Wheel of Fortune

It was the final round of the game. For more than twenty years, no contestant has ever reached this far. For the quick second that the announcer called the advancing of the contestant, the entire studio audience closed their mouths. Even the little ones knew the importance of this. Just one small second before pandemonium erupted and the stands stood up and yelled, mostly cheers of congratulations, albeit a couple of jeering insults.

The contestant was sweating. He remembered watching this show as a child, being excited when someone was about to win and the overwhelming disappointment when he’d lose. He held his mic, feeling a tinge of static as the sparks from the mic got into contact with the sweat in his hands. He stared into the faceless mass of the audience. He barely thought of the alternative as he shouted, “Game na!”

A fully naked male model came up to him. The announcer made a joke about how models before used to at least wear clothes to facilitiate a pretense of decorum. With a smile made possibly only through surgery, the model gave a small package to the contestant before leaving. (He had to do a short dance when he got back.)

The contestant unwrapped the package. Even though he knew what was inside, the sight of steel made him shudder. Even though the audience had heard of the final round, everyone craned their neck to see what was actually inside. Pushing and shoving, although mildly frowned upon, had to occur.

The announcer came forward to help the contestant. He had to fix the instrument, make sure everything was properly loaded and, more or less, for all intents and purposes, good to go. He smiled insincerely and wished the contestant good luck. God knows how much everyone needed it.

Gun in his hand, the contestant closed his eyes. Everyone started a countdown. Ten, nine, eight. Gun in his mouth. Seven, six, five. Is it an empty cartridge? Is it loaded? He thought he tasted gunpowder. Four, three, two. The million peso jackpot or never seeing Jack and Anna and Marga again? One.




THIS IS THE TAROT CHALLENGE, a 78-day writing challenge where everyday I pick out a random card from my tarot deck and write something about, against, inspired by, based on the card by the day’s end. The works can range from poetry to fiction to drama. When the card is from the major arcana, the title of the work should be the card name. When the card is from the minor arcana, the title can be different but the card drawn should be revealed at the end.