Winner takes it All

a writing by Susan Mary O'Reilly

"I can't find the keys."

For three nights in a row, this is how her husband has awoken her, the same plaintive cry, which turns into a full blown rant. In two days we get off this wretched thing but only after one last challenge, to find the means of our escape, 3 coded keys.

Keys secreted on here told clues wouldn't be revealed until twelve hours before our disembarking, which is tomorrow. She had taken them at their word, not searched, but not Harold, he had to be the one that finds them and releases us unto Mars, the hero, his moment, his control.

Little did any of them know, well except maybe viewers at home, she gives a giggle and waves, that she'd found them accidentally weeks ago, and was not leaking this information. Harold's descent into despair, the pulling out of his hair, frightening maybe for others but had been her only joy in this pressure cooker environment, she wanted him to explode, wanted everyone to see what she'd married, this crazy control freak.

She appreciated her coping skills over Harold's, he was the brains, she the quiet, smiling, supportive wife, tolerating his eccentric ways, silently battling her own demons. She felt a little sympathy for their companions, newly married, pay-off from this expedition would put a nice dent in their mortgage and it looks like their trips to the den have been fruitful, her tummy growing bigger and lower each day. How she envied them their contentment, the love they couldn't hide, she'd settled for her husband's genius, his money, but she's sold herself short and each year the noose she'd wrapped around her neck, tightened.

Julia noted Sylvie, eyeing her, pretending she was looking anywhere, but, at her and Joe. She listened to Sylvie, wind up Harold more each day, confident she had the final say. So arrogant was Sylvie and Harold that they never considered that Julia or Joe might have their own plans for those keys. They didn't have Sylvie's or Harold's wealth to fall back on, this was their one chance, their step on the ladder.

"One small step for mankind, one giant step" you know the rest. They had let the confines of this place get to them and the only soundproof space, the den, the birthplace of their first born. Joe looked at his wife's contented smile and wondered how she was coping so well, he didn't know she had the keys, had found Sylvie's hiding place and put them in her own, and he wouldn't hve kept quiet. He'd have told her. He knows how these things work, they want the audience to keep on watching, and there playing cat and mouse with us. There will be some big twist and to him, it will be no shock but underachieving, easy-going Joe will have the last laugh because he's ready and waiting for whatever they throw at them. He had to travel to Mars, but he's leaving the star.

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