I want to see two people in a very serious and deep discussion about Mayor McCheese. That would make me smile.
Chapter Four - Before the Big Game
Practice had continued the same way the rest of the week. Five hours of tomfoolery, shenanigans, utter chaos and the complete lack of wanting to learn anything new.
Crackery was close to walking out, ending his deal, putting up with whatever legal punishment Mayor McCheese would bring upon him.
It was the dream, though, that kept him from completely losing it.
And the players were getting a little better.
Or possibly even worse.
Crackery couldn't tell anymore.
Every day, after their practice and their time in class, forced to read stuff and watch old game footage, Crackery always told to his team, "Go forth, my team, and become the dream!"
The players had no idea why he said it or what it even meant, but every so often they would spot the tears forming in the corners of their coach's eyes.
Those tears touched the players. That salty wetness was what kept them going, kept them trying the best they could, to never give up.
And yet, nobody really knew why those tears mattered, nobody really touched emotionally by them.
In truth, they thought it was kind of creepy.
"Words not even..." Peppi searched for what he wanted to say, the Italian man with the thick eyebrows and five o'clock shadow staring off into space.
Most of the players ignored him, the group walking into the expensive hotel they lived in.
"Like-uh, not even rigatoni!" Peppi said, proud of himself for conveying his thoughts.
Mister Bean nodded, stopping quickly and scrunching his face up, completely baffled by what was said.
"I get it, man," Bacon smiled. "It's deep, ya know? Like, he's talking about his dreams. Like, when he was younger and played. And now, he's passing those dreams he couldn't fulfill to us."
Mamou was not amused. "His dreams which he failed to live, you mean those dreams? The dreams of a failure?"
Bacon's smile faded.
"If anyone should understand failed dreams, it's you, Mamou," Lupin smirked.
"The man has no pride," Kana said in Japanese.
Goemon nodded in agreement.
The seriousness of the Japanese words seemed to kill the conversation, everyone quiet as they waited for the elevator.
The group too large to go all at once, they split off into groups, everyone reaching their rooms at different times.
Most of the players changed into more formal clothes and headed out for the night, either going to dinner with friends, going on dates or going to various clubs.
"So, where do you want to go," Twonk asked his sister as she sat on her bed and hugged her pillow.
She stared at the bed in sadness and shrugged.
"What's wrong with you," Twonk said with a laugh, playfully shoving her over on the bed. "Come on, the guys are waiting for us."
"You can go," she said as she curled up into a ball.
"Are you two ready," Trevor asked as he popped his head into the room.
"You guys go ahead," Twonk told him. "We'll catch up with you later."
Trevor gave a look of slight concern as he stared at Kyashii. He then looked at Twonk and left.
"I shouldn't have come," Kyashii moped.
"Aw, come on, Kay. This is fun."
"Fun for you, maybe." She pouted and sat up, continuing to hug her pillow.
"I thought you were enjoying all of this."
Kyashii shrugged. "I pretend to, mostly."
Twonk smiled and plopped onto his back on the bed.
Kyashii looked back at him and sighed. "I just feel out of place. I can't even dress in the same room with you guys. I hate sitting out in the hall."
"Mayor McCheese said you'd have your own room, soon."
"And what about when we travel," Kyashii said in a raised voice. "I'll still be stuck in the hall."
"Well, it'd just be wrong if you were there with us, changing and everything."
"But, I've been naked around you before,"
"We were little kids..."
"And I've been naked around Snidne and he doesn't care."
"Oh my god, Kay, just stop, please," Twonk begged, now unable to get the visual out of his head.
"So, why would it be weird now?"
"Maybe you wouldn't care changing and showering around the others, but I'm sure most of them would care."
"But why?" she whined. "Guys like naked women, don't they?"
Twonk rolled his eyes. "Yeah, to screw. Seeing a teammate who they see as a friend naked... that's just really uncomfortable to even think about."
Kyashii's head fell forward as she let out a loud sigh.
Twonk looked over at her and grinned. "If you want, I can stay out in the hall with you."
"Really?" she gasped.
