YY) Football and the ...

tommyb

Registrant
(a chapter)

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(Thursday, 30DEC2021)


(upon arrival for work, buying dinner from the convenience mart)


"Did you watch the First Responders' Bowl," he says, a coworker, as we stare at half-stocked shelves, under Jingle Bells. He's maybe twenty-five. "Tuesday?"

" ... Yeah."

"What was going on there? What did they have against the Cardinals?"

"Um .... Well .... Civilians ... "

"What on Earth," he says, turning his countenance. "Air Force certainly won, didn't they--"

"--They may have had a lot to be aggressive about. Concerning the orders they were given by the Obama and Trump administrations. To be forced to make convincing threats against innocent American lives--"

"--They must hate us," he says, seeming to decide between expensive sushi, cheap-calorie tacos, and ... cottage cheese.

"Um ... Yeah ... They probably do. At least neither of their Commander-In-Chiefs--"

"--Dropped of aneurism," he says, as he chooses the tacos. Clinicians are terrible for littering, one notices early; their terrible eating habits were surprising. The store caters mostly to them, concerning such.

There remains a pattern amongst the harmed of a deep dislike for football. One that goes back generations. Seems like anyone from childhood abuse, neglect, domestic violence, none of them have patience to even entertain the Super Bowl. 'Seems most can't stand their mothers or female relatives. 'Suppose the females have to protect the one technically providing. The females retain a terrible reputation concerning their ever being alone in a room with a boy, and concerning any handling of his endangerment. Grace certainly did a one-eighty once she hit puberty, but by then she knew the boy had already soul-killed her, even if I could no longer remember before age eleven. At least Brady didn't drop of aneurism. Maybe he'll get to the Super Bowl, again. He was invited so many times to the White House, how could he not know he was being used, exploited, in an offensive way.

"Yeah. I have to go way out of my way," 'say to him, trying to pass it off as good-natured humor. "To keep Biden from dropping of aneurism. Harris would be even worse a leader--"

"Washington has its own written word economy-"

"She's bright and can express assertion and fight personally, but disciplines of governance ... "

Standing in line for the register, we swap some present-day rhetoric, the times being what they are, including him saying "At least Biden's not Trump," though 'never understood what Republicans had to do with being conservative. 'Never noticed them much. Certainly 'never took them into account. Then he asks what it must be like to be even remotely related to any of those 'Karens' on The View, until he says. "--Cast a spell. Cast runes. Do whatever you have to. Do it all--"

"--'Have enough trouble keeping the older White women and wealthy middle-aged Black women from dropping of aneurism. At any given moment. 'Look at their fantasy world of football. It's some civilian fantasy that that's all that's going on. That's life. The world is flat and only made up of fifty American states--"

"--Well, go through more--"

"--Best to leave them as they is," 'say to him, as he swipes his card, agrees to a plastic bag. "So Purgatory won't have time or space for them--"

"--But YOU watch football."


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tommyb

Registrant
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(Tuesday, 4JAN2022)


"I take my life and put it on the football field, and I take the football field and put it in my life," says the Steelers quarterback, it now being one of his more famous quotes.

Last night, the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Cleveland Browns, fourteen to twenty-six. It remains quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's last game at Heinz Stadium, his "home." At thirty-nine he has won two Super Bowls and suffered no losing seasons with Pittsburgh since beginning his NFL career in 2004. And playing eighteen seasons. This season Pittsburgh remains, technically, still in the running for the playoffs.

Though it is an eighteen-week season, and the depth of a team's roster is deciding more than not, due to positive Covid tests, the NFL continues to sell its product, well enough. Negative stories have a way of disappearing, whether by power or by money, positive stories get more hype than natural. The sportscasters during games continue to state "obvious" things, too "simple" to be articulated out loud on national television.

