By: Tim Murray
By no means was this an ordinary night for either party. Jimmy, for one, was well known to turn in for the night at 7:00pm when Hoot started his night watch. For Jimmy to say yes to a dinner party that kicked off at about this time was something rather extraordinary. For the rest of the group the rare nature of the night was pretty obvious: none had ever hosted a TV celebrity, particularly one like Jimmy – the hero of children’s television.
Discussion by the hosts prior to the evening had centered in part on what theme would be suitable. This was, after all, an adult dinner party and so it was decided that the party hats and streamers, although definitely fitting with Giggle’s day job, would not do for the evening’s gathering. A more mature white linen theme was adopted instead with a centerpiece of fresh lilies in a long crystal vase. The fine silverware and china from the 1960s vintage sideboard were brought out for the occasion and at precisely 7:02pm there came what would later be described by the hosts as an ‘enthusiastic knock’ on the door. The host and his wife, both comfortably but fashionably attired in the latest upper middle class style opened the door to see Giggle standing on one leg with a boyish grin on his face. He was dressed, much to the hosts’ surprise, in his usual attire: orange tee over a purple long-sleeved shirt; a black vest and a purple tie with orange and turquoise dots and stripes. Large white cuffs and collar completed the look that was a comical mix of formal and fun – and completely childish. The hosts began to introduce themselves but had to stop when Giggle, who was still standing on one leg, put one hand on his hip and the other out to the side. A look of bewilderment flashed across the husband’s face for the briefest of moments and he was about to say something when Giggle announced in his trilling sing-song voice, ‘I’m a little teapot! Did someone order some tea?!’ The wife, who would have looked astonished if not for the shot of botox she had received that afternoon, managed to reply with a small, if not slightly nervous giggle of her own before thrusting her hand forward like the bow of a ship through a storm and stating, ‘Hi Jimmy, I’m Rachael, it’s so lovely to meet you in person.’ Giggle who hadn’t noticed the awkward pause let his grin make way for a 1000-watt smile before embracing both Rachael and her unsuspecting husband Graham and trilling, ‘Awwww, you guys are soooooo lovely! This is going to be the best night ever!!’ After some more formalities, including meeting Graham and Rachael’s other guests, they all sat down to eat. The couple’s children, Xavier and Isabella, had been sent to their Nana’s house for the night lest they ruin their parents’ chance to press the flesh with a real television personality. And so, the stage was set for a memorable and perfect evening.
Giggle, at the head of the table, was an avid conversationalist. He punctuated his dialogue with his famous giggles and chirps, all the while wearing a smile that bordered on the demented. On this night he was electric, regaling those present with wild stories involving Hoot and Hooterbelle in the Giggle Mobile, as well as adventures on the high seas with Pirate Hootbeard. The ever-gracious hosts, although they had anticipated more adult conversation, indulged Giggle, asking questions at the appropriate time and making comments like, ‘That sounds like it was a wonderful day.’ The only time things got a bit tense was when someone innocently (or naively) made mention of the WotWots. Although details were never made public (a vaguely worded press release pointed to some differences of artistic opinion) it is a fact that at one point in time Giggle and the WotWots were close friends. While the WotWots’ limited vocabulary had presented few problems initially in a relationship that mostly consisted of both parties giggling and pointing at things, rumour had it that once the friends hit a troubled patch the inability to actually communicate had meant misunderstandings were bound to accumulate. Whatever the truth, Giggle and the WotWots were colleagues only these days, nothing more. At the very mention of their names Giggle’s smile dimmed a little, but ever the professional he managed to frame a response to the question that had been asked in a way that didn’t touch on the past altercations between them. Graham cleared his throat to break the awkward silence that ensued. A useful distraction came when the dinner plates were removed and in the minutes before dessert was served, Giggle produced a ukulele from beneath the table and launched into an impromptu song about the ‘most deeeeelicious dinner (he) had everrrrrrrr had!’ which included a small call and response section that failed to take off. Graham would later recall that ‘It was too high for me.’
After dessert the dinner party guests and their hosts retired to the lounge room. Whatever Graham and Rachael had hoped to achieve at the start of the night, perhaps some social capital for knowing Giggle as a ‘friend’, seemed now to be a distant memory and one that was hopelessly unrealistic. For a start, they had assumed that Giggle was one man on TV and another one off which he clearly was not. Even after dinner, and perhaps because he was up way past his bedtime and had over-indulged on Creaming Soda, Giggle seemed like the perfect candidate for some Ritalin. Far from being able to share the story of when Jimmy Giggle came for tea over a latte at the local park with the other parents, Rachael and Graham were now staring down the barrel of what they considered an absolute disaster. Giggle, blissfully ignorant of their feelings, had now launched into a game of one-man twister while the other guests looked on in a stunned silence which was broken only by the faint murmur of someone whispering to their partner that, ‘it might be time to go.’
From there the night quickly descended into farce. In one last desperate attempt to salvage the evening Graham tried to introduce a topic of conversation that might see them all sit down like adults and discuss serious matters. Giggle was having none of it. Tired to the point of delirium and wearing the throw from the lounge as a robe, Giggle paraded around the room like a monarch, stomping his feet and yelling, ‘The King is here! The King is here! Long live King Giggle!!’ followed by his trademark giggle that seemed at this point a little wilder and slightly unhinged.
As the suburb settled into its usual evening sounds of crickets singing, birdcalls and the occasional dog’s bark, the faint sound of Jimmy Giggle’s chants filtered through the streets. Somewhere overhead Hoot was on his night watch, unaware on the events that had transpired.