Friday, January 27, 2012

Dream Chronicle 14: Second Place Champion


Alrighty guys so I don't really have a lot of news for you guys at the moment. However, I can say that the blog is currently working underground on something BIG, so be sure to keep your eye out. ;) Also, with the Super Bowl coming up, I will be writing a poem for the Super Bowl Champion, with it changing depending on the victor. (Though my money is on the Giants), so that will be posted either Sunday evening or tuesday evening.

Now, lastly, in order to get the community, I will allow all my viewers to choose what my next story/poem topic will be about. Just post a comment and I will choose one of the lucky readers topic and write either a poem or story on that topic. So be sure to comment! With that said, let;s get to today's post shall we?


Sweat was dripping down my face, and my body tight, I would periodically pull at my shirt collar. The others assigned to my table weren’t nearly as nervous as I was nor were they as pensive. I was lost in my own thoughts, denying every drink that was offered to me by one of the waiters on scene. All my thoughts were on this contest and the upcoming announcement of the victor. I was currently at the New York Times Annual Writing Contest Ceremony, where the top writer in each category would be announced, as well as the grand prize winner. I submitted a short story called, “The Second Place Gold Medalist”. If I won the grand prize, I would earn 10,000 dollars and finally gain a bit of recognition. I looked around Radio City Music Hall and at what had to be over a thousand people. Although there were over 500 participants, most of these people here were supporters for the participants. Except for an unfortunate few people, everyone had someone there who was there to cheer them on and give their support. I was one of the unfortunate few who were alone. The whole issue though was irrelevant, because very soon they would call my name for the grand prize winner. After another five minutes the host and special guest of this contest, Stephen King, stepped up on stage and walked over to a podium in the middle of the stage. He began to give his welcome speech yet all my mind could focus on was how my story came to be in the first place.

“… And the Texas Rangers will take down the St. Louis Cardinals for the 2013 World Series title!”

Everyone in the Sidney Street Café threw their hands up in unison; sadden to see their beloved Cardinals fall to the Texas Rangers. I was at the bar, drinking a Miller Lite that I obtained thanks to an inaccurate I.D. I ‘forgot’ to mention it was incorrect. I turned around and went back to drinking, but I could hear one fan screaming in victory. I turned around to let the man have it, but my friend beat me to it.

“Can it will you bud.” Kinser said.

“Forgive me for being happy that my team won.” The guy said.

“Did they?” Kinser asked.

“What do you mean did they win? Dude they just took you guys down in a seven games! Are you drunk bro?”

“Look around you; there isn’t a single Rangers fan in this room is there?”


“There is however tons of cards fans in this room. Hey Quinton, you remember 2011, Game 5 in the National League Divional Series against the Philadelphia Phillies?”

“Of course,” I said, “Chris Carpenter out-dueled pitching legend Roy Halladay, shocking the world and allowed the Cardinals to move on to take down division rival in the Brewers.”

“Hey Yogi, how about that 1981 year?” Kinser said.

“It’s simply the season our pitching legend Bob Gibson got into the hall of fame in his first year of eligibility Mr. Kinser.” Yogi said.

“Tell me about that 2006 season somebodyyyyyyyy!”

“It was the season that we won our 10th World Series, despite having the worst regular season record of any champion!” We all said simultaneously. The sole Rangers fan had taken a seat now.

“You see, a victory only means something if there is someone to share it with. Otherwise, what good if there is no one you can go to and say, ‘yo, remember when…’? What good does it do to win the gold medal when everyone just wants to see the next guy get the sliver? You can’t even see that no one ever cared whether your team could win, they just cared to see if the Cards would lose. The Rangers won the Series, but the Cards won the public ages ago.”

I watched on, taking every one of Kinser’s words to heart. I took a final sip of my illegal beverage, before the bartender gave me a hard glare.

“How old are you kid?” He asked. I flipped him a golden dollar.

“42.” I said, before I walked out of the bar with a new concept dominating my brain.

I shook myself awake just as King got around to announcing the names of each category winner. My category was ‘Short Story’, and most likely to be the last one on the list to be named. I had to win my category if I wanted to win the grand prize. I clasped my hands together and began to pray to a god that I don’t believe in.

“The screenplay winner is…. Without Reason by Samuel Morris!”

People at table near the front of the stage erupted in celebration.

“Please refrain from celebration until the end of the announcements.”

They all sat down in shame.

“The winner of the comic category… The 100-Gin Grill by Michael Harvey!”

The hall started to celebrate again, and Stephen King glared at them to cease action. After five minutes they did.

“The songwriter winner is… Midnight Sidestep Jose Cortex!” King said waiting for the celebration that never came before continuing, “The essay winner is… The Circulation by Lennox Zackary! The winner of the prose category is… Thoughtless by Terra Nova! The winner of the narrative category is… Enduring Hope and Instilling Compassion by Stephanie Pickles! The persuasive writing winner is… Apathy: America’s Shackles by Alexi Andrews!”

