Desperate, desperate times. Not only because I’ve needed to go pee for several days now, but also because lack of food is making my mind foggy and my body weak. Oh Nuffle, please no, is he coming back? It certainly sounds like his heavy footsteps. You know who I mean, the one they call “Lumberjack”, the guy with the Chrysolite stone, the biggest badest bully ever to terrorise a changing room. Damn, if only he could let it out on the pitch instead… yep… its him… I can here the start of the song now. I hug my knees and hold my breath. If I’m super super quiet, he might think I slipped out of the cupboard in the night.
The door is yanked open, it swings on its one remaining hinge. Cringing, I look up, squinting my eyes in case of a preemptive blow to the head, and see… wait… “oh its you Betty. Thank Nuffle!”
“I brung ya sum nodge. Ain’t much but…”
She sticks out her thick arm, her huge mitt grasping a greasy plate. A few morsels of… to be honest I don’t know what, lie atop it. I reach for it hungrily.
“Thanks Betz. If it weren’t for you… I don’t know how I would have…”
“Why you dontz juz legzitt? Hrumph. And me? Why we iz stikin ere? Dunno. Stinks.”
I can see Betty has been taking some blows to the head herself of late. It’s not been a friendly vibe here at the Revelation pub. Everyone blaming everybody else for anything and everything. Our first league defeat against The Underworld Undesirables and it was very very bad. Very bad indeed. But three of us came out worse than all the others. Obviously there’s no surprise that I had to take a beating. I mean, I probably would have gotten one even if we’d won, but Sunday night? Ouch. My body aches in places that I didn’t know I had. From my teeth to my toenails. Before the match there was… so much hype. So much celebration. Rorcs fans climbing on wagon stops, tearing up pubs and beating up anyone who looks even remotely like an “elfswodge”. The kind of behaviour that turns my stomach. Did I help to create this… this… thuggery? Well, I definitely had a hand in what followed. If you believe Chris that is. The only thing worse than a celebrating Rorcs fan… or a celebrating Rorc for that matter, is dealing with one after a crushing defeat.
“Ugh?” Betty’s massive head swings round…
“Oh no Betz, its….”
A massive green elbow hurtles into view, connecting with the side of Betty’s face. Her expression flashes from confusion to shock, then crumples into pain as two mountainous black orc bodies crumple to the ground as one, completely filling the narrow corridor that runs from the bar room to the cupboard.
Then something quite bizarre happens, Chris’ massive bulk, that moments ago was piled atop Betty, is suddenly standing again.
He leers over her, wiping a thick gungey drool from his jaw. Then almost as if in slow motion, he turns his massive head to peer in to the cupboard, and as he does, he grumbles out the words of that infernal song…
“Wake up in da mornin, wontin a fumpin? I gotz a block dattle make you whine…
“Please Chris, don’t…”
I cower beneath him.
Betty tries to push herself up. Chris’ massive boot comes down on her back.
“Dats ryte. Da Lumberjack is takkin control ere. I iz da only bob hoo can. Pile drivin, jumpin up Chris. Ha! You finks I don’t do da trainin humie? Looks wot i got now.”
Again he launches his whole body into the air and crashes down atop Betty. I see the lights in her eyes glaze over, my mind spins. Is it pity for Betty, who has kept me alive these last few days? Or is it the terrifying knowledge that the same move done to me would mark my grisly end. But then, suddenly, he’s back on his feet again. As if he never left them.
“Ya see. I iz jumping up now. They ain’t keepin me owt da fight again.”
“That’s great Chris. You’ll have a much better game next time with that move.”
“Shuts it wingebag. I wudda had a great game genst them Underblob muties as well, But YOU! You tells us ta stall!?! We cudda got da score, but you smudged itz blubbanuttin scunge dariggle glut bubba. Aaarrrrgggh!”
I can see that he hasn’t gotten over it then.
“And this wun? Knocked darn two bleedin times fra da strength 1 Goblin!?!”
He kicks her hard.
He kicks her again.
He thumps one massive fist into his palm.
“Remember. Last name you gonna ever hear”.
I’ve gotta do something. I scramble to my feet, knocking over the pile of drawers stacked up in the corner of the cupboard. The top one slides off the pile and crashes into Betty’s head. In the back of my mind I register, I think that was the drawer against the Sackville Elevenses… anyway, I’m on my feet, my nose reaching up to his green nipple…”
“Chris, please, that goblin has dauntless, and anyway, Terry got knocked down by him just as much as Betty did last game.”
I hear a grunt from the other end of the corridor, vaguely registering a slumped over, guilty looking and badly beaten black orc in the doorway. Poor Terry. He’s also had it bad. But at least he knows how to self medicate, green smoke curling up from a long brown reefer between his thick fingers.
“Ee ain’t gettin off soft neeva. BUT IT’S DONE. I az decided. Even Simon az agreed it so none a dat yappin’. Betty is out. OFF DA TEAM! You ere dat?”
He kicks her again, but I’m pretty sure she’s out cold because she doesn’t register anything.
“Me and Sam finks we shudd chuck Terry too, AND YOU. Stoopid humie wingeblub! BUT. Da league says only wun transfer. So Terry stays. And we needz you ta roll da dice innit.”
My mind is spinning, my heart is thumping, are they breaking up the team after only one defeat? Are they mad? We did so well in the play pool. Even coming second. Undefeated. Surely he didn’t blame Betty for one defeat!?!
“What… transfer!?! What are you talking about!?!”
“I az been abowt da pubs. I az been drinkin wiv sum old boys. We don’t wantz no Bettys or Beryls no more. We iz havin da sausage party.”
“What are you talking about, Sausage party?”
“Orick Ross. Eezan old boy. Ee was playin for da sausage party, but they is all retired and he wunts ta get back in it. So eez gonna be a Rorc now.”
“But Chris, Betty has…”
A howling sound in my ears. My vision splits into primary colours and i slump to the floor of the cupboard. Landing splat in my own filth.
“I AZ SPOKEN”
And with that he’s gone.
The light of the midnight moon picks out a few hulking shapes, dragging a cart down the dirt road.
“Thanks Sid, thanks Chaz. Please take her somewhere safe.”
“Dunno about safe, coach, but we takes her away frum ‘im at least”
And with that, they’re gone. Dragging away the cart that bears the moaning, beaten Betty. My best friend on the team. My lifeline. Poor Betty…