Horace screamed at the television, his frustration evident.
“Jay-sus-H-Christ-almighty, wouldja look at these bastards??”
Adele didn’t glance up from her crossword puzzle.
Horace ground his teeth as the players got tangled up behind the net, scrambling for the puck.
Adele glanced up and shook her head when she caught him pulling at his hair. She returned to her crossword puzzle.
“I don’t know why you continue to watch that stuff, its not good for your blood pressure.”
He turned incredulous eyes on his wife.
“Holy Hanna, dove, it’s the friggin’ playoffs! The playoffs!”
She didn't look at him, only pursed her lips in disapproval.
There was a hail of boos. He whipped back to the television, shouting as he caught the replay. He threw his hands up again.
“If that stupid dunderhead would do what the heck he’s supposed to do, then maybe we’d have a chance.” He plopped back down on the ottoman, reached for another beer and snapped it open, tossing back half of it. He straightened up, yelling. “It was innnnnnnnn.” He threw his arms wide. “How can they say no goal?”
Adele calmly scratched in a six-letter word.
“I have no idea.”
“They’re blind, I tell you! Blind!” He jumped up to pace. “I can’t believe this.”
The phone rang.
He picked up the handheld, checked the caller i.d., pressed a button then shouted into it.
“The game ain’t over yet, so don’t start callin’ for money!” He jabbed a finger at the television. “We’re going into overtime!” there was a pause, then a- “Screw you!” He slammed the handheld on the cradle, cursing under his breath.
Adele took a sip of her tea, frowned and added another cube of sugar.
“I heard that.”
This went on for another hour. Horace alternated between yelling at the screen, shouting into the phone and letting loose a stream of obscenities. Adele corrected him each and every time.
When his team finally won after double over-time, he tried calling his neighbor but got no response. He tried several times only to get angrier by the minute.
Adele became concerned as she watched him pace.
“Maybe, he doesn’t want to talk to you right now. Why don’t you let it be?”
“No can do.” He went to get his shoes on. “Do we have any black markers?”
“Look in the drawer beside the fridge.” Confused, she followed him into the kitchen. “What do you need that for?”
“Don’t worry about it, I’ll be right back.”
The front door slammed.
And of course, Adele worried about it.
It was a full seventeen minutes before he returned.
She jumped up, went to meet him at the front door, and gasped at his appearance.
“Horace! What on earth?”
Horace smiled in between wincing from his split lip. A swelling formed under his left eye, his favourite tee-shirt was torn at the neck, his swollen nose was trickling with blood and his hair was plastered to his sweaty forehead. He held a six-pack in one skinned hand and a wad of bills with the marker in the other.
He proudly raised the hand with the beer.
“See? Not a problem.”
Adele placed her hands on his face.
“Are you okay?”
“Oh, I’m fine.” He nodded, handing her the beer. “This ain’t nothin’.”
“Are you sure?” She didn’t believe him. “I thought you were only betting money.”
“We were.” He toed off his shoes. “When he tried to back out of it, I had to set him straight. Cost him his beer.”
Adele shook her head.
“I can’t believe you were over there fighting. What if someone calls the cops? Maybe, you shouldn’t do this anymore.”
“Can’t, dove.” He brushed his cracked lips against her cheek. “I left a reminder on his forehead about the game at seven. And besides,” he went into the kitchen, “It’s tradition. We do this every year.”
© copyright 2011 by Ren Thompson April 21, 2011
Theme Thursday - Televsion