This post is part of the series Grunts Reborn
“You okay?” asked the driver, “You look pale.”
He lied, “I’m fine.”
It had been years since he had seen the skyline that filled the window he sat next to. Long years. Memories of his leaving came back, punching him visibly in the face. He felt the headset slip from his hands and fall to the astrogranite. He felt the air as the collective crowd gasped at what they had just witnessed. He heard the door close as he walked away. These memories hurt more than his years in captivity, drugged and forced to carry out the machinations of a deranged mad dwarf. These memores hurt more than the systematic murder of his players. These memories where branded on his soul.
The car stopped and he blinked, looking across the walk at the door. He visibily flinched at the sight of it.
He paid the driver and stood on the curb staring down the door. It hadn’t changed, nothing had. He couldn’t recall if he had shut the door or not, he didn’t look back when he had last walked through that threshold. He sighed and looked at the stadium, marked with grafitti and crumbling. It was silent. This place was haunted. Haunted with memories.
He took a breath and hobbled towards the door. The years had not been kind to him, and the drug fueled rage and torture he endured had wracked his body. He had learned to deal with the physical pain, the psychological pain was a work in progress. Reaching the door, he pushed it open listening to the creek echo through the complex. He stepped inside and doubled over in pain as the gut punch of another memory struck home.
Bracing himself against the muck covered wall he hobbled down the hall coming to stop under a large double door frame to his right. He shuffled past the laundry cart, moldy and rotting, and stood in the middle of the locker room. The lockers had been torn apart, shreds of jerseys here, bits of pads there. The only thing that remained intact was the names of the players above each locker. He scanned them, taking in each one. He knew where the one he was looking for was, and he purposfully saved it for last.
At the far end of the room, in the middle of the back row was a plaque and a locker that been left untouched by the wrath that had torn through the rest of the room.
“Leeroy,” he whispered with a not in the back of his troat.
A breeze from outside gust down the hall and kicked up a piece of paper and lifted it into the air before setting it down on the broken table in front of him. He looked down. It was just a piece of paper with writing he recognized, it said two words:
He stood facing the door that read “Head Grunt” and reached out to touch it. His hand stopped short and he let it drop to his side. He knew that if he opened that door, the memories would not be abated. He looked again at the piece of paper in his other hand. He had picked it up in the locker room, reading it again he placed it in his pocket and grabbed the door knob.
A rush of air and dust flew into the room as he opened the door. Everything was as he left it years ago. The scouting report for the game, the playbook and the notes he had taken. His chair was turned so slightly, caught in the position it had been when he got up to take the field that night.
He stepped forward and touched the desk, running his hands over its wooden grain and stopping as they found the starting roster for the last game he coached. He picked it up and blew the dust off of it. He read the names to himself, coming to the end he stopped and could not bring himself to read the name.
“Iggy Max,” said a dimunitive voice from the door.
He dropped the paper to the desk at the sound voice and placed one hand on the desk to steady himself and the other his head as if to rub out the voice he had just heard. Turning slowly he looked at the doorway. The sight of what stood there dropped him to his knees.
“You, you…” he stammered “you are dead.”
The goblin took a step into the office and looked around, puffing his chest out a bit at the honor of just standing in such a place.
“Not yet,” said Iggy as he helped the coach to stand.
Hours had passed in what seemed like days. He sat in his chair again, behind his disk and Iggy sat on the end of hte desk facing him. They cried, laughed and talked through the memories. It was cathartic, painful and necessary.
“So now what,” asked Iggy.
He thought a moment, “Now…we set it right.”
Iggy jumped down and walked to the door. “I’ll get the lads, we will need assistant coaches. You start recruiting boss.”
He nodded and placed his hands in his pockets. His left hand grabbing the paper that was still there. He didn’t take it out, he knew what it said. He called to Iggy through the door.
“F’orc Average!” he yelled.
Iggy froze midstep. Placing his foot gently on the ground he looked over his shoulder and nodded.
“For Leeroy,” he whispered ot himself.