And now it is time for President Snow to give yet another long speech. This is generally when he explains how the apocalypse happened and how we came to where we are right now, killing children for sport. Usually, I never listen, but this year President Snow goes off script.
"Everyone," he starts, gesturing toward the crowd with his hand, "there exists, in a galaxy far, far, away, or not so far, really, District 13. We are planning an uprising. Also, President Snow is stupid and is likely to read this speech blindly- hey, wait a minute!" President Snow glances at the gaping crowd and whispers to someone. "What should I tell them? They can't ever know! The cleansing of children must take place! I hate- what do you mean I'm still on speaker? Well, press the red button, idiot!" President Snow takes a deep breath or five and turns back to everyone.
"Ahem," he starts again, "all of that was a clever joke Caesar wrote. Um… on with the Games! I hope you enjoy dying in exciting ways! 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!" And with that, the ceremony is over.
I start clapping enthusiastically but for some reason, none of the other tributes join in. What buzzkills. It's almost like they don't even want to be here!
With the ceremony being over, we head back to the apartment. We promised Effin' we'd be there for dinner, and if we don't, I'm scared she'll make us walk in high heels.
As we ride the elevator to get to our apartment level, I recall earlier Hungry Games. The year when the arena was a big funeral home was one of the most heart-warming. Before kids got murdered, they could pick their own coffins, and they even had funerals. Of course, the kids who actually stopped to mourn for someone were killed right away, but it's the thought that counts.
When we finally get to our apartment, Cinnabon and Portion are there, too! I cheer up at the thought of what Cinnabon's next design will be.
"Well, thanks again for Kantkiss's amazing dress," Effin' compliments Cinnabon. Then she glares at Portion.
"What?!" she looks up from her plate and protests. Effin' sighs.
"Thanks for sabotaging what little advantage we had with Pita's camouflage… uh… skills…" Effin' snaps, then drops her voice to a whisper, "Pita's self-esteem is a bit fragile."
"I heard that!" Pita cries, "er… what did you say?"
I can't even concentrate on their conversation because the food laid before us is beyond belief. I can't even describe it in excruciating detail.
"So, let's discuss strategy," Hamsnitch abruptly suggests.
"Right," Effin' nods, "kids, either become a serial killer or die. It's that simple. Don't get sad about it, though. You'll never go to jail for it! If there's someone you can't stand in the arena, you can literally just kill them." She's got a point there…
"I'll use my camouflage!" Pita declares, ignoring Effin's speech.
"Brilliant, Pita," Effin' says, shooting an exasperated look at the stylists and Hamsnitch. Pita smirks.
"I have my bow and arrows!" I pipe up. Cinnabon considers this.
"Perhaps I could work into your costume… you can be a brave dead squirrel who got an arrow stuck straight through the eye! Or the heart! Wait, maybe I'm not doing this right…"
Wait, you're supposed to kill the animals you're hunting? How could Grace let me eat that?! Immediately, I resolve to quit eating meat. Right after I eat the rest of this chicken, pork, and bacon sandwich.
"Sounds amazing, Cinnabon," Effin' congratulates him, "what would you make her to wear, Portion? An archer costume?" Portion lowers her head, properly ashamed.
A Mute walks in, carrying our tea. I gasp a little out loud because I think I recognize her. Perhaps she was the maid who cleaned our condo? If so, I never got a chance to yell at her for not being very thorough.
But no, I realize where I know her from now.
"Do you know the Mute, Traphiss?!" Effin' screeches. I mumble, "Katpiss" under my breath.
"Uhh-" I start, but Pita saves me from having to answer.
"She couldn't possibly know her, I mean why would she know her? There's no way. If anyone knows her, it's me, except, you know, I don't know her. Anyway, how could anyone even recognize that Mute, her face is totally forgettable, just like Daisy Butterfield, just like that name, too. Ugh, anyway no one even knows that Mute! She doesn't even go here! Goddamn!" Pita declares eloquently. Effin' nods.
"Thank god. If you had recognized her, I might've had to make you a Mute this very second," Effin' chuckles a bit, "ah, fond memories." I pale a bit while Pita chokes a little on his bread.
But why would Pita protect me? This is one of Pita's attempts to viciously murder me, isn't it?! Being a Mute to him is too good for me. He's trying to make me think he's nice when he's not really nice because he can't be nice because if you do nice things for the sole purpose of making people think you're nice then you're probably not actually nice unless you're nice so people think you're nice because you are, in fact, nice. Well, that was thoroughly confusing, which must mean Pita is still trying to murder me in my sleep, preferably in a slow, torturous way.
There's no way he could be a genuinely nice guy. Just like the Careers are always the evil ones, sure enough, Pita will always be a bloodthirsty murderer at heart.
"Training is tomorrow, guys," Hamsnitch interrupts my reverie, "so don't get yourselves killed out there!" He laughs heartily until he cries, beer spilling out his eyes in the place of tears. "Oh, I crack myself up. HAHAHA, get it, Crack? Like District 12?!"
"Hamsnitch! Stop! You'll frighten them!" Cinnabon protests. I grin at him. Cinnabon is a true friend. "It's insensitive. They don't do mercy killings anymore!"