Chapter 24, Blog 1
By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang
“I ain’t gonna pee in no damned cup,” Ralphie told the visored bulldog peering through pop-bottle-thick glasses. With a pencil stub, Mr. Bulldog marked an “X” by Ralphie’s number on his clipboard.
“Next,” he growled.
Ralphie glared. I took the rejected cup and headed for the dressing-room urinal. Mr. Bulldog followed and watched – so much for the innocence of track and field in the 21st century. I handed over the full cup, and he circled 613 on his clipboard, wrote the number on the container and packed it in his pee cart.
“Ralphie, as your coach, my advice: Piss in the damned cup,” I said.
This time Ralphie did and had the “X” erased, and his number circled. Now we were both legal. Back at the motel, I passed out. I had nothing left after posting a personal best 1:47.06.
“Whut da hell were ya dreamin’ ’bout?” Ralphie asked the next morning. “Dought ya’d kick a hole in da wall or somethin’.”
I didn’t remember. But my legs sure did. A pair of tree stumps, they refused to move. Alas, the semifinals beckoned, wooden muscles or not. I stuffed down breakfast, looked at the meet results in the newspaper and geared up again. Ralphie didn’t feel well, and I felt worse. Together, we totaled about a hundred years of muscle fatigue.
With few good options in the strange land that was Atlanta, we drove back to Griffin, threw on our track stuff and lounged in the luscious green infield. I stretched out on my Ninja Turtle beach towel, covered my face and soaked in the healing rays of the blazing Georgian sun. Ralphie nudged me to say he was going to practice. His finals were on Sunday. My next dose of torture was at 4:45 p.m. Although I felt better thanks to solar therapy, I had no illusions of running well. My legs still had knots I doubted most sailors could untie. But with some intense Tai Chi, I loosened them the best I could until a kamikaze runner toppled me.
“Why’d ya stop here?” he asked, sprawled next to me.
I winced as he helped me up. I was too tired to care.
“Take it easy, Dog,” I said, trying to sound younger. “Just getting ready for the 800.”
The white teen stared at me as if I were covered with green polka dots.
“Really? That’s strange,” he said. “Me? I’m running for president.”
We both laughed.
“Well, good luck to you, Dog,” he said and started to walk away. “Jist stay outta my jet stream, Pops.”
Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang