Today’s schedule called for Cupid to begin to take stock of his arrows that were to be used only for approved Valentines Day Activities.
Cupid sat with his staff in his office, in an atmosphere of .. well it wasn’t any kind of a good atmosphere for Sarina and Soldier Sam to pitch their idea of a Romantic Trip to the most coveted Island Destination in the World, Staten Island.
Cupid was complaining about the trash ideas he got every Valentines Day from across the world. This didn’t seem like a good idea either, and Soldier Sam was not impressing him to say the least. .
'That's the Valentines Activity Business, Cupid,' said Soldier Sam. 'You're up--you're down--you're in, you're out. Anyone in your position knows that..'
'Yes,' said Cupid absently. 'Phone that Sarina. She’s on her way to help you with your proposal.”
Soon enough, Sarina reported to Cupid’s office and Solder Sam was Thrilled to see her in all of her Hotness.
'I just flew into town a moment ago and rushed straight here to your office. . I’m here to do anything I can to support Soldier Sam’s Valentines Day Activity. We’re both really excited about this one.
Cupid, there was one Activity script you liked.” Soldier Sam said with a bit of Confidence. “You said you were going to consider approving it. It was about Sarina mounting a huge set of speakers in a park on the water and blasting Classic R&B tunes. Remember?'
'Yes. I remember that” responded Cupid'
Cupid wants to go into approving that Valentines Day Activity right away, or else we can't have our date, so we're on the spot, if you know what I mean. Do you happen to have that stuff? Asked Sarina.'
'You remember when I brought it to you, Cupid?' Sarina asked. 'You kept me waiting for hours--then you looked at it for two minutes.
'In the Valentines Day Activity Business--' started Cupid.
'I'm so glad you're stuck together, Sarina and Soldier Sam” Cupid said. “I wouldn't even approve a trip to Jersey for this kind of effort.
As the phones clicked Cupid turned to Soldier Sam.
'Damn applicants!' Cupid said frustratingly. 'What do you think I can do for you?.
Millions of couples come to me--and you all write a lot of tripe I can't approve and you get sore if I don't have time to read your lousy stuff! Cupid complained. How can I approve Valentines Day Activities when they give me two jokers like you and Sarina. How? How do you think--you bourbon bum!'
Soldier Sam rose—took a look at all the heart-shaped decorations on the door. He didn't know, he said.
'Get out of here!' instructed Cupid. 'You're off the Valentines Activity List. Get out of my Office!.'
Fate had not dealt Soldier Sam a romantic spot on Staten Island, but there was a café just across from the Hot Spot where dreams blossomed in Bourbon bottles if you had the money.
.”C’mon Cupid! Sarina implored him, “There’s no better Island Getaway in the World then Staten Island! Departing from lower Manhattan Break out your compass app and board the Staten Island Ferry to New York City’s westernmost borough.”
“Yeah,” jumped in Soldier Sam. “The free ride boasts beautiful views of the skyline and a cash bar that, while modest, gets the job done. Once you’re back on land after our date we can take a short walk to Yankee Stadium for some real action, so the Fun doesn’t stop just because it’s the day after Valentine’s Day.
Cupid glanced at the beginning and then the end of Soldier Sams proposal.
"I'd like it better if we could get the Marines in the scripts somewhere," Cupid said frowning. "Have Sarina go as a helicopter gunner and you go as some kind of paperwork staff officer and then you could really shine. See what I mean?"
There was no answer. Soldier Sam turned and looked at Sarina.
What is this? Sarina exclaimed. What kind of collaborating can we do if you walk out on us, Cupid? Cupid had not even given the legitimate excuse—he always had a spot at the Super Bowl every year.
Cupid had so many contacts at that football game to chat with, it was a much needed break from his main function leading up to Valentines Day.
'How much do you guys want to go to Staten Island this year?' Cupid asked Sarina--and to Soldier Sam, 'It's all done. I promised you guys I would come through for you this Valentines Day since you are such a lovely couple, You both clearly care about each other.
Cupid decided. “ Look me up if you got a better idea than Staten Island—there are many other Islands in the world that seem to be a more popular destination for most folks, but If Staten Island is what you want.. It’s Staten Island you will get!” Cupid had signalled his stamp of approval.
Cupid hailed a cab and hurried off. He had many conferences he was the Main Guy at. All of his surrogates were in need of training because.. well, because Cupid can’t be Everywhere at the same time.
Sarina and Soldier Sam took an excited look at each other.. There were tears of joy streaming down both of their faces.
'Most Valentines Day Activity applicants get a tough break out here, I’m so happy we get to go to such a beautiful Island like Staten Island” exclaimed Soldier Sam
“Yes, Soldier Sam” agreed Sarina “'Who else would even have an idea for such a wonderful Valentines Day Getaway? Not many, that’s for sure.”
'Well anyhow, not most, clearly,' said Soldier Sam.. 'Staten Island can’t really cater to people who aren’t the Real Deal. They want Stars, like you Sarina!!'
Soldier Sam’s Training for New Starship Missions was not at all like what he expected. Rams Mascot was not a typical Instructor.
Rams Mascot leaned into Soldier Sam. “You once learned to stop trying to jump on the Moon. Now you must learn to stop waiting for the Moon to come to you. It can never be.” The next night, when Soldier Sam returned Rams Mascot asked, one last time, “Can it be?” In his capacity as Instructor, Rams Mascot already knew the answer.
Drill instructors literally scream so hard at recruits that they can pass out, or do serious and permanent damage to their vocal chords. That's why they spend a lot of time at Drill Instructor school learning to project correctly. They develop that raspy "frog voice." Losing their voice is inevitable, especially during the first phase of boot camp when orders are constantly barked. "It's just the things recruits say. They'll think they're saying something so serious, but it'll come out so ridiculous and you just want to breakdown. Instead they scream at us for doing or saying the wrong thing
The ability to master various systems of modern combat is a valuable skill. Outside of expensive training time there are few opportunities to train on what is essentially high-stress multitasking. While a game engine is no substitute for getting in a combat vehicle and putting it and its crew through their paces, the stress of a game engine such as “Training Simulation” can be an powerful addition to modern training toolkits. “Training Simulation” allows two teams to take the role of various bridge crewmembers on a starship. The players are assigned to one or more roles, operating the various systems of their ship.
Basic/Advanced rifle marksmanship.
Marksmanship is the development of skills to hit whatever we aim at with certainty, at any range, within the effective range of our rifle. The skills required are numerous. It could be terrain, weather conditions, wind conditions: it does not matter. The only thing that matters is: we need to know with certainty that we can make the shot or not. If not, think twice before taking the shot.
Without a scope, there are four factors to sighting consistently: the target, the front sight, the rear sight, and your shooting eye. The front and rear sites do not change, however, the distance from the rear sight to your eye can change and this must be avoided. When you find the right position for your shooting eye, remember it. Note the position of your eye and nose to the rifle. This applies to practicing with a scope. Ensure your eye comes into the same position every time you aim. Practice this until it becomes second nature as this will result in a consistent sight picture. Take sight easier to focus on the front sight using your peripheral vision. When you focus on the front sight the rear sight blurs and it is hard to tell with a leaf sight that you are centered.
Tell me a little bit about your Training experience, Soldier Sam.
We had to hold our breath while attempting to disable the pirate vessel’s engine underwater. Stealth is the name of the game.
As I dove into the water, I was pretending I was patrolling a dangerous beach under a full moon, and my focus fell on how the strength I was mustering up while cutting through the water was something I could tap into on any mission, like flying to the moon in a rocket ship..
Rams Mascot was yelling at us to jump into the water and my sense of resolve was changing right before my eyes. “Let it all go. Let yourself go. Whatever you’re experiencing, always think: this will make you stronger!” Rams Mascot continued.
Rams Mascot was really screaming now- “There is only one certainty: I will always be here with you, fulfilling my duty around your world at night. Tomorrow I will be there, and the day after that, and after that…
If I went through hell in rifle training--for different reasons-becoming an amphibian was even worse. I don't even like to talk about it. They wouldn't let you join in future exercises it you didn’t make the mark in the water.
I tried to cut a deal by having another recruit sign my card give my number and swim across the pool in my place, but that deal was no dice.
I didn't like the water, I didn't like swimming, and I didn't like Rams Mascot, and now that training is done I still don't. I may never swim if I spend the rest of my career pushing paper at a desk, but I passed my water work anyway.
They asked each recruit to spit out their social security number when they were under the most duress during training camp, but Rams Mascot wouldn’t stop there. "Where are you from, spit head, what is your major malfunction?" Rams Mascot snapped at me. I couldn’t answer I was so stressed.
As before, we had some visiting astronauts, Rams Mascot treats them well. When the veteran astronaut is momentarily alone with a recruit, they mention that previous astronauts visiting the moon still haven’t figured out how the base had come to be on the moon, or how it’s crew manage to survive there.
The astronauts visit for a while and then leave. I believe they take pains not to point out the impossibility of the situation. If I recall correctly, it is feared that confrontation with the moon base could cause them to leave or disappear, which would prevent our leaders from ever figuring out how they got there.
Anything else you want to tell me, Soldier Sam ?’
Yes, Sarina. It goes a little something like this.
“We need to understand our bond requirements and what's our future end state and know exactly where we are at with day to day stuff like meals together.”.
TOUR SITE SCENES
“Soldier Sam Learns a Lesson”
Sarina and Soldier Sam had arrived at the North Pole!!
Check out Santa’s mail box to send in your list, or write a sweet thank you note for the gifts you received this past year. Just outside Santa’s front door, feel the icy North Pole and watch it glow with the power of the Northern lights. This pole marks Santa’s Village at Sky Park as part of the magical North Pole.
Wow! We are going to get a Tour of Santa’s office, where all the important Christmas decisions are made!
When Sarina got to Santa’s Office It even had its own cafeteria, I spotted an elf talking a mile a minute, and thought how great it would be to have a candy bar. I got into the cafeteria to eat that delicious candy bar. The plan worked perfectly, and when I got to the cafeteria, and I could just taste the sweetness in the air of all the sweets. I opened up the door, and it was like the best place in the world.
After seeing Santa’s office, let’s check out another part of the North Pole—Where all the Work gets done. This is where the magic happens!
Sarina was walking outside when she saw the reindeer house. I went to go check it out. When I opened the sliding door, I saw reindeer. They are very lucky, because they all have cell phones. When I looked at a map, they had every reindeer on the commercial network but Rudolph! The elves looked tired, so I went to the candy shop and bought them all a candy bar. They were happy!
It was breaktime at Santa’s Workshop, and the elves were ready to go outside to play and exercise. Sometimes they like to ski, or skate, or play hockey, or do all sorts of other outdoor activities. This day happened to be the day for ice skating and a hockey game.
All the elves were out at the lake, skating, spinning and jumping. Everyone was having a great time, except Soldier Sam.
Soldier Sam dumped another cup of raisins into his breakfast oats. As he reached for the sugar bowl Sarina stopped him.
“Soldier Sam, that’s enough,“ Sarina shouted. “You’ve already had three lumps of sugar. There’s no need to stuff yourself. We are having the Reindeer Dinner this afternoon before Santa and his team leave on their Christmas Eve journey. There will be dancing, gifts and plenty of delicious food. All that sugar will spoil your appetite.“
Soldier Sam gulped down his breakfast. Then when Sarina wasn’t looking he grabbed a few lumps of sugar and headed out the door to find his Reindeer Friends and all the elves.
Soldier Sam had eaten too much breakfast, and now he just did not have room in his stomach for more and more food. He still sampled it anyway, but didn’t eat everything in the room as usual.
Sarina and Santa walked up the enormous stairway. Halfway up, Detective Sarina noticed a weather vane through the window. She realized that the wind was blowing west and sprang into action in order for the door to be shut it would have to have been blowing east.
“Sarina and Soldier Sam. I have a Holiday Mystery for You to solve. Announced Santa.
“Oh, Santa. I’m great at Solving Mysteries! Maybe Soldier Sam could help too. What’s your problem, Santa?” Sarina asked.
Santa sure did have a mystery that no one at the North Pole could solve.
You start what was supposed to just be a business front for a money laundering scheme, but your ridiculous idea is making more money than you ever dreamed.
All day, Soldier Sam had turned the pages of the North Pole Times to try and come up with an idea for a great Christmas, fast approaching.
Even though Soldier Sam did not expect to have the best idea ever, to compose a great Christmas script from this idea, he needed a decent one to get him inside Santa’s Studio..
“Hey Santa, take us to the North Pole's reindeer's house. I bet Soldier Sam and I will find a clue there to Solve your mystery.
Sarina encouraged Soldier Sam “ If you had nothing to submit, Soldier Sam I’m sure Christmas Day will sure be nice, even it became increasingly difficult to pass the gate to meet Santa.”
But though these newspapers, were the sources most commonly combed for "Original Christmas Fun" they yielded Soldier Sam nothing of value.
Soldier Sam found nothing that would help him get a Christmas Day Adventure with Sarina.
Ok, Sarina and Soldier Sam. I’ll take you to the North Pole's reindeer's house.
Maybe you will find a clue to solve this mystery. Just be on your best behavior.
You are a Guest at the North Pole. You will learn many useful things about our Operation that will be sure to help you on any mission you might find yourselves on in the Future.