I began to grow anxious, knowing my category would be upon us in mere moments. I already cringe at the list of names on this list. Plenty were friends of mine long before this contest, and were great writers in their own right. I had very little reason to believe that I would beat Cameron in the short story category. My only shot was if he would win the poetry category, which would mean he couldn’t win the Short Story category. I licked my chops, awaiting the biggest 60 seconds of my life.

“The winner of the general admissions category is… Individuality by Amanda Samuels! The winner of the poetry category is… Memoirs of the Wise by Cameron Cooper!”

I gave a mighty fist pump, confusing those sitting across from me. I sat back down, smoothing out my jacket and putting up an indifferent façade.

“The winner of the short story category is… The Second Place Gold Medalist by Quinton Staten!”

Afterwards, the whole hall erupted into celebration, everyone celebrating their individual victories, and other consulting those who came up short. I simply grinned with satisfaction, but I still had a mighty obstacle in the way of my greater goal. Cameron may not have won the first prize in my category, but that’s simply because his poetry is out-of-this world. Jose and Michael were also fantastic in their respective category. I no longer could rely on a miracle to get me in. My heart raced even faster. Stephen King settled down the crowd, and prepared to call of the grand prize winner, which would be done by announcing the top three recipients and tell which one of them won.

“This was an extremely close year. We had to revote a total of ten times, with everyone tying for first place the at least once. Three guys tied for first the most however, from the short story, poetry, and songwriter categories, and only one of them was constantly placed in the top three. So, by a total of two votes, this year’s New York Times Annual Grand Prize Winner is… The Second Place Gold Medalist by Quinton Staten!”

The entire hall erupted in applause for me while I sat in my seat shell-shocked. I had to receive a tap from a man at my table to even rise to my feet. I slowly walked to the stage with screams surrounding me but I couldn’t hear a thing. Cameras flashing, watching as I crossed the stage where one of my biggest heroes, Chad Ochocinco, took his own historic steps. I shook hands with Stephen King himself, and he handed me an envelope and gold medal. I took them and we both posed for the cameras. I had finally earned my fifteen minutes of fame, clawed my way to the top of the world. Afterwards, everyone prepared to leave, and I went to gather my things. A few people would walk past me every now and then and congratulate me. I looked over towards Cameron and Jose, who were swarmed by reporters. I dipped over near Cameron, intrigued to hear what they were interrogating him so thoroughly about.

“What do you think about Mr. Staten’s miraculous upset of your piece of mastery?"

“I would say that it’s disrespectful to call it an upset. His piece was simply better then mine,” Cameron replied viciously.

“But you are surely twice the writer he is…”

I cut away, unable to bear what they were saying. I dipped towards the entrance, walking slowly enough to be approached by any of the reporters to be inquired for my victory. No, I simply wanted someone to share my victory with someone. Before I could exit the door, I was stopped by a single reporter.

“Excuse me I just wanted to say that I loved your piece today. You threw in a little shocker you did, but most of all you gave us a philosophical piece unlike any I have ever read.”

“Why thank you, it wasn’t originally meant to be actually,” I chuckled.

“Oh it definitely turned out to be a fantastic little essay,” The man laughed.

“Excuse me?” I said dumbfounded.

“The essay you wrote? That you came in fifth place with? Come on Lennox, I didn’t know you had a joking side to you,” The man patted me on the back still laughing.

I stared at the ground, and the man gave me a worried look. He stared at a photo he had and instantly realized his mistake.

“Oh I’m sorry Mr. Staten, you both are so similar. Well um, congrats on your victory!”

The man ran off to talk to find Lennox. I walked outside, taking the bus fare to the Hudson River Basin. While on the bus, I had multiple people ask what I had won the medal for and I told them it was for the New York Times Annual Writing Contest. Many of them asked if I got to meet Cameron and Jose or Terra and Amanda, and I told them I was close to all of them, promising to get autographs for them all.

When I made it to the Hudson River I stood on a bridge overhead. I stared at the bright crescent moon reflecting off the bleak, blue water. In the distance I could hear people talking about how shocked they were that Cameron and Jose lost the contest, never mentioning my own name. I took the gold medal from around my neck, heaving it into the river water before me. Soft, fluffy snow began to drizzle on me, as I bowed my head on the railing.

“Hey.” The voice of a little kid said to me. I looked over to see a little blond boy in New York Giants winter attire standing right next to me.

“Hey,” I responded.

“What did you throw that medal for?”

“It wasn’t really accurate of how I did.”

“What did you win the medal for?” He asked.

“A writing contest hosted by the New York Times.”

“Isn’t that the one that Cameron participated in?”

“The one and the same.”

“Wow! I heard he lost… and you got a medal!”


“What color?”


“What place is that?” he asked. I looked into his crystal blue eyes.

“Second place kid. Second place.” I said, patting him and his head, and I headed towards the airport.


~ Edited by Elizabeth, Logan, AAA

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