RTotD: Unpopular Opinion

Almost everyone I know loves the movie Christmas Vacation. My stepbrother has a party at his house every year where people come over to watch it while they all wear shirts with movie quotes on them. I’ve also seen plenty of people post on Facebook about how they’re watching the movie or will watch the movie.

I’m not one of those people.

To be honest, I’m not a fan of Christmas Vacation. I don’t think it’s a bad movie, but I certainly don’t think it’s as good as everyone makes it out to be. I don’t care for it.

The Twelfth Knight- Part 2

His sword clanged off the practice dummy as he vented his frustration over having nothing to do. Over and over again he struck. Each time, he changed the angle of his attack so that it never came from the exact same position. He twisted and turned during his attacks so that he would be accustomed to being off-balance while striking. Anything he could think of to do, he did.

“If you keep hitting the dummy like that,” came a voice from behind him, “you’ll dull your blade.”

Roscoe turned to see his brother, Conroe, standing there in his full knight regalia. “Don’t worry,” Roscoe scoffed. “I’ll have plenty of time to sharpen it later.”

“Maybe. Maybe not.”

“What are you talking about?”
“I got an assignment that I’m too busy for and I’m going to pass it to you, if you’ll take it.”

“Hold on. You’re the Seventh Knight. If you pass it on, it should be going to the Eighth Knight, not me.”

“As long as it gets done, I don’t think they’ll care.”

“I don’t know…”
“That’s fine. I’ll go give it to the Eighth Knight then.”

“Wait! What’s the job?”

“That’s what I thought,” Conroe laughed. “It doesn’t seem to be a difficult job, but it must be important because it came straight from the top.”

“The Jester?”

“No, the top. Revis.”
Roscoe chuckled. The Jester wouldn’t like hearing someone say Revis was above him in the Kingdom hierarchy, but he’d never find out. “What’s the job?”

“There are rumors that a mercenary named Merlinus is in town. All you have to do is take a look around and see if there is any truth to these rumors.”

“That’s it? That’s the big assignment? That sounds like something best left for the city guard. I don’t understand why he’s bringing the Knights into this.”

“That’s because you don’t have all the information. Look, all you have to do is go around town and ask people, discreetly, about Merlinus. If you come up empty, it’s no big deal. We’re not sure he’s even in town. But, if you do find out that he’s here, you are not to go after him yourself. Once you have his location verified, you go straight to Revis with it.”

“And when he asks how I knew to be looking for Merlinus?”

“As far as the Knights are concerned, I have taken on this job. If you find Merlinus, and report it to Revis, just tell him I was talking to you about my assignment and you took it upon yourself to help me out. I’ll back you up on it.”

“What’s the catch?”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re never do anything for me without some ulterior motive. What’s the catch?”

Conroe looked like he was about to protest, but then stopped. “Ok, fine. They told me if I didn’t accept this assignment, I’d have to run some training classes for the city guard.”

“So?”

“The kids are with the in-laws for the next few days and the wife and I need some alone time. We’re not going to get that alone time if I’m doing either of those things. So, I figured this was a win/win. I get my alone time with the missus and you get the assignment that you’ve been wanting. Come on, Roscoe. You know you want this.”

“Oh yeah. It’s my dream in life to help my brother get laid,” Roscoe responded with a roll of his eyes.

“Not that part, you jackass. The getting an assignment part.”

As much fun as it would be to ruin Conroe’s plans, he couldn’t deny that he had been waiting for an opportunity to do something other than train. “Ok fine, but if your wife calls out my name instead of yours, don’t come crying to me.”

“I don’t have to worry about that,” Conroe shot back. “You’d have to bed a woman first before she’d cry out your name and we both know no woman has ever been desperate enough to shack up with you.”

“It’s so strange. I feel sick all of the sudden. I don’t know if I can take your assignment now.”

“Uhh, I meant to say that you’re the best looking fellow in the land and that any woman would be lucky to have you.”

“That’s what I thought you meant. I’m feeling better already. Now, get out of here before I change my mind.”

The two men said their goodbyes and Roscoe went to change out of his practice armor. He quickly put on the armor that marked him as a Knight of the Kingdom. A swelling of pride washed through him when he was done. It never ceased to amaze him how much it meant to him that he had made it into the order of Knights. The Kingdom was full of good people and he was proud that he had been chosen as one of their protectors.

Over the past couple of years, he had grown to know the people of this town fairly well. When he wasn’t training, he patrolled the streets. That was the job of the city guard, but he was bored and needed something to do. Roscoe became friends with the townspeople: the butcher, the baker, the person who made candlesticks. He went to all of them and pretended to be out on one of his normal patrols. Once he was through with the small talk, he tried to subtly steer the conversation towards rumors that there may be mercenaries in town.

They all immediately clammed up. Despite claiming he was just sharing gossip, all three people stopped talking when as soon as he said the word “mercenary”. It was clear that they were afraid. Perhaps there was something to the rumors after all. He had never seen the butcher scared before, and the butcher had been one of the citizens who volunteered to drive the shiny vampires out of the Kingdom a few years back.

