The Contest

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: All Star Story Writers

Chapter 4 (v.1) - THE WISH LIST

Submitted: October 13, 2016

Reads: 242

Comments: 2

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Submitted: October 13, 2016

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“I hear the speed dating event was a disaster,” Mum said without looking up, tapping away furiously on her lap-tab, preparing menus for the day ahead.

Throwing my college bag on the floor, I slumped down. “To be honest, I feel relieved it turned out to be such a nightmare, because if I had liked one of them, he would probably have been put off by our lifestyle,” I said, deliberately trying to sound negative.

“I’m not with you there,” Eemay, she replied distractedly, her eyes glued to the screen, reading intently.

“Well, for a royal family, we’re not exactly rolling in money are we? Didn’t Pop tell you they were all impostors out to grasp an opportunity to meet a wealthy princess?”

“Oh, I see, well, why don’t you try one of those on-line dating web sites instead?”

“Mum, have you heard a word I’ve just said?”

“I’m sorry dear, but I have menus to prepare for the bistro. Why don’t you make yourself useful for a while, and I’ll catch up with you later. I know they could use some help in the produce shop.”

I heaved my heavy bag over my shoulder. “I’ll see you later then,” I said, walking towards the door, which Pop suddenly burst through like a whirlwind, almost knocking me over.

He went straight over to the cabinet, picked up a mug and poured himself some coffee. “I’ve been thinking. We need to be smarter, take a more precise and clever approach,” he declared, before taking a swig of coffee.

“What are you hatching now?” I asked.

“I suggest we send a cymail to every suitable single prince listed in the Royal Realms Register, inviting them to your birthday ball, and offering each one the opportunity to take part in a Contest to become your prince charming.”

“What!” I screeched, almost choking.

His suggestion even succeeded in getting Mum’s attention. She looked up, her eyes as round as saucers. “What’s all this about a Contest?”

“Just hear me through,” he urged. “The ‘precise’ part will involve finding out exactly what you’re looking for in your prince, so they can be perfectly matched to you. To enter The Contest, each prince will be required to complete a multiple-choice questionnaire, based on your exact requirements.”

“Right,” I said, beginning to panic.

“For example, should you want someone who, like yourself, enjoys horse-riding then it would make sense to find out if horse-riding is a hobby they share with you!”

To demonstrate, he picked up a pen and a blank sheet of paper, and began writing furiously.

When he had finished, he pushed the paper over the desk towards me. “OK, here’s an example, what do you think?”

I picked it up and read carefully . . .

Which of the following applies to you?  (Tick one answer only)

1.I occasionally go horse riding for pleasure

2.I regularly go horse riding for pleasure

3.Horse riding is definitely something I would like to try

4.Horse riding does not really appeal to me

 

“Emmy, knowing you as I do, then clearly answer (2) would be the closest match to you, which would score 3 points.

Answer (1) would score 2 points, answer (3) 1 point, and answer (4) 0 points.

The contestants with the highest score, will be those most closely matched to you. This is just one example, what else are you looking for?”

I hadn’t really given it much thought, but had to say something. “Well I can tell you what I don’t want … no impostors, no bad habits, no lazy layabouts and definitely no stinkers.”

My parents both began to smile, when Mum suddenly interrupted, raising an index finger in the air. “This is all very clever, but I also think your questionnaire is quite flawed. You see most of them will probably lie and tick the answers they think will impress her the most.”

“Ah my dear, that’s where the ‘clever’ part comes in. I will design a cyber-programme capable of analysing and scoring each completed questionnaire, but more importantly, I will also incorporate a lie detection programme, able to identify any false answers.”

By now, I was getting genuinely worried.

“If you let me have a final list of everything you are looking for in your prince, I will design the questionnaire, and to make it even more interesting, I suggest we put the names of all the highest scoring contestants into a hat, for you to randomly pick out three names at your eighteenth birthday ball. We will then have our top three princes.”

“Franklin, you never cease to amaze me,” Mum said, her eyes glowing with pride.

This was seriously clever of Pop, sending me into a full blown panic. So I went straight to my room to phone Pen.

“The trouble is Pen, I think this could work,” I said, after filling her in with all the details.

“Do you want it to?”

“Well, no … um, maybe … Oh, I don’t know!”

