A/N: There are a lot of Hunger Games' parodies out there, but this is my take on it. I hope you find it funny!
I wake up and don't immediately feel the warmth of my sister, Prim. It's short for Prim and Proper because my dad was all about manners.
I look into my mother's room and am instantly relieved that Prim isn't with her. My mother got all sad when my father died for some reason and basically left us to fend for ourselves. Since the food ain't gonna hunt itself with amazing precision and accuracy, if I do say so myself, I had to raise Prim as my own.
Instead of finding Prim when I get downstairs in our two-story condo, I find the cat, Butter. I know, our living quarters are shockingly primitive, but that's what you get in District 12.
Butter's actual name is "Mangy Yellow-Haired Glutton" because it's a tradition to name everything after what you first see when you get the baby. Or cat. When my mother had me, she had just slipped in a puddle of cat urine. I'm assuming Mr. and Mrs. Malarkey saw pita bread, because Pita is the worst name I've ever heard. Katpiss is way better.
Anyway, the mangy glutton needs food to stay alive for some reason, so I have to feed him too. See, this is why not many people have pets in District 12. We are one of the 12 districts to make up Pan 'Em, a country founded on panning for gold. 12 is the poorest district. All we have are condos here, while the other districts have mansions. We get regular silver utensils, while they get gold-plated sporks. But everything is primitive compared to the Capitol, our evil, oppressive government. It's evil and oppressive.
I look at Butter, who is burying dead bodies. I feed him a stick of butter in thanks. Him burying my victims, practicing cannibalism. This is the closest we will ever come to love.
Then the stench of dead bodies makes me remember. It's Reaping Day! Between all the important stuff like feeding Butter and finding Prim, I clean forgot about my possible impending death.
It's time to hunt, as Grace's specially made alarm reminds me. I'm sort of forgetful. Like sometimes I funnily forget empathy.
As I wander through the streets, I reflect on the Hungry Games, as I'm afraid I'll forget what Reaping Day is all about. Basically, the districts all rebelled against the Capitol because it's oppressive and evil. Needless to say, that didn't go over well… there used to be 1000 districts.
Each district has its own specialty, and ours is the sacred art of tea parties. It's why my dad was so insistent on manners. We make the tea ourselves, which is a struggle. We have to harvest the leaves and dip them in millions of cups of water, then deposit it in tea… pots, they were called? Then we have to assemble all the finer points of the tea party, like those little sandwiches, and make them for the Capitol.
Anyway, in order to make sure the rebellion failed, the Capitol started the Hungry Games. All twelve districts are required to participate, and there's no way out of it. Every district selects two kids to compete in it, and they're called tributes. They used to be called sacrifices, but they changed the name. Something about being more PC.
The Hungry Games are oppressive and evil. Every single tribute is thrown into an arena and are supposed to kill each other and the last one standing wins. Oh, and everyone watches it on TV. Fun times. Yes, that was sarcastic, if you really couldn't tell from that description.
The Reaping is when all the tributes get picked out of the lottery. Effin' Trilogy is the lotto drawer, so to speak. This is on TV too, and people usually take bets on who's going to be picked.
My mom is a huge Reaping Day and Hungry Games fan. In fact, all the adults are. The only people who hate them are the teens. My mom owns a lot of Hungry Games merchandise, such as a nice shirt saying, "My Child Has a Chance of Getting Picked to Die a Horrific Death, and all I get is This Lousy T-shirt!"
But enough about that. Grace is waiting for me at the edge of the woods with my bow and arrow and his collection of guns. I smirk at his inferior choice of weapon.
"Catpee!" he calls. OK, my name is Katpiss, but Grace got it wrong because I whispered it when we first met. He always manages to get the first letter wrong, too. I can't find any way to make fun of his name.
Grace is so dreamy. But he could never be a love interest because we're best friends. Love triangles will never happen in this oppressive, evil world.
I must hunt now to provide for my family. My father is dead, and my mother is simply too lazy. My father's tragic accident happened a year or two ago. He was a dedicated tea enthusiast, and he sat down to drink some tea 2 days before his retirement. The Capitol took this as an opportunity to dump all the tea over the side of their hovercraft, causing a tea flood. All of the workers got out and ran, except for my dad. He thought they were being rude, and tried to reason with the tea,
"Please divert to the side, my dear, dear tea. I don't like to see you unable to be consumed by people, but I don't particularly want to drown either. If you would kindly move out of my freaking way, I would-" as if by fate, when he was just about to lost his temper and reputation as the most polite man in District 12 (not exactly a hard-earned title in a District people call the "Crack") the tea drowned him. I like to think it was meant to be. It makes me feel better that I secretly poisoned all the tea, which made them have to dump it. I decided it was necessary to help the secret rebellion- er, what rebellion? I hate mockingjays, how about you?
"Catpee!" Grace pulls me out of my thoughts. He hands me my bow and arrows.
