I know this is on here somewhere. However, I have a book of short stories coming out, so I’d like to throw a sample of it on my blog for all to enjoy. The book will be free anyway, but here’s a taste.
“What the hell do you mean, ‘Do I do it?’ Of course I do,” Curtis said. He shot Henry a strange look. “Hell, we all do. You can’t take a beating week after week and not have something that gets you ready to play when the time comes. I know you’re a fan of the game, so don’t let it surprise you. I came to you because I hear you’re the best—that’s all.”
Henry nodded. “Okay, we can get you fixed up. Your test is today, right? If it’s tomorrow, new urine now won’t help.”
“Two hours away. This isn’t my first rodeo.”
Satisfied, Henry took the needle and jabbed it into the place where he thought the bladder was. He didn’t have any formal medical experience, however, he was Cedar Ridge’s expert in urine transfer.
Curtis winced. For a split second, Henry thought he had messed up and stuck him in the wrong place. But when the almost clear urine came out of the tube, he relaxed. “That’s the tainted stuff. We’ll flush it all out of your system, then replace it with clean stuff that won’t test positive.”
Yours? Curtis was going to finish with, but broke off his sentence instead. He didn’t want to know.
Henry raised his eyebrow, in an effort to get the question out of his ‘patient’, but Curtis wasn’t having it—he remained silent. This made Henry uncomfortable, so he made an attempt at small talk. “So what are you taking anyway?”
Curtis sighed. “I don’t know, to be completely honest with you. Obviously some P.E.D. that my trainer gives me for my shoulder, but I don’t know the specifics—something hydrate, I think.”
“You don’t know? Have you thought about any side effects?”
“I make five million a year for running at eleven guys that wanna take my head off. Do you really think I give a shit about side effects?”
Henry smiled. “You don’t exactly run at them. You run around the for the most part. That’s why you get paid five million to do it.”
With that, Curtis snorted laughter. “I guess, man.”
“It’s true. You’re my favorite player, and the Mammoths are my favorite team. That game you rushed for 250 and four touchdowns was insane! Have you on my fantasy team too. You’re a beast.”
“That’s not what Trey Schwartz thinks. Trey wants to take my job—with my shoulder acting up on me, he just might. Just need a bridge till the off-season. You’re the bridge. I hope you’re as good as they say.”
“That guy is a fucking scrub. He’s neve—”
“He’s a professional football player, man. Do you know how hard it is to be the last player on the fifty-four man roster? Do you know how good you gotta be to ride the bench the whole season? The man’s got skills. If I don’t stay healthy, he’s gonna be the guy you try to get on your fantasy team next year, believe me.”
“I’m just saying, he’s not you—nobody’s Curtis Gardner.”
Curtis shook his head. “Well, Curtis Gardner is sitting in some slap-dick wannabe clinic, getting his urine replaced so he won’t lose his job. Curtis Gardner is thirty years old—old man for a running back. Just trying to hold on another year or so.”
Henry took the needle out of his torso.
“We done here?” Curtis asked.
“How much do I owe you?”
“No charge for my favorite player. Maybe seats at will call if you can manage.”
“Done,” Curtis said. Henry couldn’t tell if it was a serious voice or not, but he chose not to ask.
Curtis stood in the middle of the bathroom in nothing but his towel.
“Drop ‘em,” the doctor said. His team doctor forced the players to stand it front of him, stark naked, in order to ensure an honest test. Although he claimed it was league rules, Curtis doubted it for some reason.
Curtis obliged, anyway, and relieved himself into the small cup.
Henry instructed him to hold his urine until the test. His bladder remained swollen for a full two hours until he was finally able to release the pressure during the test. Usually he had trouble peeing if someone was standing next to him in a stall, but now, with a man squatted in front of him like an umpire in baseball, he had no issue with stage fright.
After the test, the team doctor set him outside in the lobby. Curtis grabbed an issue of Sport Illustrated with his own picture on the cover and thumbed through its contents. He didn’t read the magazine, but merely flipped through all its pages so that he would be able to see all of the pictures the colorful magazine had to offer. Before he even got all of the way through the magazine, the doctor called him back into the office.
Shit! He usually just walks in here and says clean, then sends me on my way, Curtis thought. He looked around the room with dubious eyes, then followed the doctor.
“Did I test positive for something, or what? I’ve been taking this new protein shake lately, so I hope it’s all good.”
The doctor waved off his explanation. “Nope, nothing like that,” he said, then smiled. Curtis didn’t like the smile on his face, but he grinned along with the man just the same. “Trey told me to look at your sample veeerry closely, so I did.”
That fucking guy, Curtis thought. He didn’t let his frustration show externally, however.
“So if it’s not positive, then what’s the deal?”
“I just want to say congratulations,” the doctor said.
Curtis raised his eyebrows.
“You’re pregnant. Coach Winters asked me to tell you to clean out your locker, and turn in your playbook.”