Writing Practice, May 13, 2015
“Can I have a minute to think about it?” He asked with sweat, more sweat than anyone but a perverted god could know. Wells, as his friends and boss called him, had spun the wheel. He’d won this contest with guile, luck, etc., and the cameras broadcast on a ten second delay to people thirsty for catharsis. He had a scrape on his knee from a scuffle in the second round. He’d thankfully remembered some grammar rules during the first. And now he was here, in front of the bloody huge wheel.
The game show host, festooned in a ghastly garment of prom blue and neon yellow, holding the thinnest microphone technology could concoct, smiled like a maniac in love. “Let’s put sixty seconds on the clock for our winner.”
This was the signal for a commercial break. Even though four minutes of ads would play, Wells still only had one. He knew what would happen. He’d been prompted by an intern backstage about all the options. To even appear on the show, he had to sign more papers than he did for his mortgage.
He knew going in that not all options on the wheel were easy choices. That was the whole idea: Present the winner with a real opportunity, at a real cost.
But Jesus Christ, he really thought it was going to land on new car. All he had to do there was get into an accident–on live television–with his old one, and total it. He would be allowed to wear protective gear, and it was somehow legal (though how was any of this legal? How did this game get so much pull?)
But the wheel landed on Family. It was one of the toughest choices on the wheel, and one of the strangest ones to watch. The premise, which he’d spent the last thirty seconds of his remaining sixty tumbling in his mind, was devilishly simple. If he accepted the prize, Wells would win many millions. But it would go to his husband and children. Wells would have to say goodbye to them, and really to everyone in his life. The game would move him somewhere, and it would be illegal for him to ever contact anyone he knew. The goodbyes made for award winning television, though the network never really named the awards.
Wells knew this was one of the things on the wheel.