"They're selling tickets," 'say to him. He remained unharmed through his boyhood, though he became institutionalized -- one might suspect, he's institutionalized -- by years of foster care and many years in a Southern California group home, where they were grouped up by age and gender and lived in "cottages." The military betrayed his trust. He found himself in a bad unit at a bad time. Someone from no family -- they suddenly find themselves trusting the people around them, for the first time in their life. Someone from no family, takes this unfortunate version of military experience exceptionally. There's a douchebag in every unit, remains the old adage. Sometimes there's more. He remains beloved, only he's not in the military anymore, with no negative strikes against him. He cooks well, including today's chili.

"You bought such expensive meats -- lamb and wasybu -- what ... ground beef -- with FOOD stamps--"

"--Bro, of course. It's the holiday. What am I, a dog?"

Us veterans, in Ashe, around the same age, living blocks from each other, have a way of gathering around the holidays, usually at my place, especially this year. He did not stay up with me to watch the Alamo Bowl, from two a.m. to four something, nor our usual third, an early twenty-something, too young to have lost his first born to stillbirth and his young wife to suicide, shortly thereafter ... Now that my job has turned into turning over one Covid room after another, one watches a lot of Bowl games, NBA games, NHL games, NFL games, incidentally. Having quit drinking for over a week now, sleep remains ... as it would be ... and the sleeping pill causes me to wake drowsy, and late. "If you don't want to have to overhear the sportscasters during the game, you'll have to buy a ticket, and go to the game yourself. They're selling a product."

"CAPitalism ... " he says, sprawled over the couch, one palm behind his head.

"They'll sell your own heritage back to you if you're not careful," 'say to him. "Your own blood. 'Freedom of speech is built-in required."

Baseball's problems tend to only be sorted out concerning fair revenue sharing: labor strikes. The problems they should be sorting out have to do with the game itself, instead, like how long the games can be, with little action. A pitch-clock has been suggested for pitchers, amongst other things, but the players, higher-ups, and league never talk about it, as ratings continue slowly downward. Basketball owes a great debt to Larry Byrd and Magic Johnson's well-handled East coast, West coast rivalry. After integration, White athletes seemed to only try out for baseball and football, Blacks, basketball. If not for the Seventies, the Celtics, and the Lakers, today's NBA would be missing several crucial players. Hockey remains pure, as 'understand it, due to that Northern -- Canadian-esqe -- accent, implying honesty and politeness, brutal contact sport, and the inclination to properly stitch the opponent up after the match.

Before last night's game, ESPN's Randy Moss quoted the Browns' Myles Garret, concerning Roethlisberger's last game in Pittsburgh: "I just want to celebrate with him."


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tommyb

Registrant
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(New Years Eve 2021-2022)


"I always get good readings," he says. The 'institutionalized' one, Rainger -- 'don't tell him. Due to weather, he worries that it's not close enough to the witching hour, basically midnight to two in the morning. He seems to think our neighborhood isn't great, safety-wise. 'Think he feels watched, being young, living alone but for Norse, the widower.

"It's New Year's Eve, either way," 'say to him. "We can read them an hour early."

His cards are fire, fire, fire, fire, no water.

Norse's cards are water, water, water, one fire.

The rest is none of your business. 'Doesn't matter. 'Am the only one who can read these cards.

"No engagements, financially, or relationship-wise, or relationship-financially," 'say to him. "This year."

"Get grounded for God's sake," 'say to him at some point.

"Find somewhere or language to express or something for your higher power to deal with you. God's eyes are upon you."

"Why do you think they call it the lost and worldly," 'say to him. "Why do you think they say it like that ... "

"Like how old people--" 'Norse says.

"--Elders. Elderly--"

"--Call Church the Devil's playground," Rainger says.

"The Devil is a modern concept. You should worry more about the Covenant. 'Watch The Conjuring films, later," 'say to him, as Norse looks on with his fifty-year-old-in-a-twenty-two year-old temple, looking on skeptically, per usual, though he's all over his heritage, his last name being Norse.

"These are dark cards," Norse says.

"What would happen if someone else translated them," Rainger says. "Other than you."

"The Book of Enoch has two translations, Jewish and Babylonian," 'say to them. "They are vastly different. Translation can be inept, but also politically calculating. These cards are mine and mine alone. Or I am theirs. They have never been wrong."