Visit of the reindeer's house
Today, you will get to meet Santa's reindeer. I am sure you already know Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. He plays a very important role at the North Pole. He guides Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve. Did you know that he's not the only reindeer who lives at the North Pole? In fact, there are eight other reindeer which help Rudolph pull Santa's sleigh: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. Today, Santa will show you pictures of Santa's reindeer. You may color them and cut them out to create puppets. You can even create your own little puppet show with the reindeer. Have fun!
“Hey, Santa!” Look Soldier Sam! Look at that Orange Box sitting under the Christmas Tree. What could possibly be in the Orange Box?”
“Why don’t you open the Orange Box up, Sarina. Maybe it has something you are looking for!”
“Ok, Santa. Come over here and check out this Orange Box with me, Soldier Sam!” Sarina was so excited. They opened the Orange Box together.
Look Soldier Sam!” Sarina exclaimed. “It’s the Clue we have been looking for. I just knew we would find something at this Stop on the North Pole Tour!”
First Aid Kit
With saws and hammers and paper scissors and pointy elf shoes flying around the workshop, no matter how good Santa’s Safety guidelines are, accidents are going to happen. Good thing you’ve come prepared with a first-aid kit, including sticking pain relief and warmers for your hands frostbites, and everything else you need.
What a Great North Pole Tour you took me and Soldier Sam on, Santa. Now we have the clue to solve your mystery!” Sarina was so happy.
“Yes Sarina.” Santa appreciated Sarina’s Smart Detective Work. Merry Christmas to you and Soldier Sam from all of us at the North Pole!”
You start what was supposed to just be a business front for a money laundering scheme, but your ridiculous idea is making more money than you ever dreamed.
On the day before Sarina and Soldier Sam arrived, the Reindeer ran around and tried to give his picture production studio more of an office-type look. He wheeled the bar into a closet, put his scattered paperclips, rubber bands and file cards on the end tables. Here and there he set up tired piles of manuscripts.
Sarina and Soldier Sam arrived, the principal investigative agents Santa had commissioned at the North Pole Studio.
“Would you like a drink, Sarina?” the Reindeer asked her “I don’t know the protocol.”
“Not just now,” said Sarina “You’re Riley Reindeer, right?”
Soldier Sam was checking out a custom designed leather couch. “So this is the so-called office.”
“Not so-called,” said the Reindeer. “Just the office.”
“Some place,” said Saina. “Santa was right. Must have cost you a bundle to furnish it. Do you really need this much space just to go over the North Pole entertainment productions scripts?”
“Not really,” said the Reindeer. “You use tricks. Decorator short-cuts that make a little go a long way. Look, let’s not fool around. This is my office. I work here. I happen to like nice surroundings.
What’s Santa saying, I can call him up right now? That I have to work in a drab little place?” asked the Reindeer.
“The North Pole administration is saying take it easy,” said Soldier Sam easing himself into a white futuristic armchair and practically disappearing in the cushions.
“Where do you sleep, on the sofa? “asked Sarina. “You work back there, too?”
The Reindeer had hoped they wouldn’t get around to that. He had devoted most of his money and effort to that room, paneling all four walls with mirrors, and the ceiling as well.
He had bought the thickest rug made and put in a heavily gadgeted bed—in the area of must get some sleep tradition. Just his luck, Sarina had taken a peek at the set-up on the way into the living room.
“I take naps back there,” said the Reindeer. “Half a dozen a day. That’s my style of working. Work a little, take a nap, then work some more. You want me to stop that and not take any naps, is that it?”
“Let me see your calendar, for approving the clips we use in the shows” said Sarina.
The Reindeer could not tell if he was winning or losing with Soldier Sam, who was starting to drink, but otherwise had a neutral expression.
The Reindeer was prepared to go along with Sarina until Soldier Sam stepped out of line, at which point he would ask that his case be turned over to higher-ups.
Santa had told him he could do that. But it was difficult to tell if Soldier Sam was stepping out of line. He probably wasn’t. So the Reindeer handed over his daily record book. He had worked on it for two weeks to make it look completely legitimate.
“You certainly take a lot of cabs,” said Sarina, flipping through the diary. “No, the North Pole Administration isn’t saying you should walk. They are merely making an observation.”
“The North Pole Administration is such a …” said the Reindeer.
Sarina snickered, looking quite the part of an agent, and then plowed on. “
Who’s this guy? Rudolph”” Sarina asked, still studying the diary. “You’ve had him to lunch dozens of times and I’m still at the start of your workbook. You both must be very hungry guys.”
Actually, this was a break for the Reindeer.. Most of the Rudolph lunches were legitimate, and in addition, he had called Rudolph, who was well versed as a public relations guy, and put him on alert that the North Pole Administration might be in touch.
And to please back him up all the way. He was in great shape on Rudolph, not so good on Dasher and Dancer, and Blitzen, all of whom were down for fake lunches and might not come through if Soldier Sam checked them out.
“Why don’t you call Rudolph and ask him if we talked studio production business all those times or not,” said the Reindeer. “Here, I’ll give you his number.”
“That’s all right,” said Soldier Sam, making a few notations in his record book and then putting it away.
“Let’s take a break, Mr. Reindeer. I know all about these calendars. Everybody bullshits their way through them. You probably just got finished padding yours the second I got here.
How about that drink you mentioned before?” Sarina kicked out her legs and made herself comfortable.
The reindeer winced at the thought of this Sarina, with her flashy elf suit getting comfortable on his fine furniture, but he rushed to mix a drink all the same. If it ever got down to a pitched battle, he could say that Sarina drank on the job.
“You go to a lot of restaurants,” said Soldier Sam, still taking lots of notes.
“Try a place called Burger King” suggested Soldier Sam. Terrific Burgers and you get unlimited Fries and Onion Rings for the same price. You get out of there, and you feel like you aren’t going to have to eat for another week.”
The Reindeer could just about imagine what kind of place Burger King was. With its all-you-can-eat policy on fries and Onion Rings, but he made believe he was jotting down the name and address for future reference.
The Reindeer decided to join Sarina in a drink.
“Must be nice studio work you do,” said Soldier Sam. “Going to all those production shooting prep lunches and then sitting around in a place like this to do your work. With this view.”
“I really do work up here,” said the Reindeer still defensive. “I just happen to like nice surroundings. I’ve worked in flophouses and now I figure I deserve this.”
“Hey,” said Sarina “We’re taking a break, right?”
“Right,” the Reindeer said, relieved all this was over. But was It?
LAST DAY ON EARTH ACTIVITY
Sarina’s Party left her devastated when the event venue and air travel was cancelled with just the day before the party was scheduled to take place.
So Sarina and Solider Sam ended up partying at Burger King exchanging Onion Rings at a shall we day ‘behind the times’ dive restaurant on Crenshaw Boulevard.
Sarina had expectations of a more civilized social affair and Solider Sam had her Party planned to the detail, to take place at a Beverly Hills Venue usually reserved for Hollywood Stars.
But the pair’s Dream Day was shattered when it was cancelled just 24 hours before the makeshift replacement event would take place at Burger King.
A devastated Sarina said: “It was one hell of a 24 hours. I am beyond heartbroken. I was supposed to be partying with Soldier Sam and lots of my friends, but our venue cancelled on us.
“Seeing as we couldn't exchange the real deal, we ended up exchanging Onion Rings.”
Sarina continued with the Story “We hadn’t even eaten anything since we found out My Party was cancelled because we felt so bad, so we stopped off at Burger King on the way back.
Solider Sam walked into Burger King with one goal in mind.
Drink lots of Orange Soda all night long with Sarina.
Burger King was packed for the festivities, but Solider Sam was thanking God that he didn’t realise just how many people were in sight focusing on him.
Soldier Sam’s gaze swept over the familiar restaurant.
The once designated solitary Soldier Sam had happily settled down with Sarina, and even now as they worked the crowd, they kept exchanging glances that would’ve been fine if it wasn’t totally overboard from the perspective of everyone who went out that night.
Soldier Sam raised his hand in greeting some of Sarina‘s close friends and family, and walked towards the booth. A wave of happiness washed over him. Really? In the past, they’d always gathered at Burger King to get some eats and make Love to each other with words.
It seems Sarina’s friends and partners had appreciated how overwhelmed he was by the crowd, and left him alone. Solider Sam was relieved he didn’t have to meet everyone that night.
Some of Sarina’s very closest friends grinned and patted Solider Sam on the shoulder. “Glad you made it, chief. You doing okay?”
He tried not to create a mess of things. Really inside he was practically glowing just because he was with Sarina. “Yeah, fine. Hi..”
“Hi, Soldier Sam. We have a Whopper Combo coming. Do you want anything else?”
Some more of Sarina’s friends glided over and produced another Orange Soda for Solider Sam“Hey there. You okay?”
“Why is everyone asking me if I’m okay?” Soldier Sam asked himself. He took a long gulp of the Orange Soda, trying to play it cool. “This is the best Orange Soda I have ever had! These bartenders are Pros in my book.”
“Cause you don’t look happy,” Sarina’s Friend noted.
Soldier Sam took a deep breath, wondering why it was so obvious. He was doing his best to hide his worries about the big crowd.
Sarina and Solider Sam had exchanged vows to avoid all the expensive dinners and pricey flowers, making sure their guests knew the whole objective was to just celebrate with Orange Soda. Who could ask for more!
“Just a bit worn out from how significant the day has been” Soldier Sam explained.. “Don‘t be concerned on my behalf. A Whopper Combo with Onion Rings is all I need right now.
“Where are all of Sarina co-workers? Asked Soldier Sam.
“Got stuck at practice. Can you believe there is practically no offseason? I guess they want to keep busy but it’s not like the reporters need to hear their every thought when the regular season is still 4 months away.
“I know” Solider Sam agreed. “Give me a break. No one cares how much they can bench press in April.“
Another one of Sarina’s friends glided over, leaning over with concern. “Hey, do you not like the Orange Soda? You okay?”
Soldier Sam’s response was slow. Damnit. He couldn’t help but wish there was something else to talk about except for football. He couldn’t care less but acted excited sometimes just because of Sarina.
It was really nice Sarina’s family cared about him because he wanted more than anything part of the group, and honestly? They were the coolest people to hang out with.
Soldier Sam’s life before Sarina had been an unmitigated disaster, the whole time hoping he’d finally find someone as wonderful as Sarina to chart out the future for him. He would be completely lost without her.
“I’m good.” Soldier Sam was trying really hard to make it a beautiful night for Sarina.. Thanks for checking on me. And I love this Orange Soda.”
Soldier Sam was so glad Sarina was going to be in charge and take the lead.
“Hey, my family quite a distance from Los Angeles made it!” Sarina said happily, standing up and waving to them over to the bar.
“Hi guys! Soldier Sam tried. I’m so glad you all were able to get here!
From the moment they met, Soldier Sam reminded Sarina of a lost puppy stuck in a shelter each time he spoke to anyone except her.
Soldier Sam’s ability to conduct amphibious raids on the beach had made him a bit of a Rockstar to everyone that needed equipment delivered. But no one else outside of that group had any clue and Solider Sam liked it that way.
One of Sarina’s friends sensed Solider Sam was struggling. “Can I get you another cold one?”
“Yes, please. Another Orange Soda.” Soldier Sam was grateful for the brief distraction.
Soldier Sam looked at Sarina for the one millionth time and took in her outfit choice for today. Simply Beautiful. As Hot as a guy could dream of.
Sarina was dressed up for the big occasion, really making Solider Sam excited for that aspect of the night. Sarina was the best thing that ever happened to him.
Soldier Sam ordered the Whopper and Onion Rings and Soldier Sam was looking forward to focus on how wonderful they would taste. Another welcome distraction to what had turned into a Social Tidal Wave.
“Soldier Sam ordered the Onion Rings for us to share and when we sat down in out booth overlooking a street symbolic of urban strife, he told me to put one on, but he ended up eating the rest all by himself. He didn’t even share. You just had to laugh.
“I couldn’t believe what loud munching noises were going on right in front of me, even before the Whoppers got to the table. Soldier Sam was eating the Onion Rings with no shame.
"I kept saying to stop eating all the Onion Rings. I mean sometimes I swear that pigs eat with more Grace than Soldier Sam," Sarina added. “He even smiles while chewing with his mouth full, knowing full well that I don’t care for it.”
Within minutes the Whopper was delivered and placed on the table. He was full of anticipation. Then he spoke. "I am so very happy I got to see you again, I really missed you. You want some Zesty Sauce all over you, Right?" Sarina paused, and rolled her eyes towards him.
"You are important to me," Soldier Sam added sincerely. "And you are so beautiful, you smell so good I can't wait to get my Munchin' On...
Sarina went on… "I did not know how to react, no one had never ever said something like that right to my face” And it was right at the same moment that he was dumping several packets of Zesty Sauce inside the Whopper.
“I was like, that is really sweet, but what the hell are you talking about?" I was incredulous. I tried to even get him to Look at Me by snapping my fingers at him. But he continued stuffing his face any way. “I swear I never get the response I want”, Sarina said with a note of frustration.
Soldier Sam held his huge Whopper right up to his face and took a long pause for dramatic effect. "My stomach is so empty without you. Nothing will ever, ever come between us. You mean everything to Me. That's for Fucking Sure. I can't wait to order you again from Burger King next time Sarina and I get our dreams crushed."
Soldier Sam took as long as he could drinking his Orange Soda, finishing up the Onion Rings, and talking with Sarina. They had taken a little break from the crowd before Sarina’s family came back from the drinking fountain with another round of Orange Soda.
