Run, Chuck, Run

Chapter 30, Blog 3

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang

At first, my coach appeared nonplussed, then quickly turned displeased.

“All right, Charlie,” said Harry. “Exactly, what happened?”

“No, no, they want me to run now.”

“Yes, I heard that part. Tell me why.”

Struggling against a deepening oxygen debt, I gulped air.

“Calm yourself, Charlie,” said Harry. “Start over.”

“I was asking … when I was supposed to run tomorrow … you know … so they looked it up … and said I’m not on that list.”

One of Harry’s friends, wearing a Hawaiian shirt, held up his hand to interject.

“There’s an 800 Master’s Race starting in, maybe, 20 minutes.” He checked his watch. “Actually, 15.”

“That’s it,” I said. “That’s the damned screw-up.”

“And?” Harry asked.

“They have me in the Master’s Race. NOW!”

“OK, take it easy, Son,” said Harry. “We will see …”

“You better have him run it, Harry,” said coach’s other pal, this one wearing a Cubs hat. “You know, it’ll take days to straighten this out.”

Harry looked at him and nodded. He looked at me.

“Can you be ready, Charlie?”

“I-I-I think so,” I said. “Guess I better, huh?”

“It appears so,” Harry said. “In the meantime, I will try and untangle this foolishness.”

Harry and his friends scooted away. Hurrying out into the parking lot, I got my bag and headed in to change. I wasn’t about to run in my sweats. With pre-race adrenaline surging, I got back out to the track, visualized, stretched and …

“Last call for the Master’s 800.”

… this sure ain’t no heaven  …

My heart wanted to jump out of my mouth as I trotted over to the starting line. My name was penciled in for lane No. 4. In a bluish blur, I took my mark and …


A minute and 49 seconds later, I broke the tape. Paying the high adrenaline cost, I was spent. Harry still made me stand and walk to cool down. When I could talk, all I had were questions. But my coach had no answers.

“What in the name of Iowa happened?”

“DO NOT know,” said Harry. “Some bureaucratic bullshit. You emailed your entry, right?”

“Yeah, so?”

“So some dumb ass got his electrons crossed,” Harry said.

Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang

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