The Training Center has a tower designed exclusively for the tributes and their teams. This will be our home until the actual Games begin. Each district has an entire floor. You simply step onto an elevator and press the number of your district. Easy enough to remember.
I’ve ridden the elevator a couple of times in the Justice Building back in District 12. Once to receive the medal for my father’s death and then yesterday to say my final goodbyes to my friends and family. But that’s a dark and creaky thing that moves like a snail and smells of sour milk. The walls of this elevator are made of crystal so that you can watch the people on the ground floor shrink to ants as you shoot up into the air. It’s exhilarating and I’m tempted to ask Effie Trinket if we can ride it again, but somehow that seems childish.
Apparently, Effie Trinket’s duties did not conclude at the station. She and Haymitch will be overseeing us right into the arena. In a way, that’s a plus because at least she can be counted on to corral us around to places on time whereas we haven’t seen Haymitch since he agreed to help us on the train. Probably passed out somewhere. Effie Trinket, on the other hand, seems to be flying high. We’re the first team she’s ever chaperoned that made a splash at the opening ceremonies. She’s complimentary about not just our costumes but how we conducted ourselves. And, to hear her tell it, Effie knows everyone who’s anyone in the Capitol and has been talking us up all day, trying to win us sponsors.
“I’ve been very mysterious, though,” she says, her eyes squint half shut. “Because, of course, Haymitch hasn’t bothered to tell me your strategies. But I’ve done my best with what I had to work with. How Katniss sacrificed herself for her sister. How you’ve both successfully struggled to overcome the barbarism of your district.”
Barbarism? That’s ironic coming from a woman helping to prepare us for slaughter. And what’s she basing our success on? Our table manners?
“Everyone has their reservations, naturally. You being from the coal district. But I said, and this was very clever of me, I said, ‘Well, if you put enough pressure on coal it turns to pearls!'” Effie beams at us so brilliantly that we have no choice but to respond enthusiastically to her cleverness even though it’s wrong.
Coal doesn’t turn to pearls. They grow in shellfish. Possibly she meant coal turns to diamonds, but that’s untrue, too. I’ve heard they have some sort of machine in District 1 that can turn graphite into diamonds. But we don’t mine graphite in District 12. That was part of District 13’s job until they were destroyed.
I wonder if the people she’s been plugging us to all day either know or care.
“Unfortunately, I can’t seal the sponsor deals for you. Only Haymitch can do that,” says Effie grimly. “But don’t worry, I’ll get him to the table at gunpoint if necessary.”
Although lacking in many departments, Effie Trinket has a certain determination I have to admire.
My quarters are larger than our entire house back home. They are plush, like the train car, but also have so many automatic gadgets that I’m sure I won’t have time to press all the buttons. The shower alone has a panel with more than a hundred options you can choose regulating water temperature, pressure, soaps, shampoos, scents, oils, and massaging sponges. When you step out on a mat, heaters come on that blow-dry your body.