I Know Him Better Than You!
From darkness came a sudden burst of brilliant light in front of their very eyes. The people gasped and cheered, clapped and yelled as the oh-so familiar music, the tackiest of tacky game show theme tunes that I guarantee you have ever heard blasted out of the speakers high above the plush TV studio.
Once it was done the noise of the crowd did not wane, it only grew to an uproar, a monsoon of cheers and applause. The audience gripped by the sheer excitement certainly let it show. Anyone that may be outside the studio might think this is monumental occasion, a once in a lifetime spectacular. They would however be wrong, this was not the birth of a new princess, the launch of a spacecraft heading for Mars or even a wet T-shirt contest held by Angelina Jolie; this is simply another episode of a game show that had become exceptionally popular with the ill-educated working classes, or “chavs” to you and me. The show was sponsored by Lidel for heaven’s sake.
The ambience changed by the light’s hue moving onto a turquoise tone and concentrating on the centre of the stage. Smoke clouds began to rise on either side leaving a small gap between them. A huge drum roll could be heard as a man’s deep but rich in excitement bellowing voice came from nowhere, “Ladies and Gentleman,” it shouted in its friendly but over-exaggerated tenor, “welcome to I Know Him Better than You!” The crowds went crazy, now raising their sorry asses clear off their plastic chairs and shouting inaudible chants. For many off them it was the fastest they moved since the dole queue earlier that week.
The voice continued as the drum roll came to a sudden stop, “And here is your host……….” He paused for an unnecessary length of time; some might argue it was for the purpose of suspense, other, more sensible people would argue it bulked out an otherwise weak concept for game show that would have ended before it began had such delays not been in action. “……………………..the amazing…………………” Even the more inane brains began to melt in the pause, “……………….Mr………….Wayne Kerrrrrrrrrrrrrr!”
A large circle in the floor of the centre stage began to lift as the crowds picked up their levels of noise, it began to rise, from it came another until the perfect hairstyle of a man’s head became visible. Up from that very floor like magic rose a figure in silhouette, he was broad of shoulder but posed with a suspiciously camp posture, hand on hip, other arm reaching out to the crowds. A dazzle of glitter fell from above, a magnificent boom and a huge flitter of the lights came to expose the silhouette in full sprightly contrast. It was him, it really was they thought as he gave his expensive signature smile, the full range of faultless teeth sparkled from his award winning grin as he raised his hands in the air to increase the applause. The whole effect was quite sickening even to most healthy of individual but these knuckle-brains were sucking up to it like elephants to peanuts.
Wayne moved his hands down to his side to indicate they begin to temporarily kill off the noise, like disciples they did exactly this and he kept rigid as a post until the point where you could hear a pin drop. “Oh thank you, thank you, thank you so much, you are such a lovely audience, I want to take you all home with me and let you ride me like a sweepstake winner!” The crowds laughed an insane giggle as if he had said the funniest joke known to man, as he pointed out one man in the front of the audience, “….except you sir, my gosh darling, did you go to Burton’s?”
“Yes!” shouted the man in chuckles.
“Was they closed, or what?” Wayne asked as the crowd increased their laughter to uneasy proportions. Wayne waved his hand, “oh deary, I’m only joking, only joking…..now, welcome one and all to another spectacular show, the show where we sort the men from the boys, in accordance with the two loves of their life. Welcome to I Know Him Better Than You!” He threw himself around the stage like Jimmy Somerville in an Ibiza foam party as more tacky music blasted out. Now positioned around the back of a green and blue podium he held his hands out and let them drop to indicate yet again that the crowds should shut it and let him babble some more in his camp voice.
After a quick tasteless monologue about what a disaster his week was, which was clearly read from an auto-queue and practised twenty times or more the camp presenter yelled, “So my lovelies; shall we call out the man of the moment? Well, here he is….its Mark from Buckinghamshire!” A nervous looking man in jeans and shirt that were far too clean to be his own and looking slightly paranoid of his stage makeup came from the left side of the stage and Wayne scurried over to me like a puppy dog that hasn’t seen their master all day and he threw himself at the man, wrapping his arms around him and pressing his crotch into the man’s leg as he did so, rather more than the man seemed to appreciate, “Isn’t he a dream ladies? Oh I could eat him up right here!”
