(Madman Tonight is filmed in front of a live studio audience)
The room is alight with candles and a roaring log-fire. Adorning the doors and the walls are wreaths of holly and red ribbons. To complete the spirit of holiday, our host, adorned in a santa hat and crimson faille bathrobe, sits in a big leather chair (made from authentic reindeer skin!) with a thick tome in his spindly fingers.
Madman97 (putting down the book): Oh, hello, I didn't see you there. Look out that window! The snow is coming down, the evening's quiet, and it's the perfect time to tell you all a story. You may have heard this tale once or twice, caught it on the tube. But see, dear children, you never heard it from me and that's where things truly count. Because everything except me is dumb. Without further delay...
(Madman97 opens the book to page one)
Madman97: Once upon a time...
We are whisked away into the world of fantasy. Christmas in Oblivion is just as lively as Nirn. The dark abode of Namira is decorated in twisted trees of those taken by hangmen. Malacath attends dinner with himself because no one likes him. Most ghouls running around are wearing elf wear and generally stealing presents from one another. It's a happy time. But we are not here to observe the daily rumblings. This story is of one grump not in the spirit. Dave was dead, to begin with. No doubt about that. Madman97 was basically dragged out of his bed to sign his register for burial in the gardens of Ranty Land. And the good Madman's name was good upon change, whatever the f*ck that means. Ol' Davey was as dead as a door-nail. That's important to emphasize since he comes back as a ghost later. Madman97 never changed the credits to exclude Dave's name. It was there years afterwards, in the scroll. Madman97 and Dave. That was the dynamic duo of the greatest published transcripts on the wiki. Madman97 usually took all the credit though.
Oh! But he was a busy-bee, that rambunctious loon! A devilishly handsome, sexy, Ryan Gosling-lookin', Hugh Jackman-lookin', bad boy. Like grade-A baller. Being an immortal entity that was cousin to the Mad God, he could basically stay that way forever. He drank the blood of human kindness and never thought to go without fingers at Christmas.
Nobody ever stopped to see him. Visitors uninvited are usually screwed. But what did Madman97 care! The dude was rolling in that holiday dough! He didn't need dumb things like friendship! And so it was, once upon a time, he was busy in his studio. We're going to mix the studio and house sequences together to save time. You already know where we're going with this story. So Dave shows up as a ghost, scaring the biscuits and Christ out of Madman97. He had often heard Dave had no intestines, since he himself had removed them a few times--How do you think he died--but Charles Dickens said this, so I'm following along.
"How now!" said Madman97, caustic and cold as ever. "What do you want with me?"
"Lots, bro!--It was the stupid voice of Dave, no doubt about it.
"Are you going to tell me to spread kindness and cheer so I don't forge a chain of unkindness and doom myself to wander the Earth as a shade?"
The spectre made an appalling rattle with its bonds. "F*ck no! You got an interview to do, you idiot. You will be haunted by three spirits from network to ensure you're on schedule."
"Ugh, can we not? It's Christmas! I wanna' relax!"
"You think I'm gonna listen to you after you ripped out my bowels?"
"Eh?" Madman97 shrugged and snapped his fingers. Dave floated away into the shadows. The lights of the studio were so dark, Madman97 could scarcely distinguish the flickering lights of the stage from the opaque walls of his set. He waited patiently for the first spirit, conjuring a cane from nowhere to twirl out of boredom. In an instant, the floor lights faded into a dull orange brightness, like that one scene from Empire Strikes Back. The figure responsible stood darkly at the top of the audience chairs.
"Are you the guy whose coming was foretold to me?" asked Madman97.
"Cool. Christmas Past?"
"Stirring. Let's be off." And so it was that the figure laid out a strong hand and the set disappeared completely. They stood within a small plot of bright green grass laden with frost and in the light, Madman97 finally saw clearly his guide. "Holy sh*t, Mike? I haven't seen you since Season 2 of Wabbajack Grinding!"
"Yup," the spirit said mildly. "This is Donegal, Ireland, where we'll find the interviewee."
"What's this place got to do with my past?"
"Not yours," Mike said, taking Madman97's sleeve. Suddenly every vestige of the Irish landscape was replaced with a playground filled with the laughter of children. One in particular hung by himself by the swings. "It is his," the spirit finished.
"Why, it's RhodiumOdi."
"What? He's my interviewee?"
"Yes. Go on. Time limits and all that."
"What about restraining orders?" Madman97 mumbled as he approached the lonesome boy. He peered up at the strange man awkwardly tip-toeing over, curious.
"Erm," Madman97 started, "Hello... Odi. That's probably not your real name, but it will be your username, sometime... in the future... Uh... So tell me about yourself."
The boy had some strange clarency, as when he spoke he knew many things that had not come to pass. "I came to be on the wiki through discussions and became a moderator through a long story involving the FO community, ass-licking, and KiK." Madman97's eyebrows shot up, while Mike joined them.
"I know," he said. "It's weird."
Odi continued fervently. "Despite sometimes not liking it, I am a discussions pleb at heart. Also, I used skeleton themes a lot because I'm a big child."
Madman97 nodded and looked around for any security guards with a grimace. "You must be a big fan of the Elder Scrolls if you went through all that just to get on the wiki."
