Johannes had called her last night to say that he was excited.
Despite his devious deeds over the years, Harley Quinn had developed a soft spot for him. Especially when he spoke out his wife, Hannah. Luke’s face always seemed to brighten up when he talked about his Buttercup-Hannah and two beautiful children.
Luke was truly a man who had everything – and he was also willing to risk everything for more excitement and adrenaline.
Susan Ashworth was a former nurse living in an old flat with a friend and several cats. Her husband and infant daughter died a mere few days apart. A failed suicide attempt had given Susan an urge to live after being discovered by her friend-to-be Mitzi.
The crazy cat lady’s life was still shrouded in mystery. Harley Quinn couldn’t wait to see her. Along with many other contestants with an interesting history. She predicted that seventh season will be the season where heroes become villains and that villains will become heroes.
The line between good and evil will fade to obscurity.
“NO!” Rebecca’s voice echoed across the penthouse. “You can’t be serious. You can’t do that!”
“I have no choice!” Luke poured whiskey into his glass till it was almost full. “The last thing I want is for Hannah and our children to pay for my cock-ups.”
“And yet, you’re about to commit the biggest one: signing up to that disgusting show!”
“Milady…” Johannes waltzed in with cups of tea. “I’m afraid there is nothing we can do to change his mind. He’s already handed his application to the White House.”
Luke raised his glass. “Excellent!” He patted his butler’s back with a slick grin. “Are you excited? It’s going to be great. I might be one of the richest men in the country, but I’m not saying no to a free all-inclusive-holiday. Plus, when we win, I’m going say goodbye to debt forever!”
“If that happens, I’ll be taking early retirement.”
“Not so fast!” Luke clobbered him by the collar. “Remember our little deal.”
The sarcasm in his voice was obvious. “How could I forget. I just hope that you know that you’re letting yourself in for.”
“Of course, I know what I’m doing!” Luke clenched his fist again. Johannes snatched the glass from his hand. Of course, he was anything but pleased. “What the bloody hell did you do that for?”
“You were about to break your glass. This glass is...”
“Yes, I know!” Luke grumbled. “It’s a gift from the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. You don’t have to tell me. Gosh, you’re worst than Hannah sometimes.”
Rebecca grabbed the nearest book behind her and tossed it in his face. His attempt to dodge, only made the book fly higher in his face. “WOMAN!” Luke gasped for air, covering his nose. For a few seconds, it felt numb and broken. “You’re bloody lethal with those books.”
“Can you even hear yourself talk? You got robots that want to eat you. People who want to kill you and perverts that hit on anything they see!”
Johannes cleared his throat before Luke called out his name with the snap of his fingers. “Why aren’t you standing up for me?
“Because quite frankly, and I do not wish to be rude, but you did deserve it.”
“Why are you all being mean to Luke? Especially you, Rebecca– you shout at him too much.”
The young girl caught them all by surprise, especially Rebecca. “Oh…Kylie.”
Kylie was Luke’s favourite goddaughter – and his only goddaughter. She ran into the lounge and hugged Luke. Like gum sticking to shoe, Kylie strawed her from his side. “I think Luke will be brilliant on the show.”
“Thank you.” Luke smiled. “At least, someone who sees my point of view.”
Kylie flicked her pigtails back and reached for her pocket. “You know It’s dangerous to go alone.”
“I won’t be alone because Johannes is coming with me.”
“That’s good. But what if Johannes dies or teams up with someone else. You got to look after number one. That’s why I want you to take this!”
She rammed a small trinket on his palm. He raised his eyebrow at it the thing, and hold it above his eyes. The bell at the bottom jingled. “What is it?”
“It’s a Hello Kitty charm.”
He turned it around and noticed the popular mascot figure despite the heavy scratches. “Isn’t this what Hannah got you years ago? Why do want me to have it?”
“It kept me safe all this time, and hopefully this will keep you safe in the Game of Mass Destruction.” She went up and hugged Rebecca. “Don’t worry Miss Pink,” she said winking. “Tio Luke will be fine. As long as he doesn’t lose the charm.”
“Thank you very much. I’ll be sure to give it back when I’m done."
Guess what Susan?”
“What is it, Mitzi?”
“I went to my old orphanage today.” She emptied her rug sack. “I can’t believe this stuff was still there.” Mitzi sprawled the cassette tapes and CDs all around the flowerpot. “I can’t believe I found all these Nittle Graper stuff.”
The neon colour scheme on the cassettes covers reminded Susan of the poster of a Korean pop group she saw in town once. “That’s BTS, isn’t it? Didn’t do that song…Fake Love?”
