The Uncle Harry Show, from Memorium (c.1995)

Okay, Painted. I'm putting this one up just for you, on request.



(Switch on ...)

"Go-o-od morning children, pups and joglets! It's time for ... "

(Thunderous drumroll, designed to remind parents to purchase the latest snazzo brand of vid-lock system, so that dear junior and/or juniorette can't turn on the frigging vid-screen in the screaming early hours of the am.)

"... the-e-e-e Uncle Harry Show!"

(Wild applause.

Rumour had it that, in any given ratings season, the applause-o-matic 'bots in the sound shell behind the Uncle Harry Show studio went into the self-destruct, rebuild, burnout, replacement cycle at least twenty times.


A week.)

A man bounded athletically, despite his age, plastic surgery and surgical girdle, onto a set that looked just like the average kid's playroom (if the kid belonged to Mr and Mrs Average Megacred). The playdroids therein, all wearing bright green and pink gear with Uncle Harry's smiling face front and back were slumped artistically atop letters of the alphabet and around each other. They obligingly blinked on tronic cue and chorussed:

"Hey, hey... it's Uncle Harry! Hi ya, Uncle Harry!"

And waved hands furiously..

A couple of droids weren't chorussing or hand-waving, however. Shall we say, with our tongue firmly rammed into our cheek, that they were, er, enacting another verb entirely. And somewhat boisterously, for playdroids. Having been programmed that way by an enraged droid wrangler who had apparently made the major industry no-no of a faux pas by calling Uncle Harry, quote, "a demented old twit, who couldn't even hope to find his carxa in a pleasure house given personal instruction and an anatomical map." Unquote.

And so was duly fired. Right now, his departure mementos were moving with a lot of tronic squeaks, groans, sighs, and "Oh., you sexy devil, you!" thrown in to the soundtrack.

Uncle Harry wore a mop of hair in all imaginable colours of the rainbow on this, and any other world you'd care to know. Straightened and stuck out in a radiating blur of hues around his head and extending right down to his similarly-treated beard. Any passing resemblance to the full courtship display of those deep-jungle apes they keep showing in the family hour educational channels was not spoiled one whit by his piece de resistance: a bright red clowns' nose, which flashed slogans like "Good Morning!",  "I'm Uncle Harry", or the sponsor's favourite, "Buy Kosmic Kandies."

Used whenever there was a dull moment, or when Harry just forgot his lines.

"Ten to one, he'll go totally ga-ga today, Kef," muttered one of the vid-oppers.

"Nah. Five to one. He's about to ask where all that squeaking's coming from. Deaf ol' twat can't hear what they''re sayin'. Uh-huh, get ready to point, Tag."

"Hello, hello, children! It's Uncle Harry time again! And what do you think we have planned for ?"

Uncle Harry frowned, then. Mid-spiel. The balloon-style costume he wore, which he'd worn for the last fifty years (except during that little business with the Serangians) rustled noisily, crackling the sound-receivers as he cocked his head from side to side, trying to work out what was going on behind him. This couldn't have been in the script ...

"Where's that squeaking coming from children?" he asked with a forced smile. "Has the mouse left his house again?"

The vid-oppers shook their heads.

"Does Uncle Harry's favourite tilting seat need more oil?"

The vid-oppers shook the cams this time. Stifling guffaws.

"Then show Uncle Harry where the squeaking's coming from, children. Maybe it's a new friend, maybe a distinguished visitor from afar, maybe it's "

Fingers dutifully rose and indicated the direction in which good ol' Uncle Harry should 1ook at.

And he did look. Mouth agape.

Followed by Uncle Harry turning beet red, hyperventilating, flinging himself across the heaving droids and creating a much more non G-rated, yet highly educational display than there had been before. Bits of droid and Uncle Harry formed an obscene spaghetti, with Uncle Harry hopelessly entangled and screaming.

Fade-out came mercifully as Uncle Harry bellowed:

"Get these (bleep)ing (bleep!)s off me, you (bleep)ing (bleep!)ers., or I'll (bleep!) you into next (bleep!)day!" 

"And this is why I say we should fire Uncle Harry," yawned a director, from where he sat before the mirror-surface of the boardroom table. In the boardroom of Galactic News Services, or GNS, just as the super-close-up freeze-image of a ranting Uncle Harry faded from the wall-screen on the specially-prepared play back.

J.P. Candannel looked down the length of the table at the speaker. "Uncle Harry's been with us a long time," he remarked.

"As long as you, J.P." came the ominous retort, and J.P.'s mouth thinned.

"Really, J.P.,  I have to agree." said another member of the board. "Uncle Harry's a senile old looney. Has been for ages. We need something in that time slot with more vim, more vigour. Loads more oomph."

"I hear Clyde the Talking Muskrat's up for re-options this coming season, " supplied another, helpfully.

"Uncle Harry's been here a long time," J.P. muttered, fighting back a premonitionary shudder. "He's got friends."

"All those in favour of Uncle Harry going off to Happy Acres, raise your right hand," prompted one, and J.P. sat staring at a sea of lifted hands and pointed looks.

"Oh, hell, I knew I should have taken that vacation now," he moaned, as he voted with the team.