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De Troubadour


It was the day of the Eurovision 1969, which was being hosted in Spain, as Massiel had won the year previously. All of Spain were exited that they could showcase their country to the world, and General Franco was extremely happy, as he got what he had wanted all along... a Eurovision victory. It didn't matter to him one bit that he had to cheat to get it.
Austria had announced their withdrawal from this years Eurovision, as they disagreed with Franco's regime. A lot of people disagreed with Franco's regime, but the other countries didn't feel as strongly as Austria, which is why they sent entrants to the Eurovision Song Contest.
The Eurovision entrants were sitting in the green room, waiting for the Eurovision to start. There were many pictures on the walls of Spanish flags, and paintings of Spanish cities all over the walls.
"So, I heard that Salvador Dali painted these pictures," said Lenny Kuhr, the Dutch entrant.
"Oh yes," said Salome, the Spanish entrant, "He did those especially for the Eurovision. We have a lot to thank him for, he has made Spain very popular with his beautiful landscape paintings."
"You indeed have more to thank Salvador Dali than you do that greedy dictator Franco," said Jarkko.
"Jarkko stop," said Laura. Jarkko and Laura were the two Finnish entrants.
"Yeah Jarkko, stop," said Salome, "You may not believe it but we have a lot to thank him for too."
Lulu, the British entrant was sitting on a couch with Tommy Korberg, the Swedish entrant.
"So Tommy, I heard you showed up to the Eurovision last year instead of this year?" Lulu asked.
"Oh, yeah, that's true," Tommy said, "How embarrasing."
"How did that happen?" Lulu laughed.
"You know, the Swedish TV which does the Eurovision have been pretty bad lately," Tommy said, "They told me I was going to be in the Eurovision last year... so I turned up in London, but it turns out that they'd made a mistake and they really meant for me to be on this year!"
"Oh my," Lulu said, "That is terrible. I've known since last year though that I'd be on the Eurovision, though. It seems everyone makes their decisions early..."
"Yeah, they do," Tommy said, "Which lead to my mix-up last year. Luckily they let me into the building though, you should have seen the rain! How do you Brits put up with weather like that?!"
"Oh, we get used to it, believe me! Anyway, since you were in the building, did you see what happened when the mad fan got in?" Lulu asked, "I heard a lot about that."
"Yeah, he went straight over to Karel Gott and Cliff Richard and started whispering about Catalonia or something and then he ran off..." Tommy said, "It was weird, but he wasn't there for very long. I'm not even sure if he was a 'mad fan' at all, but that's what Terry Wogan thought he was."
"Well, Wogan's been wrong before," Lulu laughed, "For not sending me to Eurovision every year, that is."
---
Meanwhile, Ivan was sitting with his band 4M.
"So, I hear Austria isn't taking part this year," Ivan said, "Because the contest is being held by General Franco. They don't approve of his regime, you see."
"Aye," said Muriel Day, the Irish entrant, "You know I heard a rumour that the Austrian entrant last year saw something, and that's why they don't want to be in a Franco-staged contest."
"I heard rumours that it was Franco who rigged the votes last year, and that the Austrian and the Brit saw it," said Louis Neefs, the Belgian entrant, "But I think there's a lot of politics in this, the democratic countries want to get rid of Franco, but is it their place to do so?"
"Well that's the thing you see," said Jean Jacques, "It's all political."
"That's why I like being from Luxembourg," said Romuald, "We don't really have any politics fuelled things like that."
"Count us Swiss in, too," said Paola Del Medico, "If it's one thing I like, it's being neutral."
"Aye," said Muriel Day, "Aye aye. If there's one thing I want, it's to be from one of your two countries. Ireland is such a powder keg at the moment... you know? I wish we could be more like the Swiss."
"Well, everyone wants to be more like us!" Paola smiled.
"Indeed," said Iva Zanicchi, "But Switzerland is only a copycat of Italy."
