Tales of Dead Armadillo Book II Medina Valley Chronicles Esteban Erik Stipnieks all rights reserved photo Esteban Erik Stipnieks all rights reserved.

 

 

Coach Bob and Coach Noel greeted each other.  They had often done the role solo and Coach Bob was happy Coach Noel Scott had eagerly taken the role of second fiddle.  Coach Bob if anything wondered if Coach Noel Scott had counseled Tara and Stephen.  Stephen had already given hints of a dare to his teammates.  Tara had been quiet awkward yet real supportive to the nature of the team.  Coach Noel Scott was driving the bus.   Coach Bob another chore off the back of him.  The drive started.  The Bus took a left on Loop 337.  It was a gradual turn with a steep downhill.  They were leaving the cusp of the Edwards Plateau to the start of the South Texas coastal plains.  The cut had been made in the early 1960s it was wide a large section of hill had been blasted away and two laner barely occupied 1/8th the width.  The bridge over Landa Street was a steep downhill.  In the bus CD players were turned on and the calm began.  It would be an hour or two before they would arrive at the school just south of highway 90 west of San Antonio.  Bo and Aero were listening to Dr. Dre the Chronic and Ice T.  Gangsta rap was popular in New Braunfels the land of rico Gringos and Mexicanos.  It was laughable for Steven.  The music seemed exotic to suburban and small town lifestyle.  Stephen looked over the seat behind and found Aero listening he could not help but laugh at it.  New Braunfels white folks wanted to be black.  Stephen King listened to Gin Blossoms.  Stephen took note of the passing scenery.  It was good to be back.  The Gin Blossoms filled his ears through the headphones.  The echoes of past glory haunting an existence the memories bitter the fatigue somewhere.  New Miserable Experience was striking a resounding chord to Stephen.  This was not the hard edge of Nirvana or Pearl Jam it had some linkage the ground and earth Stephen liked the music it was attached far closer to the land.  The new bridge about the Cibolo creek was stunning to him and he knew this area he could see the changes in a route he knew intimately as it had been his ride to school when he went to Winston.  The music made a bit of a sound track as the bus went into San Antonio.  In the recesses of Stephen King's heart he was going over ground that he once covered for 2 school years with a discreet amount of embarrassment.  The two years at Winston School had been written out of Unicorn lore now they were quietly being aknowledged.  Within them there was shame which further fueled his personal rivalry with Alamo Heights he found himself no longer caring about the old rivalry.  The bus turned onto Loop 410. 

Tara asked him about the course.  Stephen's CD had ended.  He gave a general outline backing up Coach Bob's warnings about the course.  It was going to be a high traffic meet and the course was to the liking of Stephen King more technical.  The race was going to be hot dusty and the location was in the South Texas land of dust the course had mild topographic features the race would be big and the course was a bit wide but very quirky.  She would have to walk the course to understand it.  They were less then halfway there as the bus crossed the Nacogdoches exit from Loop 410.  The school bus drove on across the north side of San Antonio and then heading West on highway 90.  The bus passed the exit that went to the school Stephen went to 7th and 8th Grade in.  Stephen had always liked the notion of 90 West.  The was the harsh land of South Texas.  The road was through an area of Texas he liked.  It was a couple miles passed Loop 1604 when it exited and down a road to the campus of Medina Valley schools. 

The parking lot was still white caliche gravel.  Stephen took a long drag off one of his two Gatorade bottles.  They departed the bus with their stuff after Coach Bob gave his speech.   He simply said "This is the first meet of the season run hard, run smart, I think we might take district both boys and girls."   Coach Noel showed up with maps.  Stephen joined Bo Thomas and Mike Stephen looked at the familar course features.  Raul was listening to the commentary Thomas Mike had run the course previous.  Stephen was processing it.  Raul was actually listening which surprised some people.  Stephen was processing a plan when they got back to the area the team had staked out as its camp grounds so to speak Stephen decided that the greater traction of the Unicorn blue and white Air Pegasus was desirable to the lightness and lack of traction of the worn hurricanes.  The new pair would make their debut.

