World Cup Madness

You’re a soccer player on your national team at a World Cup soccer game. It’s an elimination game. The game has been intense and is tied 0-0. It comes down to the final play and the ball is yours. Do you make it? Miss and send to a shootout? Write this scene, but here’s the catch: There’s something on your mind that’s distracting you and must be incorporated into your thought process while trying to score the goal.

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545 thoughts on “World Cup Madness

  1. Tessybear

    We’ve got the ball. Asshole on the other team body-slammed Smith. Smith and Jones are kicking back and forth, testing the waters. Christ, these Russians are fierce. He got married so young, I know, and to a Russian of all people. Al and Anne next door are already calling us Communists. Smith kicks it back to our goalie. There’s less than two minutes left. Tick tock tick tock. The goalie kicks it to the other side of the field. Jackson heads it over to Adams, who dribbles it down the edge of the field. The Russians are aggressive. Ball gets kicked out of bounds. I don’t have time for this. Paul! Paul, I’m pregnant. I’m pregnant. Adams throws it to Jackson. Jackson passes to Andrews. Andrews dribbles down and passes to Smith. It’s going to be a girl. Hm…What should we name her? I side-step the Russian defender and run into a small opening. Pass to me! Got it. Dribble. A baby at only twenty-two; it’s sad, really. Closer, farther, closer. Pass to McAndrew. Glance at the crowd. There she is. She shouldn’t be here, she’s due any day. Anna. Let’s name her Anna. I stand in front of the goal, cutting off defenders. McAndrew is surrounded. Blanco provides an opening. McAndrew does a low pass to me, right at my feet. Time slows down. Screams, everyone screaming very loudly. I lightly kick the ball up, enough to give me some time for momentum. My foot makes contact with the ball. I see her. The ball goes closer to the goal. I see her with her mother’s eyes and my hair. It looks like it’s going in a straight line. She’s watching me next to the goal. It looks like the goalie’s going to block it. She’s excited, she’s waiting for me. The ball curves at the last second. She’s depending on me. It hits the net. She needs me. The crowd goes wild.

  2. celloaded

    This was it. It all boiled down to this moment. I could feel the eyes of every person in my country eagerly glued to their TV screens, already planning out my slow and painful death if I didn’t make this goal. The throbbing in my nose only intensified as I tried to pinpoint the angle I would need to shoot it at in order to avoid the multiple defenders running towards me. Regaining composure, I let my eyes shift to the right and saw an entire mass of red in the stadium, cheering me on and waving flags and banners in the air. The red reminded me of my broken nose, which was now bleeding profusely onto my raised arm. Time seemed to slow down as I lifted my foot back and aimed for the black and white ball in front of me. I felt my right foot make impact with the ball and I could swear I heard a collective inhale from the entire audience as it sailed through the air towards its destination. Suddenly, everything turned red.
    I started to panic, thinking my nose had quite literally reached its breaking point and maybe fallen off. Then, I realized that my blood couldn’t possible be weighing me down this much… and what was that screaming in my ear? Another wave of red pushed me downwards, and then I was drowning in it; it was everywhere. I felt myself being lifted upwards, and in my peripheral vision I saw a face emerge from the sea of red. I felt pats on my back, and some more red enveloped me in a giant bear hug. Only when a whistle blew twice in the distance did I realize that we won… we won! I rode the wave of red to my red coach, and my teammates set me down and I felt my face turn hot and red with joy – I did it! I had scored for my team… my country… and my semiconscious self grinned broadly at the thought. Suddenly, everything turned black.

  3. Augie

    ——-Just for fun———

    The worn out husband returns home after a five-week journey in literary battle. He pulls the emergency brake and signs. How would he explain to his wife his secret life? He enters his home taking in the smell of sweet perfume. “Honey, I’m home!”

    Her feet run across the upstairs wood floor. Deep in thought, he gazes at the grandfather clock. Its pendulum knocks back and forth echoing throughout the house. “Balance, I need balance.”

    His wife turns on the lights and rushes down stairs in her bathrobe. “Where have you been?”

    He body is silky with sweat and perfume, as she stands face to face with her husband.

    Its time, he thought. He removes his long coat revealing a blue skintight spandex uniform. A large red letter F glows on his chest. “Honey, I’m Super Fan.” He removes his patent leather utility belt and boots.

    Beads of sweat roll from her brow as she nervously sits, “Wa.. What?”

    “Yes honey. Last week I saved a child’s life. Poor kid was kidnapped and held hostage so the father wouldn’t score in the World Cup. It was a pretty graphic week full of gangsters and weird time travel.

    Then there was the waco that hung out in the women’s bathroom stalls. Real nut case that one!

    But ohh, let me tell you about the damn zombies in the school! Probably the most grueling thing I have ever witnessed!

    His wife nervously looks up the staircase, “Uhh huh, go on.”

    Well, I stopped a bunch of kids getting electrocuted in a spelling bee and then I saved our neighbors life. If he didn’t owe me a hundred bucks, I probably would have let him jump!

    His wife shakes nervously, “Are you talking about David?”

    Super Fan detects something is wrong. He hears someone moving around up stairs.

    Then a mans voice shouts from the top of the stairs, “ Jenny, you coming back up? I’m awful lonely up here!”

    Super Fan shouts, “What? Is that David’s voice I hear up there?”

    His wife held his hand, “Super Fan, you missed one. I made a Tough Decision while you were away!”

  4. Edy

    I was already upset about the game. Things wasn’t going as plan and we was still tie 0-0. The timeout alarm sound and I ran off the field throwing my towel at the lockers.

    “Damn can things getting worse.” I said to myself and the rest of my teammates entered into the lockers. “We have to get the upper hand.” I scream at them.