Then again, just because people were scared, it didn’t mean that they were scared of this Merlinus person. They could just as easily be something or someone else that’s frightening them. He just needed to find out what it was. Since his friends weren’t willing to tell him, he’d need to go places he didn’t go to before, like taverns and gambling establishments. Those were the kinds of places where people would know what he needed to know.

He just couldn’t go to them dressed as a Knight.

Fantasy Football Part 17

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful day. I also hope you enjoy the latest chapter of the blog hopping story written by Matticus and myself.

***** ***** *****

Coach Sprout called the rest of the offense over and told them the play that they were going to run. This time around, they’d have both of their running backs on the field at the same time. It was just one more little thing that Sprout was doing to try to confuse the defense. They’d have to prepare for the possibility of either of them getting the ball, and that’s even if it was a running play to begin with.
The Honor Guard blew their whistles, indicating that the timeout was over. Plex led his team out onto the field and quickly got them lined up. He wanted to hike the ball as soon as possible so the defenders didn’t get much of a chance to react to how they had set up their formation. Another whistle blew and time began to count down once more towards the end of the game. Plex took just a moment to look over the defense before calling for the ball to be hiked.

On his right, Glavven ran forward and held his hands up to receive the football. Plex didn’t give it to him. Instead, he handed it to Meel, who was following behind. Glavven ran into a pair of defenders as if he had the ball. That took them both out of the play and left an opening for the smaller Meel to get through. Meel ducked under one defensive lineman’s arm as he ran untouched into the hole.

There was a lot of open field in front of him. In fact, the only defender standing between Meel and the goal line was Gilania. For what seemed like the hundredth time during the game, Plex found himself torn. He was torn between his desire to see his sister do well and his need for his team to win. Plex knew his team needed these points to put the game almost completely out of reach.

He just hoped it didn’t come at his sister’s expense.

Meel cut left for a step and quickly cut back right with the next, hoping to juke his way past her. Gilania didn’t fall for it. She stayed in position between him and the end zone. With only a few yards left until he reached her, Meel lowered his shoulder. There weren’t many people that Meel would be able to run over, but with the momentum that he had, Gilania might be one of them. She braced for the impact.

The two of them hit in a collision that could be heard throughout the entire arena. Gilania started falling backwards, but she had her arms wrapped tightly around Meel. She was pulling him down with her. His momentum was still carrying him toward the goal line. There was a chance he would cross it before he hit the ground. It would be close.

Two more steps put them at the five yard line. Meel was going down quickly. He wrestled the ball out from between them and reached it out towards the goal line. He gave one last heave with his legs and fell forward.
Plex’s view was obscured by the crash of players who had finally caught up to the play, jumping on top of Meel and Gilania either in attempt to keep the player from crossing the line or trying to help him in his effort. The whole mess crunched together in a writhing pile of arms and legs.

Whistles blew. The honor guard rushed forward to help untangle players and try to determine where the ball ended up. Plex moved forward a few yards hoping to get glimpse of how Meel and Gilania had done. Had Meel gotten the ball across the line? Had Gilania stopped him? Had she been hurt at the bottom of the pile?

The process of getting to the bottom seemed to take much longer than it should. There seemed to be a struggle going on still. Plex saw that Meel still had a hold of the ball, and it looked like it was on the line so it should be a touchdown but Gilania had somehow gotten one of her hands on the ball too and was trying to push it backwards. From his angle Plex couldn’t be sure what the referees were going to decide. He didn’t want to get any closer though.

A moment later it was just down to Meel and Gilania. One of the honor guard pulled the ball free while Meel and Gilania came up pushing and shoving. Plex couldn’t hear what was being said clearly but was close enough to know that words were being exchanged.

Another series of whistles and one of the honor guard stepped between the two players. The guard flicked his head towards the dragon and Meel and Gilania immediately settled down. Only then did Plex realize he’d been clenching his fists and he forced his hands to relax, though his heart still raced.

With the playes all separated, the honor guard got together for a moment and then they placed the football on the goal line and signaled a touchdown. While Meel celebrated with his teammates, Gilania uttered curses in elven, just loud enough for Plex and some of the players around her to hear. Her own teammates escorted her off the field before she got into trouble.

Plex shook his head. What was she thinking? But the answer was obvious. Plex glanced first at the game clock and then at Lavalandinarial. The dragon seemed bored. A small tendril of smoke drifted up from one nostril. Its mouth was closed in neither a smile or a snarl and its eyelids were half closed. Was the beast losing interest in the game?
As they made their way to the sideline, Plex congratulated Meel on the touchdown and Glavven for creating the hole. Glavven was worse for the wear. The play had caused his injury to flare up and the healer was working with him again.

“You okay?”

Glavven nodded that he was but said nothing in response. The minotaur’s jaws were clenched tightly. His teammate was too proud to answer for fear the pain he was in would be obvious in his voice.

Plex moved away and scanned the far sideline for his sister. Gilania was being talked to by her coach. She seemed upset and it hurt Plex to see her that way. There was nothing he could do to help, though.

