Fiction Suspense Teens & Young Adult

The Game Became Serious

They were two teenage Canadian boys who had moved into the deep south of Oklahoma in order for their father to get a new job that paid way more than the work he did previously. It was difficult for the boys to fit in, as their way of speaking was different from that of the locals, and they were big fans of hockey, and no other sport. There was no one they could talk to about their favourite sport.

           Concerning the latter, they had taken apart two hockey nets so that they could bring them to their new home, along with their hockey sticks. This was done so they could play a little road hockey on the street on which they lived, like they had done for years back home. They spent a lot of time playing one against one, not really keeping score. As the last point makes evident, these were not very serious games. They were just for fun.  Neither one would body check their brother, and there was an unspoken rule that they wouldn’t raise the rubber balls they used as pucks to a height that could be potentially harmful to the one trying to stop the shot.

           It wasn’t long before they attracted the attention of neighbouring kids, both the very young and teenagers, mostly males, but a few females as well. They had never seen anyone play road hockey before, most of them had never even seen anyone play hockey on ice before either.

After the boys ‘games’ became well-known in the neighbourhood, it  wasn’t unusual for them to have an audience of about 10 people for their Saturday afternoon games. The brothers were evenly matched, neither one being particularly better than the other. This made their games more interesting for their small audience, as neither one of the brothers consistently won. Both boys were cheered evenly. Neither boy was a particular favourite of their ‘fans’.   

           Among their audience were a pair of brothers who wanted the Canadian boys to put more serious competition to their sport. They were well-known in the neighbourhood as trouble makers, which is putting it mildly. They had noticed that both of the Canadian brothers would periodically give an interested glance at one of their female fans. This led them to their plan of upping the competition level of the road hockey games.

           Sam was the more aggressive of the two trouble makers. One day, while walking to high school, he approached one of the brothers, Frank, and said that Clara, the girl in question, was interested in hockey, and had said to him that she was also very interested in them. Apparently, she had told him that she would go out on a date with the brother who was the better hockey player.  Frank had responded to this comment with a big smile. He was interested in her, but hadn’t had the nerve to ask her out.  He would up his game from now on.

           Later that same day, when Sam saw the other brother, Ralph, in a variety store, purchasing a few chocolate bars for himself and his brother, he went up to Ralph and told him the same false story about the girl being interested in the better of the two brothers in playing road hockey. Ralph, like Frank, bought the lie he had been told, as he too was interested in Clara. He was going to try hard to win the next game, no matter what it would take. 

           That Saturday the ‘fans’ saw the usual beginning of the game, with the two brothers tapping each other’s stick with theirs. But it wasn’t long before the game became more serious than the earlier ones had ever been.  They could see that initially in the number of slapshots  that flew from both sticks. This was something that had barely ever happened when the two brothers had played before. Usually they just flicked the ball towards each other’s net. There was a definite grimace, followed by a very dirty look when Ralph got hit in the head with a fast flying ball. The ball had been in a shallow pool of water and mud beside the curb, and it splattered on the side of Ralph’s head. Within less than a minute, Ralph made a serious effort to return the favour, not aiming at the net at all. His brother had become his target.

This was just the first of the changes. Body checks followed, with an ever increasingly frequency, and physicality. If the local fans had ever watched a professional game of hockey, they would recognize the warning signs of two hockey players who had made each other angry dropping their sticks, and their gloves (had they been wearing any), and starting to fight. That moment was fast approaching.

Clara Speaks Up

In a quiet, motionless moment, with both boys wondering what they should do next to impress the fair lady, she walked up close to them and spoke up. “What’s wrong with you guys today? It used to be fun watching you guys play. But now you are playing a dirtier and nastier version of your game. Why is that?”

Frank spoke up, “I was told that you would be interested in the one of us that was the better hockey player. I now believe that my brother was presented with the same lie as I was.

Ralph walked towards, then stood beside his brother and nodded his head rather vigorously in agreement.

The Clara spoke up again, “Who told you that nonsense? I never said any such thing to anybody. Somebody is out to trick you!” The two brothers looked in the direction of the one that had told both of them about her possible interest . There was silence in the air.

Then Clara declared, “I should have known that it was you, Sam. It is typical of your kind of cheap tricks.”

The brothers put down their sticks and took steps towards Sam, who turned and ran away at full speed.

The Clara approached them and said, “My sister has heard me talk about you guys and your hockey, and she has become interested. To answer the question you are about to ask, she works on Saturday afternoons. What do you think about the four of us going out for dinner tonight?”

It would not be long before something else would become serious.

April 15, 2024 19:34

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Melissa Matury
15:43 Apr 25, 2024

It felt like reading a modern fairy tale. I was relieved that Clara helped the boys figure out their classmate's devious plot. The relationship between the brothers was sweet and you built tension that suggested they might not recover from the lie. Nice that it all worked out!


John Steckley
18:40 Apr 25, 2024

Thanks for your positive comments. I am a big fan of happy endings.


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Trudy Jas
17:09 Apr 16, 2024

Lovely story. Good for Clara to speak up.


John Steckley
18:49 Apr 16, 2024

Thanks for your comments. I am glad you liked it.


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