The girls JV would run first.  Anna led the way to the box so to speak.  Stephanie Moore made a comment about the sand being like Sweetwater.  To her whose father had gotten a job at the plant that made components for Schlittberbahn’s slides the place was nice.  Anna then made a comment about wanting to bounce a qaurter off a guys butt.  Allison Ray was surprised.  Allison knew she was just a bit player on the team.  Stephen whom she had grown up with as her twin brother Stephen Ray.  It did not bother her.  Cross-country had kept her out of PE classes and now her junior year she liked the comraderie of the team.  Her brother was faster then her.  She knew the course it would be about 13 minutes of running.  Kim Rosignol a halfbreed from Edinburg had been almost a non existant member of the team was surprised she was running JV.  The girl’s team was fast.  Julie, Lezlee, and Jennifer rounded out the JV team a sophomore and a Jr.  Allison was patient she was going to run her best race and that would effect how she finished.  She quite simply liked running.  She was serious but this was supposed to be fun.  The challenge to her was intriguing.  The physical nature allowed her to escape the geeky exterior and in her heart aggression would flow.  She would not shirk her duties to the team but this was not a matter of intense pride for her either.  Brandy Svenson the glamourus blue eyed blond haird Cheeleader was one of Allison's best friends on the team an odd friendship. She was the All American girl a cheerleader who wondered why she drove the boys nuts.  Allison and Brandy with their schedules wound up running together. Brandy's butt was firm and most distinctly womanly.  Her blue eyes, blond hair and friendly persona meant if she wanted a date one was there.  They kept each other motivated and focused.  They both were concerned a bit about Jennifer's lack of eating.  Lezlee set a sarcastic quip in motion.  A geek and glamour queen who busted their tail on workouts.  Anna had just been short of Varsity.  The All American Jr. had a couple Srs running with her. 

The gun went off and Allison was surprised no freshman had made stupid mistakes.  Through the course, it was not narrow  so passing opportunities were there.  She was smart straight As.  The course lacked a fair amount of terrain.  By her junior year, which it was, an intuition had developed.  She hung on the voice.  Through the square, she saw Brandy ahead and getting further...not that it mattered.  The speed range on team was too much.  Through the square and around the back of the school she went loosely familar with the course and aware of previous mistakes. She did not repeat them!  The heat had its effects she had drank her share of water and her trip to the bathroom earlier confirmed she was adequately hydrated.  Then she followed the course down by the fence line of the airport.  She started making her passes.  Coach Bob encouraged her.  Her first mile was 6:45 she was pushing it but this was her junior year.  She could play a role on the team if the volatility did not blow itself to bits.  She knew Heights was a rival.  She calmly set the pass up to occur in the mesquite grove to the sound of go Allison and go Unicorn.  She could be sedate yet calculating.  She worked hard in all workouts her work ethic won her respect in a team that disciplined its own far more then any coach could.  Its coolness was noticeable as the burning rays of the sun from the east were negated.  Then after a turn straight and another turn it back out on the South Texas sand the course had a smaller repeat on she found herself kicking she passed  another couple Alamo Heights runners.  Brandy was waiting congratulating her.  The girls had done well.  There was a lot of blue and white in the front of the pack.   

Stephen had finished walking the course by the time the girls JV race began.  He was chilling under the shade trees.  He was told to conserve his strength.  Kim she had been a transfer she was a freshman.  She was surprised the coolness having run in the valley.  She had been pouring on the coals and had passed Brandy.  Brandy was next.  Anna the girl with a very attractive petite curvy physical appearance.   Stephen had made a fool with a bet with was right behind Brandy.  Once again, the cheers came for the two, Allison.  Jennifer was withering in the heat her body lean too lean.  Lezlee picked up the rear surprised at how fast the team had become.  Stephen could see the expressions as they entered the area he had focused as they passed a split second decision whether or not to trip the shutter.  His cheer was loud and encouraging even from behind the camera. 

