Felt cute. Won’t remember to delete later.

This is a story I wrote for one of my class assignments on Plot. After all this time as a writer I’ve never based a story around hockey. And now that I’m in a class where I’m reading about monsters and androids I write about sports. My brain is dumb.

shutout

Jonathan had kept the puck out of the net for fifty-seven minutes and seven seconds when the ref blew his whistle and awarded the other team a penalty shot. Jonathan voiced his displeasure using several choice words, being careful not to take a penalty himself. He looked up at the jumbotron to watch the replay and couldn’t help but see the scoreboard. His team was up 1-0. He had stopped 33 of 33 shots. Now he was facing shot number 34 without his team’s help. He lowered his head, took a deep breath, and stared straight ahead. Jonathan couldn’t help but laugh to himself. Conner, the best skater, shooter, puck handler, player, in the league, stood just under one hundred feet away. Just like you planned it as a kid playing ball hockey in your basement, Jonathan thought to himself.

His already heavy equipment had grown heavier with sweat and water. His feet ached from standing on half inch blades over a sheet of solid ice. His knees, back and shoulders ached from the weight. Physically and metaphorically. He set himself in place. Knees slightly bent, stick at feet in front of him, left hand up, glove open. The referee blew his whistle signaling the start of the play. The crowd, who had been continuously voicing their anger, fell to a hush. Conner began to skate toward Jonathan with only one purpose. Break the shutout, tie the game, ruin Jonathan’s night. Conner picked up speed, the frozen black vulcanized rubber disc danced on his stick, jumping over the skate damaged ice. His opponent teased him, changing hand positions, moving the weapon side to side, trying not to show Jonathan his intended target. Over his shoulder? Under his arm? Through his legs? Maybe he would aim directly at Jonathan’s head? His enemy was giving him no clear clues and Jonathan knew every shot this guy took was a lethal one. He would have to rely on his instincts and his reflexes, which had been as sharp as his skate blades tonight. He stayed still, holding firm, protecting his home, his shutout, his team’s impending win.

Conner pulled back on his stick, looked toward Jonathan’s right shoulder, then slammed the blade the ice. It made a loud cracking noise against the solid surface. The slapshot came at him high glove side. The crowd remained hushed, Jonathan could hear nothing but his own breathing and the puck gliding through the air at high speed. He smiled under his helmet. He hadn’t taken the bait and Conner had made a rare mistake. Jonathan’s glove hand was his strongest weapon. The puck came fully into focus just as he lifted his left arm. The thud of the hard rubber hitting against his palm felt more satisfying than usual. The crowd broke out in a roar. The referee blew his whistle to signal the end of the one on one showdown. Jonathan held his glove hand up and nodded toward Conner then let the black disc drop to the ice in front of him. He turned to face his empty net and waited for his fellow warriors to rejoin him on the ice for the remaining three minutes and fifty-three seconds of battle.