The latest and greatest prompt from Writer’s Digest!
Prompt: You’re 12 years old and have entered a school Halloween costume contest. There’s stiff competition, though you’re confident you’ll win—until you find out someone has bribed the judge. Write this scene.
It couldn’t be beat. No one could top a kitchen blender costume complete with rotating blades and a gallon of fruit smoothie strapped to my back for my classmates to enjoy.
My mom drove me to school that day after we painstakingly assembled my costume. There was no way I was going to ride the bus with liquids sloshing in my “pitcher” suit, precariously close to my skivvies, and a fellow bus rider could easily upset the motor powering the cardboard blades spinning at my stomach. We managed to stretch the seatbelt over my pitcher-ed lap, and with my lid hat firmly in place, set off for what I anticipated to be my crowning elementary school moment.
Minutes later after my mother successfully freed me from the car seat, I strutted into the classroom, blades whirring, juice swishing, and lidded head held high. The competition was quite impressive this year. Billy was Two-Face from the Batman movies. He even had a shiny coin he would flip in the air and then scramble after when it landed and rolled several feet from his outstretched hand. Tonya was Tinkerbell, sporting a sequined green ensemble, sparkly slippers with pom-poms glued to the top, and a bucket of fine glitter. Any unfortunate soul who passed near her was doused with a handful of the stuff. A rather rakish character was brooding in the corner near the multiplication tables, decked out in a brilliantly tailored pinstripe suit and shiny Oxfords. A dark fedora was pulled devilishly over his face, and a toy Tommy gun dangled loosely from one hand. Tommie. The costume, the gun — cute play on his name. But moving parts trump even the cutest costumes. Everyone knows that. And I had strawberry smoothies to boot.
I circled around each of my classmates as I made my way to my seat, ensuring ample opportunity for them to marvel at the genius and remarkable execution of my Halloween costume. I was just about to offer a smoothie to Tommie when I saw it go down – a spectacle of utter nastiness, a deed that threatened to annihilate my dreams of possessing the Halloween Costume trophy.
Lacie was talking with our teacher – and the sole judge of the annual competition –Mr. Thorton at the front of the class. Her costume was at first glance rather rudimentary. She was wearing a mint green house dress with a frilly apron and pearl studs. She had a home décor magazine tucked into an oversized apron pocket, and her hair was coiffed in a matronly manner. A housewife? Big deal. And then another student entered the classroom at the right and Lacie automatically turned her body that direction to see who had entered. It was then I saw she was wearing hand-cuffs. Of course. She was Martha Stewart. A clever social commentary, but still not enough to defeat the ingenious nature of my own outfit.
It appeared that Lacie was aware of this fact as well, for I saw her slip a bundle of green into Mr. Thorton’s cardigan pocket. A bribe! Was nothing sacred?! I barely felt the smoothie slip from my hand in my utter horror. A squeal of enormous emotion ripped past my lips. All eyes swiveled towards me, but my own were burrowing into the two evil-doers at the front of the class.
“You…how…what…nooooo,” I sputtered, jabbing and shaking a finger in their direction. Mr. Thorton turned a most unflattering shade of red, but Lacie only looked bored.
She rolled her eyes at the ceiling and studied her fingernails. “Oh, relax, it’s just a stupid contest.”
“Well if it’s just a stupid contest, why bribe the judge, Lacie, huh? Huh?!”
She dropped the hand she was studying, the chain of the hand-cuffs clinking together. “Be-cause. It was just a joke. Chrissy and I just wanted to see if we could do it. Okay?”
I was livid, but fought to keep myself under control. “Not ok. Do you have any idea how hard I worked on this costume? And this is strawberry smoothie…strawberry!!”
So much for being under control. I was shaking from head to foot, and was pretty sure the smoothie gallon was getting an upset stomach – I could feel a small trickle oozing from its spout and seeping towards my underwear.
Mr. Thorton regained his composure first. “Uh, ladies, let’s be reasonable about this.” He turned to Lacie and put on his best stern look. “Now, young lady, you’ve had your fun. Return to your seat and we’ll have no more of this bribing nonsense.”
Lacie didn’t budge, but cocked one eyebrow at the teacher. “Mr. Thorton? The money?”
Mr. Thorton blushed. “Oh, right,” he stammered and pawed the bundle from his pocket, handing it reluctantly to Lacie. She took her seat, but I remained frozen in righteous indignation.
Mr. Thorton cleared his throat. “Uh, right, and boys and girls, the clear winner of our Halloween contest is….Felicity Andrews!!! Love the blender idea!”
The applause was heart-felt enough and the trophy was now mine, but my blood was still boiling. I gave it a moment to cool, and then worked my way to the front to claim my prize. I was only 12, after all, and everything had turned out alright. No point in passing up what was rightfully won!
Mr. Thorton asked if I would like to give an acceptance speech. I said I would. I cleared my throat and asked, beaming at the class,
“Who wants a smoothie?”