Soldier Sam got up from the Booth. “Here, sit and get comfortable. I would love to spend some quality time with you guys this evening.
“Oh, that‘s okay, Solider Sam.”
He remained standing. “I’m not going to sit while you stand. Just sit.”So Sarina’s family settled down at the table and thank God there was still a Spot for Solider Sam at the table so he didn’t have to work the whole restaurant. He was getting tired.
Being with Sarina’s family was the best part of Stuff like this.
“Great! You guys are super nice tonight” Solider Sam was indeed thankful for their support.
“We’re not surprised you appreciate the beauty of this special night, Soldier Sam “We know chatting people up is not your strong suite, but we also know you love Sarina more than anything else and would do anything for her. Even navigate a Social Tidal Wave.”
In his darkness days Sarina gives Solider Sam a blinding ray of sunshine. For that Solider Sam is so Grateful beyond what anyone else on earth could comprehend happening in the Heart.
“We can still laugh through this since we will always have each other. If you sit and cry the whole time, you’re only going to make yourself feel worse.” Sarina tried to put a positive spin on the debacle.
“I know Soldier Sam, behind closed doors, was finding the whole situation hard to stomach right after we found out about the cancellation. He was crying and saying it’s not fair,” but then he cheered right up when I mentioned the great potential that Burger King has for a Birthday Party.
He was actually pretty excited when I picked the alternate venue, telling me that I could feel just like a Princess with one of those Cardboard Crowns.
To put the jewels on the crown of the disaster, Sarina said the original venue wouldn't even refund their deposit because they were going out of business.
“We obviously didn’t take insurance out or anything like that, never anticipating my Party was going to be cancelled. The worst that we figured could happen was maybe just our photographer or videographer would be a no show,” Sarina said.
Despite it not being the Party they had planned, both Sarina and Solider Sam say they are glad they went to Burger King instead of staying home surrounded by all the Party Favors to be given out on a Party night that would never happen.
Sarina now feels she could be waiting long time for a Party at a similar upscale venue, despite being told she's a top priority in Beverly Hills and the surrounding Greater Los Angeles Metro Area.
Sarina added, “I could potentially lose the opportunity to ever have a Party of any similar kind in the future because Soldier Sam might have to go back to work, depending on if his project becomes of interest to anyone.”
Both Sarina and Soldier Sam ended up being happy with their unexpected night out at Burger King. Who could ask for more?
Sarina and Soldier Sam sure had a night to remember at Burger King.
Well, a Night to Remember for Sarina. Soldier Sam? Not so much.
The next morning, Soldier Sam was in pretty rough shape.
Soldier Sam collapsed into the chair, leaned over and put his head in his hands “Oh, Fuck” he complained.
Sarina, sitting light and straight up on the couch, smiled brightly at him.
“Not feeling so well today?” Sarina asked.
“Oh, I’m great,” Solider Sam replied.”Just dandy, I am.
“Know what time I got up? Well, I never fell asleep. I kept trying to make it off to dreamland, and every time I got close I just couldn’t and my head would roll under the bed.
“This isn’t my head I’ve got on now” Soldier Sam continued. “ I think this is something that used to belong to Mickey Mouse. Oh, Fuck.”
“Do you think maybe a drink would make you feel better?” Sarina suggested.
“Oh, no, thank you.” Solider Sam replied. “Please never speak of anything like that again. I’m through. I’m all, all through. Tell me, was I very terrible last night?”
“Oh, goodness,” Sarina said, “All of my friends were in good spirits too. You were all right.”
“Yeah,” Soldier Sam said.”I must have been dandy. Do they never want to see me again?“
“Good heavens, no,” Sarina said. “They thought you were terribly funny.”
Of course, Papa was a little on edge, there, for a minute at dinner. But Mama sort of held him back in his chair, and got him calmed down. I don’t think anybody at the other tables noticed it at all. Hardly anybody.”
“He was going to sock me?” Soldier Sam said. ”Oh, Lord. What did I do to him?”
“Why, you didn’t do a thing,” Sarina said.”You were perfectly fine. But you know how Papa gets, when he thinks you are making too much love to me.”
“Was I making a pass at You, Sarina?” Soldier Sam asked, “Did I do that?”
“Of course you didn’t.” Sarina said.”You were only fooling that’s all. I thought you were awfully amusing. I was having a marvelous time. I only got almost frustrated with you just once, when you poured that Orange Soda over my head.
“My God,” Soldier Sam said. ”A drink on your head. And with all the work you got done at the Hair Dresser before we went out. Dear God. What’ll I ever do?”
“Oh, I’ll be all right,” Sarina said. ”Just send me some flowers, or something. Don’t worry about it. It isn’t anything.”
“No I won’t worry,” Solider Sam said.”I haven’t got a care in the world. I’m sitting pretty. Oh, Fuck. Did I do any other fascinating tricks at dinner?”
“You were fine,” Sarina said.”Don’t be so foolish about it. Everybody was crazy about you. The maître d’hôtel was a little worried because you wouldn’t stop singing, but he really didn’t mind.
All he said was, he was afraid they’d close the place again, if there was so much noise. But he didn’t care a bit, himself. I think he loved seeing you have such a good time. Oh, you were just singing away, there, for about an hour. It wasn’t so terribly loud, at all.”
“So I sang,”Solider Sam said.”That must have really been some treat.”
“Don’t you remember?” Sarina asked.”You just sang one Note after another. Everybody in the place was listening. They loved it.”
“Only you kept insisting that you wanted to sing the same song over and over, and everybody kept shushing you, and you’d keep trying to start it again.”
“You were wonderful, Sarina reassured him. “We were all trying to make you stop singing for a minute, so you would pay attention to how you were moving all that food off the plate, but you wouldn’t hear of it. My, you were funny.”
“Didn’t I focus on eating, with all that singing?” Solider Sam said.
“Oh, you sure did,” Sarina replied.
”Every time the waiter would come back to our table to refill our glasses, you’d order another appetizer. Like everything left on the menu, long after we had finished eating our main course.
“You had the whole kitchen staff Steamed at you,” Sarina laughed. Ordering all those Whoppers and Onion Rings. I think you set a Record!’
In an effort to preserve Rams football after the destruction of Earth caused by a Sun Explosion, commanders constructed a starship designed transport all Rams Fans across space. Their destination was any planet that could support the most essential form of life, Rams Football.
You discover that there are several potential planets to support Rams Football within the solar system. You are the captain of one of the last starships leaving Earth. But you end up nowhere near any planets hospitable to football. In fact, you are light-years away from your solar system.
You don't know how you got there, but you do know that going anywhere from here will require a starship built from scratch that can sustain the life of Rams Fans. You hope that those who follow you will appreciate all of your crew and their determination sustained by your passion for Rams Football.
Soldier Sam’s plan for the ship is to make sure your crew never sets foot in Rams Stadium, on whatever planet your ship might find. His plan of course, the only reason it existed, was to convince you that there is more to life in the Galaxy, that he could show you worlds of excitement, and maybe eventually they may find a home for the Rams new Stadium, but Soldier Sam was certainly in no rush for the Season to Start.
Soldier Sam’s scouts have returned claiming that they have located a planet hospitable to Rams Football and great debates would ensue aboard the Ship as to if coordinates should be set and gear to be prepared for this exciting mission of a lifetime.
Soldier Sam was looking concerned, and it wasn’t the wash of the alert lights. Sarina felt just the same. An oscillation meant Waystation was vibrating from a wheel into an oval and back to an oval in the other direction, straining the tensioner cables and stressing the fabric of the hull.
The Radio Crackled. Sarina and Soldier Sam both heard the noise.
“Rams Mascot is that YOU?!!” Sarina was shocked.
“Wait, Rams Mascot, I can’t hear you. Speak up!” Sarina shouted.
“Rams Mascot we have a bad connection. Hold on while Soldier Sam and I fix the ship so we can hear you. Sit Tight! Don’t Go anywhere, We will reestablish the connection,” Sarina Promised.
It might break eventually to friction and energy loss and stabilize. That was what it was supposed to do.
Or—and this seemed more likely right then—it might shake the habitation apart, as the wheel snapped back and forth like a giant, shaking jelly mold.
Soldier Sam asked, “We started that when we dumped the atmosphere from 3 North, didn’t we?”
“Probably,” Sarina replied.
“Can we interrupt it?” Soldier Sam asked. “Use the attitude jets to damp it down? What if we dumped the atmosphere somewhere else?”
Much as Sarina couldn’t stand Soldier Sam at that moment, it was a good idea, though the necessary timing and force were probably too precise to manage.
“Looks like something is stuck behind a series of decomp doors in 8 and 9. The evacuation pods are in 10, 11, and 12. They were mid-evac when we popped 3 North.”
“We were just one set of doors away from finding them,” Solder Sam exclaimed.
“Where are You, Rams Mascot?” Sarina shouted into the radio receiver.
Rams Mascots voice came through loud and clear.
“WHERE ARE YOU, RAMS MASCOT?” Sarina wanted to know as soon as possible. “Can the Planet’s Terrain and Atmosphere support Rams Football””
“I’m on Planet CELAENO! Check it out,Sarina!”
Planets higher levels of methane, particularly in the upper atmosphere, cause greater absorption of red light from the sun, in turn causing the planet to appear a blue-cyan colour.
Sounds perfect for Rams Football” exclaimed Sarina.
Again Ram’s Mascot’s voice:
'Quiet, Solider Sam” Sarina shouted. “We'll take Ram’s Mascots transmission now! . . . “Sound, Lights and Action!'
The glare stabbed into Soldier Sam’s eyes, blinding him. He took a step the wrong way--then back. Was Rams Mascot on the take?”—this planet liked like gangster's hide-out--and it seemed Rams Mascot was in his way.
'All right” Sarina Instructed Rams Mascot . . . “Roll 'em” . . . We're turning the Volume Up!'
In his panic Soldier Sam had stepped behind a panel which would effectually conceal him. While Sarina and Rams Mascot played out their scene he stood there shocked a little,
Soldier Sam was at attention but quite unaware that it was a 'Planet Shot', that the camera, moving forward on its track, was almost upon Rams Mascot
'You on the video screen, challenged Soldier Sam--hey you, Rams Mascot, hands up.'
We are coming to Rams Planet, Rams Mascot! But we have to make 2 Stops.
First we are going to Planet X for some Upgrades to our Starship since we expect to Drift for Long Time to land on Rams Moon.
Then New Starship Upgrades for Big Fight to get from the Moon to Rams Stadium.
We are going to make a day of it on Planet X while our ship gets fixed. It will be an Adventure!! Then we will go on a Day Trip on Your Rams Moon too.
“Look, Solder Sam!” Planet X is fast approaching “ said Sarina. Prepare for landing!!”
When the plane touches down it feels almost like a short jolt, and then they will hear them turn the engines to idle and the plane slows down pretty fast.
PLANET X ADVENTURE ACTIVITY
An Extraordinary Series of Events played out in Los Angeles just before Sarina and Soldier Sam‘s Special Day.
A shop-front signboard shows off Footballs used in Super Bowls as long back as when there was No Super Bowls. with an additional inscription ‘We also bake Cakes.’
Soldier Sam woke up rather early that morning and there was an party already in the Kitchen.. As he sat up he saw Sarina, who was a quite respectable woman and a great coffee drinker, taking a fresh cake out of the oven.
‘I don’t want any coffee today, Sarina, said Soldier Sam. ‘I’ll make do with some cake when it cools off and paint White Frosting on it.’
[Here we must explain that Soldier Sam would really have liked to have had some coffee as well, but knew it was quite out of the question to expect both coffee and Cake since Sarina wanted to save all the coffee for herself as a reward for waking up even earlier than Soldier Sam. And it promised to be a long day by anyone’s standards.
‘Let Soldier Sam have his Cake, I don’t mind,’ Sarina muttered under her breath.. ‘That means extra coffee for me!’ And she threw the Cake onto the counter top.
Soldier Sam made his way to the counter and applied all the White Frosting, took a knife and with a determined expression on his face started cutting the Cake.
When he started to slice the Cake, Sarina peered into the middle and was amazed to se something brown there with white stitches in it there. Sarina carefully picked at it with the knife, and felt it with her fingers.
‘What on earth is this Solider Sam?’
Sarina pulled it out – a Football!!!
Soldier Sam flopped back in his chair, and began rubbing his eyes, seemingly shocked. . Yes!! it was a football all right, no mistake about that. And, what’s more, it was one Sarina was pointing at in the Shop Window earlier this week.
Soldier Sam looked horrified to Sarina.. But this horror was nothing compared with Sarina’s indignation.
‘You fool, I made up the Cake Batter last night and there was sure as fuck no Football in it!’ she cried furiously. ‘You scoundrel! I’ll report it to the police myself, I will. You thief!
Come to think of it, I’ve heard several customers say that when they came in for a look at the Footballs you started looking at every one of then so much it looks like the NFL Hall of Fame with such a crowd at each glass case. It’s a wonder the Shopkeeper even let’s you look around so much!
Soldier Sam knew Sarina had wanted a particular one, from January 30, 1999 when the Rams Defeated the Tennessee Titans 23-17.
But no sooner did Sarina notice, the Football jumped off the countertop and zinged out the window in at tight spiral, a spiral like the Rams struggled to produce all of last season.
Sarina ran out the front door after the football.
Soldier Sam was absolutely stunned. He thought and thought, but just didn’t know what to make of it.