A few seconds later and the point after attempt was converted. Gilania’s team was far behind now, exactly what Plex hadn’t wanted, and the two minute warning was less than a minute away. Plex could only hope that Gilania’s team was able to move down the field and cut into the lead. He just hoped that they would do it as time expired so there would be no chance for a miracle play. Then again, with how sporadic the dragon was, maybe that was her plan all along. Maybe she wanted the game to appear out of reach before she helped the losing team come back.

Plex looked up at the dragon. Lavalandinarial was staring right back at him, mimicking Coach Sprout’s knowing smile. Had she been able to read his mind? Did she know what he had been thinking? She had to. Otherwise, there was no reason for her to look at him like that.

He tore his eyes away from Lavalandinarial and looked at the scoreboard. What he saw didn’t make sense. The score was forty-two to thirty-three, a nine point difference. A few moments ago, that seemed like an insurmountable lead. Plex knew that it wasn’t. Three minutes was more than enough time for Gilania’s team to easily drive the ball down the field, score a touchdown, kick the extra point, attempt and recover an onside kick, and get into a position to kick the winning field goal.

Walking up to Coach Sprout, he asked, “Why did we kick the extra point instead of going for two there?”

The gnome’s expression made it clear that he thought Plex’s question was dumb. Coach Sprout pointed to the scoreboard and was about to say something when his eyes followed his finger. Sprout’s jaw dropped. “I don’t know,” the gnome finally said. Confusion washed over his face. “I would have sworn we were winning by more than that.”

Plex was careful to keep the curses he wanted to yell out of his thoughts. The dragon could obviously read his mind and he didn’t want to give her any reason to hurt him again. Not that she needed a reason. Still, it was best to be as cautious as possible when it came to Lavalandinarial.

He watched helplessly as the game went on. His team did a good job covering the kickoff. They held Gilania’s team to a three yard gain on first down and an incompletion on second. With it being third and seven, with only seconds to go until the two minute warning, everyone in the stadium thought that it was going to be a passing play.

That’s why it worked so well when the other team ran the ball.

The quarterback dropped back like he was going to pass. The offensive line dropped back like they were pass blocking. The wide receivers ran their routes like normal. At first, it appeared as if the running back was staying in the backfield as an extra blocker. Then, he slid up next to the quarterback, grabbed the ball, and ran through a hole in the offensive line. There was plenty of room in front and Plex wondered if anyone would be able to stop the running back before he got to the end zone.

Flying Butts

It is incredibly windy in my area this morning. The wind was strong enough to move my car around a little as I drove to work. As I was walking up to the front door, the wind blew over the ash tray that is set up right beside it. Thankfully, I was on lower steps so the ashes blew up over my head, but I was still pelted by a handful of cigarettes.

So, basically, my morning consisted of being hit by flying butts. How was yours?

Fantasy Football Part 16

Another cheap share as the story that Matt and I are writing continues. Be sure to check it, and all the other cool things that go on over at the Matticus Kingdom, out!

The Matticus Kingdom

The first game is nearly over…  the final whistle is drawing closer.  Will Plex’s team end up victorious?  Will his sister’s team come out on top?  Will that pesky dragon decide to interfere again?  These answers can be found by reading on…  in this, the sixteenth, installment of the Fantasy Football series written by Revis and me.

…..

The ball spun in slow motion.  The arms of the defender and offensive linesman scrambled to grab ahold of it before it reached the ground.  Their hands knocked against each other and the ball.  It bounced upward, Plex couldn’t see what had caused it to pop up, and it spun even more wildly than before.  The two players tried to reach for the ball again but weren’t in good positions and kept getting in each other’s way.

Then Kalant appeared seemingly from nowhere and plucked the ball from the air.  Plex couldn’t…

View original post 1,547 more words

Missing the Tabletop

It’s been at least a decade since I last played a tabletop RPG of any kind. Hell, it’s probably been closer to 15 years than 10. Over that time, I’ve been open to playing again, but it never seems to work out for me. Either I don’t have the books I need to play it, not enough people to play, or just don’t have the time.

Something is always in the way.

Recently, a guy at work has been talking about a D&D campaign that he wants to run. His story idea is strange, and it honestly doesn’t sound like something I would enjoy playing, but just talking about D&D is making me want to play it again. I miss the camaraderie with the other players. I miss the unpredictability of the dice rolls. I miss the problem solving needed to move your characters on to the next part of the adventure.

I’ve thought about asking my team lead if he wants to get a game going, but a couple of things have stopped me. One: Like me, he doesn’t know anyone else that would for sure be interested in playing. Two: He and I have butted heads on more than one occasion and I’m not sure how well we’d mesh outside of work.

My local library has game nights every two weeks that are open to the public. I wouldn’t mind checking one of those out either, but there’s problems with this too. It starts a half hour before I get off work and it’s on a weeknight. So, if I went, not only would I miss time in the game, but I wouldn’t get home until it was just about Baby E’s bedtime. I already don’t see her much during the week between her school and my job. I’m sure as hell not going to sacrifice any more time with her to play a game with people that I don’t know.

Maybe someday I’ll find the right mixture of time, books, and people to get a game together. I’m hoping, anyway. Until then, I guess I’m just left waiting.