Friday Fast Fiction: The Booth


DSC_0224 - Copy (2)When Fred was selected to be on one of the most popular game shows on TV, he assumed he’d do well. He studied game shows carefully and he prided himself on his ability to beat all TV contestants from his living room sofa.

The format was simple. Three contestants, each positioned in a sound proof booth, were asked the same question. A panel of three judges decided who gave the best answer. If a contestant won three rounds, he or she took home $50,000.

When Fred finally stood inside the booth he’d seen countless times on TV, he was struck by how the glare of studio lights made it difficult to see the set. And the air flow in the booth was minimal, adding to his heavy perspiration woes. Finally, the host’s voice was tinny and far away, not deep and clear. There was no remote to turn up the volume.

“Fred, are you ready?”

He hesitated, having lost his focus to all the negative conditions of being inside a booth.

“Okay,” he said.

“Fred, give me seven reasons why you would return seven pounds of ice to the store where the ice was purchased. You have one minute.”

He wanted to put ice on his head—that was five seconds. He’d never bought ice—another ten seconds. By the time the buzzer sounded, he managed one response: “I don’t need it.”

Fred never watched another TV game show; instead, he took up oil painting. A year later his rendering of melting ice cubes won a blue ribbon at the State Fair.

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