Book II Chapter 5 Section1 from shock to grief Tales of Dead Armadillo Novel about New Braunfels early 1990s and Crosscountry running Esteban Erik Stipnieks all rights reserved



Monday arrived Bo walked into school about three minutes before the first bell.  He had driven to school on his Ninja.  He was congratulated and Amanda saw him.  The Volleyball team had won Friday, Football team had won Friday and Crosscountry had defeated district rivals.  The tally was run down with the announcements.  The one two three finish for the girls and guys had been impressive.  Bo was a big man on campus even though he was barely 5’2 with curly brown hair. Then came the line, “Coach Bob said we have young talent and old talent has been stepping up so despite having two key runners injured the boy’s varsity still was doing well.”  Coach Noel heard it smiled.  He was realizing how much a short shrift he had given crosscountry in the past at Denton.  He also understood the depth of sentiment Ace had for the campus.  He could see though Bob being rattled and amazed at what was happening as the Jesus freaks were emerging as a greater force.  He felt as if he was making a pass slowly.

Raul regretted the drinking some Monday morning.  Thomas had made a quip about the hangover on Sunday.  Mike knew that that day would bring a long hot run.  He had made it through the evening service at Our Lady Perpetual Health's Sunday evening service ok.  Mike made the comment about that.  Linda had made it to St. Peter and Paul Church for their 11:15 service.  Lunch he ate and drank he knew he had to get more fluids in him. 

As Stephen processed his negatives and drank grape juice his mind was drifting to the long day.  His teacher asked him about the college day.  Stephen was candid he would look at UNT but the Amnesty function was the real purpose.  Susan seemed surprised to hear the grief.  It was always latent.  The shock was still there.  As he thought for a moment the hurt grew worse.  The blast was still shocking Stephen.  Stephen was told he lived up the condition on allowing to leave early Friday.  Stephen was grateful for that.  Stephen once desired to be a big man on campus a force he had achieved it in Denton.  What he had wanted to achieve as a freshman he had at his school as a senior.  The trappings once lusted for were now scant means to an end.  He knew of the parties and he was focusing on what was not happening verses what was.  Had he would realized the extent he was ripping to shreds what he hated later.  There was surprise in the office. 

The run was announced in the classroom time sheets were handed out Stephen had beaten Thomas by a few seconds.  Coach Bob started talking a little bit about the Schreiner course.  He announced the run it was going to be Golf course.  The group went to the locker room.  Stephen asked what the workout was going to be the following day.  Coach Bob said "We are going long?"  Stephen replied "I will run that morning.”  I ride with dad to Austin ferry the Comanche and mom picks me up at the airport.  I will leave my car parked here.  Coach Bob replied "If you are doing that make it an Eden Home today Pit stop tomorrow."  Raul said "Why is Stephen missing a workout?"  Thomas said "Have you known someone who was murdered?"   Raul replied "No." Bo was blunt "Then shut up."  Mike replied "Yeah where you Saturday night doing what if you can do that as I did you do not have the right to judge Ace."  Mike looked am him. "I was there you noticed what I was not doing."  The beers had not been good for the team for the first time Raul was aware score was being kept.  Raul was surprised at the reaction.  Raul said but I am fast.  Tom said "You can be faster." 

Tara walked out and could see the look Tuesday was going to be a day.  Tom was happy another week had begun the dual meet on Thursday was wrinkle.  They circled up and did a stretch together both and girls. Amanda and Tara were hanging out.  Bo told Amanda in the process Stephen King was going to be doing Eden Home.  Tara knew he was going to run that next morning.  

Aero took off this run was not going to get any shorter by looking at it.  Raul was with him.  Raul had been chastised by a trio of herd bulls.  He was going a faster clip.  He let Raul slide ahead.  There was going to be nothing fun about this run.  So Aero threw one foot out in front of the other.  It was the familar Ohio then the turn into California. He was one of the two bullet freshman a dual meet was ahead. Stephen King was roaring like a bat out of hell he passed him.  Raul gave chase and realized the clip was at race pace.  He had been accepted as a younger member of the team a junior partner.  The victory was nice each week things got tighter so he had to be tougher.  He turned onto lakeview mentally realizing this run was still quite young.  Sweat had soaked him.  Each stride shortened it and the heat had faded the sky was blue.  The dip then the hill and then descent all rolled in front of him. 

