Their Lucky Day
By: Vanessa Sgroi
Friday morning, January 11, 1974
“You’re kidding us, right?”
“C’mon, Gage,” whined Chet Kelly, “you didn’t . . . you’re not . . .”
“Yep. I . . . we . . . me and Roy are goin’ to Superbowl VIII in Houston.” If Johnny’s smile got any bigger, his face was in danger of splitting in half.
All eyes swung to Gage’s partner, Roy DeSoto. Roy, wearing a big grin of his own, just nodded his head in agreement.
Chet piped up again. “So you just answered a trivia question?”
“That’s right. I was caller number eight and knew the answer to their sports trivia contest.”
“Unbelievable! What was the question anyway?”
“Who was the first player to rush for 200 yards in an NFL game?”
“Ah, man, I know that! Cliff Battles from the old Boston Redskins.”
“You got it. I was just lucky enough to get through on the phone. I pick up the tickets and stuff tomorrow morning after we get off shift. We fly to Houston tomorrow afternoon.”
Hank Stanley ruefully shook his head. “Well, while you’re having fun, think of us poor schleps back here watching it on t.v.”
() () ()
Saturday afternoon, January 12, 1974
Roy sighed in relief as he heard the hotel door click shut behind him. The flight in had been full of turbulence and crying babies, and he had a whopper of a headache to prove it. The little brat who purposely kicked the back of his seat non-stop and his partner’s incessant chatter had done little to help.
“Man, Roy, will you LOOK at this room!”
DeSoto squinted around the room and had to admit it was quite impressive. He watched as Gage stretched out on one of the two king-sized beds.
“I’m gonna sleep good tonight!”
Since his friend didn’t seem to require conversational feedback, Roy deposited his bag on his bed and wandered into the bathroom. Emerging several minutes later, he heard Johnny still rhapsodizing about the luxury of their room.
The blond-haired man sat down on the bed and bounced a couple of times. It did feel awfully comfortable. He was tempted to stretch out himself. Before he could act on that impulse, Gage caught his attention.
“Let’s go get something to eat. Then check out the city.”
Though he wasn’t really in the mood for sightseeing, Roy figured he should try to be a good sport. Besides, dinner sounded good since his stomach had been rumbling with hunger for quite awhile now.
“All right. Let me just take some aspirin, and we can go.”
() () ()
Sunday morning, January 13, 1974
Roy grinned as he finished the last sip of coffee. He and Johnny were just finishing up a buffet breakfast in the hotel restaurant. This morning had dawned bright and warm, and Roy’s mood was much improved. Yesterday’s hassles were nearly forgotten. The two men had had a great dinner in a little steakhouse called “Bounders”. Afterward they’d explored the area a bit before returning to the hotel. The beds were every bit as comfortable as they appeared and afforded them both a wonderful night’s sleep. In fact, they’d slept in, almost missing the buffet breakfast which was part of the prize package.
“So how long before we leave for Rice Stadium?”
Johnny looked at his watch. “We have about an hour. Hey, we could hit the pool.”
“Nah. I promised Joanne and the kids I’d bring them something back. I think I’ll hit the gift shop, and then give her a call.”
“Oh. Okay. I’m gonna go for a swim before we have to leave.”
“All right. I’ll see ya later in the room. Don’t be late or we’ll miss the shuttle.”
Johnny just nodded as the two men went their separate ways.
() () ()
Sunday afternoon, January 13, 1974
Two hours later they were exiting the hotel shuttle at Rice Stadium. The excitement in the air was palpable, and Roy found himself happily anticipating the game ahead. After getting through the gate, the two paramedics went in search of their seats.
When they eventually located their row, Johnny groaned in dismay. “Geez, I thought we’d be closer than this.”
Roy looked around. “Hey, it could be worse.”
“I suppose,” came the grumbled reply.
Since their seats were located in the middle of the row, the two of them had to inconvenience those already seated as they squeezed in front of everyone.
It was with relief that they finally sat down in their seats.
