The sudden cull of celebrities from my childhood - from Romanadrovratrelunder to Onslow Bucket - have put me into a bleak mood. Who will be the next to perish?
[Caption: Australia Zone 2084.]
[A domed city complex bakes under a large red sun. Smoke pours from factory vents.]
[Chez Verkoff. A neo-futuristic hacienda with holographic gum trees. A hover car lands and a good-looking Aboriginal youth wearing too much eyeliner and drab overalls emerges. Note: Warriors of the Deep was an absolutely accurate depiction of the 2080s, especially the fashion.]
[Foyer. The young man, Theodore J Verkoff, hurries up to a stern-looking woman in grey overalls.]
Theodore: [upset] Dr Restal! I came as soon as I saw the twitter feed...
Restal: Yes, of course. I'm afraid... he won't last the night. There's nothing more we can do.
[Theodore nods, steeling himself, and he and the woman move deeper into the house.]
[Master bedroom. Nigel Verkoff lies on the bed, looking pale, old and ill. He's mostly bald and very thin, wearing a kimono with UNSTOPPABLE SEX MACHINE across the front. Standing around him are his adult children - his daughters Wynona, Tamby and Charley-Pollard and his other son, Malachai. Their spouses and children are gathered in the corner.]
Nigel: [feeble] Is that Theo?
Theo: Yes, father. It's me. I'm here.
Nigel: [chuckles] Thought so. I'd know that aftershave anywhere. Jeez. You trying to asphyxiate us, boy? [sobers] Look. Just... come here... I need... to get something off my chest...
[They gather closer around him.]
Tamby: Please. Try to relax.
Nigel: Tamby. This is some serious shit. I've got to tell someone. I just hope you can forgive me.
Malachai: Of course we will. How bad can it be?
Nigel: [solemnly] I, Nigella Jay Verkoff... can't stand... Wil Anderson.
[A horrified pause.]
Theo: He's delirious.
Wynona: I'll get Dr. Restal.
Nigel: [to himself] The smug, unfunny twerp with his oh-so-edgy hairstyle, prancing around with the same crappy punchlines that weren't amusing the first time...
Charley-Pollard: But what about The Gruen Transfer? That was amazing.
Nigel: [feverish] A man gets paid to sit on his arse watching adverts? At the tax-payer's expense?! On the ABC? The man has less shame than he has talent, the gormless, nasal whinging freak!
Malachai: I don't believe this.
Theo: [worried] We can't risk this getting out...
[The family start exchanging horrified expressions.]
Nigel: [coughs] Kyle Sandilands? Kyle Sandilands? That hate-worshiping, bottom-feeding sadistic mongrel can get away with murder or worse as long as the ratings are high enough! What kind of society can tolerate a piece of cockroach feces like that?!?
Wynona: Well, he has a huge listenership...
Tamby: ...all those people can't be wrong!
[Nigel retches in pain for a moment, then goes limp. Theo fearfully checks him. Nigel cracks open one eye.]
Nigel: [sotto] Ricky Gervais.
Charley-Pollard: We've got to do something!
[Dr. Restal runs in and applies a hypospray injection to Nigel's neck.]
Nigel: That talentless, gutless creep with the eyes of a dead rat and the humor of an SS cardboard cutout. The Invention of Lying? Does that make any sense - why would anyone get upset if they grew up in a world where no one was nice? Just because no one can lie doesn't mean they spontaneously talk about masturbating, do they?
[Theo covers his eyes in horror. Nigel's in a frenzy now.]
Nigel: Kath and Kim? [long raspberry] Barry Humphries? An entire life dressed up as a woman so stupid her glasses have a better comic timing! Jonathon Woss! The world's first surviving brain donor! Rove McManus? That parasite used to make ends meet shoving toothpicks into his cheeks! And Nev Fountain? What a betrayal of five thousand years of civilization! He's as funny as cholera! And then he gets Nicola Bryant as his girlfiend? IS THAT SANE, I ASK YOU? IS IT?!?
[The family stare at him. Nigel shifts, self-consciously.]
Nigel: Sorry. Been bugging me for the last century. Still... I can rest at last...
[He closes his eyes and relaxes.]
Nigel: ...and don't any of you try to eulogize me. None of you have the wit.
[A long pause. Dr. Restal checks his pulse, then shakes her head. Malachai and Charley-Pollard start to cry. Theodore embraces Wynona to comfort her.]
Theo: Christ. What an ordeal.
[Everyone starts to shuffle out, weary and glum.]
Malachai: At least it's over now.
Wynona: Yeah. He's with mum now.
Charley-Pollard: I hope so.
Tamby: It's a mercy when you think about it.
[Theo wearily turns the bedclothes up over Nigel's face and turns to leave.]
Nigel: [muffled] CHRIS - FUCKING - LILLEY!!!!!