Do you think there's too much violence on television?--the indiscreet squeet

Face the Buzzsaw!

by Dana Epperson © 2001


Atlantica's favorite television show was about to begin. Television sets all around Atlantica tuned into the wholesome, family-oriented show that could make you a millionaire in thirty minutes.

The lights on the set dimmed and a spotlight illuminated the tall, dark and handsome host Palex Metafischlgate.

"Welcome to Face the Buzzsaw! I'm your host, Palex Metafischlgate! Now let's meet our contestants for tonight. Smitty?"

The spotlight moved over from Palex to contestant number one: a young man with long brown hair dressed in a T-shirt and jeans. The announcer's deep voice permeated the TV screen.

"Well Palex, it ought to be an interesting show tonight. Straight from the dry desert of New Mexico in the law-abiding town of Truth or Consequences, we have Jake Luster! Jake is a butcher so he definitely knows a thing or two about the Blade-o- Matic!"

Jake had two meat cleavers in his hands that he wielded with lightning speed. The audience erupted in applause.

The spotlight moved from Jake to a blonde, plump woman of about 23 dressed in jeans and a sweater.

"And this precious jewel is from Anchorage, Alaska, where she sings and writes poetry. Meet Jody Kiln!"

Jody took a small bow and blew kisses out to the audience.

The spotlight moved again from Jody to a man wearing a dark pin stripe suit. He was quite fit and had closely cropped gray hair.

"Our final contestant is a retired veteran of Atlantica's army. Let's give it up for Retired Sergeant Billy Rose!"

Billy came to attention and saluted the crowd.

The lights flashed on and the cameras zoomed in to the host.

"All right, all right, all right! Can I get an all right?" he screamed at the audience pumping his hands up in the air.

"All right!" yelled the crowd.

"Yes! We got a hot damn show for you all tonight. Let's see how our contestants will stack up."

The camera zoomed in on Jake.

"Will our grand winner be the butcher of Truth or Consequences?" asked Paxel.

Jake held his meat cleavers up in triumph.

The camera moved over to Jody.

"Will it be the Bard from Alaska?"

Jody took another bow.

"Or will it be our very own military man, Sergeant Billy Rose?"

Billy gave another salute and the crowd went wild.

The camera zoomed back to Paxel. "Well, who the hell knows. In any case, there will be some major slicing and dicing, so you come right on back!"

The crowd again erupted into applause as the theme music blasted in the background.

Paxel took his place behind a podium. Each contestants also stood behind a small podium and each had a clicker to buzz in. In front of each of their podiums was a table with three cantaloupes. Directly between Paxel and the contestants was a large table saw. Another machine next to it, with a large sign exclaiming "BLADE-O-MATIC," stood ready with sharpened meat cleavers.

Audiences all around Atlantica were using the bathroom for the last time or getting snacks before the show began. No one could miss the opening.


The music came on again and Paxel's immaculate face graced the audience.

"Welcome back to Face the Buzzsaw. We've met our contestants, now let's explain the rules for those new viewers of ours. Contestants, the questions can be about anything. Someone must ring in or you all lose a cantaloupe, or a prize. Since none of you have any prizes yet, each of you only can lose three cantaloupes before you face the BLADE O MATIC. If you get a question wrong, you lose a prize. Questions will be read by me, and will also be shown on this large screen to my left, your right. Prizes will be awarded for the type of answer you give. If there are no questions, let's begin!"

The crowd again exploded into wild applause.

Paxel took out a set of note cards and read. "All right, our first question. Why do dogs sniff each other's hindquarters?"

Each contestant looked at each other.

Jody rang in. "Because that is their way of saying hello?"

Paxel looked off the stage. "Judges, will we accept that? Yes? All right! Jody, you just won yourself a version of Microsand Version 8100, and believe it or not, it's bug free! Yeah right!"

The audience broke out in laughter.

"Okay, our next question. Name your great grandmother's middle name."

The contestants looked stumped.

"Time is running out..."