"And Germany!" said Siw Malmkvist.
"And France too!" said Frida Boccara.
"Oh, quiet you guys, it's starting, the Eurovision's starting!" Lulu smiled, "Here we go!"
----
The audience cheered as General Franco stepped out onto the stage.
"Hello, welcome to Eurovision 1969, I am your host, General Franco!" Franco said.
"Well of course," Lulu said from the green room, "Of course Franco always has to make everything about himself."
"It's never been about Eurovision for Franco," said Simone de Oliveira, the Portuguese entrant, "It's always been about himself. He's so full of himself, it's obscene, I mean really."
But Franco could hear them as the audience were being very quiet, and Lulu and Simone were being very loud.
"What did you just say?!" Franco yelled as he ran into the green room, "Shut up you horrid Brit! And you too, you horrible Portuguese!!! I am Spanish, I hate Portugal!!!! How dare you insult me, the glorious ruler of Spain?!"
"Franco give it a rest already," Jarkko said, "We're quite frankly, all sick of that old claptrap back in Finland. Also, there are many of us Eurovision entrants in here, and only one of you! So don't threaten us, you nasty dictator!"
"There may be only one of me, but my army is numerous!" Franco screamed, "Do you want me to bring the Spanish army here? Huh? Do you?!"
"Go on then," Jarkko said, "We're not scared of you!"
"Jarkko, please stop," Laura said, "This guy's a nutter! Let's not mess with this loon."
"A nutter?! A loon?!" Franco yelled, "That's it, I'm off to get the army in here right now! You insolent Eurovision entrants, how dare you!!!"
"No guys," said Salome, "Let's stop this, right now. We shouldn't be fighting like this. As the Spanish Eurovision entrant, I promote peace between my country Spain and all other countries..."
"No, you are stupid!" Franco yelled, "We don't want peace! We want to take over all of the other countries in the entire world!!! Especially Portugal, we are Spanish we hate all Portuguese!!!"
"We want peace, Franco," said Salome.
"You may want peace but I am the ruler of Spain," Franco smiled, "So what I say goes! Down with Portugal! Up with Spain!"
"Stop saying that you hate Portugual, Franco!" yelled Simone de Oliveira.
"No I won't because it's bloomin' true!" Franco yelled, "I hate Portugual, hate hate hate!"
"Can we just get on with the Eurovision, please?" said Frida Boccara, the French entrant.
"Agreed," said Kirsti Sparboe, the Norwegian entrant, "Eurovision is not a place for politics. It is a place for music."
"Fine!" Franco said, "But stop talking about me in the green room or you'll really get it!"
"Fine," Lulu said.
And so Franco went back out to the stage.
"So uh... anyway, welcome to the Eurovision, guys!" Franco said.
The audience clapped and cheered.
"Ah, so, who is the first entrant up tonight, oh, it's Yugoslavia!" said Franco, "Well peeps, enjoy the show, I'll be back once you've seen all the amazing songs tonight. They're all great, except for Portugal's, I hate the Portuguese!"
"Hey!" yelled Simone de Oliveira from inside the green room.
"Enjoy guys," Franco smiled as he left the stage.
----
And so all the Eurovision entrants performed one by one, the audience clapping and cheering with each song. People from all over the world had come to Spain to see the Eurovision. After all the songs had finished, the juries of the countries started to rate their favourite songs of the night. When the votes had been handed in, Franco came out onto the stage.
"Well, come on out, Eurovision entrants," said Franco, looking towards the green room.
And so all the Eurovision entrants came out onto the stage.
Franco went over to Laurita Valenzuela, who had also come onto the stage. She was busy counting the votes.
"Oh my," Laurita said, "Oh my, my my..."
"What is it?" Franco asked, "Do you have a winner?"
"Sort of..." Laurita said, "We sort of have... more than one winner... this year..."
"What?" Franco said, looking down at the piece of paper which had the scores on it.
