The answer, sitting on the tip of my tongue, refuses to go any further. I buzzed in as soon as I finished reading the question, sure, without knowing why, that I knew the answer.
But now, confronted with the fact that the answer is refusing to put in an appearance, I am forced to admit that perhaps it was more desperation than certainty of success that prompted me to buzz so quickly.
I need to win.
Three months ago, I was aimlessly flipping channels when a game show contest announcement caught my eye. Based on the style of the famous old-time Jeopardy, the new contest was designed to revive interest in the ancient religions, offering as first prize a copy of Catalyst: Religion and the Rise and Fall of Ancient Civilization. Not something too special in and of itself, except that it was a physical copy. Texts are common these days – common and cheap – but books, real, turn the pages and feel them as you do books, those are rare and expensive.
I knew I had to have it. I've never owned a book before, but I've dreamt I someday might since I was a little girl, when my grandmother would tell me stories of the books she used to own – dog-eared and wrinkled but well-loved.
And since I was currently writing my doctoral thesis on the role of religion in the downfall of the great civilizations of ~1000 years ago, I was uniquely situated to both earn and appreciate the prize.
I signed up right away, and for the next three months, I put my research and writing on hold and studied all day and all night, working only enough to earn a subsistence living. I whizzed through the participation exam, and handily won the preliminary rounds, earning myself a spot in the finals.
And now here I am, I did well enough through the final round so far, but I'm still 1000 credits behind the leader, with only the one question, worth 1200 credits, left. I need to answer it right – I need to win.
The all important question flashes before me on the screen.
In this defunct ancient religion, the pomegranate fruit, broken or bursting open, symbolizes the fullness of suffering and resurrection.
And I buzzed in immediately, sure of the answer, but...
"Anla?" the host prompts me.
"What is... what is... what is..."
Come on girl, I tell myself, don't choke now. You studied this...I start listing off the ancient religions in my head as the seconds left to answer tick down.
"Three seconds. Anla?"
And the answer rockets into my brain like a bolt of lightning. One of the predominant ancient religions, responsible for some of the worst outrages. I answer just in time...
"What is Christianity?"
Written based on the requirement to include the words pomegranate, game, book ... and maybe another one or two I don't remember. Anyways, this was the result. Please don't take offense at the choice* of religion... I just needed one that had something to do with pomegranates.
*feel free to take offense that I picked on religion. Religions have done enough picking on other people that I don't really care.