Litkicks Message Board Archive
Manic War and Obseesion
It started in a gas station. This maddening war began in a nearby Citgo, getting gas for my 96 Chevy Impala. I wanted a snack for the ride home. I searched around the small gas station fort something sweet, and inviting. I found it in a bag of king-size skittles. The package had this cute little design and they had a prize contest going on. Find the missing pieces to spell “skittles” and you could win $950 in cash. I couldn’t help but thinking what clear marketing schemes these companies come up with. Little did I know. I had just begun a small war between me, and the prize contest world.
I walked out the gas station to pump unleaded into my tank, and tossed the tasty, multi-colored candies onto my seat. To get the prize, you had to cut off the game piece, and peel back the first layer. I’d have to wait till I finished them off for that. It didn’t take long. By the time I’d made it home, and tossed off my shoes to settle in on the couch, the bag had a mere six left. I poured them out and gobbled them eagerly, and tossed the bag aside, forgetting the prize. I watched a good kung fu flick, and two T.V shows before I moved from my comfortable spot on the couch, and that was only to throw the forgotten bag away, and to whip up a ham, turkey and cheese sandwich for the rest of my sitting. I’d planned on watching another good movie before I hopped on the net to research for my term paper that was due in to the Prof. in five days. Once my masterpiece sandwich was finished, and I had a grabbed my bag of chips, and bottle of JD’s Hard cola, I picked up the empty skittles bag to toss it.
That’s when I saw it. That’s when I remembered the prize. Grabbed a pair of scissors from the drawer and cut off the game piece. I was expecting to see one of those “sorry, please try again” labels, but instead, joy. The first letter to the puzzle. I had the S. I felt invigorated. Me, who had only once won a free 20 oz Coke in her entire life had started on her way to $950. I could hardly contain myself. With a wide grin, and a new feeling of contentment, I safely put the S away in my pencil box, and Took my goodies to the couch to enjoy the movie. I had silently decided that whenever I needed a snack, it was going to be skittles. I was going to spell out that word, and get that $950. That was two months rent, and dinner for a night.
All during “Ed Wood”, I kept thinking back to that happy little S in the pencil box, in the kitchen. It was going to give me some quick relief. I was filled with this unconfined excitement, and suprisingly enough, for the first time in 11 years of being a dedicated fan, forgot about Johnny Depp being on TV. I went back into the kitchen, and took the S out, paranoid that I’d open it and my beautiful S would be gone. There it lay, same as it had been. I closed the box and carried it with me back into the living room. I felt then need to protect it. After all… it was step one to a large amount of money. While the movie finished, and all through my research, the box stayed at my side, and t night, it lay quietly on my bedside table, there for me when I woke up in the morning to get ready for work.
It was there, just the same, when I got back, and sat on the kitchen counter in front of me, while I sat on my stool and worked on my paper. And when I went outside again for another snack run. I bought three packs of those skittles, to increase the odds of my finding more letters. Turned out that when I got home, they were all S.I was infuriated. How could they do this to me? That wasn’t supposed to happen. I was supposed to go in there and find at least o9ne more letter. No way in hell was I going to go to bed tonight with four stupid game pieces with S on them. I got back up, and rushed out to Jewels. I got four packs this time. It was a nice, even number. There was no way I’d lose. This was a new location, and I had one more bag than last time. I was a shoe-in.
Sure enough, two S’s an I and an L. It was by far the best thing to happen to me since I’d found the S. I put the I and the L into the pencil box with the S and felt secure that I’d find the other 5 sooner than later. How wrong was I. The next two weeks were filled with I’s L’s and S’s galore. It was as if there was no other letter in town. Words could not describe my devastation, and my anger, But I was not giving up. No way was I giving up. There had to be another goddamned letter somewhere in Chicago, and I swore to myself I was going to find it. But my next letter in fact, came from Indiana. I’d gone out to visit some relatives, and had gotten gas from Mobil. There, in the third bag, after the L and the S, was a K. My hope was restored.
It looked like I was headed straight for that $950. No one was going to beat me to it. I watched the news faithfully each night, to make sure no one had collected the prize. After two months, I was closer than I’d ever been. I only needed the two T’s to complete it. This was when my world came tumbling down. More than 40 bags of king-sized skittles, lots of cutting, and disappointment, and I turned on the news and heard nothing of the skittle contest. Instead, a fellow classmate and I were chatting about finances.
“Yeah, all I’d need would be a couple hundred, and I’d be alright. But I can’t seem to save that much in enough time. I wish I’d been the one to win that skittles contest instead of that woman.”
My heart sank. It wasn’t possible. It just WAS NOT possible. That prize had my name on it from the first day in the Citgo. I’d saved, and sweated and wasted money on al those bags of rainbow-colored, fatteners, and I wasn’t the one shouting up and down how I’d won. Not now. Not after being a mere two letters away. It just wasn’t possible.
“D-did you say that someone won the skittles contest?”
“Yeah. They announced it at about noon. Right before class started. Some old woman in Tulsa.”
It couldn’t be possible. I raced out the building and hopped in my car. I could give a rat’s ass about my next class. Nine hundred and fifty bucks was at stake. I was going to watch the television, and it wasn’t going to tell me that someone else had actually won that prize money. It wasn’t going to tell me anything besides there same shit it had always been telling me. Kids getting killed of kidnapped. The government fucking up. High gas prices. And some goddamned terrorist attacks. I didn’t give a fuck about that just then. Nothing mattered but that prize money. I knew I had won it. It was all mine. All I needed was the last two letters. I knew I’d get them, and that my classmate was obviously mistaken. That prize money was mine, just like it always has been.
“In other news today… 55 year old… westside of Chicago… yesterday afternoon… Parkside apartments, president bush… NATO troops… and of course we’re all buzzing in Tulsa, where 33 year old Emma Damson won the $950 skittles contest.”