    “Dress.” Maria scream inside the locker room. Maria has been our coach way before I enter the picture. She was good, but like the discipline the girls needed.

    “Yes.” I match her tone. I didn’t like this one bit and I was going to let her know this. The girls was not playing at there best and needed to puts some points on the board.

    “Girls, I want to introduce you to one of our supports Mr. Frank Bellman.” Maria began. I didn’t even look up from my seat. Not another support who thinks they know all about the game and the way it should be ran. Damn, I put my face in my hands and shook my head.

    “This is our capital…” Is all I can hear Maria say before I seen this goddess of a man standing before me. His beard was cut short, full and well tame. He had on a three piece suit that flatter his well built body. I can barely utter my own name as Maria continued to introduce him to the rest of the team.

    “Have a great game girls.” He uttered, flashing his perfect white teeth and gorgeous smile. It made me weak in my knees. Then he walked out. As we ran back on the field, I seen him conversing with Maria. I watched him closely, running into one of my teammates, causing a chain reaction.

    “Damn Patterson, what the fuck.” She said. I pull her up wondering if he seen me or not. The alarm sounded for the second half of the game. I couldn’t focus, I ran down the field looking his direction.

    “Patterson, pay attention.” One of my teammates yelled. Damn what has he done to me, I didn’t even get a chance to say hi, but I wanted him. I wanted him in my arms, I wanted him in my bed.

    “Patterson.” Someone yelled, before the ball hit me right in the face. I came back to focus, looking into his grey eyes. “Are you ok?” He smiled.

    We have been marriage for two years and I can’t get enough of those grey eyes and gorgeous smiled.

  5. k.spicer

    “Get up Brewinski, so we can finish you off.” The voice was Russian and very familiar. I released the grip I had on my swollen shin and tried my best to focus on the voice that was speaking to me. It was Boris Volkov, my old teammate and captain of the Russian squad. I blinked my eyes into focus and saw the tall muscular figure that was taunting me. “Get up and meet your traitor’s fate.”
    It’s been only a year since my defection and the raw feeling are obviously still festering. I expected as much from Boris Volkov; what else would you expect from a person whose name means “wolf”, but the others? Anyone of them would have jumped at the chance to defect had they had an ounce of courage in their despicable bodies.
    Looking around at the shamed faces of my old teammates I realized that it wasn’t their fault, they’re in a very difficult position; I felt pity for them. They have to think of their families back home. I glanced over at my old friend, Ivanov, and rubber my swollen right eye that was still throbbing after meeting with his left elbow. He turned away with a shameful glance. I got the same response from, Utkin, my old roommate when I stared at him and wiped the blood away that flowed from my nose. They couldn’t even look me in the eye; except for Boris of course, he took pleasure in all of this. I guess that’s why they made him captain, to keep all the other sheep in line.
    I knew at that moment that I had to win this match. Somehow I found the strength to stand and as I did the fans in the stadium erupted in mass applause causing Boris to momentarily lose control of his hardened expression, and for a brief moment I could see fear in his eyes as the crowd denounced his brutal attacks with their cheers. I could feel strength returning to my wobbly legs as if the roar of the crowd somehow energized me. Boris looked back at me and I could see his hardened shell stiffening as if he were willing pain and torment on me.
    I ran toward the center of the field pulling off my USA jersey. The crowd went silent as they watched. Then when I stood motionless in the center I held the jersey high above my head and began waving it as one would proudly wave their nations flag. The crowd stood to its feet in wild applause as I turned around in the center of the field wielding my newly found freedom.
    When I turned around and pulled the shirt back over my head I faced Boris Volkov and defiantly wiped the streaming blood from my nose once again. At that moment I realized for the first time that it didn’t matter if I won or lost this match, I had already won…I was free!

      1. k.spicer

        Yea, thanks. There were a couple other mistakes as well but I wrote it pretty quick. Some times I just have fun writing these prompts. I did one the other week on the pirate treasure. I enjoyed that one.

  6. girl-in-progress

    This will be my first time posting here. So any constructive criticisms will be much appreciated! :) Enjoy!

    ***
    Tick tock. Tick tock. Twenty seconds remaining and the game will come to a draw if nobody goals. The score: 0-0. I was running clear as the black and white orb rolled viciously to me — almost knocking my padded knees. Oh gosh, now the fans went wild, almost looking like an angry bear ready to devour anything blocking his sight. And the ball, oh, looked as if it’s begging to be kicked…by me. I knew that I was now in full control. “This is it amigos! I have to strike while the iron is hot.”

    Everybody felt silent. Or did I just drown their chanting? I don’t know, but, all I know is Lustro, our opponent’s goalkeeper, knows no bounds. This game is currently between us two. Come hell or high water, we’ll goal.

    As I was dribbling the ball, blocking every intervention made by England’s midfielder, I remembered something I was supposed to do but didn’t. You see, Brasil’s weather was not cooperating today; it is an über hot afternoon so I have to keep hydrated. I drank almost five bottles of water when we were still on the holding room doing warm-ups and another three when we were making our way to the stadium. Also, I took a few sips, no, guzzles when the game’s about to start. I forgot to take a quick trip to the bathroom. No! I shouldn’t be thinking about this now.

    The ball almost disappeared from my view. “Oops, nice try, Gustavo, but this is MY BALL, MY GOAL.” Again, I was balancing our hope, swiveling it carefully against these hungry men while positioning myself to make a goal. Then, it started dripping – the thing that I dreaded the most came, first in trickles then in power surges. I can almost feel the back of my shorts leaking. Now’s the time to use my grandfather’s nappies…
    “Do I need to say goodbye to my hard-earned career as a footballer? Well, not this time, not in this situation. This is too embarrassing!”
    I can now imagine the headlines that will make history:

    FOOTBALLER SURELY KNOWS HOW TO GOAL, PEES IN HIS PANTS

    What to do? Five more seconds and the game’s over. I cannot make a scene here. “Get your head in the game, man!”