"You see? We have four winners!"
"Well well well," said General Franco, "It looks like you're right, Laurita."
"I guess that makes this a tie," said Siw Malmkvist, "Ah well, good luck, everyone!"
"No," Franco said, "We don't do 'ties' here in Spain. We have a way of deciding which entrant will be the winner and who will host the Eurovision next year. We'll do this... the Spanish way!"
"The... Spanish way..." Salome said, "Oh no... oh no..."
"What?" Lulu asked, "What's wrong Salome, what does he mean 'the Spanish way'?"
"Oh, you'll see," Salome said, "But you better hope you're not one of the winners, because it is bad, very bad..."
"Ok, so," Franco said, "The four winners are... first of all, of course, my glorious country Spain, we have Salome with her song 'Vivo Cantando'. Next is the United Kingdom, it's Lulu with 'Boom Bang-A-Bang'. Next is the Netherlands, it's Lenny Kuhr with 'De Troubadour'. And last, and most definitely least, because it's our less than tolerable neighbours France... it's Frida Boccara with her song 'Un jour, un enfant'."
The audience cheered for the winners.
"So, those are our winners!" Franco said, "Our four winners, but, as you all know at home, there can only be one true winner at Eurovision. Will the Eurovision entrants who are not one of the four winners please return to the green room? It's only for a little while, I promise."
And so, all of them went back into the green room except for the four winners.
"Now, will the four winners come with me, please?" Franco asked, and so they followed Franco off the stage and they walked off, down a dark and dimly lit corridor. Salome recognised this corridor.
"Franco, don't do this," Salome said, "There must be another way."
"There is no other way, Salome," Franco said, "I admire your optimism but really, get a grip! Anyway, it probably boils down to the fact that you're from Catalonia, so you're not really Spanish at all!"
"Excuse me Franco, but I am Spanish and I am also Catalonian!" said Salome.
"Eh, whatever," Franco said, "We're here."
Franco walked over to a wooden door and opened it, revealing a huge arena concealed in the middle of the stadium. It was a huge, square shaped room, with a small circular stage in the middle.
Even stranger, was that there were four tanks, one in each corner of the room.
"What the..." Lulu said.
"So," Franco laughed, "Here we are, Eurovision entrants, now we will see... who is the true winner of Eurovision!"
"What's going on in here?!" Frida asked, "Why are there tanks and stuff?"
"Well you see, here in Spain," Franco said, "The only way to solve things is by violence! So, you each have a tank, and you shoot at the other tanks, whoever is left at the end is the winner!"
"What?!" Lulu yelled, "You can't do that!!!"
"Oh, yes I can," Franco laughed, "As the dictator of Spain I can do whatever I please!"
"No Franco!" Salome said, "Let's not do this! Let's just... toss a coin... or draw straws!"
"No Salome," Franco laughed again, "Those are just tests of luck, a tank battle is a test of skill!"
"But we have no idea how to drive tanks!" Lulu yelled, "This is ridiculous!"
"I demand a recount of the votes!" Frida said, "And for you to stop this nonsense immeadiately!"
"We have already recounted the votes," Franco said, "Many times... if you want for this to stop you can always surrender the fight... but you will become... a Eurovision loser!!! And someone else will be crowned the winner of course!"
"You think we care about that?!" Lulu yelled, "You think we care about some rotten contest? Come on guys, let's all surrender the fight."
Just then, Lenny Kuhr ran over to one of the tanks.
"No way!" Lenny laughed, "You're all just scared that you can't beat me! Ahahahaha!"
"Lenny!" Salome yelled, "Stop that! You're just playing into Franco's hands! This is what he wants!"
"Hahahaha, yes my dears," Franco laughed, "This is exactly what I want! Ahahahahaha!"
"Lenny get out of that tank this instant," Frida yelled, "You are supporting an evil Spanish dictatorship by doing this!"