(Lakeview Blvd runners would be on the opposite side both ways gravel would where the team ran photo Esteban Erik Stipnieks all rights reserved)

He had gotten better using the hills as tools.  He made the turn using some of the momentum.  He saw Stephen King on his return leg still running as if half New Braunfels PD were busting him at a party.  Raul was ahead Bo was closing in behind the two joined each other on the familiar road that had seen some much of their lives.  The island had seen their share of parties island rights meant that you can get a bunch of friends of the family to chill on park and have a party.  The golf course had seen 8 fireworks displays or more of their lives.  They made the bend Wurstfest was approaching it was an annual event.  They were going hard through someplace while they wanted to leave it behind they were realizing how precious many elements of it were.  The Circle arts theatre had a play that they both knew cast members of.  Orphans on the Guadalupe had run any number of occasions in the building.  Landa park loomed ahead the pool they both had swum in any number of occasions.  They cut through the park of picnics and memories from elementary.  Any number of occasions they had gone up Panther Canyon now it was a long trail a struggle winding at least in the shade.  They emerged at the back of high school in view they surged hard.  Aero was just a bit behind.  It was nice running with Bo. 

Raul had seen Stephen with a look of sadness on his face.  The exchange got him a shorter run.  He did not think Stephen would actually run in the morning...he did not know Stephen.  Stephen roared by faster then greased lightning he did a surge and realized how fast Stephen was going.  Now he was sure Stephen was not going to run.  The run was something he was now familar with.  He had learned a bit of hill running technique and he used it after he had done the mile and a half to Eden Home.  Stephen was roaring back he had the look of a man possessed on his face.  His legs were loose and while sweaty the heat did not get to him.  The neighborhood was a rich white folk’s neighborhood.  He had not attended but once on the island.  As he saw Golf course he thought of the business people who had money playing golf and making a deal.  The Schlitterbahn employee lot was something his tia was familar with he would wind up working a summer there fleecing tourists.  Schlitterbahn jobs were coveted the park guests in the park were far better behaved then those who floated down the Comal and Guadalupe.  The Wursthalle and cultural events Cinco de Mayo celebrations and other things dance competitions for Folkloricos and in addition to Wurstfest.  Landa Park had seen its share of picnics.  He was now a Unicorn crosscountry runner who had brought victory for the team the knowledge of his growth was bitter sweet.  As he approached Panther Canyon he had other memories of it.  Very rarely had been down the trail till this year it was hard to find the exact path near the top of canyon to the high school.  He did though find it without getting lost.  He surged hard the last bit of the running across Ohio the parking lot and back to the field house.

For Stephen the grief was now back in the forefront it had never totally left.  Putting it on the back burner was easy.  He was now facing it and as he did he was uncorking fast Eden home.  He had waited a little bit but soon he roared pass Aero who gave chase for about 20 yards then Raul ran with him for 20 yards and replied "Gringo loco." Stephen was now aware of his speed but frankly did not give a care as he was hauling down California.  Past the familar landmarks Stephen ran soaked with sweat and onto lakeview blvd under a blue sky.  He had passed the group on California.  Stephen realized once again things were whack and since they were whack it was pointless to try and calm down just grab for the runners high.  He passed Raul again and he passed Aero and Bo.  Bo quipped "Runners high to dull the pain."  The line was a bit sarcastic but it had more then a little truth to it.  Bo was right as Lakeview Blvd the chemicals in the brain had not dulled the grief.  He saw the rest of the girls they cheered them on.  That oddly enough helped him some.  He turned on California running a good clip.  Stephens’s legs indicated he had lactic acid in them but it was not too bad.  As Ace turned onto Ohio he knew he would not surge to the end.  He would though do the push ups and crunches to make it a full workout. 



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