An Unresolved Rivalry

DAY 28

WRITING PROMPT:  Write a poem about the sensations of running as fast as you can.  Or write a story in which your character has to find a friend and warn her before the friend makes a terrible mistake (e.g., quitting a job, breaking up with a boyfriend over a misunderstanding, committing a crime, going on vacation with a new boyfriend who has a dark past, etc.).  The friend’s cell phone is turned off, and the friend is nowhere to be found…

An Unresolved Rivalry

The air was filled with the anticipation of an ancient rivalry resolved. Vindication … after 50 years. It would taste great.

Many were making small wagers on the two combatants, even though gambling was frowned upon. This was an unsanctioned race, so in truth, it really wasn’t a sport’s bet.

Fredrick had his starter’s gun at hand. Freddy didn’t run. (Freddy didn’t do anything to cause sweat. Brains were made to overcome exertion was his life’s mantra… even as a teen.)

The course had been set, marked, and groomed- there was to be no visible reason that a foul should take place… again.

Medics were parked under the trees at the lower gate. Precautionary measures were complete.  We weren’t as young as we used to be.

There was a slight breeze blowing; this could help me. It had been eons since this dispute began. It would be settled this morning.

I had received a certified challenge in the mail two weeks ago. My notice was marked #62. After signing for it, I had immediately called Fredrick. He had just received his: #61. I could not believe that Kevin had held a grudge for this long. Actually, that was easy to believe.

The misadventure (What else could you call it?)  had happened during Senior Days at McPatton Institute. I had beaten Kevin in the 5K … by a mere breath… literally. Kevin had collapsed at the line – just before crossing- and I had passed him.

Kevin had always been a bit of a blowhard and a show-off. Just before crossing the finish line, He decided to add a handspring and a backflip to complete his run-away victory. His arms gave way… He went crashing to ground. I kept running. I passed him… trying not to laugh.

Apparently, Kevin did not take defeat well. We weren’t surprised. He jumped and demanded that ‘all concerned parties’ run the race again. It was really quite amusing. He had been winning by several yards, until his stunt.

The spectators were roaring at the comicalness at the completion of the race. Kevin was not especially well liked… He had gotten his comeuppance.

The race officials ruled that no misconduct had happened and the results of the race were made official.

“There will be a rematch… or you will all burn in Hell!” And with those words, Kevin cleared out his quarters and left the Institute. That was 50 years ago. We had seen neither hide-nor-hair of him…except for a few news briefs.

The three of us were friends from Gopher Springs, Georgia. Classmates since fifth grade. He entered the Institute together… Were commissioned together… And left the Institute together to pursue our various worldly ambitions. Well, Kevin left a few hours before we did.

At earlier reunions, the tenth, the twentieth, and so on… Kevin had not made an appearance. We had heard of a boating accident, but after that initial bit of knowledge… Kevin’s world was hush-hush.

Still, it did not catch me completely off-guard with the receiving of the rematch summons. But Certified MailIt did make me chuckle. All 62 members of our Corp were invited… just like the original event. Another chuckle.

While I readied myself, not being in quite as good of shape as I had been fifty years earlier, I was accosted by Fredrick. He was breathing heavily and perspiration was dripping off his forehead. “Samson, don’t do this!” He panted.

I was in shock… I had never seen Fredrick sweat… except during our training drills. And that was FIFTY years ago!

“Of course, I’m going to run. I know that I am fifty years older… but so is Kevin. It will be fun. We’ll all get a few laughs.”

“No!” he was still panting. “The laughs have already started. All is not as it seems.”

The tittering was getting louder behind me. I turned to find the reason for the laughter and Fredrick’s stress.

Kevin was here. He was in a motorized wheelchair. And his wheelchair was spraying gravel in rapid donuts all along our well-manicured track.

I chuckled…Leave it to KevinApparently one can do donuts and wheelies in Hell.

Just then Kevin’s chair tipped.

Not again.

Written for Creative Writing Now: Day 28.


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