The little boy clapped his hands and laughed. "There was this guy on FO who came to our discussion and spammed a little. It wasn't too bad, but it was being blown out of proportion by both communities. So, I basically cornered Ssj3xRusticus--a Fallout Mod--and talked things out with him. From there, we got talking and he got Fallout calmed down while our mods at the time did the same with us. Ssj3 added me into a Kik group with a bunch of Fallout mods and "trusted members". This was it for several months until he added our very own LilithRayn to the group. Now, I had never really had much interaction with her until then, but she knew of me and was surprised I was in a mod group.
"The mod group died around 3 weeks after Carlo joined and we eventually moved into a more general one. This continued for a few weeks until Cat posted a link to a thread she just made asking for Mod Applications. I saw this and I wasn't sure whether or not to apply. But then she messaged me asking did I want to so I said yes. Several times. Then I was the biggest lick ass you've ever seen for like five days. Myself and another user did separate interviews for the position. Two hours later [Lilith] announced I was a mod."
Madman97 and Mike's eyes rolled into the back of their heads somewhere mid-paragraph. It was only until Odi prodded Madman97 with his foot that out stingy host snapped out of it. "Watch it crumb! All I was asking is if you were an Elder Scrolls fan!"
Odi nodded. "Yes, I love the Elder Scrolls series. My first was Morrowind." Suddenly a very angry voice bellowed from the yard. Emerging from the schoolhouse nearby was a mean-looking woman. "The judge said fifty yards at all times, Mike!"
"Sh*t!" The spirit yanked at Madman97's sleeve. "We gotta' go!" A flood of light parted its influence upon Madman97 and when he opened his eyes, he was back in the studio sitting across from RhodiumOdi. As everything had once again been bright and vibrant, the stage lights had gone cold; and standing between the host and his guest was the Ghost of Christmas Present: Lord Sheogorath!
"Ah! It's you!" he yelled. "How about that!"
"Cousin! Have you come to bade me further on my quest?"
"Touch my robe!"
Madman97 did as he was told, and held fast. Nothing occurred but the cackle of the Mad God.
"Got ya!" he laughed. "Already in the present, you loon!" The cousins, appreciative of dumb humor, guffawed at this. When Madman97 composed himself and looked around for Sheogorath, he saw him not. The lights returned. Madman97 shrugged. "Well then." He brushed the indignation off his shoulders and crossed his legs. "Next question: How are you enjoying your time as a mod?"
"I have enjoyed my time as a mod so far," Odi replied. "It's been fun, and it's opened up the mainspace like nothing else could. I'm now witness to an entire community I never even knew existed, although I'm still an outsider. But I'm trailing off, there were a few difficulties. My people skills are sometimes very forward, so sometimes that can get in the way. I tended to have a "I'll explain later, I'll do it now" attitude, but that had to go for this."
"Don't sell yourself short, dear Odi! You're in prime position to pursue social capital! Next on the list, I don't much ask my guests anything outside of what I want to know myself. In the spirit of giving other people free sh*t, is there something you want to give to the public?
"That's... tough. When I first became a mod, I knew that I wasn't going to come in and revolutionize the wiki or anything, like others planned to. I just wanted to be a good mod. But one thing I did want to do was change the way discussions are viewed. In my first week, I made a point of asking Renz and Qahn to not troll users on discussions, even if it's just a joke. I didn't come in and say "Don't dare ever troll my users!" or anything, just "Please, I have to deal with it, just don't". So they don't. I like Renz and Qahn, but I think they're too harsh on discussions. You know yourself that the Forums are as far from perfect as it gets. We've both read the old CTs and resignation letters and Talk Pages, but you were there for it. So if I have one thing I want the community to know is that discussions don't have the same standards as you, but you're only recently that standard. Don't be blind to your past, because we're only just starting. Discussions may never be worth it, but I'm going to try my damnedest to make it. I'd appreciate if everyone at least gave it time."
Madman97 leaned back into his chair, groaning. "Okay! I get it! You're a good user, blah-blah-blah! This is depressing! Where's the fun questions, like, where do you want Elder Scrolls 6 to take place when it comes out in eighty years?"
"Lliac Bay Area. I want to see firsthand what the Warp in the West did. Or Vvardenfell in HD."
"Cool, and--" The stage was gone. Fog filled the room, and lifting up his eyes, Madman97 beheld a solemn phantom, hooded and creepy as sh*t, floating toward him. The Ghost of Christmas Future drew back its hood to reveal...
"Oh my god!" Madman97 screamed. "It's Michael Kirkbride! Nope! Nope! This interview's over!" He fell back out of his seat and shot up. He found himself back on the stage where he belonged. Dave what at his side. The audience was applauding him. He held a mic in his trembling hand. Running a hand through his snow-white hair, he smiled at the crowd and buried his fear. No ghost bullsh*t ever happened again. He still hosts the show to this very day. And may it truly be said, that is how Madman97 saved Christmas.
Madman97 (closing the book): The End. Now doesn't that just warm your heart?
Tiny Tim (from the crowd of children): No, that didn't make any sense!
Madman97: WELL, NEITHER DOES WALKING!
(He snaps his fingers and Tiny Tim loses control of his legs)
Madman97: Now children... Who saved Christmas?
Children: You did...