Mitzi shook her head. “Wrong country and wrong generation. Nittle Grasper is a Japanese band from the 80s and 90s. They’ve reunited a few times, and Jack took me to see them in concert before I died. They were touring with a band called Bad Luck. I don’t like Bad Luck’s singer that much – he’s a copycat.”
“That’s Eiri Yuki’s partner!” Susan remembered. “I’ve not really listened to their music much, but I’ve read some of Eiri Yuki’s novels.”
Mitzi got out an old tape player. “We should play some music!”
“You want me to play the piano?”
“I meant happy music. Like Nittle Grasper. What ones have I got… Shining Collection, Sleepless Beauty, Angel Dust…”
“Let’s try Sleepless Beauty.”
Mitzi popped the tape in her old tape player. “Wow! I can’t believe this thing still works.”
Teacup the cat pounced on Mitzi’s Hello Kitty jumper. He howled, tapping his paws on the daffodils behind her. “Hey!” she called as he rolled about on the table. At the sound of Mitzi’s voice, he saw a fly buzzing around the room and attempted to capture it. She looked up at Susan in her bed lighting a cigarette. “Given him more catnip?”
“I might have done.”
“I think if he has anymore he’ll be flying.”
“For an old cat, he’s got a lot of energy.”
Mitzi yawned. “Couldn’t sleep last night. All the cats wanted to play with me last night.”
“That’s nice. I slept like a log.”
“Can I ask you a question?”
Susan placed her book on the side. “What is it?”
Mitzi ran to the bed and rolled over to her. “Are you happy with me?”
She made no hesitation in her response. “Of course, I am. I feel at peace with myself around you. Nothing will get in the way of that.”
November was once known exclusively as National Novel Writing Month. It is now also known as the Game of Mass Destruction Month. Not every series had taken place in November, but Harley Quinn wanted it to be November, so she didn’t have to immerse herself in Christmas before December.
It worked out well.
The big change would soon be unveiled to the world. She didn’t even know if President Joker was aware, but he will be watching in the White House. Any second now the studio will be getting ready to film live. Harley’s only request was that she could just finish her drinks first.
A ferocious at the door alerted her. “Come in!”
It was the producer. “All the contestants are in the room. We had to get rid of the chairs and seats to make more room.”
Harley Quinn lifted her head and smiled. “That’s fine. I suppose I better finish my drink and get cracking.”
“No need to rush. The directors on his way.”
“I think it will be great if we start the broadcast with you finishing your drink. I think it will it feel more sophisticated.”
She nodded. “I second that.”
“I third it! The director cried as the camera crew came in. Harley Quinn had sensed that the production crew seems to be less organised this year than the previous one. She believed that it was due to the show’s big changes and restructures that has thrown them off. “Is everyone ready? We’re going live in FIVE…FOUR…THREE…TWO…AND ONE!”
Harley Quinn brought the glass of tequila towards her chest as she sipped the last half. Once the glass was finished, she placed it to one side and finished off the lukewarm earl grey tea from teatime. She sighed and twirled in her chair.
“Welcome to the Game of Mass Destruction.” She curtsied before the camera as she revealed her opaque gown to the world with peacock feathers embraided on the skirt. “As this season is going to be big, I’ve decided to make more effort this year. She removed her hairbands and let her hair wave around her. “I decided to make more effort. I hope you like what you see! I’ve got a surprise for you all.”
She leaned over to the camera and whispered, “Do you want to know what it is? Well come on in, let’s go and see our beautiful contestants.” The camera crew followed Harley into a dark corridor until the lights flickered on. She stopped at a rusty door handle.
“Come and have a look through the keyhole.” The camera zoomed in to a crowded room stuffed with people with no space to move. Once the cameras rolled back to Harley, she smiled. “Noticed anything different? I know what you’re thinking. But Harley Quinn, there are more than twenty people in that room. And you would be right. Thanks to you guys at home, we’ve been able to secure extra funding which means we’ve been able to make more robots and allow more contestants in. There are twice as many people, twice as many robots, double the trouble and double the fun. YEEHAH!” She got a key from out of her cleavage. “What are we waiting for, let’s meet the contestants!”
Military officials charged through the door before Harley Quinn came in. The camera crew didn’t need to come in as the room already had hidden cameras! Seeing all the new contestants in the room was like watching a horde of kittens hurdle towards each other.
A man with green hair slammed his head against the wall. “Dammit, we’re here!”
“Yes, little pumpkin. You are indeed. Anyway, I’m sorry for the lack of chairs. We had to get rid of all the furniture to make some room for you guys. But sit down, don’t worry the floor isn’t that dirty. Just a few bones and dried blood here and there, don’t worry I can assure you that it’s safe. Now do sit down, I can assure you that this is going to be amazing.”