It was time for the girls varsity to start.  Tara, Linda, and  Amanda made up the front three.  Amanda was the defacto leader.  She said to Tara "Lets see how much you learned in Denton."  Leisha commented, "She tamed Encino she can handle this."  Purple pride flashed briefly from Leisha's mouth.  Kathrine rolled her eyes at Amanda's remark.  It was a bit over the top.  Julie knew Tara was being reminded her place.  Tara was untried and untested she would have to prove herself.... Heidi was briefly angered by the comment.  Tara felt sympathy for Amanda the pressure on her.  The look on Tara's face chilled the tension.  The pre race instructions were simple.  Tara had eyed the course...Encino made it look like a cake walk.  Kimber with her petite dynamite had done enough.  

The gun went off.  Tara's adrenaline had been pumping she was content to be far enough beyond for a hot start she had jacked her heart rate up to minimize lactic acid and she tucked in behind Amanda Linda was ahead.  The head of the pack was thin.  This was Tara’s 3rd season.  All her martial arts training and her growing knowledge were paying off.  Even running in the Denton square athletic club was working.  The box track of the health club did not allow steady state its narrow width meant that 30 minutes was spent in a series of accelerations and breaking moments even avoiding other members was a challenge.  She was aggressive in the box inside then rocketing through the three right hand turns.  The decision was to force keep up.  The running she had done had paid off.  It would avoid traffic later if she was just fast enough. Amanda and Linda were at front.  Tara made note she had used up some of aggressive maneuvering she would permit herself in the race.  Her approach was slick on the big outside loop.  The drift to the inside was something Stephen's yet to be discovered style was would have been proud of as she hung a right then down the fence line.  Tara had learned the smoothness in one-third time.  She had finally gotten Stephen to explain the trick she extended her stride just a hair and used the slight advantage to gain on the gap between Linda and Amanda. She set the first pass through the mesquite grove with a long drift to the outside of the course.  The slight down grade of the course was just enough for her to pull it off.  She saw coach Noel Scott "Way to go Tara!"  The first mile was right at 6:00 a bit on the fast side.  Tara knew only one more to go she hoped she could hold the preverbal hammer down.  Coach Bob could not believe it he was shouting "Way to be a Unicorn Tara!"  He then had to take a big inhalation of air as he had just shouted encouragement to Linda and Amanda.  Tara used her strength to make the turn down the fence line that would set the first line through the mesquite grove. 

Tara's father said "That a way to be Unicorn"  The drift of the junior was slight one would have to look at Stephen King's photo even to detect it.  Tara initiated the turn for the diagonal through the mesquite grove a bit late but the geometry allowed a slight acceleration on the downgrade and she pegged on the outside being the hunted meant she could carve the course according to her personal desires.  She felt the lactic acid building in the legs it was just a matter of time could she hold out that long.  She had jacked up the iron in her diet to compensate.  She took a moderate line on the course that would go just outside the practice track and practice football field.  She concentrated on smoothing things out.  She was on the inside and ran a hard turn inside realizing she had a half a mile to go she decided to go for the kick.  Courage and boldness surged. She went hard making the turn to the finish line then roaring max speed through the line.  There was a runner from Heights and Clark.  Leisha was behind.  Coach Bob caught had a smile...looks like we won that one.   

After the race, Amanda saw Tara "Sorry, I did not know."  Tara responded "I am the new I am untried.  You have not seen my purple jacket and I realize it means nothing down here."  Kathrine read Tara as a more conservative version of her.  Coach Bob smiled "Coach Noel taught you right."  Tara smiled.  Stephen congratulated the girls.  Victory always was sweet. 

Varsity guys were already to the line.  Bo, Raul, Paul, and Aero were up front.  Dennis had a one liner he thought of he kept his mouth shut as he looked to Tom.   Jorge was beside him.  Jorge had been quiet the team was green and Dennis wondered if the Prima Donnas could back up there trash talk with real speed.  Serg read as they gathered in the box, "Now stupid freshman do not pull any stupid stunts and embarrass us."  Dennis smiled "You heard him Raul and Aero we do not want to be blamed for a restart."  Some runners from Canyon high school smiled and down the line freshman were all being warned in a similar fashion.  Now when he spoke it was with a purpose.  Dennis was nervous along with Paul and Bo having the wonder fish on the team.  They were untested. The instructions were given. 