Jake rang in. "Ah, I believe her middle name was Esther?"

"Wrong! Face the buzzsaw!" commanded Paxel.

The crowd cheered, "Buzzsaw, buzzsaw, buzzsaw..."

Jake took a cantaloupe in hand and walked over to the table saw. He flipped on the machine, and the silver diamond studded blade came to life. He carefully set the cantaloupe onto the table and pushed it forward, cutting it neatly in two. The crowd applauded.

"Excellent work, Jake. Now, get rid of that fruit!"

Jake walked over and hurled the cantaloupe at the audience. The crowd cheered.

"All right, let's get back to our game. Jake, you lost a cantaloupe. Two more, and you--" Paxel looked to the crowd.

"Face the Blade-O-Matic!" they jeered.

"Yes! Okay, next question. Bust me a rhyme, and earn yourself a dime."

Jody rang in. "In days of old when knights were bold."

Paxel looked at the audience. "Now, that was pretty lame, especially coming from a poet. Audience, what do you say, should she sacrifice a cantaloupe?"

"Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice!!" they screamed.

"You heard them, Miss Poet-and-didn't-know- it. Cut that cantaloupe!"

Jody reluctantly grabbed her cantaloupe and moved over to the saw. She flipped it on and carefully maneuvered the fruit through the blade. She picked up the pieces and threw them grudgingly at the audience.

Paxel laughed. "Oh, I sense a bit of hostility there! Our next question. How fast does light travel in a vacuum?"

No one rang in.

"Oh, it sucks to be all of you. Guess you should have paid more attention in school. 186,000 miles per second. You know what time it is . . . face the buzzsaw!"

Each of the contestants grabbed their respective cantaloupe and cut them in two, again hurling them at the audience members who whooped and cheered while the saw worked its magic.

After they all cut their fruit, the camera zoomed in on Paxel.

"I think now is a good time to take a break. Let's see how the next round will go. Will the butcher and poet lose their last cantaloupe? Stay tuned!" The music came on and the audience applauded.


The camera came back on Paxel exactly two minutes later.

"All right, let's begin. What year did the ancient Russian space station Mir fall out of orbit?"

Jody rang in. "Oh! I just read that in history class. It was in 2001."

Paxel smiled. "I'm sorry, Jody. It was 2002. You know what to do. Hey, that rhymed!"

The crowd applauded.

She walked over with her last cantaloupe and cleaved it in two, again throwing it at the audience.

"Yes! Okay, Jody, you have zero cantaloupes left. If you fail to answer a question right, you will either chop that Microsand 8100 in two, or, audience..."

"Face the Blade-O-Matic!" they screamed.

"Yes! Damn we have a lively crowd tonight! All right, next question. If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Think carefully, contestants."

Jody rang in. "Of course it makes a sound. All things make noise."

"Wrong! Jody, you didn't listen, my lost lyricist from 'Laska. If no one is there to hear it, how can it possibly make a noise? Eh? Some poet you are. You now have a choice. Will you face the Buzzsaw, or face the Blade-O-Matic? Personally, I'd cut up that piece of junk software any day."

"I'm gonna' cut the software!" she exclaimed.

"All right!" screamed Paxel.

The audience was chanting "Buzzsaw, buzzsaw, buzzsaw," loudly as she placed the packaged software on the table and cleaved it neatly in two. She held up the ends of the software victoriously and flung them at the crowd.

"Beautiful, my bard, beautiful! Now, for those of you at home," Paxel said to the camera as it zoomed in toward him, "if no one answers a question or Jody doesn't get one right she will..."

"Face the Blade-O-Matic!" yelled the audience.

"Precisely! Let's keep going! All right, contestants, what was Y2K?"

Billy buzzed in. "Isn't that a retirement plan?"

"Nope! Cut your cantaloupe, soldier boy!"

Billy walked over to the saw and cut the fruit, again chucking it at the enthusiastic crowd.