‘I’m damned if I know what’s happened!’ as he ran out the door after Sarina. ‘I can’t say for certain if I came home plastered from the bar next to the Shop and lost a bet or something like that last night. All I know is, it’s crazy. After all, Cakes are baked in an oven, and you don’t get Footballs in your Cake in bakeries. Can’t make head or tail of it!...
But Sarina had stopped chasing it and went back into the house, filled with despair’
Soldier Sam lapsed into silence. The thought that if the Football reached the Police Station, they could afterwards bring a charge against him.
All he wanted was to catch up to it and stuff it away somewhere, either hiding it between two curb-stones by someone’s front door or else ‘accidentally’ dropping it and slinking off down a side street.
But as luck would have it, he kept bumping into his comrades at the bar who would insist on asking: ‘Where are you off to?’ or ‘It’s a bit early to be chasing Footballs down the street, isn’t it?’
So as a result, Soldier Sam didn’t have a chance to get rid of it. Once he did manage to drop it, but a policeman pointed at it and said: ‘Pick that up! Can’t you see you dropped something!’ And Soldier Sam had to pick it up and hide it in his pocket. Despair gripped him, especially as the streets were getting more and more crowded now as the shops and Food Trucks began to open.
Soldier Sam decided to make his way to the Bridge and see if he could throw the Football into the River without anyone seeing him.
By now this respectable citizen of ours had already reached the Bridge. First of all he had a good look around. Then he leant over the rails, trying to pretend he was looking under the bridge to see if there were many Boats there, and furtively threw the Football into the water. He felt as if a couple of hundred pound weights had been lifted from his shoulders and he even managed to produce a smile.
Suddenly Soldier Sam saw a policeman at one end of the bridge, in a very smart uniform, with a blue hat and a pistol. He went cold all over as the policeman beckoned to him and said: ‘Come here, my friend!’
Recognizing the uniform, Soldier Sam stopped in his tracks before he had taken half a dozen steps, tripped up to the officer and greeted him with: ‘Good morning, Sir!’
‘No, no, my man, none of your ‘Sir’. Just tell me what you were up to on the bridge?’
‘Honest, officer, I was on my way to get a bite to eat and stopped to see how fast the current was.’
‘You’re lying. You really can’t expect me to believe that! You’d better come clean at once!’
‘I’ll give you a bribe, Sir, honest I will, Solider Sam called out in desperation.
‘No, no, my friend, that won’t do, said the officer. Will you please tell me what you were up to?’
But at this point everything became so completely enveloped in mist it is really impossible to say what happened afterwards.
In a terrible panic, back at the house, Sarina drew up some water from the faucet, rubbed her eyes with a towel. No mistake about it: her Football was gone. Sarina began pinching herself to make sure she was not dreaming, but to all intents and purposes she was wide awake.
Sarina hopped in her car and off she dashed straight to the Head of Police.
As if this morning was not bad enough, there was not a parking place at the Cop Shop in sight, and she had to drive around. ‘But perhaps I dreamt it! How could I take a football enveloped in Cake out of the oven?’ And then it flies away. Oh, Dear.
Suddenly Sarina drove down an unfamiliar street stood rooted to the spot near the front door of some house and witnessed a most incredible sight.
A truck drew up to the driveway. The doors flew open and out jumped a uniformed, Football who dashed up the steps. The feeling of shock and amazement that gripped Sarina when she recognized the football defies description.
Now she must be dreaming! After this extraordinary sight everything went topsy-turvy. Sarina could hardly keep to her feet, but decided at all costs to wait until the Football returned to the truck.
A short time later a Football really did come out. It was wearing the Rams new uniform, complete with the New Helmets!
And it was abundantly clear that the Football was going to visit someone. It looked right, then left, revved up the car, shouted ‘Let’s go!’, climbed in and drove off.
Sarina nearly went out of her mind. She did not know what to make of it. How, in fact, could a Football, which only a few minutes ago was found in her Cake, and which could not possibly walk around or drive in a truck, suddenly turn up in a Rams Uniform!
Sarina followed the truck which fortunately did not travel very far and came to a halt outside the Cathedral. Sarina rushed into the Cathedral Square.
Only a few people were at prayer, all of them standing by the entrance. Sarina felt so distraught that she was in no condition for praying, and her eyes searched every nook and cranny for the Football in a Rams Uniform.
Then Sarina spotted it standing by one of the walls to the side. The Football’s face was completely hidden by the Helmet and it was praying with an expression of profound piety.
‘What’s the best way of approaching it?’ thought Sarina. ‘Judging by its uniform, its helmet, and its whole appearance, it must be part of the Rams organisation. But I’m damned if I know!’
Sarina tried to attract its attention by coughing, but the Football did not interrupt its devotions for one second and continued towards the altar.
‘My dear Sir,’ Sarina said, summoning up her courage, ‘My Dear Sir…’
‘What do you want?’ replied the Football, turning around.
Sarina didn‘t know what to say ‘I don’t know how best to put it, sir, but it strikes me as very peculiar…Don’t you know where you belong? And where do I find you? In church, of all places! I’m sure you’ll agree that…’
‘Please forgive me, but would you mind telling me what you’re talking about?...Explain yourself.’ the Football replied.
‘How can I make myself clear?’ Sarina wondered. Nerving herself once more she said: ‘Of course, I am, as it happens, I am the Rams Reporter. I know everyone on the Team. But I have never interviewed you.’
‘I can’t see any problem here,’ the Football replied. ‘Please come to the point.’
‘My dear sir,’ continued Sarina, ‘I really don’t know what you mean by that. It’s plain enough for anyone to see…Unless you want…Don’t you realize you are a Rams Football!’
The Football looked at Sarina and frowned a little.
‘My Dear Woman, you are mistaken. I am a Football in my own right. I just decided to put the Rams Uniform on since I happen to be in Los Angeles. And the Chargers are a poor excuse for a Football Team. Furthermore, I don’t see that we can have anything in common. Judging from your outfit this morning, I should say you’re from another Planet, like the Bronx.’
With these words the Football turned away and continued its prayers.
Sarina was so confused she did not know what to do or think.
But suddenly Sarina jumped backwards as though he had been singed by the Oven: She remembered that without the Rams she wouldn‘t be having as much fun, and tears streamed from her eyes.
Sarina turned around to tell the Football in a Rams Uniform straight out that it was only masquerading as a Ram, that it was an impostor and a scoundrel. But the Football had already gone: it managed to slip off unseen, probably to pay somebody a visit.
This reduced Sarina to absolute despair. She went out, and stood for a minute or so under the colonnade, carefully looking around her in the hope of spotting the Football.
Sarina‘s car wouldn‘t start back up again so she cried out in a despairing voice: ‘TAXI!! Let’s go!’
‘Blast and damn!’ said Sarina. ‘Driver, take me straight to the Chief of Police.’
‘Drive like the devil” Sarina shouted, once the Cathedral was out of range’
‘Where?’ asked the driver.
‘Straight on? But it’s a dead-end here – you can only go right or left.’
So just as Sarina was about to tell the driver to go straight to the Justice Hall, it struck her that the scoundrel and impostor who had behaved so shamelessly could quite easily take advantage of the delay and slip out of the city, in which event all efforts to find it would be futile and might even drag on Forever, God forbid.
Finally inspiration came from above. Sarina decided to go straight to the newspaper offices and publish an advertisement, so the LA public might be of some help since there were only so many places they could search at any one time.
Sarina considered the detailed description of the Football she would make so that anyone who happened to meet it would at once turn it over to Sarina, or at least tell her where she could find it.
Deciding this was the best course of action, Sarina ordered the driver to go straight to the newspaper offices and throughout the whole journey never once stopped pummelling the driver in the back with her fist and shouting: ‘Faster, damn you, faster!’
Finally the cab came to a halt and the breathless Sarina tore into a small waiting-room where a clerk was sitting at a table with his pen between his teeth, counting out copper coins.
‘Who sees to advertisements here?’ Sarina shouted. ‘Ah, good morning.’
‘Good morning,’ replied the clerk, raising his eyes for one second, then looking down again at the little piles of money spread out on the table.
‘I want to publish an advertisement.’ Sarina said with a sense of urgency.
‘Just one moment, if you don’t mind,’ the clerk answered, as he wrote down a figure with one hand and scribbling down some math with the other.
‘My dear sir, will you take the details down now, please. I really can’t wait any longer.” Sarina said, beginning to lose patience.
Finally, the clerk turned to Sarina and said: ‘What do you want?’
‘I want…’ Sarina began. ‘Something very crazy’s been going on, whether it’s some practical joke or a plain case of fraud I can’t say as yet. All I want you to do is to offer a substantial reward for the first person to find the Football dressed in Rams Regalia.
‘Why do you need that? I can’t tell you. Too many people know me. Just put ‘Sarina, Rams Reporter.. or even better, Sarina, Star of the Rams”
‘Hm, interesting. And did this Football steal much, or cause any kind of disturbance?’
‘My Football!! I’m trying to say. You don’t understand! It’s my own Football that’s disappeared. It’s a diabolical practical joke someone’s played on me.’
‘How did it disappear? I don’t follow.’ the clerk replied.
‘I can’t tell you how. But please understand, My Football is traveling at this very moment all over the town, calling itself a Ram. That’s why I’m asking you to print this advertisement announcing the first person who catches it should return the Football to its rightful owner as soon as possible.
“Imagine what it’s like being without a Football!!” Sarina exclaimed.
The clerk’s tightly pressed lips showed he was deep in thought. ‘I can’t print an advertisement like that in our paper,’ he said after a long silence.
‘What? Why not?’
‘I’ll tell you. A paper can get a bad name. If everyone started announcing her Football had run away, I don’t know how it would all end. And enough false reports and rumours get past editorial already…’
‘By why does it strike you as so ridiculous? I certainly don’t think so.’
‘That’s what you think. But only last week there was a similar case. Someone came here with an advertisement, just like you. All they wanted to advertise was a Runaway Coffee Maker. And what do you think he was up to really? In the end we had a libel case on our hands.
‘But I want to publish an advertisement about my Football, not my Coffee Maker,” protested Sarina.
‘No, I can’t accept that kind of advertisement.’
‘But I’ve lost My Football!!’
‘Then you’d better see a Football Shop about it. I’ve heard there’s a certain kind of specialist who can fix you up with any kind Football you like. ‘Anyway, you seem a cheery sort, and I can see you like to have your little joke.’
‘By all that’s Holy, I swear I’m telling you the truth. If you really want me to, I’ll show you what I mean.’
‘I shouldn’t bother if I were you,’ the clerk continued, lighting up a cigarette. ‘However, if it’s really no trouble,’ he added, leaning forward out of curiosity, ‘then I shouldn’t mind having a quick look.’
Sarina whipped out her phone and showed the clerk the photo she snapped of the Football wearing a Rams Uniform Praying at the Cathedral.
‘Of course, it’s no problem printing the advertisement,’ the clerk said. ‘But I can’t see what you can stand to gain by it. If you like, why not give it to someone with a flair for journalism, then they can write it up as a Story about a Very Nutty Football and have it published in The LA Times. The clerk lit up another cigarette. Make it something of interest to the general public.’
Apparently even the clerk was touched by Sarina’s terrible predicament and thought it would not hurt to cheer her up with a few words of sympathy.
‘Really, I can’t say how sorry I am at what’s happened. How about a cigarette? It’s very good for headaches – and puts fresh heart into you. It even cures the flu.
With these words the clerk deftly flipped back the lid of the box.
This unintentionally thoughtless action made Sarina lose patience altogether.
‘I don’t understand how you can joke at a time like this,’ Sarina said angrily. ‘Are you so blind you can’t see that I don‘t have a Football anymore? You know what you can do with your cigarette! I can’t bear to look at it, and anyway you might at least offer me a real Marlboro not that filthy rolling tobacco.”
After this declaration Sarina strode furiously out of the newspaper office and went off to the local Inspector of Police. Sarina arrived just when as the officer was having a good stretch, and saying, ‘Now for a nice two hours nap.’ Sarina had clearly chosen a very bad time for her visit.
The Inspector gave Sarina a rather cold welcome and said that today wasn’t at all the time to start investigations.
The reception given her by the Inspector startled Sarina so much she threw out her arms and said in a dignified voice, ‘To be frank, after these remarks of yours, which I find very offensive, I have nothing more to say…’ and walked out.
Sarina arrived home hardly able to feel her feet beneath her. It was already getting dark. After her fruitless inquiries being back home seemed extremely dismal since she had all but cinched the Football’s Freedom.
Solider Sam promptly jumped up and rushed to take off Sarina’s coat. Exhausted Beyond Comprehension, Sarina went to her room, threw herself into an armchair and after a few sighs said:
‘My God, my God! What have I done to deserve this? Being without any Cake wouldn’t be very pleasant, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world.
But to lose My Football for no reason at all and with nothing to show for it! No, it’s absolutely impossible…It can’t have gone just like that! Never! It must have been a dream, or perhaps I drank some of that Scotch instead of water.
It was absolutely incomprehensible. If a Television, or her workout bike, or her Ping-Pong Table, or something of that sort had been missing, that would have been understandable. But for her Football to disappear from her own house…Sarina weighed up all the evidence and decided that the most likely explanation of all was that Soldier Sam was to blame, and no one else.
Suddenly there was a knock on the Door. Soldier Sam got up to open it.