Lenny then pressed a button on the tank and the tank started to drive towards Franco.
"I am the winner now, Franco!" Lenny laughed, "Who dares to challenge me?!"
"You think you're so tough?" Lulu said, as she went to get one of the other tanks.
"Lulu!" Salome yelled.
"Ach, Brits," Frida muttered, "They always have to be the best at everything."
Lulu sighed.
"I have no idea how to get into this god damn tank!" she yelled, "Oh well, I guess it is for the best. I surrender too... reluctantly. So I guess this makes you the winner, Lenny. Congrats."
"Yeah!" Lenny yelled happily, "I am the winner!"
"Well... looks like that's it then!" Franco smiled, "The winner is, the Netherlands!!! A big congratulations to Lenny Kuhr and her song, 'De Troubadour'! Congratulations Netherlands!"
"Hooray!" Lenny smiled, "This is the best day ever!"
"Well, thank you to everyone for joining us here today at the Eurovision Song Contest," smiled General Franco to the cameras that were on the wall, "And another big congratulations to the Netherlands, the winning country! Next years Eurovision shall be held there, so I hope you can join us next year for the next Eurovision!"
"Thank you Spain!" Lenny said, as Franco went and got the Eurovision trophy to give to Lenny.
----
A number of countries were extremely upset with the way that the Spanish had handled that year's Eurovision, especially Finland, Norway, Sweden, Austria, and of course Spain's biggest enemies, Portugal. Not that Franco really cared, he had got what he had wanted all along, his Eurovision victory.
Lenny Kuhr was happy too, as she was the only one of the Eurovision winners brave enough to enter one of the tanks, the Eurovision would be hosted in the Netherlands the next year. And she had redeemed last years Dutch entrant, Ronnie Tober, who had got 0 points, because the president of the Netherlands had threatened that he would be expelled if the next Dutch entrant had gotten a high mark.
----
A little while later, Lenny was sitting on a bench in the park, looking at the ducks swimming in the pond. She was glad to be back in the Netherlands, and proud to say that she had done her country proud. There were houses in the distance, and she could see that all of them had Dutch flags hanging on them, to celebrate their victory in the Eurovision.
Ronnie Tober came up behind her, holding a Dutch flag.
"Oh, hey Ronnie," Lenny said, "I see you're celebrating too!"
"Yup!" Ronnie said, "We're all pretty happy, I'm glad something put us all into the Dutch spirit!"
"I know, right? I'm so happy that I've won!" Lenny said.
"And a good thing you won too, they're all far too busy concentrating on your victory to talk about my terrible result last year!" Ronnie smiled.
"To be fair Ronnie, I thought your song was pretty good last year," Lenny said, "It's those juries, they're totally rigged. Last year's was rigged by Franco, did you hear?"
"Oh, yeah, some rumour about Cliff Richard and the Austrian guy or something," Ronnie said, "I don't know, though, Franco is in charge of a whole country, what does he stand to gain by wasting so much time rigging something as insignificant as the Eurovision Song Contest?"
"Insignificant?!" Lenny yelled, "Ronnie, no way! The Eurovision is the most important TV show we have, across all of Europe, but especially here in the Netherlands. That is why we must work to keep it safe and also to take accusations of jury rigging seriously!"
"Well, whatever," Ronnie said, "Anyway, if the juries were rigged this year, this means that you and the other winners didn't really win."
"Oh!" Lenny said, "Well, in that case, I take all of that back. Of course the juries aren't rigged! Who would rig Eurovision? Don't be silly!"
"Yeah, I thought you'd backtrack on that, hahaha," Ronnie laughed, "The important thing, of course, is that the contest makes this country happy. Finally, we've found something we're good at!"
"I guess you're right," Lenny said, "I guess you're right."
And the two of them sat on the bench, looking across at the rows of Dutch flags in the distance, celebrating the third time ever that the Netherlands had won the Eurovision Song Contest.
The End.