    4…3…then as if it was on autopilot (or was it adrenaline rush?) my foot rose and forcefully slammed the soccer ball amidst the sloppy Johns, past the quick Lustro and finally, into the net.

    GOOOOOOOOOAL!!!

    Our supporters immediately rose from their seats and started making all these much-deserved noises. My teammates were all over me as I was sandwiched into a tight congratulatory embrace. I, on the other hand, was literally crying as I tried my best to be freed from them. As soon as I’m free, I ran as fast as I could towards the bathroom, my teammates looking over me, confused. I was wrong. I sure know how to make a scene.

    ###

    1. Jay

      There are a quite a few mechanical errors, but the story you told is a good fun one. :D Just some quick thoughts, though. You did a really good job giving the main character his own voice. You should avoid passive voice when at all possible because you want to keep the reader in the action even when the story is past tense. Speaking of tense, make sure you keep the tense throughout. I noticed at some spots you went present tense and then back to past tense.

      I liked this, it made me smile: “the sloppy Johns” :)

      The best advice you could ever get though: practice and read tons. Study what the good writers are doing with their prose and learn from it. Find a scene you really like and try to rewrite it, but in your own voice with your own descriptions. Use their techniques to hone your skills, and you’ll get better in no time.

      You don’t have to have perfect grammar and punctuation because, well, writing is an art, but you do have to have a really good grasp of it so you can use mistakes as a style rather than an actual mistake.

      Study the masters, learn from them, and you’ll do just fine. Good job, and keep posting every week! :D

      1. sjmca1966

        I agree with Jay’s comments. I loved the concept so i hope you don’t mind that I’ve re-told your story. I’ve tried to keep as faithful to the original as my warped mind will allow :)

        Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Twenty seconds remaining to break the deadlock. Nil all and I was running clear as the black and white orb rolled viciously towards me.

        The fans were going wild, looking like an angry bear ready to devour all that blocked their sight.

        The ball was begging to be kicked, I was in full control, “This is it amigos! I have to strike while the iron is hot!”

        The stadium fell silent, at least I think it did. Lustro, the opposition goalkeeper knew no boundaries and it was down to him and me. ‘Come hell or high water, we’ll score.’

        As I dribbled the ball and blocked all intervention from the English midfielder, the five liters of water I’d drunk at our hotel, not to mention the three I’d consumed in transit to the game, began to have an affect. I’d overdone it in an attempt to stay hydrated in Brazil’s uber-hot climate and I was regretting not visiting the bathroom before we took the field. ‘No, no, no! Not now!’

        My bladder was taking over my body and I was losing focus of the ball. “Oops! Nice try Gustavo! But that’s my ball and this is my goal.” is all I could hear as I swiveled to meet the ravenous opposition. That’s when it started, a dribble at first. ‘Oh Grandpa lend me your diapers!’

        I was in a dilemma. Do I kick for goal and lose all control of my faculties or whimper like a coward just to save my dignity? There was now more than a dribble in my pants. ‘Surely no one would notice a little extra moisture, combined with all the hard earned sweat’.

        As I took the shot I could see the headlines – Gustavo scores with piss-poor effort!

        As the ball hit the back of the net, my relief was immense, ‘Oh the relief!’

        “GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL!

        In the stands my countrymen rose as one, on the field my team-mates engulfed me sending me to the ground writhing in pure ecstasy, ‘Ah the pleasure!’

        In all the adrenalin fueled emotion, no one had noticed. ‘Phew!’ I could enjoy the moment and accept the accolades in my urine soaked shorts. You have to love the game!

        1. girl-in-progress

          Why thank you sjmca1966! Absolutely, I’ll allow your warped mind to do some magic. :D I was actually quite flattered that you’ve retold my story. You sure made it more hilarious! Nice one!

      2. girl-in-progress

        Thanks for such wise words Jay. I really appreciate it. Yes, I’m guilty as charged from using the passive voice and from not being consistent with my tenses.  I tried to beat my timer here — thirty minutes, 400+ words. Hahaha… Glad you liked the MC’s voice though. And the ‘sloppy Johns’, I thought no one would get that. Don’t worry I’ll try posting more!

    2. Reaper

      First, welcome to the prompts and please keep posting because there is passion and talent here. Jay covered a lot of what I would, the tense shifts primary amongst them. The story is very interesting because it is really believable. Your style is very attractive as it pulls in visually and with metaphor. Three minor things I would suggest in addition are… Try to avoid numbers and spell them out unless they are large numbers or there is a specific style reason you are using them. Try to avoid caps when an exclamation point will do. The Goal, and the story headline worked well for capitals, the my ball, my goal could have been accomplished with a an exclamation point. Last is that your use of metaphor is good but I would avoid comparison. You take power from the comparison when you make it one. Instead of an founds like an angry bear ready to devour I suggest, the fans going wild, an angry bear ready to devour. This was a good story and you have a lot of talent. Also as much as I agree to read a lot and learn from it be careful of that as well. You have a unique voice and want to keep it.

  7. sjmca1966

    Thought I’d take a different approach from my first effort, hanging out for next prompt.
    All a fantastic learning curve in editing, to keep at 500 words.

    The Beautiful Game:

    She had the most amazing bongo’s I’d ever seen. But the artwork on her miniature drums paled in comparison to her beauty.

    I was used to seeing myself on the big-screen when I ran out on the pitch. I was not, however, used to seeing anyone as beautiful as the woman in the front row that the cameraman had wisely focused on behind me.

    She had the Brazilian flag painted on her left cheek and my countries flag on her right. There was no doubt who she was supporting in our clash against Italy.