‘Does Sarina-- Rams Reporter. Or pardon me.. Sarina Star of the Rams live here?’
‘Please come in. Sarina is home, said Solider Sam.
A smart-looking police officer, the same police officer who had stood on the River Bridge at the beginning of our story – made his entrance.
‘Are you the woman who lost Her Football?
‘Yes, that’s me.’ Sarina replied.
‘It’s been found.’ explained the officer.
‘What did you say?’ cried Sarina. She could hardly speak for joy. She looked wide-eyed at the police officer.
‘How did you find it?’
‘Very strange. We caught it just as it was about to drive off on the way to the Marine Corps Base in San Diego. It’s passport was made out in the name of ‘Rambo Rams’ Strangely enough, I mistook it at first. But I could see it was really a Football.
Sarina was beside herself.
‘Where is it? I’ll go right away to claim it.’
‘That’s it!’ cried Sarina, once she got to t he property claims depot at the Police Station, ‘no mistake!
Dear Soldlier Sam!..
Sarina was typing into her phone, even though he was just sitting at the Kitchen Table. Sarina and Soldier Sam did that every once in a while because there are somethings just better written, that would be impossible to communicate in normal everyday conversation.. Take this Report, for example.
Meanwhile, rumours about the strange occurrence had spread throughout Los Angeles not, need we say, without a few embellishments. At the time everyone seemed very preoccupied with the possibilities of an actual Football walking abound with a Rams Uniform that could drive a car and pray at a Cathedral would show up at the Brand New Rams Stadium when it opens for business.
These events came as a blessing to Los Angeles socialites-- indispensable for any successful party who loved amusing each other and who were now stuck in their houses, unable to carry on the essential business of Hollywood, quite more important than the defense industrial base..
And all this took place in Los Angeles, the capital of our vast empire! Only now, after time can we see that there is a great deal that is very far-fetched in this story. Apart from the fact that it’s highly unlikely for a Football to disappear in such a fantastic way and then reappear in various parts of the town dressed in a Rams Uniform, it is hard to believe that Sarina would find a newspaper to accept advertisements Runaway Footballs
And, come to think of it, how did the Football manage to turn up in a Cake and how did Sarina…? No, I don’t understand it, not one bit! But the strangest, most incredible thing of all is that authors should write about such things. That, I confess, is beyond my comprehension. It’s just…no, no, I don’t understand it at all! Firstly, it’s no use to our empire whatsoever; secondly, it’s no use…I simply don’t know what one can make of it…However, when all is said and done, we can concede this point or the other and perhaps you can even find…well then you won’t find much that isn’t on the ridiculous side, will you?
And yet, if you stop to consider for a moment, there’s a grain of truth in it. Whatever you may say, these things do happen—not too often but they do happen. And it’s usually for a Lovely, Beautiful Reason.
The door of the aircraft was closed and the Starship started to move towards the runway. Just short of the runway it stopped and a light came on the front of the plane. Sarina could faintly hear the rumbling noise of the aircraft engine.
A faint yellow tone came into the sky over the low land. The shadows on the sea slowly deepened. The wind bore coldness with it. Sarina and Solider Sam began to shiver with cold.
"Holy smoke!" said Soldier Sam, allowing his voice to express his emotions, "If we keep on monkeying out here! If we've got to fuck around out here all night!"
Sarina was more positive "Oh, we'll never have to stay here all night! Don't you worry. They've seen us now, and it won't be long before they'll come chasing out after us."
The officers had been given the task of redacting the communications trail we had left behind on our way to the island, and the chairman went back to his tasks. It was a slow business for the chairman and it was anything but exhilarating following the last mission. Frequent halts made pressing on feel like an insurmountable barrier for the unit. The officers marched on that day, slipping away to check the wireless and make a few dispatches of their own describing the state of our position in relation to the island.
Sarina and Soldier Sam huddled in the stern, and distances were so magnificent in the dingey that Sarina was enabled to keep her feet partly warmed by thrusting them under Soldier Sam‘s.
Sometimes, despite the efforts of the tired Soldier Sam rowing the oars,, a wave came piling into the boat, an icy wave of the night, and the chilling water soaked them anew.
Sarina’s plan was to twist her body for a moment and sleep the knocked out sleep once more, while the water in the boat gurgled about them as the craft rocked.
All columns had reported that they were aware of the potential news that supplies would be moving up, which would result in increased confidence should reinforcements arrive in a timely manner. It appeared to the officers as if the patrols had suddenly come up on the track which we had crossed shortly before stopping to check out some smoke on the horizon. One of the flanking units was charged with preparing an ambush and deal decisively with any attempt for the Mainland to follow up with action of their own.
The plan of Soldier Sam was for one to row until he lost the ability, and then arouse the Sarina from his sea-water couch in the bottom of the boat.
Soldier Sam plied the oars until his head drooped forward, and the overpowering sleep blinded him. And he rowed yet afterward. Then he touched Sarina in the bottom of the boat, and called her name.
"Will you spell me for a little while?" he said, quietly
There was no answer so Soldier Sam started dragging himself up to a strong sitting position. And was going to be the workhorse for the night. He would do anything for Sarina. Only bounded by her imagination
The chairman wanted more details of the plan, since he wasn’t absolutely positive that an ambush by the flanking fleets would succeed without certainty that the Mainland forces would in fact come through the area in question and the very real possibility that they would bite along the flank and might cut off the progression of the unit instead of following up on the tail. The chairman decided to attract as much attention from the Mainland for the time being waiting for the flank to be cleared, even though he had serious reservations about the strategy.
Sarina was cuddling down in the sea-water at Soldier Sam’s side, and seemed to go to sleep instantly.
“What a Glorious thing to see!! Soldier Sam wanted to shout to all the oceans how much he Loves Sarina!. But he kept these emotions to himself and just started to come up with a good plan so his behavior woudn’t disrupt Sarina’s Big Birthday Celebration.
“Sarina will be rested in the morning so hopefully her positive Spirit will miraculously carry us to shore so the Fiesta can get on it’s feet!!, Soldier was sure she could do it.
The officers had nothing to report as of yet, having seen nothing except for smoke in the distance. The chairman agreed that the patrol had probably stopped part of the unit so he had gone off to report, although far from certain about the intelligence. We had marched down the line in an extremely sloppy fashion with regard to the communications trail, and the officers were even buoyed by the sentiment that it was almost a relief to just charge though without serious concern.
Sarina is like Superwoman to Soldier Sam,. Like a strong ray of sunlight shining through tough day after tough day…
In a low voice Soldier Sam addressed Sarina. He was not sure that Sarina was awake, although she stirred in the night so Soldier Sam was never sure if she was paying attention.
“Sarina,, should I keep her making for that light north,"
Sarina’s steady voice answered him. "Yes. Keep it about two points off the port bow."
According to the maps and photographs, the nearby islands closed in until it became a precarious and dangerous defile, after which the lanes would be open for good and we could beat out a path to our destination. Until the unit had made it though, the chairman was quite apprehensive, a sentiment which evaporated quickly when we got past the island patrols without incident. We were certainly not expecting a supply drop en route until the officers had navigated well beyond the island, and even the success that unit had had at the crossing did not guarantee a smooth go at things for the time being.
Sarina noticed a growling of water, and a crest came with a roar and a swash into the boat, and it was a wonder that it did not set Soldier Sam awake. He continued to sleep, but some time later he sat up, blinking his eyes and shaking with the new cold.
"Oh, I'm awful sorry Soldier Sam," said Sarina. Get a few moments more of rest.”
"That's all right, Sarina," said Soldier Sam, and lay down again to continue his brie respite.
The chairman gathered up some of his attending flank, with the hope that they might be able to flush out another observation post or another target on the island they were approaching, which was controlled by the Mainland. This might rouse the neighbourhood, and the chairman was still harbouring doubts about the decisions he had made the last couple of days, but he felt strongly that another scrap at things with the Mainland might justify the action.
Soldier Sam had his coat on in order to get even the warmth, and he seemed almost stove-like when a rower, whose teeth invariably chattered as soon as he ceased his labor to get a moments rest.
Sarina, as she rowed, looked down at Soldier Sam.. He looked like a victim of the sea, a rendering of just about what you would expect after working though the entire night.
Presently it seemed that even Sarina dozed, The wind had a voice as it came over the waves, and there was a long, loud swishing astern of the boat, and a gleaming trail of blue flame, was furrowed on the black waters. It might have been made by a monstrous knife.
Then there came a stillness, while Sarina took some long breaths and looked at the sea.
The plan had the potential to break down because the reconnaissance did not disclose an alternative track so the chairman had no options other than to gather up the columns on the flank with the expectation that the track would soon give way to some open space so he could then send off the other units. The officers stopped again to probe for a gap, but they drew a blank several times even while the maps indicated that the unit had some distance left to go and now a time factor was at play.
Soldier Sam, in the bow, moved on what was left of the Scotch and sat up.
Save some for me! Suggested Sarina. "Pretty long night, wasn‘t" she was sympathetic about all the hard work Solider Sam had accomplished.
That evening Sarina and Soldier Sam began to question their prospects of landing on the Moon soon.
Sarina looked up in the night sky and said “We have to do it. We have to get to that moon. I believe the adversary is still on that transporter ship.”
Soldier Sam looked over at Sarina and asked “but how would we possibly get there?”
MOON ADVENTURE ACTIVITY
Sarina followed Soldier Sam up the Stairs from the Entrance to Rams Stadium to the Press Box.
When they walked though the door to the Press Box there was Rams Mascot. “Rams Mascot, could you take a moment to meet Sarina?” It will be a moment she will never forget.
Sarina walked over to Rams Mascot, surprised by his stature and friendly face. Rams Mascot spoke kindly to Sarina, looked over at Soldier Sam and he nodded his approval.
“Sarina, we here at Rams Stadium are going to do everything within our power to make sure you have a Very Merry Christmas
“Sarina, Rams Mascot is the most wonderful mascot in the whole NFL. He motivates the Fans, warms the children’s hearts and even operates the concession stands from time to time.”
“Yes, I can see it in his eyes” said Sarina “They look so full of Fun!”
Sarina turned to Soldier Sam. “Doesn’t Rams Mascot look like he could pass for Santa? With that Red Hat and all…”
“Sarina” said Soldier Sam, “Rams Mascot is not Santa, but who knows what he is capable of, especially during this Magical Holiday Season.”
Sarina was so excited to meet Rams Mascot and she was grateful to Soldier Sam for mediating the encounter. Sarina was ready for the Holiday Season, whatever it might have in store.
But Sarina was in for a Big Surprise on this day. There were recently some happenings in the Trophy Room at Rams Stadium and Rams Mascot was about to fill her in on the details.
Sarina took the advice of Soldier Sam. “Be happy for what you got, Sarina.” He would encourage her. Indeed, there at Rams Stadium, Rams Mascot’s management was excellent and seemed to have a heaven-sent faculty for explaining all things Rams Football.
Then came news of the Burglary. Rams Mascot told Sarina that the Football Players had broken into the Trophy Case down the hall. It was really more like an attempt, for the Super Bowl Trophy was still present intact on its mantle.
It seemed the Football Players had just gotten away with some secondary memorabilia, presumably of little value but, as Rams Mascot put it, “They were lucky in getting off so easily, Sarina, for it was after all, an infraction, kind of like lining up in the Neutral Zone on Defense.
Rams Mascot went on to explain to Sarina, “By the way those Football Players went about their business, I should say that they were experienced cracksmen. They must have tripped off the Alarm when they were just first beginning their Heist.”
“Yes” said Sarina. “I suppose the entire Rams Organisation got Lucky on that one, it could have been much worse, Right?”
"I have no doubt," said Rams Mascot, "that we will be able to trace the Football Players.. I've said that they must have been old hands at the game. The way they got in and opened the safe shows that. But there's one little thing that puzzles me.”
“What’s that?” asked Sarina.
Rams Mascot went on to explain: “One of them was careless enough not to wear gloves, and I'm bothered if I know what he was trying to do. I've traced his finger marks on all the markings of the Trophy Case. They are very distinct ones too."
"Right hand or left, or both?" asked Sarina.
"Oh, for sure on the left hand, Sarina” replied Rams Mascot. That's the funny thing. He must have been one of the main characters in the plot, and I bet it was him that wrote that." Rams Mascot took out a slip of paper from his pocket.
"That's what he wrote, Sarina.”
“Sarina, Go Follow your dreams and take a trip to Magic Mountain Island Adventure Park with Soldier Sam. Have Fun!”
“One of them trying to have some fun, I suppose” surmised Rams Mascot.” It will make it all the easier for us to trace him. Do you recognize the writing?"
"Umm..," said Sarina; "it's not the writing of anyone I know."
Sarina and Soldier Sam were about to execute the instructions they had received to take a break from Rams Stadium and pay a visit to Magic Mountain Island Adventure Park.
"I'm not going to stay here in Rams Stadium today, Soldier Sam. Won’t you take a Trip with me to Magic Mountain Island Adventure Park?" Sarina asked Soldier Sam.
“We’ll make the trip today. Get Rams Mascot to ready our things and meet me in the Truck in the Parking Lot” Sarina instructed.
Then Sarina added, “And bring along that Bottle of Bourbon, won’t you? We’ll polish that off together on the way to Magic Mountain Island Adventure Park”
"How long are we going to be away from Rams Stadium, Sarina? Don’t forget there’s the Big Game Tonight!” reminded Soldier Sam.
