Jeff Manning

The prize

The Prize

This poem is part of a series of poems made as part of an exercise where the reader chooses 5 words and writes a poem about them. They than exchange their 5 words with another author who has written 5 other poems, resulting in a total of 20 pieces.

Fridays were always my favourite day of the week, not only because it meant the weekend had finally arrived but because I finally got to go to the arcade down the street. My mom would always give me some money before school and tell me I had to be home before dark.

It wasn’t the games, or even the patrons. It wasn’t the chance to hang with my friends, since if I was being honest they were in short supply. No, for me the arcade was a place of opportunity. Well, I guess one to be precise. For if I could get enough tickets I could finally get myself something nice.

See on the back wall there was a variety of different prizes, some of them simple like a stuffed animal or a slap bracelet these ranged from a 100 tickets to 1000. But at the very top of the pyramid stood the prize I eyed a Super Nintendo for a mere 1 million tickets.

See my family, we didn’t have much money, and so I mostly got hand-me-down cloths, and even toys. So my schoolmates didn’t much like me, and would even make fun or bully me. But if I could finally get that game system, why, I’d be the coolest kid in the school.

I’d long learned the tricks of the arcade. You never played games like ski-ball or pinball those machines never payed out. No the secret for me was a little-known machine in the back a little puck fell through some pegs and if you landed it just right you’d win the jackpot. See I loved math and had mastered this machine. Each day I would slip in my dime, and guide the puck perfectly entering my initals JFM before collecting my tickets.

Then one day something changed, a new name did appear MFM was emblazoned on the score board, and the jackpot I had become so accustomed to had disappeared.

Today would be no different, I was going to win that jackpot before MFM would have a chance, and that console would be mine. As the bell rang I raced to get there and swung open the door and looked behind the counter. But my priced machine wasn’t there. I ran up to the counter and asked the owner where it had gone “I’m sorry bud, someone just won it before you had come down”

I left the place defeated and made my way home threw off my shoes and bags and slumped down in a chair. “You came home early” my mom said with care. I just grumped back the arcade was closed and continued in my despair.

My mom simply smiled and with an unusual amount of cheer she said, well I’m glad you’re here, cause I have something here for you.

It was then that I noticed she had been hiding something behind her back. She withdrew it then and I knew it immediately. The patron who had won that machine was non-other than mom.  






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