Amanda's Autographed Football

by rankamateur

Scarecrow and Mrs. King belong to Warner Bros. and Shoot The Moon Enterprises, Ltd.

"Sudden Death" was written by Tom Sawyer

"To a heck of a good reporter, best wishes, Sandy Newcomb" [Anyone ever write a fanfic to explain THAT to Dotty?] This tiny little story was engendered by that challenge on PAX's SaMK Forum.


"Amanda," Dotty called into the family room where her daughter sat, reading the newspaper.

"Yes, Mother?" Amanda put the paper down and turned to look over the back of the couch.

"What's this?" Dotty asked, holding a football in her hand.

"What's what, Mother?" Amanda volleyed back.

"This," Dotty responded, now holding the ball out in very plain view. "I found it on the floor of the closet. It's says *To a heck of a good reporter. Best Wishes. Sandy Newcombe*. So who is this Sandy Newcombe and who's a good reporter?"

"Well, ahh, I'm the reporter. Didn't I mention this to you? I mean how I got the football?"

"No, darling, you *didn't* mention it at all." Dotty set the ball down on the counter closest to where she was standing and folded her arms across her chest. "But I'd love to hear all about it."

"Well, umm," Amanda began hesitantly, " you know that in college my minor was Photo-Journalism and, well, I saw an ad for a part-time photo-journalist in one of those little throw-away papers in Alexandria..."

"Why were you reading a little Alexandria paper? We're in Arlington," Dotty observed.

"It was in the dentist's office last month. You remember, I had to go see that specialist and thank goodness, it turned out to be nothing and I didn't need to go back and......."

"Amanda, please....get to the point."

"OK. Well, anyway, I thought I'd try it so I went in and applied. You know, I thought I'd like to branch out a little from my Pet Walking and Plant Watering business. A little more income couldn't hurt around here......"

"It seems to me, Dotty interrupted, "that you got a barely passing grade in that class."

"Yeah, well, the professor didn't seem to like me for some reason. I mean I tried very hard but he just..... Anyway, I applied at the paper and I got the job. Well, not exactly *got the job*, I got a try-out. So my assignment was to go to this training camp, the Washington Pioneers football team and get a story and pictures."

"And that's where you met Mr. Newcombe?" Dotty interjected.

"Yes." Amanda nodded. "He's what they call a *strong safety*."

"Whatever." Dotty waved off this unsolicited technical description. "Is he single? Good looking? Nice?"

"I didn't ask if was single. He's, oh, average looking," Amanda almost choked on that one. "And he was nice enough - maybe a little arrogant, but I guess athletes have to have a lot of self-confidence in order to do what they do in front of crowds of people and........'

"Amanda, never mind. What happened with Sandy Newcombe?"

"Nothing happened, Mother. He, he was cut from the team and he went back to Canada."

"So, what happened with the job and where is the article? I'd love to read it. Did you get a by-line?" Dotty was no slouch at firing off questions and statements either.

"No, Mother, I didn't get a by-line. In fact they never published the story. It, ahh, he said, umm, the editor said it wasn't exactly what they wanted, what he wanted."

"Oh, I'm sorry sweetheart. I guess journalism is just not for you. What about the autographed football?" Dotty was not to be sidetracked from her initial question.

"The autograph, yes. Well, I let Mr. Newcombe read the article. The editor had wanted a comparison of Canadian and American football and so a lot of the story and pictures were about him. So, when he found out they weren't going to publish it, I guess he felt sorry for me and gave me the football. That's it."

"And he went back to Canada?"

"Yes, Mother."

"And you'll never see him again?"

"No, I'll never see Sandy Newcombe again."

"Too bad." Dotty sighed. Another missed opportunity in her daughter's life. 'Oh well,' she thought, 'there's still Dean.' "Amanda."

"Yes, Mother," Amanda groaned inwardly. She had thought this conversation was OVER.

"Even though the assignment was a disappointment, giving you the football was a nice gesture and I don't think it should be hidden away in a closet. Let's put it right here." Dotty picked up the ball and walked over the wrought iron baker's rack, which stood against the wall behind the couch in the family room. "There," she said with satisfaction. "It'll make an interesting conversation piece."

"That's fine with me, Mother. If that's where you want it."

"Yes, darling. That's where I want it."