"I can't say for certain, but be prepared to stay for some time. We've stuck to work pretty closely during this Football Season, and I for one need a holiday. I'll call ahead to the Theme Park.
Magic Mountain Island Adventure Park was right down the Freeway from Rams Stadium. Neither Sarina or Soldier Sam had been there before, so they were both excited.
Sarina and Soldier Sam were on their way to Magic Mountain Island Adventure Park!
Rams Mascot was going to drive the Truck, and carefully put the Entrance Tickets in his pocket. “What do you think the Traffic will be like on the way there, Sarina?” asked Rams Mascot.
“Probably pretty busy,” Soldier Sam answered for her. Sarina was distracted thinking about the fun to be had on the Rollercoaster she had been hearing about ever since she arrived in LA.
It was actually named in her honor.. “The Mighty Yankee Clipper.”
"Yes," said Sarina, "I think we might do worse than leave Rams Stadium for a few hours."
Sarina and Solider Sam both knew there was fun to be had at Magic Island. But they never could have expected it was where the players had stashed the Football, wrapped up in a Pretty Christmas Bow.
“You should feel right at home in Magic Mountain Island Adventure Park, Soldier Sam,” said Sarina as they entered to gate to the playground. “Sporting your new Rams Hoodie like that. You do yourself very well, all things considered.”
A minute later Sarina screamed with delight. "Oh, Thank God," Soldier Sam heard, "there’s the Yankee Clipper Rollercoaster straight ahead! Quick, Solider Sam quick!"
Then came a smacking thud. A football had flown right into Sarina’s hands. "Somebody just chucked this football at me," Sarina said with surprise.
“Come now if you want to help me carry this thing to the Yankee Clipper Rollercoaster, Solider Sam" Sarina asked. Soldier Sam jumped at the opportunity and ran with Sarina toward the magnificent ride.
Along the way, both Sarina and Solider Sam couldn’t help but notice.. It was a Rams Football, one that had originally been in the Rams Stadium Trophy Case. An there was a Giant Bow around it—in the Rams Colors.
"Yes, Yes it is! It must be the Football stolen from the Rams Trophy Case!" shouted Sarina.
Sarina almost tripped over her feet in absolute Shock.
Sarina found herself Shocked beyond belief that the Football Wrapped in a Christmas Bow was found right at the first Rollercoaster Solider Sam suggested they ride.
"I don't know what to make of it," Rams Mascot said to Soldier Sam. "I can only suppose that Sarina has found herself in the state of some great excited shock. You had better let me send someone to help.”
Sarina, however, would have no one with her but Soldier Sam. "I don't want anyone else here with me so near the Yankee Clipper," Sarina said. "They'd try to keep me off that ride somehow. I know they would."
"Don't worry about it, Sarina”, reassured Solider Sam.” This sort of thing can't go on indefinitely. You know I’m Shocked too. I saw that beautiful Christmas Bow around the football as well as you!”
“As soon as you're a bit stronger we'll get on that Rollercoaster”. promised Soldier Sam. “Don’t you worry about that, Sarina.”
“I’m going to take this Football on the Yankee Clipper Rollercoaster with us, Soldier Sam,” decided Sarina. “If we ever make it there. I must admit, that was quite a shock.”
“Cheer up, Sarina!” offered Solider Sam. “ You'll be well enough to get on that ride in just a bit. I know we will.”
Sarina was beginning to suspect there was something Special inside that Magic Football. After all, why else would it be wrapped up in a Giant Christmas Bow?
"What have I done?" asked Sarina. "Why was this Football Chucked at Me? I'm not the only one at this Adventure Park. Well, obviously we are the only clients today, but there are all the workers” noticed Sarina.
.”I'm no different than any other girl” wondered Sarina. I know I'm not. I was at the bottom of all that dirty business last year. I even got coal in my Stocking last year.”
“That;s where you’re wrong Sarina.”: advised Soldier Sam. I can tell you that you are unique among all women, there are none your equal.”
“ I noticed it Right Away!!” bragged Soldier Sam.
Rams Mascot had long since ceased to wonder at how crazy fun Sarina and Soldier Sam’s Holidays always were. And there were different every year!
“Why there MUST be something inside this Football, exclaimed Sarina. “There Just has to be!”
“Maybe there is Sarina, maybe there is,” Soldier Sam was curious too.
“Could it be Christmas has arrived early for Me?” Sarina asked excitedly.
“Maybe there is a Christmas Present in there for you, Sarina” Soldier Sam responded. And. Maybe it’s just the beginning of your Holiday Treats, Sarina. “
Soldier Sam had heard about Monster Christmas Extravaganzas “Your early present might not be the only surprise for you this Holiday Season., Sarina.”
Why there’s always Festive Music, Green Trees with a Star atop and Snacks in your Stocking on Christmas Morning.” reminded Solider Sam. “Santa is always busy at work this time of the year.”
Sarina and Soldier Sam were about to receive instructions about how they should behave during the Roller Coaster Ride, and what would be expected of them.
"Where are we going to sit on the Yankee Clipper, Sarina?” asked Soldier Sam at that moment. "You’re excited. I’m excited. I think we both know the answer to that question"
"Let’s sit wherever we please, Soldier Sam It’s not like there are any other people at Magic Mountain Island Adventure Park today” observed Sarina. We're not a couple of kids fresh from a course of media lectures. Get Ready!”
Sarina and Soldier Sam approached the entrance to the Yankee Clipper.
At that very moment, Rams Mascot handed them a note. "I am sorry I didn't bring it to your attention before, "but it was lost amidst all my other paperwork. Rams Stadium is so busy this time of year!"
"Open it, Sarina, and see if it wants answering.” suggested Soldier Sam
It was very brief. There was neither address nor signature. It read:
“Enjoy your ride on the Yankee Clipper, Sarina and Soldier Sam. Be sure to bring that football along with you, and untie the Christmas Bow when the Rollercoaster Ride is complete.”
"Who is it from?" asked Soldier Sam.
"It was meant for me," said Sarina "There's no answer required, Rams Mascot. It just says to enjoy the ride.”
Rams Mascot asked no more questions. Sarina and Soldier Sam boarded the Yankee Clipper.
It was the most exciting Rollercoaster Ride Sarina and Soldier Sam had ever experienced in their life. Rams Mascot was at the controls of the Magic Mountain Island Adventure Park Intercom System.
On the Yankee Clipper Audio Speakers, Sarina and Soldier Sam could hear Christmas Music to accompany their Thrilling Ride. Every Note.
"Beautiful!" exclaimed Sarina. “All the Best Christmas Music. Clear as a Bell.”
There were many wonderful sounds to hear on that journey, including “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “Run Rudolph Run” and of course, “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”
"Who's DJing?" asked Sarina.
There was no answer.
"Rams Mascot, is that you?" Sarina was pretty sure it was Rams Mascot.
"That is definitely Rams Mascot causing that raucous," said Soldier Sam, laughing. ”No one else could have known all the right songs to play.”
"Now, Sarina and Solider Sam…" Rams Mascots voice was clear as a bell as the Rollercoaster came to a stop. There's only one possible thing for you to do.
“What’s that?” asked Sarina.
“Open that Bow and see what’s inside that Football, Sarina. Merry Christmas!!” Rams Mascot was proud of the role he had played in the whole Mystery.
When Sarina and Soldier Sam’s Rollercoaster Ride slowed to a stop, they removed the Christmas Bow from the Football and opened it up.
"What is it that.. Is It…?. Really?” Sarina was Shocked.
“Yes, Sarina” answered Solider Sam. “It’s a Super Bowl Ring!!”
“Yes, It IS a Super Bowl Ring!” exclaimed Sarina. That is what was in the Rams Football this whole time! Who would have guessed?
It's going to try to get off the Rollercoaster with us. Should we let it?” Soldier Sam asked.
Both Sarina and Soldier Sam found it impossible to fix their attention on Magic Mountain Island Adventure Park at that Special Moment.
Sarina and Soldier Sam could not hear Rams Mascot, yelling at them to get off the Yankee Clipper and they seemed all at once to have lost their Rollercoaster Fears.
"Would you two like another bottle of Bourbon to celebrate your Discovery?" Rams Mascot asked. "You made quick work of that first one on the way from Rams Stadium to Magic Mountain Island Adventure Park. I saw you do it!!”
"Of course we want more Bourbon, Rams Mascot!. Sarina was so excited.
“There's nothing Magic about that Ring, Sarina.” Soldier Sam realized. I mean, it seems to be ruled by the laws of time and space physics. It's not the sort of thing that transforms life. The Transformation is in both of our Hearts.”.
“And since that's so, We'll get back on the road pretty soon” interrupted Rams Mascot,” It’s almost Game Time at Rams Stadium!”
“Pass that Bottle of Bourbon between yourselves, Sarina and Soldier Sam!” Rams Mascot instructed. “This is a special moment for me too.”
Sarina and Soldier Sam had completed their mission at Magic Mountain Island Adventure Park and were arriving at Rams Stadium for the Big Game. There were to be Fireworks in the Sky that night.
Sarina and Soldier Sam were standing at the 50 yard line with their Bottle of Bourbon, Super Bowl Ring and Matches. Standing alongside a massive cache of Fireworks to be raised into the California Sky that Night.
"Quick!" said Sarina, as the Pre-Game Hype was Wrapped Up [pun intended]. "We haven't a minute to lose. What can we do? Light the fire, Soldier Sam Give me a match, quick!"
"They must be all here. I'll get them." replied Soldier Sam
"Hurry, Solider Sam, for goodness' sake! The Football Game is about to Start!”
"Be quick!" shouted Sarina. "I want to watch and hear something Magic!"
“Right” Soldier Sam answered, here's a Match." He had found one at last that had slipped down onto the Turf.
There was a great roar from the Fireworks as the flames shot up.
Sarina and Soldier Sam had been right on time with the display on that Los Angeles Night.
"This whole place is going to be On Fire!" shouted Sarina. “FUEGO!!”
“This whole Rams Stadium is Ablaze!" observed Soldier Sam.
The Super Bowl Ring had arrived at its destination, right on target for its intended recipient at last. For a moment Sarina and Soldier Sam stopped to look into the Sky.
Afterwards, Sarina and Soldier Sam could never be quite sure as to what they had seen that Magical Day, but at the time all they were thinking about was that massive display of sound and light above Rams Stadium.
For a moment Sarina considered cancelling the game to allow more time for the Fireworks to make their Magic, but the Football Players were running down the passage onto the Field, "Fire! Fire!" the Fans Shouted.
Sarina and Soldier Sam rushed to their seats at the 50 yard line and were ready to watch some Football that night.
Rams Mascot would be delivering bottles of Bourbon in every Aisle in Rams Stadium that night, all game long, and for that, Sarina and Soldier Sam were grateful beyond words
RAMS PLANET LANDING
The pressure of the air entered in the front of the wing and the forces of the air flowing from the outside. Without using any engine, the Starship can fly for good amount time, covering a lot of ground.
Certain instinctual moves can play devious tricks on the mind during a period of crisis, and the track was compromised by darkness because of the low moon. It still seemed all to peaceful with no patrol sentries guarding the approach, and the chairman started to feel like the unit had been wrapped up in the drama which may have been a bunch of hot air playing to an empty house. The officers were concerned that the flanking columns could get jammed in their pursuit of their unique objectives with no real means of getting off of it should Mainland activity be found on or around the island.
Later in the day, Soldier Sam took the boat farther out to sea and wait for the perfect time to make their advance and secure their plans for Sarina‘s Big Birthday Bash on the Beach, or maybe somewhere else on the island. But who could imagine anything forward when reaching shore seemed too impossible a feat.
Sarina directed Soldier Sam to take one oar at the stern and keep the boat facing the seas. He was to call out if he should hear the thunder of the surf.
The chairman was consumed with a curious instinct to promptly apologize to some of the officers because he was about to commence fire onto the island, and the officers were already preoccupied with other tasks. The officers wasted no time carrying out the orders but, no sooner than they had let loose on the island, when the unit reached a point on the track were they had been spotted by a Mainland patrol that was quite menacing in their approach to the flanking column. This was followed by a couple of shots that cane out within the vicinity and it made our ears ring as the slow stream turned into something quite heavy.
On the morning of Sarina’s Birthday the sea and the sky were each of the grey hue of the dawning. Later, carmine and gold was painted upon the waters.
The morning appeared finally, in all its splendor, with a sky of pure blue, and the sunlight flamed on the tips of the waves.
On the distant dunes, the Lighthouse reared above them. No people, ground vehicles or rescue boats appeared on the beach. Sarina and Soldier Sam both wondered why the Island had not invested in aerial drones. One would think they would need some to provide for defense.
The chairman had a premonition that he had failed on the flanking action, and feared that the Mainland forces would circle around somewhere down the stretch of the column, so he devised a plan to try to work out a small flank guard on the side of the island if possible, attracting as much attention as possible so as to give members of the other flank a free run at things. The officers sent out a communication that told the units in question to anticipate another repeat performance somewhere down the line that stretched well beyond the island, closer to an adjacent Mainland command post.
Now Soldier Sam and Sarina were thinking this Island might be deserted
The voyagers scanned the shore. A conference was held in the boat. "Well," said Sarina "if no help is coming we might better try a run through the surf right away. If we stay out here much longer we will be too weak to do anything for ourselves at all."
Solider Sam silently acquiesced in this reasoning. The boat was headed for the beach. Soldier Sam wondered if none ever ascended the Light House, and if then they never looked seaward.