The gun went off.  Aero took off like John Force's funny car.  Bo thought as he saw Aero "Stupid fish."  Bo had his own race plan.  He was going to stay near the top but he was not going to go soaring through the lactic acid threshold and not look back.  Raul knew better then to go into hot pursuit.  Stephen saw and almost sensed what was going on as he snapped a picture.  The senior snicker was hard to contain.  As Aero pulled away Bo was on his race line adjusting to feel glad he drank enough and cut off in time.  This course was "a bitch" he thought.  The time for aggression was later not now just stay out of trouble and keep out of traffic.   

Stephen grabbed his camera took his position staying the mesquite grove 1/500 f 8 at 300mm on the zoom.  He waited a bit about five minutes later he saw Aero coming trying to hold off in inevitable Raul was with him.  Raul was cruising as if taking a Sunday stroll at a 5:20 mile.  The heat was a non factor.  Coach Bob thought "Speedy Gonzales lives."  Stephen snapped a couple pictures of Bo, Paulie and Dennis they were soon after Serg was last. Stephen drank more Gatorade in a few more minutes they would pass.  Stephen's voice was fading.  Stephen was careful to conserve some energy.  They group came again Aero was much later.  Coach Bob was visible with a befuddled look.  Stephen cheered happy with the imagery. He had gotten and a bit cocky his hands would not fail him in the negative processing he was now just cheering on the team. 

Bo signaled over along with Paulie and Aero had done something stupid.  Dennis drank his Gatorade he looked at Stephen "Remember the course?"  Stephen nodded "Its every bit as hot and dry as it was our freshman year."  Bo quipped in "Yes a bit narrow don't be stupid like you were last time you ran it try to make it smooth."  Paulie then said "The sand is a bit more loose that back corner his finger pointed that track has grown harder."  Stephen took the information and tweaked his race plan a little bit.  Dennis said you will do all right nothing will bite you in the butt just remember it is not too wide of a course so set up your passes right.   

Gone was the Police's Cry "Message in the bottle" instead the sound of Stratocaster cut a sharp tone in the night.  The tones shot through Stephens mind and into his soul.  The tones were fingernails on a chalkboard.  It was Pink Floyd's "Sorrow" The dream green fields and rivers was Seele elementary his youth.  It was the dream Stephen King had lapsed into eagerly at Meet the Unicorn night.  The morning was the deaths suicides of two classmates from New Braunfels high coupled with the fact that many role models at the high school drank beer got drunk, and took advantage of the unsaid two handbooks.  The broken promises of the Alma Matre.  The question was would his step falter in altering the myth.  The next song was soothing or at least hopeful with a hard pre race edge "Sometimes" by Midnight Oil.  The idea was basic drive the heart rate up before the start of the race to kick the point of lactic acid creation as a lead to get more heart rate up to narrower window at a higher pace.  Stephen also focused on the final details and alterations to the race plan.  His emotions were at a peak yet they drove the attention level to the task at hand.  The group gathered at the line.  Troy was behind Stephen though the two were seniors.  Michael and Thomas were also stuck though they were juniors on JV.  The other three runners were Eduardo Guiterrez, Special and Stephen Ray.  The Unicorn team was older and they while focused were hoping that freshman would not do something stupid creating a restart of the race.  Stephen opted for the back row knowing he would start slower and it offered his best bet to dodge the trips and falls of the stupid fish.  His focus was now roaring and the plan was now set.  The lines on the course were conservative a bit longer but they were also smoother a straighter distance between start and finish.   

