This week’s sandbox assignment was an exercise in writing our characters. We had to take a main character (or characters) from our novella, and write them on a TV show. I decided to send Jairus and Abihail to Wheel of Fortune. Enjoy!
“Never in a million years,” called out the man standing by his son to Jairus’ left. The audience clapped, and letters blinked into the blank white boxes on the large screen.
“What does that mean, Daddy?” Abihail whispered in Jairus’ ear.
Jairus shook his head blankly, and whispered back, “I don’t know, Abbi. I think it’s an American phrase, because Mr. Sajack said the category was ‘Phrases’.”
His daughter mouthed a tacit, “Oh.”
Now, the host, Mr. Pat Sajack, was approaching the father and son team who had just guessed the puzzle. “So, Dan and Tyler, how about that? You won $1,850 on your first round!”
“Yeah, I know! I’m feelin’ good,” nodded Dan, the father.
“What about you, buddy?” Mr. Sajack turned to the boy.
“I’m really excited,” Tyler beamed.
“And how old are you, Tyler?” the host asked.
“I’m eleven and a half,” the boy answered.
“Eleven and a half, well then!” Mr. Sajack returned. “And are you excited about being on here with your Dad for Fathers’ Day?”
Tyler nodded enthusiastically.
The audience laughed.
Jairus had been taking this all in, trying to figure out what was coming next, but he was not sure what made everyone laugh. And now, he realized, the host was moving towards him.
“And who do we have here?” Mr. Sajack asked, glancing down at the card in his hand. “Jairus and Abigail – excuse me, Abihail,” he corrected himself. “Sorry about that, sweetheart,” he addressed Abihail.
Abihail smiled forgivingly.
“So, Jairus, you are joining us from where again?”
Trying to mentally interpret, Jairus quickly collected himself. “We are visiting from Capernaum in Israel,” he informed the host.
“Israel!” exclaimed Mr. Sajack. “Well, you guys have traveled far to join us for this Father’s Day.”
As before, he turned to the child. “What do you think about being here with your Dad today, Abihail?”
“I am excited, too!” Abihail answered eagerly. “I have never played a game like this before!”
Jairus was amazed at how quickly his daughter had picked up English.
Again, the audience laughed.
Unsure of what had triggered the amusement, Abihail flushed and glanced at her father.
“So, you, too, are excited,” Mr. Sajack picked up the conversation. “And how old are you, Abihail?”
“I’m twelve, sir,” Abihail replied, a little more bashfully this time.
“Well, we’re so excited you two could make it today,” the host concluded the brief interview. “And now it’s time for our other father-daughter team, Steve and Hayden,” he said, going over to the players on Jairus’ other side.
Jairus breathed a sigh of relief. Being the center of attention was stressful, especially when there were cameras and colors everywhere. When his travel agent had suggested connecting them with a friend, Pat Sajack, during his visit to the United States of America, he never would have guessed this is what he had in mind. Never in a million years, Jairus thought sarcastically.
Basically, how this game, Wheel of Fortune, worked, Jairus had learned, was that you were trying to guess various words or phrases on a giant screen. You spun a giant wheel with different amounts of money on different colored spokes of the wheel. If you guessed a letter that was in the word, you won that amount of money. If you guessed wrong, you lost that amount of money. I’m bad enough at English! It was a good thing I reviewed the English alphabet before coming here, Jairus thought to himself. And that was another thing – you had to pay $250 for each vowel you guessed. Vowels were the letters A and E and O and two or three other letters – Jairus could never seem to get them straight. The more he thought about it, the more Jairus realized that he was hopeless at this game. But it only just begun.
“Now it’s time for our second Toss-Up round,” Mr. Sajack announced, striding back to his position.
All the rounds seemed to run together to Jairus. He tried to guess some letters when it was his turn; S frequently turned up. Each time someone guessed a letter correctly, Vanna, the woman in the floor-length sparkling dress with absolutely no form of sleeves whatsoever, touched the square where the letter went, and it appeared. Jairus could not help but wonder what his wife would say if she could see this American lady. During one of the breaks, Abihail leaned over and asked him quietly, “How is her dress staying on?” Jairus could only shake his head in incredulously. And, as Jairus had suspected, they were lagging behind the other two teams by many thousands of dollars.
The category for sixth word puzzle was History. Jairus stared at the empty white squares, his mind just as blank. As it stood now, it read: C_ _ _ _R _ _G_ _T_ _. It was he and Abihail’s turn. “S?” Jairus resorted to his default.
Ding. Ding. Ding. Three white squares turned blue, and at the colorful woman’s touch, the message transformed to C_ _S_R _ _G_ST_S.
Suddenly, Abihail, who had been biting her lip and directing her brown eyes intently at the two-word puzzle, jumped up. “I’d like to solve!” She echoed what she’d heard the other players say.
“Go ahead,” Pat Sajack nodded.
“Caesar Augustus!” Abihail cried triumphantly.
“Would you look at that!” The host looked genuinely surprised as the rest of the letters flashed into the puzzle.
Jairus, too, turned his head towards his daughter, astonished.
Abihail’s face glowed with a radiant smile.
Mr. Sajack came over to Jairus and Abihail. “Well, you two certainly made an impressive comeback. And do you know what that means?”
Jairus shook his head, while Abihail looked at the speaker expectantly.
“It means, Jairus and Abihail, that you’ve just won a trip to Rome!” the host exclaimed in typical television enthusiasm.
The audience broke into a round of applause as the announcer’s voice broke in. “Visit this exquisite city on the famous Tiber River, a living museum of history combined with modern Italian cuisine…” The booming voice went on, describing the stunning sights and amazing prize of this win.
Abihail furrowed her dark brows and looked at her father. “So, we actually won a trip to go and see the Roman emperor?”