It could be worse. Roy’s words came back to haunt him just minutes into the game. Someone, presumably a man by the deepness of the voice, was boisterously and loudly cheering on Minnesota. So loudly that Roy’s ears were ringing. He twisted in his seat in an attempt to locate the screamer. Roy’s jaw dropped when he spotted him, one row back and a few seats to the left. The man was enormous. The size of a small mountain. Roy grimaced and returned his attention to the game.
After a particularly breathtaking play, DeSoto’s attention was drawn to a woman a couple of rows ahead. The woman was big breasted, extremely so, and she was very scantily clad. Boy, much more jumping around like that and she’s going to come right out of that shirt. Roy felt his face redden as the thought crossed his mind.
“Roy? Hey, Roy?” An elbow to his side brought him back.
“You wanna beer?”
“Uh . . . sure.”
Johnny purchased two beers from the vendor and passed one to his partner. Roy quickly took a sip of the icy brew.
The next few plays passed without incident. The blond man was beginning to relax and enjoy the spectacle. Without warning, someone behind him jumped up, his knee connecting with Roy’s right shoulder. Unprepared, the beer Roy’d been holding in that hand went right into his lap. He let out a yell of his own and jumped up, pulling at his wet clothes. His partner looked at him quizzically.
“Hey, man, I’m sorry!” a disembodied voice yelled from behind him.
“Um . . . no . . . no problem,” Roy mumbled. He sat back down, his interest in the game waning.
“You all right?” Johnny questioned.
“Yeah. I’m gonna go to the restroom. I’ll be back.”
Johnny nodded, already lost in the game once again.
() () ()
It was quite a bit later when Roy managed to return to his seat. With 71,000 or more people packed into this stadium, the lines were long everywhere, whether for the snack bar or the restroom.
Feeling much better, he settled in with a new beer and a giant hot dog. He had brought back some for Johnny as well. The second quarter was half over and the halftime entertainment was tuning up.
For awhile, Roy managed to tune out the screamer behind him and, though his attention guiltily returned to the chesty blonde occasionally, he watched the game unfolding with interest. His gaze had just drifted to the blonde when the quarterback for Miami threw a long pass right into the end zone for an awe-inspiring touchdown. The blonde bombshell flew out of her seat, cheering, and just as Roy had predicted earlier, her shirt lost its battle to contain her attributes and they popped free. Roy’s jaw hit the concrete, and he hurriedly averted his gaze. Embarrassment blazed on his cheeks.
It was right after that that the yelling started. Roy wasn’t sure where it began, but the screaming match grew and grew until soon nothing else could be heard. The screaming match turned into a fistfight. Roy DeSoto never saw the end of the game.
() () ()
Monday morning, January 14, 1974
“Uh . . . Roy?”
“What?” The word was a growl. DeSoto shifted uncomfortably in his airplane seat.
“How’s the eye?”
“How do you think it is?”
Johnny looked at the blackened eye and winced. Looks sore.
“I’m sorry I ducked when that guy threw the punch.”
A grunt was Roy’s only reply.
“H-how’s your toe?”
“I . . . I didn’t mean to step on you.”
Roy just sighed. He couldn’t wait to get home.
“H-how’s the finger?”
The blond-haired man held up the offended digit—his left index finger.
“And your stomach?”
DeSoto groaned as he thought of the time spent in front of the toilet, thanks to the spoiled hot dog.
Johnny glumly settled back in his seat. Even the sight of the perky, gorgeous stewardess failed to cheer him.
Roy gave his partner a sidelong glance. Seeing his misery, he relented. “Don’t worry about it, Junior. None of what happened was your fault.”
“But . . .”
“Just think of it this way, Johnny. Imagine how glad I’ll be from now on to always enjoy the game seated safely in front of my television.”
This elicited a half smile from the dark-haired man.
“And if you ever go to the big game again, take Chet.”
The smile grew.
“Gotcha, partner. I gotcha.”
* * * The End * * *
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