The contestants did as they were told. She loved it, Harley Quinn spotted Luke Wright and Susan Ashworth standing on opposite sides of the corner at the back. “I’ll admit the show hasn’t even started, but I’m already impressed with you. We’ve got an impressive range of occupations.” She pointed to Susan Ashworth. “We’ve got a cat lady, school principals, politicians, musicians, celebrities, criminals, poets and general hard-working members of the public. Between all of you in the room today we have five nationalities between us.”
Harley Quinn paused her speech to marched over towards the redhead lady. “Erica, please stand up.”
Erica stood up and Harley Quinn hugged her tight and took her to the centre of the room. “We are honoured to have you in our show, Erica Anderson: OUR FIRST TRANSGENDERED CONTESTANT!” Harley Quinn knew that she was opening a can of worms, but she knew for the Game of Mass Destruction franchise, this was progressive. They had never had a transgendered contestant before, so as far as Harley was concerned, it was something worth celebrating.
“Thank you so much.” Erica blushed, trying to pull down her skirt. “It’s a good thing I didn’t have any plans coming up.”
“You are very lucky to have been nominated,” Harley Quinn announced. “And I would also like to thank business mogul Luke Wright and his friend Johannes for signing up to this year’s Game of Mass Destruction.” Harley raised both her thumbs up. “You’re very awesome. In fact, all of you are awesome.”
She walked up to the board and wrote the show’s title on the board along with the premise and point structure.
THE GAME OF MASS DESTRUCTION
DESTROY A ROBOT – 25 POINTS
ALL SEXUAL ACTS INCLUDING INTERCOURSE – 50 POINTS
KILLING ANOTHER CONTESTANT – 100 POINTS
“So as you can see, the premise of the game is exactly the same. What has changed is the number of contestants. Since there are more contestants, it only makes sense to add more robots right. Another thing that has changed this year is that there will be opportunities for bonus points. So let’s go through some the problems you might find on the island. If your partner dies, you will have 24 hours to pair up with someone else or else you will die. If both people in the team die then your points will be divided equally between the surviving teams. You can swap partners anytime. Has anyone got any questions?”
A girl with pink pigtails bigger than her head stood up. “Harley Quinn!”
“I heard rumours that the robots have changed. Can you either confirm or deny this.”
“The robots are much friendlier this year but don’t take that for granted. They can still be dangerous. You can thank the RHF Corp for that.”
Junko lowered her head. “They’re so lame spoiling the fun for everybody.”
“My thoughts exactly. Has anyone else got any other questions.”
Spoilt heiress, Veruca Salt raised her hand. “Can I do and get whatever I want here?”
“You certainly can!”
The lady next to her, Violet Beauregarde raised her hand chewing her gum. “I’ve got a question as well.
“You said you’ve doubled the contestants and doubled the rota. Does that mean you’ve also doubled the prize money as well?”
Harley Quinn went blank. Shrugging her shoulders, she patted Violet’s back. “Sorry, …it’s still two billion dollars.”
“Can I take a robot home with me?” Veruca asked again.
Violet nudged her shoulder. “Don’t be so rude you nit! She hasn’t finished talking.”
“Of course you can have one…if you survive that is.”
Tobias Nebbins raised his hand, lips shaking and body trembling. “Firstly, what the fuck is this? Second? What’s up with all the bonus points?”
“Slow down Toby!” Harley Quinn pounced on his lap and stroked his hair. “There’s no need to rush. I’ll explain it. All you have to do is get points by destroying robots, try to live and voila! The life of fame and fortune is yours! As for the bonus points. Each day there is a different way to earn bonus points. Sometimes you can earn points by simply doing nothing. For the benefit of those who have not watched our show before, we have a simple motto that we live by living is winning. If you survive and don’t win the first place, all the points that you’ve earned will be converted into US Dollars plus a special prize.”
Harley noticed the sudden silence in the room. “No more questions? No. Well then, I think that you’re all ready to go. Just so you know, that wherever you go on this island, someone is always watching. You will be live 24 hours a day. There’s a wristband on you, this is a tracker it helps your fans monitor you every day. It also helps me ensure that you don’t escape. And there’s no need to. There will be facilities available all over the island: free food, Wi-Fi, alcohol and activities. So please make yourself at home.”
Agatha Trunchbull, the lady who wrote to her was among one of the contestants. She stood up and clenched her fists. Her Olympic strength still as radiant as ever. “I think that’s quite enough chatter young madame. When do we start getting rid of these little cockroaches.”
Harley Quinn giggled. “Eager to start, eh? I like it. I think you’ll be one of the favourites to win. If you waited, just a few more seconds, then we could have already started by now.”
Trunchbull sat down. “Get on with it. And hurry up!”
