- A murderous unicorn
- The Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle
- A fantasy football draft must be a part of the main scene of the story
- The story must be written from the POV of someone with a mental illness or developmental delay
This was a special Iron Writer Challenge. It was the very first Iron Writer Grudge Match. I was challenged by Tony Jaeger, whose second was K.A. Davur, and M.D. Pitman stepped up to be my second.
The result was that my story won the popular vote by one, but K.A. Davur’s won the judges’ votes, giving her an overall one point win over me. The other stories were all quite good, especially Ms. Davur’s Kenny, so I don’t feel bad coming in second.
I hate fantasy football. I tell Judy that it’s Dungeons and Dragons for jocks, but she tells me if I want to make progress, I’ve got to be social.
What do I know about football? Bunch of guys in shiny pants butt heads over a ball that doesn’t roll right. Judy says the guys all play on my floor, and she drags me to the common room. She’s worried about me.
Everybody’s worried about me. I rub my wrists, to remind myself.
I hate the helmets. To support Special Ross, we decorate fake football helmets. To be funny, I painted a unicorn with a bloody horn and demonic eyes as my mascot. Isn’t humor positive?
No one gets me.
Special Ross uses his sense of humor, too. He painted the Apollo 17 car on a Moonscape. When I asked him, he just giggled and giggled, but I get the joke. Everyone underestimates Ross. Lunar Rover, raving lunatic. Twisted, difficult, cerebral humor, that’s not someone expects, but he’s crazy smart.
So I line up my rows of names and figures on my fantasy sheet, my Bay City Bloody Unicorns down double digits as the Superbowl drags on. Judy congratulates all of us, and draws attention to me so I can’t just withdraw into comfortable self-loathing darkness. She recruits nurses to cheer and shake invisible pom-poms for me.
I’m mortified. I want to hide. They’re only mocking me, I can tell. The smiles never reach their eyes. They glance at the wall clock even as they clap and chant my name, and the name of #12, my quarterback. I picked him because of his name, but he’s been anything but lucky.
Ross leans over and bumps helmets with me. His innocent grin just kills me, and I smile for the first time in days.
He whispers, “Lucky break in ten. Nine. Eight,” then he points with his chin at the TV.
I look up, and #12 collides with one of the guys in purple. Purple #61 falls on #12′s leg and I swear I heard the celery crunch of bone. I look around the room as cheers erupt from the loonies who didn’t bet on my guy. Which is most of them.
Ross doesn’t deserve the nasty look I give him, but his smile stays sweet as he mouths, “Just watch,” and I turn back to the TV.
The blue guys huddle as #12 is carried away on a stretcher. The lineup changes. I check my reserves. They put #8 in as QB and the game goes on. The blue guys rally after their bad luck, mowing down the purple guys. I cheer, “home run!” as they score over and over. Only Ross and Judy laugh.
As the final buzzer sounds, I check my math twice and scream, “I WON!”
Nurses make jazz-hands and cheer. Ross headbutts me. Grumbling loonies pat me on the back.
Judy grins at me. “Was that so bad?”
And I guess it wasn’t, after all.