This "new" project I began almost six years ago. I've always wanted to write an unconventional love story, and for many years considered how I could go about doing it. Nothing ever came to me. But then Kye and I moved here, to remote southwestern Oregon, and my life, tumultuous as it has been, began to come together in many ways. When that happened it occurred to me that my own life could serve as a worthy template (I felt; you may end up disagreeing with me) to the as-yet-begun story.
The title is both lame and good. I'm sure as time goes on I'll have multiple opportunities to change it. For now this project shall remain A Love Story.
The chapters are very roughly edited. Please forgive any issues. And enjoy.
Eight Years Ago
“Third and six, Warriors stalled on their thirty-six. Five minutes left to play, fourth quarter. Comin’ to you live from Warrior Stadium. The story of the game is this: the third-ranked UCLA Bruins have owned the line of scrimmage for most of the game, at least where and when it counts.”
“Agreed, Jim. Unless the Warriors can generate a better push up front, this one may be in the books.”
“Snap clock down to six ... five ... four ... Tellenson in the shotgun ... two ... one ... snap.... Look out—! ... Tellenson sacked for a thirteen-yard loss!”
“Whoa, my, did he get smacked by the Bruin’s free safety! I’m surprised he can even get up after that! ...”
Marcus McDougall took a swig of the half-empty fifth of Jack in his lap as the heater blew in his face. He turned up the radio against the noise and gazed out at the dark field.
“... Bruins hold a fairly solid ten-point lead. Samuels out for the punt ... Booming, high, end-over-end kick; Bruins’ Sharpstend clear back at the five; wow! Fair catch called ... What a great punt! We’ve got a time-out on the field. It’s UCLA 23, Rainbow Warriors 14. We’ll take a moment to check in with our sponsors. This is the Warriors’ radio network....”
He took another swig and for no reason revved the engine of his Camaro. It roared over the beer commercial.
“Fuckin’ pussies ain’t gonna show,” he grumbled. He took another drink, belched, and set the bottle on the passenger seat.
“Welcome back. UCLA on top of
23 – 14. Bruins’
ball on their five, first and ten, four minutes sixteen seconds left to play.” Hawaii
“What do you say, Merle? Think the Warriors’ defense is up to the task?”
“They’ve been all night, Jim. The Bruins’ have the nation’s number one offense. The Warriors have held them to two hundred sixty-six total yards and less than sixty on the ground. They’ve given up three huge plays, but that’s it. Last week the Bruins ran over the Sooners for three hundred-plus and two hundred in the air. The Warriors defense has been up to the challenge. Now if only the offense could find a way ...”
“They need to find a way to spring McDougall. Number nine accounts for one hundred sixty-eight of the Warriors’ two hundred twelve total yards, and both of their touchdowns. Still, he’s been held out of the end zone since early in the second quarter.”
“Doesn’t matter how many yards you roll up if you can’t show anything for it.”
“That’s absolutely right, Merle. I’m certain Gideon McDougall would agree. He must be very frustrated right now.”
“A win keeps his name in the Heisman conversation. If the Warriors drop this one, his name will drop out too.”
“You’re right, Jim, as unfair as that is.....”
“C’mon, bro,” said Marcus. “You’ve got this. Get the rock back and shove it down their fuckin’ throats. Well, it’s about fuckin’ time....”
The single headlight grew as he watched. He unrolled both windows, turned the car off, turned the volume on the game up as loud as it would go, and stepped out.
The sedan rolling slowly towards him was an Olds or something similar, and at least thirty years old. Rust spattered its faded white paint. It’s hood was dented, and one of its headlamps was out. It stopped fifty feet in front of him. He leaned against the hood of his car and waited.
“Bruins at the Warriors’ twenty-eight. Three and change left to play. Rolfs drops back, hands off to
... FUMBLE! It’s a mad scramble ... Warriors’ recover!”
All four doors of the sedan opened at once. Out of it stepped one, two, three, four ... five guys. Three held tire chains, another a crowbar. The driver ... carried nothing.
Marcus glanced down and noticed the bulge in the pocket of the driver’s cargo pants.
Nope. Not nothin’. Fucker’s packing.
The five approached slowly. That made him grin.
“Gonna make this a fair fight, Eddie,” he called out over the game, “or are you too much of a pussy?”
Eddie reached into his pocket and pulled out the pistol and aimed it at him.
Marcus didn’t flinch. “Just for that, you fuckin’ dick, I’m gonna pay extra attention to you when I get around to ya.”
