Winter took a deep breath as she peered down at the round oval pool in the middle of the brightly lit studio. Winter, a sophomore at Yazoo County Highschool felt herself on edge. She had been dragged into this little stunt by her fellow anime club members. The honey blonde girl, wore a simple pastel blue sundress, the light cotton dress hugged her body, and showed her every curve of her budding body.
A slight frown winkled her face as she peered down at the pool, from her vantage point, just three feet away from the surface, she could see the pool held at least a hundred or so gallons of thick slop. Instead of being one solid color, it seemed to a patchwork.
Orange and green seemed to swirl together. Patches of pink and yellow swirled together and flowed into the blocks of orange and lime green. Deep red colors formed toward the center. Her frown deepen as the fact dawned on her. All of that goo was for her, should she fail to answer a battery of three questions. Three random questions are all that stood between her and that horrible mixture.
Her musing was interrupted by a sudden female voice.
“Everything okay up there?” The voice asked, the voiced belong to a women, who looked to be around thirty. She had raven colored hair that reached down to her shoulder blades. She wore a simple midnight black dress that reached down to her knees. Three inch heel shoes completed her look.
“Yes..” Lied Winter as she turned her head to face the source of the voice. “Just thinking.” She added again, one could sense a hint of sourness in her voice.
“About what?” The voice came again.
Winter rolled her eyes. Before answering the women’s question.
“Personal matters.” Winter said in a flat tone of voice before reaching up, quickly she took a stay lock of her hair into her hand. Still frowning she started to play with the lose lock of hair.
“To each her own.” The women said rolling her shoulders. Being the host of the now popular local game show “Win or Drop” She had seen her fair share of people come and go. Some had won the small cash bounty of one thousand dollars. Others ended up taking a dip into the one hundred gallons of funk called by the crew and her the “Dip.”
“Just so you know, where going live in ten or so minutes.” She said grinning softy as she walked away, she needed a quick pre-show snack. And so giving Winter a good natured wink she stepped out of the halo of light cast by the bright stage lights that hung overhead.
Winter said nothing, she only watched her to pass into the shadows. Leaving her along with just her thoughts to her company. Shrugging her shoulders and looking down at the foul mixture that seemed to bubble under the blistering heat of the stage lamps. A heat that could only be compared the hottest, sultriest of days of August. Steeling herself she started to ponder the events that had lead to her being here. It had been in sheer jest she had sent a email off to production crew stating that she had always wanted to get messy on T.V and that she was willing to roll the dice.
When she pushed the “Enter” key, the thought there was a million in one chance that she would selected. After all how many Emails, Letters, Write ins poured into there office on a weekly bases. And not just from Mississippi mind you, Winter was sure that viewers from Arkansas and Louisiana also wrote in. But providence had somehow seen it fit to have her one mail selected. And so one week from the date of sending the email off. A small cream colored envelope arrived at her mothers P.O box. The letter had been to addressed to one “Miss Winter Mari Bell.” That was the first line, the second line was “P.O Box 1289” And the third and final line was “Yazoo City, MS, 39194.”
Upon opening the envelope, she found letter detailing everything. At the end of the letter, she found attached a train ticket, it seemed Amtrak was one sponsors of the show, since they had agreed to give her a around trip ticket from there request stop in Yazoo City, to Union Station in downtown Jackson. Along with the train tickets, she found a voucher for a local hotel and a few meal tickets.
Now, twenty four hours later, she found herself perched above the bubbling pool. Her face twisted again as she peered toward its bubbling surface, big green air bubbled to the surface, giving her the twisted appearance that the thing was alive. Her musing was interrupted by women returning.
“Okay Winter, where live in..” The women called out to her. She then started the count down, first holding up five fingers, then four, then three, then two and finally one. And then from behind one of the cameras, a stagehand called out. “Where rolling.”
“Welcome, welcome all.” The women said smiling softy. “I’m the host with the most, the stunning Erin and joining me with me, is the lovely little southern belle Winter who has traveled from Yazoo City to be with us tonight.” She said smiling as she pointed upward toward Winter.
