Holly Wink – "A View to a Woo-Woo"

By Gregory Avery

13 October 2004

Well, what do you think?"

"I don't know.... Having me dressed as Batman and saying, 'Pow!' 'Zing!' 'Bam!' 'Oomph!' – Isn't it a little – Bardot?"

"That's why it would be a great video for your new single! Retro – Cool! Bardot – You!"

Cellphone ring. "This is Holly Wink."

"Agent Woo-Woo, the world is teetering on calamity! It's about to sink into a swamp of atrocity!"

"That's nothing new. What else is going on?"

"Your country is in need of your service. Will you accept?"

"Not that it makes any difference, but of course."

That meant putting the music video on hold, but Holly, without spilling the beans too much, assured the video director and the record label that the business she had to attend to would take only a matter of hours. Maybe weeks. Leaving everyone pliant and polite, Holly then jumped into her Audi Five Million and sped to M37½+60 headquarters, and her comptroller, Z-49, who, again, looked exactly like Mr. Honeywell, the boss of Margie's father on "My Little Margie", which has been showing every week on the TV Millennium channel for years .

"Holly Wink, reporting for duty! What seems to be the catastrophe?"

"Agent Woo-Woo, the media mogul Earl Chattelchapping is about to take over the world with television, mesmerizing everyone in sight!"

"Hasn't that already happened?"

"No! No! This time, he wants to hypnotize everyone into jumping like lemmings into the ocean!"

"Oh, my goodness," said Holly. "What is the source of the information?"

"Never mind that! You just will have to infiltrate his organization and prevent this terrible tragedy from being put into effect! The world's too big a place for him to have all by himself!"

"Too big for his britches," said Holly.

"What?" rasped Z-49.

"Nothing. I suppose I have trinkets and tchotchkes to pick up from Crobar?"

"Yes! He's filling in for L, who's got the mumps! God knows why!"

Holly tripped down a few flights to the gadgetry department where the slender, greasy, black-haired Crobar was keenly watching something. He saw Holly, whom he'd known from way back, a few months at least. "Look!" he told her, then, scrutinizing a counter-top, pressed a button in his hand. Zoomp! Produce appeared out of nowhere on the counter-top.

"Inflatable lettuce!" said Crobar. "What do you think?" he asked gleefully.

"You don't want to know," Holly replied.

"You're going to infiltrate television, so, naturally, you're going to need to protect yourself." Crobar threw a few things into a bag, then threw the bag at Holly. "The instructions are all inside. So, tell me – is it true the media mogul has all the girls drop their drawers before being hired, in order to find out if they use a depilatory?"

"Crobar, you've been watching the Cinemax After Dark channel way too much," Holly replied.

Crobar looked quizzical. "Doesn't everybody?"

Holly then flew, by private supersonic jet, from London to the crawling metropolis of New York, while the reformed Duran Duran performed the theme song –

Seeing you is like
A view to a woo-woo –
Strange sensations
That fling you into
A lover's lonely grave –
The flickering of
A flashlight for the brave,
Unblinking eyes –
"A chance to
Tramp into the ash pile –
The scent of smoke,
A burning tear,
Tramp into the ash pile –
An icy choke,
A frozen spear! –

The monolithic Chattelchapping Enterprises building rose like a tombstone over the edifices on the eastern stretch of New York's Park Avenue, its horizontal lines carved into the rough white stone facade giving it the look of either sand that had just had a rake drawn through it, or an early television screen with a small number of scan lines flickering to produce a moving broadcast image in vain.

Walking through the front entrance into the lobby of the media production company (movies, TV, cable, publishing, recording, videogames – the usual racket), Holly could hear the legions of receptionists saying, "Chattelchapping Enterprises, hello!" like a flock of exotic parrots, and wondered what the callers made of it – it should be the greeting THEN the name of the company – but her's was not to wonder why.

"I'm here for an appointment to see Mr. Chattelchapping?" Holly told one receptionist, putting on her best I'm-fresh-from-the-farm number.

"You're Holly Wink! The pop star!" exclaimed the receptionist.

"You're mistaken, I just look like her – "

"No! I've got your new album! I just love 'Bandy Me About'!"

So much for an attempt at disguise. "Is the old guy in or not?" Holly asked.

"Oh, I'll tell him you're right here!...," said the receptionist eagerly.

