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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Astonishment (02/02/12)

TITLE: Balloons to Bananas
By PamFord Davis


“You could be the next winner of 7 Million Dollars!”

The pop-up from Publisher’s Clearinghouse flashed across my computer screen as debt free thoughts flashed across my mind. I clicked their enter icon and submitted my entry before returning to my search for work-at-home jobs.

Me, win millions of dollars, yeah sure!

All I had ever won was the booby prize at my next-door neighbors baby shower. I left the party with my gallon jar of kosher dills under one arm and a gallon of pistachio ice cream tucked under the other. My husband’s reaction was cool.

“Don’t go getting any ideas!” He had just put our rambunctious two-year-old twin sons to bed.

I was much too tired and financially strapped to consider trying for a baby daughter…

The contest entry never even re-entered my mind. One day the doorbell rang as I finished feeding the twins their lunch. I stood up from the table, where the boys sat doused in spaghetti from head to toe. My mess makers in matching highchairs watched my every move. I unconsciously wiped sticky spaghetti hands across my jeans and unlocked the door. Hordes of photographers and a Sax Fifth Ave clad model type holding helium balloons greeted me.

“Caroline Anderson?”


“Congratulations! You are the winner of seven million dollars from Publisher’s Clearing House!”

No way, this cannot be happening!

I was spellbound at the sight of a banner-sized check of 7 million dollars.

“Are you surprised?”

A glass fell off the table inside and shattered on the ceramic tile. One of the twins began to wail and I stood frozen on the spot.

“Ms. Anderson, what would you like to say to the viewing audience?”

Viewing audience? I am on camera!

“Can you wait a minute?”

I swiveled around and went back inside, leaving the door wide open. A slew of people trailed behind, oblivious to my state of shock and panic.


“Just a minute, Josh. Mommy’s coming.”

I grabbed baby wipes and did an emergency swipe across hands and faces, removed bibs and lifted one child at a time from their highchairs.

“I’ll be right back. Let me put them in their toy room.”

The boys were delighted, knowing their normal routine is straight to bed for a nap. I secured the childproof extending gate in the open door to their playroom and returned to the dining area.

“Sorry I made you wait.”

“Are you ready to make a statement?”

My head began to swim and my knees were like Jell-O the boys devoured for desert.

“Ms. Anderson, are you okay?”

A kind young man ushered me to a straight back chair as a quick on her feet photographer brought me a glass of water.

“Sorry to be so much trouble. I’m not usually this emotional.”

The seriousness of my dizzy spell passed; I could postpone my hour in the spotlight no longer.

Standing to my feet, I steadied myself and moved up to an extended microphone.

“I never win contests!”

“Have you entered Publisher’s Sweepstakes before?”

“Sure, oodles of times but I never expected to win.”

“Will you tell our audience how easy it was to enter? Did you mail in your entry or register on the Internet?”

“The Internet. It was easy. I was on line looking for an at home job to earn extra income. Your pop-up ad caught my attention and I filled out the application.”

“How will you spend your 7 million dollars?”

“First, we’ll pay off our bills… My husband! He doesn’t even know!”

“How do you think he’ll react?”

“He’ll go bananas! We have really been struggling since I quit work to be a stay-at-home mom.”

“We understand it will take a while for this to sink in. Okay if we come back in a few days and question you some more? We’ll set up a convenient time to interview you and your husband together.”

“Sure. That will be fine.”

Publicity people switched off cameras and microphones; people hustled out the door as neighbors pushed their way in.

“Caroline, you won Publisher’s Clearinghouse?”

“Yes! 7 Million Dollars! We’re rich!”

I answered a few questions before shoeing them back outside, checked on the boys and pressed my husband’s speed dial cell number.

“Joshua, are you sitting down?”

“Yeah, on the way to an interview. Lead on a better paying job. Something wrong?”

“I won 7 million dollars in the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes!”

“Are you out of your mind?”

“No! We are out of debt!"

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Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/09/12
This is a fun fantasy story. I think many of us could relate to having a dream like that come true.

Tiny red ink neighbor's shower should have an apostrophe.

Nice,fun take on the topic. In NY, the lotto motto was It only takes a dollar and a dream. Then they switched the price to $2. Nice job!
C D Swanson 02/10/12
Nicely done - good job and on topic. God Bless~
Karlene Jacobsen02/13/12
THAT would leave me speechless! This was a fun story. It feels like a spin-off of Cinderella. :) God bless.