The man laughed a fake laugh as he tried desperately to wriggle himself free, “get off!” he whispered to the host but Wayne just replied under his breath, “Don’t be so touchy, it’s all just an act!” Now he had detached himself from the guest and moved back over to the podium, he gave a backwards kick of his leg from the knee down and little grin as he went on his way, the crowds for some reason found this amusing.
“So Mark, gorgeous Mark, you are forty years young, from Buckinghamshire you own a poultry farm is that right?”
Mark stood, now relieved that he was about as far as he could be from this overtly homosexual and simply said “yes that is right Wayne.”
“So, you think you’ve seen more cock than me?” questioned Wayne to which the crowd roared with laughter.
Mark just disguised his nausea with a bogus smirk and dropped his head with a shake for no.
Wayne could see that he wasn’t going to play the game and professionalised his tune, “right, get on with the game shall we? Now we know that if I could I would be up Mark’s trouser legs and seeing what I could have for breakfast faster than you could blink an eyelid and I am sure most of the lovely ladies out there would want to follow me like little lost sheep but I have to announce that Mark is in actual fact spoken for…………….” A female over-practised drone of “OH!” followed this as Wayne hesitated and continued, “………..but he has two women in his life!”
“Ooooooooooo!” called the entire crowd.
“Yes folks, do you want to meet them?”
“YES!” they bellowed.
“I said do you want to meet them?” he called louder with his hand on his ear.
“YES!!!!” the crowd replied even louder.
“OK, your wife of five years, Lauren and your mother of 40 years, Joan! Come on out girls!!” Two women, one clearly older than the other came through the back of the stage to the tacky theme music and puffs of green smoke. The crowds cheered.
“Ok ladies, it’s so lovely to meet you, you lucky, lucky girls!” Wayne said as Mark sighed as he saw them both walk over to the podium, just as rehearsed. Mark decided that he had changed his mind, he didn’t want to go through with this, he could see the sharp daggers swapping direction between Lauren and his mother, but, it was too late now.
The squeaky clean game show host that made Dale Winton look like the leader of a hells angel gang gave the girls a quick going over with his carry-on styled observations then sent Mark off with a pinch of his bottom to a sound proof cubicle whereby he routinely put on some pink fluffy earmuffs and Wayne gave a him a wink and a compliment to the ear attire. Then he addressed the girls, “right, ladies, as you know yesterday our hunky hero was left to his own devises in our mock-up house filled with hidden cameras. Now,” he pointed out a large screen which lowered from the top of the stage above their heads and showed a bed with ruffled up duvet clearly and a body underneath it, “here he is, doesn’t he look cosy?” the crowds gave an “Awl!!”
“Now, we are going to wake him up with an alarm call at 6AM. You girls have to decide, will he get up or will he snooze that alarm?”
The girls looked hazy at each other and wrote their answers on a piece of card. “Now, let’s see what you wrote…..” they both held up their cards. “Oh, Joan of little faith,” he squeaked, “snooze it you say!”
“Well Wayne, he never good in the mornings,” slyly observed Marks mother.
“Well, Wayne, I think he got straight up, Mark is not one for lying in bed; he likes to get on……”
The crowd laughed, Lauren wondered how they could possibly have created an double entendre out of what she said but the pose from Wayne told her different, “Oh, I bet he does Lauren, I bet he does, rise early does he?! Ha-ha, well, let’s see who is right shall we?!”
Everyone looked up at the screen, the alarm went off and Mark stumbled straight out of bed. “Well, who would have thought it? It’s 20 points to Lauren!” Lauren smiled as the mother-in-law snarled at her.
“Now,” continued Wayne, “that is only the beginning, let’s really see who knows this man better, let’s move swiftly on shall we? He is going to go downstairs where his choice of breakfast will be muesli or Co-co Pops, what will he choose ladies?”
Again the girls scribbled down their answers. “Ok, let’s see your answers please!”
“I think he will have the muesli Wayne, we always have muesli in the house; it’s all he eats in the morning,” pointed out Lauren, confident with her answer.
“Oh no,” added Joan, screwing up her face as if sucking a lemon, “he always loved his Co-co Pops, he will go for them, I know my baby!”