    I wasn’t a ‘sly-look’ type of guy, but I had to see the woman who’d stolen the suns setting rays. As I turned for a firsthand glimpse, Charlie passed me a warm-up ball. I trod straight on top of it, my face then hit the turf.

    “Oi! Dickhead!” yelled Charlie, as I regained my feet as quickly as possible.

    ‘Nice move Dufus’ I thought to myself, I could see in my periphery that she was laughing at me with her friends.

    From the opposite side of the field, I’d surprisingly held my own. No one expected a nil all score at half time, the Italians were expected to put away at least five goals against us.

    In the second half ,every stoppage of play had me sneaking a peek at her.

    It took all my will-power to block her from my mind. With injury time almost up, neither team had scored. One goal and we make the second round for the first time ever, the ball landed at my feet. ‘Maybe one last chance to impress her with my dazzling footwork. No! Don’t be greedy, Charlies wide open.’ Dufus did the right thing, sending the ball hurtling towards the far post of the Italian goal. Not a perfect cross, but good enough. The six-foot-four inch Charlie Green latched onto it and headed home the winner.

    When the team celebrations had died down, I noticed a young boy not more than fifteen seats along from her. He was thrusting my countries flag towards me. I accepted the flag and insisted he write his phone number on it so I could repay him in the future. In the euphoria of the moment, I ran towards and then stopped to ask for her flag. I demanded her phone number too, as she graciously handed the flag over.
    Heading back towards my team mates, I knotted two corners of each flag together and slipped the impromptu attire over my head.

    “Papa, I love it when you tell the story of how you met Mama,” said three year old Genevieve, as she looked up with eyes that miraculously eclipsed her Mothers in beauty, “Mama tell me again your way of how you met Papa.”

    Maria had her her thumb outstretched as she poked her head out from behind the canvass, “I like your Fathers version better my sweetheart.”

    1. jmcody

      Now that’s romance! (Aside from the bongos remark…)

      Your writing is very smooth and a pleasure to read. I agree with Jhowe that it flows effortlessly.

        1. Jay

          Man, maybe I should spend more time on thought process. lol I spend maybe 10 minutes on plot, twists, characters, setting, etc… and about fifteen minutes writing it. I’d probably do a lot better with my stories. >.<

          By the way, sjmca1966, well done!

          Sincerely, another 'J'.

          1. sjmca1966

            First of all Jay, I hope you realize how immeasureable your contribution to this forum is as a published author! I’m glad you enjoyed my little piece and I’m in awe that someone of your stature may actually have learnt something from myself.
            I must admit I have not read any of your published work, YET! But as a pimply faced teen, Stephen King almost had me with ‘Carrie’ blew me away with ‘Christine’ and I was incaptured by the time I read ‘Stand By Me’. I get the feeling from your website that we may be on the same page-so to speak.
            Once again thank you and I look forward to reading your work.
            Sincerly S.J.

      1. sjmca1966

        Hehe! Sorry about the bongo’s, but I was inspired by watching Brazil’s third game, where the cameras focused on a beautiful woman holding a pair. So glad you enjoyed, as I’m trying to diversify in my writing and I’m finding this forum immensly rewarding. :)

    2. derrdevil

      Make that: J, J & J, haha!! Sorry to spoil the ‘J’ show, but I have to butt in here. This was lovely, sjmca. A sweet turnaround at the end. Thought shows really nicely in the prompts.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        J, J, & J & D and now KC. You are a beautiful naural, sjmca. Your writing spills on the screen like warm honey. I can’t add much to those before me but your talent is a pleasure to witness. The bongo’s are a wonderfu touch to the story, no need to worry about them. At least they both come in pairs. For me, I call them, ‘you knows,’

        You let the secret out about dynamite writing, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.

  8. Shalden

    “I am Felipe Juan Gonzalez” he says out loud as he stops the soccer ball and himself out of a dead run. The defender takes two extra stumbling steps, a fatal mistake. Spinning to his left he passes the ball behind his left foot as he encircles the defender. Felipe’s right heel shoots it straight toward his teammate Brian Watters left foot, the sweet spot …Brian, a seasoned player who has 8+ years under his belt, had been in this position numerous times and instinctively sees what it is Juan wants; he taps it up toward the backside of the defenders shoulders, just out of the goalies reach it spins toward the gap. Just twenty feet from the goal Felipe passed the last of the defenders on his outside shoulder. Now he is just 15 feet from goalie himself as he leaps right at him before he reaches the goalie’s line… His foot lifts just 6 inches above the turf as the roar of the crowd spreads to a deafening crescendo. His mind goes blank… He’s not in the air….He… He sees his daughter when she was just 3 years old kneeling right there before him in a beautifully glowing angelic white gown … He could vaguely remember where he really was in reality let alone what he was doing in the here and now. His heart broke again as he pictured the horrid last time he saw his darling Emily. Her lifeless body lied there cradled in his arms as he brushed the hair and leaves from her face while he stood along the riverside… Yet, here she was… A stinging tear mixed with sweat and broke him away from his reverie as the ball was just two feet from his forehead. Having not even a half of a blink of an eye to make a decision his eyes noticed the rotation, velocity and trajectory of the ball with unnatural mathematical precision…. He struck!!! “Emily!!!!!!” His bellowing scream pierces the cacophony of sounds around him as his head punches at the ball with his neck whipping around to hit it toward the upper corner of the goal…. I don’t know if it was the boldness of the act or the sound of him yelling Emily or destiny itself that heard his call but whatever it was it startled the famous goalie Franz Keplochecht and stopped him from reaching the ball, it was all Felipe needed. The ball spun viciously toward the back of the goal as he and Franz met with a horrendous clash…He didn’t come around until 3 hours later finding himself in the E.R at the hospital…

  9. Augie

    For Josie Cat….

