Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words? Entry #11

April 20th, 2009 by Wordsman



The dirty gray orb sailed across the (roughly) level green playing field.


The orb was forcefully struck by a well-placed foot and immediately rocketed back in the opposite direction.


Between the dramatic cracks that rang out almost constantly, the arena was filled with the steady squeaking of un-oiled metal rapidly rotating and shifting back and forth through plastic sheathes. And, during rare, brief moments of calm, one could even hear the simple sound of the ball rolling the length of the field, somehow dodging its way past all who stood before it, at long last dropping into the goal with a light THUD of finality that somehow managed to be louder than all the commotion that preceded it. For some, this was the sound of victory; for others, it represented humiliation and disgrace.

Beyond this there was no sound. The two generals who commanded the armies arrayed on the field never spoke, for they had no need. Their every order was communicated non-verbally, transmitted through their shoulders, arms, wrists, hands, fingers. There were no shouts of joy or groans of defeat, for these would have interrupted the flow of the match, and the flow of the match was a force more powerful than gravity and magnetism combined. And there certainly was no whirr of the metal rods spinning over and over in place, for spinning was a blasphemy so sacrilegious that it was believed that field itself would spontaneously crack down the middle if the word was even uttered in its presence.

Still, the field of battle was certainly a loud place, where most men’s senses would be completely deadened and even basic conversation would be awkward, if not impossible. The two mighty warriors, however, remained unperturbed. They were familiar with the sounds of battle. After all, they had been raised on the battlefield. No matter how titanic, how furious, how deafening the match became, they were still able to keep their full attention on the game.

Unfortunately, not everyone is capable of such feats of concentration.

If the two competitors had not been perfectly focused on the manipulation of their subordinates, they might have head the door slam upstairs. They may also have noticed someone stomping angrily down the steps one by one. They did pick up on the heavy sigh, but only because they had heard it so many times before, and even then only subconsciously. It only registered as an inexplicable sense of foreboding, and for a moment each one thought that the other was about to unleash some secret, unstoppable technique, leaving the victim powerless to prevent the end of the game.

Instead, the game ended in quite a different fashion.

“You know,” Jon began in a shout that was jarring more because of its level of indignation than its volume. For the first time since the match began, one of the two faltered and missed a shot that he should have easily made. The ball rolled past the misplaced defender, ricocheted off the wall, and slowly drifted to a halt in one of the corners. The flow of the game was broken. The match was, for all intents and purposes, over.

“I like sports as much as the next guy,” Jon continued, when he believed that he had his roommates’ full attention. This was, in fact, a lie. Jon had never cared for sports of any kind, from football to foosball. Sports were the opiate of the masses, the modern equivalent of the ancient Romans’ circuses, and their only purpose was to use flash to distract the ignorant from worrying about real problems. Professional sports were nothing more than a waste of time, but this did not bother Jon much. Except, of course, when the time being wasted was his.

“I understand why people would want to spend hundreds of dollars and hours waiting in line just to get tickets to the Super Bowl or the World Series or the Final Four.” He couldn’t, actually, and he knew he would have a hard time faking it, especially with those two, so he moved on. “But what I can’t understand is why you two are so obsessed with this stupid game that you’re still playing it at three o’clock in the morning!”

One of the two competitors finally opened his mouth. They had not remained silent for the sake of being polite and letting Jon finish speaking. It had just taken that long for them to recover from the shock of having the match come to such a sudden, unsatisfactory end. “Dude,” said Dave, “how many times have we told you not to interrupt us in the middle of the game?”

“I don’t know,” Jon responded angrily. “How many times have I told you not to play your dumb game when I’m trying to sleep? Let’s see . . . going at about five times a week . . . it must be almost thirty by now!”

“The game must go on,” said Jordan, who slowly loosened his grip on the table and leaned back into a normal standing position.

“But does it really have to go on right now?” Jon argued. “You know I have a test tomorrow morning!” His two roommates stared at him blankly. In the grand scheme of things, tests ranked very low on the importance scale, somewhere around getting enough sleep and remembering to return library books. Jon tried a different tactic. “And does it have to be this game? Can’t you play something quieter?” But the suggestion was pointless; Jon was pretty sure that they didn’t know how to play any quiet games.

“Fine!” he declared. “Then I’m taking this!” He reached down and seized the ball. Dave and Jordan protested vehemently, but to no avail. Jon took the dirty gray orb upstairs and slammed his door again. They couldn’t keep him from studying.

An unearthly hush fell over the battlefield. The two armies hung lifelessly from their poles. The game was over. Both sides had lost.

Posted in Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words? | 4 Comments »

4 Responses

  1. A Fan Says:

    I like it!

  2. A Fan Says:

    I like it!
    Sorry, should have added great post! Waiting on your next post!

  3. JT Says:

    Dude I don’t remember this happening.

  4. Wordsman Says:

    This is fiction, sir. Of course you don’t remember it happening.

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