Sunday, September 10, 2017
New two part story "Sports Aficionado"
This one was either my first or second story I wrote when I got serous about writing. It surprised me actually. I didn’t expect to write something like this so soon. I was thinking along the lines of space opera and alternate universe tales. I have revised it at least four times since, and the last time wasn’t that long ago, so I took a chance and did not even look it over this time. Hopefully there is nothing outrageous I should have fixed. But I am Busy, busy, busy. On Saturday I leave the house before six and get home after six in the evening. Part of that is having to water and do some yard work at my Father-in-Laws. He has sprinklers but they miss some plants which need to be watered by hand twice a week. 20 to 30 minutes all together. Than I go grocery shopping. Today I needed to do some stuff in attic which he used for storage. Actually I didn’t do anything in his yard for I was tired and it is still hot here and most of his yards are in good shape.
Anyway, I split this story up into two parts this is 2,205 words, the next one will be closer to 3,000 words. I still like this story. Some of you may have seen this before but there are many readers, or at least those who marking my stories. Some read them but I am not sure how many.
Oh yeah, When this story was first written the Softball girls at our local university had just won a championship.
Anyway, again, enjoy this story it is fun:
Bill looked at the horror that was the face now before him. He took a step backwards in revulsion and fear. How could this be his long term friend? True they hadn’t been close, but he had seen and talked with him for years.
Bill’s mind, perhaps in the end-of-life flashback people talk of, took him back to the beginning of what had led up to this horrible sight. He had been hurrying to the gate after a spectacular Super Bowl. One of his best friends, Ron Seidman a Colts fan from way back, had brought a ticket, however, injuries from a car accident had kept him being able to attend the game. He gave the ticket to Bill, explaining that someone who loved sports should see it since he couldn’t.
After the game was over, on the way the gate, he had been thinking about some of the better plays. Neither the Colts, nor the Bears were his favorite teams, but they had both played well. It had been one of the better Super Bowls.
Half way to the gate Bill stopped, as someone caught his attention. It took him a second to realize he had seen a familiar face among the crowd. He was sure it belonged to someone he hadn’t seen for a year. They had meant at an Ice Hockey championship five years ago. Thereafter, whenever they ran into each other at a game they would talk about the game they had just seen. He headed in the direction he was certain Jorage was taking.
Bill had to go counter to the rush of people leaving, but he dodged his way through the crowd until he saw the face again. This time he realized why it was almost familiar. It was the paint on it.
No response, so he called again, trying to get above the noisy crowd. He upped the volume and tone of his voice, stretching out the name, “Joraage.”
The person turned suddenly and scanned the crowd looking anxious. When he saw Bill waving at him, he visibly relaxed. Jorage waited until Bill was closer then said, with a smile, “Biil, long time no see, as the saying goes.”
He always had that particular accent stretching out the middle of his name with his voice going higher in the middle. (Now he knew why.)
Bill went up to him, stuck out his hand and said, “Hi, good to see you to, it’s been a while.”
Jorage grabbed his hand, and shook it while saying, “Back at you.”
Bill asked, “What’s been happening?” Jorage said, “The usual. Watching sports events. The last, uh, couple of times we saw each other I had been watching sports.” “Come to think of it, I’ve only seen you at sporting events.”
“Yes, I love to watch sports. I have a lot of spare time since I need to work just a little. I can go around to different, um, games.”
“Lucky you, I don’t get to spend that much time watching. I have to work most of the time. What type of work is it that you do?”
“A bit of this and a bit of that. I own a small company and we do many things... within reason of course.”
“What type of sports do you like than?”
“All types, but if we are going to stand around talking, lets go to yonder refreshment stand. We can get something to drink and get out of the sun.”
“Sounds good to me.”
They went over to the stand (now Bill wished he hadn’t).
Jorage kept talking saying, “I like all sports, as I was saying. Football,” The word football came out with what sounded like two long Us, “Baseball, basketball,” The word basket had the emphasis on the wrong syllable, “I even like the Olympics. The luge and bobsled sports are great.” He paused for a moment then continued, “I have been able to do this for years. I was in Oakland for the World Series, when that earthquake happened.”
They arrived at the refreshment stand and Bill ordered a soft drink than gestured to his friend to order next, but Jorage said, “I can not drink what they serve here,” and he patted his stomach, “but I did bring my own, which I can drink.”
Here he lifted up a rather large thermos he had been carrying.
Bill received his drink, paid for it and moved toward the small tables. They sat down under a shade which blocked most of the sun. Bill sipped his drink and Jorage poured some of his. It had had an interesting smell Bill could not remember any drink smelling like that (now he knew why).
Bill asked, “Have you watched golf competitions?”
His friend with the strange accent said, “Yes I have. I’ve seen it...on TV and I have been to three Master’s tournaments.
Golf is quieter than most sports, but it is great competition.”
“Before I forget what’s with that paint on your face?”
“Paint? Oh yes this stuff,” Here his hand moved up and he touched his face, “Even though I didn’t care which team won, I sat on one side...in the good seats. I knew that many of the fans around me would be wearing this paint on their faces and because I like to fit in, to look like those I am around, I added this to my face.”
“So that is why its that color.”
Bill paused than said, “Hmm, have you been to any fencing competitions?” “Some. A couple were not that good, neither contestant did very good, but the last two were great. Both knew what they were doing and neither would give in to the other. Before you ask, I have been to karate matches and judo too. Very good competition.”