    I remember the hour
    Our tears flow sour

    As we said, ‘goodbye’

    Crying in frustration
    Our loss of gestation

    Emptiness wonders why

    I have to continue
    It’s just what’s in you

    Another game, another day

    The score is tied
    Running I cried

    “This is for Johnny,” I Say!

    The crowd goes wild
    As I see my child

    Smiling with his mothers gleam

    The voice of my son
    Says, “Dad you won”

    I’m embraced by my team.

    We win the game
    But all the fame

    Goes to Johnny, my son…..

  10. Critique

    The game was in overtime. The score: 0-0.

    Sweat ran down Anton’s forehead and into his eyes making them sting. His intense focus never wavered from the play at the end of the soccer field.

    Mikhail his offensive teammate bicycle-kicked the soccer ball towards the opponents net and the spectators were on their feet with a roar. The goalie intercepted the ball and kicked it sideways to his midfielder.

    Anton loathed the noisy crowd and tuned them out. He couldn’t shut his mind off so easily. Win or lose the game – didn’t matter – his life as he knew it would be over.

    Coach Viktor Pashkov had made that crystal clear last night when he cornered Anton alone in the hotel room.

    “You try anything stupid Anton and you’re finished.” Viktor’s lean pock-marked face loomed close and a strong hand gripped Anton’s throat painfully. “You hear me?”

    Impotent rage and fear warred in Anton’s chest. He loathed Viktor and the stranglehold he had on some of the guys in his team. He stared silently back into the man’s glittering black eyes.

    He thought of his friend and teammate’s suicide two months ago and the team members that struggled with depression.

    It had to stop.

    Anton slept poorly. By morning his mind was made up.

    The thing with games is no one can accurately predict the outcome. It must be played out. Every second into overtime tightened the nervous tension in Anton’s stomach. As team captain he was determined to come through for his guys.

    Mikhail kicked the ball and it sailed diagonally across the field straight to Anton.

    Anton was on it. Dancing the ball back and forth with his feet he waited precious seconds before
    expertly dodging the opposing defensemen charging him. Then with one lethal kick the ball (Anton envisioned Viktor’s head) sailed dead straight through the goal posts.

    Pandemonium broke loose.

    The game was over.

    Mikhail raced over, grabbed Anton in an exuberant hug and swung him around. His teammates crowded around hugging and slapping each other on the back and cheering.

    Media people approached and the team opened up to allow access to Anton and then closed ranks.

    Anton glanced around to see Viktor futilely trying to push his way through the tight knot of teammates.

    “It’s time.” Anton said.

    “Yeah man. Let’s do this.” Mikhail said.

    1. Jay

      I liked it, Crit, but I got hung up on the bicycle-kick. I don’t know what the hell that is… lol. I was imagining, imagining, and then all the sudden I started thinking about someone kicking a bicycle. Otherwise, fantastic story. I hope they bicycle-kick the shit out of Viktor.

    2. Reaper

      I finally had to go look up bicycle kick because I have seen it a few times on here and have heard the term but never knew what it was.

      Nice story critique. Left me wanting to know more, both about what the captain was doing exactly and how the team was going to handle it. Nicely done and well written.

  11. SuzieWritres

    What was making his hands quiver? The percussion made by the throng of shouting fans? The adrenaline pumping like mercury in his veins? He never thought they’d come this close to winning. And he sure as hell never thought it would all come down to him. His teammates were in position, and he knew he could do this, win for his team, his country. Knew it like he knew his children’s names. But with the winning goal in his sights, he felt rooted to the pitch, knowing a win was not his to have. Not with so much at stake.

    He could feel their eyes upon him like lasers. It was uncanny how they must have anticipated this decisive moment. Fuckers probably hoped for it. He could hear again the heavy Russian voice yelling from the pock-marked face inches from his own, “Make goal, nevar see your famooly again.”

    His wife, five-year-old son, and three-year-old daughter had flown in two days ago to surprise him, to bolster him for the match no soccer expert of fan had anticipated, yet was upon them. As they’d left the restaurant late yesterday afternoon, he’d spotted the unmarked car along the opposite curb and assumed it was his personal undercover protection attachment assigned him and his family by the league. He’d grown accustomed to them over the weeks, so his suspicion was never aroused.

    Seconds later, as his children climbed into the stretch limo, the sedan pulled a 360 in the middle of the busy road and pulled parallel the limo, facing the opposite direction. Two masked thugs leapt out of the sedan carrying absurdly large guns and grabbed him, each by an arm. They shuffled him into the back of the sedan while over his shoulder he watched two similarly clad, arms-bearing hulks manhandle his wife into the back of the limo. The sedan lunged forward and sped away. He had another brief glimpse in the rear-view mirror, before a blindfold was tied around his head, of the limo speeding away in the opposite direction.

    He spent the next two hours in an overly ornate, smoke filled hotel suite being verbally assaulted by Armani-suited, Gucci loafered thugs. A full 110 minutes of which was wasted, since he got their message in the first ten minutes: “Mericans not big heroes. Loose the game, you family will live.”

    Now, less than twenty-four hours later, wasting precious milliseconds deliberating over a choice that was already made, he raised his hand to signal and inadvertently blocked the sunlight from his view. Wait. He caught rapid movement along the sidelines only yards away. Unbelievably, there was his family running, waving, yelling, flanked by a small army of what must be security and police personnel, all giving him the thumbs up sign. His instincts took over. He passed the ball, faked a sprint to the left, corrected and got in position, opposite where the goalie had anticipated him. He kicked the ball in and won his family back.

