Quick Fiction
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Quick Fiction

Woo Pig Sooie

The following series is satire. Mostly. Although it contains things from the world in which we live, it should be read as a work of fiction. All characters are fictional and not based on any actual living person. The events that take place in this story are entirely the product of my imagination.

Cletus Johnson and Darrel Wilson were Razorback fans. Big time. They loved ’em some Hogs. They’d been Hog fans ever since they could remember. Because that’s what you did in Arkansas; you were a Hog fan. Just like a lawyer wears a tie in court, or a baseball player wears a baseball cap on a baseball field, or you can smell a road-killed skunk for miles up or down the road, if you lived in the state of Arkansas, you were a Razorback fan. You'd better be, damnit.

Darrel’s mom had pictures of him in a number 16 Razorback football jersey (Quarterback Brad Taylor) as early as when he was three years old in 1982. Darrel loved the picture. Brad Taylor was a good, solid, gritty quarterback under Lou Holtz, and he could not only throw the ball a mile and run for yardage if needed, but he had been the starting punter at times during his career and averaged well over 40 yards a kick. A real athlete. A hard-nosed player. The kind of person and player that didn’t really exist anymore, actually. A guy from Danville, a little town (pop. 2,400) south of Russellville that not many people — even inside Arkansas — had heard of.

Come to think of it, you never heard of that anymore; a kid from such a little town starting at the Division 1 level. But Taylor had done it and been good. He was Darrel Wilson’s all-time favorite Razorback. A tough as nails QB who’d gone back home after he graduated, bought a farm, and worked that thing. For a living. Hell yeah. Darrel liked that.

Cletus himself had actually played for the Hogs. Well, he had practiced anyway. For three three days during spring practice. Before getting hit by a Division 1 strong safety on a crossing route for the first time. It had been a rather short “career.”

But Cletus had milked those three spring practices for all they were worth, refining the story over the years and turning himself into a “walk-on” if the situation allowed for it. He just hoped when he told it there weren’t too many follow up questions. Since it had been so long ago, there usually weren’t. It wasn’t a strange thing after all to run into former Razorback athletes in Arkansas. The majority of any roster came from the state and stayed in the state after they were done playing. This permitted Cletus a certain latitude when telling about his “playing days.” All three of them. And in their little two-man friendship, the fact that Cletus had worn a Razorback uniform — albeit a practice jersey — gave Cletus the upper hand on Darrel on all things “Arkansas Razorback;” he knew something about everything. At least according to him. Certainly, he knew more than Darrel Wilson did, or so he thought.

They made the obligatory shuffle through the cattle pens that made up the lower bleachers of Razorback Stadium, down to their two seats, turning sideways left and right, trying not to step on anyone else’s feet, trip, or run into someone as everyone else did the same. At last, they popped out of the tunnel into their section. “What the hell is goin’ on down there!?!?” Darrel yelled when he looked down toward the north end zone to see the stadium expansion construction mess. “What’re they doin?!?!”

“You don’t know about the expansion?” Cletus responded incredulously. “Hell yeah, brother. They’re finally closin’ it in down there! Gonna add another 5,000 seats and a buncha lugshree boxes! I tell ya what! When they git it done, we gone have the six biggis stadium in the SEC,” offered Cletus. “Gonna seat 76,000 crazy-ass Hog fans!” he noted, with much pride.

Darrel just sat and gaped for a few minutes. “Why do we need another 5,000 seats and a buncha new boxes for rich people?” Cletus jerked his focus over toward Darrel with an annoyed eye. “What’re you talkin’ bout? I seen the plans on the website. It’s gonna look real good. We need a bigger stadium so we can compete in recruitin’ with Alabama and them!” “Them” meaning LSU, Auburn, Texas A&M, Georgia, and the other nine teams in the Southeastern Conference.

Darrel himself wasn’t so certain that recruiting was the reason for the skeletal monstrosity of steel and concrete he now saw where the Broyles Complex had stood since 1975. Yeah sure, the facility had been showing its age for about two decades now. But it had been there since he was a little kid. There was something reliable and comforting about it; maybe the fact that it was the last existing vestige in the stadium connecting everything back to the past. When things had been better. Now the place was just going to look like any other football stadium that had been added onto for the upteenth time; upper decks rigged questionably onto lower seating, disjointed corners that really didn’t work, end zones that didn’t resemble the other one. The opposite of smooth, normal or planned out; haphazard. Rushed. As if trying hard to keep up with something ephemeral and undefined.

There had been a time long ago now where both end zones had been essentially open, so one could see for miles and miles to the south, out to the beautiful Boston Mountains south of Fayetteville. And to the north, one could see up the hill to Reid Hall, the highest point on campus. But the view to the south had been blocked in the last expansion in 2001, when the south end zone had been enclosed, creating a few thousand seats down low for fans like Cletus and Darrel, but paving the way for thousands more indoor, glass-enclosed plush, cushioned seats above for the haves, of which Cletus and Darrel definitely were not. The haves now sat up there behind their closed, one-way glass, out of sight, if not mind, like another class of citizens, in air-conditioned comfort during hot, early-season games and heated bliss in late-season games, while the have-nots like Cletus and Darrel loyally burned up or froze — depending on the time of year — on metal bleacher seats that weren’t really seats at all, but which amounted to about fifteen inches of space on hard metal barely enough to squeeze a normal sized butt into. For an additional fee above what you had already paid for your ticket, the money-eating Great White Shark that was the Arkansas athletic department would have one of their minions set up a fold-out “chair” on top of your 15 inches of metal with a few thin inches of “cushion.” This was nothing like sitting in the lofty perches of the glassed-in areas, but it all looked so nice, gleaming and polished and whatnot.

All of this belied the fact that it was decades now since Arkansas had been a perennial football powerhouse, in a much smaller stadium no less, where everyone sat outside and the stadium wasn’t divided into sections for the haves and the have-nots. There were many reasons for the long, slow slide into mediocrity. But none of that stopped Cletus and Darrel from attending every home game. It had happened imperceptibly over such a long time that it went unnoticed to most people, sort of like the movement of the hour hand on a clock. It was ironic really; as the stadium got bigger, louder, hipper, and fancier, and the team wore slicker, more experimental and unrecognizable uniforms, the program got more and more mediocre. And if you stopped for just a moment to think about it, the whole situation Cletus and Darrel were now observing was a metaphor for the present state of things on the field: it was all form over substance.

To be continued.

Glen Hines is the author of two books, Document and Cloudbreak, available at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. His writing has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Task & Purpose, and the Human Development Project. If you enjoyed this story, let him know and recommend it to others

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Glen Hines

Glen Hines

Fortunate son. Lucky husband. Doting father. Marine Corps Veteran. On a writer’s journey. Author of the Anthology Trilogy & Bring in the Gladiators @amazon.

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