They all looked at the screen, Mark could clearly be seen at the breakfast table; he picked up his tea and examined the two boxes of cereal. Smirking to himself he muttered, “Co-co Pops, I haven’t had them for ages!” and he picked up the box with the monkey on it and poured himself a bowl-full. The crowd went wild as Lauren’s so far triumphant face fell. As she looked half-heartedly at her mother-in-law she threw a nasty smirk at her.
“Well,” uttered the host, “it looks like its 20 points to Joan, go girl!” he waved a wobbly wrist at her and gained another pointless giggle from the audience. “Now onto round two, whereby he has three choices and if neither of you get it the points go to little ol’ me…..and so without further ado, for 60 points what happens next, does he A- take his bowl to the sink and wash it up. B- Take his bowl to the sink but just throw it in without washing it up or C- leave his bowl on the table for someone else to do it?” Wayne jiggled his bottom to the quick theme music as the women thought and wrote their answers on the cards.
The mother started, “Well, I think he leaves the bowl exactly where it is, he never picked up a thing nor cleaned or tidied the lazy little sh…..”
“Ok, ok,” laughed Wayne over her curse, “what about you Lauren, what do you think happened?”
“Well Wayne, I would like to add that just because he was like this when he lived with his mother as she would wrap him up in cotton wall and do everything for him, teenagers lap his up but he is a man now, a modern man and he has learned to change. It is obvious to me that he would indeed wash his bowl up.”
“I see, I see, I say he may have changed that much but it takes a special lover to change a man that much, you can’t just mould him with nagging you know, I say he takes the bowl to the sink but fails to wash it up,” suggests Wayne to an audience that nod in approval. They watch the screen and Mark does indeed take his bowl to the sink but just launches it in and doesn’t bother to wash it up. Wayne gives a little dance, “hey what do you? I think I know your man better than you ladies, the 60 points goes to me!”
The ladies are snarling at each other now even harder. “Now,” continues Wayne after a little burst of music, “Here is the biggie, meet Charlotte our beautiful actress!” An amazingly gorgeous girl with flowing blond hair, legs that go on forever and a cleavage you could ski down comes from backstage to a barrage of wolf whistles. Mark sees her from the booth and his head drops into his hands. The girls stop the vicious stares at each other and concentrate them all on Charlotte.
“Now, when our lovely Charlotte rings the doorbell, asks to comes in to try and sell him some life insurance she comes over a bit, shall we say, flirty? So will Mark, A; politely refuse her advances and tell her that he is married, or will he B; kiss her a bit, realise his mistake and tell to her to get off or will he C; take the bait and snog her until he blue in face?”
Both of the ladies quickly wrote down their answers very confidently and Wayne spent no time in asking them to reveal them. Lauren went first and with an exceptionally serious tone, “He loves me Wayne and so he would politely refuse, if he has any appreciation of his arms and legs.”
Mark’s mother laughed, “And what makes you think you’re so special? Have you seen that vixen? She would turn a man’s head if he was married to Marilyn Monroe,” the mother went on without turning to check Lauren’s expression of revulsion building in her red swollen face, “…..you see Wayne, I know my boy is a good boy, he always has been, he wouldn’t fraternise with young floozies like her but then he is only human, I mean he picked this one here didn’t he?” she pointed at Lauren but didn’t take her eyes of the audience who were sucking up her opinion, “so I would say he did give her a quick peck, its only natural, but realised that when this hardy bitch saw it and tried to rip off his pretty little head he changed his mind .”
Wayne signalled a prepare sign to the bouncers waiting behind the scenes, he knew this was going to get heated and his face erupted with the biggest, smuggest smirk he had yet performed this show, and that was saying something, “well, ladies and gentleman, the moment of truth has arrived, let us see what Mark did shall we?”
The screen showed Mark sitting on the sofa watching football and scratching his parts, as men do, when the doorbell went to an “oooo” sound from the audience. Then wolf whistles begin as Charlotte appears at the door, posing very provocatively. They talk for a moment and Mark invites her in. The beauty wastes no time in seducing Mark and he seems to be suckering into it all. In the booth Mark begins to look very scared. The girl throws her arms around the Mark on the screen and kisses him. Mark in the booth knows exactly what happens as Mark on the screen plants himself all over her, fondling her breasts, squeezing her bum and trying to move her over to the sofa.
