The busy stress of the last week of school was lightened when a student let me read a story she'd written—a send-up of The Hunger Games. I had to fight to keep myself from laughing aloud several times, since students were working on final exams.
She's given me permission to post it here and share the joy. I'll post each part separately over the next week or so.
(Remember, this is by a teenage student. Any nasty comments will suffer instant death.)
And so, I give to you...
The Hunger Pangs
Part One: Wicked Bieber
Today is the day of the Reaping, and my sister, Nessarose, just had a nightmare. She hates the day of the Reaping.
“Katnip! I just had the same nightmare of when the Hamburgers are chasing me!” Nessarose screeches.
“For the last time, Nessa, they are called Hamburjays, not hamburgers!” I correct her. Sheesh, she can be so stupid sometimes, but I love her dearly. She starts rolling her wheelchair towards me.
“Whatever!” She rams me with her wheelchair, but I just shoot an arrow at her foot. “Ow!”
“Shut up!” I snap at her.
“Children!” my mother interrupts. “I swear, you two are the loudest pair in District 12! Katnip, did you go hunting with Gale?” She struggles against her straightjacket, but she can’t take it off. The doctors have told her to wear it ever since my dad died in a coal mine accident.
“Yes, Mother. I got a whole squirrel and two strawberries for the family. Gale took the deer and the bucket of blackberries,” I answer. Gale Rawthorne is my best friend who I go hunting with all the time. He is eighteen and two years older than I am.
“Wonderful! Now, let’ go to the Reaping.” So we head out the door, not bothering to dress up for it. I have my long, brown hair in a loose braid, and my sister has hers in a braid, too. We are both dressed in our blue school uniforms and mother in her straightjacket. We get to the square where they announce the contestants for the annual Hunger Pangs, a contest where a boy and girl from each of the twelve districts in the continent of Painem fight to the death until there is only one person left, who is the winner. The winner gets riches while the rest of the continent is left to their hunger pangs. Food is scarce on this continent, and almost everybody is poor except for the people who live in the Crapitol, where the government is.
“Happy Hunger Pangs!” Eiffie Trinket screeches from underneath her grim reaper costume. “And may the odds be ever in your favor! Ladies first.” She steps toward the Bingo wheel and pulls out a numbered ball. Kids from the age of 12 to 18 are required to compete in the Hunger Pangs, and each kid basically fills out BINGO and a free space as they get older. Twelve-year-olds just get a free space, and eighteen-year-olds get a full BINGO and a free space. I’m 16, so I have a free space and BIN. Nessa only has a free space since she’s 12. My friend Gale, though, is 18 so he has acquired a full BINGO and a free space.
“Free space 42,” Eiffie announces. A man gives her a piece of paper with a name. “Nessarose Evergreen.”
“What?!” I cry out. Nesa starts pushing her wheelchair towards the stage.
“Take her place, Katnip, you have a better chance than Nessa,” my mother frantically whispers in my ear. Nice to know my mom loves me.
“Wait!” I scream. “I’ll take Nessarose’s place.”
“Yes!” Nessa squeals. Well, don’t try to stop me, Nessa, I think.
“Why, yes, you’re her sister Elphaba, right?” Eiffie solicits. My skin is an evergreen color, and people still confuse me with Elphaba since my sister’s name is Nessarose.
“No, I am not from that damn play ‘Wicked!’ My name is Katnip Evergreen,” I inform her. “And no, I do not defy gravity!” They always ask that.
“Oh. Sorry! Next, our male contestant is I-56.” A man comes over to give her a paper. “Pita Hellark!” I know that kid from school; god, I hate his singing. I prepare for an onslaught of Justin Bieber songs.
“Baby, baby, baby, ooooooooooh! Thought you’d always be mine!” Pita sings.
Yep, the Hunger Pangs have begun.
* * * * *
Stay tuned for Part Two: Oooh! Burn!