That was a good session I thought as I put my boots in my bag. We couldn't lose this week! We couldn't let two lousy games in the past two weeks derail a relatively good season. I was the captain and there was no way I would allow us to lose, I'd pull the boys together. I looked around the empty field knowing that this was where it would all be decided.
All the other guys had already left, I always liked to do a little extra.
I was heading to the car when my phone rang. Raising the phone to my ear, I looked ahead to my blue BMW. Shit! I had left the headlights on.
"Hello?" I said.
"Hey Mike, it's Donny, it's happening right now, you need to come."
"What?" I exclaimed. "Ok umm," I looked at my car again. "Shit ok, I'm on my way. Are you taking her?"
"Yeah, we're already on our way."
"Ok, well I'll get there as soon as I can, thanks Donny." I hung up the phone and ran to the car, chucked my bag in the back and settled behind the wheel. Please start, please start I pleaded. I turned the ignition waiting for the rumble of the engine and instead heard nothing but the sound of panic in my ears. "Ahhgrhh son of a bitch!" I sat back and ran my fingers through my swept back blonde hair. The battery was flat as a tack. Sitting there for a minute I cursed the car, then realised my mistake and started cursing myself for being so stupid and careless. Dammit! Missing this would make losing the game seem like Christmas.
"Taxi," I said to myself. I jumped out of the car and made the call. Five minutes later the cab arrived at the oval. We set off for my home address. There was something I needed to get first.
The cliched indian driver glanced in his rearview and cracked a smile. "Hey I know you, you guys going to win this week Mister Stafford?"
"I sure hope so, and please, call me Mike."
"Ok Mister Mike, you know I really am hoping you win, I'm a big fan. This is a must win game."
"Tell me about it," I mumbled. Great, a fan who's probably about to embark on a thrilling lecture on what the team is doing wrong.
"I think you need to run the ball some more Mister Mike, you are so good when you do."
"I'll take that on board, and please, just Mike is fine."
"Ok mis.. Mike."
Thank God, we were turning into my street. We were a mere fifty metres away from my house when a dog ran out of some bushes onto the road. I knew whose it was too. It was the Turner's black lab, it was always getting out. It was about now that I wished I had called the pound one of those times.
"Oh shit!" Screamed my cabby and spun the wheel violently to avoid the dog. He missed it by inches but connected with a streetlight dead and centre. We were thrown forward in our seats, the cabby's head connecting solidly with the steering wheel. Dazed, I shook my head and leaned forward to check on the driver. His head was bleeding but not too badly. "Hey, are you ok?"
He looked at the shattered windscreen and the crumpled bonnet. "I think so, but my cab is in trouble."
"Here, let's get you out." I tumbled out of the back and walked around to open his door for him. We both surveyed the damage. "It doesn't look like we're going anywhere fast does it?" I said, eyeing the steaming radiator. "Look," I said to him, "heres the full fare, I'm sorry about our cab but at least you didn't hit the dog ey?"
"But Mister Mike, you must help me sort this out."
"Sorry pal, but I literally got to run." I turned away and ran towards my house ringing another taxi as I went.
Once inside, I hurried to our room and opened up a drawer to reaveal a blue baby's bonnet. I wanted our baby to have it. It was the same one I had worn when I was a baby. My father had put it on me, and perhaps because I respected him so much, I wanted to do the same thing for our child. I gently picked it up and padded back towards the front door, pausing in front of a picture of my wife. Sweet Jessica. She was pretty in that way where she could put anything on and look exactly the same, like a gorgeous brunette. Besides that, she was the kindest, most optimistic person I had ever met. I wanted so badly to be there with her, I hoped I wasn't too late already. I looked at the bonnet again. We had wanted as much information as we could kept secret, so I didn't even know if the baby would be a boy, but I was hoping. Jessica already had everything planned out. She wanted twin girls with blonde hair. Knowing how lucky she was with such things as raffles, lottery tickets, and poker machines, she would probably get exactly what she wished for. I preference was for a boy. I wasn't averse to having a girl, I just wasn't sure if I wanted to be fending off horny boys from the ages of fifteen to about twent-one.
I looked out the window and saw my new taxi waiting. I blew a kiss to the photo. "I'm coming baby."
This driver was also Indian. Come on, I thought, it's not exclusive is it? "Take me to the Hospital thanks," I said.
"Which one sir?"
Which one! I began to think that this was not a real taxi and I was about to get robbed.
"There's only one hospital," trying to keep my voice mild.
"Oh," he laughed, "I'm very sorry sir, it's my first day on the job."
Really, was the guy who hired you also having his first day? I thought.
"Ok how about you take me to the nearest Hospital then?"
I was starting to think my bad luck for the day had ended, finally, when I felt a bump, heard a hissing noise, and saw eveything going past the window slow down and eventually stop. Fuck, what now? "What's going on?"
"Terribly sorry sir, but we seem to have a flat tire."
"Oh for fuck sakes, you're kidding me!"
We both got out of the car and examined the back right wheel. A nail was embedded in it and the tire was as flat as my bmw's battery.
"I sorry sir but you may have to call another cab."
I got my wallet out and handed him a ten. "Heres for how far you've taken me, but I think i'm done with taxi's for the day."
It was a few kilometres to the hospital, but I decided to run. I set off thinking if I tore a muscle now the coach would kill me, but it was for family after all. My mind was set slightly at ease knowing my wife was in the capable hands of Donny Vance, our next door neighbour. A semi-retired, glasses wearing, banker, he was always happy to help out.
I was pounding the pavement in a quick regular rhythm when I felt a twinge in my hamstring. Wonderful, this day get's better and better. I slowed to a walk then stopped to catch my breath, putting my hands on my knees. If I was too late and Jessica had already given birth, I swear I was going murder something. Raisng back up to full height I was delighted to see I was right across the road from my destination, I'd made it without even realising it. I smiled and raised my eyes to the sky. "God, I know you've challenged me today and it sort of seems like something is working against me, but could you do me one small favour and stop that baby coming before I get in there?"
Sore hamstring be damned, I wanted to finish my run and my journey in victory. I sprung forward again. I was more or less halfway across the road when I remembered the old rule of looking left and right. I heard a woman scream and had suspicions that something might be wrong. I looked left, in her direction. The bus hit me from the right.
I woke up staring at white which I took as a bad sign but then I heard crying. I looked around to see my beautiful wife holding a baby in her arms. I struggled to sit up as she came forward.
"Hey!" I grinned. "Oh my God, is this ours, she's beautiful honey." I looked up to Jessica and saw that she was both smiling and crying.
"Mike," she sobbed, "I'm so glad you're ok, I love you so much, but there's something I need to tell you."
"What it is it, what's wrong Jess?"
"The accident, your leg, they said you'll never play again."
I smiled up at her again. "It doesn't matter."
"But it's your life, it's your income."
I lifted my daughter up in my arms. "This my life now, our life." Jess wiped her eyes and leaned down to kiss me. "One of them," she said.
"What do you mean?"
She laughed. "Your son is down the hall, asleep."
"My son," I murmured. I suddenly became alarmed. "The bonnet."
"It looks perfect on him."
I sat back, relaxed again, and looked into the little angel's eyes. "Twins?" I said. Jess nodded and kissed me again, smiling from ear to ear. "Twins."