The officers told the chairman that he had better make his mind up in short order and the chairman decided to stick it to everyone in sight that even slightly suggested that they were or would become engaged. To some of the officers, it was not so clear why the positions had not been spotted earlier in a more timely manner, and they wanted to be absolutely clear to the units where exactly the rendezvous was to take place, despite the potential inaccuracies in the maps we had on hand. The chairman paused for just a moment, only to make sure that the actions were to take place without delay and then joined the column as it beat another path trajectory to the island.
"Now, Soldier Sam," said Sarina, "It’s going to swamp, sure. All we can do is to work it in as far as possible, and then when it swamps, pile out and scramble for the beach. Keep cool now, and don't jump until it swamps."
Soldier Sam took the oars. Over his shoulders he scanned the surf. "Sarina," he said, "I think I'd better bring it about, and keep it head-on to the seas and back her in."
"All right, Soldier Sam," said Sarina. "Back it in."
Soldier Sam swung the boat then and Sarina looked over her shoulders to contemplate the indifferent shore.
The chairman put on an upbeat façade, even while he was still very concerned about the intentions of the Mainland forces, and it was disconcerting to still be waiting on supplies for the unit from the terminal. He, like the officers, had fully expected to run into the column without too much time passing by, but there was not sign of them as we pressed on. The officers had sent a patrol out to make sure we were where we thought we were, and issued a confirmation that the unit would move on toward the fire when it was to begin in the future. Added to all this, the officer informed the chairman that a communication had just arrived from the terminal over the wireless.
When Sarina and Soldier Sam arrived at the Moon base, they first came up with a plan.
“We will each take one of these ray guns I found here on our space fighter jet, and take out every adversary we see.
We find the coordinates of Rams Mascot and race back to this ship and make our approach . Sound good?” asked Soldier Sam.
“Sounds good!” Sarina agreed..
ORANGE VALENTINES #5
“Have Breakfast Anytime at Stella’s”
The Flight through Space was finally complete. The Starship bolted down from the sky and landed in New York.
Cupid was there on the Tarmac to greet Sarina and Soldier Sam.
“Sarina and Soldier Sam!” Cupid called out. “Welcome to Syracuse!”
“Thanks Cupid” Sarina replied.
“Isn’t there a Big Orange Basketball Game Tonight?” asked Soldier Sam.
“There for sure is an Orange Game tonight. But first I have a Place to show you guys?” said Cupid.
Cupid was a Legend at Syracuse. It was in Fact one of his favorite places to be. To work his Magic.
Cupid is big on the tradition of Love and is dedicated to making Syracuse a beautiful and comfortable place for everyone on Valentines Day every year. Cupid frequently refers to the past and adheres to rules he believes in.
Years ago, a potential target for Cupid’s arrow was acting up and making a scene. “You don’t know me. I am very powerful. If you don’t believe it, try it.” The rest of the crew responded. “What strength you think you have. The only way you are going to impress Cupid is by using brains, not with force.”
Let’s get on our way to our Pre-Game Event, Sarina and Soldier Sam” Cupid instructed.
“This is quite a place. Cupid added.
“Let’s do a little Preview before we get to the site, Cupid” Sarina suggested.
“Hop in my Ride, you two. I have a couple of questions about your Flight before we get to the Tour Site” Cupid responded.
We had a rough landing on one of the supply replenishment satellites” explained Sarina. I unbuckled Soldier Sam’s seatbelt causing him to fall into the sand.
“I kept a mental note that his reaction time was way off and it seems my body reacted slower to the Gravitational Force coming from that satellite.
Soldier Sam was stuck in the sand so I rescued him and took him back to the Starship Camp the crew had assembled.
I was interrogating Soldier Sam about his plans to perform at a higher level when we came about onto the next waystation.
I investigated Soldier Sam’s protocols and collected the crews post-disaster action report.
Soldier Sam learned from his mistakes and performed brilliantly the next time we encountered a scenario like that on our journey.
Cupid’s Ride was zigging and zagging though Syracuse Traffic.
Here we are at the Mystery Spot for our Tour, Sarina and Soldier Sam” announced Cupid. “I’m sure the two of you are going to have a lot of Questions.
“We’re ready, Cupid” shouted Sarina. “Let’s Check it out!”
Soldier Sam agreed. “Let’s get this party started, Cupid!!”
“What is this place?” asked Sarina.
“I’m hungry,” Sarina announced. “I could do with some food.”
“So could I. Me too” said Soldier Sam
“Very well,” said Cupid.
Stella’s is hands down the best diner in Syracuse. It's 100 times better than over pricey places like Rise n shine and modern malt.” Cupid explained.
“I bet we can pick anything from the menu and not be disappointed” Soldier Sam predicted.
“We for sure picked the right place to eat today. They are very fast!!!” said Cupid.
Sarina looked at the menu. “Look, Soldier Sam, they have Waffles, pancakes and French toast. This is going to be the best breakfast I have ever had.”
“I come to Stellas at least once every weekend, just looking for couples to shoot with my arrows. This place is always packed” explained Cupid.
“Why did you go over and talk to some Cuse Fans just now?” Soldier Sam asked Cupid.
“I know you are a bit of a Tech Junkie, Soldier Sam. Here, I have something to show you. Said Cupid.
“Check out what is the latest technology we have developed.
3D food printing: The animated TV show “The Jetsons” had a home food machine that produced full meals. Then there was replicator, which could print food literally from thin air in mere seconds. Now Syracuse has created 3D printing technology that can produce entire cooked meals from prepared ingredients rather than from molecules — although that technology is in the works as well. And for dessert, the race is on to invent the ultimate chocolate printer.
Sarina and Soldier Sam were stunned by what Cupid had just said.
“That’s Amazing” Sarina said with interest. Why do all the restaurants these days have this capability?”
“Sometimes these places are so crowded with Cuse Fans there is just simply not enough cooks and prep space to go around. 3D Printing makes sure everyone can eat their fill without having to wait very long.” Replied Cupid.
“Time to eat,” said Cupid who asked the waitress to distribute the meals to himself, Sarina and Soldier Sam.
Sarina and Soldier Sam each ordered an omelette and toast with a tall glass of bourbon.. Two of them were huge!!
Soldier Sam considered taking half of his meal back with him, but as he got going, his stamina took over and he finished the whole meal.
Cupid wasn't as hungry so he got the Monte Cristo. It was really good and just enough.
So the adventure at Stella’s continued.
“Wow,” said Sarina. “”What great eats! Now I understand why this place is so packed with Cuse Fans.”
Yes, Sarina. Simply a fantastic meal. And to share it with Cupid, what a treat.” Soldier Sam was sure glad they had checked Stella’s out that day.
The waitress kept their bourbon glasses filled and everyone in their seating section was having an enjoyable time visiting. When we were done the place was really filling up even more, maybe over capacity and a lot of Cuse Fans were waiting to get seated.
“Are we going to meet more Cuse Fans before we go?” Soldier Sam asked. “We haven’t even checked out the extra seating on the second level.”
“Of course,” replied Cupid.” That reminds me. There is something up those stairs that you will probably want to check out, Sarina.”
What’s this Cupid? Sarina asked as she and Soldier Sam walked over to the Hologram.
Read it and see Sarina. It is a special clue about Valentines Day” Directed Cupid.
“Ok, Cupid. Lets See what it says” Sarina started reading the Hologram.
“You're off the Hook!”
Your fun heart turns life to play
Make me laugh from day to day
So I write this poem, and I’ll hang my sign
Saying, "Please Be My Valentine."
“I just can’t believe it!” Sarina exclaimed. On Valentine’s Day. A special message just for me!”
“Wow, Cupid, that was quite a Tour!” Sarina exclaimed.
“It sure was” Soldier Sam had a great time too.
So Sarina and Soldier Sam said their goodbyes and made room for more Cuse Fans to come in and enjoy a great meal.
“We have some time to burn before the Game. Let’s stop by this Bar” suggested Cupid.
“By the way, Sarina and Soldier Sam,” Cupid remembered something. “You told me about your flight. But I forget to ask, did you two go on any adventures during your Pit Stops?”
“Our Starship was approaching a waystation on a distant satellite somewhere around Planet X and the supply chopper comes in, usually loaded with mail, MRE rations, ammo, and sometimes clean clothes.
But Soldier Sam was like “What is this?” It was an ammo canister full of soup but we have no utensils to serve the soup , so Soldier Sam broke off a handle from a Power Control Station and used that to serve the crew as they made their way through the Mess Hall Line.”
“Yeah, Sarina, Soldier Sam added. What a pleasant surprise that an ordinary piece of equipment could leave a lasting memory like that!”
“I’ve got a special surprise that you will be sure to like, Sarina!” Cupid announced.
Cupid was excited about Sarina’s Valentine too!
"I got you a Valentine, Sarina!" announced Cupid
"Fantastic." Said Soldier Sam.
To everyone's surprise, Sarina jumped onto the bar. She opened that Valentine with an audience.
Sarina got to her feet.
"I must open it now," Sarina said with excitement.
Sarina opened it up and looked surprised.
"Why Cupid got us Front Row Seats for the Cuse Game, Soldier Sam, Look! Sarina displayed the Tickets..
“So you like your Valentine, right?." asked Soldier Sam.
Sarina answered his question.
"I think it's wonderful, Cupid, Thank You. Now let’s get out of here and head to Orange Stadium. We don’t want to miss any of the action!"
CUPID’S FIRST SYRACUSE ORANGE GAME EXPERIENCE
Cupid marveled at how beautiful the stadium was built, taking a look at how the Orange structure produced specific patterns and other designs. Upon going into the stadium on Valentine’s Day, Cupid saw the Orange stairs anticipating him. Nervously approaching them ever so slightly, Cupid waited at the back of the line with Sarina and Soldier Sam. I seemed around and saw a large number of people talking and having fun amongst one another.
There was excitement and anticipation in the air as the thousands of fans started yelling and chanting for the teams. The noise kept getting louder and louder as other fans arrived and joined in. There were thousands of fans, cramming their way into every available seat. The seats were painted Orange but were not as comfortable as a pool chair and were built so close together so you had to squeeze into them.
Soldier Sam told Cupid, “It's been enough of you always helping me out. After Valentines Day I'll Stand on my own two feet and you will be shocked at how well I’ll do.
Sarina’s excitement found no bounds in the prospect of seeing the Orange hoop it up on Valentines Day.
Soldier Sam felt the excitement of the game would never wash away if he does not have to apologise to Cupid for being so emotional and difficult over the years.
Sarina sensed a jolt in appreciating Soldier Sam that he had always been loyal to her and the crew and of the highest magnitude to a mentor like Cupid.
“Is there a way out of this parking lot and into the stadium, Cupid?”, Soldier Sam asked.
“I still don't believe what Cupid is saying, that the Orange Game is going to tip off so soon for us”, Sarina exclaimed.
“Let’s try to get into the stadium soon so we won’t have to miss any of the game”, Soldier Sam pleaded with Cupid.
“Of course we will”, Cupid assured Soldier Sam.
“I’ve got a great idea!” Sarina exclaimed. “Soldier Sam and I should get a photo with Orange Mascot. Then we could prove we were here and have a lasting memory.
“Hey, Cupid,” Soldier Sam wanted to get his attention. “Could you snap a pic of Me and Sarina with Orange Mascot? That would be awesome!”
“Of course, Soldier Sam” Cupid replied. Just find Orange Mascot and I will be over to take the shot of you and Sarina.”
'I want to get used to you for a minute,' Cupid said. 'Did you ever pose for a mug shot before?' 'Please look at the camera, Soldier Sam, Cupid asked.'
You can develop an understanding of lighting, know how to use your camera's settings to improve the exposure, and study all the rules of composition that you want, but ultimately, if the subject of the photo is boring, your photo will be boring, too. That's assuming that you even have a strong subject in the shot to begin with.
“Hey Sarina, we got that picture with Orange Mascot! All the lighting was great and we were posed perfectly. Isn’t it great we were able to find Orange Mascot and he was so accommodating?”
“Yes, Soldier Sam” Sarina answered. I thought for a moment Cupid was going to lose his mind trying to operation the photo function on my phone. He had never operated anything like that before.”
“The game is about to start Sarina!” Soldier Sam exclaimed. Why don’t you give me a quick rundown of the season so far?
“I know you have been following it closely and I really don’t have a clue about what the Orange have faced so far this year, Soldier Sam continued. “How are they doing?”
“Sure Soldier Sam,” Sarina was glad to show off her knowledge of Cuse Hoops. “There have been a lot of developments so far this year.
Syracuse basketball continues to be incredibly predictable at the end of games, resorting to 1-on-1 and playing nothing but ‘Hero Ball’. It’s a big reason why they are going to miss March Madness again.
The Orange had to get on their shooters and we just didn’t. That’s what happens with teams start gelling on any given Saturday. They were open and they were making shots.”
“Obviously, we look to shoot and make shots. “But they weren’t falling. And we’ll just learn from that and move forward.”
Through non-conference play, Syracuse ranked in the top quarter of the country in percentage of total points coming from 3-pointers.
Sarina hesitated. She had wanted him to look as if he needed a drink. Compromising, she went to the ice box and fixed him a bourbon bottle. She returned to find that he was ready for that.
'Why don't you have a drink too and make it friendly?' Soldier Sam suggested.
'I have had plenty already” Sarina lied. Now would you mind going on to cheer for the Orange now?'
