Monday, March 30, 2020

Clear as Ice - #HockeyFiction - Prompt Nine

Today's prompt is penalty box.  

I have corrected this to reflect counting by prompts.

Previous entries: Prompt one, prompt two, prompt three, prompt four, day five, prompt six, prompt seven, prompt eight

"Okay, but what if your failure to post an #UnderMyJersey pic is the reason we lose?" Spruce asked. 

Al kept his eyes on Daisy who was leading them through the maze of the baseball stadium towards the field.  "Lose this volleyball match or lose hockey?"  he asked. 

Kunyk snorted. 

"The volleyball match," Spruce said.  "Obviously we won't lose hockey." 

Kunyk used his hand to knock on Spruce's head.  "Knock wood. Spruce wood." 

Spruce glared.  "You think that's original or something?" 

"I do not.  But you can't simultaneously tell Stop he's gotta do something to maintain good luck and in the same breath declare we won't lose hockey like ever?  Respect the luck.  Prepare, but also respect." 

"Good advice," Al said.  He still wasn't posting a shirtless pic.  Not because De Sorcy had fricking started it, although he was certainly aware of it. But more because he didn't want his hockey interviews to be about how good he did or didn't look under his clothes.  He knew people were going to talk about it and speculate, he just didn't want to play directly into that.  But there was no way to say that without sounding like a weirdo.  Besides, Spruce was like the definition of All American corn fed.  He'd never had to worry how he compared to traditional Western beauty standards.  Al wasn't self conscious about his looks, but he also would rather spend time talking about just about anything else with reporters. Dentistry would be more fun.

They emerged onto the field, where a sand court waited in the middle.  The publicity crew was already there with still and video cameras, and even a boom mike.  Sienna was there along with three other women.  She had on a t-shirt that declared, "See you in the court!"  The shirt was tied at her side so that it fit very snugly. Her shorts were similarly snug, providing a view of her legs.  Al glanced around the stadium.  He had not spent any time thinking about how distracting having her on the other side of the net would be.  He mentally reviewed all the rules they'd all gone over about volleyball.  Ogling the opposing side had not come up, so he at least didn't have to worry about that. 

He wouldn't be any kind of goalie if he couldn't compartmentalize, so he gave himself one more breath before turning back.  Spruce was already introducing himself, shaking hands under the net with the women.  Two wore shirts that matched Sienna's.  The last wore a plain black shirt and a whistle dangled around her neck.  "Hi," she said, "I'm your official for today." 

"Hi," Kunyk said.  "Thanks for coming out on what must normally be your off season." 

She shrugged.  "I do team stuff too, so it keeps me busy year round." 

"Okay," Daisy said, "as a reminder, we're going to stop a lot to let the publicity folks get the shots they need.  While we have an official here today, in general this should all be fun more than it is competitive, and of course, we'll get interviews with everyone about how much fun they are having.  And also, no injuries today.  Any questions?" 

They all shook their heads. 

The camera crews all converged and had them shake hands under the net again. 

The ref, were they called refs in volleyball, Al hadn't paid any attention to that part, held up an arm.  "I know this is mostly an exhibition game, but we're going to keep it clean. Okay, everyone ready?" 

They all nodded.  "These folks want to stage some action shots."  She gestured at the camera crew. "So we'll use that as the warm up time before we get a real set in." 

When Al's turn came to spike a ball over the net he moved in close.  The whistle blow was fast. 

"Watch your feet," the ref said. 

He looked down and his left foot was all the way on the other side.  He tugged his foot back. 

"Watch out, Al," Kunyk said.  "None of us are taking your turn in the penalty box today." 

Al shook his head at Kunyk. 

"Goalies, man," Spruce added, "they always try to play by different rules." 

Al glared at Spruce too.  Goalie gloves plus the official hockey family friendly stance normally limited his ability to use hand gestures to display his thoughts.  But glaring even through a hockey mask was something he had been told he was pretty good at. 

Once they had the shots, he moved back to the sidelines and tried not to get overly distracted watching Sienna take her practice hits over the net.