Arthur had a burger and one beer. He listened to other people tell their stories and didn’t, for possibly the first time in his life, have the uncontrollable urge to cast aspersions. He was, to use a word that few ever associated with Dr. Byrne, polite.
The grilling was being handled masterfully by Eric. Footballs were being tossed about and numerous games of bago added to the festive air. The twelve o’clock kickoff approached and when they heard the band playing the schools fight song, a sea of red made their ways for the stadium.
The first quarter saw them jump to a 7-3 lead, but a turnover just after the start of the second quarter led to a touchdown for the opponents from down south. It was tradition not to say their arch rivals name, as it was considered profane. At the half, the team that would not be mentioned led 13 – 7, and Arthur was concerned.
Eric, who sat between Arthur and Emily, said, “Our defense is doing fine, but what happened to our passing game?”
“It’s like the QB is afraid. His timing has been terrible. How many times has he thrown the ball behind a wide open man?”
“Exactly! He couldn’t complete a pass in a sobriety free sorority.”
Emily leaned forward and said, “Okay, that was clever. Much better than before.”
Eric asked, “Before?”
“Yes, on the walk over, he was trying to make up a story and it was dreadful.”
Arthur said, “It was only dreadful because you didn’t appreciate the nuance of my genius.”
Eric shook his head and patted Emily on the knee, “I’m sorry you had to endure that.”
Arthur said, “Thank-you, it was nearly unbearable having such a remarkable bit of off the cuff story telling fall on blonde ears.”
Emily said, “First off, I’m a brunette…”
“You’re a metaphorical blonde.”
Emily lost her train of thought and let a giggle slip. “Okay, “metaphorical blonde”, that was pretty good.”
Arthur got up and said, “I’m off for beer, it’s my turn to buy.” He needed to get away from third wheeldom.
A few former student stopped to chat. She introduced her husband, who seemed like a nice fellow. Arthur made small talk, but was thinking about the late night tutoring he had provided her senior year. She was an eager student and so interested in literature. Ah good times.
He missed the second-half kickoff and the 98 yard return for a touchdown. Three minutes later, Arthur nearly spilled his beer when the redshirt freshman corner, intercepted a tipped ball and took it to the house.
The team from down south fell apart after that, and the final score was 35 – 13. Arthur, who had been caught up in the game, hadn’t noticed that wheels one and two had gotten somewhat icy towards one another.
He bid them adieu, in a really bad French accent, and went home to take a nap. Seeing Kimberly or Kristen…or was it Crystal, had put him in a mood to celebrate the win, but a post-game, pre-Lawrence party, battery recharge was a necessity.