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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Gossip Mill (05/08/14)

TITLE: "What Goes Around. . ."
By Marlene Bonney


It had gone viral and there was nothing she could do about it. Shanda’s pristine image would be ruined in a matter of hours. The Paparazzi had furtively snapped a photo of the rising star as she exited the seedy motel off Laurence St. in the poorest section of town. Who would think they could have traced her here, of all places? As an extra precaution she had worn dark sunglasses and a long non-descript trench coat, but she had forgotten about stuffing her tell-tale red hair in a cap.

“It wouldn’t have mattered, anyway,” trying to comfort herself, “if they’ve dogged me this far, they would eventually have found me.”

Shanda Rose had become an overnight sensation after her first guest appearance on a television morning talk show. Afterwards, You Tube and FaceBook and twitters gave her literally thousands of “hits,” which, according to her publicity agent, was mandatory for success in this complicated world of media exposure. The damage of cheap tabloids could be devastating, though, and this story would be as twisted as an old man’s suspenders and merciless to the truth. To respond would be worse, something she had learned the hard way not long after that first talk show appearance. She had taken the bait of false accusations and been pulled; hook, line and sinker into turbulent, miry waters best left undisturbed. Well, she would not be their landed fish this time! She would not deny anything. What was the use? This was the price of living in a fishbowl and only time would tell if it would be worth it.

It was Shanda’s father’s idea to meet at a cheap motel this time, since repeated attempts at her family homestead failed to give them any privacy. By the time the media got through with it, she would be meeting a clandestine lover married to someone else. It was almost like God was punishing her for all the high school innuendos and rumors she had spread as a teenager. She regretted those behaviors now, in hindsight; especially the incident involving her best friend at the time, Sherri . . .

Bill Stevens was the hottest football hero at Ridgemont High back then, as hunky and masculine as a body builder. He stood over 6’ 3” tall and was muscled to the hilt, and every girl’s dream date for the Homecoming Prom. He had taken one long, sensual look at Sherri with her unusual, natural auburn curly locks and perfect figure, and he was down for the count. Hearing that she was a skilled math student, he finagled tutoring lessons out of her. With her “girl-next-door” wholesome image, coupled with a perky, infectious attitude, Bill was smitten enough to give her his class ring not long after.

Unfortunately, Shanda had already signed up to be a foreign exchange student in France and would be gone for a month. Best friend, Sherri, offered to “keep an eye” on Bill during this absence and report back to Shanda a couple of times a week. Of course, the inevitable transpired and Sherrie and Bill became an “item” during Shanda’s trip. As texts and e-mails flew back and forth between America & France, her other friends had let her know what was going on long before she received a “Dear Jane” text from Bill.

“Shanda was hurt to the core over her best friend’s betrayal,” Carla explained later, “and going to the Prom with me and a few other girls really did a number on her self-esteem.”

This proved to be an understatement, as Shanda was so humiliated and jealous at seeing her former best friend and Bill together at the dance, she became infuriated. Leaving her faithful few behind, she left the festivities early and hadn’t even left the parking lot before sending multiple anonymous texts to the biggest gossipmongers she knew. Strongly inferring that Sherrie had a past filled with indiscretions and broken romances, she even fabricated one broken relationship that ended in an unwanted and terminated pregnancy.

The effects of these unfounded allegations spewing through the grapevine resulted in Bill & Sherrie’s break-up, leaving Sherrie a boy-less leper and Bill, a disillusioned cynic who swore off women all the way through his college years.

A few years later, an older and wiser Shanda, whose career had eventually been destroyed by her ex-fans spreading lies the media had started, had made peace with her old friend, apologizing and asking for her forgiveness.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/19/14
You have the start of a great story. I like the storyline and characters. I did feel a bit confused at time and think you wrote Sherri instead of Shania. It's hard to pack so much story into under 750 words. You definitely nailed the topic and showed the devastation that gossiping can cause. Nice job.
C D Swanson 05/19/14
Great job with the topic which you depicted so well in this intricate tale.

God bless~