Lauren sees red and flies like a bird of prey from the podium across the studio; Mark jumps up and tries to exit the booth in haste and beads of perspiration dripping from his forehead. Two huge bouncers intercept the raging girl as she heads for the booth like a bull at a gate. She promptly kicks the first bouncer in the privates who cowers over in pain. She grabs him by the ears, a man three times her size and swings him head on into the other bouncer, who shocked, is bashed off the stage.
Wayne giggles and shies away in the corner as Mark frantically tries to escape the booth. Lauren is too fast for him; she tears the door to the booth clean off its hinges like a she-hulk and roars an almighty roar. Her arms reach out for him and Mark braces himself. Just then two hardened hands land on Lauren’s shoulders and pull her clean off her feet. “Leave my baby alone!” bellows the mother-in-law.
Now the two girls are locked in a fierce, evenly matched battle. Punches, kicks and head-butts are exchanged as the crowd roar with excitement. Just then a delicate hand reaches out of the smoke machine and presents itself to Mark. He hopes its Charlotte’s, a voice whispers, “come with me if you want to live!”
Mark looks about him impressed with what he sees. A designer lounge with every gadget known to man, a 165” plasma 3D HD TV adorns the wall, a DVD drive with every album ever made and every movie ever produced downloaded onto a hard drive, a PlayStation 6, a prototype, not even in the shops for another 3 Christmas’s. The sofa he sits on is so luxurious, it melts into you, massages your body with a remote controlled foot spa and a mini fridge loaded with beer and expensive savoury snacks.
All around him is the male epiphany of decadence; a butler stands in the corner with more knowledge about the beautiful game than Gary Linker and three gorgeous French maids in their sexy attire giggle as they scatter around the furniture leaning provocatively over to clean things that need not to have the attention.
“This is a nice place you have here,” he says making small talk.
“Thanks,” said Wayne as he smugly perched on the other end of the sofa, “this is what the showbiz life brings you Mark. Mind you, I’ve been in the game for some time……”
Wayne, picking up on Mark’s sudden downturned frown as he recalled the events of the previous hour, changed the subject, “…..don’t worry about either of them Mark, see this as sudden realisation of the faults in your life. Your mother mothered you way too much, she needs to let you go, you are a man now, she simply will never understand. Your wife is a raging bull, she is nasty believe me. I know women, all they want to do is mould you into a shape of their own choosing; they want to command you, own you. You can’t do that Mark, you are not an item in their handbag, they cannot own you, no one can own you, you are free, a freeman, you do as you choose, you make your own decisions, you are the man.”
Mark fiddled with the TV gadget, taking in all that Wayne was telling him but he had nothing to reply with, thinking how right he was, all the way through the speech.
Wayne continued, “These women are not your controllers, they will fight until the death because they both want you to be their plaything. I’ve seen this many times while hosting the show Mark, it is not uncommon for the man to realise how the wool has been pulled over his eyes. You see, since the onset of female equality men have slowly given in, we have in effect allowed these women to take over and they know no compromise, they will not except you are just a man with a primeval instinct. This was not your fault Mark, you cannot blame yourself, this was them, and their brute rulings that oppress you that made them fight. There is no going back now, face up to it; your old life is over.”
A tear dropped from Marks eye, Wayne noticed it, hid his evil smirk by ever so slightly shuffling closer to Mark and he lowered his tone, “I am sorry, the truth can hurt. However, you know what you decide to do now is your own. The thing is I always figure is what is the point in it all?” He threw his hands in the air, gently dropping one over the back of the sofa where Mark sat, “you know what I mean? I mean you get out of it, you see your escape route and you make a dash but you cannot run away from yourself. It is you, not them. Sure you will find it fun and groovy for the first month then you will get lonely, find another woman. That will be fun for a month or two then you will realise that she is trying to remould you to her liking, she is now the one taking advantage. You Mark, are caught in an endless circle, a very vicious one; you saw how those girls were out to kill each other? Women; they are all the same; the female of the species is more deadly than the male!”
