Talent Contest in the Final Stage

Raphael found it hard to believe that she was in the final. She lived every day as if it was a daydream. She was brought back down to earth by Amina, who after a few days turned up with a box full of fortune cookies. Each cookie had a prediction engraved in mirror writing on the back and so the message could only be seen when in front of a mirror. Raphael took one out of the box and held it up to her dressing room mirror, then clicked the freeze frame button so that the image was stored. After eating the cookie, she looked at the picture more closely. She read the message out aloud.

  "You have the face and voice of an angel... why not sing us a song? It is bound to turn out perfect." She looked at Amina, puzzled as to why Amina had given her the cookie. Amina opened her mouth, but Raphael suddenly realised what was happening. "Oh, I get it! You want me to sing in the final!"

  Amina nodded proudly. "You will be up against that hellraiser Elizabeth, so make sure you prepare well."

  Raphael put on a headset and turned on her sound eliminator. The eliminator produced a noise which cancelled out her singing over long distances, whilst the headset relayed the close range singing to her ears. She was not allowed to sing every day; the voice often got raw when used in such a fashion. However after long periods of rest her voice came out sweet and melodic. Amina recorded it just in case she lost her voice on the big night and had to mime.

  On the night, Elizabeth went first. She was doing magic tricks in a bid to impress the judges. She swept her arm across her body and a piece of silk appeared in the air, which wrapped itself around an empty cage. Elizabeth then went up to the cage and pulled off the silk covering. Inside was a peacock. The crowd murmured in awe. Elizabeth then threw the piece of silk in the air and it fell in front of her. By the time the piece of silk had reached the floor, Elizabeth was nowhere to be seen.

  Raphael felt quite uneasy about this. But there was no time to think about the situation, because she was called up. She sang the Wings of an Angel, hesitantly at first, but with more force and power as she felt herself immersed in the song. She had a piccolo flute accompaniment. The song was good, but Raphael felt that it was not good enough to beat Elizabeth. She left the stage a little disheartened.

  Finally, it was time for the rivals to get on stage and hear the results. Amina stood in the middle, holding their hands.

  The head judge smiled at them, and then produced a wine bottle. "Elizabeth, why did you just slip me some chardonnay?"

  Elizabeth giggled. "I had hoped you'd like it."

  The head judge shook his head. "The rules of the contest forbid any form of bribery. You tell me you have also sent me an aircab with a personalised numberplate. You have tried too hard and thus are disqualified."

  Elizabeth gasped in horror. "Please, I didn't mean any harm."

  The head judge ignored Elizabeth and turned to Raphael. "You are thus the winner of Miss Universe."

  Suddenly fireworks erupted on stage and there was a shower of glittery silver paper and balloons. Raphael was crowned beauty queen whilst Elizabeth stood sullenly to one side.

The End

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