How a new holiday made the one called Christmas disappear. (Pretty Pesky Prompts Dec win)
“How’d you get so famous?”
I pushed the snarky reporter’s mic away. In spite of all the media attention, I wasn’t prepared for the social media blitz Amanda Day had caused. “It happened by accident,” I replied.
My mind took me back before December 25th and all the feverish celebration which had changed my life. The crowd pushing and shoving me seemed to disappear. I was transported back, back to that WDC contest where the holiday that took over the world had its birth.
Sure I was a Quill nominee so I wasn’t just another tree in the forest. “Watch it bud. That’s a new entry to the contest you just stepped on.” I stopped reminiscing long enough to use my taekwondo martial arts to take the creep out. No one messes with my ‘Pesky Polly’ writing contest.
“Hmm, an entry by BobTurn. I’ll read it later.” It only took a moment to wipe the dirty footprint off his manuscript and tuck it in with the other paperwork. What had that old December 25th holiday been anyway? Something about presents, I think. That part had been left in the new one as part of the pageantry.
“Where was I? Ah yes. How this all started.” I hardly had time to think what with the Late Night show interview, being on the cover of TIME magazine, and dealing with millions of fawning fans here in China.
I pushed the makeup guy away. The celebrity life can make you lose your soul if you let it. I’ve always just wanted to be myself. That’s the only secret I offer to the world. It sure simplifies things. I stopped thinking about the past, adjusted my shoelaces and began talking about it once more.
“There were a lot of rumors about this new Holiday and why we hold it this particular day. The one about saving the world from nuclear destruction is the wildest one. I had little to do with that other than making it a contest writing prompt a few months back. Isn’t it amazing how these prompts of mine seem to start a blitz of online caring and problem-solving.”
“What’s not to love about that?” The limousine was waiting. I got in gearing myself up for the walk on the red carpet to tell the world who this special contest winner was. The golden crown sparkled with all the jewels embedded within it. The winner would only wear it for a year but it had been amazing the good each did with the corporate donations and gifts they received. The new children’s hospital in Dubai really touched my heart one of last year’s winners made possible.
I flashed a smile and waved at the cameras. Fireworks exploded into the air to the backdrop of my favorite classical music. Someone had figured out I still liked listening to the Jiangnan sizhu ensemble made popular in the 1920’s so I stopped to listen and sign autographs.
“Being made an international holiday leaves one with no privacy.” I shook my head, still getting used to that part of the festivities. I longed for the simpler days when my online friends and I judged not yet famous, simple writers for their work on the Writers.com website where my once humble contest was now flooded with famous authors bidding for the winning entry.
Paper fluttered from my ornate dress to the ground. A security guard swept it up preparing to throw it away. “I’ll take that.” A glance had shown me BobTurn’s manuscript had slipped into the folds of my gown instead of back in the pile of entries waiting for my attention. Why did fate keep reminding me of him? I’d never met him before nor ever heard of him. “Here. My media people will take care of this.”
So many requests for money, reviews of terrible novels, you wouldn’t believe what people throw at you when you’re rich and famous. I’d had to hire my own flank of guards, accountants, media representatives, and more just to keep my head above the water. It’s not all champagne and roses being the most popular person in the world, let me tell you.
There she was. This month’s winner waiting to trade hugs and kisses with me. I took my time walking up steps to the stage. For her, this was the best moment of her life. For me? It was just another duty to perform on Amanda Day.
Next year I’d decided already what I wanted to do. Take a private holiday from Amanda Day. I’d have my media people do a contest of Amanda look-a-likes and hire one of them to be me for a year, maybe even become my successor. I was already turning into some kind of god figure from religions rising up. Death threats were becoming more common as I failed to assign one religion over another as being the only true one.
But that would be next year. This year I had my duty to perform. I walked up and traded bows with the waiting international authority figures basking in the reflection of my fame. It was officially ‘Amanda Day 2017’ and time to crown Arakun the Twisted Raccoon for her "Buttons" as the International Amanda Award winner of the year. It felt wonderful to see a local gal make good.