There was a speeding train to my right, traffic rolling by on the left. “Your destination is here,” the sweet female voice insisted. The traffic behind us was backing up.
“Take me around the corner.”
“There are one-way streets and a street blocked off for construction. Turning into the next corner will place you point two six miles from your destination. Your card will be charged an additional forty-seven dollars and eighteen cents.”
The car silently moved on after I got out and swam through the oppressive heat to the street corner, out of the shade and into the sun. Waiting for the crossing signal, I looked at the screens announcing an upcoming Boo-Hoo Boys concert, Maynard vs De La Paz headlining a UFC event, and Mass Shooter Night, SOLD OUT.
As I approached the perimeter of the crowd, I put on my mask. Even though it wasn’t a free t-shirt or bobblehead night, fans packed in early, endured the summer’s heat with vendor waters, sodas, beers, and the cooling effect of misters. Most were armed, proudly displaying their support for the Second Amendment, their shared joy of living in a concealed and open-carry state, a long-guns included state, a pretty much anything-goes state. Anyone presenting proof of a gun’s state registration got ten percent off all concessions and although conspiracy nuts claimed it was yet another way for the government to collect information on law-abiding gun owners, those gun owners mostly weren’t averse to spending twenty-seven dollars for a thirty-dollar beer
Once I grabbed my credentials at will call, I made my way to the announcer’s booth, hurried but careful not to bump or push people with semi-automatic rifles slung over their shoulders, people with pistols holstered or just jammed in their pants. After making it through two security checks, I was inside the booth, noticed immediately that everyone also wore a mask, unlike the crowds filling the stadium. A gangly kid standing against the back wall called, “Jerrod Smart? Can I talk to you before you speak with Mr. Doyle?”
Our announcer—the veteran Roger Doyle—had been the voice of the Scorpions for the past eighteen years, taking the mic just two years after expansion. It was a rough start for him as he replaced Swede Johansen, the voice of the AAA Scorpions for nearly four decades. Fortunately, his matter-of-fact delivery punctuated by bouts of unrestrained enthusiasm eventually made him a venerable fixture at Howdydoo.com Stadium (nee Scorpions’ Field nee Nevermind Credit Stadium), his bourbon-soaked timbre a soothing bandage for a team that hadn’t had a winning season in over a decade.Both pieces are horror and, yes, political. I’ll share more when I have another night where I’m too tired to otherwise write here.