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QuarterShot – a short story

A short story by Timothy Freriks © 2016

The feel of the football in my hand as the center hikes it to me is comfortable and secure and I start to move away from the line. I see the other team’s backfield starting to watch my eyes and the Cornerback trying to figure out how to anticipate what they are saying. The guard can’t see me, of course, since I’m lying behind the low ornate parapet of the dingy, half-destroyed apartment building in this sunbaked, God forsaken city. But I can see him through the scope which is pointed toward the speaker’s platform 631 yards away.

My Wide Receiver is a half-second late in getting off the line toward his lane. It’s a simple hook pattern made to look like a post pattern to confuse the Safety. If everybody else is covered, I’ll hit him in the hook and settle for fifteen yards. The Premier is just starting to enter my field of vision from the right. The guard backs away a step to give him room to climb the steps. Good, that gives me a couple extra inches. But there’s another guard entering from the left… and the Ambassador is shifting, too. It’s getting congested and I start to feel my only accomplice, the worm, messing with my insides.

Momentary anxiety, the doctor called it: when you put yourself in a position where the next few seconds have critical importance. Twenty seconds left and twenty yards from field goal range can qualify as critical, especially when the game is tied, especially when it’s the last game of your career. I try not to look directly at my Tight End for fear of giving too much away, but the Outside Linebacker is moving backward. If he continues, he’ll be straight in the line of fire when my Wide Receiver stops. But I’m confident; I’m the best. If the guard on the left continues, he’ll pass the Premier just as he gets to the point where I have to fire. If I wait until the target reaches the podium, even my Barrett M82 50-cal won’t be accurate; the double-thick, bulletproof glass will deflect the bullet. If I wait too much longer, the target will be in front of our Ambassador which means he would be taken out, too. Not good. Not easy, but I’m confident; I’m the best.

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