Sugar Smiley


I only write when I'm sad

(or procrastinating)

Dear Effie
Sugar Smiley

It is the third time in his life that he finds himself writing a letter.

The first time was when he wrote to President Snow. He had just witnessed his first Hunger Games, and while his playmates ran around the park pretending to shoot arrows or stab each other or die of dehydration, he stood atop a rock and fancied himself the Gamemaker, orchestrating the whole thing from his special room where he could watch everything happen. When he raised his arms and bellowed ‘The Volcano exploded lava!’ half the kids pretended to burn and melt and lie charred on the ground.

That very afternoon, as soon as he got home, he climbed up the leather chair in the study to snatch his father’s gilded writing pen off the table, and proceeded to write a letter to the President with his overly large, loopy handwriting.

Dear Mr. President Snow,

Thank you for the Hungry Games. I liked the winner Hey Mitts. Please can I be Gamemaker next year? I promise I’ll do good.


Your NUMBER 1 fan
Seneca Crane

Needless to say, he didn’t get the job. At least not from that.


“Bring him closer.”

The guards dragged him forward, his black polished shoes scuffing the carpet, until he stood in front of the President. Icy blue eyes looked at him. Not angry, not accusing. Just weary and disappointed. “Make me understand.”

At first, he drew a blank. Then he remembered something. “I wrote you a letter when I was five.”

One of the guards glanced at him sideways, an eyebrow quirking up. He ignored it. “The very first Hunger Games I ever watched was the second Quarter Quell, my favourite season of all. It’s what made me want to become Gamemaker.”

The President’s brow was furrowed. “What of it?”

“I always strived to host the best Game I can. Always tried to be without bias. But Haymitch was always my favourite Victor.”

At his words, the President sighed. “You had promise, my boy. Such a needless waste of talent.”

The President signaled the guards to take him away.


The second time Seneca wrote a letter, he was twenty one and sporting a bloody lip.

The pen this time was a feathered fuchsia ballpoint that he’d snagged from some random co-worker’s table, and the paper was the thick, scented kind used for invitations. His penmanship was atrocious, owing to the fact that his hands were shaking. Adrenaline and fury fueled his words.

Dear Effie,

Don’t give up on your dreams. Just because you’ve been assigned to District 12 does not mean it’s the end of the world. Those fools who laughed at you don’t know any better. We’ll have the last laugh when you get your Victor and when I become Gamemaker. We’ll show them all.


Seneca Crane

P.S. I’ve heard that Haymitch is a nightmare to work with. But if you get him to seriously mentor his charges for once, you’ll have a fighting chance.

P.P.S. I hope you get this. I was told District 12 doesn’t get much electricity or network coverage. Let’s hope they get mail.


When Seneca smiled, every bit of it was bloody (Lips, gums and teeth blackened and crusted with dried blood).

The smile served only to incense his torturers further, and they responded by placing a vial of trackerjacker venom on the table. Seneca forgot to smile after that.


And so here he was, the third and final time that Seneca Crane found himself writing a letter.

The pen in his hand was the cheap plastic kind. The paper was thin and at times the pen refused to write, and he had to rewrite some letters again and again before the ink came out. Also, it was hard to write a proper letter with his left eye swollen shut, a badly broken wrist and half his fingernails missing (the unfortunate state of the rest of his body is irrelevant since he doesn’t need them to write a letter).

Dear Effie,

It’s funny how my best season as Gamemaker in the Hunger Games (or the best season Ever, in my humble opinion) will also be my last. Congratulations on choosing not One, but Two Victors this year. Think of it as a kind of good-bye present. It’s a step towards the path you always wanted to take.

May the odds be ever in your favour.


After he’d sealed the letter in an envelope and addressed it, he handed it to the guard, and was escorted to the Gallows.


It has always been the case that when a man dies before his time, he is remembered for all the good things he has done. The Capitol citizens remember him for giving them the greatest love story on television. The District citizens remember him dying for it.

But it should not be forgotten that he is the same man who didn’t think twice about turning dead tributes into mutts. Or allowing an 18 year old boy to be devoured by those same mutts, slowly and painfully for an entire night. All for entertainment.

He is no martyr.

(But to a girl with ever changing hair, he is more than that, and she cries when she hears Katniss describe how she impressed the judges by hanging ‘Seneca Crane’.)



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