A Fire in the Belly; A Subordiom Short

A Fire In the Belly; A Subordiom Short
By Stuart E. Schadt

Fred was so annoying at lunch. I didn’t have any money and I didn’t want to borrow from him because he is such a nag about, “When are you going to pay me back,” like I’m not always loaning him money. At least I slaughtered him in chess so lunch was not a total waste. But now I’m off to gym hungry. Not a great combo. This is track and field season; not my favorite, but there are worse. Maybe soccer season is the worst. Either I am nowhere near the ball or it hits me before I hit it.

Monday in gym we did the 100 yard sprint. That is better than relays. Relays suck when your team knows you are the weakest link and they can’t decide where to put you to minimize the damage you will do to the final number. Coach is always claiming that he grades on how we improve and if that is true that’s fine but in class everyone judges on how you do right now, today. I hear them say things like, “An improved last place is still last.” I know they are talking about me. Even Fred leaves me behind when it comes to the running sports.

As soon as we get to the field I see the hurdles set up on the track. This is going to be bad.

As we come to the track, Coach is blowing his whistle and pointing to the track, “Give me a nice slow twice around for a warm up.” The speed that most of the guys run, in a nice slow twice around, is just a little slower than my full out speed. I think I suffer from Excessive Gravitational Connectivity. Okay I made it up, but Einstein made up E=mc2 and everyone thinks he was brilliant. Excessive Gravitational Connectivity is the theory that some of us are more affected by the Earth’s gravity than are other people. In science Ms. Ridley says objects fall at the same rate of speed regardless of how heavy they are. However in my theory if one of those objects is subject to excessive gravitational connectivity that object will fall faster. I am sure I am right. The only way I can think to prove this is to get one of the faster guys to jump off a two or three story building with me and then see who lands first. I guess you can see why I haven’t tested my theory yet.

Finally, we are all twice around the track. The warm up feels more like a worn out to me. It must be close to ninety this afternoon and sweat is just pouring off me. There are these shirts that help the sweat evaporate more quickly, but my mother said she wouldn’t buy me a twenty dollar shirt to loose in gym, so almost everyday my T shirt is soaked through with sweat. By the end of the week it smells like molding garbage.

Coach has the hurdles set on the low hurdle position and guys are flying over them like deer over a fence. I give it all I have and make it over with just the tip of my shoe catching the hurdle. I stumble a little as I land but I recover and the hurdle doesn’t fall. Coach shouts, “Good job, Miller.”

The hurdles are a metal stand with a two slat fence on top. They are hinged to be in a low position or a high position. Coach now flips the hurdles up to the high position. The difference is maybe less than six inches but it might as well be six feet.

How come the people who are good at something, always go first. Anyway a bunch of the guys lead off and again like deer over a fence they are over the hurdles. Is it fair to note that deer are not all that bright? I don’t even know if that is true about deer.

I look at that hurdle and I try to envision myself going over it. I imagine I am standing on the side watching me go over it. I imagine I am looking down the track seeing my right foot rise up in front of me and clear the hurdle. I am running down the track at the hurdle and I just don’t leap. I stop right at the hurdle.

“Come on Miller you can do this.” Coach shouts. Coach is not my nemesis (vocabulary word). It’s coach’s job to get me to jump that hurdle, but sometimes when I am reading and there is an evil character in the story I think of the character looking like coach.

As I start to run I hear coach shout, “Miller if there is a fire in your belly you’ll jump that hurdle.” I am flying, my right foot rises up in front of me I see it pass over the hurdle, I feel my left foot hit the hurdle full on and catch below the top slat. We are sprawled out flat on the track, I and the hurdle. There is no fire in my belly. I crawl over to the side of the track and puke up bile. Maybe I should have let Fred buy me lunch. Either way I doubt I could have escaped the power of Excessive Gravitational Connectivity.

Coach shouts, “Next time Miller, Okay guys let’s heads in.”

I hope and pray there will never be a next time.