The Square Peg - The Morning After the Night Before
© S. Bradley Stoner
I woke up early this morning. I’ve got to tell you, I felt grrr-eat! The days are getting longer, so the sun was already up. I swear old Sol was smiling down at me. With my mug of morning coffee in my hand, I stepped onto my back porch and breathed in the crisp air. We had a cold front come through last night so it was a Texas nippy 50° F. It was invigorating, I tell you.
Coffee done, it was just about time to head out and pound the pavement... morning walks in the sunshine are such a joy. That stint of gloomy overcast and fog a couple of weeks ago, not so much. Sneakers tied, I stepped out and set a brisk pace. Four doors down, Duncan joined me, letting out a tremendous belch as he did.
“Last night’s pizza,” he grimaced apologetically. “Told ya not to put onions on it.”
I took one look at his bloodshot eyeballs, caught the waft of the belch and returned, “Pizza heck! Beer. I’m surprised you didn’t sleep in.”
“That too,” he grinned sheepishly. “What a game!”
“Think it was Manning’s last one?”
“Hard telling. I wouldn’t blame him if it was, but reports of Favre’s retirement proved false... more than once, so who knows?”
We circled the block before we headed out for our long walk. I’m pretty sure we were both hoping to catch old Bob out getting his paper. Who’d want to miss seeing him the morning after? Certainly not us. Sure enough, there he was, standing with his bathrobe open and holding the paper. He spotted us and tried to escape. No such luck.
“Hey Bob!” we chorused.
He stopped dead in his tracks, hung his head and slowly turned around. His face had the same expression as Cam Newton’s late in the fourth quarter. Sort of a mixture of astonishment, defeat and pain. I’d have felt sorry for him but for all the boasting about how Carolina was going to clean Denver’s clock the week before.
“How about those Broncos?!” we sang gleefully.
“Shut up,” Bob answered miserably. “Nobody likes gloating winners.”
“Hey, we’re not gloating,” I said, but we kind of were.
This was the second year in a row we’d seen old Bob come out on the losing end of his boasts. First, the Pats had beaten the Sea Hawks in the last seconds of the previous Super Bowl, and now his Panthers had been trampled by the Broncos. He was miserable. We could have been a little more charitable... heck, we could have been a little charitable... but we weren’t.
“Told ya Denver’s defense was a buzz saw,” Duncan offered. “Told ya Carolina hadn’t seen anything like it all year. You shoulda listened. By the way... where’s my twenty bucks?”
“You suck... I have to go to the bank.”
“Well, don’t take a month like you did last year,” Duncan said.
Now, I knew Duncan couldn’t care less about the money. It was just his way of needling Bingo Bob. After putting up with Bob’s derision after Denver’s humiliation by Seattle in the Super Bowl a couple of years ago, this was sweet revenge. By the time Duncan got done this year, Bob’s ego would be as bruised as Cam’s body after the seventh sack. Me? I can’t sustain gloating that long. After a week it’s time to move on, but during that week, I’d help Duncan remind Bob that paybacks are a... well, you know.
“Yeah, yeah,” Bob said. “You’ll get it.”
“I don’t want you to be owin’ me come next year’s big game... who ya pickin’ anyway?”
“Ya know, you can be a real ass, Duncan... I’m goin’ inside. I don’t have to put up with this crap.” But Bob knew he did... he knew he had it coming. You could tell by the defeat in his voice.
“Hey... I’m throwing a victory party next Saturday... want to come,” Duncan tossed over his shoulder as Bob headed inside.
“Screw you,” Bob said.
“I’m buyin’ the beer and burgers,” Duncan sniggered.
“I hope you choke on ‘em!” Bob shot back and slammed the door.
“Hmmm,” I mused, “Did we go too far?”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Duncan replied. “Besides, he’ll show up for the party, no matter what he says... Bob is incapable of passing up free beer and food.”
We continued on, filled with a warm, fuzzy feeling. Mine was from the sweet victory of my team, Duncan’s was from too much beer and pizza. Still, it was pretty funny when he belched out, “Broncos Win!” I wonder if we’ll ever grow up... aw, who cares? It was funny!