When she walked in to Earl Chattelchapping's office, the mogul scrutinized her from behind his desk with his hands folded on his enormous belly. He had a face like a bowl of porridge, ringed with a passing resemblance to hair, and a mouth that had spent many years chomping on stogies. He initially said nothing.

"I'm here for the job opening for a secretary?" Holly asked, nipping on a fingernail while pressing her knees together and feigning shyness.

"Okay. Drop 'em!" replied Chattelchapping.


"You heard me! Drop 'em!"

"Mr. Chattelchapping, what kind of a girl do you take me for?"

"Otherwise, how am I gonna know if you'll get the part?" He had a voice like a klaxon.

"What part is that?"

"I'm remaking 'Evita'."

"The Eva Peron story?"

"No! The musical! Sing something."

"Uh – from the show?"

"No, from a nursery rhyme! Of course i mean the show!" Holly had heard that Earl Chattelchapping could be loud. He then took off his $5,000 wrist watch, looked at the second hand, slapped the watch on the desk top, then looked at her expectantly.

Holly could only think of one scrap from one song from the recent cast recording with Winona Ryder and Clay Aiken. She commenced, after clearing her throat:

We are all hoo-hoos, now!
(Then – something – something – )

[Holly feigned holding her head, as if having an ear-splitting migraine – ]

Foreign domination of our industries! –

"Okay! Okay! That's fine, fine. We can always dub something in. As for those legs – the sex scenes will have to go." This made Holly feel incensed. He continued, "But we can always write them back in at a later date. By the way – you're not Holly Wink, the famous rock music star?"

Holly didn't know how much longer she could hold out with this guy and still keep a poker face. "Why?"

"I don't know. I don't listen to that stuff. I just listen to country music!" Holly stifled a reflex gag as he rattled on, "We'll make you a star! Really, really big! I mean, big! The biggest in the universe! I'm Earl Chattelchapping, and I'm so rich, I'm powerful, I'll take the competition and bury them, so deep they'll never see the light of day in a million years, their children will die, penniless and in destitution so much so they'll be better off dead!"

"That – sounds – fine, Mr. Chattelchapping," Holly replied.

"Go home and get some rest, you'll be working 36 hours tomorrow."


"You heard me. Don't want to get lines on those cheeks, do you?"

"Okay. Can I look at the T.V. division?"

Holly was taken by a secretary down and across several floors to another area of the building, with a white domed ceiling and walls festooned with giant, semi-transparent photos of Groucho Marx in "You Bet Your Life", Lucille Ball, Raymond Burr, Andy Griffith, Mary Tyler Moore, Bill Cosby, and Garry Shandling. A female assistant appeared and shook Holly's hand. "How do you do? So nice to see you. I'm Ridilla Disease."

"Wink. Holly Wink," replied Holly.

"Oh, you're the one Earl hooked for that 'Evita' thing." Ridilla cleared her throat. "Where does he get these ideas? Still, he's the one with the purse-strings!" She then dropped a piece of mail on a passing mailroom cart. "Take this and dispatch it, boy!"

Holly barely had time to catch a glimpse of the mailroom clerk's face. Tony Overblown?

(We now pause for a word from our sponsors)


Universal Pictures presents the latest film from the international master of erotic suspense, Walerian Borowczyk –

(title card – "The Dame That Came Before the Last")

It's Renée Zellweger, as you've never seen her before: depraved, lascivious, a virtual fountain of lust –

– RENÉE ZELLWEGER: If I'd been a police action, they would've called me a bust! –

When she gets kidnapped, you'll wonder who's getting taken for a ride by whom – ! – Marlon Brando is the reluctant kidnapper! –

– BRANDO (looking exactly like he did in 'The Night of the Following Day': gold hair, all black clothes – turtleneck and trousers): Listen, sweetie, you better wise up and realize that we mean business! –

– RENÉE: That doesn't mean I can't have any fun, can I?

– BRANDO: Maybe you don't follow what I mean?

– RENÉE: Maybe I don't want to.

– BRANDO: Maybe I'll have to chastise you.

– RENÉE: Maybe I'll have to whack you over the knuckles.

– BRANDO: Maybe I ought to throw you over my knee.

– RENÉE: Maybe I want to be thrown.

– BRANDO: Maybe I – Wait, I lost track –

(cross-screen wipe)

(Brando, seated facing away from Renée, tosses a fresh zucchini over his shoulder at her)

– BRANDO: Make it with the zucchini.

