When I first heard about this assignment, I was kind of terrified because I don’t watch TV. Much less reality TV. I’ve been thinking/ worrying about this all week, when suddenly BOOM it’s Tuesday night and I have an idea. Yipeee!!! By the way, I hope this counts as reality TV.
Ella slips into the stable and sighs in relief. Horses. Horses should have better sense than humans shouldn’t they? She pats a tall Clydesdale on its nose. “You won’t speak any nonsense like people do, now will you?”
“Absolutely not,” the horse snorts.
Ella flinches. A talking horse? After all of the strange things she’s lived to see, this still is one of the strangest. She lets out a nervous laugh. “Well, either I’m going as insane as they say I am, or you just spoke.”
“You’re not insane. I really do talk.”
“Interesting…” Although Ella’s mind is racing, she continues to calmly pet the horse. “And what might a horse such as yourself have to say?”
The horse gives a slight shake of its mane. “Well, I know who’s going to win the upcoming horserace. Listen to me and you’ll win all of the bets.”
A smile tugs at the edge of Ella’s lips. There’s a trick to this; she’s sure. A hidden microphone somewhere maybe… “Very well then,” she says. “I wouldn’t mind making a little money.”
“First place will be Chestnut.”
Ella glances down at the sign on the horse’s door. “That would be you.”
“Sure thing. I’m the fastest one here, if I don’t say so myself.”
Ella tries not to roll her eyes. The horse before was clearly bred to be a show horse and nothing more, just like all of the other horses in this stable. Although she doesn’t gamble, she’s willing to bet Chestnut doesn’t ever move faster than a canter. Couldn’t the person behind this at least have done research to make this plausible? “And who will come in second?” she asks.
Chestnut nuzzles her hand. “My best friend Pepper.”
“Hmm…” Ella muses. What could someone possibly get from making a horse appear to talk? She couldn’t let them know she’s caught on. Not until she finds their motives. “And third place?”
“I hate to say it, but probably Speckles. He’s not half as special as he thinks he is, if you ask me.”
“Hello there,” interrupts a voice from behind. Ella turns around to find a white-haired man wearing a black suit and a smile. “See you’re having a nice conversation with that horse.”
She smiles. “Yes, I am.” Is he behind this?
“You seem very calm about it. Don’t find it strange at all?”
Is he meant to distract her? Can she get information from him? “No stranger than I am.”
The man laughs genially and points to a corner. “Now, could you do me a favor and smile over there?”
Ella takes a step back. “Why would I do that?”
“You’re on Candid Camera!” The smiling man stands there as if his words are supposed to have a powerful significance. After a long silence, a look of confusion replaces his grin. “You know, the show on TV where we make funny things happen to people and film it? And then they smile at the camera?”
“I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
The man’s jaw drops, then he recomposes. “You see, we put a microphone on that horse. It’s a prank.”
“Yes. I figured as much.”
“And we put a camera there to film people talking to him. You know how it works, don’t you?”
“No, actually. I don’t watch TV.”
“But surely you’ve heard of Candid Camera.”
“I try not to pay attention to trivialities.” Ella starts to walk away. At least now she knows why someone would make a horse talk, although she finds the whole thing rather ridiculous.
“Wait! Aren’t you at least going to smile for the camera?” the no longer smiling man begs.
Ella turns to face him. “If Chestnut could talk, he would know he’s not a runner and that none of these horses race. Besides, if any of these horses were to win a race—which, may I remind you is highly unlikely—it would be Speckles the Caspian.”
The man attempts another smile. “Well now, that’s beside the point, isn’t it? We’re just here to have fun. Now if you could smile at the camera…”
“You could have at least had your horse give correct information, or say something a little more interesting. It’s a terrible thing to hear horses talk as ignorantly as humans do.” Ella turns on her heels, leaving the smiling man feeling much the way he would if he were a target to one of his own jokes.