“Let’s light this baby up and get the show started.” The light wave crashed across the stadium. The snap of the lamps echoed around the walls. Outside scalpers plied the lines with their offerings. They had no trouble finding takers in the line tonight. Tonight was THE night. Everybody knew it.
Inside, the final preparations continued. Vendors opened their stalls. Displays filled with T-shirts, caps, pins, posters, programs, all the souvenir paraphernalia that could be imported for this night was available to the spectators for exorbitant prices, but no one complained.
The gates opened finally and the crowd surged forward. Controlled chaos. The seats filled with thousands of eager spectators. Food concessionaires hawked drinks and popcorn. Others sold products to enhance the experience surreptitiously. Neither lacked business.
The stage strobes pulsated. Pyrotechnics flared. The crowd roared in anticipation. After an appropriately long delay, out stepped one of the players. The reigning champion, ‘Emoriy, clad in a brief that met the law’s requirements strutted to center stage, oiled muscles flexed and relaxed to the garish music that blared. Cheers, whistles, banners, pompoms waved by his cheerleaders accompanied his entrance. He pleased his admirers. In four generations he had never disappointed them. Tonight he’d leave as champion once again and he knew it. Sneering, the champion swept his arm toward the corner.
The crowd followed his direction. A guard jerked the chain and the champion’s competitor limped onto the stage. Jeers, trash rained down from the stands onto the competitor. The crowd loved this part the best. Another resister to the champion, the one that caused the most trouble for him had been chosen for tonight’s event. This one had been particularly popular with the rabble. More jeers from the crowd erupted. The sound man slid the volume control forward forcing the crowd to new decibels to overpower the music. The pandemonium continued.
The champion nodded. The stadium lights darkened. The only light now focused on him. Silence. The crowd barely dared inhale. He motioned for his shield and sword. He was invincible tonight. “What shall we do tonight?” The
jumbotrons lit up. END IT!!! “What shall we do tonight?” he shouted.
The crowd responded on cue, “END IT!!!”. The words became a chant and the crowd swayed as the music began again. “END IT, END IT.” Rhythmic stomping, clapping rocked the stadium. “END IT, END IT.”
The champion raised his sword and shield. He gloried in these moments and hated to end them. “Just a bit more anticipation for the crowd.” he thought. He had mastered the timing of these events. He knew the precise moment for the climax.
He turned one last time for the adoring crowd. The stage lights came up and he strode toward the competitor. While the champion had worked the crowd, the competitor had been garbed in a loin cloth and given a dagger to defend himself. “That’s all they ever said they needed in their teaching to the rabble.” the champion gloated to himself.
“Prove yourself!” the champion taunted him. He circled the competitor in a mock defensive stance. The competitor stood motionless. “Prove yourself!”. The rules of the match required three challenges. “Prove yourself!”.
The crowd came to its feet again. “END IT, END IT, END IT!” they chanted. Cheerleaders swiveled their hips, shaking their pompoms.
The champion raised his sword, jabbed once, twice, a third time before finishing the competitor. He remained the champion. Confetti filled the air. Newsmen jockeyed for the interview. The crowd cheered, hugged each other. What a champion ‘Emoriy was to his people!
The competitor’s body was thrown onto a litter and dumped in the trash bin outside the stadium. “Good riddance to that troublemaker,” the grounds keeper thought. “Him and his silly idea of a heaven and hell. God, hmmph. Don’t do him no good. Don’t do nobody no good.” A rumble from inside the stadium grew louder. “The post game stuff starting up.” the crewman thought as he slammed down the dumpster lid. “Getting rowdy early this time.” The rumble grew, the ground vibrated.
Inside the interviews and revelry continued. The post game show rivaled Rio’s Carnival. The rumble grew louder, the crowd continued to cheer the champion and celebrate. The ground rolled and heaved beneath the stadium opening a yawning crater in the center. The stage was the first to be devoured, then the choice seats, and finally the upper decks collapsed into the pit.
Four generations of 'Emoriy as the reigning champion ended.
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