Striding onto a stage in a suit made from a disco ball and the smooth silk of Barry White’s last breath, the host raised the mic to his lips and winked into camera one.
“Hello one, hello all. Love is here and it’s time to fall!” His classic catchphrase drew raucous applause from a crowd of men and women strapped into their seats to stop them rushing the stage.
Teeth whiter than a diamond bought with mayonnaise flashed to the audience and the crowds at home. Paramedics rushed to aid the men and women who had already fainted from the heat of his charisma.
“Today, we have one of our older contestants. You wouldn’t know to look at her, but Kirsten is three hundred years old.” Flicking hair the was slick with the wet dreams of half the viewers behind his ear, Eros Cruz gave one fan a heart attack with a single wink.
A platform descended to the stage, lights swinging from Cruz to show Kirsten in a black cocktail dress, hair down. Taking Eros’ hand, she stepped behind a podium titled with her name in pink.
A wolf whistle in the crowd prompted electrocution for the man responsible. Kirsten smiled, showing teeth whitened by the sacrifice of countless lives.
“You don’t look a day older than twenty,” Eros told her, barely hiding a look at her cleavage.
“Unlike your girlfriends Mr Cruz, I am.”
The crowd gave a loud ooooh, and some booed.
“Kirsten hails from the old country, whichever that one is?” He shrugged, eyes glowing with the gleam of a man years into a cocaine habit to beat his stage fright. “She speaks fourteen languages fluently, what a talented tongue.” He winked again, sending a ninety-year-old man in the front row into cardiac arrest.
“I’m more known for my teeth,” she smiled, giving him the menace of a girl who just wants to get drunk at the bar without every married man for a hundred miles trying his luck. “And I’d prefer my partner gets to know what’s up here.” She tapped her glistening auburn hair.
“Yes, your cut is spectacular. You know I’ve always wanted to try an older woman.” Mr Cruz’s hand moved from her shoulder to her back. Using telekinesis she’d acquired somewhere between her 100th and 150th birthdays, she moved the hand up again.
“And yet you always manage to settle for someone young enough to be your daughter, it’s a hard life, isn’t it Mr Cruz?” She winked to him.
“Yes, well I think it’s time to meet our contestants,” said the host, throwing up his hand to show the golden curtain hanging over half the stage.
The curtain fell away, revealing an android, a centaur, and an ape as tall as any of them with upright posture.
“First, we have Simon Borg. He came back from the future to save us all, but first he needs to save himself.” Canned applause played as Simon waved to the cameras. “Second we have Oscar Wildhoof, he’s a stallion looking for someone to take him by the reigns.” Oscar blew Kirsten a kiss and spread his arms wide, showing off a prominent six pack. “Someone get that guy a shirt,” Eros said, fake laughing as he died just a little more inside from envy. His abs had been the work of surgery and were already returning to normal. “Last but by no means least we have Simian Conqueror, the name says it all. He’s the greatest tactical mind in the world and one day we might all bow to him, give it up for Simian.”
There was no applause, real or canned. The ongoing conquest of Europe and Asia at Simian’s hands was a sore point for everyone less shallow than Eros.
“So, over to Kirsten. What’s your first question for the boys?” Smiling as if looking into his changing room mirror, the host tried to make winking love to his own reflection.
“Well. Men.” Kirsten put emphasis on the adult instead of ‘boys.’ “If you’re taking me out for a meal, where are we going first?” As camera two tried to zoom in on her face for a shot of her chest in the dress, the cameraman suffered a spontaneous fractured wrist.
“Simon,” prompted Eros.
“I’ve downloaded every recipe known to man, tell me your favourite and I’ll cook it to perfection, every time.” The android tried to wink to the vampire, but it looked more like a glitch.
“I’d take you on a ride through the countryside to a wonderful tavern I know that’s extra cosy, for you, me and the moonlight.” Being Johnny Bravo’s biggest fan, the centaur posed to show off his arms, getting some wolf whistles from the crowd.
“Soon the world will be mine, I can have any chef you like cook for you in any one of my palaces, every night.” The descendant of lab chimps leaned on his lectern and gave the crowd a menacing grin.
