Sunday March 4th, 2018

The exercise:

Write about: the final round.


Greg said...

Well, you might claim there's no connection between prompts but I'm looking at "the scandal, the welcome surprise and the final round" right now and I'd say that an unimaginative person would guess that the council where you work from time to time has decided that you've been there long enough to qualify for some more senior position and you're in the running for a job slightly better than finding dead fish in public lavatories or trying not to laugh watching locals play basketball while high.
Those of us who know you better though would probably realise that this is just a quiet statement that you're giving up your career as a professional assassin after one last hit. Is there any chance that you're open to suggestions about who the last hit should be?

The final round
It was a dark and misty evening outside, but I was inside a warm television studio. A young assistant-producer, the kind that spends three years trying to make it in the business before getting hit on in a sleazy bar by an auteur and ends up doing cheap porn in Motel-6s, had been sufficiently intimidated by my looming presence and erratic heartbeat that she'd led me down to the Green room and then left me there. I'd looked around the scrawny, spotty, nerdy student types and asked them which was one was Davies. In a display of spinelessness that would make jellyfish parents everywhere proud, they'd pointed en masse at the freckled ginger kid.
"You're pointing at yourself, kid," I growled. I would have spoken nicely only my throat never recovered from screaming the vows at my first marriage. In retrospect getting married at the Vegas Grill'n'Rave wedding chapel might have been a mistake, but I do have fond memories of the E's'n'beef brisket.
"T-t-t-t-that's because I'm Davies, Mister," he stammered.
"Your parents are dead," I said. "One of them was found in a concrete mixer; the other one got in the way when it was being emptied. The good news is that they're together in eternity, and the other piece of good news is that you don't need to pay for a headstone. Or a grave, really. You might want to get a sculptor in to tidy the edges up a bit though."
The kid went into shock, which says everything you need to know about the feckless youth of today, and the assistant producer stuck her head round the door.
"You're on," she said. "Up the stairs and remember to laugh at Jeremy's jokes."
The three unshocked kids looked at Davies and then at me.
"You'll have to take his place," said one of them. "We have to be a team of four, and it's your fault he's broken."
"I've heard that a lot," I growled.
"Like where?"
"The Synchronized Orgy World Championships," I said. Those memories are some of the bad ones that come back to me in the small hours of the morning when the whiskey bottle is prematurely empty.

"So MacArthur," said the presenter, Jeremy. "This is the final round, and both teams are tied. Your starter for ten is: The hyoid is frequently broken in one third of all what?"
"I can show you," I growled, pulling my phone out.
That was the moment that Davies staggered in front of the cameras, his face a mask of pitiable pain, and howled to the nation that his parents were dead, and so I showed them the picture of that too. Jeremy's comparison of it with a weeping angel from Doctor Who was entirely apt, but did nothing for Davies and his state of mind.

We lost by 5 points.

morganna said...

Beaten and he knows it
Only on his feet through will
Exhausted and swaying, he
Executes one more punch, misses, and
Succumbs to the knockout blow.

Marc said...

Greg - actually, this prompt was inspired by my playing in a Scrabble tournament here in town. We played three rounds and the highest total score from all three games got first place. In the final round I was at a table with the lady in first and I was in second. I would've needed a big game to catch her and I did not have one. But I was quite happy to take home second place out of twelve players.

Now, having said that, that doesn't mean your first conclusion is *completely* off base...

Oh man, no part of this is not great. From the into to the ending, all fantastic. Can't imagine Mac on a game show of any kind, much less as a teammate...

Morganna - really nice descriptive language here. Paints a very vivid image.