With apologies to Terry Pratchett.
I slammed down the empty beer glass, staring morosely at the suds sliding down its sides. “It’s no use,” I said aloud. “I love her, mate. For strewth.”
“Strewth,” echoed Davey, off to my side. “Trev, it can’t work, though. She’s in a whole other league, you know? She cheers for Dolly Sisters, an’ we’re born Dimwell fans. Hell, you know what they’d do to her if they saw someone like ‘er in our place, wearing those colors?”
“‘Course I do,” I snapped back at him. “But what am I supposed to do ’bout it? I love her, Davey. You don’t know what it’s like!”
Davey snorted, buried his face back in his own flagon. Hell, I couldn’t blame him. Up until a few days ago, I never would have thought there’d be something that could be more important than cheering on my team, than foot-the-ball.
But then, I saw her…
My eyes clouded over as the memory rose up like the ghost of the past beer, sweeping me off my feet and away on pink-scented clouds. I’d snuck into the maids’ quarters at ol’ UU, more for a lark than anything real. Maybe tease the girls, snatch a pair of drawers (although I still didn’t understand how I was supposed to carry off such a heavy item of furniture, ‘specially if it was full of something like spoons).
But I’d barely taken a few steps in when I saw her.
“She bloomed in front of me, like, like a vision,” I said aloud, trying to gesticulate and show the words I didn’t know how to say. “Dave, she was like that one painting, the one that all the people talk about as real pretty.”
“Still Life with Flowers and an Old Mop?”
I frowned. “Mebbe. But she was there, and I was ’bout to go talk to her, but then she had the scarf.”
That scarf. Damn that scarf, with the traditional Dolly Sisters colors of orange and off-white. I couldn’t even imagine being with one of ’em, daring to put on those colors.
But for that girl…
“D’you even know her name?” Davey slurred, frowning at me through his own mostly empty glass.
I shook my head. “Nah. But Glenda will tell me. I’ll figure it out.”
“An’ then what?”
I didn’t have an answer. I couldn’t be seen with someone on her side. Couldn’t give up my team like that.
But I had to see her.
“I’ll figure something out,” I declared, and felt a rush of strength from the words. If I could say them, they had to be true, right? And something would come to me. I pulled a tin can from my pocket, gave it a kick, sent it spinning round my foot once, twice, three times. “Otherwise, my name ain’t Trev Likely.”
Davey watched me march out the door, frowning. Love. Didn’t make no sense, he thought blearily. Not like foot-the-ball. And who’d give up their team for something as silly as love, no matter how many old mops came with it?