by Robert Hanczyk
#3 of the Mr. Rogers set of shorts
It was three centons until cameras would roll to record yet another children's show. The star of the show was Mr. Rogers. He knew how to talk to children. He knew how to make them feel wanted. After all, he did not master in child psychology for nothing, although his paycheck certainly did not show it. His paycheck had not been really reason
enough for him to stay on the IFB. But his love for children and their well-being was enough reason.
Tootsie put the last touches of make-up on Mr. Rogers. Tootsie had
a talent for making sweet rolls topped with a bit of honey. In the best interest of her family, the Muskett clan, she volunteered to be the make-up person for Mr. Rogers, whom had a real sweet tooth for Tootsie's rolls.
"Thank you, Tootsie." Mr. Rogers stood up from his star chair and
walked onto the set of his neighborhood. He walked around the section of set with his house so he would be "outside" the door. All the lights darkened except for those on the stage. Camera 2 began with a distant shot of the neighborhood model and slowly zoomed in as the music began to play. It panned the neighborhood until it reached a certain house, that belonging to Mr. Rogers. The camera zoomed in on the house. Camera 5 picked up from there as it received the red light for action. It was focused on the full size house set, aimed at the door where Mr. Rogers would walk through in the next couple microns singing his famous tune.
"It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a
neighbor. Would you be mine? Could you be mine? Won't you be my
neighbor? Won't you please...."
Suddenly, in the back of the set, a lady came bursting through the
door marked DO NOT DISTURB WHILE RED LIGHT IS ON. Obviously, she was not one for reading signs.
"Cut!" she shouted. "Cut already." She hurried up to the house
set. "And turn off that blasted noise. This ain't working at all. Did ya ever take singing lessons? You certainly can't sing, bud. We're
gonna have ta bring in someone else to sing. You'll have to learn to lip-synch. Now why don't'cha go back out through that door and try
again. But this time, DON'T sing."
Mr. Rogers was not at all perturbed by this lady interrupting the
filming of his show. A little confused maybe, but not flustered.
"Excuse me, ma'am," he said in a very serene voice. "Who are you? And more importantly, why did you interrupt the filming of my show?"
The lady cackled as hideous as any witch. "Your show? Your show?!?
I don't think so. You see bud? I'm the director of this show. You do what I say. And there ain't no utter way."
"Director? There is no director for the show," Mr. Rogers answered
matter-of-factly, still calm.
"Well, there is now. You ain't gonna sing. Got it? Good. You
gotta do sumthin with that hair. It's too flat. It needs body, not that you have one yourself. Hey Loli, get in here and fix his fair. And get rid of the shine. After she takes care of your hair, we'll get ya a better sweater. That one shouldn't be worn by a dead person. Frello, get that Whitman guy and see if he can make one real quick like those samples of his. Hurry man. This show ain't gonna wait for ya. What
else do we have to do here? Who is your decorator? I'm tellin' ya, this is like the pits. It's so dull. Maybe we'll hang one of Whitman's
Sampler thingy-ma-doodles over dare. And rip down these God awful
Mr. Rogers was amazed at how fast this lady's mouth moved. He
wondered if she was able to breathe in between all the words. Again, he tried to reach her. "Excuse me. Who are you?"
"Zara. I'm Zara and I'm running this show. Now quit bothering me
while I finish setting this dump up. If we broadcast this, they'd laugh at me. Loli, where are you? I told ya to get in here and fix his
"Thank you, but my hair is fine the way it is," Mr. Rogers
"It's not fine until I say it's fine! Got it? Frello did you get
Whitman yet? Come on people, hop to it. This secton ain't gonna last forever. What else do I hav' ta fix. O, those shoes. Where is Hade's Hole did they come from?...."
Mr. Rogers was not normally one to interrupt. It was unfortunate he had to do so now to try to reach this lady. "Ma'am. Zara. Please
remove yourself from this set so that I may film. My hair is fine. This sweater was made by my mother. And these shoes are from Sax's Fifth Avenue mind you. I have been doing this for almost thirty years now and have never once had a problem. Now please leave or at least have a seat and be quiet."
"Don't you insult me, buster! You're on my set, my stage, my show,
my station. I don't care what'cha been doin' for 30 years, whatever that is. You're doin' it my way now or you ain't gonna air."
In the far distance of the large room, in the dressing room beside
where Mr. Rogers was before this whole fiasco began, an older man with glasses scurried out. "Fred? Mr. Rogers?" He hurried up to the set
where Mr. Rogers was standing. "Excuse me, ma'am. Fred, what is going on here? I was about to change in to my postal uniform when these
two..........these two....Beasts! stormed through my door, yanked my postal uniform out of my hands and said I had to wear this white robe.
They said I was supposed to be a high shaman or something. I can't do my speedy deliveries wearing this white robe. I must wear my postal
"Mr. McFeely, this is the 'new' director. Perhaps she has an
Zara was anything but polite. "Yeah I do have en answer, Pops. I'm
running this show and ya wear what I tell ya. And there ain't no but's about it."
Mr. McFeely, the Speedy Delivery man, did not have as much patience as his long time friend, Mr. Rogers. He stood his ground. "I've never been so insulted. Look lady, nobody dares steal my postal uniform, not even these beasts. Do you receive fan mail?"