  12. Jay

    Reaper, I took the liberty of doing Part V, and now it’s up to you to decide how you want to end it. I took some liberties with the direction, but I hope I left it open enough for you to do whatever it is you wanted to do to Sammy. It is, after all, your story. :) For everyone else, if you haven’t done so, read the previous version on this page. Part I – Reaper, Part II – Jay, Part III – Reaper, and Part IV – BilboBaggins.

    My Participation Trophy V

    Three years of murder. Three years of turning the world into my own personal playground of mayhem and revenge.

    When I reached the toilet, I slammed the lid into the upright position with a loud clatter and dropped to my knees. The back of my tongue felt heavy, and my gut twisted. The vomit tunneled through me and splattered hard into the porcelain bowl. The smell of bile and food sickened me, causing me to further eject the contents of my stomach.

    Eventually my involuntary purge forced me to retch dry heaves of nothing into the air. The sour smell of vinegar and acid filled the air, and I quickly closed the lid of the toilet. I laid my head on the covering, and the cold felt good against my clammy skin. I wanted to close my eyes, but I knew what I would see, I knew the kind of nightmares I would have.

    I blinked the tears from my eyes, stood, and took a deep breath. The air felt cool against the back of throat, which was raw and irritated. I left the bathroom, and glanced back at it as a soft retch begged me to go back in there.

    Near the door there was some caution tape dangling next to a wall full of graffiti. The office building had closed some time ago. Apparently they found some crazy asshole carving up a young woman and trying to flush her parts down the toilets. After that, they shut down the building, which allowed me to use it unhindered to do what needed to be done.

    When I entered a nearby office, the small flashlight sitting upon the abandoned desk illuminated a scared and helpless Sammy. His red hair was plastered against his slimy skin, and his once white shirt was now mottled with dark brown splotches from that same disgusting fluid escaping his pores. His grossly large belly jutted from between the duct tape that held him to the chair at both his shoulders and his waist.

    I’d finally arrived at a crossroad, and I needed to finally make a decision. In three years I killed four women—his sister and trophy wife included, twelve men—all of which were tortured until they begged for death, and his son.

    That last one was what made me so sick. That poor boy didn’t deserve to suffer for the sins of his father. Sammy himself once told me that, even. I didn’t care, though. For so long I’d convinced myself that everything I did up to that point was with righteous vengeance. My daughter and my lovely wife were both killed by a man that knew no boundaries. But… what did I do? What carnage did I leave in the wake of all this madness to find only a glint of hope that I may indulge in fleeting future satisfaction?

    We watched each other for a long time, and I finally moved to pick up a knife sitting on the table. I looked at the reflection of the stranger in the blade’s polished surface, and then looked up at Sammy. He shook his head no, and I finally broke the silence between us.

    1. Reaper

      Nice reference to the bathroom there Jay. Very nice twist to it. I will write up where my mind has been on this soon, though I may have to post it on the next prompt due to where life is right now. I don’t know that I can claim this as my story anymore, definitely not completely after the intensity Bilbo and you have added to it. I like the continuing evolution of the voice that has occurred and your flowed naturally from Bilbo’s post. Very nice.

    2. jmcody

      I got a kick out of how you worked in last week’s psychotic bathroom incident as told by Reaper. (I did not post last week but did manage to read a few of my favorite authors.). I also appreciated how you wove in Reaper’s earlier reference to Sammy’s position that the son should not have to pay for the sins of the father, but then your MC crossed even that uncrossable line.

      So this is interesting… You set the final shot up for Reaper, but now Reaper feels the ball is no longer his to own. Reaper, I think you have the mastery to… Sink that putt, score that touchdown, or whatever sport it is that we are now watching. ;) Sorry, I am having a little too much vicarious fun with this.

      Nice setup, Jay, and excellent teamwork

    3. Critique

      Wow this is chilling. Sounds a bit like a mix of The Mentalist/Dexter. Your writing was so good I wanted to break the silence with my own scream.

  13. Herald Harbinger

    …the author also known as Marc Ellis.

    I was sorry to miss you all last week. It’s been busy. Thought I’d start using an alias like some of you. My post is nice and short this time.

    “Jingle Bells. Jingle Bells. Jingle all the….” What the hell am I doing? I rolled over. The grass was cool and damp on my hands and knees. Two men were lifting the guy lying next to me to their shoulders. He was saying, “Yo soy Batman. Yo soy Batman.” His teammates exchanged a concerned look and nodded in feign agreement. They moved quickly off the field.

    I fought to get to my feet. I winced under the blazing stadium lights. That’s right…We’re in the middle of the game. A quick glance at the scoreboard revealed a tied score of 0-0. Coach and a referee were now at my side. The ringing in my ears muffled their words. “I’m OK,” I said and waved them away. I lied.

    I heard every footstep drum inside my head as I took my place on the field. I struggled to see over the crushing pain between my temples. I squinted through small flashes of light and growing shadows around the periphery.

    I wasn’t going to miss this. A chance to play in the World Cup was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. An elimination game wasn’t the time to be weak. My tongue was numb. Cactus needles pricked my toes and fingers. Oh crap. I’m going to puke. I took a few deep breaths but couldn’t hold back the acrid flow. A referee blew his whistle, and the ball was in play.

    I was living the dream and surviving every excruciating second. Head throbbing and vision blurred, I spent myself supporting my team. I was determined to feed the ball to my teammates at every safe opportunity. I would be blessed with an assist, yet fate or destiny placed the ball at my feet in the final seconds. My left cleat tore into the field as the ball curved around my right with a perfectly placed blow. I plunged backward with the follow through of my kick. Shock and amazement was on every face–those of my team and our opponents. Blackness.

    1. Reaper

      The voice and flow on this were amazing. A very nice journey story and while I have seen some good slice of life recently this goes beyond that. Capturing an exact moment this feels like you put a photograph to words. Amazingly done.

