Daniel Bird Daniel Bird
Recommendations: 47

" - The Rams quarterback faded straight back, rolled to his left and looked downfield for his receiver. A swarm of Saints pummeled the line and converged on him as he faked once, pumped again, then fired a bullet over the outstretched hands of the intended receiver in the end zone. - " I love the action! Great imagery! Very well done!

Daniel Bird Daniel Bird
Recommendations: 47

" - “I told you, Sir. You will be our witness as to what happened on this day in history. We are sorry you missed the end of the game, but in fact, you will witness the end of a much bigger game.” “What is that supposed to mean?” “That is all,” the man said. “Please take this gentleman out.” The two huge guards shuffled him out the door. When they reached the stairs he started to go up them. - " Very good climb in suspense here. Very well done! You offer a great deal of information without directly allowing us any answers. Excellent!

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Don Yarber Don Yarber
Recommendations: 42

THE END OF THE GAME


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A "Twilight Zone" reject.


      THE END OF THE GAME


       The Saints had tried an end sweep and the quarterback fumbled.  As always, the Rams defensive line was going to pull the fat out of the fire.  Rams ball, first and ten, on the Saints six yard line.
       The huddle broke up and the Rams offense was getting set at the line when the helicopter appeared over the north end of the Coliseum.  No one noticed it at first, the excitement and tension of the game had all eyes glued to the play at the other end of the field.
       All eyes except two.  Those two eyes were the gray-blue eyes of a man in his forties.  The eyes were surrounded by black plastic horn-rimmed glasses.  They belonged to Dom Standish, a professor of archeology and history at the university that had built the stadium for their football team, but leased it on occasion to the professional football teams.
       The eyes watched the helicopter as it hovered momentarily over the Rams ten yard line at an altitude of fifty feet, then dropped almost suddenly to settle on the green grass.
       The Rams quarterback faded straight back, rolled to his left and looked downfield for his receiver.  A swarm of Saints pummeled the line and converged on him as he faked once, pumped again, then fired a bullet over the outstretched hands of the intended receiver in the end zone.
       Second down and ten.  The door of the helicopter opened and two uniformed men jumped out to the turf.  They wore black suits with white armbands and white helmets.  The man with the horn-rimmed glasses watched the two uniformed men stride swiftly across the field and hand vaulted the rail.  They stopped and searched the stands for a minute then continued up the stairs, headed in his direction.  
       The ball was snapped.  The quarterback handed off to the halfback in a beautiful fake and continued to back pedal.  The play was so smooth it fooled the crowd.  They were still waiting breathlessly for the pass when the halfback plowed across the goal line and the referee threw both arms straight up in the air.  Touchdown!
       The crowd roared.  They jumped up and down, stomped their feet, whistled, threw pillows, beer cups and programs.  They hollered and yelled.  They blew air horns, rang cow bells and not a single one of them noticed the two uniformed men hustling a surprised gentleman with horn-rimmed glasses onto the field and in to the helicopter.
       The Rams lined up for the extra point attempt.  The ball was snapped.  It was kicked.  The ball soared up, up.  It was headed right for the cross bar.  The crowd was on its feet.  This would win the game.  This was the end of the game.
       The helicopter lifted gently from the green, tilted to twenty degrees and like a giant grasshopper fluttered away with the flut-flut-flut sound echoing in the stadium.
       Dom Standish was being held in a seat by the two uniformed, helmeted men.  He glanced out the window.  He could hear the roar of the crowd.  The point was made.  Rams win.  End of game.
       “What’s going on?  Where are you taking me?” He asked.
       No answer.
       Maybe they didn’t hear above the roar of the crowd.
       “Where are you taking me?” he yelled at the top of his lungs.
       Still no answer.
       The helicopter gained altitude swiftly and soon they were miles from the stadium.  
       “This better be good,” the man said.  “Right in the middle of the most exciting part of the game, the end of the game.”
       The helicopter ride didn’t last long.  
       He had stopped struggling immediately when he realized that the two guards were twice his size and half his age.  They should be playing for the Rams, he thought.  He really hadn’t had time to protest.  He was sitting there watching the game, minding his own business and suddenly he was jerked to his feet and half carried to the helicopter.
       Now he was being urged to his feet again as the helicopter had landed, bounced once and settled on top of a building.  The motors stopped and the rotors began their soft whoop, whoop sound until they stopped.
       The guards led him across the roof of the building to a stairway, down the stairs, down a brightly lit hall, across cushioned, carpeted floors.  Rooms on both sides of the hall were guarded by huge walnut doors, each with someone’s name and title on it.
       They came to a steel plated door with a sign, “Restricted Area”.  One of the guards pushed a buzzer and they waited until the door swung open.  They went in.
       The room was moderately sized but expensively furnished.  Thick gold carpet on the floor, low, leather lounges on two sides and a large modern desk in the center.  Behind the desk sat a huge man in a military uniform of some kind.
       “Thank you for coming,” he said.  “We apologize for any discomfort or inconvenience you might have experienced.”
       “What is this all about?” Dom Standish asked.
       “You are a professor of history, are you not?”
       “Yes.”
       “We want you to witness the event that is about to take place, and write about it for the future.  It is vital that people understand what took place here today.”
       “What event?”
       “You will know in due time,” he was told.
       “Why didn’t you wait until the game was over?”
       “That information is classified,” the military man told him.  “You will see in due time.  Now that you know the reason you are here, you are free to go.”
       “Free to go?”
       “Yes.  We cannot hold you here against your will.”
       “You brought me here against my will,” he said.  “Who are you, and what the hell is going on anyway?”
       “I told you, Sir.  You will be our witness as to what happened on this day in history.  We are sorry you missed the end of the game, but in fact, you will witness the end of a much bigger game.”
       “What is that supposed to mean?”
       “That is all,” the man said.  “Please take this gentleman out.”
       The two huge guards shuffled him out the door.  When they reached the stairs he started to go up them.
       “Down,” one of the guards said.
       “Aren’t you going to take me back to the game?”
       “That was not part of our orders, Sir.”
       “Your orders?  I don’t care about your orders, I want to go back to where you got me.”
       “Sorry, Sir.  You’ll have to find your own way back.”
       “Well I’ll be danged,” he said.
       They led him down the stairs to the main door of the building, opened the door for him and gently pushed him outside.  The doors closed immediately behind him.
       The streets were surprisingly quiet for a Sunday afternoon.  He did not see a single person.  He looked up and down the street trying to figure out where he was and how to get back to the stadium.  He saw a sign that read “FREEWAY” with an arrow pointing to his right.  He didn’t know what freeway it was or even the name of the street where he stood.  He walked to the corner and looked at the street sign. 2 comments


      The names of the streets were unfamiliar to him.  He walked a few steps to a bus stop and sat down on a bench and looked at his watch.  Two o’clock.          
       How could that be?  The game was in its final play when the helicopter landed.  Now his watch said it was just two o’clock.  He held the watch to his ear and listened for the tick.  He heard the gentle tick, tick, tick of the watch and was more confused.  The watch had always kept perfect time.
       He thought of his cell phone.  He dug it out of his jacket pocket and opened the small lid and looked at the time.  It read 2:02.  He scrolled down his list of contacts and stopped at the name of his best friend, a woman he had been seeing for quite some time, one he had deep feelings for, and was sure that she felt the same towards him.
       He pushed the “call back” button and the phone rang.
       “Hello.”
       “Linda!” he said, excitedly.  “Say, can you come down here and get me and take me back to the stadium?”
       “Dom? Where are you?” she asked.  “I thought you were at the game?  That’s where you told me you were going today.”
       “I was at the game,” he said.  “But a helicopter landed on the field and two guys came into the stands and hustled me aboard it.  We flew to a building where some guy in a military uniform told me I was going to be their witness to an important event.”
       “Have you been drinking?” Linda asked.      
       “I had a couple of beers,” he said.  “But nothing heavy.  I’m not drunk, now will you come and get me?”
       “Where are you?”
       He looked at the street signs again.  Garfield and Fairfax.
       “Garfield and Fairfax,” he said.  “Hurry, I don’t want to miss the rest of the game.  It’s almost the end of the game.”
       “I don’t know any streets called Garfield and Fairfax,” she said.  “I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve never heard of them.  Where ARE you?”
       “I told you, Garfield and Fairfax.  Or was it Farfield and Barefax?”  He was confused now.
       The line went dead.  
       Oh well, he thought.  I guess she isn’t coming to get me.  He started walking.
       He passed street after street whose names were unfamiliar to him.  He saw no-one.  There were no sounds, no people, no cars.  That was the strangest part, no cars.  There should have been hundreds of cars near the stadium, but there were none.  He felt that he couldn’t be far from the stadium, and stopped suddenly and looked around.  There on the horizon was the stadium.
       He walked, zigzagging down city streets, towards the stadium.  As he neared it, he saw cars.  Hundreds of them, filling the parking lot and nearby streets.  Yet he heard not a sound.  Not a peep.
       He walked to the nearest gate.  It was locked.  He could not see the playing field from that gate so he walked to the next.  It, too, was locked.  The gate attendants must be counting the money, he told himself.  He circled the entire stadium and every gate was locked.  
       Dejectedly he found his car in the parking lot and twenty minutes later he was speeding down the freeway, hoping to get back to his apartment in time to watch the end of the game on television.
       He found his exit and wormed his way through side streets, parked across from his small apartment and walked as fast as he could to his front door, opened it and half ran to the refrigerator in a small kitchen.  He got himself a beer and hurried to the living room and flicked on the television.
       The Saints had the ball on their own six yard line.  The quarterback took the snap, cut towards the far side line and tried and end sweep.  The announcer was crisply calling the play.
       “Taylor cuts towards the line of scrimmage and he’s hit hard by Johnson..FUMBLE…FUMBLE…the RAMS RECOVER!”
       “It’ll be Rams ball, first and ten on the….”
       FLOOT….FLOOT….FLOOT….FLOOT….FLOOT.
       The sound of the announcer’s voice was drowned out by the chopping noise of a helicopter.  
       Dom Stanish sat his beer down and ran to the window expecting to see a helicopter landing in the street.  He saw nothing but could still hear the FLOOT…FLOOT…FLOOT.  He went back to the couch, took a sip of beer and turned up the volume on the TV.  The sound of the helicopter increased in volume as he turned the TV volume up.  Then he realized that the noise was coming from the TV.
       Startled, he sat down to see what was going on.  The Rams offense was getting set at the line.  The quarterback was in place, leaning over to take the snap from the center.  The shadow of a helicopter appeared on the players momentarily.  The ball was snapped.  The quarterback faded straight back, rolled to his left and looked downfield for his receiver.  A swarm of Saints broke through the line and converged on the Rams quarterback as he faked once, then pumped, then fired a bullet over the outstretched hands of his receiver in the end zone.
       “What the ….” the man thought, peering closer at the TV.  Still no volume from the announcer, just the staccato fluttering of the helicopter getting lower and louder.
       Then he knew.  The action was exactly the same as when the helicopter had landed.  He must be watching a re-run.  He looked at his watch again and realized that it must be later than that, the football game was nearing an end.
       The sound of the helicopter stopped abruptly and the announcer was saying, “….as we wait for the Rams to come out of their huddle, let me remind fans everywhere, this is Rams football, coming to you live and in living color, from the stadium here in Los Angeles where the temperature is a balmy 72 degrees”.
       Live?  In living color?  It wasn’t a re-run?
       The ball was snapped.  The quarterback handed off beautifully to his halfback and continued to back pedal as if he still had the ball.  The crowd was fooled completely.  The halfback plowed across the goal line and scored.  The fans were on their feet in a split second, screaming, throwing pillows, stomping their feet.
       Then the extra point was attempted.  It was good.  Rams 7 Saints 6.
       He sat there stupefied as the screen erupted suddenly into a blazing bright ball of red.  A remote camera on top of the stadium wall went on and a few seconds later the mushroom cloud appeared as it blossomed over the stadium.  
       Dom Standish sat watching through his horn-rimmed glasses, transfixed, staring at the TV, waiting for the shock waves.



                                   THE END OF THE GAME


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