Costume Contest

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.

Post your response (500 words or less) in the comments below.

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One thought on “Costume Contest

  1. kathleenmagner

    Barry straightened his tri-corner hat. The ruffles of his cravat tickled his throat but he lifted his chin and stared onto the stage.

    Mrs. Chadnick waved on Mary-Sue and, with a flutter of her good-witch’s skirts, she floated from behind the proscenium. Her pink sequins gleamed like tiny flames and while applause replied, Barry raised a hand to shield his gaze. Between his fingers, he watched her twirl on the end of the walkway, waving her star-tipped wand in one hand and offering red slippers smothered in glitter to those in the first row.

    “It doesn’t work without the munchkins,” said Ashton.

    Barry glanced over his shoulder, the musk of his coat teasing his nose. “What do you mean?”

    Ashton shrugged, disturbing his epaulets and their braided tassels. “She just looks like a fairy princess out there instead of like the one from the movie. She’s playing dress-up and there’s nothing authentic about that.”

    “They seem to like it.”

    “They,” said Ashton, stressing the word, “don’t matter. Only the judges and the rules matter.”

    Fiddling with the buttons on his waistcoat, Barry turned back around. Through the lights, he spied the table where Mr. Vender, Mrs. Park, and Principal Reynolds sat, notebooks before them, pens in hand, the reports each contestant had written a tower of paper alongside. Vender jotted something when Mary-Sue twirled for what had to be the third or fourth time, and Park offered a slim smile. Reynolds, with his bespectacled scowl, seemed unimpressed.

    “Let’s hear it for Glinda from the Wizard of Oz, everyone!”

    After speaking into the microphone, Mrs. Chadnick started the resurging applause.

    Mary-Sue skittered down the stage right steps among hoots and shouts of her name. Her glittering costume dimmed without the blazing lights, faint twinkles following her into the roped off section for contestants. She exchanged high-pitched squeals with her best friend Susan, for today Dorothy, and after an embrace, they held hands and perched on the edge of their seats.

    Barry noted their eyes on the stage and felt the rest of the audience targeting the same sight. The walkway remained empty, however, and he looked about expectantly for the next student. He stiffened in his coat, breeches, and buckled shoes when he saw only Ashton behind him. Another glance at the chairs confirmed the rest, including a Doctor Who Robot, Mt. Vesuvius, Wyatt Earp, and a Bengal tiger, had already performed.

    “And now,” said Mrs. Chadnick, “we have one of our founding fathers. Everyone please give Mr. Benjamin Franklin a warm welcome.”

    She beckoned and her hand’s urging seemed to take command of Barry’s feet. The light struck him in the face but the applause reminded him of his ingrained routine.

    …. Click here to read the rest and feel free to leave a comment.


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