The Spelling Contest

It was the finals of the Spelling Contest, in which the rules were a little different from an ordinary spelling bee. Three contestants were left – Shirley, Patrice, and Ralph. In front of each was a bowl, from which in turn each contestant selected a small envelope at random. Presented to the judges, the envelope was opened and the word read aloud to the contestant to see if it could be spelled properly…
– – Thank you, Shirley… So now we want to see if you can spell the word ‘onomatopoeia’…

She spelled it correctly. Then Patrice spelled ‘serendipitous’. And then came Ralph…
– – Thank you, Ralph… Now let’s see if you can spell the word ‘bag’…

And so into the next round, in which Shirley correctly spelled ‘hypostatise’, while Patrice spelled the word ‘bourgeoisie’…
– – And now you, Ralph… Can you spell the word ‘rug’?

Shirley hesitated a little on ‘vivisection’ and Patrice a little on ‘Rabelaisian’…
– – And now, Ralph… Could you please spell the word ‘rag’…

As the tension mounted – Shirley struggling a little more with ‘caliginous’, while Patrice almost blew ‘tridecaphobia’ – some of the smart money began to move toward Ralph, who handled the word ‘cat’…

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