The camera zoomed in on Paxel. "Man, this just keeps getting better and better. Next question. What is my favorite color?"

The contestants looked dumbfounded.

A look of horror shot across Jody's face. "Someone guess!" she pleaded.

"Wrong Jody! Someone guess is not a color! Apparently none of you ever picked up the book 100 Things You Should Know About Paxel Metafischlgate! Audience, what time is it?"

"Blade-O-matic!" they cheered.

"Yes, yes, yes! Jody, come on down!" he exclaimed as he walked to the Blade-O-Matic.

Tears were beginning to well in her eyes as she slowly walked over the machine.

The lights went to black and a single spotlight beamed on the Blade-O-Matic with Paxel standing next to it.

"Ah, now dry those tears, Jody. Step on over here." The camera focused in on Paxel's face. "Now, for those of you who have never seen our show, and if you haven't, something is wrong with you, this is the Blade-O-Matic. Jody will place her hand on the machine and much like the guillotine of old, this sharp meat cleaver will automatically come down at lighting speed and sever one of her fingers. But, sometimes it misses. Now Jody, you have the option of picking your numbing factor. Do you want," he motioned his hand toward another table illuminated by a separate spotlight, "laughing gas, whiskey, or anesthetic? Bear in mind that you might collapse with the anesthetic, and could lose more than one finger..."

"I want the laughing gas," she sniffled.

"Gas it is. Place your hand in the cuff. Extend one of your fingers. Wait, audience, should we give her another chance, or let her have the blade?"

"Blade, blade, blade!"

"Blade it is. Sorry, Jody. That would be a thumbs down." Paxel walked beside Jody as she lay forward and bent over the table. The blade was a few feet above her head and was attached to a long mechanical arm. "And now our interns will administer some laughing gas to the young poetess here."

Two men walked over with a small tank and a mask and let her breathe in the gas.

"Okay, drum roll please," said Paxel.

The tension built in the audience and around the country. There was not a sound to be heard except the hysterical laughing of Jody through the black mask.

"Cut it!" screamed Paxel.

The blade moved like lightning and chopped her hand completely off. She stood up from the table, laughing wildly as blood gushed and pumped from her stub of a wrist. The audience went into a wild frenzy.

Paxel took a bow. "Ladies and gentlemen, we must take a break. Be back in two and two." Applause rang out.


"Welcome back. Let's get right on into it, shall we? Jody is down to one hand and Billy and Jake are down to one cantaloupe each. This is going to get really interesting. Okay, our next question. Albert Einstein, a renowned scientist, came up with what famous theory?"

Jake buzzed in. "E=MC squared?"

"Judges?" Paxel asked.

Paxel shook his head. "Oh, I'm sorry. We asked for the theory. It was the theory of relativity. E=MC squared is the equation. Tough break for the butcher. Cut your last cantaloupe."

Jake walked over and gingerly cut the cantaloupe and tossed it to the excited crowd.

"Okay, Jake is down to nothing. Bill, you have one cantaloupe left. Jody, well, you've seen better days. Now it's just getting interesting. Next question: What well-known British royal was caught doing the nasty with a pony?"

Jody was laughing crazily. "I know, I know, it was Prince Chaucer!"

"Yes! Smitty, what has the little Eskimo won?"

"Well, Paxel, this young beluga just won herself a year's supply of Eskimo Pies! Hey, that rhymed as well!"

The audience laughed and Palex rolled his eyes. "Yes, you are good, Smitty. Looks like our little Shamu here is going to add another layer of blubber for this coming winter! Congrats, Jody. Here is our next question. How do you spell phenylcortizene?"

The audience made a loud "Ohhh!" sound as the contestants pondered.

"We need an answer, contestants," said Paxel.

Jake buzzed in. "P, h, e, n, i, l, c, o, r, t, i, z, i, n, e. Phenylcortizene."

"Wrong! You know what that means, don't ya, Jake!"

His face went ashen white. "Blade-O-Matic?" he whispered.

"Yes!" exclaimed Paxel.

