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Pork's Popsicles Continued

Two scrimmage lines faced each other the next afternoon, wilting in the heat. With the screech of a whistle the lines crashed together as Brad dropped back to pass. Three defenders quickly broke through and slammed the quarterback to the turf.

"Brad, you got concrete in those cleats," screamed the coach.

"I need some blocking," whined Brad.

"Maybe if you concentrated on football, instead of beating up freshmen, you wouldn't be landing on your ass," replied Nate.

"Get out of my face," Brad snarled while getting up. "He's just a little troll."

"Well your little troll wasn't at morning practice. Thanks to our star quarterback, we're drinking warm bug juice."

"Knock it off and hit the showers," barked the coach.

Brad led his teammates up from the practice field. "It will probably be good if the troll doesn't shows up," he thought. "These guys will get over it and I can deal with Porky in private."

"Hey Brad," Nate yelled. "Looks like the ice cream kid has some balls."

Pork stood by the locker room door polishing the white freezer. Brad put on his most intimidating face and charged up to him. "Where were you this morning, chubby?" He said, poking his index finger into Pork's soft chest with every word. "Give me my free Popsicle ... PORKEEEE!"

Pork looked back to the road at Matt, who was shouting advise from a safe distance. "Don't be stupid, Pork. Give him the damn popsicle."

Pork sighed and reached deep into the freezer and produced a cherry Popsicle.

"I see you've wised up," Brad gloated as he held the trophy aloft before unwrapping and stuffing it into his mouth. Other players milled around the cart buying handfuls of the frozen treats. A trainer bought a box for the coaches. Pork heard Matt whistling and clapping. Over the voices and clinking coins he also heard a frantic moan above the slurping group. Something was wrong with Brad -- a Popsicle protruded from his frozen lips like a wooden tongue. He struggled, yanked, and tugged at the stick but was unable to remove it. His arms waved and eyes bulged. Brad sank to his knees begging for help. Alarmed teammates scurried for the trainer.

"How'd you do that?" Nate asked.

"I don't know. Maybe it got caught between two pieces of ice all day."

Coaches and the trainer crowded around their quarterback. Using moisture from a sun warmed water bottle, the trainer loosened Brad's mouth from the red ice. The tongue was missing a couple of taste buds, but the quarterback was fine.

"Goddamn it, I thought I'd have that thing sticking out of my mouth for the rest of my life," he complained.

The head coach turned to Pork. "I don't want to see you around here anymore. Now pick up the garbage and get out of here! The rest of you hit the showers."

Brad glared back at Pork as the football squad entered the locker room. Pork began picking up wrappers and sticks as Matt yelled from the hilltop. "Brilliant plan! You've lost the business and that creep is still going to kick the crap out of you. Beautiful plan ... Wait a minute ... Watch out, Porky! He's right behind you! "

Pork slammed into the cart. Brad spun him around and cocked his fist. "You've embarrassed me for the last time .. ." But before he could swing, Brad was jerked from behind by the shoulder pads and momentarily hung in the air like a marionette.

"Leave the kid alone," roared Nate.

"This is none of your business!"

"If you touch the kid again, I'm going to put a world of hurt on you."

"I'll tell the coach . . ."

Nate released him and grinned. "Brad ... Brad, there won't be anything to tell. A missed block like today, and some linebacker takes your head off. Or I go up for a rebound during basketball season and accidentally land on you."

"You'd hurt your quarterback?"

Nate quit smiling. "We got a lot of quarterback 'wannabees.' I'm not going to throw my body in front of someone who only picks on the weak. Show some courage if you want to be my quarterback. Get my drift?"

Brad pondered the sermon a few moments before replying, "Okay, I get it."

Nate extended his hand and Brad shook it. The lineman put his arm over the quarterback's shoulder as they headed for the locker room and said, "Brad, don't worry about losing a little tongue. You had no taste in the first place."

Matt was waiting for Pork as he pedaled up the hill. "Was it worth it? A hundred sales per practice. All gone for one stinking free Popsicle." Was it really worth it?"

"You bet!" Pork grinned. "Now we don't have to sew our lunch money to our underwear."

"Where to now?"

"The pool! We still have time before it closes."

"Great! I promised Katie I'd buy her a Popsicle."

"You got any money?"

"Come on you cheapskate. Just this once?"

"Well, because of all your loyal support, T could give you some special popsicles -- they're sandwiched between the ice..."

"Not on your life, Porky. Maybe Katie has some coins hidden in that bikini," laughed Matt as the two peddled toward the pool.

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