"Fan mail, fan schmail. Of course, I get it. What's it to ya?"
Zara rudely asked.
"I tell you what it is. If I don't have my postal uniform in five
minutes, pressed and wrinkle free, you will not be receiving any more fan mail."
"And who are you?" Zara stuck her nose so high in the air, anyone
would think a viper might blast it off accidentally.
"I am Mr. McFeely, your friendly neighbor Speedy Delivery post man.
I am the only one who will deliver mail. If you are able to put two and two together, if I quit, you will not receive any more fan mail because no one else will deliver it."
"Oh, all right. Give'em back his clothes. Go deliver your mail."
"I'm sorry about all this, Mr. McFeely," Mr. Rogers sadly said.
Mr. McFeely calmed down enough to address his friend properly.
"It's not your fault. I shall return in a few minutes in my proper
attire." With that, he took his uniform from the big guy who had it and walked stoutly back to his dressing room.
"Look Ma'am, Zara. If you will kindly leave, you will see we shall
do fine as we always have. The children enjoy the show as well as learn from it. That is what is most important."
Zara stomped her foot on the floor. Mr. Rogers did not flinch.
"I tell ya what's important. The ratings are. Kids don't mean
diddly. If we ain't got the rating, you ain't getting paid. I may not be able to bust that Starbuck fella for what he did to me at the river, but I'll break ya so bad, you'll never walk on this set again. We're gonna get the ratings back no matter what it takes. If I hav' ta do this whole place myself, I will. Now do what I say. Where are Loli and
"Excuse me. What ratings do you refer to? Is this not the only
station for the fleet?" Mr. Rogers asked.
"Yeah we're the only station. That's why we got the ratings and
that's why we gotta keep'em. Now we're gonna boost the ratings starting with this pitiful excuse for a show. We're gonna bring sum life to this set and we're gonna do it now. LOLI? FRELLO?!? Where is Hade's are
they? Somebody go get them. I'll fire them after this."
Mr. Rogers, still with his peaceful demeanor at its peak, responded,
"Ma'am, if this station is the only station, then there are no ratings because there are no other stations to be rated against. Hence we shall do just fine without changing a thing. Do not take this the wrong way, but your presence is not required here. Kindly leave so we may film this show before it is too late."
"Well I'll be," Zara flipped. "I've never been so insulted. I
ain't stupid. You don't think ya need me? I'll show ya just how much ya need me. I'll let'cha go this secton, but I'll be back for the next show. I'll show ya how much ya need me. I'll have the new set built while you're on dis pitiful thing." Zara turned and walked towards the exit. "I'm gonna supervise the stage making. They'll get it right or I'll fry their fannies." Her voice slowly decreased in volume. "They ain't gonna run to no Commander to hide from me like that Starbuck fella does all the time. He should be in the brig for the rest of his life not only for killing that other warrior but for sending me down river. How dare he do such a thing. He has some nerve. But he won't always be able to hide under Adama's wing. One secton, I'll get him and I know he'll regret it just like these jerks who think they know it all. They ain't got no brains. They need me. They'll be sorry they ever talked to me like they did. Get some real clothes for'em to wear. Put Whitman's
Samplers on display to sell after the show. That should help bring up the ratings. Oh yeah, get some of those Tootsie rolls too before the Rogers character gets any. Those should keep Reese's security off my case." Zara's voice was a whisper as she slammed the door behind her.
"I know Reese wants me just like all the other guys, but he ain't getting me. I'll keep playing with his brain until it falls to pieces. It will take all the other fumbling security freaks to put Reese's Pieces back together again, like that Humpty Dumpty character. Now why would some bozo put himself in an egg shell. That's so stupid. Of course it's
gonna bust just like that Symphony. I'll burst Ullmanjoize bubble for that frakkin' noise. I'll even get those Muskett Ear's for fixing those Whatchamacallits. God, can't anyone do anything right around here. I ain't never gonna finish at this rate. They're so stupid."
No one on stage was able to hear Zara's ranting and raving anymore.
But there was one being who did not clear the hall when he heard Zara's voice. As she rounded the corner, he barked, jumped at her, and bit her leg.
"What the...? OUCH! Aren't'cha supposed to be on a leash? Now
I'll bust Boxey for not keeping you refrained. Damn that hurts. I hope I don't have metal poisoning now. Frak! Get off me."
Zara tried to swat Muffit, but he was too clever. He retreated far
enough out of her reach to bound back at her and knock her off her feet.
Muffit hopped up and down a few times as best as his mechanical body could before running back to Boxey's room for some peace and quiet. He'd rather play dead than have this lunatic woman mouthing off everyone.
As soon as Zara stood back up and brushed herself, she began ranting and raving again on her way to see Dr. Salik at the Life Centre.
"How dare that beast attack me. I ain't gonna let him get away with that. I'll tell Adama to dismantle that thing. No one attacks Zara the Almighty, and gets away with it. I ain't fell yet and I ain't gonna.
Frak. Now I need to buy a new dress. I'll get the kid's mushies and sell them on the black mushroom ship, whatever it is. I'm sure
someone'll want them. That'll teach 'im a thing or two...."
Now we return you to your regularly scheduled Galactica channel. Stay tuned to find out who will capture the missing Mr. Trolley and what the reward might be.