The crowd members jumped to their feet with screams of exhilaration.

Smitty's voice boomed, "Jake, come on down, you are the next recipient of the Blade-O-Matic!"

"Come, come on, Jake. Put your hand right there. All right, Jake. What'll it be; a shot of whiskey, or some laughing gas?" asked Paxel.

"Gimme the bottle of whiskey!" demanded Jake.

"Oh! He's a lively one! Well, here you go, Jake. One fine bottle of Old Crow Whiskey. Drink!"

Jake uncapped the bottle and began to take a long pull. He made a disgusted face and set the bottle down.

"Uh, uh, you asked for a bottle, and now you drink! Drink!" ordered Paxel.

"Drink, drink,drink!" chanted the audience.

Jake picked up the bottle and began to chug the rotgut whiskey.

"Keep going!" commanded Paxel.

Jake drained half the bottle and set it down, visibly drunk and looking nauseated.

"Can' more," sloshed Jake.

Paxel laughed. "Well ladies and gents, I think the man is pretty well liquored up as it is. Place your hand in the cuff, Jake."

Jake did as commanded. The drum roll began and the audience hushed themselves.

"And now, Jake, talk about irony. You are going to feel what many cows have felt before. Only, you get to live! Now!"

The Blade-O-Matic came alive and hacked off his arm at the elbow. Jake screamed in pain and jerked up from the table, spraying blood all over the machine.

"My arm! My arm! Jesus Christ!" he wailed in agony.

The audience went wild and the camera zoomed in on Paxel. "Let's see that again in slow motion! Smitty!"

The large video screen came alive and showed Jake with the bottle in his hand. "All right, Paxel, here we see Jake getting liquored up." The screen flashed forward to him being strapped on to the machine. "And here we can see the razor sharp Blade o Matic about to do its dirty work. Watch carefully as the blade flies through the air. We have slowed down the video so you can see the beautiful arc it makes as it heads for its meaty prize." A yellow mark came on the screen. "Here is where the point of entry will be made by the blade. And there it goes," he said, as the audience howled at the blade severing his arm at the elbow. "Look how cleanly that forearm came off! And now you can see all the blood beginning to squirt; oh Paxel, this one was gorgeous!"

The camera focused back on Paxel. "Indeed it was, Smitty. We are going to take a quick break. When we come back, we'll have the final hot seat round. Stay tuned!"


"All right, we are back! We have had one hell of a match today. Jake, our man from New Mexico, just got his arm turned to burger. Jody, our poet from Alaska will have trouble typing in the future, and finally, our soldier boy here, Billy, is down to one cantaloupe."

The camera panned to the contestants. Jake was being propped up by crutches. His arm was bandaged and his hair was mussed. Jody was looking at her missing hand. Billy was smiling broadly at the crowd.

"Here we go. What animal has the longest genitalia on the planet?"

Billy buzzed in. "A dinosaur?"


Jody buzzed in. "A giraffe!"

"Nope! Jake, you want to take a shot?"

"Ah, uh, it's got to be..."

A buzzer sounded cut him off.

"Oh, I'm sorry, you ran out of time. Lucky for you, though, someone already answered, so you receive no treatment. But, our little yodeler here from Alaska should have kept her mouth shut! Bill, Jody, come on down!"

The two walked over to Paxel.

The correct answer of course, was a blue whale."

The audience jeered.

"Billy, cut that cantaloupe."

He did as commanded.

Paxal turned to Jody. "Jody, my dear, you can face the Blade-O-Matic or cut the pie. Which shall it be?"

"I'll cut the Eskimo Pie."

"All right, then go for it Jody!"

She walked along side of the table saw and set down the box of Eskimo Pies. The blade buzzed to life and she pushed the small package through very slowly.

"Excellent work!" congratulated Paxal. "Now, get rid of those pies!"

She placed half of the box under her arm and threw the other half, Frisbee style, toward the jeering crowd.