He shrugged. "Sure. I'm not showering with you, though."
"Aww," she said, disappointed.
Practice continued for the rest of that week, the players getting less and less tired by the end of it, the hours in the gym helping build up their muscles.
After the players had left the locker room and while some were still soaking in the hot tub, Twonk joined his sister in the locker room to change.
While she opted for the shower, he passed, making sure to keep his back turned to her. He suffered being stinky, but it wouldn't be long until she'd have her own dressing room.
"Team," Crackery said, gathering the players around on their last day of practice before the preseason was to start. "Today we will have a competitive little game. Just twenty minutes, using everything you know. Play to your potential. Do your best. This game will help me choose the right players."
The players nodded and were broken into teams.
There was no face-off and no referee. When Crackery blew the whistle play started.
He watched closely from the bench as the players handled the puck. He gasped at the dekes, felt every check and celebrated every goal.
At the end of twenty minutes he blew his whistle and the players skated towards the bench, most of them breathing heavily.
"That was a good game. I'm impressed."
"So, coach, you think we're ready?" Bacon asked excitedly, glad to be back playing the game.
The players were proud of themselves.
"Tomorrow we play our first preseason game." Crackery stared with much seriousness at his players. "We play the San Jose Sharks. They are a very tough team and like to score. Graham, you'll be starting."
The players all congratulated him.
"Zak and Goemon, I like the way you guys play. You'll be the two alternates. Keep it up and you'll keep that title throughout the season."
Zak and Goemon were congratulated. Zak was excited about this. Goemon just smiled and kept his mouth shut. He didn't want Zak to act like an idiot in front of the whole team and the coach.
Well, more of an idiot.
"Go, shower and change," Crackery told the players. "The plane leaves tonight and I want none of you to miss it."
The players left the ice and headed back to the locker room.
"Have fun," Crackery had told his team before their game with the Sharks. "Remember, these games are just for conditioning. Try to connect with your teammates on the ice with you. Don't worry about the score or winning. This will be just an advanced form of practice."
"So, then what do I do?" Twonk wondered.
"You, you have to play the best you can. You can't afford to have fun."
Twonk rolled his eyes as the other laughed at him.
"Any more questions," Crackery asked.
There were none, so he and the players headed towards the rink.
By the end of the game they were all battered and tired. And even though they lost eleven to one, they all had fun. Even Twonk, who actually let in some goals, not even wanting to try at some points.
Crackery didn't care, though. He saw his advice wasn't quite the best for his goalie, the defense not giving much effort to stop the other team.
And even when the other fans and the press laughed at them, they just shrugged it all off.
Three days later they were off to Dallas for their next game.
They lost six to nothing.
To them that was a great game, as they kept the other teams score below ten.
Their next two games were at home, playing before a sold out crowd.
Their first, against the New York Rangers, was lost nine to one.
They lost the second and final preseason game ten to one to the Ottawa Senators.
Kyashii had been put in goal for that game and, seeing and hearing the fans, she knew that she belonged there.
"First game tomorrow night," Trevor said happily, his words followed by yells of "yeah" and "whoo" by a few of the players.
They had all convened to the locker room, there to pack up their gear for the nights flight to Chicago.
Lupin, Jigen and Goemon had lockers next to each other, the three pausing as they became involved in some stupid conversation about odd ice cream flavors.
Zenigata had a locker away from them. He was busy meticulously gathering his things while telling Man Fujiko some random story about Lupin.
Man Fujiko sat down and scribbled down some notes quickly in his binder of secret things.
Bacon sat next to Afro Midget, Bacon doing all the talking, often pausing as he and Midget laughed at what he said.
Mamou glared at Rodent and Kaneto as the two glared at each other. Oh how he hated them. His eyes then glanced over at Mister Bean, who had somehow gotten one of his skates caught in the metal hanger he used for his jacket.
He watched for a few seconds, Mister Bean pulling and prying and scowling at the two objects, muttering unkind words under his breath as the two objects did not wish to be apart.
