Jeremy Kyle hurled his phone at the wall, incandescent with apoplectic rage.
He had just had some most irritating news, and he was pissed off about it. Later on he would pick up the smithereens of keypad and sim card and admit to himself that he may have overreacted a little bit.
Jeremy decided to find a slightly less destructive mode of venting his frustration, and took to pacing up and down his enormous living room, trying to work out simultaneously how he was going to save the show and exact his revenge.
"Daddy," one of his bleary eyed daughters poked her head around the open door, "is everything alright?"
"Yes," he lied to his innocent child in the way that parents do sometimes for their own good, "everything's peachy keen, jelly bean. Go back to bed now, there's a good girl."
Convinced that something utteryly terrible had happened, she shuffled off back to the bed she shared with an enormous furry crocodile called Cameron.
"Either mummy and daddy are getting divorced," she lisped adorably to her toy friend, "or something's gone wrong with his show and he doesn't know what to do about it."
"Heads will roll if it's the latter," Cameron intoned sagely, taking off his slippers and throwing them at the ceiling, as was his wont.
"Ain't that the twoof," the little girl replied with a vigorous nod. Her speech impediment worsened in times of stress as part of a little known condition called Orphan Complex whereby a child unconsciously tries to make itself cuter so that if something goes wrong in the parent department, they will be sure to be adopted, or in some cases kept on by the better parent whilst the sibling gets stuck with the other parent.
However, Jeremy Kyle and his wife were doing perfectly fine, so his daughter and her crocodile had nothing to fear at all. If only they could know. But they didn’t, so they played jenga to cheer themselves up. The next morning they would awake in amongst a nest of those wooden bricks, with strange markings on their faces where the blocks had imprinted on their skin.
Meanwhile back in the living room in the present, Jezza had glanced out of the window to see a cocaine addled hooker tottering by on red patent stilettos. She was too skinny for her own good, living as she did on a diet of irn bru and very few solids, and she looked a good fifteen years older than her actual age of thirty six.
He opened the window, then almost shut it again as the rush of cold air gave him goosebumps. But he was a stronger figure than that.
"OI, LOVE!" he bellowed at the top of his voice.
She turned around in surprise at hearing his familiar voice in such close proximity, wondering whether someone was watching repeats of the show in one of these houses. She squinted unattractively in his direction, wondering whether it was time to go and get a long overdue eye test at last.
"WOT?" she yelled back indignantly, for yelling is the first defense of the short sighted and squiffy, "I'm not doing anyfink wrong. I've finished work."
"Wanka," she added under her breath.
"I heard that," he shouted. "You need to SORT YOUR LIFE OUT!"
He slammed the window closed triumphantly.
"That's right," he muttered insanely, "it's MY show."
"Jez," his wife said, appearing in a salmon pink smoking jacket and cravat, "what's going on?"
"Nothing, it's nothing,” he lied, rubbing the back of his neck so hard that the friction caused sparks to fly onto the Persian rug. “Make us a cup of tea would you?" he added, stamping on the rug to stop it from catching fire.
He followed her through to their moben designed kitchen, as fitted by Laurence Llewellyn Bowen. As always, he paused to admire the black granite worktops with flecks of unicorn horn run through. A strong kitchen makes a strong man, that’s what he always said under his breath when nobody was listening.
"It's not nothing," his wife said, continuing the conversation and switching on the kettle like the multitasking female type she was, "you've broken the phone and you'll probably get an asbo for shouting abuse at that off duty hooker."
"I think if anyone gets an asbo it’ll be her," he said archly, taking the milk out of the fridge. "She'll be known to the law."
"So are you though," his wife pointed out. "Everyone knows who you are. You're a public figure."
He picked at some leftover chicken in the fridge, then spat it out when it turned out to be fish.
“Fair point,” he acknowledged.
“Anyway,” she pressed on, handing him a milky brew with four sugars, “what’s gone wrong with the show to put you in such a foul temper?”
He sipped his beverage and gave a long sigh to indicate his pleasure at consuming the lovely drink.
“Just had one of the researchers on the blower,” he said, in gangster speak, “the one who’s been at that top secret facility finding out about some weird stuff that’ll make my show respected like Panorama or Dispatches or something like that.”
“The one you reckon’ll get you a BAFTA?”
“The very same. Anyway, thing is, right, what goes on in that place… well…”
“Well what?” she challenged, eyebrows raised higher than a post op facelift. “Your ‘serious documentary’ spiel is just a cover for the fact that you run the entire operation, churning out people with weird and wonderful life stories to jazz up the show?”
He looked at her in shock. His jaw dropped and everything.
“How did you know that?”
“I’m not an idiot, Jez. And you’re not very good at keeping secrets. I gather you have some sort of unhinged young woman from South America who hypnotises people or lobotomises them or something of that nature?”
“There are no lobotomies involved,” he said sharply, “that’s outdated and ridiculous. You’ve got no proof.”
“Alright,” she said, “touchy. Whatever you say.”
“AND,” he interrupted, “she’s not from South America, that’s just where she developed some of her less orthodox techniques.”
“Fine,” she allowed, “she’s not from South America. Great. What’s gone wrong? Has she developed a conscience?”
“No,” he sulked, “I could solve that by throwing more money at her. No, she’s decided in the name of science to tell them all what’s been done to them, and see whether that reverses the procedure or not.”
“Which would ruin the show.”
“Well yeah,” he complained, “you can’t do a big reveal when everyone involved knows everything already and has had a few days to come to terms with it. And it makes the whole scenario far too complicated to explain to our target audience.”
“So what are you going to do?” she asked, picking imaginary bits of fluff off her pashmina.
“The only thing I can do,” he said, draining his mug. “I’m going round there to sort it out.”
“Do you want me to come with?”
“What about the kids?”
“Oh they’re fine, we’ve got the live-in nanny after all.”
“Should we tell her we’re leaving?”
“I’ll stick a post-it note on the fridge door.”
“Right then,” said Jeremy Kyle, putting on his second best suit jacket. “Lets go sort some lives out.”