(Renée looks at the camera, puzzled)

Eddy Mitchell is the wacky inspector! –

– EDDY MITCHELL: I don't know, it's look here, look there, look up, look down, back, forth, in, out, I don't know – it's crazy – it's like trying to fish brownies out of your skull! –

And, of course, plenty of tunes!

– RENÉE (sings, in some sort of nightclub setting):

I wanna be bad! –

(cracks a riding crop)

I wanna be too hot to pop!
I wanna be bad,
I wanna be mean,
I wanna be –
Ooooh! Mama! Don't tempt me!

(cracks the riding crop again, then emits a Jayne Mansfield-decibel squeal)

(cross-wipe – Brando and Richard Boone are trying to saw off Renée's feet, while a Smokey Robinson recording plays in the background)

– RENÉE: Please! Don't saw off my feet!

You'll be shocked, you'll be amazed, you'll say you can't believe what you see.... And you'll be right!

– ANOTHER ANNOUNCER: Opens everywhere February 15. This film is not yet rated.


Johnnie Ray sings 'For Sentimental Reasons', the new album with twelve tracks of pure gold old and new. And, if you order now by calling the number on your screen, you'll receive a special bonus track, with Johnnie performing the song 'Only I Dream' with Burt Bacharach, Elvis Costello, and Johnnie's daughter, Cutesy Hart Ray. Let Johnnie sing to you for sentimental reasons...

(And now, back to the story.)

Holly took one elevator up and over several floors to the lobby of the television division, where she was greeted by a tall, striking woman whose face looked like a cross between Faye Dunaway in "Chinatown" and Edith Scob with the mask on in Franju's "Eyes Without a Face". "So nice to meet you, Miss Wink. I'm Cheerilly Keene, and this is my assistant, Terry B. Offal."

"Hello," Holly said.

"Burble," the assistant replied.

As they started walking together at a brisk pace, Cheerilly asked, "So you're going to be doing the special with us?"

"I guess so," Holly replied, amused at the game.

"What do you think you'll be doing?"

"I don't know. Some Serge Gainsbourg, Etienne Daho."

"Since we control most of the international television here..."

"Most?" Holly asked.

"Well, of course. What do you think people do all day when they're sitting at home?"

"Reading a good book," Holly replied.

"No, no, no, no, no, they're all watching television, that way they can give their brains a rest after a good, hard day's worth of work. Here's one of our advertisers, now – "

Tony Overblown, Holly's U.S. intelligence counterpart, approached. Holly tried to keep from breaking out laughing: obviously, she was the only one who knew who he truly was.

"I don't think we've been introduced," said Holly, trying to keep from cracking-up laughing.

"I'm into floor covering," fibbed Tony, in front of her and Cheerilly and the assistant. "Our motto is, "We Cover the World'."

"Oh," Holly snorted.

"Why don't you come with us, Mr. Goode?" Cheerilly said to Tony, as they inexorably proceeded together.

"Don't tell me," Holly couldn't resist saying, "your first name is 'Johnny B.', Mr. Goode?"

"What made you say that?" Tony replied.

"This is out programming department," Cheerily said, standing before a door with a window set in it.

Holly looked. "What are they doing?"

"Twiddling their toes. It helps them to think."

"That explains a lot of what's on television, right now."

"This is out Standards and Practices department," Cheerilly said at another door, which she opened.

"*#$@ !*%^ $#@) *#&^ *#$@ !*%^ $++ #@)* #&^# $@!* %^$# @)*# &^<> ++++ +!!~ ~~==, &&^/ //@@ $#:; ,,,# @!_$ %*&# @!_$ %*&+ +#@) *#&^ #$@! *%^!!!" The door closed.

"Care to elucidate on what they're doing?" asked Holly.

"Determining policy. They're spirited."

"This is becoming more illuminating."

"What if," asked Tony, "you put on a program about the bombing of the Houston Astrodome when no one was in it? What if I wanted to pull my advertising?"

"That falls under the province of the McCain Act, not us," Cheerilly replied. "This is our Decoding Room."

"You have a Decoding Room?" Holly said, surprised. "What for?"

"You never know," Cheerilly replied. "If you'll come this way, I'll show you an experimental facility."

Through another door, they stepped onto a catwalk suspended over a scene where a television camera was shooting twin laser beams into the eyes of an immobile person strapped onto a table.

"This person thinks that he's watching a rerun of 'Three's Company'," Cheerilly explained, "when actually he's receiving corrective ocular surgery."

"Does it hurt?" shivered Tony.

