New

What’s coming to him

funny short story: what's coming to him


You know Lonnie Franklin? That meathead, who’s not so much a linebacker as a hard-ass who thinks football’s a great way to hurt people without getting in trouble?

Couple days ago, he decides he’s going to slack. First he misses a shift drill. Then he just stands up and kind of looks at the coach while our running back carries the ball right past him.

I tried telling him pick it up, but he must’ve been hung over because straight-up he say, “Mind your own fucking bizwix, Johnson.”

Coach Miller blows whistle. Then he’s in Lonnie’s face.

“You like B.S. better than you like filling holes over there, Franklin?” he shouts, so we can all hear.

When Franklin says what we all know he’s going to say, Miller gets bright red then starts bellowing like a police officer blowing a bullhorn.

Miller’s not a bad guy. Has a little daughter with pigtails and everything. But flub up just a little, and it’s enough to make the guy huff until his face goes red like it might pop.

Next thing, Miller was yelling at the rest of us—offense, defense, even the kickers—to find the line.

Guys are groaning. They know what’s coming; Miller’s a grown-up Lonnie Franklin, and’ll make us run till we’re dead. Some curse at Franklin, who’s the last to fall in, and of course it’s right next to me.

I wasn’t groaning loud, but my guts had gone watery.

See, I have this—

Well.

I’ve been deucing upwards of six, seven times a day.

Listen: it’s natural, right? We’ve been in season a month, doing mandatory drills since mid-June. I’m eating more or less non-stop this whole time, drinking protein shakes and eating meat and more meat. Anybody’ll tell you it’s what players do.

We do five forty-yarders, then ten. Twenty. On and on.

Finally, Coach Miller starts bellowing at us, letting us breathe.

Guys start yucking down the way. My guts grip on what feels like a boulder, and I’m sweating and huffing and wheezing and near-dying, is what it feels like.

Franklin whispers to me, “Pussy.”

Miller’s been shouting at him the whole time, saying he’ll keep running us till he gets it. It’s right after Franklin whispers to me that Miller comes over, gets back in Franklin’s face, and starts asking questions.

“Would you rather I bury your nose in it, tough guy?” he says, taking Franklin by the shoulder pads and muscling him to the ground.

Franklin’s shouting and swearing when Miller takes me with his other hand, spins me around, and shoves me down to squatting.

This was the morning practice, conditioning. Maybe I should have known, should’ve tried sitting down to force the mess out of my guts before practice.

Point is, I didn’t.

Just as Miller gets to yelling at Franklin about is he ready to cut the B.S. and will he get on his feet and show some fucking balls, I feel things loosening up.

Patrick M. Faller teaches writing at Kent State Tuscarawas. His stories and essays appear or are forthcoming in Prick of the Spindle, Inwood Indiana, and Souvenir. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickFaller >>
« PREV
(comics, stories, and videos)

NEXT »
(comics, stories, and videos)