Prince Philip presents gold certificates to achievers assembled in clusters.
“What did you achieve?” the woman standing next to me asks. She smells of expensive perfume and gin. Her wild green eyes are suspicious of my turban.
“I delivered food to starving Ugandan children. And you?”
She stares at me. Her nostrils flare wide, her mouth opens to speak but she says nothing. Huffily she turns away as I notice a tiny patch of bright green leaves sprout in the hair on her left temple.
“What did you achieve?” she quizzes the short man on metal crutches on her other side.
“I started a public awareness campaign that led to the provincial government recognizing the special needs of disabled employees. And you?”
Turning away, a look of disgust traces across her lips as a short green stem pokes out of the collar of her green dress.
She demonstrates her distaste for the other achievers in her cluster by exuding a slightly rotted vegetable smell. I take a step away from her, as do others.
When the Prince hands her the gold certificate she is visibly shaken and he has to grasp her arm to steady her. At his touch, she recovers instantly, becoming gracious and humble.
“What did you achieve?” the old prince asks.
“I’m the missing link between the plant and animal kingdoms,” she says.
“How nice for you, dear.” The Prince smiles and moves on.
A tiny red rose blossoms behind her ear.
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