It's snowing outside, a somewhat heavy flurry. It does that in Ashe, sometimes, like, for an hour or two.

"The cards like you. Don't worry. There's just not much time. They're being blunt, for some reason. We are outnumbered. That is true. The lost and worldly outnumber us. That's why Great Floods exist. Earth knows how to extinct the human race, or any other problem. So stay in the light, with the minority. Don't be bitter, cynical, depressive, worrying, down on the state of things. Selfish. Stay in the light. Anyway, I know to dump the lost and the worldly in the Pacific ... ... part of the ... ... Flood."

"How can you be a man of God's and read cards?" Rainger says, his curly Creole-meets-Indigenous-meets-Hispanic locks allowing him extra body language, them constantly having to be adjusted.

"Life will kill you, and there's little God can do about it. The Universe is as it is. Once there were no humans here. Only Big Foots, and Sasquatch, Yeren, Yeti--"

"--Dinosaurs--"

"--Then, far into the future, Anunnaki. Under God's, apparently silent, eye, and in the planets' witness. Maybe His eyes flinched, maybe they did not. Maybe He winced upon the sight, maybe not. 'Was not of those there, upon the Dead Sea bomb crater's sudden existence. This story of a lifeform exploiting their own planet until that lifeform goes extinct, because Life protected Herself, is the oldest story in the Universe. It is not Breaking News. Surely, before the Native Americans traveled here some human being or another impressed God, for this land is holy. Down to the Trickster. Best stay in the Light. So you will always hit the ground running."

"Now read Norse's cards."


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tommyb

Registrant
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(Weekend, 8, 9DEC2021)


(afternoon)


(cigarette run)


"--What's with you listening to Lumineers' Submarine?" Rainger says, as he places his hands in his coat pockets.

"It's about Ernest--"

"--No way that's true--"

"--Hemingway--ANYway. As you get older it's like you live the same day over and over, more and more. In Basic you're encouraged to have no habits, no routine, no time for idle thoughts," 'say to him, as we walk through a rural-oriented part of town, a kind of trailer park hidden in the mountains. "The height of mental health."

"So Groundhog Day's," Rainger says. "The opposite ..."


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(chips, sodas run)


"I don't know if Tom Brady would make a good president," Rainger says, his boots 'not the correct boots.'

He seems to want me to recommend him to one of, any, female friends, or sisters. It may be the only reason we're friends, maybe not. He seems to feel his race, skin-color, will stop him in the end, so what's the point of endeavors ... He gives a lot to charity, food-wise, especially the homeless and impaired. He seems to foster, a sincere, faith-required, belief, if not hope, in Karma.

"There's a lot of plagiarism," he says. He likes to say smart things with a certain smart-alleck. He once j'accused that I knew everything, but it was late at night. He seemed surprised how some treat them as four parties, conservative Democrats, liberal Republican,, and the other two.

"Chinese seem to be the best at generic," 'say to him through the icy wind. "They think good products only come from good people. The Americans aren't afraid of a free market."

"Capitalism and democracy. NFC, AFC--"

"'Don't know what kind of freedom they were going for--"

"--At least we're forced to talk to each other."


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(pizza run)


"Sports remains the ultimate representation of fascism," 'say to him, through sudden, harder rain as he opens the store-front's door. "But it's kind of our plan 'b.' Except everyone already knows--"

"--We're the Plan B," he says, choosing his toppings.

"And Sparta. Create healthy, young warriors as efficiently as possible. Everyone but Athenia was doing it. They just happened to be the best--"

"So we're the Plan ... D ..."


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(coffee, energy drink run)


"What is with you and khakis and that black beanie?" Rainger says.

"They're Gap. And they have a string instead of belt loops."

"... So then everyone would have the benefit of having a Norse history," the widower continues, as we leather-tramp to the bodega.

"'--I--'don't think that's how it works," 'say to him, before turning back to Rainger. "ANYway. It's 'cause of your age. You're kind of competing with Alexander the Great, except you had good ... enough ... parents ... So you kind of never know where you stand."

