Tales of Dead Armadillo Book II Chapter 3 and 800s and Flying Food Tales of Dead Armadillo Novel By Esteban Erik Stipnieks All Rights REserved.


Wednesday the act of mercy with Special was not unnoticed. Stephen had not intended it to as he wore his uniform as required for JROTC. Parking in the athletes parking lot did at that moment have its perks. It saved him asking. Once inside the high school Steven was aware aside from his daily walk to the JROTC center and back how little he saw the sun. It was one thing that drove him nuts about New Braunfels high. Stephen had almost forgotten how much he hated that aspect of life in Unicorn land. Now it was getting harder and harder to forget. He was in it all the time.  Once in print lab it was use of the projection print scale that saved time. He adjusted the football pictures to get some good line action the tackle, run and reception were printed out the wash had just stopped as the bell rang. That meant he could eat lunch with his friends.

Tara and Amanda beckoned him. Stephen quipped I feel 800s coming on. Amanda smiled don't chicken out cut me off and drive me nuts. Stephen apologized for an old misdeed from his freshman year with pink in his cheeks. Amanda was surprised. Stephen was embarrassed. Stephen then said "A lot of things I would like to do differently about my freshman year." She finally asked "What about tradition?" Stephen was noticing the clouds developing in the south from looking distant as he leaned back in the chair looking upwards over the wall of the lunch room that doubled as a theatre. "If we forget the truth behind the tradition the tradition gets twisted. Truth is beautiful truth liberates too often traditions are carried on and perverted by people forgetting why.” Amanda processed the answer. Outwardly Stephen King's rant's about New Braunfels then love for the city seemed to be bi polar.  Yet his last statement was offering a clue.  They were really one in the same.  Stephen was eating chips and dip rapidly while drinking a thermos of grapefruit juice. The Advil dosage was twice a day. Stephen did not mind the step down of the non steroidal anti inflammatory. He loved the sour citrus flavor of pink grapefruit juice. It was also an attempt to shove the calories in the mouth. Stephen asked "Amanda why don’t you check out the church see the sheet of music Scott and I are playing off of." For once Amanda noticed Stephen was being human. He made the invite quite casually but his tone encouraged.  She said sure I will check it out. Stephen smiled.

Tara said "It was you who taught me that running in the rain can be fun." Stephen replied "we needed that yesterday we all enjoyed it!" Amanda Tara and Kimber all nodded. Yesterday had been manic, euphoric a bit reckless. Stephen sensing an opening God is good.  Some of the team had to run Encino but that wet Encino had its own rain and sweat soaked glory.  Word had drifted out about the Eden Home. Tara was grinning. Stephen was. Raul asks me what I do for fun....that was fun. Running those Hurraches into the ground was fun. Stephen had to pitch them but they had one last glorious race. The bell rang and it was back to class.

Speed workouts meant eat early. A can of Tuna a big chunk of mayo some bluebell and half a bag of chips was gone before five o’clock the workout began at 7. It felt like lead shot big bowl of ice-cream half a pound of chips and almost 2 ounces of tuna with several table spoons of mayo. There were a couple biscuits for carbohydrate replacement after the workout. The mass of protein and fat was high energy. The two hour hold time would allow this gelatinous mass of protein and fat to be out of his stomach when the fun began. Now Aero waited till 5:30 he ordered a large fries from McDonalds his teacher mom brought him that. A large portion of Velveeta and reheated Wolff Brand Chili was added to the well salted frees. Aero finished this by 6:15.

The darkness was starting to fall just slightly early. There was a feeling of impending dread as the group stretched. The warm up quarter had the feeling of impending doom. Stephen though looked Tom and Dennis also joined him in setting the tone: this is going to be ugly but we will show our force whimps need not a apply. The determination that many including Tara and Kathrine started dominating the circle. Coach Bob announced the workout 6 800s. The group formed Raul, Dennis, Bo, Aero made up the first line. Everybody knew how fast each other were and they took position accordingly.

Go! Stephen hated this aspect an 800 was an essentially an extremely long sprint. As an elementary student he had run on this track field day now as senior in high school the same distance that for a 4th grader seemed so long was really short and there was little space. This was rolling in the afterburners and holding them their full burner. Coach Noel Scott was driving him on. All the biking had made it strange he always ran out of leg before he ran out of juice.  The first 10 yards were rapid acceleration compared to other teammates. Courage and determination were the only things that got you through them their length had seconds stretching to minutes and the three minutes could seem like an eternity. The two fisted attack Noel by the high jump pit Bob at the start finish line. He did find his way to the inside and he knew he had to stay in front of Amanda Cook. One lap went by in little over a minute. The second lap the fire of lactic acid built up steadily. Stephen ran track not liking it too much speed workouts were a hated but necessary aspect of life. Each stride was creating greater and greater fire in the legs. This was the first of six. No band playing nothing just 45 seconds of fire with teammates. As dreadful as it was it was also adrenalizing and thrilling. He crossed the line. One down there were many more to come.

