Author's Note: The names of the students were taken from the credits of "Napoleon Dynamite". But, I don't know what they look like, so I made that up.
The day after try-outs Coach Rico posted the list of combatants for the tetherball tournament in the cafeteria. There were sixteen names including Napoleon, Pedro, Deb, Don, Summer, Trisha, and Randy. Every match of the competition was scheduled for a Saturday, giving the competitors a week to prepare. Coach Rico placed a pole to the gym so the players would feel comfortable; also, if anyone actually showed to watch.
Deb felt unsure of herself because she was on the bottom of the roster. Napoleon didn't want to see her down, so he practiced with her after school to help sharpen her skills; Pedro also gave her advice. Summer and Trisha trained together and made it a goal to beat the "losers". Don and Randy didn't do a thing to get ready for the event.
Before long the first round dawned. At 10:00am the sixteen tetherballers gather on the gym floor, in their P.E. clothes, around the pole in the center ring. On the bleachers sat a few students and others; Napoleon's Grandma and Pedro's cousins with the sweet hookups were among them. Coach Rico, wearing jeans and a T-shirt, walked to the middle of pack.
"Ok," he started, "here's the rules in case any of you forgot. Stay on your side of the pole. No hitting the string, the pole, or kicking the ball. No catching and throwing the ball at anytime or hitting it twice. Best two-out-of-three moves to the next round. Got it?" Each kid nodded. Then Rico flipped through some papers on his clipboard and announced, "First up, Napoleon and James."
The other combatants plopped on a bench near the spectators while Napoleon and James stepped to either side of the pole. James was as tall as Napoleon, but chunkier and with jet-black hair. Both were in the FFA, and they've worked together before, but now neither wanted to have the other lose. The two stared at each other for a moment, knowing only one could win. Coach Rico handed the ball to James, and he held it at eyelevel. They positioned themselves, and when Rico blew his whistle James smacked the sphere.
The ball swung over the metal post, and when it lowered Napoleon slapped it back to James. For a while they kept hitting the orb back and forth, until Napoleon sent it whirling so fast that James didn't attempt to save it. After the string completely wrapped around the pole Coach Rico ran to undo it and then gave the ball to Napoleon. He took hold and belted it downward, causing James to touch the string. Rico sounded the whistle and they stopped.
"First warning, two more and you're done James," yelled the coach.
Napoleon caught the ball and swatted it down again, and this time James knew better. He waited for a moment to strike as the sphere quickly orbited the pole. The string got shorter and shorter every second, but finally the husky boy sent it hurling in the opposite direction. Napoleon let the ball unwind a few times then nailed it with his fist. James wasn't fast enough, and soon they heard Rico's whistle.
"Game over; Napoleon wins!" The small crowd clapped while Deb and Pedro whooped. Napoleon and James shook hands before taking a seat. "Next up, Randy and Vern" the coach declared.
Napoleon sat between his girlfriend and his best friend, watching Randy as he clobbered another fellow FFA member. Deb grabbed Napoleon's hand and rested her head on his shoulder. "You did great," she whispered.
"Yeah, but it wasn't fair. I'm like infinity times better than James."
"He did his best.… I just hope your uncle doesn't put me with a guy."
"If he does he's a retard."
"I thought he already was a retard?"
"Oh, yeah. …Then he'll be an über retard, gosh!"
"Hey," Pedro cut in, "Randy is pretty good."
"He's just here to beat on people since he can't do it in the halls anymore -1."
"You're probably right." Just as Pedro said that the coach blew the whistle; Randy had won. Then he signaled for Deb and another girl, Lindsey, to face each other. "You'll do good Deb."
"Heck yes she will!" She smiled as she let go of his hand and walked to the pole. Suddenly the sweaty bully took her place. "Hey, you're in my woman's spot!"
"She's not here," Randy replied.
"What the flip are you doing here anyway?"
"Uh… I like tetherball."
"No really, I like tetherball."
"What! Since when?"
"Since… forever. But, there is one thing I like better than tetherball; that's beating the snot out of the opponents. Did you see how hard I hit Vern with the ball? That guy is going to have a bruise on the side of his face for a month!"
"Are you allowed to do that," asked Pedro.
"I didn't get disqualified, did I?"
"Go eat a decroded piece of crap Randy!"
"Make me Napoleon!"
Before the two could cut one another's throats they heard the whistle again, and Deb ran to Napoleon squealing with joy. Thus Randy moved to the far end of the bench, but Napoleon still glared at him often.
The first round of the tournament lasted about an hour and a half. After Deb defeated Lindsey, Summer Wheatley blasted a guy named Lance, a nerd who Randy use to torture for lunch money. Then Trisha clobbered Nathan, another weakling. Both Don and Pedro beat their opponents, moving them to the next round along with another guy named TJ. As everyone was leaving the gym Napoleon decided to say something to the coach that had lingered in his mind.
"What the flip are you doing," he started. "Why were Summer and Trisha put with boys who are worst then them?"
"That's just the way it turned out," Rico replied. "What's wrong with that?"
"You know their skill levels aren't high! What are you, a friggin' idiot?"
"Ok, you want to know the truth," the coach whispered, and Napoleon nodded. "They paid me money to place them with people they could easily beat."
"What! How much did they give you?"
"Five hundred big ones! You know I can't say no to mullah like that." Napoleon let out a big sigh. "Now, don't tell anyone about this, ok? And if you don't, I'll think about giving you five percent."
"Whatever, gosh!" Then Napoleon stomped to the bench and sat down, hunched over and with eyes closed.
"What's wrong," Pedro asked when he saw his best friend.
"It's my stupid Uncle Rico. He accepted a bribe from Summer and Trisha to make it easier for them to win the tournament. And, he also told me that he would give ME money if I kept my mouth shut."
"I cannot believe that they would do something like that. It's not fair. What should we do?"
"We won't tell anyone ok; not because I want the money, but because I don't want Deb to know."
"If we help her with her game, she won't have to worry. We have a week till the next round. We'll have to work together to stop them."
"Let's do it"……
A/N: I don't plan on continuing this story anytime soon because of school :-(. Thanks for reading, a really appreciate it!
-1 You won't get this line if you haven't read my other Napoleon fic; "Warriors"