January 8, 2010
The young waiter put two cardboard coasters on the table. “Can I get you started with anything?” he asked. Audrey and Carl had just settled into a booth at the pub.
“I’ll have a Terminator,” Carl said.
“’Fraid we’re out of Terminator.”
Carl lost his smile. “You’re out? Of Terminator?”
“We had quite a run on it over the holidays.”
“Hammerhead, please,” Audrey said, and Carl shrugged to signal the same. Up until now he had tried to make the best of things after agreeing to go to dinner at halftime.
“That’s what DVRs are for,” Audrey had said, “and this is our only chance to have a night out while Evan’s away. There’s a Terminator waiting for you at McMenamins.”
Or not. Now Carl noticed the TV mounted on the wall behind Audrey. “Change places with me,” he said.
“Just in case,” he said, which Audrey understood as soon as she looked: halftime was over, and Carl didn’t want to risk seeing the game before he got back home. They switched.
“Oh, a ‘Horns fan,” the waiter said, setting down their amber ales. “Can’t watch, huh?”
“No, we just wanted to see if you’d mix up our drinks,” Audrey said.
Her mobile phone chimed with a text message. She read it and smiled. “It’s Evan. Wants to know if you’re watching the game. He says—”
“No! Tell him no!”
“He says he’s there.”
Audrey pointed to the TV. “There. Dad got tickets.”
“For this game?”
And this is when Carl turned around, looked at the TV screen and saw Texas kick the best onside kick ever in the history of football.
“Waa-haa! Did you see that?” He jumped into the other bench next to Audrey.
They drank their pints and split a Communication Breakdown Burger and hung onto hope as Alabama missed a fifty-two yard field goal attempt. They cheered as Texas scored another touchdown and a two-point conversion, bringing the game to within three points of tying it up, even having lost their star quarterback in the opening minutes of the game.
Carl wasn’t just a Longhorns fan. Carl was a Longhorn.
© 2010 Pam Wells