    2. jmcody

      Herald! This was… alarming. Your description of the visual disturbance, nausea and pins and needles in his extremities was visceral and disturbing. The cliffhanger was great too. Artfully done!

      I was thinking of changing my name too. I didn’t give it any thought when I first joined, but I’m wishing I did. I’m glad you told us it’s you!

    3. Critique

      Your descriptions of the MC’s physical problems were excellent. I’m wondering, did the MC have a stroke? or did he collide with the poor bloke that was carted off the field. What a disappointment for the MC at the pinnacle of his sports career to miss the World Cup.

      1. Herald Harbinger

        Thank you Critique for the comments. Yes, the start of the story was his immediate recovery from a head collision with the other player. Both were knocked silly with the MC’s signing and the other player’s superhero personality.

  14. Josie cat

    I hear the crowd cheering
    I hear the crowd jeering
    Overwhelmed by joy.

    Sweat running across our faces
    All wanting our moment of glory.
    Scores all tied, It is my moment of glory.
    My moment,
    My moment to shine!

    As I watch my fellow players
    My mind drifts into an abyss,

    I am tiny,
    I am nothing,
    I have nothing to fear.
    Pressure high, arms are tied
    Ball between my small feet.

    I kick,
    I miss,

    But no one cares. This is the first,
    The first of many.

    I reel myself back in
    Back to the present

    I kick,
    Ball soars through the air,

    I hear the crowd cheering
    I hear the crowd jeering
    Overwhelmed by joy.

  15. JR Buchanan

    USA 1 and Ivory Coast 0
    By JR Buchanan

    Her name was Audrey, she had the most beautiful spirit even with her heart condition. The doctors said she needed a new heart, but the irony was that she had the best heart in the world. She was our mascot and we rallied behind her dad once we found out she only had weeks to live. I had no clue how he was able to play with such a heavy weight on his own heart. The family had spared no expense from what little they had to try and save her life, but alas in the world we live in money makes the world go round, which our little country of Ivory Coast had little of. Still he played his heart out for her, and we joined him. We played with greatness, upsetting great power house teams such as Germany, Holland and now the only team in our way is USA.
    Audrey was the most excited at our success, to her we were supposed to be here and she begged her mother to buy a betting ticket, she thought that this win would be her way to a new heart. Her mother, wanting to give her every last wish, obliged and purchased a ticket for it to be Ivory Coast 1 USA 0. Audrey showed it to me prior to the game, and I whispered for her not to show it to anyone else out of good luck.

    Our offense was a combination of will, skill and luck, our defense was unmatched and her father, our goalie was determined to let no goal score. Each moment he saved goals and made astonishing plays to keep us alive in this World Cup final. Then a blow came our way, he was injured on a save that left his ankle severely sprained, we were devastated but rallied around our second string goalie to help lead us into a shootout situation. Now here we stand in the finals 0-0, and it comes down to the ultimate play in soccer, two men, a ball and a net. USA was up first, and although we prayed that our goalie could pull us through, the sound of the net, the cheers of the crowd, and the chants of USA was a kick to the stomach as the score board didn’t read in our favor. Hope was still with us, I was up next, the best shootout kicker on the team, touted as the best in the world. I squared myself up and planned my point of attack, looked in the goalies eyes, and started my decent onto the ball. My steps quickened as I got closer, I knew exactly where I was going to send it, and it went right there, over the goal net and into the stands. The chants erupted in the stadium, USA had won and our little country lost.

    When we returned to the locker room, sad faces filled the air, and Audrey’s dad tapped me on the back, giving me comfort to the feeling that we lost it all, unmatched to his feeling that he is losing something more than this game.

    Audrey and his wife ran into the locker room, both bursting with joy. Everyone looked at her like she was crazy. His wife explained in tears, she had purchased a betting ticket hoping that we would win. However at the end of the game, she was shocked that her poor English had gotten the best of her, she had purchased a ticket USA 1 and Ivory Coast 0.

    1. snuzcook

      Masterful use of the secret that the narrator knew but kept to himself to the unexpected punchline of the story. The use of past-tense at the beginning strengthens the idea that Abby did not survive to the telling of the tale and neatly misdirects the reader, but anything else would have spoiled the ending.
      I enjoyed it!

    2. Reaper

      Very touching story. A very nice way to end it and a valid reason for your MC to throw the game. A little heavy on the use of the word heart in the opening paragraph, though I got the feeling that might be intentional.

      1. JR Buchanan

        Thanks Reaper,

        I agree I overused the word ‘heart’ in the opening, it wasn’t intentional, but I’ll do a rewrite and see how it flows. Less is always better in my opinion. Thanks again.

        1. Jay

          JR, first of all, nice story. I really liked it. Second, I can’t stand using more than one of the same description words within like 5 paragraphs of each other, unless I don’t have a choice or my thesaurus says I’m running out of words to use, haha.

          1. k.spicer

            I have to agree about the “heart”. The first one could simply be dropped and use only the word “condition”. The next sentence explains what the condition was, which is where “heart was used correctly. The third use of “heart” could have simply been “the biggest one” or “the best one” or something of that nature. That would have broken the over usage up and made it flow a little better. But other than that, nice story.

  16. Josie cat

    I hear the crowd cheering,
    I hear the crowd jeering,
    Overwhelmed by joy.

    Sweat running across our faces
    All wanting Our moment of glory.
    Scores all tied, It is my moment of Glory.
    My moment,
    My moment to shine!

    As I watch my fellow players
    My mind drifts into an abyss,

    I am tiny,
    I am nothing,
    I have nothing to fear.

    Pressure high, arms are tied,
    Ball between my small feet.

