It was symbolic instead of financially rewarding. A small trophy to set on a shelf as a reminder of earlier days, with a sash and tiara for the photo shoot. The photo shoot was with a well-known photographer and would have cost a fortune, so in a way it was a monetary gain. UGLIEST IN THE WORLD was broken down into several categories, including body parts, overall features, personality, and oratory, to name a few. The stage was filled with contestants on a dreary, uncomfortable day to provide ambiance for an event featuring ugliness. The sky was dark. The stench from a nearby sewage treatment was nauseating. Hovering seagulls pooped on cars in the pothole filled parking lot.
The judges were the opposite of the contestants. Beautiful, spoiled, and wealthy, they sacrificed their senses for one day a year as a way of fulfilling their community service requirement meted out by the court for minor offenses. The more they were repugned by whatever and whomever they were assessing, the better the chances of winning were. Knowing they were mostly opera buffs, the promoters understood that the loud polka music was annoying to most and alternated that with screamo punk.
Contestant #2 was frustrated by the way things were going at the halfway point. She’d entered ten categories and had nothing to show for it. Ugly nose, ugly toes, ugly butt, nope, nope, and nope. She even tried cussing out the judges for the oratory category but a Trump imitator stole the show there. After that, she felt ugliest personality would probably go to the same person. As the day imploded into greater darkness and threatened rain, she became desperate to win a tiara.
She hadn’t seen a dentist in years but her teeth weren’t ugly enough to win. Ugly ears went to a retired boxer instead of the jug-eared country boy. Instead of a sash and tiara, male winners got a plastic top hat and cane. She liked it better when women didn’t compete against men but these days many contestants were transgender so the lines were blurred, thus the open enrollment.
She sang the worst country song she’d ever heard and was even off key like many karaoke participants but that only got her second place. She drew the line at baring her private parts so she hadn’t entered that category but felt she might have stood a chance after viewing the winner’s. Hair? Nope. She vowed not to wash it for a year. As winners were announced in the remaining categories her hopes sank to an all-time low. After being laughed at for her appearance for years it was disappointing not to be rewarded for her suffering. After failing in the last category she sat down to cry just as it started to rain. But it turned out she’d been so focused on the categories she’d forgotten that all entrants were eligible to be the overall ugliest winner. She was stunned to hear the emcee announce that she was the winner. Her tears of sadness turned to tears of joy as the previous year’s winner draped the sash over her trembling shoulders, then placed the tiara in her ratty hair. She won! She was officially the ugliest girl in the world. After bowing to the crowd, she faced her fellow contestants, raised a fist, and smiled. There was nothing in the world like being the best at something.