"Yes! Let's get back to the game. Here we go. What is the name of the smallest building blocks that make up matter? Think carefully, contestants."

Billy rang in. "I believe they are atoms."

"Is that your final answer?" asked Paxal.

"Well, I guess so," offered Billy.

Jody rang in. "I think they are electrons."

Paxal paused a moment and tension built. "Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!" he laughed. "Billy, Jody, time to face the music. Come on down!"

The two contestants reluctantly walked to the Blade-O-Matic.

"Jody, let's have you first. What shall it be; whiskey, or gas?"

"Gas," she replied weakly.

"What's that you say? Oh, whiskey? Well, whiskey it is!"

The crowd went nuts.

"No! I said gas! Gas!"

"No, you said whiskey." Paxel picked up a fresh bottle of Old Crow and handed it to her. "Drink."


Paxel smiled. "Now Jody, you know the rules. If you don't drink, then you get no numbing for Blade-O-Matic. It's really for your benefit."

"No!" she demanded.

"All right! You heard it here, folks. This will be a first on our show. Never have we seen such a brave soul attempt the Blade-O-Matic without some sort of anesthetic! Strap her down!"

Two burly men appeared and grabbed Jody, putting her down on the table. She struggled violently, screaming obscenities at the top of her lungs.

"All right, drum roll please!" shouted Paxel.

A drum roll kicked in while she squirmed around on the table.

"Now!" screamed Paxal.

The mechanical arm came to life and hacked off her other arm at the shoulder. The crowd loved it.

Jody shot off the table screaming at the top of her lungs, gushing blood all over the machine, Paxel, and the audience. She passed out moments later. The crowd was cheering and clapping wildly.

Paxal, smiling broadly and covered in crimson, exclaimed, "Ladies and gentlemen! This has been a night to remember! We're gonna' take a break, so don't go anywhere!"


The camera zoomed in on Paxal in a fresh navy blue suit. "Welcome back. This has been a wonderful game so far. And now, we are going to see just how tough Atlantica's warriors really are! Billy, step on up to the plate!"

Billy walked forward with a proud stiffness. "Bring it on, Paxal."

A look of surprise struck Paxal. The crowd applauded.

"Well, Billy, it is not I who you are facing, but the Blade-O-Matic."

"Regardless, let's get it on!" growled Billy.

"You got it! Your anesthetic?"


The crowd went insane. Paxal had to motion with his hands to quiet them down.

"Ladies and gents, you are witnessing history in the making. This is our second contestant who is refusing anesthetic! Can you believe the bravery? A true representation of our fighting men and women. Amazing. Billy, take your place on the Blade-O-Matic."

Billy walked to the machine and strapped himself in. Moments later, the blade raised itself up.

"Here we go! Let's have us a drum roll!" said Paxal.

The drums kicked in and Paxal clapped his hands. The blade flew through the air and missed Billy's arm, hitting his head straight on, and cleaving it in two. Brains and pieces of bone exploded all over the Blade-O-Matic.

The audience erupted in applause.

Paxal held up his hands. "Ladies and gents, sometimes you just get one hell of a show. Well, that about wraps up our time for tonight. Looks like our butcher from Truth or Consequences is our man of the evening! Smitty, tell him what he has won."

The lights dimmed and a blinding spotlight illuminated Jake. He could barely hold himself up and his face was twisted in pain.

"Well Paxal, since Jake answered no questions correctly, he qualifies for a modest consolation prize. He is the recipient of a newly restored, classic, candy apple red Yugo! And to go with those wheels from Hell, a year's supply of Sure Clean car soap! Back to you, Paxal!"

The cameras zoomed back to Paxal, who was standing next to Jake. Jake, still grimacing in pain, held a meat cleaver in his remaining arm swung it in triumph. The audience roared with applause and whistles.

"I'm sure Jake will be the envy of all his neighbors back in T & C, New Mexico. That's all the time we have for tonight, but tune in again tomorrow at the same time for more blade wielding fun. Good night!"

7:30 END

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