"Thanks!" We go through a hole in the electric fence, which is never turned on due to plot convenience. No one ever goes here, not even desperate starving people. They don't want to die from all the dangers beyond the fence. District 12, where you can starve to death in perfect safety, only not really, because it's not safe if people are starving.
One of my more clever sayings.
I shoot at a tree, getting it right in the middle of the branch. Trees are one of the few things that don't move, so I can hit them. Grace pulls out a steak he just killed and hands it to me.
"We'll have a feast," he grins.
"Sounds good!" We split the steak in half and lie down on the dry grass.
"Reaping Day, huh?" I try to make conversation in the sudden awkward silence. Grace groans.
"May the odds be ever in your favor that you manage to either make it out alive with multiple mental health issues or die in some cool way, like famous tributes before you," Grace states the Capitol's way of wishing you luck. I find the motto to be very comforting.
"So what if I get picked?" I ask suddenly. Grace rolls his eyes.
"You knew this was inevitable. As the main character, you're going to be in the Hungry Games. The question is, how will it happen?" Grace muses. I ignore him. He can be a bit… off at times.
"Let's go the square. Wouldn't want to miss the Reaping," I say sarcastically. Grace nods.
We head to the square, anticipating the President's speech. I usually tune it out, but I have a strange feeling I should listen this year. On the way, we spot Mage, the mayor's daughter. She has a gold pin that reads, "THE CAPITOL IS OPPRESSIVE AND EVIL!"
"What could that mean?" I whisper to Grace. He shrugs.
"Can I have your pin, Mage?" I ask. Mage glares at me.
"It's a family heirloom! Why should I give it to y-"
"Thanks Mage!" I rip the pin off her shirt and stick it to mine, and we run off and join everyone else in the square.
Up onstage, President Snow clears his throat.
"We find that oppressing our citizens that make everything we use in the Capitol and putting their children in mortal danger stops rebellion in its tracks. Killing kids makes for a happy, healthy society, and I wouldn't have it any other way," the President starts.
"MR. PRESIDENT!" a reporter calls, "RUMOR HAS IT THE HUNGRY GAMES ARE CANCELLED THIS YEAR DUE TO LACK OF INTEREST, AND THE KIDS ARE TO BE PUT ON THIS SEASON'S BACHELORETTE! IS THIS TRUE?!" President Snow looks appalled. Well, as much as he can through the Botox.
"Absolutely not! That's just sick. Forcing minors to date under the age of consent? I don't want to ever meet the person who started that rumor," President Snow cries. Damn it, all the pointless drama might have even been better to be in than the Hungry Games. Another reporter waves their notebook.
"PRESIDENT SNOW! Is it true that you'd kill for a donut right now?"
"Too late," President Snow answers, munching a glazed donut. I spot a random kid lying on the ground, cold fingers still clenched around a phantom donut.
"MR. PRESIDENT! Is it true that you hate children?"
"WHAT?! I LOVE CHILDREN! Who the hell started that rumor?! The same psycho who started the Bachelorette one?!" President Snow looks downright pissed now.
"Um… let's move on!" Effin' Trilogy says brightly, saving the reporters from President Snow's wrath.
"Yes, draw the tributes for the Hungry Games," President Snow instructs. He steps down from the podium. Effin' reaches a manicured hand into the bowl.
"Ladies first!" she crows. The crowd is instantly silent, except for a few people who are betting on who the tribute will be. And some people who call out random people's names to see if they'll think they're being called.
When we finally hear the name, it's not me. Or Grace. Or anyone I actually care about.
No, it's Prim and Proper Neverclean.
"I volunteer! I volunteer as tribute!" I scream, hearing a faint ringing in my ears. Prim instantly grins and I realize she's so sad I'll be in the Hungry Games that she's delirious.
Effin' looks at me in surprise and shrugs.
"We've never had a volunteer before… well this is a bit awkward… well get on up here, Katpiss Neverclean! You're now the new tribute who will probably die a grisly death. May the odds be ever in your favor that you manage to either make it out alive with multiple mental health issues or die in some cool way, like famous tributes before you," Effin' calls, gesturing to me to come on stage. I take a few steps back and Prim frowns.
"On second thought, can we just forget that ever happened? I think Prim is really the best contender here. I mean, she's 12! I'm 16! I've experienced more sorrows in my life. If she goes, we'll be even! I-"
"Nonsense! Come on up, Kantkiss! Don't be shy!" Effin' literally pulls me off the ground and onstage. She's probably had proper nutrients her whole life.
"Actually," I cough as Prim skips off happily, "it's Katpiss."
"Kat… piss," I say it slowly, "it's really not that hard, you go it right before…"
Rattrips?" Effin' replies.
"KATPISS. IT'S FREAKING KATPISS."
Close enough, at least you got the K," I give in. Effin' shakes her head.
"Anyway, let's give Fratless a round of applause here for being so very brave! Or, more likely, for being very stupid," Effin' chirps, giving a little clap of her own.
Then something unexpected happens. The citizens of District 12, without making a single noise, all lift their middle fingers.