Odd emotions hit his shriveled heart and he stood, grabbing the skate and hanger from Mister Bean's hands and easily wrenching them apart, handing the individual items back to the man.
Mister Bean stared in amazement, mouthing "thank you" and nodding as Mamou walked off.
"Spinach souffle," Lupin said.
"Shut up," Jigen answered in annoyance.
"What," Lupin whined, his sure smile fading.
"You just made that up. There's no such thing as spinach souffle ice cream."
"Oh, and moose kidney ice cream is real?"
"My uncle makes it," Jigen answered with a serious face, as if everyone knew such flavor existed.
Goemon knew he had the winner with squid brain and octopus heart ice cream, but the last time he said a flavor everyone had to listen to Zak freaking out over ghosts.
He eyed Zak, who sat with Nick and Aaron as a camera crew was filming the three talking about their hockey experience so far.
Zak tried to talk and joke around with some of the others, but they only eyed him in annoyance and ignored him, finishing up and leaving.
Zak just laughed at this and continued on about the arena being haunted and wanting to find out who the ghost is and why they are there.
Nick and Aaron just went along with it.
The camera crew finished up, getting what they needed to finish up the segment. They said their goodbyes and told the three they'd see them in Chicago.
The team walked to their own private terminal to get on their own private jet.
Their mode of transportation was just like any large commercial plane, but it was modified to be more luxurious.
Mayor McCheese often used it for his company meetings or when he had to fly in large groups of investors.
Now it was specifically meant for his new team.
They all piled in, men taking their luggage and putting it is the luggage compartment for them.
"Wow, look at this place," Carl said.
"This aisle is wider than my flat," Trevor said, once again sad at his predicament in life, but then happy again as he knew he'd soon be able to afford a larger place.
Conversation soon filled the plane, the talking continuing over the pilot as he announced that they would be leaving soon.
Mamou eyed Mister Bean as he struggled, somehow getting one end of the seat belt caught in his shoelace.
Mamou sighed and once again got up and helped him get out of the mess.
Mister Bean watched carefully as Mamou ripped the shoelace from the seatbelt clasp. He opened his eyes big and smiled, giving Mamou a thumbs up as he uttered odd sounds of approval.
Mamou stared at Mister Bean before returning to his seat.
Hours had passed, the pilot announcing that they'd be in Chicago in less than an hour.
By that time most of the players were fast asleep, catching up on it as exhaustion took over.
The large television on the wall between their section and the cockpit had been on for most of the flight. The majority of the players still awake ignored it, the sound on it off, but some sat staring blankly at it.
"Hey, they're talking about us," Bacon said as he motioned towards the TV. "Turn it up."
Trevor was the closest to the remote and did so, the TV having been on ESPN for the whole flight.
"... wish him good luck with this bunch," one of the men, a thin balding man named Eric said as he looked to the man sitting next to him.
"A lot of luck," the man laughed. His name was Brent and he was of normal weight and had a full head of thick hair and thick mustache.
"To start with," Eric said, the camera pulling over as a picture of Zenigata showed on his right, "their captain is a washed up policeman."
"Hey," Lupin said as he glared at the screen. He was kind of glad Zenigata was asleep and didn't have to hear that.
The picture of Zenigata was replaced with two smaller pictures, one of Zak and one of Goemon.
"And their alternates," Eric continued, "are a criminal and some guy who chases ghosts."
"A criminal who their captain failed to arrest," Brent laughed.
"Yeah, I wonder how they're gonna get along," Eric laughed.
"And compared to even the worst team in the league, their numbers are embarrassing," Brent said, as if he were insulted by this.
"We haven't even played a real game, yet," Nick yelled at the screen.
Eric laughed. "Their winless pre-season record was enough to show the world what a mockery this team is to the league."
"Yeah, that ten to one loss they suffered last week, I didn't know whether to laugh or feel sorry for them," Brent laughed.
Allen wrote their names down in his "To Destroy" list.
Mamou made a mental note to erase them from existence.
"And their goalies," Eric scoffed. "I'm not questioning the owners judgement, but what was he thinking?"
