"Laurel, which celebrity stud would be most likely to search for your G-spot?"
It's my worst nightmare this year. I'm a guest on a new TV game show, Celebrity Studs, a hybrid of Studs and Hollywood Squares. I survey the gridded game board of nine men whose carnal activities have brought them recent media attention.
The question seems tough, until I spot an ex-investigative reporter who used to love looking for things that didn't exist.
"Geraldo?" I say quietly. The thought makes me nauseous.
"You're absolutely correct!" booms the voice of the faceless moderator. Bells ring. Lights flash. Geraldo and Wilt Chamberlain slap each other high-fives.
I and my competitor--an anorexic with big hair and a tight miniskirt--are sinking into a cushiony sofa, our legs crossed in the same direction. We're nervous, and with reason. The winner will get to date the celebrity stud of her choice. The loser must go out with all the rest.
The moderator's voice bellows again. "This question's for Tiffany: which of our celebrity studs would be most likely to practice safe sex?"
Tiffany's toying with a doughnut-sized earring. I pray she's as stupid as she looks.
"Well," she muses, "Teddy's enlightened but perhaps too impulsive." She bats her eyes in the senator's direction. "And Old Blue Eyes likes to do it his way." Sinatra chuckles, seemingly pleased. "So I cast my vote for Pee-wee Herman. After all, nothing's safer than a solo performance."
Pee-wee bounces in his seat and claps for himself. Jimmy Swaggert shoots him an angry glance.
"Laurel," shouts the moderator, "This is the one that makes you or breaks you."
I survey the panel and swallow hard. If I lose I may seek amnesty in Canada.
"Which celebrity stud would be least likely to take no for an answer?"
"Least likely?" I was hoping he'd say most.
"Ten seconds, Laurel. Who's it gonna be?"
I'm momentarily drawn to the persistent Clarence Thomas, who looks supremely pissed off as he sips a Coca-Cola from his center square of honor. I glance to the right and see William Kennedy Smith staring at me with a self-satisfied smirk.
"Laurel, we must have your answer."
Suddenly there's a commotion off camera. Mike Tyson storms onto the set, threatening to beat the shit out of all the contenders. "I'm Stud World Champion!" he screams. "Nobody says no to Mike Tyson!" The panel leave the game board like frantic preschoolers climbing down monkey bars. Gerard Depardieu emerges from the confusion and runs toward me with open arms, but I wake up before he reaches me.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Tony Griff.