A tennis match goes on with high socked opponents, smacking away a small ball full of answers. One man does not have an edge on the other, while they sweat droplets all over concentration. I’m in the bleachers, sweating, myself, but more-so because the competition needs to end now.
A decision, a reigning winner needs to be announced before the fans impatiently filter out, or before the sun moves to moon, or before the referee takes a nap under the water cooler. To bet on a winner is very difficult, fore they both are so evenly matched, they function with a burning oily essence of programmed mechanisms.
The Fan Favorite is head to toe in evergreen, with a vertical white double-stripe down the sides. Between each perfect thwack he hurriedly cheers to the audience, raising his hands and coaxing them to bludgeon his opponent’s deep thought. But his opponent, The Heel in Black spins the shots right back without saying a word.
The two are smooth swans grazing the surface of a pond in mid flight. This is what they know best. But one is destined to fail. My eyes are gearing up to pop out of my head, the very last strain of patient attention. The Heel winds up and smacks the hell into the ball of answers. It flies so fast, not even The Fan Favorite, with his years of training, can see its wild approach- until, like a gunshot the ball drills into his face, and blood spills from the Fan Favorite’s nose. His eyes go cross and his knees buckle, bouncing with the ball on the hard court, two steady streams slither down his face. The world falls silent.
The game is over. I had a bet on The Fan Favorite. And I lost as well. No one comes to congratulate The Heel, but everyone accepts him as victor. He tosses his racket into the crowd and raises his arms up high, waving them like the ball to a flail. He still says not a word, but then he points, up into the crowd, directly towards me. His smile curls and spins into a hypnotizing draw that pulls me from the seat. I make it to the court and he looks me up and down.
“Kick him.” The Heel snorts. But I have never kicked someone.
“Kick him Nooow!”The Heel turns his back away from the Fan Favorite. I must kick him. So I do, not too hard, but just enough to hear the winds rip from his lungs, and to have him crumble like a cookie in milk. His face lays on the court, he wheezes. The Heel nods in approval. But I feel the urge in my veins. This fire in my skin and it needs to come out now. I jump on top of him from behind using all my weight. I wrap my arms around his shoulders and bear hug him so he cannot regain balance. Then We fall to the ground. His head connects first. The sound of mud filled broken pottery couldn’t even compare to the cracky squish of his skull splitting. From between the cracks moths of all sizes, black & white crawl out as if trapped for a thousand years. They cover his body soon enough. The Heel wails for someone to help.
“I am a winner, goddamnit! I should be treated as one!” The moths completely cover him as he squeals and rolls around the court, until enough moths follow into his mouth and down the tongue to muffle his cries. Then the moths fly away. There is nothing beneath anymore.
I turn back to The Fan Favorite, and tell him he is the real winner, that I always was on his side, even though I kicked him. He hardly smiles but tries as best he can, through hazy eyes and trembling lips.