    I kick,
    I miss,

    But no one cares. This is the first,
    The first of many

    I reel myself back in,
    Back to the present

    I kick,
    Ball soars through the air.

    I hear the crowd cheering,
    I hear the crowd jeering,
    Overwhelmed by joy.

    Josie cat

  17. rosmid

    GOAL
    The ball went off sides and Coach called a time out. We ran back to the sides.
    Coach gave the usual speech. He told us that he believed in the game and he believed in the team. “Now, if you believe in the game, the game will set you free” he said. His moustache twitched with an excited energy. And why wouldn’t it be? This was the World Cup. Fans with painted bodies and drunken eyes shouted and screamed and played instruments. It was enough to make me smile. Two things kept me from grinning: the game, of course, and her. Always her. Especially the last few months, I had been thinking of her. I prayed this night would come so that we could finally be done with this football business. I love football, but she, she is my sun, my moon, my everything. Without her I am just a castle made of sand.
    Coach explained the play. We had about fifteen seconds to score or we would go into overtime. He pointed at me and said, “Roberto, you’re our top offensive player. It’s all on you.”
    I sighed and rubbed my knees. My mind was already stretched to the breaking point. And now the World Cup rests on my shoulders? I grunted, wiped the sweat out of my eyes and looked at the field. I gazed upon the green ground as a hunter, surveying my prey before I made the kill. The other team was huddled around. They wore bright garish yellow to our regal purple. “It makes them look like canaries” said Raul, the thick goalie with the broken teeth and wizened eyes.
    We broke out of the huddle and took the field again. The crowd roared again and I felt it swell and crash against my ears like a tidal wave. Everywhere there was lights and sound and music. I focused on the feet in front of me. Focus on the ball, and all you can do is win.
    The game started in earnest. The ball moved like a pale grasshopper, bounding between feet and spanning great distances. In the distance I could hear the withheld breath of the crowd, the tension building in the air. The ball was passed to me. I dodged one player, dodged another, ran at the goalie and, with a tap of my foot, sent the ball flying.
    I don’t remember it going in. I don’t remember the scream, that great beast of emotion roaring in the throats of thousands of people. I don’t remember my teammates coming up to congratulate me.
    All I remember thinking was, He’s here.
    I ran. I ran as fast as I could. Out of the stadium, out of the city, into the hospital, to the top floor. And there she was, waiting for me with my child in her arms.
    “His name is Raul” she said. I picked up my child and kissed him.
    If you focus on what you love, all you can do is win

    1. Josie cat

      Nice imagery. I can definitely see your player running to the hospital after kicking. However I’m confused is the kicker remembering his sons birth?

  18. snuzcook

    GOALS (373 wds)

    It was down to the wire. ‘Junior,’ in Brazil’s colors, was in my right peripheral. His feet barely touched the ground as he evaded obstacles to left, right and center. The ball skipped ahead of him as if it were attached by an elastic cable, fully in his control. My legs were longer, but I could not get it away, he was that good.
    But then, he had been born to it, the prodigy. He was performing a dance, a song, not an offensive play. When he controlled the ball, the entire field was his orchestra.

    I had come to the sport later in life. It was an avocation, but not a calling. I was good for a guy nearing the end of my career, and I had a lot to be proud of. But watching Junior was mesmerizing.

    Our goalie was posturing. I could tell he was tired, despite his quick moves to anticipate the ball’s trajectory. If Junior could get a good shot off, it would probably go in.

    Junior tried to feint but I stayed on him like a wooly blanket, shadowing from the side, the front, trying to tease away enough margin for a deflection. Then I had him. He slowed; it gave me some distance and I stepped into the gap. I had the ball. I looked up field to see my options. I nudged to direct the ball, but I nudged empty air.

    Junior materialized behind me with the ball back in his own control. By the time I turned, the ball was already bulleting into the gap left by the goalie’s split second of inattention—the distraction that I myself had created when I stole the ball.

    Goal made. Game over. ‘Junior’ had made the play.

    The fans were wild. The team members gathered in the field. The goalie slipped off his head gear, put out his hand to ‘Junior.’

    He mussed ‘Junior’s hair. “Nice play, little brother. You got me.”

    “Dad, did you see that? I really faked you out, didn’t I?”

    “You sure did.” I bent down and embraced my son, the nine-year-old prodigy, the artist, the musician. A tear threatened the corner of my eye. That always happened when I watched my son play.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Warm hearted and touching snuz. Lovely story and theme. Seems like I remember my older brother treating me the same way, even though I was a real stinker growing up. Some people say, ‘You haven’t changed much.’

        1. snuzcook

          Kerry, it seems to me that if you haven’t changed much, it’s all for the best;
          as it’s the ‘stinkers’ that give life the kick it needs!

      1. snuzcook

        Thanks, Reaper. I am working on a challenging writing project that has thrown me into one of those writing phases where I don’t know what my voice is. I suspect you know it better than I do, and I wish I had a literary ‘mirror’ I could study to see what you see.

    1. jmcody

      It is an amazing thing to watch a child do what comes naturally. You’ve captured that feeling well here. Your depiction of the play as a dance or a musical or artistic performance was engaging and hit all the right notes. Sweet and poignant piece. Lovely, Snuzz.

      1. snuzcook

        It truly [u]is[/u] amazing, JM. And they (we) all have it–those things they were born to do that feel like coming home. The blessing is when someone else recognizes it and helps them thrive.

    2. jhowe

      Loved it snuzcook. The distracted, posturing goalie, the quick prodigy and the aging defender. I think most boys can remember when they finally beat their dad at something, but not usually at nine years old. Great story.

      1. snuzcook

        A step-back moment for Dads, for sure. And in a different arena, I think kids are outperforming their parents on electronic gaming even younger. Yikes!
        Glad you enjoyed the story.

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