The *twang* sounds, surprising me a little and causing me to jump. Soon after an unidentified object soars across my vision. My eyes follow along, tracking it across the clear blue skies all the way until it lands in the soft gross across the field.
“Yes!” I cry it in triumphant glory. “I nailed that son-of-a-bitch!” I spin around to the gathered crowd behind me, watching as all of them immediately duck down.
“I told you,” the stern faced man in sunglasses hurriedly approaches and grabs the double barrel shotgun from my grasp. “You only point the firearm at the things you want to shoot!”
“I know.” I say, as if it were obvious.
“Well, did you mean to shoot all these people?” he asks, as the crowd is beginning to rise once more.
“How could I shoot anyone when I just blasted that thing in the field!” I retort, not allowing him to bring me down. “What the heck are those things called again?”
“Pigeons.” the instructor informs me for the sixth time. “Clay pigeons.”
“Yeah! Fuck those Clay pigeons!” I exclaim, while reaching up and rubbing my sore shoulder. “I could shoot clay pigeons all day!”
“Oh?” the instructor pops the shotgun, ejecting the two spent shells, before reloading it. Snapping it shut he holds it out to me once more. “Care to go another round?”
Snatching it out of his hand, I put the butt to my shoulder and grin, imagining another pigeon about to die. Before I can call out the instructor says to me, “Maybe this time you can shoot the discs while they’re in flight?”
“Fuck that,” I answer at the absurdity of the suggestion. “What’s the point in that? I’d miss. My way is better cause I can’t miss when they’re not moving!”
I wait once more for the pigeon to land in the grass across the field before gently squeezing the trigger. The recoil hits hard, as my second shot goes as far wide as my first shot, just in the opposite direction. Before I can say anything, I hear snickering amongst the crowd, the Instructor asks, “Did you just miss?”
I hand the gun over to his awaiting hands, and immediately begin rubbing at my shoulder once more. “As my good friend Lee Best would always say to me, ‘Fuck! You suck, you piece of fat fucking shit! Why are you even here?’”
The instructor looks at me in dismay, as I reach my hand out impatiently, wiggling my fingers, as if to tell him “hurry!”
“Fuckin’ pigeons!” I mutter snatching the gun back in place once more.
“HO! HO! HO!” I call out merrily as I walk down the corridors of the massive local mall. I’m wearing a Santa suit, no padding needed, along with a snow white beard that site comfortably around my neck rather than over my face. I find when I wear it properly it hides my beautiful smile, and makes my nose itch.
Kids begin to crowd around me, each other yelling out “Santa! Santa!” as parents quickly pull out their cell phones to snap as many pictures as they can. Finding a nearby bench, I pop a squat and grab a nearby child and place them on my lap, saying “HO! HO! HO!”
The child looks at me with a look of bewilderment on her face.
“Well hi there little girl!” I say with a smile. “Have you been a good girl this year?”
“Yeah…” she answers shyly.
“What do you want Santa to bring to you this Christmas?” I ask.
“A Magic Mixies…” she answers softly.
“Oh, no, no, no.” I say, causing her to start to frown. “No, no one wants a Magic Pixie! You want a pony! A real life pony! Santa is going to bring you a pony for Christmas this year, and you can hold him in your backyard, and ride him whenever you want!”
Suddenly the child is snatched off my lap by a scowling woman. Her attitude doesn’t bother me as I still find myself surrounded by children. It takes but a moment before I have another kid on my lap, looking up at me with wonder. Bouncing the young boy on my knee, I begin my interrogation.
“So young man, have you been a good boy this year?” I ask to which he nods his head furiously. “Wonderful! What can Santa get you this Christmas?”
“I really want the new Pokémon Diamond or Pearl!” his enthusiasm is infectious as I find myself chuckling at his exuberance.
“No, no, no,” I begin. “I think you want a brand new in-ground pool! With a waterfall, and a twisting slide!”
“YES!” the boy screams out, immediately imagining what it would be like to slide down. “That’s what I want Santa! Yes, yes, yes!”
Once again the child is ripped from my lap.
Thirty minutes later…
You’d think after 30 minutes of telling kids what they’re going to get for Christmas the crowd would have thinned out by now. But no, the crowd still remains, circling around good ole Bobby Claus. Each and every kid having been ripped from my lap, I simply move on to the next.
That is, until an old phony in a Santa suit of his own approaches, with two armed security guards flanking him.
“There he is!” the Impostor calls out, pointing directly at me. “He’s been sitting here for the last 30 minutes! Just grabbing kids as they walk past.”
The guards step forward, with the more senior of the two frowning at me as he shakes his head in disapproval. “Bobby, Bobby, Bobby. We told you, a hundred times! We’ve already got our Santa for the year. You’ve got to stop showing up and just grabbing random kids!”
My head drops in disappointment.
“We’ve been over this, try again next year. All you have to do is pass the background check and the drug test. then you’re good to go!” he further explains, again. “But if we catch you doing this again, we’re going to have to ban you from the mall.”
“I understand…” I answer sheepishly. “I just wanted to help spread the seed of Christmas joy to all the little boys and girls.”
“I know your heart is in the right place, but you’re just going to have to spread your seed elsewhere,” the guard says, completely oblivious.
I am moments away! I have never wanted anything more! I mean, sure, I begged and pleaded with whatever mythical being in the sky for that victory over Mike Best, but come on. It’s Mike Best. You don’t beat the Son of God unless he’s sick, bored, or distracted by new pussy.
But Game 6 of the Gentlemen’s Agreement against Solex…
I have a good chance of success!
Ehhh, who am I kidding? It’s probably just as impossible, because let’s be honest, Solex is going to do WHATEVER he has to to win. He’s going to pull out all the stops and drag this thing out to ICONIC. Because who wants to go into a Best of 7 series with a guy like Bobby Dean, and get beat before you have a chance to go all the way!? I mean, it’s me! I don’t have an eGG Bandit here to carry my fat ass. I don’t have the Six Time Academy to help prepare me. I don’t have a member of the Best Family rooting for me.
It’s just me, and a shit load of pressure. And as everyone knows, I CRACK under pressure!
No one imagined that we’d be where we are today. If anyone thought we’d be looking at a Match 6, and possibly a Match 7 looming in the future, it would probably look something like Bobby Dean doing whatever he could to save his own ass from a firing! Solex, you’re supposed to be in the driver seat, counting the chickens before the eggs have hatched, not me!
I really want to count you out Steve. I really want to look past you, and start planning my two week vacation now. But I just can’t. Every time I think I’ve got a victory in the bag, I lose. Every time I think I’m over matched and don’t have a shot in hell of winning, I barely squeak one by. I’m a walking conundrum of inconsistencies.
Then again, perhaps I can jinx the jinx, because I really don’t think I can pull this one off this week. You’re ready to do whatever it takes to take this all the way. And I’m ready to do whatever it takes to end this early, here, and now. Your determination squares off with my absolute laziness.
Your hunger for success goes against my literal hunger, for food. Because if I win, you better believe I’m going to stuff this fat face of mine in the largest victory celebratory meal you’ve ever seen. Olive Garden here I come, baby! One of the Top 5 best Fast Food places that isn’t fast, nor is it good food! I can’t fucking wait!
Unlimited bread and salad, for FREEE*!
(* – with the purchase of a meal… shit!)