Mark looked up; the TV presenter that he watched on the box every Saturday was here, with him, consoling him. It was quite unbelievable really, this celebrity, he was here, spending his precious time with him. He was the grand, nice chap that comes across in his TV personality. His persona did match what he was like on the show except here and now he was far less camp and silly, he was serious and intelligent, the sort of guy that doesn’t take that pathetic macho stereotype of not wanting to discuss problems, not wanting to address concerns. Opening up was good, he couldn’t do this with any of his male friends, and they would laugh, flick a peanut at him and tell him to get pissed. Just because he was blatantly homosexual did not mean he was after him, it just meant he was comfortable with male bonding and the fact that Wayne had slipped his arm around him did not mean anything other than he was concerned for him.
Wayne did just that and moved in even closer, “you know, a trouble shared is…..”
“That is what I was just thinking,” said an alarmed Mark.
“You see me, my life is here. Showbiz is in my blood. I surround myself with these things, these luxuries, the TV, the entertainment system, my condo, my Hawaii apartment, the yacht and the private jet, the endless invitations to parties with rich and famous celebrities, the freebies from various car companies, the classics or the sports cars, I take my pick but it all comes at a price, it is hard to find someone that understands me, someone to share it all with……..” Wayne finished on a long silence, allowing Mark to stew in the thoughts of his life versus that of this TV host.
After a few moments Wayne looked at Mark, “you know, you’ve got one of those faces, yes, yes, I think it would work you know……”
“What do you mean?”
“Oh just some Hollywood director I’m friends with, Spielberg or something or other. Anyway he was looking for a man just like you….if you liked I could ask him for a screen test…..yes, I think you’ve got exactly what he’s looking for you know…….”
“Really?” asked a surprised Mark.
“Oh yes, really. Let me just get his number….where is my phone again, oh silly me, I’m always forgetting where I left it…..hold on,” said Wayne, looking lost and flustered, “…I think its slipped behind the cushions over by you, yes, that is where I left it…” he muttered as he moved his whole body across, stretching over Mark.
Mark froze, “oh its ermm okay, I think I can get…..”
“No, no, you just stay there, I won’t be a moment………….”
The pub just outside the TV studio, The Cock and Cheese was normally a quiet, conservative establishment but today the barman was getting frustrated with two women that seemed intent on arguing with each other. “How very dare you!” shouted the older lady.
“I called you here to put an end to this,” yelled the other, younger girl, “instead you seem to intent on slagging me off!”
“You bitch, how dare you attack my son like that, he is good boy!”
“He is not a boy; he is a man, spelt T-W-A-T!”
Joan leapt across the bar table, knocking drinks far and wide. She grabbed for Lauren’s hair, Lauren shouts “he deserved it, he cheated on me, on television, how humiliated do you think you’re wonderful, butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-his-mouth son made me feel?”
“It was a set up wasn’t it, that bimbo clearly could give him something that you never could, they call it personality!” screeched Joan at the top of her voice, tugging that hair.
Lauren picked up her drink and threw the contents over her shoulder, splashing her mother-in-law in the face, “gurgle! You slapper, you would have done the same thing in his position, he was set up!” the older lady screamed, “but that is beside the point, you are gonna get it now!”
The barman came over and tried to break them up when just then a huge hulk of a man entered the pub, the barman beckoned him over, “Geoff! Help me get these nutty cows out of here!”
The man walked up to the table, calmly suggesting, “ladies I think you’ve had quite enough for this year and you should be leaving…..” then as Lauren looked up at him he saw that she was the woman from the show. He was overtaken by a sudden wave of fear as Lauren recognised him as one of the bouncers, the one she had invaded his private area with her stiletto. Rather than curl away from the man she took quite a fancy to his large, muscly frame and his missing teeth, “hi,” she whimpered, “I am ever so sorry about the well, you know,” and without think she quickly rubbed his crotch area then realised what she was doing and gave another quick apology.
The man didn’t seem to mind, men never do and he told her that he would accept her apology. They both moved over to the bar for a chat leaving the mother in law on the floor, wet, stinking of lager and with a clump of Lauren’s hair in her hand. The mother-in-law was furious.
Lauren put to the bouncer that all men are bastards; he laughed and agreed, “Yeah, I know we are but we just need a woman to point it out to us. Mark was simply following his dick; he didn’t mean anything by it and certainly didn’t mean to hurt you.”
“How can you be so sure?” she asked inquisitively.
