Monday, December 8, 2008

I'm a Loser

A few months ago I figured I'd take a stab at winning a MAJOR AWARD from a contest put on by the folks at 'Writers Digest'. The writing prompt was to come up with a short story about someone winning 'something' that ended up as a major embarassment for them. Well, I entered, but like the title above says, I lost. Because I'm a LOSER. A big fat LOSER.

And now you'll probably hate it too. But I don't care... I've already been rejected by PROFESSIONALS.

I case you're interested, I'm attaching my LOSING story below.

Go ahead, laugh, or cry, I don't care either way. Because I'm a LOSER! (sniffle, sniffle...). Don't say anything, I'll be okay... No really, I mean it... Whaaaaaaaa!

The premise was simple enough – visit New York, see a Broadway play and cash in on a couple of free tickets for a new “Live” game show. The show, “Good Impression” was touted as the “Next Big Thing!” by the brochure that arrived in Liz’s mailbox with the complimentary promotional tickets.

Liz suspected trouble when she arrived at the studio and the skinny kid with the bad complexion scanned her ticket, looked up at her, and frowned.

“Problem?” Liz asked.

“Ah, no, but do you see those red chairs up close to the stage? You sit there.” The kid then pointed to the left of the main stage to a group of chairs sectioned off from the rest of the seats in the auditorium.

“You mean I’ll be up there. All the way in the front!? Wow, I really lucked out with that, huh?” Liz smiled at the boy and they walked over and looked down at the seat – one of the seats with the word, “Contestants Only” stenciled across the back.

“Hey, wait a minute, I’m here to watch the show, not to BE the show!” Liz protested. “No one said anything about being a contestant.”

“Well, contestants are picked randomly based on the bar code of their ticket. Your ticket says that you are a contestant. But don’t worry, there are ten seats in your section and we only get about two people picked per show. So that means you have something like a 5% chance of getting picked for anything.” The boy gave her a weak smile and turned to walk back to the main entrance.

“No, actually it’s a 20% chance that I’ll be one of the people picked if they pull two people out of a group of ten.” Liz crossed her arms and glared back at the boy walking away from her.

He stopped, turned around and said, “Lady, chances are that you won’t get picked, but being as sharp as you are with that whole ‘fraction thing’, you’ll do just fine if you’re picked.” The kid then turned away again and walked quickly back to his station.

Twenty minutes later the theatre was packed to capacity. The crew busily testing video feeds, lights, and running sound checks in preparation for the show. Liz soon found herself surrounded by other contestants who were speaking to each other in hushed voices.

The lights of the auditorium dimmed as the announcer announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to introduce the your host of Good Impression -- Mister Rich Little!”

The man next to Liz said, “Rich Little? Good Lord, he’s got to be about eighty-years old. I didn’t think he was still alive.”

“Well if he’s not, it’ll be a really short show.” Liz laughed.

Rich took center stage and waved to the crowd. “Ladies and gentlemen, we have a great show for you tonight! This is the show where contestants can make big money by guessing who I am portraying based on my extensive range of vocal characterizations and physical mimicry.”

The APPLAUSE sign lit and from above a spotlight lit the contestants’ box. The audience howled in anticipation of the beginning of the show.

“How about you little lady -- are you ready to play?” Rich asked the still-laughing Liz.

“Uh, me?” Liz asked.

“Yes, you. Come on folks, let’s give this lady a big hand and get her up here!” Rich pointed at Liz with his microphone and beckoned her to join him on the stage. Liz left the safety of her seat and extended a shaky hand to the host of the show.

“So how are you doing today?” Rich asked the anxious woman.

Regis Philbin!” responded Liz.

“I’m sorry?” asked a perplexed Rich Little.

“You were doing Regis Philbin, weren't you...?”

“No, we’re not playing the game yet – I only wanted to know how you’re doing.” said the smiling host.

“Oh, because just then, you sounded like the old Regis – the Regis that people used to watch when he was with Kathy Lee. Not like the new Regis with that no-talent Kelly Ripa.” Liz said this as she gave a small nod to accentuate the fact that this was common knowledge to anyone who had watched the NEW Regis Philbin show.

Rich’s jaw dropped as he shook his head and put his right hand to his chin.

“Richard Nixon – I love it when you do Nixon!” Liz was absolutely beaming now.

“Ah, um, okay, we might as well bring out our celebrity guest tonight – Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Kelly Ripa!”, Little shrugged as he turned to the opening curtain to shake hands with a 'slightly unhappy' Kelly Ripa.

Liz did her best impression of a banana – and split.
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