Prologue to The Waiting Game

Bean and Clint rolled down the Old 57 Highway headed south, on Clint’s family’s identical camouflage ATV’s. They screamed and laughed as their white t-shirts whipped behind them in the warm, late summer’s wind. The late morning sun was shining brightly. Clint pulled a wheelie, and then accelerated away from Bean with his middle finger in the air. Bean tried to hide his smile, but shook his head letting it slip, then he sped after the Big Cat.

They could see The Stix Hotel and Lounge sign a few hundred yards away, jutting into the air, so the two young men veered off the road, to the right and into a wooded area to proceed into their rival town on foot. It was always weird doing scouts there; so many memories of hard fought football games and pranks during rivalry week.

Their senior year Clint and Dylan got drunk off whisky and did doughnuts all over The Eagles field, destroying the fresh sod the school had just laid for that week. Guess they should have used turf. As a healthy side effect for the Braves – well, the Pioneers – the game was then changed to be played at their home field. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Bean found a picture of a drunken Corey Briggs – the Eagles all-state linebacker – wearing a Pioneer cheerleading costume on the internet. So Dylan just had to drop a few thousand copies around the two towns.

Clint and Bean parked the ATV’s where they couldn’t be seen from the road, took the keys out and hopped off. They spoke clearly, but not too loud to be heard.

“Do you remember Megan, man?” Bean asked.

“Megan? That gymnastics girl from Evergreen High?” Clint replied.

“No, man, that was Kelsey. Megan, man,” Bean paused, “with the tits…?”

“Oh, yeah, Megan!” Clint had a realization. Continuing with a smile, he said “Yeah, I remember her.”

The two gentlemen proceeded to move through the small woodland, slowly and quietly, pushing low hanging branches of conifer trees out of the way, and stepping around the more sturdy and brittle branches of birch trees. The woodland wasn’t too thick this time of year. If it was early summer, the guys would have had to walk right down the road, but since it was August, the brush had thinned a bit. Clint ripped his shirt on a branch as it snapped past him.

“Ah, fuck!”

“What happened?” Bean said quickly.

“Fucking branch ripped my shirt.” Blood trickled down Clint’s abdomen and turned his shirt red.

“You alright?”

“Yeah, man, I’m fine. Let’s just pick up the pace and get our asses out of this jungle.” Clint continued forward, keeping the conversation moving.

“What about Georgina?”

“Oh, my God, Georgina.” Bean said, as if he had just relieved himself. “Those legs. I love those legs. Now she was something else. Smart, too. She got a full ride to Notre Dame, didn’t she?”

“I don’t fucking know.” Clint said. Then he chuckled, “Our interactions were, physical mostly. Actually, I never even knew her last name.”

Bean punched his friend and they both laughed

“You fucking dirt bag! Did you even give her a ride home?”

Clint winked with a telling smile. “Of course I did.”

They could see the clearing now. Beyond it was a small field where soybeans or corn had always been planted. Corn was the most recent planting, but that was well over a year ago now. Still, you could see the short, off-white stalks where corn used to rise from the earth. The field had not been tilled and planted this summer.

As they approached the opening they continued their slightly indecent talk about women they had been with – or hadn’t been with, perhaps.

Finally, there’s that damn field.” Clint was just about to step into the sunlight of the open field.

“Hey, Clint, one more: Long legs, tight waist with a pretty face, not too tall, the sexiest of braud of them all?”

Sadie fucking Briggs, man!” the two rascals said together. They laughed and slapped each other on the back as if the two of them had done something significant.

As the two young men caught their breath, Bean asked. “Did you ever get her?”

“Oh yea, bud. Afterparty of our homecoming, she showed up.”

“Wait what?”

“The Homecoming afterparty…” Clint said nonchalantly, pushing his way through the branches.

Bean said hesitantly, “I had her after homecoming…”

Clint looked at him, cocked his head to the side and put a finger to his chin as if he were thinking deeply. “Hmmm. Well I guess that makes us Eskimo brothers then!” Clint planted a big old kiss on Bean, and then slapped him hard across the face and ran into the field, laughing wildly.

“Oh, you fucker!” Bean said as he ran after him.

They ran into the old field, Bean chasing Clint, about two car lengths behind him. At 6’6 Clint had long legs and could run like the wind blows. Bean stood at about 5’8 with shoes on. Although he was quick, Bean would never catch Clint.

Clint began to get cocky. He turned around and ran backwards, letting Bean gain on him a bit. He laughed wickedly and put his middle finger up. But as Clint’s confidence reached its peak, he tripped over a large rock – or maybe it was something else – and went tumbling backwards.

He stood up covered in dirt, brushed himself off for a moment and looked up. To his surprise, a large ten point buck stood up, glaring at him, only a few feet away.

Bean stopped dead in his tracks. “Holy shit,” he said softly.

As the massive buck lowered it’s head and grunted, Clint let out a quiet, “Oh, fuck.”

It began to scrape the ground and snort, shaking its head back and forth.

“Ah, Clint, ‘the fuck are you gonna do?!”

“Shhh!” Clint put his finger to his mouth, then smiled a wicked smile. The buck scraped the ground, grunted and snorted, shaking its head back and forth again, this time more violent and aggressive. Clint giggled, then said softly, “You wanna rumble, big boy?”

Another loud snort and head shake by the deer.

Clint, puffing his chest out, yelled at the massive deer, “Well, let’s dance then!”

The buck scraped it’s front legs in the dirt once more, lowering its head for battle. Clint screamed like a maniac, prepared himself, then ran right at the buck, still screaming! At Clint’s first move, the buck moved to; head down and panting. Just before the two made contact, Clint leapt up into the air! The buck swung his head up at Clint and let out a loud grunt. Clint soared head first over the buck, and as he fell toward the ground he smacked the deer on the ass, somersaulting as he landed on the hard dirt of the corn field.

The deer let out a deep yelp and took a dead left, towards more woodland. Clint laughed hysterically, as if it was the funniest thing he had ever seen. He stood up and waved at the deer, which had approached the tree line of the corn field.

“Ya like that ya dirty bastard! That’ll teach ya to fuck with Clint Cooper!”

The buck stood against the backdrop of deciduous trees, defeated and conquered. Then it disappeared into the woodland.

Bean ran up beside him. “Holy shit, man! That was awesome!” Bean laughed.

Ha, ha! Yes, it was! C’mon let’s get this scout finished so we can run back and tell the crew about that one.”

Clint and Bean ran across the rest of the field, booming with energy, like boys aged for elementary school. Then the two young men went up the treeline to the road. They were too high off adrenaline to care about being quiet or moving stealthy on the scout at this point; plus, scouts never turned much up anyway. They had to get back quickly to tell the guys what had just happened. They took a left and moved quickly down the road, approaching Evergreen High school, still laughing about Clint’s victory over the deer. But as they hit the other edge of the woodland, the beginning of Evergreen High’s campus, they saw something they did not expect.

“What the…”

“Oh, shit!”

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