Mia was still behind by day seventeen, but thanks to her newfound love of warring against herself and BattleJesus, the rate at which she fell behind was substantially slower. In fact, she felt herself catching up! She walked across Wrimonia and saw a group of people carrying signs in front of one of the forums she hadn’t actually entered before.
Helpful Orgs and Sites, the plaque in front of the forum read. Mia looked closer at the signs. None of these people were writing, though they were all Wrimos, as evidenced by their blue (and occasionally green) bars. A few of them were carrying signs with shrimp on them. She walked past them.
“Free shrimp for novelists!” one Wrimo by the name of Tower_Keeper yelled through a megaphone.
“Join the movement today! Do you want your free shrimp dinner? You know you do!” Leo Fair yelled.
Crispini was passing out pamphlets to Wrimos passing the area. Mia passed Crispini, who handed her a pamphlet. Mia looked at it. Sure enough, on the front of it was a picture of a shrimp with the words “Join the protest for a free shrimp dinner!”
“Do you want a free shrimp dinner?” Crispini asked.
“Uh…” Mia said, not quite sure what to say.
“It’s easy,” Crispini replied. “Shrimp is yummy. Shrimp brings joy to all our lives. Shrimp is a luxury that should be enjoyed by all writers, and when a forum doesn’t bring us a promised free shrimp dinner, we rally together in protest.” Crispini turned to the Wrimos with signs. “Isn’t that right, novelists?”
“YES!” they yelled in unison, holding their signs higher, making them even more visible. “We demand shrimp! We demand justice! We demand what was promised of us but never given to us! We demand our free shrimp dinner!”
“But who promised you shrimp in the first place?” Mia asked.
“They did.” Leo Fair approached Crispini and Mia and pointed to the plaque that said Helpful Orgs and Sites. Mia leaned in closer and read it. “A place where amateur novelists are loved, admired, and given free shrimp dinners.”
“I’ve been in there every day,” Leo Fair said. “Not a single free shrimp dinner has arrived yet.” Tower_Keeper was still yelling on the megaphone.
“Join our cause today!” Tower_Keeper yelled.
“You know you want to,” Leo Fair and Crispini said.
“Wait a minute,” Mia said, looking from the duet to the protesting novelists back to them again. “What would I do with it?”
Leo Fair gasped.
“What would you do with it?” Leo Fair asked. “What would you DO with it? Mia, let me tell you what you’d do with it. You’d cherish it. You’d examine every shrimp with tender loving care before consuming it. You’d caress it with every taste bud in your mouth before it falls down your throat and into your stomach, providing great nourishment to your body, allowing you to write more words! That’s what you do to it.”
“Actually, it would give me an ugly rash,” Mia said. “I’m allergic to shrimp.”
“Allergic? To shrimp?” Crispini asked.
“Yeah,” Mia replied. “It’s called a shellfish allergy. Those exist, you know.” Did writing fifty thousand words in a month really affect a novelist’s mental health, or at least their ability to reason?
“Uh, actually, I am too,” another Wrimo said, putting down her sign. Several other Wrimos followed suit. Mia looked up at Tower_Keeper, who looked disappointed at the downfall of the free shrimp dinner protest for a moment before picking up the megaphone again.
“Rally up, everyone!” Tower_Keeper yelled. “We may have lost a little support, but that doesn’t mean we have to lose to the people who lied to us about free shrimp dinners. Stay strong, Wrimos, and one day you too will receive a free shrimp dinner!”
“But I’m allergic to shrimp!” Mia yelled to Tower_Keeper. Tower_Keeper didn’t hear her. The Wrimos who were also allergic to shrimp joined Mia.
“You know what?” Mia said.
“What?” another Wrimo asked.
“Just because everyone else is rallying for a free shrimp dinner doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice our lives or our beauty for one.”
“And?” the same Wrimo asked. “What are we going to rally up for, a shrimp-free dinner?”
“Exactly!” Mia exclaimed. “It’s the principle of the thing. We still get a free dinner. Whether it’s shrimp or steak–”
“Hey!” a Wrimo wearing a long dress exclaimed. “I don’t eat either of those.”
“Okay, fine, or vegetarian dinner–”
“But I’m a vegan.”
“Fine, a vegan dinner, but it just matters that we get a free dinner, right?”
Everyone in this small group cheered.
“Then let’s get to it.” The group grabbed their signs, and Mia realized something.
“Hey, where’d you get all that stuff, anyway?” Mia asked.
“Oh, just go to the free shrimp dinner thread in the forums,” the vegan Wrimo replied. “We have tons of supplies there. I brought some markers out here, but the posterboard and sticks are inside.” Mia ran in the forum and pushed the door to the thread open. Posters, wood sticks, and markers scattered the floor. Paints of all colors stained the walls, and someone had painted a shrimp on a wall. Someone else had painted a steak on another wall, while yet another Wrimo (presumably the vegan Wrimo) painted a tofu salad on the third wall. Mia painted the words “SHRIMP FREE DINNER” on a posterboard, nailed it to a piece of wood, and carried it back outside.
“We demand our free dinner!” she yelled, joining the shrimp-free group. “Give us our free dinner!”
Tower_Keeper kept yelling through the megaphone. “Let us stay strong,” Tower_Keeper said. “And if you don’t like shrimp, there are alternatives for you. Seek out steak, or tofu, or even muffins shaped like shrimp. You will get your free food yet! Let’s make someone tell the truth here.” And everyone cheered. This was much better than working on her novel, Mia thought as she put on a shrimp-shaped helmet and marched around the forum with everyone else.
This thread on the forums actually started last year. This year we had some success. I still haven’t used mine yet. Tsk, tsk, I hear you say.
Feel free to link this on your blog, Twitter, whatever. Just don’t pass this off as your own, and we’re cool.
I highly encourage you to donate to the Office of Letters and Light, the nonprofit organization that runs NaNoWriMo, if you enjoy this tale of noveling madness. If you donate in the new year, your donor goodies will appear in the month before the event you donate to (NaNoWriMo or Script Frenzy).
If for some strange reason you’re really into giving money to Internet strangers who write somewhat humorous things, I won’t complain. You can do that at the link below.