"Of course not," piped up the assistant, Terry. "Uh, I mean – Burble."

"We hope to have one of them installed in every home over the next 10 years," Cheerilly said, after giving the assistant a withering look.

"Why would you want to do that?" Holly asked.

"Well, for one thing, more people can be treated on an outpatient basis."

"Oh, that makes perfect sense," said Holly, who exchanged looks with Tony.

"Now, if you'll come this way," Cheerilly said, "my assistant will mix us up some cocktails with orange cognac and liquid morphine."

"I don't take morphine," countered Holly.

"Well, I do," Cheerilly said.

The lounge area was done entirely in stone grey and abstract shapes. "Who was your interior decorator? Isamu Noguchi?" Holly quipped, looking around.

"Here's to a new age of gods and monsters!" Cheerilly already had a glass in hand and, knocking back the lethally potent cocktail she had just described in one motion, promptly collapsed in a chair, stoned out of her mind.

"I haven't seen anything like that since Julianne Moore was in 'Where's My Puppet, Poppet?'," Holly said, staring.

"She does that all the time. The lifts are lethal." The assistant, Terry, sidled up to Holly from behind the bar. "You wanna see something really secret?"

Suppressing an urge to resist, Holly replied, "Oh, I'd love it." Then, to Tony, she added, "Wouldn't you?"

As they sneaked down a back stair well, Terry told them, "It's really terrible, what they're doing to them, just terrible! They're just wringing them out, like an old dish rag!"

"What? The programs?" asked Holly.

"No! The viewers! They're sitting at home and don't know what they're doing to them! I would have told them."

"Is this something that they want to have done with them, or they don't?" asked Tony.

"No! Well, wait a minute, I'll show you...."

In a dimly lit back storage room on another floor of the building, the assistant Terry fumbled with some keys after he came to a halt before a padlocked door, with no window in it. This gave Holly and Tony, who felt like they had just leapt from peak to alpine peak in order to keep up with Terry, a chance to catch their second wind. As they did, Terry had opened the padlock and then was opening the door.

"They're turning them into mutants!" he said.

"Mutants?" exclaimed Holly and Tony.

From out of the darkness beyond the open door came what looked like a seven-foot-tall rutabaga with two legs, two hands, and three oddly shaped and placed eyes, along with what looked like a really dire expression on its face.

"Good gravy!" said Holly.

"Isn't it terrible? They keep him in the dark all the time!" said Terry.

At that point came the booming voice, from behind them, of Earl Chattelchapping. "Alright, worm! Put that back where you got it!!"

Terry, understandably, cringed. "But Mr. Chattelchapping – "

"Do it, or I'll destroy you, I'll destroy your family, your relatives, then I'll hunt everyone else down and get them, too!! You worthless piece of crud! You stench!"

"Argh," said the mutant, shaking its head and going back behind the door, which Terry closed.

"Now take it out!" commanded Chattelchapping.

This made Terry cringe even worse. "No! Please don't! Not that – !"

"Take out your key, do it, you scum!!!"

Terry haltingly reached behind him, his face a scrawl of agony, and detached the windup key from his back, whereupon his eyes rolled to the back of his head, knees buckled, and he slumped to the floor, lifeless. With a deadly smirk, Chattelchapping stepped forward, picked the key out of Terry's limp hand, clasped it in his and then dropped it in one pocket.

"You octopus," Holly told him.

"But I'm rich, I'm powerful, I can get rid of so many like him and hire more, and I'll get away with it! I have friends and influence! People look at me, and they bow down! Ha! ha!"

"So that's your game," said Holly, as Tony peered out from behind her, "the world full of people watching television and turning into mutants!"

"The better to control them with, my dear!" rasped Chattelchapping. "Vegetable brains! That's how I like 'em! Nice and malleable! Ready for the picking! Fresh from the market trucks! On a global basis!"

"I guess this means the remake of 'Evita' is off, then."

"Wha' – a' – a'? Don't think I was taken in by that ruse!"

"I bet," added Tony.

Chattelchapping turned all of his inhuman power and fury on Holly – who didn't budge, but anyway.... "I'll ground you down until you're part of the earth, an' then I'll buy it and have it excavated! I'll pave it over! I'm so filthy rich, I can make you into powder for plaster of Paris! You're life ain't worth a hill of peppercorns and toe plasters! You're finished!! Infinitesimal!!! A pop in the poop of history!!!!"