“Emm, this is really exciting and it would definitely liven up your birthday bash. What have you got to lose? It doesn’t matter whether it works or not, you don’t have to actually marry one of them if don’t want to.”

“So, you think it’s a good idea?”

“Definitely! It’s a fantastic idea. You’ve just got to find out if your father can pull this off. If he does, he could make a fortune.”

“I’m still not sure. You know I don’t like being the centre of attention.”

“This is going to be one of the most exciting nights of your life. What’s not to like?”

“Maybe you’re right.”

“I know I’m right, so get on with it. See you tomorrow at college.”

I sat down at my lap-tab. What exactly would I look for in my perfect prince?

It was obvious we would need to share common interests, but thinking about it, in certain respects, someone who is the exact opposite might be what I actually need. Although I hide it well, I’m naturally quite shy, so someone with a more confident, outgoing personality might be good for me.

I’m always being told that I’m too serious, and have even been accused of being snooty and sharp, which I found unbelievable and upsetting at the time. But the truth is, in trying so hard to cover up my shyness, I can sometimes unwittingly come over as a real brat. So perhaps someone with a more relaxed outlook on life with a good sense of humour, might help me to chill out.

Then there’s my lack of organisational skills. Oh, I do try, but I’m hopeless. Although I usually get my assignments in on time, I work in a state of chaos and can never find anything. I’m always having to ask Pen for copies of timetables, and assignment topics. Then there’s my bedroom, which is an absolute bomb site, so I could use some help in that area too.

I would like to be able to say that appearance is not important, but have to admit (oh the shame of it), that I could never even think of having a relationship with someone I didn’t fancy. So he would have to be handsome, smart and tall, which shouldn’t be too difficult bearing in mind I am only just over five feet tall.

Another confession I have to make is my addiction to reality TV. Then there’s my passion for interactive games and social networking sites. I’m also known for lengthy phone calls, so I suppose he would need to have a tolerant nature.

With my ideas starting to take shape, I then made a start on my ‘wish list’ …

1.Must be a genuine prince (no liars or pretenders)

2.Handsome, smart and fit (no porkers)

3.Between 18 - 22 years of age

4.Fussy about personal hygiene (definitely no stinkers)

5.No nasty habits, in particular . . .

•No shameless loud belchers or farters

•No nose pickers (disgusting)

•No nail biters (filthy habit)

•No toenail pickers (revolting)

•No drunkards (unbearable)

•No smokers (foul cigarette breath is just soo gross)

6.Enjoys horse riding (confident rider preferred)

7.An animal lover (particularly horses and dogs)

8.Hard-working and career minded (definitely no scroungers or lazy layabouts)

9.Naturally well organized and methodical (but not obsessive)

10.Believes happiness and personal fulfilment is more important than wealth and possessions (not the other way round!)

11.Confident and out-going

12.Sociable, keen to make new friends and a regular user of social networking sites (Pacebook and Jotter)

13.Enjoys all types of music and dancing (keeps up with all the latest dance crazes)

14.Enjoys reality TV programmes such as . . .

•Fame Factory

•Strictly Canine Dancing

•Skate for your Life

•Celebrity Squatters

•Jungle Fever

15.Patient (no huffing or puffing) of time I spend on . . .

•Goggle++

•Instasnap

•Grouvie (Group videos and messages)

•Nethat (Needit/Have it)

16.Above all, must be loyal and never cheat (I’m soo unforgiving)

 

I quickly printed off a copy and went over to the produce shop, where I knew Pop was working.

It was frantically busy, and he looked extremely harassed, wrestling breathlessly with a heavy sack of freshly picked carrots, which he proceeded to empty into a large crate.

“Ah, Emmy, just the girl, have you come to help out? Those blueberries and strawberries need to be sorted into punnets.

I picked up a punnet and began filling it with strawberries. “I actually came to give you a copy of my list,”

“I'm sorry, Emmy, but I'm far too busy to deal with it at the moment, just leave it on my desk and I'll have a look when I've got more time.”

When I had finished sorting the fruit, I went over to his study. As expected, the top of his enormous, ancient wooden desk was covered in piles upon piles of paper, some having slipped off the edge, littering the floor. I cleared a space and left my list, which I knew he would lose, because I would do the same!


© Copyright 2020 Sue Harris. All rights reserved.

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