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Do you want to win today?

Ed Zurga

Ned stared anesthetically through the luxury box glass at the field on which his burly troop unwittingly vaulted his stratagems into reality. The reflection of the fluorescent light from the paneled ceiling condensated with the moist breath hissing out of his open mouth. Curls of heat rose from the black coffee jittering in the gnarled ceramic mug his wife had fashioned him during one of her craft benders. His breath halted as he wondered how much sawdust Maxwell House is allowed to mix into their recipe.

The latch of the door clacked against the silence in the luxury box. Ned's heart jumped with alacrity and inevitably receded into anticipated dread on the downbeat. Two giant men in full Robocop regalia escorted Mr. Glass into the room, one in front and one behind. They froze at either side of the entrance as if the twitches and shivers that have coursed throughout humanity since the dawn of time did not apply to them.

Mr. Glass glanced up at the mildew-resistant panels of his ceiling, mouth agape. His thoughts had not yet drifted into the juniority of Ned's humble realm. One of the Robocops sneezed and immediately excused himself from the room, only to be replaced within seconds by what appeared to be the exact same man.

Ned quietly folded his hands together, resting his arms on the veneer of the table in front of him as a fortress around his wife's slumping creation. He knew very well that it isn't the same man at all.

He gazed into the steaming, black madness within the ovate rim of the clay and waited while Mr. Glass inspected the room for dust.

The chair across from Ned had been thoughtfully positioned as an invitation to sit. Mr. Glass did not accept. He crossed his arms as he approached his onlooking flunky, stopping at the side of the table like a waiter taking the order of a man dining alone in earnest.

"Do you want to win today?" Glass said to him, peering through the window, or perhaps, at the window itself.

"Aye." Ned often pictured scenes from Mel Gibson's Braveheart during these anxious encounters.

The room became dumb to sound for a moment that briefly neglected time and place. The muteness shattered into endless shards in every dimension and melted against the blurs of Ned's periphery. His stomach lurched and he felt as though he had dropped through the floor. The sodden hues and namelessness rushed past him in slowly thinning streaks until he seemed to catch up to the light projecting this false reality and everything slowly faded away into the velocity. He felt himself smile slightly as he thought of Yordano Ventura.

"Alright. Tell them they can win today."

Ned snapped back into reality with the gravelly sound of Mr. Glass' voice. His eyes began to well up and a drastic energy overtook the corners of his jaw. He never knew when Mr. Glass would allow him to bear good news to his men.

The anxiety of these meetings never waned and had often ended with the acquisition of manometric burden, but today he could loosen the bridle. He could take his hand away from the hopeful forehead of his regiment and cast his arm across the horizon, revealing to them the sweeping potential for the exorcism of their perfection.

And it gave his life purpose ... if only for the day.