Friday, May 20, 2011

The Sporting Life

Mr. Hall poured a cup of black adrenalin and wandered over to Mrs. Hall as she read in front of the fireplace. "What have you got there?"
"It's a biography of Winston Churchill. Ever since our little Miata revealed to me that his name was 'Winston', I've had an insatiable desire to know more about the man. A cursory glance in the Hall library divulged this tidy little specimen and I've been hacking my way through it over the morning brew for some time now."
"Bored with the financial section, ay?" He lifted the squat volume and heaved it back and forth a few times. "Not exactly a light-hearted romp."
"It does seem to be of the cinder block family, doesn't it? You'd think the man was clearly getting paid by the word, and yet, unbelievably enough, Pelling turns out to be a master of understatement. How can a man compose a tome of this weight, coming in at 800 plus pages of 12 point type and still leave out so many juicy details? In his foreword, his thanks are so comprehensive, he even includes a few bystanders that were on the pavement in front of his publishers; yet when it comes to his secretarial staff, he expresses his gratitude with a line that amounts to 'No thanks necessary here- you know who you are.' He slyly implies that the main subject's mum brought him into the world seven months into the marriage and that his father died of syphillis, but without any further revelation or source. Oh, Dr. Pelling, despite the fact that your book was published in 1974, you have deftly managed to remain the stalwart Victorian prude that you are, well into the latter half of the 20th century."
"That's it. I'm cutting off your coffee," said Mr. Hall. He gathered up her cup. "Reading makes you moody. Let's go into work and get you away from all that nasty thinking." He handed her her coat.
While Mrs. Hall's appointment had been taking up most of their weekends, work had been moving steadily along. One particular errand had taken them out to Auburn, and Mr. Hall had suggested they stop in at the Bass Pro Shop and see what was new in the sporting world. Realizing that Mrs. Hall's idea of sport was trying to decide which of the longshots she was going to bet, Mr. Hall bribed her with the promise of some good ole' cowboy barbecue. It was sufficient lure; Mrs. Hall took the bait and they went in. "Think fast!!" piped up Mr. H., and before she could blink, Mrs. Hall found herself the recipient of a six foot novelty pillow. "Now you can genuinely say you caught a big one!" he laughed.
Hijinks were all well and good, but unless Mrs. H. could talk him into purchasing one of those wall mounted rubber fish that wiggle on their own and unexpectedly burst into song, she was ready to head back home.
Wiping the remains of the campfire beans off their hands (and being careful not to get any on the car!) they dropped the top on Winston and started back through town. They hadn't gotten very far when the traffic slowed to a crawl and the police funnelled the crowd down to one lane. "What's going on?" asked Mrs. Hall. "Just one of the more pleasant American pastimes! Com'n, let's pull over and watch." And he pulled over the little green car onto a side road and parked.
Coming down the hill in front of them, at a breakneck speed of 5mph, were two homemade racers, their drivers huddled low in the frames, hellbent for glory and a standing on the handwritten leader board posted in the park. Having apparently wandered into the Soapbox derby finals taking place right in the heart of town, the Halls took up viewing from the coveted finish line seats. As Mr. Hall noticed Mrs. H. getting out her purse, he gently reminded her that despite what she might have heard or seen, betting on the pint size drivers was widely frowned upon by local law enforcement. She pouted briefly, but continued to cheer for the underdogs.
After a fashion, the traffic cleared and the Halls were able to move on. Later on that evening, over an aperitif before dinner, Mr. Hall asked her how the book turned out. "Well, it was pretty slow going there for a while, but I think now I can honestly say I found it most useful and enlightening." Mr. Hall nodded with approval. And later on that evening, when Mr. H. went upstairs to bed, he was hardly surprised when he found it propping open the bathroom door, enlightening most of the upstairs hallway as well.

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