Colossal Chance

Submitted into Contest #54 in response to: Write a story about a TV show called "Second Chances."... view prompt



I hate being an intern at the Second Chances TV show.

“The entertainment company boardroom is the new Roman Colosseum. There are lions and gladiators and death, lots of death - of reputations. Keep your mouth shut, ears and eyes open. We are about to meet the most ruthless gladiator of all.”

That was the pep talk my internship supervisor gave me as we were preparing to go into the boardroom. I had been an intern for less than a month and I was equal parts impressed and traumatized by the behind-the-scenes happenings at one of the top TV shows this side of the Sahara.

I was questioning my life decisions. Fame and glamour and being paid to party. Those were my motivations for wanting to be a publicist. I was quickly learning that being a publicist is not quite how it is portrayed on TV shows.

Our worthy opponent arrived half an hour earlier.

My supervisor chose to interpret this as an opening attack.

“How dare he!” She muttered, as I hastily arranged the paperwork we would need. To her, it was not paper trail if there was no actual paper.

As we watched the numbers in the elevator go higher and higher, she gave me one last piece of advice before the epic battle.

“Do not accept any gifts from him.”

“What? Does he poison them?” I remarked, trying to lighten the mood.

My supervisor only glared at me.

“OMG! Does he poison gifts?” Full panic mode. What kind of monster were we going to meet?

“Don’t be silly. He doesn’t poison gifts.”

The elevator dinged.

“He gets other people to poison the gifts for him.”

I remembered to hurry out only when the elevator doors were closing again.

My first impression of him? Well, I was suitably impressed. He had the aura of a famous publicist. He looked vaguely familiar but I couldn’t quite place where I had seen him.

And what was up with the Rubik’s cube?

“So the reason the producers of Second Chances want to feature your client is because it’s a great story. Who doesn’t like a phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes story?”

Was the Rubik’s cube a weapon?

“Not to mention the fact that my client just appearing on your show will drive a ridiculous amount of traffic to your social media pages.”

I groaned internally. Helping to manage the Second Chances social media accounts was part of my duties. A ridiculous amount of traffic meant a ridiculous amount of work for me.

“Yes but mainly, the producers just want to provide a platform for your client to tell his story.”

Was the Rubik’s cube meant to distract us into complacency?

“Raw and unedited?”

“Within reason.”

“Define reason.”

“It would be prudent to leave out details of the…incident. That will not be the focus.”

“What exactly will be the focus?”

My focus was on the epic battle between man and Rubik’s cube.

“The focus will be on how your client is dealing with his second chances. Challenges, opportunities, things like that.”

“No performance though.”

“Oh, come on!”

“Non-negotiable. My client will refuse to perform without the others.”

“What if we invited the others too?”

“Too short notice. Besides, the others are…wary. Especially after the incident. Security?”


“Adequate is not good enough. Remember the stampede?”

“You handled the aftermath well.”

“I tried. So you can understand why I must insist on excellent security.”

“We will double the security. Any special dressing room requirements?”

He looked up from the Rubik’s cube. “No alcohol. But you already knew that.”

“Then why did you mention it anyway?”

“To watch that vein pop out.”

My supervisor glared.

“After all these years, you still can’t take a joke?”

The temperature suddenly dropped to arctic levels.

“How’s your wife?”

“Happily married.”

“To someone else?”

He went back to his Rubik’s cube. His movements seemed angry. “Are we done here?”

My supervisor looked through her papers. Her movements seemed angrier.

“Several designers are interested in dressing him for the show.” She gave me the list of designers. I handed the list to him.

I so hate being an intern at Second Chances TV show. My parents are divorced. I do not need the same kind of family drama at work.

“I’ll have someone send you his measurements. The designers can bring their wares then my client will pick what he wants to wear. Anything else? I’ve got another meeting in…”

He checked his non-existent watch.

“ I don’t want to be here anymore minutes.”

My supervisor stood up and I followed suit. “Well, don’t let us keep you. We’ll keep you posted.”

He placed the solved Rubik’s cube on the conference table. “I’ve left a little thank you gift at the reception. I know you won’t accept it but at least let your intern enjoy it.”

Then he looked at me. I felt seen and dissected.

“Or did she tell you that nonsense about not accepting gifts from me?”

Yup. Just like home. Which parent should I pledge my allegiance to? My supervisor who holds the key to my future in the PR industry? Or this man who looks like he holds the key to my supervisor?

“I…that is…I don’t…”

“I taught her that gift nonsense, you know. You’re very privileged to be under her supervision. Pay attention to what she teaches you. Well, except for the gifts thing.”

As he walked towards the door, my supervisor and I both let out the breath that we did not know we were holding.

He hesitated, turned.

Oh no! Did we celebrate too soon?

“Hey, look. This is really important to me, to all of us. We…we failed him once. We don’t want to fail him again. My client…he deserves a second chance. So do we. So… please, give us a second chance to do right by him. Help us not fail him again?”


Oh. Oh! So this is what being a publicist is really about.

My supervisor smiled. “You got it.”

He nodded then went back to being a gladiator in jeans. “My people will get in touch with your people.”

When I was sure he was out of earshot, I turned to my supervisor.

“So. About the gift…”

“Fine. Go ahead, you traitor.”

I rushed to the reception.

When I saw the gift, I opened my mouth in a silent scream and allowed myself to fangirl for a few seconds.

I had just met the publicist of my favourite rock band; the biggest, most successful rock band this side of the Sahara.

I had just entered his universe and it was now my sole mission to get a second chance at making a first impression.

Did I mention that I love being an intern at the Second Chances TV Show?

August 14, 2020 20:34

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Louise Coley
13:54 Aug 21, 2020

Great story! Loved the dynamic between the two publicists, although at first it was a little hard to follow which of them was speaking. The way you structured the story with the repeated phrase changing over time was really effective and I liked how many different second chances you managed to weave in.


Mildred Achoch
16:39 Aug 22, 2020

Thank you so much for the helpful feedback! I'm glad you enjoyed the story. :-)


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