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SHORT STORIES
Celebrity Lab Rats
Apologies and Explanations.

by Kenneth the Menneth
January 16, 2003

Celebrity Lab Rats_Kenneth the Menneth-Apologies and Explanations. Author’s Note:

My previous full-length contribution to this publication was a short story called “The Nouveau,” in which I portrayed myself in the near future as an arrogant Pulitzer Prize-winning candy bar critic who, with my new robot sidekick, enjoyed socializing with the rich and famous, in particular the young, pretty female ones. I’m very proud of it, and I hope you’ll read it if you haven’t already.

This piece takes place in the nearer future, shortly before the Robot Revolution, which is several years off yet, and it is with some sadness that I inform you that this has nothing to do with robots. Instead, it documents a low point in my otherwise illustrious career. No disrespect is meant toward any of the celebrities mentioned in this story.




An open letter to my dear fans, offended viewers, friends, and family:

It came as a great shock, frankly, to learn of your reaction to my recent participation in the hit reality television show “Celebrity Lab Rats,” which featured me and a bunch of has-beens living together and competing against each other for five long weeks in uncomfortable surroundings toward a grand prize of one million dollars, which would go to the winner’s favorite charity.

I know many, if not all, of you were disappointed in my behavior, and I wish to apologize, but if you'll hear me out, I think you'll see how and why all this ugliness came about. I’ve had my assistant read every single letter and e-mail you’ve sent, and believe me, I get the message. But before you follow through on your threats, allow me to set the record straight.

I have now watched all three episodes leading up to my early departure, and I must say I’m appalled with the editing. No wonder you all think I’m pond scum – they left out all the scenes that explain my words and actions. It’s clear that the producers were out to make me look bad, and I am in talks with my lawyer about suing the network for defamation of character. What follows is a point-by-point self-defense regarding the most controversial and damaging examples of my involvement.
  1. I was not coming on to the Olsen Twins.

    They were coming on to me! Or at least one of them was, but I’m not sure if it was Mary Kate or Ashley. Of course, you didn’t see it, but it occurred in the very first competition – that insidious game of “Super Twister.” I was in sort of a linesman position: my left foot on green, right foot on blue, and right hand on blue in front of my foot. She was facing up, deliberately choosing her spots in such a way that she wound up directly beneath me in what could only be interpreted as a sexual position. You saw none of this! The flirtatious look on her face, the knowing glances at her sister. What was I to make of it all?

    I should explain something about being on this kind of show. Part of our “job” as celebrity contestants is to make things interesting for the viewers, whether by provoking some harmless conflict or by playing up the romance. Now we all know sex sells, and I took Ms. Olsen’s suggestiveness to be an invitation to engage in something that would increase ratings. So when I was later shown asking the two of them about their bra size, I thought we were all on the same page, and they were playing hard to get. Ditto for when I tried to crawl into one of their beds that night (I’m pretty sure it was Ashley’s). I quickly determined that they had decided to provoke a little conflict instead, so I played my part and acted a little steamed at their rebuff, and now it’s all this. Trust me, folks, it was all just part of this little celebrity thing we do, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they denied this just to stay on your good side.

    The very idea that I would be interested in these young ladies is absurd. Like many of you, I still think of the Twins as that precocious little girl on “Full House,” and though they are now grown adult women of legal consenting age, I couldn’t be more conscious of our age difference, which of course has been much-discussed in the tabloids.

  2. I did not eat all of the cheese.

    I admit I had a few extra bites while the others were out on the exercise wheels, and heaven knows they showed me caught in the act, taking the same bite a dozen times in slow motion with the obligatory incriminating music. But as you should know, candy is my thing, not cheese. If you ask me, I think it was Justin Timberlake, who, by the way, was constantly putting the moves on the Twins, but you didn’t see that either.

  3. My shouting match with John McEnroe was just for show.

    I can’t believe you thought it was real. I mean, everyone knows McEnroe’s tirades are legendary, and we were just playing that up a bit. I couldn’t have cared less about his scheming behind my back to vote me out – I just wanted to engage in a little verbal sparring with the master for my entertainment as well as yours. I would also like to point out that the vast majority of the so-called obscenities that the network bleeped out were perfectly acceptable by FCC regulations. Once again, this was just the producers trying to make me look bad. They were the mad scientists behind this diabolical experiment. Any hint of actual reality wound up on the cutting room floor, like the time I sensitively comforted Rosie O'Donnell after a tough food challenge loss.

  4. I did not sabotage the maze competition.

    While I clearly possess an intellect superior to that of all my lab-mates combined, I have to confess that I have a problem with claustrophobia, and any hope for rational thought was dashed when I first stepped into those narrow passageways. My inability to solve the puzzle prevented the group from winning hot showers for the week, and ultimately led the others to vote for my “dissection.” So much for my alliance with O.J. and P. Diddy Combs, or whatever name he goes by now.

    I was quite taken aback by how insensitive the others were to my condition, and I would like to take this moment raise your awareness of just how debilitating it can be to suffer from this terrible fear. To learn more about claustrophobia, visit [note to editor: provide relevant website link here].

    Incidentally, no matter how adamant I appeared to be, I was only joking when I said that women, by nature, have no sense of direction.
I am hopeful that this has cleared up some misperceptions on your part. I am officially and publicly apologizing to you, my fans, whom I’ve so unwittingly disappointed, to Connie Chung, for my part in that unfortunate reward competition accident, to my girlfriend, Tiffany – please call me – I can explain everything, to my selected charity for this event, the National Society for the Advancement of Robots, and finally, to my editor at The Partial Observer, who begged me not to do this show, and for once in his life, he was right. I think we can all agree that “Celebrity Lab Rats” was a complete waste of time for everyone involved on both sides of the small screen, especially me.

I would like to close with a quote from the movie Gladiator – the scene in which Maximus, new to the gladiator trade, swiftly and gruesomely kills his opponents in the arena to the stunned horror and disappointment of the crowd, which prefers a more drawn-out affair. With the bloodied bodies at his feet, he mockingly yells out to the audience, “Are you not entertained?!”

Well, were you not?


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