“We all think alike; men function on the same basis. Right now I’m trying to help you but secretly,” he leaned in a whispered, “I’m wondering what your knickers would look like on my bedroom floor.”
Lauren giggled like a schoolgirl and blushed, the man smiled but before this could go any further the mother-in-law had stormed over like a tornado, “see, you slapper, you’re hitting on this guy?”
Lauren looked up all innocent but with a slight hint of deviousness, “I most certainly am not!”
“You’re just a cheap slapper!” announced Joan, irately.
“You can piss off and take your mummies-boy with you, it’s over between us!” screamed Lauren waving a threatening fist in the older woman’s direction. At this the mother-in-law launched herself at Lauren’s hair again; determine this time to rip the lot out. The bouncer intercepted the kerfuffle shouting “now, now, we won’t be having any of that again!”
“Do you want another kick in the bollocks, this time from a real woman?!” queried Joan.
“Not really, but you see this is getting us nowhere. You young lady should realise that I’m happily married and was not making a pass at you. I was just explaining that pass or not, fancy or not, men will always imagine themselves bunked up with you; that is simply the way we think. I have no intentions of taking that any further. You both have to realise that why you are both fighting over this Mark guy he is currently being converted by the host of the show.”
“What do you mean?” both ladies stopped in their tracks and asked simultaneously.
“You heard; that is what the legend that is Wayne Kerr does. It is the only reason why he does the show. He gets the ladies pissed off with the men, he gets the men pissed off with their ladies, then he woes the man by convincing them that women are just too much work and they would be better off being gay!” The bouncer stepped back when he made the claim, for protection.
“Mark is not a shirt-lifter!” screeched Lauren.
“My baby doesn’t stroll along the Bourneville Boulevard!” screamed her mother-in-law.
The bouncer smiled, “at least you agree on something. Nevertheless Mr Ker has a pretty convincing argument and manages to convert most of them if only long enough just to squeeze into their long-johns the one time. So, perhaps you should be joining forces to get your man back……..”
“I don’t quite think this is…..ermm…..” quivered Mark as the celebrity host cradled over him seductively brushing his hands down the side of his pelvis pretending to find his phone.
“Just relax Mark, you will soon see how wrong your life has been, there is a way, a way to find love without the burden of women, us guys have got to stick together……” he continued not fazed by the struggling man underneath him.
“Please, I think you have the wrong idea,” added Mark, wondering why he wasn’t completely enraged by Wayne’s advances, he decided quickly that it was fear. Wayne of course picked up on this emotion.
“Do not fear me my lovely, you will realise with time that I mean you no harm. Do not be afraid of the feeling between us.”
Mark struggled even harder, “no really, I don’t think it’s mutual!” However the more he struggled the more the TV host pushed down on him, locking him in his seat.
“Really, don’t be so tetchy about it Mark, you’re getting really rather hot, why don’t you slip out of those thick jeans?”
“NO!” screamed Mark and just then they both stopped their activities to the sound of a French window smashing, glass splintering everywhere and a sudden, booming voice shouting, “Get your hands off my man!”
The operation took no time at all. In a split second the TV celebrity was lying unconscious on the expensive carpet with a red swollen lump on his head and golden television award lying next to him. Lauren had Mark in an embrace and they were both apologising profusely to each other, “I’m here for you now honey!” said the brave Lauren.
“Thank you, I am so sorry, I didn’t mean to kiss that girl, she threw herself at me, I was told to get in on the act, that I should make it as entertaining as possible. No thrill no show they said, they encouraged me to do it….now I know why…….” whimpered Mark.
“I understand, we should have more trust in each other,” pointed out Lauren cradling him like a baby.
“Yes, I am sorry about my mother too, she can be very protective,” cried Mark.
“Your mother and I have split our differences, we both love you Mark, and we both must accept that and try to get on together........”
Now Mark was sure he was dreaming, he never thought for a moment that either of them would make such a bond. Lauren continued, “….. She told me that love is more powerful than the sum of us, love will guide us, show us the way, love presides over all things and that with love we need not argue and bicker. Besides, who do you think lumped that bastard with the award?”
From behind them came another voice, stern and to the point, “and you should always listen to your mother. I told you this was a bad idea. Now come to mummy!”