"Good," Norse says. "They're still open."

"Some people like to strut their stuff. It's more about policy than politics. Like, no ruining the mountains."

"I know what you look like," Rainger says, with a laugh. "A Polish dockworker."


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(cigarette, coffee run)


"Which side are you ..." Rainger says, huffing.

"Creation versus Science," say to him, cutting through wind,. "Atheist versus Church ..."

"Evolution is a theory," the youth, Norse, says, the purple sky just light enough.

"Never proven," 'say to him. "But enough to buck back Church and State becoming synonymous."

"Nothing wrong with bucking back."

"So which side?" Rainger says.

"In an argument over credibility and power, or Creation or Evolution ... " 'say to him. "It's one of the oldest power struggles ever."

"The liberals will save our money for us," Norse mutters. "Through taxes."

"Do we live in more of a Russia," Rainger says, with innocent, doe eyes. "Or more of a China? I'm thinking Sri Lanka."


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tommyb

Registrant
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(Monday, 24JAN2022)


(morning, taking down Christmas decorations)


"I got it," Rainger says from below.

"I wanted to watch Tom Brady in the Super Bowl," the youth says. "It's a consumer's market."

"--I--don't think that's how it works."

Rainger's a flake.

"'YOU holding the ladder ..."

"--Yeah."

"But ARE you."

"YES."

"For tonight. If you need to buy yourself some more Americana from a shopping center--"

"--I'm good."

"--'Know all the best spots--"

"Watch that wreath. And. Also. You're a terrible person--

"--Ya'll grew up to be little rich white kids. Lacking of talent, skill, competence, capability. 'Sure kept all the signs of privilege. But for blackened teeth ... What an accomplishment. Don't worry. Once her dead fish eyes get to a certain point, they'll fall out -- dissipation. Then all you'll have to look at is her sockets. There's a difference between bone and bone ... AM I right--"

"--YOU two," Youth says, while collecting fallen decorations. "She seems alright."

"For over a week," Rainger says. "I did exactly as you said--"

"--You know I learned that from the barracks--"

"--Pretend nothing bad ever happened to you before the age of eighteen, including trials and tribulations," Rainger says with flourish and antics, to boot. "And for those WHOLE eighteen years I was wearing name-brand-shoes the WHOLE time--"

"--The White female is very easily confused, concerning who is human and who is not. If you find yourself in a tough spot, throw something shiny at her, like a penny--"

"How to date a White girl," the Youth says, sweeping his broom. "One oh one."

"In The Beginning Was The Word. Whatever she said."

"I don't mention how much money I make," Rainger says. "I never drive up in a car. I never mention disability--"

"--She's civilian. Like, super-sheltered. Reality knows to not waste its time. You might as well be dealing with a balloon full of air -- not oxygen, of course. She'd know bet--"

"--JUST say," Youth says, leaning on the broom. "You're a product of the system. And make sure no military tattoos can be seen."

"When she asks what I do," Rainger says. "I'll be like -- All my LIFE ... ... I had to FIGHT ... 'Kept any American adult from ever being alone in any room with any American child. All the while wondering about SabBATical--"

"--Harr harr harr--"

"--Don't forget to pay--"

"--If she tries to sleep with you this early -- GHost her -- No one respects a WHORE--"

"I'm letting go," Rainger says.

"You-were-never-holding-it--"

"--I'm-letting-go-of-the-ladder-now."


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tommyb

Registrant
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(Thursday, 27JAN2022)


(waking)


Grandpa. Not great-Grandpa. Ray's father. The one with the greenhouse. He liked to travel, to photograph, to see distant relatives, like it was a thing, relatives on a summer road trip. He's a lot like J____. Good-natured, but when he puts his foot down it's real, and everyone subtlety knows it. Summer in north New York State feels like The Wonder Years, a television show 'would watch. My, apparently, second cousin, gave me rights to his bicycle. He's always happy to see me, like he doesn't exactly know what to do with this new information that we are cousins. We spend the days visiting people around the neighborhood, a residential suburb, not too crowded, with his friend, a neighbor. Maybe we're eight, nine. We stayed two weeks. The dynamics of our immediate family were already set, but there was a newness to landing in the larger family, so that witnessing Dawn, Ray, Grace, and Rose playing along with how things should be, going to the yard sales on Saturday mornings, like going to a festival, had an air or normalcy that everyone seemed to feel they deserved.

