Friday, April 03, 2020

Clear as Ice - #HockeyFiction Prompt Twelve

Today's prompt is intermission.  

Note: The top of this post has been updated to reflect counting by prompts.

Previous entries: Prompt one, prompt two, prompt three, prompt four, prompt five, prompt six, prompt seven, prompt eight, prompt nine, prompt ten, day eleven.   

The Blizzards were currently sitting at the bottom of the division, unlikely to even make the cut for the playoffs unless several teams were sucked up by a spaceship in the next few weeks. They'd had coaching issues and some key injuries, it just wasn't a good year for them.  But that meant they played tonight like they had nothing to lose.  There had been sixty eight official shots on goal, and Al felt like he felt every single one of them.  Of course it didn't work like that.  The shots on goal was just the official shots, not all the nudges, bumps, and everything else that happened throughout the game.
Coach had given them a rousing pep talk during the first intermission when they had been down two.  The second intermission the locker room had been eerily quiet. In the end, they finished four to two, resulting in the first Domes loss at home this month.  Al knew intellectually it didn't matter if you lost away or at home, but it always felt like a bigger deal. 

And he knew Sienna had been up in the owner's box.  This had been the first loss she'd attended.  He wondered if she would quit hockey after this.  Some folks only liked the days they won.  Asked for refunds on the days they didn't. 
Al had a basketball game waiting for him when he got home.  He just had to get up off this bench and go outside.  He didn't know quite what he was sitting in there waiting for.

The reporters and press weren't gone, but they had all moved into the area for the post-game press conference, so he was able to walk quietly through the hallways of the arena.  He heard voices up ahead and spotted Daisy talking to Sienna. He almost turned around.  Even though the only other way out of the arena took his past the press room.  

 "Hey, Al," Daisy said.  "Sienna was asking about the junior league teams we work with regularly.  It was a tough game.  But we're still in good shape for the season." 

Al smiled because Daisy was nice and she meant well.  This was why he stayed away from post game interviews as much as he could.  He hated false cheer as much as he hated explaining that some nights the other team played in a way that led to more scoring.  It wasn't even about better or worse.  Teams playing like crap pulled off wins sometimes too. 

"I'll email you to get more info," Sienna said.  "Thanks so much for everything." She looked at Al.  "Could you walk me out?" 

"Sure," Al said even though he was worried she wanted to try whatever her brand of soothing him after a game was.  If parts of him perked up a little at the possible images that evoked, other muscles screamed for sleep.  He had already moved past the post-game full of energy, can't sit still mode. 

Once they were around the corner, Sienna patted his elbow.  "I can actually find my way out of here, but you looked like you needed an out. I'm just going to metro." 

"Me too," he said. 

"Hockey players take metro?"  Sienna asked.  "They don't like mob you or something?" 

Al huffed a laugh.  "No.  Although tonight they might want to throw things at me.  But even with social media and all that, I look different without the mask." 

"I'd recognize you," Sienna said. 

"Well, fortunately for me, most people don't." He did pull out a hat emblazoned with the local WNBA team's name and stick it on though. 

"Still looks like you to me," Sienna said.  "But people do see what they want to see."  She gave him a look like she was fighting asking a question. 

"Spit it out," Al said. 

"I have a thing to ask you, but now is probably not the time.  Can I text you tomorrow maybe?"

"Sure,"  he said. 

"Cool.  I'm headed this way."  She pointed down the street.  "Talk to you later." 

He watched her leave, to make sure she stayed safe of course.  She was still wearing his jersey but it didn't cover up the slim fit jeans she was wearing, and of course, he had a very good memory for what those legs looked like in shorts.
Definitely time for him to get home.