Footage of Twonk and Kyashii struggling to stop simple shots during their pre-season games was shown as the men talked.
"A blind man could have stopped some of those shots," Brent said.
"A dead man could have stopped them," Eric chuckled.
Footage of the various players playing poorly was shown.
"This team of thieves, failures, freaks and paranormal investigators has no place in the league and I'm ashamed of the commissioner for even allowing this travesty to take place," Brent said in anger.
The screen went back to showing the two men, neither happy looking.
"For more on this embarrassment, we go to Jill in Chicago, Steve in Sacramento and Gill in New York," Eric said. "Let's start with Steve first. Steve?"
"Hey, Eric and Brent," Steve said as he stood outside of the box office at the The Stadium in Sacramento. "I'm here outside of The Stadium and as you can see we have a lot of new fans lining up to purchase tickets for their first home game next week, where the Swamp Rats will take on the Edmonton Oilers."
He looked back at the line of people, who all cheered as they showed their Swamp Rats jerseys, shirts and hats with pride.
"Hey, Steve?" Brent said. "What are the peoples opinions of this team? Of the players? Did you find anyone upset over the make up of this team?"
"Well, earlier, I talked to a group of unhappy Sharks fans," Steve laughed. "It seems with the new season upon us, there's already a rivalry brewing up between these two teams."
"The Sharks suck," a fan yelled, the people around him yelling and clapping.
Steve looked back and laughed. "As for the players, Brent, a lot of the fans are supportive of them, thinking this will bring something new to the game."
"Those guys," Bacon said as he pointed to the crowd. "Those are the people we're playing for. They're the ones who matter, guys. Not these other jerks."
"Yeah," Trevor agreed. "Those others can fuck off."
The players agreed and spoke amongst themselves while Eric and Brent talked. When it got to Jill and what she had to say, they all went back to paying attention.
She looked over her shoulder and laughed as the fans gathered behind her screamed and yelled in support of the Blackhawks.
"Yes, Eric, I'm having a hard time hearing you with all this noise," she said as she held her hand to her earpiece. "I couldn't hear your question, but let me just say that these fans are ready for the season to start."
She laughed again as the crowd shouted loudly again, a chant of "Blackhawks!" beginning.
Unhappy they were unable to get others to share their opinion, Brent and Eric cut her off and began putting the Swamp Rats down once again.
"I wonder if I could get an interview with her," Lupin grinned stupidly.
Jigen rolled his eyes.
"Let's see what this douche has to say," Twonk muttered as Gill came on the screen.
"... hung around outside the stadium after the Rangers first game, which ended in an embarrassing loss, and talked to some of the fans leaving to get their opinion. This is what they had to say."
"Pathetic," a man scowled as he continued walking.
"It's sad that, like, someone has to, like, do that stuff for, like, you know, attention," a teenage girl wearing a Rangers cap said.
"I need to know who she is," Mamou growled, the girl now second to Lupin on his list of people to kill.
"The who?" another fan asked with a laugh.
"Go Rangers," a group of young women shouted.
"If they don't quit after their first game I'll be shocked," a young man in a Rangers jersey said.
"You guys had enough of this?" Trevor asked, the players saying they did and Trevor turning the TV off.
"I don't think we have anything to worry about," Lupin said as he leaned back and crossed his arms behind his head. "Coach Crackery seems to know what he's doing. And since we treated all the pre-season games like practice games, everyone is underestimating us, just like he said they would."
"And when we really start to play, we'll kill the competition," Bacon smirked.
"Exactly," Lupin smiled.
So I don't keep on using the characters I'm most familiar with, I am going to assign them all numbers and then use a random number picker to decide who will be in each chapter. Some of these characters I forget are even in this thing. xP
I'm also thinking of doing the same thing with the tone of each chapter, whether it be serious or funny or whatever.
What happened in each game will be in the chapters, which will include characters not picked with the numbers, but the ones chosen will have large roles beyond all the game stuff, like pre and post game interviews, stuff that happens during practice, after the games, on days off and so on.
Hopefully that way I, and the readers, won't get too bored with this. xD