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2. Dr Don’t Know meets Juniper Jarvis
Like almost all of some parts of the rest of the world, Panic Town had the choice of nearly twenty-seven television channels. Yet for most people, 123 Celebrity News was the only channel of choice.
123 Celebrity News was beamed, bounced, screened, recorded, streamed, downloaded, torrented, zipped, compressed, shared, copied, replayed, burnt, backed-up, archived, data-managed and saved for later all day every day so that Panic Town could gorge itself on celebrity news until it falls into an audiovisual stupor.
The breaking news this morning was coming live from the steps of the Town Hall and was a celebrity feast like no other has ever been witnessed. It was guaranteed to revitalise even the most constipated of viewers.
‘Hi everyone, my name is Juniper Jarvis and I’m reporting live for 123 Celebrity News. I’m with that well-known bad guy and all-round celebrity supervillain, the legendary Dr Don’t Know.’
For most people in Panic Town, the concept of twenty-four hour news meant exactly what it said. They imagined that presenters like Juniper had to present the news for twenty-four hours at a time.
As a result, these same people were permanently perplexed when they bumped into Juniper while they were walking down the street. Or shopping at a supermarket she had been invited to open. Entered a talent contest she was judging. Or looking in through the front window of her ground floor apartment as they just happened to be walking past.
‘Why aren’t you reporting the news?’ people asked when they saw her.
‘Shouldn’t you be on the television instead of standing in this queue?’ people would say, as Juniper patiently queued to pay her television license at the Panic Town National Bank.
‘Who’s going to give me the latest celebrity gossip while you’re busy treating yourself to a week’s groceries?’ inquired the cashier in Food and Things, Panic Town’s most successful supermarket superstore.
Some of the same people also thought that whenever they met Juniper out and about, that she was reporting live for some reason or other, and so they were somehow part of the story. Even the obvious absence of cameras and other news-reporting equipment didn’t stop people believing this.
‘They can build a camera so small nowadays that it is only visible to house flies, microscopes and scientists.’
‘Juniper’s left eye is a camera lens and whenever she talks to anyone, she is simultaneously transmitting live footage to the watching world.’
‘Juniper has a microphone embedded in her index finger and this gives her the real edge when it comes to news reporting.’
‘Juniper’s feet are actually the metal feet of a tripod that were grafted onto her body whilst she was on a so-called ‘holiday’.
‘Juniper has gills inserted into her neck so that she can do interviews in monsoons, waterfalls or underwater.’
As you can imagine, it was hard work being Juniper Jarvis but she would never let this get in the way of doing her job.
‘The breaking news this morning is that Dr Don’t Know has kidnapped Falcon Boy and Bewilder Bird, and is holding them both prisoner in an undisclosed location.’
Juniper paused briefly to let the impact of her news sink in.
‘Even despite the cataclysmic severity of the situation, and bearing in mind any possible calamity now facing the entire Solar System, Dr Don’t Know has kindly agreed to take time out of his busy schedule to be interviewed.’
Whether working with international master criminals, small children underachieving in some delightful way, celebrity ponies and other quirky mammals in the public eye, film stars – the obviously famous and their not so obviously-famous counterparts – even the occasional over-achieving citizen, they all got the same balanced approach from Juniper.
‘So, Dr Don’t Know, perhaps you could tell our viewers why you have decided to commit such an act?’
In case you hadn’t heard, are new to this type of thing, or are simply flicking through the channels looking for something to watch while the adverts are on, Dr Don’t Know is an internationally-known career criminal, reportedly responsible for more than three-quarters of all the crimes that have taken in and around Panic Town over the last fifteen years.
Dr Don’t Know is also the world’s leading authority on being nondescript. The trick to being such a successful international criminal mastermind is to be absolutely and completely one hundred and fifty-six percent nondescript.
In fact, Dr Don’t Know is so completely nondescript that my description of him will run out of words right about now.
‘Don’t know,’ says Dr Don’t Know.
These are the only words that anyone has ever heard Dr Don’t Know use and so, unsurprisingly, this is the name he has been given by the press. Why are these the only words that anyone has ever heard Dr Don’t Know use? I don’t know. You would have to ask him, but you don’t have to be a genius to guess what the answer would be.
Dr Don’t Know’s name will be of the utmost importance to all of us a little bit later on. However, for now, all you need to know is how frustrating it is when the only answer that someone gives to a question is ‘Don’t know.’ Try it now with someone you know and see how it feels. When you have finished come back to the story. We’ll be waiting.
‘Ok. Thank you for that,’ continued Juniper. ‘Perhaps you could tell our audience why what you are planning to do is so criminally important, that you have to keep our two favourite heroes prisoner somewhere secret.’
‘Don’t know,’ said Dr Don’t Know.
I imagine you are starting to feel as frustrated as everyone else is with the interview so far. Dr Don’t Know hasn’t told us anything we want to know. And isn’t likely to. We are no nearer to knowing anything. Or knowing anything more than nothing. Or simply knowing nothing.
Juniper held the microphone even closer to the Doctor.
‘Is all this necessary because you are close to committing some wickedly evil crime and need the world’s most intrepid twosome out of the way in case they try to deflect your diabolic aim?’
‘Don’t know,’ said the inscrutable supervillain once again, and even though I know you are probably extremely upset by now with the whole lack-of-information thing, I can only give you my word that you will know more of what you need to know a little later on.
‘So there you have it, folks. You heard it first on 123 Celebrity News. My name is Juniper Jarvis and I will see you all the next time you see me.’