Smiling softy the young girl offered a little wave from her perch.
“As you can tell.” Erin said smiling softy as she peered again toward the camera. “Are lovely one has already taken her perch above the goo of doom. Also she dressed to the nines as well.” Erin quickly added with a small wink.
Winter blushed a little as she waved down from her perch. Her blush only grew deeper when the fact that millions of people across a three or four state area. And there was no telling how many people would be recording this show to later upload to social media sites. Quickly she took a deep breath to steady herself.
“How’s the view from up there darling?” Called out Erin as she strolled over to the ramp. Erin loved playing with the feeling of her host. She took great pleasure in drawing them out of there shell or making them wiggle like a worm who had been hooked onto a fisherman’s hook.
“Pretty good.” Winter said blushing as she started to play with the helm of her dress.
“Wonderful, lets hope you can keep that view. Now for those just tuning in for the first time, let me tell you a little about this game.” Started Erin as she strolled away from the ramp and toward the center of the stage.
“The rules are simple. I’m going to ask Winter a series of ten questions. For every correct answer she gets. A cash bounty of one hundred dollars will earned. For every wrong answer though, we’ll where going to crank that little girl up a peg.” A wicked little grin crossed Erin’s face as she paused to let the tension build a little. Slowly she shifted her eyes toward the girl perched just above the slop. She was still playing with the helm of her dress, no doubt to keep those butterflies at bay.
“Five incorrect answer’s and its straight into the dip with her.” Erin said finally after a good minute or so had passed. “And let me tell you ladies and gentleman. It smells just as bad as it looks.” She said winking a little as she turned her eyes toward Winter.
Winter blushed and slowly she started to sweat drop.
“Okay Question number one.” Erin said reaching for a small stack of small cards. “Winter dear, going on the questionnaire you filled out, it seems your two favorite book series are ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Wheel of Time’ so with that in mind. Are writers have whipped up a series of ten questions based on those two book series.” Erin said as she looked down at the first question.
Winter nodded her head in understanding.
“Okay your first question my dear. How does one get to platform nine and three quarters?” Erin Asked.
A small smile crossed winters face.
“Oh that easy, all you gotta do is go between platform nine and ten at King’s cross station. A charm will then transport you to platform’s nine and three quarters.” She said with a smug look upon her face.
“Correct, that’s one hundred dollars for you.” Erin said, she then turned toward the camera closet to her. “Also, I would like to add, that Winter gets to keep all the prize money she won. So even if she goes into the dip, she’ll be walking away with as it stands right now, one hundred dollars.”
Winter could not help but smile a little at the news.
“Okay question, who was the Harry Potter actress who was slime during the two thousand and six super bowl?” Erin said smiling a little.
Winter blinked and blinked again as she peered toward Erin. Gently she rolled her shoulders as she muttered softy under her breath. “I don’t know.” She said pouting softy as she waited for the correct answer to be reveled.
“Oh sorry dear,” Erin said flipping to the next question. “Emma Watson was the answer we where looking for.”
A soft blush colored Winters face as she felt the chair she was sitting upon move up to a point marked “Number One”.
“Charming.” Erin said grinning like a cat about to pounce on a bird. “Four more to go darling and you’ll be taking a swim in are lovely pool.” And with that she cleared her throat and read the next question.
“When released stateside, the original title of the first potter book was changed to ’Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s stone’ Give us the original title of the book please.” Erin asked, still smiling.
Winter blinked and blinked again. Quickly she started to rack her brain for the answer. She knew the answer, she was sure she did. But her latest setback had caused her to doubt herself. And maybe she’ll happy with just one hundred dollars.
“I think it was.. ’Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.” She said smiling a little. Taking a deep breath she crossed herself as she waited judgment.
Erin frowned a little and shook her head.
“I was hoping to crank you up again, but it seems that you are correct. Add another one hundred dollars to your total score dear.” She said going to the next question.
