Taleforge logo

Deathball - Locker Room

by BP | Score: 8050

Tresha threw her helmet into the lockers.

"This is bullshit!"

"It's what's best for the team."

"I'm the best striker on the team."

"You're also the most reckless." Coach Dobbs resumed his usual stance. Hands on hips, old earthling hat drawn tight over his head, brim just above the eyes; chomping away on his gum. "Now I've told you time and again to clean up your play. Last week against the Samtams." Tresha scoffed. Started pacing the small aisle between the bench and the lockers. "Two weeks ago," coach continued, his voice getting louder, "against the Tyrants. Remember what I said, before the came, can't go catwalk, that's what they want. Their shooters are too good."

Tresha remembered. She also remembered that she made it farther along that catwalk than anyone else in the league had against the Ts the past three seasons. If only her team Barrett had covered her. Taken advantage of their opponents confusion and made a move. But he was too conservative a director. Too worried they wouldn't be "efficient" enough. Just thinking about it made her want to puke.

"Three weeks ago," Dobbs continued. She hadn't even realized he was still talking. "Same thing. Only this time you went center lane. Center lane!"

A glass shattered on the other end of the locker room. They both turned in the direction of the noise.

Shatam stood daffodil-still, towel draped over his arm. He'd dropped a picture of water. Investors were visiting and the owners insisted on treating them like royalty. Which on a sun-parched clay-ball like Newton, meant cold water and crystal glass. So much for the water. So much for the crystal.

Coach Dobbs held the thin intern in his glare then jerked his neck to the side. He grunted unintelligibly as he did it, but Tresha understood it to mean, "Get your ass the hell out of here." Shatam must have too, because he didn't even bother wiping up the water. Or the crystal for that matter.

No matter. A bot would be by to deal with both. But with him gone, it meant it was back to just Tresha and her very angry coach.

"It's your fault." She barked. "If you'd just listen to me."

"Listen to you," he repeated, softly, almost like he needed to hear himself say the words before he could believe they had actually been spoken. "I'm the god damn coach!"

"And I've lead the league in kills, captures, and..." Her brain stalled out. They had all kinds of metrics to determine effectiveness. A cavalcade of acronyms she couldn't be bothered to learn. Although, now that she was hear, indirectly calling her coach and idiot, she wished she had taken the time to remember at least one.

"Go on."

She started to say one, but stopped. Tresha had a remarkable talent for going one foot over the line before stopping. That dreaded no man's land of having said too much to retreat, but not enough to have what experts would call: an actual point. Splendid.

"Oh, you're finished? Good. That's good. Because I've got the numbers here. Would you like to see?" He 'd been carrying the pad under his arm. That thing spent so much time pinned between his elbow and his side that Tresha had stopped noticing it. Like it was simply a part of his body, no different than an arm, or leg, or nose. It whipped out in front of her, screen alive with numbers. WARP, ROAR, HUD, UTIP. She had no idea what any of them meant. Couldn't even fathom a guess that wouldn't have gotten her in more trouble.

Deathball players were expected to learn them. Part of the training. How can you excel at the metrics if you don't even know them. "How can I knock Backers over guardrails if I don't practice shooting them." That hadn't gone over well. Not in the academy or once she got to the pros. But criticism always had a way of fading when the kills went up and the victories started rolling in. That's what she loved about sports. There was a real-deal, honest to goodness scoreboard. People could prattle on and on about numbers and percentages and probabilities, and efficiency over time, and yadda, yadda, yadda until the day went down. But when it came to playing: none of that matter. Tresha was the best, and anyone who told her otherwise ended up looking like a fool.

Except Coach Dobbs.

"What's the matter Tresh? Don't know what they say?"

The beginnings of a dozen arguments and insults raced through her mind, but none of them had any endings. Like a fleet of trains with no carriages they were all engine with no goods in tow.

"Well, I do know what they say. Care to hear it?"

"Not really."

"Oh, what's the matter? Don't want me to tell you about it. Fine. Take a listen to your girlfriend. She explained it rather thoroughly in her last post."

Coach Dobb's fingers flicked across the screen with more nimbleness than they seemed capable of and a ReelVid popped up. Cynthia Goodstreet popped up. Her Deathball channel was among the most watched in the league. Even by players. And apparently by coaches.

Dobbs hit play and Cynthia sparkled onto the screen. It was a new intro she had cooked up. Tresha had helped her put it together. They did most of it from bd. It had been a nice offseason. Shje stae

"Tresha Thrace had failed to reach previous heights. Falling short on a number of advanced metrics. While her kills remain near the top of the league, her play has dropped significantly once you look below the obvious, more standard stats. If you look at her ROAR--"

"Whatever. It doesn't matter."

"It doesn't matter." Dobb's face shifted, turning from amusement at his little dig to furious disbelief. How someone could look both shocked and furious at the same time, Tresha never quite understood. Shocked and happy. Shocked and sad. These were all standard operating combinations of emotions. But shocked and furious was still an emotion she had no idea how one communicated with facial features alone. And yet there was Dobbs, as shocked and furious as can be

Completed challenges

The following challenges were completed during the writing exercise:

Begin Start typing to begin
Words Reach 50 words
Letter Use the letter V
Words Reach 100 words
Location A space colony
Event Your character loses his/her job
Words Reach 200 words
Character An efficient company director
Event A glass shatters
Words Reach 300 words
Letter Use the letter R
Sentence "It's your fault."
Words Reach 400 words
Words Reach 500 words
Words Reach 600 words
Words Reach 700 words
Words Reach 800 words
Words Reach 900 words
Words Reach 1000 words
Character A pretty television presenter

This story was written using Taleforge, the free writing exercise app powered by The Story Shack. Curious? Try it yourself.

Share and read

Show it to the world.

Challenge others

Same prompts. Different stories?