The gun went off instead of the explosion many were expecting the flight training took over the acceleration bore the mark of the rehab and prehab but the top end was cold.  Stephen knew the first hundred yards went according to script desire anger in him bred patience the intensity of emotion drove the analytical remind that would carve a different set of lines radically different then the ones he drew on the course his freshman year they were smoother.  His internal voice was guiding him applying sand paper and quart of grease to his style.  He was near the bottom but it avoided accidents or the pain in the butt of a restart.  Coach Bob and Coach Scott were still getting used to this quirk.  Flight training had forever shifted the mindset of Stephen his heart was passionate but it was now driving his analytical brain.  The race was three miles long and he would in due time be the hunter.  He was being passed but he was out of traffic on the outside of a turn.  The line was really less of a turn two bloated diagonals with a rounded hypotenuse.  Coach Bob noticed was concerned as he saw the slightly obese angles taking shape as a square section of the course followed.  Coach Bob shouted at the new guys.  He was still at loss to what to say at Stephen whose face said a hunter without mercy.  Stephen was in the bottom of the half race unperturbed.  Everybody was in front of him.  The square section came into view Stephen was aware of peripheral vision and straightened a leg of it with a sharper then he wanted to allow him to make pass while maintaining pace he then accelerated just a notch to slide wide a round arch through one section.  The race was still quite young.  The traffic was making things interesting Stephen thought as he was passed by a freshman who seemed intent to making ground in a hurry he went wide again carving the smoothest distance he knew between two points.  The race would not be won in the first mile but it could be lost.  The turn was started early and his right confirmed he could drift steadily inside.  Speed was on target all systems were working, as they should.  Steve was aware of the race he was threading instinctual all his knowledge was now guiding him patience.  The wide curve was made wider by the course Stephen took and started making a plan to pass a small group in front of him.  Good basic pass.  The rate of closure was just about right as he went down a very very shallow grade they heard him and slid one way he went straight wide and made the turn and adjusted by a tighter turn beyond and the line to the next turn was a little straighter cutting across the course he was passed by a couple runners he made a pass himself.  He held making the 90 going wide which allowed him to make another pass and as he went away, he started a drift back to the inside of the course.  He had started the turn earlier so he completed it and extended his stride on the downhill through the sandy soil as it went by a fence that marked off a field by a nearby airport.  His first mile 6:00. 

The race was more or less on profile.  He could jack up the pace just a hair now.  Stephen shot briefly clear and not being passed slid wide a bit through another small straight against the grade of the soil.  It was a time to accelerate just a hair he picked up the pace.  Stephen groaned a bit as he made a pass his diagonal was cut as he to run straight make a pass and then go through the course again.  He saw Troy ahead.  He was a pass that had to be made.  Through the mass of fans, the course ran under the mesquite grove.  The team was cheering including Amanda's Cook's dad Go Unicorn.  The words "Go Unicorn" were music to his ears.  He recognized Stephen but he also saw the blue and white.  Stephen was a Unicorn.  Stephen's letter jacket may have been purple but his heart.  Hearing those, words were good to hear he focused on a pass it was freshman he was pursuing as he right turn through the mesquite grove and down by the track the short diagonal segment.  He went wide and then set up a turn for a long straight away.  There was another clump of passes.  Stephen had a slight speed advantage and went just slightly wide on the course.  Stephen saw Special as he did and got within range said calmly “Company traffic passing outside" the rate of closure was fast and the tone was matter of fact.  He was wide but he could start a turn early that would draw him to the inside of the course.  He made the passes without effort as one guy went wide doing what Stephen did Stephen timed it going inside accelerating a hair.  The sweat was already stinging his eyes.  He ran on the inside of that line around the football practice field behind the track and around.  He was at a faster pace and he was being passed less he was passing more.  The course went on the other side of the football stadium for Medina High football and around.  Stephens pace was just a bit faster along the straight away he made a couple more passes as sweat begun to make his jersey stick to him.  He went around the back of the stadium the square around he saw Michael come up and he made that pass.  There was a runner from Alamo Heights in front.  Stephen grinned a bit as he made the pass he had mellowed some he recognized the runner who was surprised to be hunted rather then hunting Stephen.  They went passed the two mile mark 11:45. 

