“You jumped out of the car without kissing her? Are you an idiot?” Darren smacked me on the back of my helmet and caused me to slip on the ice.
I grabbed the sideboards and steadied myself. “Dude, now’s not the time to beat me up! We gotta game to win!”
On the opposite side, the Rubber Puckies were warming up and looked really sharp. Darren sighed, with his breath visible from the cold. “The game’s important, but so is that girl dumb-dumb. I don’t even see her in the stands…”
I looked up and saw my mom, my totally cool cousin Phil, and his friend Casey. Casey gave me a thumbs up and went back to eating the super long sandwich he must’ve smuggled into the rink. I wanted a super long sandwich…
“Game’s about to begin boys. Let’s keep it clean.” The ref was a really nice lady, Donna Tello, who rumored had it played in a semi-professional women’s league over in Europe.
Darren and I skated over to center ice with the rest of the first line. When the puck dropped, the game was on.
The Rubber Puckies game’s really important to Darren, and to a lesser extent me, because it was our old team. Darren doesn’t like to talk about it, but I will cuz its no biggie. Two years ago, Darren and the team captain Stevie Miller had an epic argument over a girl. Darren left the team to start his own and being his best friend, I sided with him. So here we are today.
As the game moved along, no team scored. Stevie did however take a run at Darren and almost face planted him on to the ice, but luckily missed. Later in the first period, he changed course at the last moment and crashed into me. I fell hard to the ice and felt my ankle give out on the way down.
The whistled blew loudly. “Miller, you’re out of the game! There’s no need for that!” Donna grabbed him by his jersey and led him over to the bench. I heard him protesting, but really, there wasn’t much to argue with. That was dirty.
I tried to get up, but I couldn’t put any pressure on my ankle. “Guys, I think I’m done too.”
Spike came over and put my arm around his shoulder. “What’s wrong Jimmy?”
“My ankle, I can’t put any pressure on it. I think its sprained.” I put my left skate on the ice again and a sharp shock went up my leg. “Ohhh man, no can’t do it.”
Spike and Darren got me over to the bench so I could sit. The crowd, which had been cheering earlier was really quiet. Darren wasn’t, he was fuming. “This is ridiculous! I knew Stevie wasn’t over us starting a new team, but this is low, even for him.”
The team went back out there, but something was missing. The rest of the period went by and the Rubber Puckies scored two goals. It was killing there to sit there and watch, so for the second period, I stayed in the locker room.
I was sulking against my locker for a good ten to fifteen minutes when the door opened. It was the last person I expected to see. “They said you were hurt and back here.”
“Stormy? What’re you doing here?”
She walked over and took a seat beside me. “I’m here to cheer you on you stooge. I had to work a bit later than I thought, that’s why I’m a bit late.”
“But after last night?”
“Listen, we can talk about that later, but the team needs you. You guys are losing 3-1.” She got on a knee and unlaced my skate, pulling it off. “Ugh, this looked bad, but I think I can wrap it up right so you can get back out there.”
I gave her the biggest smile I could produce. “Well then, let’s do this Dr. Waters!”
**Stormy arrived to save the day, but is it too late? Can you get Jimmy’s bad ankle supported in time to get him back in the game? Plus, is she mad at him for bailing on her like that, or does she understand she likes an overgrown child? Find out next week in the season finale of The Puck Stops Here!
You can find all my published work at http://www.amazon.com/author/jeremycroston