That, unfortunately, was too much for the mutant, who was, without Chattelchapping knowing it, a fan of Holly Wink's albums. It burst from behind the door (which Terry forgot to lock) and grabbed Chattelchapping in a head-lock. The two creatures spun around as the media mogul's face turned beet-red and he sputtered and spittled, but the mutant was bigger than Chattelchapping, who was pretty big enough already.

"Holly, what should we do?" exclaimed Tony.

"What do you think?" replied Holly, who then sighed and conceded, "Oh, very well." Then, ineffectually and without moving an inch, "Ooh. Stop. No. You're hurting him. Oh. Gasp. Eek. Mercy."

On another floor, Cheerilly Keene, emerged from her drugged stupor but still unsteady on her feet, stood at a bank of video monitors, one of which showed a fading Maxim Claybourne, the failed son of the great 20th century artist Noell Claybourne, going through the motions on a talk show. "Oh, no, not that again!" sputtered Cheerilly, who then threw a switch that was supposed to turn that particular video monitor off. Then all the mutants were loose. Hundreds and hundreds of them.

"It's the vegetables!!!" screamed one man in the sales department, fleeing pell-mell down a corridor past hundreds of office workers, who then all screamed and went into a route. A mass exodus ensued, in all parts of the building.

"Well, Tony, do you think this is going to develop into one of our more glorious adventures?" Holly asked.

"How can you ask me that," replied an anguished Tony, "when you know my prostate's gone?"

"Oh, not that again – !" Holly exclaimed. Tony was referring, of course, to the ghoulish pilfering that had been performed on him by the odious Lung Slice in a previous adventure she and Tony were in together, which was written up by the spy story-monger Eian Phlemyng Gardener and published under the title "On Her Majesty's Secret Woo-Woo".

"It's true! It's like I said before. It's different for a man than it is for a woman."

"Tell me about it."

"He tills the soil, plants the seed, and then he goes and watches a football game."

"And who's been saving your hide, lately? Hm?"

"Oh, don't rub it in!"

Amid the chaos, Cheerilly Keene staggered into view, aiming a Luger pistol in the direction of Holly and Tony while coming towards them at a respectable gait.

"You little minx! You messed things up! I was gonna be big in this town! BIG! Now it's only going to be small potatoes! You're gonna pay for this!" Bang!

"Good golly, that thing's loaded!" Tony said, noting the blood from the graze on his face.

"I've got the wrong type of shoes on. I think we should make a hasty retreat," Holly said.

As they scrambled through the people racing hither and to, Cheerilly was suddenly swept into the grasp of one of the towering rampaging mutants, and, as she screamed blue murder, was swept into the gaping maw of its gigantic mouth and consumed whole. A grisly sort of demise!

Holly didn't get too far, either: no sooner did she and Tony attempt to evade Cheerilly's bullets of vengeance than she felt the steely long claw-like nails of one of the mutants' hands digging themselves into her shoulder. She turned to meet the creature's 3-eyed gaze.

"Ugh. Ugh, Ugh."

In the creature's other paw was a copy of Holly's last record album. Several of the other mutants behind it also bore copies of the album in their mitts. The lead mutant proffered Holly a pen. She dutifully autographed them, then was borne triumphant on their shoulders (along with Tony) out the front entrance of the building just as the police were surrounding it.

Later, back at M64897-Slash-K headquarters:

"Good work, Agent Woo-Woo!" said Z-49, Holly's comptroller. "Once again you saved the world from having a bout of disaster!"

"Always glad to keep the side of right from going wrong," Holly replied. Then she added, "What happened to the mutants?"

"Oh, they were all mulched!" replied Z-49, brushing it off.

"What? Those were nice creatures! They saved my and Tony's skins!"

"Agent Woo-Woo, don't be ridiculous! If it were up to you, interspecies relationships would be rampant and the very pillars that make our civilization what it is would topple and fall before a raging flood of utter alacrity!"

"You old goat!" Holly retorted. "If it were the other way around, how would you like to become compost?!"

Z-49 said nothing. He scowled.

Later still:

"So, what do I do?"

"Just start banging on it, Tony. But maintain a nice, steady rhythm."

Thus it was that Tony Overblown played tambourine during the recording of what would be the last track on Holly's new album – a rendition of the Beatles song "Hey Jude".

(The end of A View To A Woo-Woo but Holly Wink will return in That Woo-Woo From Rio.)

(This one's dedicated to Richard, because I darn well want to. – Medford, 07 October 04, GPA.)