Stephen felt more confident to run just a bit harder.  He had made some mistakes which both added some distance and scrubbed some speed but the race was well in hand time to add some power.  The distance between the lactic acid threshold and his pace increased another notch.  The legs were only slightly uncomfortable and with that, he went further not much into the metabolic equivalent of after burner.  The course swung around the other square in front of a school and cut further inside in a big field.  The legs were beginning to burn no cramp the extra consumption of Gatorade had been played out correctly. Through the mesquite grove again and its gentle turns that Stephen wove a straighter course around the back of practice track and field now Stephen realized he went to full power half a mile left.  His stride lengthened and the long legs absorbed more of the power.  It was an 800 yard surge.  Metabolically he was in full afterburner.  Stephen had gone in the top fifth of the race His pace went near as fast as he could.  He was making more passes a couple more Alamo Heights runners on the backside of the field.  The legs were now burning as he was full force into a sprint and the energy limit beyond the lactic acid threshold was about 2 minutes.  His heart was beating at its max output not meeting the demand of oxygen of the legs and lactic acid continued to develop as carbohydrates were being broken down without oxygen.  One of those was stunned to be sniped that brutally.  4 years ago the reverse had happened.  His high end was lacking and he realized it.  He made a couple passes yet was passed by a couple hard kickers 17:30 was his time.  Stephen dry heaved at the end of the race.  Only Michael and Thomas were ahead. 

Tara had the camera waiting at the finish line.  Ace ran quickly around and got some exposures of his teammates through the 100-500mm zoom lens.  Sweat was stinging his eyes and he got a couple solid pictures the team would have a spread.  He dialed in the zoom and with sweat stinging he got the focus and when it was white and blue he snapped in a split second decision.  His heart was slowly coming out of the stratosphere as oxygen molecules met the lactic acid and the body was slowly adjusting from its max performance run.  The 300mm was a bit much but with the zone focus it could be done.  Click click his camera snapped as sweat continued to sting his eyes. 

Coach Bob was smiling and Coach Scott had a grin on his face.  He then started drinking the rest of Gatorade.  The fluids were now replaced in the shade of mesquite trees.  Boys had finished second JV ahead of Heights and Canyon; Varsity had done a strong second for the boys.  Amanda, Linda and Tara picked up the top three places for girls varsity and collected the medals.  This drew applause.  Raul and Bo had finished second and third in the Varsity boys race.  Michael had gotten first in the boys JV race, which also earned him a medal.  The team medals were fun to collect.  Stephen was smiling.  Tara was enjoying it.  To Amanda and Linda was almost expected.  Girls had taken first Varsity and JV.  The streak continued...but hey, for the guys it was good start. 

The loot was impressive.  The group headed to bus happy.  Coach Bob looked towards Coach Scott.  It was a start and then he said, "Here is the number to the local sports reporter I will write out the results and make sure he gets it in the paper."  While Coach Scott would drive to a Fuddruckers off Loop 410 near John Jay high.  Victory was something to be basked in.  Coach Bob realized that the machine of a team was just warming up district was easily within sight. 

Stephen walked with Special Aero was talking to Bo and Aero.  Tara was talking to Kimber as the they all boarded the bus.  Amanda Cook seemed happy.  Stephen was talking to Bo who congratulated him his placement had effected and beat Heights.  The bus was filled and out of the parking lot.  Raul had not paid attention to the JV race.  Linda was talking to him about Stephen who could see he was not paying attention.  Stephen noticed this through the sound of Johnny Cash.  Sephen had a smile on his face the dogs of the boys team was memory now in Unicorn history.  Raul and Aero had made a couple freshman mistakes they would get better and he would work more on his high end.  The ride to the Frudruckers was going to be a brief one.  