“Next Question.” Erin said quickly moving onto the next question. “Name the year that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone was published in the United Kingdom.” Erin said, there was a hopeful twinkle in her eyes as she waited to see if the little Belle would get the answer right or not. She wanted to crank her up again.
Winter froze. Frowning a little she gently rolled her shoulder. Slowly she bite down upon her bottom lip as she peered toward Erin, who was standing in the center of the spotlight. A deep blush colored her face as she started to rack her brain once more. Her thinking progress was derailed though when women came onto stage. She wore a simple white shirt that was bore the words “Stage Crew” in bold black letters on the back. The women then whispered something into Erin’s ears.
“Okay, okay.” Erin said to the stage hand. “Yes I do understand, thank you dear heart.” Once the stage hand had left the stage, Erin turned her full attention toward Winter. A small little smile graced her face.
“First let me have your answer.” She said. “Then I’ll fill you in on that little talk, it might work out for the best. Or it might send you to a early doom and smelly gloom.” She teased a little.
Winter shook her head and pouted as her chair was moved up another level. Once the chair came to a rest. Winter shifted her view toward Erin. Right now she was three questions away from a very smelly end.
“Sorry about that. The answer was 1997.” She said smiling a little as she peered toward the pouting girl. “Because it seems something big is going down and NewsChannel21 is cutting into are time.” She paused to build a sense of drama. “So this next question will decided if you get six hundred dollars cash money. Or if you go into the dip!”
Winter did not trust herself to speak, so she only nodded her head a little as she waited for the final question to be reveled.
“For six hundred dollars and the win.” Erin said smiling softy. “Robert Jordon, author and mastermind behind the ‘Wheel of Time’ earned what decorations in Vietnam War?”
Winter blinked and blinked again before putting on a cute little pout. “I’m honesty not sure. I’ve only read ’Eye of the World’, ’The Great Hunt’, ’The Dragon Reborn’, and ’The Shadow Rising’.” She said gently rolling her shoulders.”
“We’ll then.” Erin said smiling a little as she watched Winter being pulled to the very top of the ramp, swiftly she moved past check point number three, then number four passed in the blink of a eye and finally number five. Once she reached the very top a loud metal click was heard.
“Now Winter, before we send you into the slime. Do you have any last words? Anything you’ll like to say to the viewers at home?” Erin asked as she wrapped her hands around the trigger that would send the seat flying down the ramp.
Blushing like a bride at the alter. Winter took a deep breath and said. “I would like to thank you guys for having me. I would also like to give a shout out to my cousin Susan Elizabeth Bell! And all my peeps at Yazoo County Highschool!” She called out grinning like a fool.
“I’m sure your going to be the talk of the town after this.” Erin stated as she wrapped her fingers around the trigger. Once her fingers where wrapped around the trigger she gave it a good pull.
Winter closed her eyes as she felt the chair come to live again. Shutting them even tighter she felt the chair starting to move down the ramp, a second later, she found herself being tossed into the air, and the next thing she knew, she was under the gunge. Her world became one huge swirl of yellow and pink, orange and blue. Quickly she broke the surface of the muck. Tossing her hair back she tried in vain to look around her. She then noticed a little rumbling over head. Action on her natural curiosity she looked up, only to greeted with a face full of thick, greenish slime that rained down.
A girlish screamed escaped her lips as she felt her face get covered with the thick greenish slime. It took a minute but soon she had collected herself enough to wade from the center of the pool onto the stage. A grinning host was there to offer her a helping hand.
“You’ve been a wonderful sport darling.” Erin said helping her up. “A big round of applause for are little southern belle!” She requested as she hauled the mock soaked teen from the pit and onto the stage.
Still smiling, Winter stood there as droplets of gunge dripped from her dress and from her coated and matted hair. The sound deafening sound of a hundred pairs of hands, applauding her filled the air amid a dozen or so good natured cat calls. Blushing a little, Winter did the only thing she could think of. She offered a curtsey.