The score is 14 to 7, and my team is winning. As I sit on my favorite chair, surrounded by an aura of glee and sweat from my friends, I eagerly await every new play of this game. This is it—the game that would decide the fate of my team for the rest of the season.|
I pan the horizon to see the battlefield of the war brought upon by me and my friends, who invaded my house with chips and dip. A bowl half-filled with those chips rests on a nearby coffee table with remnants of their fallen allies scattered around the bowl like a giant connect the dot puzzle.
The chips are valiant adversaries as they sting our tongues with a sweet, salty taste. However, we do not fall to their secret weapons but instead counter with our own. The lingering salty poison they leave upon our tongues as they die by grinding is quickly washed away by the gallons of soda and beer at our disposal.
As I grin to myself over our continual victories, I feel the vibration of something in the distance. The sound of it then grows as it passes through time and space to reach my ears. My mouth goes as dry as Monty Python’s humor, and my eyes widen like a balloon filling up with helium as my brain processes what the sound means. The sound of footsteps begins to echo in my ear, louder than the cheers from the TV and the random insanities that spew out of my friends’ mouths.
I clinch the arms of my chair and witness them slowly becoming as white as snow. I panic. Even my blood is trying to hide from the sounds! My head begins to produce puddles upon my forehead in increasing numbers. I cannot help but bite my lip to keep it from vibrating off like a vase during an earthquake. The source of the sound has now made its presence known.
My wife steps into the room like a dragon hungry for dinner, her wings folded back and resting on her hips as she stares down her next victims. For reasons I cannot yet fathom, my friends wave and say hello to the beast that would soon devour them like the Hostess Twinkie and Cupcake that they were.
Of course! I cry out.
After more analyzing I realize that she is disguised as one of us by dressing in the colors of our favorite team and carrying a smile as fake as Santa. Only I have been trained well enough to see through her charade.
She throws her hands in the air, forming a pose of victory as fire begins to rain from her mouth when she screeches, “Whew! Our team is winning!” She sits down on the couch with my friends and forces her talons into the bowl of chips. I can hear the sounds of a fleeing army come from the bowl as she snatches a group of soldiers. In one claw she holds the screaming victims while she squeezes the life force out of a bottle of ketchup, forming a pool of blood with her other claw. She swipes the unfortunate regiment through the bloodbath, and then stuffs them into her unmerciful mouth. Not only is she devouring generations of chip families, she is also disgracing them by covering them in unnatural toppings. In the milliseconds that her mouth opens during each chew, I can hear the screams of the fallen soldiers, martyrs to their people.
She is merciless in that she does not end the lives of these brave creatures quickly but instead in a slow torturous manner. As the chip reaches the opening in her face, it’s met with her wet snake of a tongue. She savors the flavor of their skin, ruffle for ruffle, sucking everything off them before finally breaking them in half with her razor-sharp teeth. She chews many times and with each chew comes a crunching sound that brings chills to my body. After every solid part of their body becomes a cream-colored mush of a substance, she finally ends their suffering with a quick gulp, sending them down to be obliterated by the acids residing within her stomach.
She licks her lips afterward, portraying satisfaction to everyone who could see. She then plunges her hand back into bowl indiscriminately. No one is safe! I feel the most pity for the older chips that had been put into the bowl from foreign bags and are too stale to escape this fate.
I sit, disgusted by this open act of aggression against my salle de sejour.
She looks at me with confusion; a cloud of smoke is snorted from her nostrils followed by a slight giggle. “What?” she asked, as she plops another screaming soul into her dark abyss of a mouth. She knows full well the boundaries she’s crossing. The treaties that maintained order within this residence have been violated and thus voided. I stare at her, showing I do not fear the wrath she can bring to the table.
“Can you pass the chips please?” I ask.
She picks up the bowl and brings it within my grasp. I take it gently and embrace it close to my chest, keeping my eyes on her until she sits back down completely. I stare down at the remains of the chip army in remorse.
We were once enemies, but now I’ll protect you from the real enemy. I keep the bowl nestled against me as I return my gaze slowly to the TV, periodically keeping my eyes on the dragon beast.
What’s this? I panic. The teams are tied now. As I was saving lives, I had missed the events of the game. I return my gaze to my wife. I know this is not a coincidence; she has hexed the game and everyone participating in it. The camera zooms into the face of a player on my team. He stares at me through it with the sorrow of many dead puppies in his eyes. He knows, oh god does he know. I have let my team down by allowing the very definition of bad luck within viewing distance of the game.
Since I am the cause of this curse, I quickly try to find a remedy. I somehow must get her out of the room to restore the delicate balance that she destroyed so enthusiastically.
Ah-ha! I have discovered the cure. I sit up straight in my chair to build intimidation within her. I gather the strength of millions within my vocal cords to help cause her to cower at my demands. I release with great force the mightiest command ever given by a man in this situation.
“Hey, um, can you go to the store? We’re out of soda.” I wiggle an empty bottle as evidence to my plea.
“But I’ll miss the end of the game if I go now,” she replies. She is resorting to dirty tactics as a counter to my demands. I maintain my firm composure, not allowing myself to show any form of weakness.
“I’ll tell you how it ends. Please?”
“Oh, all right.” She states as she gets up from the couch. She drags her feet as she roams around the room, gathering her shoes and keys. Soon she makes her way out the door, closing it gently behind her.
I have won! I shout in triumph. I have slain the dragon and saved the princess that is my team. I do not even attempt to hide my satisfaction with these recent events, and my friends notice.
“What are you smiling about? The other team’s catching up!” they state in a concerned voice.
“Oh, I think things will turn in our favor now,” I say as trumpets play fanfares in my head.
The game has ended, and my team has won. The announcement of the winning team continually loops like a scratched record in my ears. The aura of victory surrounds me as I relish in the fact that it was me who saved the team from certain death. My friends quickly depart from the house to return to their lives outside of a TV’s sweet embrace.
As I bask in glory, I hear the front door open and my wife barge in like a bull who has seen red. Carrying bags in each arm, she waddles her way into the kitchen, as if she had kids hanging off every limb. She sets the bags of refreshments down and brings her hands to her forehead to wipe the sweat away. Out of breath, she asks, “So who won?”
“My team,” I respond, still overly excited.
“Cool,” she replies. I can hear sadness in her voice; her plan did not work. She has been outwitted by none other than me. She will never admit it, but this crowning moment will change the course of our lives forever. She has seen the dominance within me and has cowered in fear from it. She knows that when lines are crossed there is no remorse for the trespasser. I look down at the bowl of chips in my hands.
We have won, my brothers.
“Hey, help me do the dishes and clean up this room,” she boldly commands me.
I slowly take my gaze from the bowl to her face. I take moments to play the scenario of how this battle will be played out and the casualties that could come from it. I bring back the courage that I had used earlier when giving my commands to aid me in my reply.