It was fairly soon that they were in the parking lot pretty close to John Jay high school for the Nearest Fuddruckers.  Stephen put on his Team T-shirt from his freshman year.  Bo shouted, "Going old school?"  Stephen grinned.  Tara could see a smile on his face.  Brandy, Jennifer and Julie looked confused they still remembered the first night or the stories thereof.  The sweetness of victory for the team Stephen was drinking deep the sweetness of victory with a team he loved.  The grief of lost purity could be remembered at another time.  The Unicorns had won and love and pride of his hometown was something embraced.  There were things that concer-ned him.  Tom and Dennis were welcoming.  Amanda Cook was surprised "You still got that shirt?"  Stephen let out a howl of laughter "Ya think I would forget my Unicorn identity?"  Amanda had forgotten it was worn proudly at meet the Unicorn night.  Tara rolling her eyes in a flat tone commented "He sure never let us forget where he came from."  Even coach Noel laughed some the statement contained more then a little truth.  Coach Noel said "Yeah but he loved us in Denton and he lettered there too to Ponse and Boyd would be happy for us right now."  Though separated Stephen knew there was truth in the statement.  That brought some chuckles.  They walked Tara was talking to Kimber.  The team was glowing with victory.  Tom and Dennis were pleased and made the comment "You got faster."  Stephen responded not fast enough.  He had eyed what was going on.  Aero and Raul were emerging as a separate nucleus of a team.  Raul was not listening to his sister.  Bo was racing with Paul.  After they ordered Stephen when getting a Dr. Pepper quipped to Dennis "I almost hate the hero worship of New Braunfels now."   Dennis looked at him as if he had violated an oath. Stephen's face apologized as they got to the tables. 

Coach Bob as they were bringing them together said, "You know Stephen your last couple passes on the backside of the practice field put us ahead of Alamo Heights you do realize we compete with them again."  Stephen laughed realizing it no longer mattered to him.  The venom was gone with his relationship with Heights.  Somewhere along the road, he had embraced Winston School San Antonio and the desire to burn bridges had faded.  Stephen King acknowledged his learning disability as a part of who he was.  Amanda seemed a bit surprised at the non-reaction of Stephen King.  Tara looked clueless. Leisha then said, "His freshman was an obsession with beating Alamo Heights."  It had been legend that lived beyond his departure. Tara replied "Like Marcus?"  Stephen realizing he was the only person understanding replied with a "yep but with me it was personal and the team did not care.  Hating Marcus was a thing that united all teams my freshman year I hated Heights as I was burning bridges."  Bo looked confused.  Amanda processed the two years absence where did you go to school those two years.  Stephen said as if unloading a burden "Winston School San Antonio some of 09ers went there."  Bo raised his eyebrows.  Bo seemed surprised that Stephen was flaunting his Learning Disabled Status.  A piece of the Unicorn saga was being revised.  Now his senior year it finally became unpacked. The tables were together.  Stephen realized the team was placing near the top and was competitive.  He sipped his Dr.Pepper waiting for the order to be made.  Coach Bob then said, "Now when you pass Alamo Heights matters we are 4A again."  Stephen laughed.  Coach Noel heard it "Now that it is not a personal vendetta it matters funny how it works this way" It was the wisdom of an elder Christian laughing at irony. 

In order all, the meals were prepared called and people started talking not just of the meet but also of other topics.  Slowly the talk of the race faded and Saturday was asserting itself even though the goal was quite frankly to be lazy.  The Burger itself was grease filled helped with a big blast of mayonnaise on it.  There was friction on the team there was victory and as everybody guzzled food the lazy Saturday was high on everybody's plans.  Stephen just wanted to play guitar.  The bus ride to New Braunfels high had a lot of napping. 

 

(Denton photo Amanda West early morning and Luke Slavens foreground.  Taken near Norbuck park Dallas Texas I think)

 

That afternoon he found a package with his name on it was a couple metal reels and tanks with a bronco head and Bronco staff photographer his years with a thanks.  The note was Karen Kenuper the yearbook teacher Denton Amenah had welded on the logo and inscription and it continued "You got your wish God bless and thanks".  Stephen smiled he hated the plastic gear at New Braunfels had.  The gift would soon be used. 

 

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