Bill sipped his drink and thought, Hmmm, seems that there should be some type of sports event he hasn’t been to.
Out loud he said, “How about ice skating, and/or figure skating?”
“Yes, I have watched those sports, at the Olympics and at other championships.”
“Well, obviously you have been to the World Series, but what about Little League?” he said this smiling thinking that he had him now.
“Little? Oh yes the small ones. Yes, I have seen Little League games I have even been to the Little League World Series once and before you ask I have been to softball games too. Those females are great at competitions, I remember one game at a place called they called Fresno State. It was great!”
Bill was disappointed he couldn’t come up with a sport Jorage hadn’t seem.
Jorage kept on talking as Bill thought about various sports, “I like to watch all sports. You have such great competition in your sports. Where I come from there are few sports, and we do not play them with such, hm, enthusiasm.”
They both paused to take a drink than talked further, but it was small talk, which didn’t last long.
Finally Bill said, “I need to get going, can I take you to your hotel?”
Jorage’s said, “I see you remember that I like to stay near the sports events I go to. This time, however, I was not able to get a hotel close to the game. I had one of those little jobs I mentioned and I barely got done with it in time to get here before the game started. I am staying out there,” here he raised an arm and pointed toward the distance at some foot hills just outside of the city.
Bill had another inspiration, and asked if he had ever seen rugby.
Jorage responded with another disappointing response, “Over the years I have seen most sports, many more than once. I have
seen a couple of local clubs play rugby and cricket and I have been to England.” He stretched that word out too far with that higher pitched voice, “I have even been to a couple of jousting tournaments. As I have stated I love watching competitive sports, every type.”
Bill decided to give up on finding a sport Jorage hadn’t seen. They talked further about three, or four games they had each been too. Bill noticed that the crowd looked a lot thinner.
He remembered he had to be somewhere so he said, “That was a good game, but I do need to get going as I said,” and as he got up he asked, “where did you park?”
“Over there,” his friend’s (now he asked himself Friend?!) response as he pointed to a section of the parking lot.
Bill said, “Well mine is over there,” pointing to another section as he said, “I guess this is bye, until we run into each other again.”
Jorage said “Yes it is” and they both shook hands and went their separate ways.
Bill walked over to the trash thrown away his cup and walked toward the gate leading to his parking area. Half way to the gate a thought hit him. He looked back at the place they had been. He noticed Jorage’s thermos laying on a chair. He hurried back, grabbed it and chased after Jorage. He made it though the gate in time to see Jorage, as tiny figure get into a car, start it and pull out. Jorage drove off without noticing him.
Running across the mostly empty parking lot, Bill narrowly avoided two cars heading toward the exit. He found his car, got into his car, started it, than zoomed out toward the exit. There
were too many cars there already for a hurried exit, but he
managed to get out without too much of a delay. He thought he still could catch his friend and flag him down.
He headed in the direction he had seen Jorage’s car go. The highway, however, had not completely cleared yet, so his forward motion was temporally blocked. When it cleared he stepped on the gas and zoomed away. He caught one maybe two glimpses, of what he thought was the correct car, going what looked like the speed limit. Bill thought he should be able to catch the other car, if it was going only the speed limit, but as he dodged around one slow moving car, he was no closer.
Bill pulled out from behind another car, while gunning his car’s engine, he thought of another sporting event he was sure Jorage would not have seen. (Now he cursed that inspiration.) At one point, he saw what he knew was Jorage’s car, but the traffic was still too heavy for him to close to it. He tried going around one car, almost clipping its back bumper, before he saw a large very slow moving van. He slipped back behind the car, as he ground his teeth together.
When he drove by it, he beeped his horn at the driver. A second later Bill saw Jorage take a turn off, heading for the general direction Jorage had pointed when he explained where he was staying. Somehow Bill managed to take the same turn. He had had zip into a space between two cars, that was barely larger than his car. That got him a beep from the car behind him. He ignored the horn and turned off.
Once on the right road, he muttered out loud, “I hate driving like that, but I would have missed him if I didn’t.”
He found that this road had less traffic, but he still wasn’t able to catch his friend. Half an hour later he turned off onto a much smaller one, guessing that that was the way. It led uphill, in the right direction. A few minutes later Bill knew he had guessed correctly out, as he caught a glimpse of the right car on a couple of switch backs.
Bill honked his horn, but was unable to get Jorage’s attention. Twenty-five minutes later he saw the car, on the side of the road very close to an old gas station. There was a sign on the station that said it rented cars and U-haul trucks. He parked behind him and got out. He locked the door, than unlocked it, as he realized he had forgotten the thermos. After grabbing it, and locking the door again, he went around to the passenger side of his car. Once there he noticed a path leading away from the road, into a forest. There was what he thought were fresh foot prints. He started up the path at a fast jog.
After a he jogged for quarter of an hour he spotted a figure ahead of him on a path. He increased his speed. Twenty minutes later he stopped, thinking he had taken the wrong path when he heard steps. Two fast turns later, he saw Jorage as the man approached a strange looking building. Most of it lay hidden by trees.
Jorage’s back was to him, as Bill entered the small
clearing so he yelled as he had at the stadium, “Joraage.”
Jorage quickly turned around looking puzzled. He noticed Bill and he looked a bit shocked, “Biil what are you doing here?”