Eddie held the gun steady, then chortled and handed it to one of his homies. “Put this in the car,” he ordered. “We won’t need it. I’m gonna finish him with my bare hands.”
His comrade took the weapon and walked it back to the sedan, came back.
“Tellenson back, hands off McDougall ... BIG HOLE! McDougall down the sideline, fifty, forty, thirty, twenty, ten, five, TO—THE—HOUSE! TOUCHDOWN, GIDEON MCDOUGALL!”
The gang heard it too. They said nothing.
Marcus McDougall pushed himself from the hood and began walking towards them.
“Gideon McDougall isn’t finished yet, folks! Two forty left and they’re going for two ... Listen to this crowd!”
Eddie laughed. “Rainbow Warriors. What a fuckin’ gay name. That’s the best your brother could do, play for a gay-ass team like the fuckin’ Rainbow Warriors?”
“Tellenson hands off, McDougal to the goal-line ... SCORE! He just barreled through that Bruin defensive front seven like nothing was going to stop him! Just like that the Warriors are now within one, 23 – 22! Very gutsy call by Coach Ephy....”
The banger to his immediate left swung his tire chain the moment Marcus got within range. Marcus barreled into his arm before the chain came whistling down, which it did harmlessly against his back and ass. He brought a swift elbow up into the dickhead’s nose. The banger’s head snapped back and he went limp.
Tire chain in his grip, he wheeled and snapped it at Eddie, who, almost certainly drunk and high, only realized what happened—
—too late. The chain cracked into his face and he dropped to his knees, his nose and forehead spurting blood.
His scream was muffled. “YOU FUCKIN’ ASSHOLE!”
Crowbar guy was next. The other two, swinging chains, seemed anxious but not quite ready to do battle. They struck at him, but from a safe puss-ass distance, and hurry backwards after each go. The dude holding the crowbar, though, wasn’t so scared. He circled behind Eddie, who screamed mindlessly in the dirt.
Marcus kicked Eddie in the ear and he slumped silent and still.
Crowbar guy lifted the iron in his grip and came around his leader with a yell for his friends to join him.
Marcus swung the chain. It wrapped around the bar as it came down. He jerked with all he had and the weapon came loose. The banger swung and connected with his jaw, but it was a love tap for what he’d expected. The fuckhole bullrushed him.
“McDougall BIG HOLE ... thirty, twenty ... down at the eleven! Gideon McDougall has
ready to go ahead! Thirty-eight seconds left in regulation....” Hawaii
Marcus fell, the gang jerk on top, but managed to get the chain around his thick neck. He threw an elbow that connected with the asshole’s over-cologned face and pushed him off and got to his feet. One of the chains held by the final two came whistling down. It didn’t connect with him—more by luck than anything—but right on the crown of this fuck, who bellowed and passed out, a huge bloody gash separating his hair from his scalp.
Marcus threw the chain in his fist aside. “Go for it,” he growled at the assailant. “GO FOR IT!”
The asshole gave his chain another swing, this time from the side. It connected full force in Marcus’ ribs. He felt the crack and knew at least one of them had broken. It didn’t matter. He swung his fist and it connected. The banger’s nose, instantly broken, blinded him. The other chain swinger stood there like the dumbfuck he was, the chain in his right hand circling like he was a fuckin’ cheerleader, well out of harm’s way.
The other tried swinging his chain again, but couldn’t see. Marcus kicked his knee out from under him. It bent obliquely and he fell bellowing. Marcus kicked him to his side and knelt on his back and grabbed his hair with one hand and smashed his free fist into his face with the other while glaring at the other, who’d stopped swinging his chain and stared in frozen horror.
He spied the handgun then. The asshole under his knee had kept it in his fuckin’ pocket!
With the jerk’s hair in his right hand, he picked the piece up with his left and pulled the trigger. The coward shrieked and collapsed with a shudder, the chain in his grip forgotten. His right thigh just above his knee was a spreading purple smear.
“Hand-off McDougall, reverse field, looking for a hole ... FUMBLE! The Bruins recover! Gideon McDougall, just inches from paydirt, fumbled the ball, the first of his career, the Bruins have it, and this one is over! Oh my, what a heart-breaker! The crowd can’t believe it! The stadium is in shocked silence!”
Marcus stood and glanced around at the five slumped in the dirt. The one with the bullet wound was still yelling; he went to him and punched him in the ear, then punted his face until he shut up.
At that moment the sheriff arrived, lights flashing.
Marcus McDougall went to his Camaro and turned off the radio.
“Oh, well, bro. There’s always next week.”
He went and leaned against the hood.