“Alright, what do you think about that Kirsten? Any of those options tickle your fancy?” Eros raised his eyebrows suggestively.
“Knowing every recipe ever is cool, but what the boys forgot is I only drink blood. Sounds like Simian might have plenty of that to spare.” Kirsten made her own eyebrows jump for the conqueror.
“Alright, so the ruthless warlord is off to a strong start, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised.” The host tilted his head and pushed his shades back up his nose to hide the crow’s feet surgeons had failed to amputate. “What’s your next question, my lady?”
“Not your lady, or anyone’s. My next question is are you going to keep up when we take it upstairs?” The audience gave a scandalised ooh.
Without prompting, Simon answered. “Unlike fully organic life, I don’t need to rest, and I can be plugged into the mains like all good toys. I also have a vibrate setting.” He smiled his very human face and made a gun with metal hands. The hands started to shake so quickly they were hard to see. Sounds of appreciation came from the crowd.
“Oscar, what will you do to keep Kirsten coming back?”
“I’d say I’m hung like a horse, but that would be humble. I’ve got four legs, darling. You can ride me all night.” He tensed every muscle, looking like an anatomy diagram.
“You will bathe in the blood of my enemies to your cold heart’s content. I promise you, I’m quite an animal.” His cruel smile sent a beam of cold air across the room. Kirsten seemed to glow within it.
“What do you think of that then, gorgeous?” Eros asked.
“Kirsten, my name is Kirsten. They all made some great cases there. I liked Simon’s talk of a vibrate setting. That got me curious.”
“Last question now, Kirsten. What are you going to ask the men here?”
“Would you deny yourself the light to be with me forever?” Kirsten asked. Her flirty voice was gone. Her smile had faded to nothing. For the first time since her descent, she truly looked undead inside, skin taking on a hint of blue.
“Deep.” Eros smirked. “Simon?”
“I would protect you from this day to the end of time. We will live by the light of the moon and share eternity.” His earnest speech was delivered with the poise and voice of a Shakespearean actor. He was the kind of boy that mothers wanted their daughters to come home with, while they dreamt of scoundrels like Eros Cruz.
“The moon has a special significance to centaurs. We’ve worshipped it for millennia. Come and spend your nights with me. We can sleep through the endless days together until the sun fades from the blackened sky.” He posed like the worst actor in a straight to DVD flop, reaching for something that wasn’t Kirsten, a camera, or visible.
Eros just shook his head in confusion and nodded to contestant number three. “Simian?”
The ape gave the other two contestants a good look at his middle finger. “We both know the night is when real work gets done. My armies march faster in the darkness, untouched by the heat of the day. By my side you can feast on the fallen or kill until you’ve drunk yourself crazy. I will never judge the hunger within you. I feel it as well. Together we can rule the world.” Simian straightened his suit and cracked his hairy knuckles.
“Well Kirsten, who’s it going to be?” Eros grinned, he loved the pun names at the end. “Contestant number one, the love machine? Contestant number two, the rapscallion stallion? Or contestant number three, the lord of love?”
Boos and hisses followed mention of Simian. He mouthed silent swear words at the audience then looked with calm composure at the woman who held their fate in her hands.
“You’re all great guys. Under normal circumstances I think any of you could woo me.” Kirsten tucked her hair behind her ears and brushed her podium aside with the power of her mind. “But only one of you offered me the world.”
Simon hung his head. Oscar looked around; blank faced. Simian nodded as if it had always been certain. He strode towards the vampire with his hand held out to take hers.
“Well, I’m sure they’ll get up to plenty of monkey business-” Eros Cruz’s head exploded. Kirsten shook her head.
Simian, who had been going to shoot the host for the joke, put his silenced pistol away in his jacket again.
The audience screamed. Lights dimmed. Kirsten wrapped her arms around Simian’s shoulders and kissed his puckered lips.
Let loose, the crowd ran for the emergency exits.
The conqueror and the immortal strolled away, hand in hand.
Oscar scratched his head. “Wait, does that mean she didn’t pick me?”