Aero looked sick as he walked the lap. Tara was gritting her teeth. Amanda knew this was something that had to be done. Stephen and Tom walked together. Dennis shouted "Now or never" Stephen responded trying to put on a brave face "Go Hard or Go Home" The pulses that had been way high slowly returned to 120-130 time for another shot of fun. Serg shook his head unbelieving what he had heard. Raul was visibly unhappy. Finally Stephen shouted in Latin "Nos Moritem Te Salutem" as they took to the line. The quip was a bit inside Latin "Those of us about to die salute you." Tara snickered they had been class together she caught the inside joke. Allison Ray was suddenly aware that Stephen's foreign language had been Latin. Brandy looked confused "Those of us about to die salute you."Allison explained Serg shook his head "You are a weird man." Allison and Brandy along with Tara were actually laughing at the joke.

Go! Aero heard his stomach as churning yet he took off Bo was just ahead Raul was further ahead Dennis, Serg was behind Thomas and Mike behind him. Behind those two was Stephen. It was easy to slow down mentally once passed that run but no harder faster he kept pushing. He felt his stomach churning. Another turn at the top of the track he was in the inside lane. He kept chugging he was feeling quite queasy. First lap down....the second lap the turn at the bottom of the track then that long back straight away he could slow down but be he would irritate Serg Thomas and Mike. They would chew him out his stomach was really hurting he was locked faster ,faster his legs burning sweat flowing adding to the misery around the turn then finally the final 100 yards he could see it ahead. As he crossed the finish line he had to walk to the infield in a violent heave part of misery was shot out of his mouth the taste was lousy.

Coach Bob asked "When did you eat?" Aero said "About 5:30?" Bo said "Were the cheese Fries good?" He had identified the substance "No" Serg quipped "You know what the problem about statement stupid freshman is?" Paulie asked "What is it?" Dennis finished off" Its like drunk tourist a redundant term" Tom had a snicker on his blue eye blond face. Serg was trying hard not to laugh.  The one liners had been good.   As they walked the lap and allowed their pulse to go down, Dennis made it official "Aero you are no longer Aero you are French Fries" Everybody shouted Amen!

Steven Ray could not help but snicker. This workout was an endurance battle and it was not fun so the humor had to be cherished. It was not painless but Dennis, Paul, Tom, Bo and Steven King even Amanda, Kathrine Whe was filling the air with raw determination. Go! Steven Ray went forward his legs instantly driving against the track going to full stride extension. This was a game of chicken with himself. Coach Noël Scott the cool California dude greeted him at the top of the track cheering him on exerting him. Then it was moody Coach Bob near the start finish line man his legs were beginning to burn he had to keep it going one more lap he hated this part of crosscountry yet giving up was unthinkable. He knew he was building high end speed. Then came next lap things were burning up low he could feel his breathing getting hard he could not stop. Finally he was glaring down the last bit of that 800.

When Coach Bob said Go. Noel Scott was ready on the other part of the track. Raul had talent he also had attitude Coach Noel could see that. He was Tejano not Mexicano and the dreams of an immigrant were not fresh through the generations on the coastal plains Texas survival had weathered him. He was the first to pass with Bo Dennis Aero and Paulie their tight ambitions in hot pursuit the explosive core of a varsity team. Thomas and Mike were jokes they did not have the edge of Raul. Serg was the anchor through wicked wit of the guy’s team Tom was the thing keeping things in balance. Stephen King and Stephen Ray pushed themselves. Amanda, Linda and Tara made the core of girl’s varsity. Tara was being mentored Amanda the symbol of her town Linda like her brother in many ways unaware. Leisha Julie and Kimber whizzed by. Allison Brandy and Kim everybody was there. He was growing hoarse but only two more after this it was three minutes almost of cheering.

Stephen was aware of the trade met in the valley of despair in May of 1991. As he went to the line the pathetic flame now seemed distant. He looked at Steven Ray. Go though his legs were burning he shoved it forward his legs weaker then they had been at the start of the workout. Soon the fire was intense he knew the biology yet he kept going Coach Noel's encouragement filled his ears. He was holding the pedal down his stride in its longest elegant form then the last lap he could feel the weakness he was soaked with sweat he was tired he was not about to give in. One more time through Noel Scotts encouragement then with the last bit of strength he shoved forward gaining a bit on Mike finally crossing the finish.

As the group was about to do the warm down quarter and crunches along with pushups Coach Bob announced "Herald says no assault charges were pressed against Special I heard in the lounge three staffers swear that a swing was taken at Stephen." Everybody was looking at Stephen "I was OIC of that detail as OIC of that detail and that detail I had certain duties and obligations I fulfilled those as a Christian there are things I obligated to do such as turn the other cheek. Special was also a teammate.” Kimber smiled at Tara. The warm down quarter the joke was still about the mess still in the football field among the plugs which looked like turds they flew some The exceed was consumed the barrel was emptied by runners whoose legs were on fire. The good news was the hardest workout of the week had been done and the bad news UTSA loomed ahead.

Raul and Linda went to their home on the west side. Mike and Thomas not far. The Rays drove to a house smaller near the high school. Tara went to her home with her parents. Stephen drove to the house of his childhood for biscuits and sleep. Activity level avoided arguments. The coaches washed out the bucket and headed home. Coach Noel Scott had not read the news. It was a good workout. The force of the team was critical mass and both coaches were aware of the force. Coach Noel Scott was happy the mass of power driving the team had in it the odor of his own faith.


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