We were natural accomplices. Dawn's days were not easy. To not be normal. To not know it's not a character defect; it's autism. To blame yourself when something social doesn't quite work. When things all of the sudden are working, it's like this light occurs in her eyes, while she's playactin--socializing-- within a group. Once Dawn believes she's good and normal and everything's okay and right, us remaining four somehow knew how to be. Only, it wasn't the joy of her joy that is the memory.

It's the specific, personal joy, Grace's joy. Though half the time the females were at each others' throats. Rose's joy. That glance across the backyard during the cookout, that witnessing Dawn finally relieved, shining, her American Dream, and somehow knows it, with pride, vastly older than America, suddenly true, with none of the usual negative omens that warn something's up. When Dawn fits in, the secret, unspeakable joy shared by the four accomplices does not resonate from her, but Grace, Rose, Ray.

She has no idea how to be in an Irish family. She only knows the old ways, from the Valley of Death. When all of the sudden she's free of them, the old, original ways, and gets to be like everyone else, we were so happy for her, in a way that if she had known she would have crushed, handled, gotten control of. That's what it's like coming from the original. She wants you to be as cool as the latest. If you are her boy, you know she knows, you'll know ... all of it, thoroughly, all of the past, for what it was, for how it went down, for how it ACTually happened. She knows you cannot help but have your own point of view. Your own judgement. While she could humbly imply the slightest of the truth of it, and God Himself would stop everything, His being so surprised.

"You're just kids," she said, that summer, my head on her lap, in the backseat of a truck, whose driver's local, maybe related, 'knows where he's going. She's the most beautiful woman in the world. The most capable. The most relevant. "You're just little kids."


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tommyb

Registrant
__________


(Thursday, 27JAN2022)


"What did you do--"

--That's how he said it., He knows, obviously. 'Have met a White person before. He reminds me of my sisters, only lacking the more impressive connivances. 'Have seen my own reflection, in water, or what-like. He is no longer a nine year old boy. He was unable to find any body. Thank God for the boy. Goodness, he may have been sweating bullets, covered in blood and dirt, but he was a clever one. At the time, it was the Eighties and Nineties. American soil was an absolutely inappropriate place for any child, especially a boy. Goodness, how many American boys were here ... In these shoes. It was America during the Eighties and Nineties. He suspects his generation is being murdered off by the American little boys. Leave it to an American White man ... Unable to find any of the bodies.

"I know you're pure evil," he says to me. "I know you know killing like water, like air. I know you're from God's Country."

"Old, random, man," 'say to him. He lacks interesting -- ness. It's like the boy is some sort of critic, some sort of connoisseur. "What do you want..."

"The Brits are not to be involved. They may find out, fine," he says. "But you are to shore them up. Post the murders, of course."

"It is bad luck to not bury one's murders," 'say to him. "'Survived past the age of ten amongst the Americans. I know the details of this world."

"I will find you a proper unmarked gravesite--"

"--Passed four on the way here. All adult corpse ready. Is this one yet another White person--"

"--Um. I don't know--"

"If it is yet another Christian Evangelical. I suggest you get at least a few miles from here."

"As long as the body is never found. I want a Eighties and Nineties job of it. 'Don't worry. I'll handle the mainstream."

That's how they always speak to me. 'Don't know if it's because of the extraordinary survival, or all the murders. He was born in America. That's the thing. As evil as I may be ... God chooses the boy, always, 'prefers him. Not me. But the boy. This one, though white, male, privileged, and kind of stupid, remains easy enough to deal with. We might as well be in classical times.

"You will murder, thoroughly and cleanly," he says. "Same as back before, when you were a little American boy. That's the killing I want. That's what has to happen."


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