The military men carried trolleys of bag packs. One of them passed a scroll over to Harley Quinn. She removed the ribbon, picked a knife from her pocket and hung up on her blackboard. “So when I call out your names, I want you to one bag each. Read and sign the contract, and then you can start. ALL OF YOU have to read and sign the contract or die first. We’ve never had anybody who has died before the game has started, I hope it never happens.”
Since Trunchbull was twiddling her fingers and stomping around the room, it was only natural to call her out first.
“Agatha Trunchbull, your partner will be Bogtrotter!”
Trunchbull slapped her hands together, scorning the young guy before her. “Oh great! I remember you. You’re that pig that ate my chocolate cake.”
Bruce shrugged his shoulders. “You made me eat it. Besides I’ve lost weight now.”
“You’ll always be a pig to me,” Trunchbull snarled as she grabbed two bags and threw one into Bruce’s stomach. “Come up, hurry up you coward.”
After Bruce and Trunchbull left. Harley called out the next names. “Ryuichi Sakuma, your partner will be Tohma Seguichi.”
Mitzi leaned over to Susan and whispered. “That’s him! Ryuichi Sakuma. He’s the lead singer of Nittle Grasper. Tohma played the keyboards.”
“What a coincidence.”
Harley was able to hear every little word they were saying. Along with the others as well. “So that means Hiroshi Nakano, your partner will be Suguru Fujisaki.” Hiroshi was a tall man with hair up to his back. Suguru was the opposite. They both grabbed their bags and signed. Hiroshi waved at everybody and wished the other contestants good luck.
The next names Harley Quinn called out were ones that Susan and Mitzi knew very well. “Joe and Ivy Davis, you two will be working together.”
Joe and Ivy didn’t notice Susan and Mitzi as they walked by and signed their lives away. Ivy pulled on her husband’s jacket. “What are we going to do?”
“I don’t care about all this shit. I just want to take you to the beach.”
“They’ll kill us, Joe!” Ivy shrieked.
“Don’t worry, I’ll keep you safe.”
As they left, Harley Quinn carried on calling out more names. Susan and Mitzi didn’t pay much attention until their names were called. As Nagito and Mikan left, the First Lady said to the last four people in the room. “And we’ve saved the best till last. Susan and Mitzi, come and get your stuff.”
“As long as we stick together,” Susan said to Mitzi, “I think we’ll be fine.”
“I just hope it doesn’t get too foggy.”
“And finally, we’ve got Luke Wright & Johannes Schröcken,” Harley Quinn shrieked in sheer delight. “You guys know what to do.”
“Is there a part of you that is regretting this?” Johannes asked Luke, who shook his head.
“Of course not! Colour me excited. Let’s get that 2 billion dollar cheque!”
“That’s the spirit!” Harley Quinn pumped her fists in the air. “The robots aren’t that scary this year. I think the only person that will be a threat to you is Trunchbull.”
Johannes wiped his nose with a handkerchief. “That’s good to know. Thankfully we won’t have our toes eaten up.”
Harley Quinn retrieved her knife and the contract. Leaving the room, she closed it and locked it again. “So that’s all the contestants out there. Good luck to everybody. THE GAME OF MASS DESTRUCTION HAS OFFICIALLY BEGUN!”
GAME OF MASS DESTRUCTION CONTRACT
I understand that I have nominated/applied and chosen to take part in the seventh season of Game of Mass Destruction. Attempting to leave or back out of the game early, will result in my death. I fully understand the risks of being involved in this show and Game of Mass Destruction cannot be held legally responsible for any damage done to my reputation.
I agree to be under twenty-four-hour surveillance until the show is finished. I confirm that suitable arrangements have been made to continue my affairs once my contract with the show is up.
I am free to practise anything I want, but I will not under any circumstances say anything that could offend or insult President Joker in any way. I will say nothing but the utmost praise for him and his genius mind.
I will do my best to destroy as many robots as I possibly can. By going against this contract, I understand I will lose my life.
Agatha Trunchbull & Bruce Bogtrotter
Ryuichi Sakuma & Tohma Seguichi
Hiroshi Nakano & Suguru Fujisaki
Joe Davis & Ivy Davis
Junko Enoshima & Yasuke Matsuda
Dolores Umbridge & Cornelius Fudge
April May & Redd White
Damon Gant & Manfred von Karma
Kristoph Gavin & Daryan Crescend
Violet & Lily Waterflower
Spiker Trotter & Sponge Trotter
Violet Beauregarde & Veruca Salt
Sierra Burgess & Stephen Burgess
Carrie Bradshaw & John James Preston
Akechi Goro & Sae Niijima
Yuuya Kizami & Kai Shimada
Erica Anderson & Tobias Nebbins
Nagito Komaeda & Mikan Tsumiki
Susan Ashworth & Mitzi Hunt
Luke Wright & Johannes Schröcken