CUSE GAME ACTION
There is a Cuse Logo at Half Court and bright paint on the Baseline. Just to be in the same building as Orange Mascot and all those screaming fans was an experience that will outlast much of the experiences I have had in life.
Anything spectacular the Orange do which is part of Hoops Action is priceless and people love it and so do the players because it is what they play for and it is just so exciting to be a part of it.
In Orange Games the atmosphere means the feeling that is created by only the combination of imagery, sound, story, gameplay, and sense of agency that makes up the game’s narrative. In other words, it is a sense of being immersed in a world of Hoops Action.
Life can work in surprising ways. You could discover yourself in the most unexpected of places and time. That Orange experience in the Dome left a big impact on my life.
The excitement that rushed through me with every swish of the net was amazing and just to hear all of those shoes sliding on the hardwood floor. That is one of the reasons why seeing the Game at the Dome was such an incredible experience.
Sarina sat in the Press Box at Rams Stadium looking at The Rams upcoming schedule for the Season, just after the Last Game. She was putting together the script for her next show later in the week to preview the next Rams Game, and talk about futures of the Rams Franchise.
Sarina was figuring out who she should interview during her next Rams Show. She was in a hurry, but being in a hurry never rattled or inspired her.
Sarina had been a Media Star for some time now and she was working out the headline of the upcoming show, one that would be sure to feature Rams Mascot. All she had really figured out was the attention-grabbing headline, an imperative sentence, spoken by Rams Mascot:
“When we get to the Super Bowl this year we got to “Put a Ring on It. That Will Fix It.”
It was a great headline. Sarina was satisfied it would immediately capture the interest of the hundreds of millions tuning into her Show.
Sarina didn’t even consider interviewing any one else, just Rams Mascot.
“Put a Ring on It. That Will Fix It.”
The Words of “Rings” and “Fix” gave to Sarina several sidelines for her show, for Rams Mascot was quite the Expert in World Affairs and Many Languages, so Rams Mascot could talk for hours and hours about the subject theme.
But Sarina figured she could get more ideas for her Show in the Cafeteria, as she was starting to get hungry. There was just simply a Limit to the Material a Football Reporter can dictate by herself in the Press Box.
This was no Game, as Sarina often said, this was an Industry.
“This is No Game,” Sarina remarked to Rams Mascot, who was leisurely drinking at a corridor Water Cooler. “This is an Industry.” Sarina declared.
Rams Mascot knew Sarina’s show was great for her Career, with the Millions watching, Sarina was becoming a Bigger and Bigger Star.
“Say look, Sarina! Have you got anything down on Paper for the Show yet?” asked Rams Mascot.
“Say, I’ve got some Stuff already that will be sure to captivate the interests of the audience, that’ll make ‘em…”
Sarina knew the Ratings would skyrocket for many reasons. Ram Mascot on the Show and just Sarina’s basic Charm and Beauty.
Rams Mascot tried to gauge Sarina’s sincerity.
"Want to read it to me now?" Rams Mascot asked.
"Not yet. But it's got Audience Cheering Potential, if you know what I mean." Replied Sarina.
Rams Mascot was skeptical.
“Well, go to it. And if you run into any snags, just check with the Mechanic on Staff in the Maintenance and Utilities Office”, suggested Rams Mascot.
“Great idea, Sarina gladly agreed. “Maintenance Guys are so knowledgeable about Word Affairs, the Office will be sure to come up with some discussion pieces about “What Rings Can Fix.”
Sarina felt good walking around Rams Stadium with Rams Mascot. He was so interesting and fun. So much so that Sarina usually found herself Glued to Rams Mascot, pretty much every where she went.
Sarina and Rams Mascot walked into the Cafeteria for Lunch.
Sarina had figured out Protocol for Lunch with the Team at the tables. She got their jokes, inflated sense of self-importance and social system with its swift fluctuations, with all the games in the season and the many different opponents, there could be a different MVP or disappearance episode each game.
Sometimes Sarina would sit here or there, sometimes wherever in the same spot
Sarina called the number for Maintenance Office, to see if anyone was available for a quick interview on the record.
The Secretary answered and Sarina asked to speak with whoever was in charge.
“He’s out for Lunch right now, call after Lunch Hours Please.” The Secretary responded
“Ok, I’ll call back later” Sarina decided.
Sarina was in the Middle of her Lunch when Soldier Sam took a Seat next to her. He was clearly the Guy in charge of Maintenance, or really anything else that had nothing to do with Football. Sort of a Resident Expert of some kind.
“So, what’s up Sarina?” Soldier Sam was friendly, at least initially, but that could change in a Flash if someone tried to cross him.
Sarina didn’t know what to make of him at first, but after a bit of friendly chit chat, Sarina discovered Soldier Sam did know about Stuff other than Football, at least in some specialties that interested him.
Sarina was considering adding a character into her Show with the Rams Mascot, but only for a brief moment, a one-line punch or something like that.
“I’m working on putting together My Show for this week, would you mind me running some of the Material by You?”
"A Show?" Soldier Sam was surprised. “You mean the players talk and don’t just play football and be done with it”?”
I’m writing it about a Super Bowl Ring, and I was thinking about someone popping into the Show to mention facts about how Rings play a role in the Modern World, apart from the Super Bowl.
Sarina wanted to ask Soldier Sam some questions. Solider Sam hesitated.
"I don't know. It's my first day out here." Soldier Sam never liked attention.
“It’s all right,” Sarina assured him. “I don’t make a big deal of anyone that gets on the Show . It’s not like they have to know about your Life Story or anything like that.”
“Everyone is just like “the Guy” or a member of the Team.” Sarina wanted Soldier Sam to understand why Her Show was the Best Media Content in the Wide World of Sports.
“Like who do you have on the Show, usually?” asked Soldier Sam.
Sarina explained: “Well there’s my main show, which I do Scenes with Rams Mascot, and then I have another one which is usually some content about the upcoming Game on Sunday. Other than that, I just have some fun with back and forths with whatever player and members of the Media.”
The Guy—his name was Soldier Sam, looked up from his Sandwich had considered the surroundings.
"I don't see anybody worth interviewing here," he said. "Except oh, there's this guy or that guy. What do they do when they aren’t eating or lifting weights or running like a Steam Train into Padded Walls” Oh say, I saw that guy on Sunday Night Football a few weeks ago. I just listen the Games on Radio.
Sarina suddenly pointed to the far end of the Cafeteria.
"And there's Mickey Mouse!" Sarina exclaimed.
Soldier Sam jumped and Sarina laughed at her joke--but Solider Sam noticed a couple other tables where some costume extras were sitting with the Bone and Sol colors of the First Empire.
"The big shots are at this next table," Sarina started to explain the scene., "Mostly Starters all except for a couple other the other cast members on a rotating basis.
Soldier Sam remarked that it looked like the last time he was in the Orange County Jail.
"Oh," said Soldier Sam, polite but unimpressed. "It must be wonderful to be a Football Reporter. It's so very interesting."
"It has its points," Sarina responded. . she was starting to think that it was like a dog house.
"What is it you want to ask me on your Show?" Solider Sam was beginning to like Sarina.
Here we go again with that Ring Fixing everything concept. The more Sarina considered the Theme to the Show, the more interesting it became.
"I took a chance in meeting you" said Sarina. "But there's a job that you just may be able to help out with."
"I’ve been Fixing Stuff for years” offered Soldier Sam. “Fighter Jets, Ships, helicopters, ground vehicles, other Stuff. Like look here. I was working on this Shoulder Fired Grenade Rocket Launcher in the Office this morning. I brought it here to Lunch just in case I got some new ideas during the Break.
"Maybe I chose the wrong words," said Sarina. "What I mean is, I was talking about what a Ring could Fix, not state-of-the-art military weaponry.
“Well” Solider Sam went on. “There are lots of little parts to these things, some things are shaped like rings. They are often critical components for keeping the product in good shape.”
“Oh, said Sarina. “Now--did you ever hear of Rams Mascot?"
The name was unfamiliar. Soldier Sam didn’t leave the Shop much. He was too Busy.
“Sounds like an interesting Guy” Soldier Sam ventured.
“Well, Soldier Sam” Sarina started to explain. He’s the Team Mascot. The Best in All of Sports. He has a mock uniform on and a Huge Head with Horns, like on our Logo. He always had a Smile on his Face and his Job is to get Rams Fans excited about football.
Solider Sam considered. "You mean he's--"
"Well, Rams Mascot and I have a Show where we pick a fun activity to talk about. Like Golf or Reading a Newspaper. We have been thinking about doing a Show about Maintenance of Military Weapons Systems. You know? Like a Do-it-Yourself Show?"
"I know." And Soldier Sam added after a moment, "That's the reason that I went in training."
"And we've got to have it right because a hundred million people would check on it. So this Crew member in the script he tells them to “Put a Ring on It. He says, 'Put a Ring on It. That will Fix It.' And we were wondering what the people would do then."
"Why--they'd probably Put a Ring on It" Solider Sam said, and then, somewhat confused by the question, "What people?"
"Well, mostly Football Fans, some people just tune in for the Laughs. It’s really quite entertaining, If I do say so myself.”
Soldier Sam tried to digest this before answering.
There was a pause. Soldier Sam was going across the Cafeteria for another Round of Tasty Food, “Want anything, Sarina?” he asked. Soldier Sam hurried back with a full tray and sat down again.
"Well, when a Mechanic gives orders they're orders," Soldier Sam decided.
"Hm." Sarina’s attention wandered to a loud discussion about Referees at a nearby table while she kept talking.
"You got a partner?" Sarina asked.
"No." replied Soldier Sam.
"Neither do I." Sarina sometimes wished she had a partner. Soldier Sam wished for a “Ride or Die Chick” too.
Beside the Big Table stood Rams Mascot. Rams Mascot stood resting his hand on the back of an empty chair at the Table with all the Starters, both Offense and Defense.
"Is this taken?" Rams Mascot asked, in a polite voice.
All along the Big Table faces stared suddenly at him. Until after the first look the supposition was that he must be some well-known Player. But Rams Mascot was not a player, even while dressed in one of the many Bone and Sol colored uniforms that dotted the room.
Someone at the table said: "That's taken." But Rams Mascot drew out the chair and sat down.
"Got to eat somewhere," Rams Mascot remarked with a grin.
A Shock went over the near-by tables. Sarina stared with an astonished look. It was as if someone had crayoned Mickey Mouse into the Last Supper.
"Look at that, Sarina” advised Soldier Sam. "What they'll do to Rams Mascot? Oh Man!"
The moment of silence at the Big Table was broken by the Team Captain. "This table is reserved," he said.
Rams Mascot looked up from a menu. "They told me sit anywhere."
"Mascots don't eat here," said many other members of the team still politely. "This is a--"
"I got to eat," said Rams Mascot doggedly. "I been standing around for hours while the media shoots these Promos and now I got to eat."
The team response had extended--from Sarina’s angle all within range seemed to be poised in mid-air.
Rams Mascot responded wearily.
At the Table she shared with Soldier Sam, Sarina was thinking why didn't they do something? Knock him down, drag him away. If they were scared to do it themselves they could call the Rams Stadium Security Team.
"Who is that?" Soldier Sam was following Sarina’s eyes, "Somebody I ought to know?"
Soldier Sam was listening attentively to the teams loud voices, raised in anger.
"Get up and get out of here, buddy, and get out quick!" they shouted.
Rams Mascot was Defiant.
"Who's telling me?" Rams Mascot demanded.
"You'll see." The Team Captain appealed to the table at large, "Where's Security? Where’s the Security Team?”
"You try to move me," said Rams Mascot, or Sarina is going to do something spectacular to defend me . I know my rights."
All the players at the table, representing tens of millions of salaries dollars, sat stunned. Far down by the door one of the Rams Stadium Security caught wind of what was happening and signaled to Sarina.
Sarina could stand no more. Rams Mascot was too essential to her Show to get knocked up and had become one of Sarina’s Best Friends.
Sarina jumped up, seizing the big heavy Shoulder Fired Grenade Rocket Launcher on the seat next to Soldier Sam, and in one quick moment, shifted the scene of conflict to the Parking Lot, with all the Expensive Cars and of course, the Teams VIP Helicopter, always at the ready to transport players to and from their escapades in the city.
Sarina had delivered a Devastating Strike. The Payload had struck the VIP Helicopter square in its Engine, rendering it out of commission.
All the players jumped from their tables and raced to the Parking Lot. They pushed past Security and rushed outside to survey the situation. They were shocked to see their Flying Toy engulfed in flames.
"It was Sarina” they all shouted. "That's was Sarina who broke the engine! Sarina is the culprit!
"Pull that engine out . . . Get a Maintenance Guy to check this out . . . Look out, there!" the Team Capitan was the loudest of the Group.
Now Soldier Sam hurried over; He and Sarina cleared out a space to work on the flaming helicopter.
There were yells of "Who did it?--Who fired the shot?"
Sarina saw Soldier Sam prepare to approach the scene of the damage. He had grabbed his Tool Box on the way out of Rams Stadium and began working swiftly on the engine with every tool he had available at a moments notice.
"Why did Sarina have to do this to our Toy?” the Team shouted.
Sarina caught Soldier Sam’s eyes, and you could plainly tell that he felt a sentiment of Extreme Pride in Sarina, so strong that he had to look away for the moment was so dramatic.
Sarina alone had acted to shift attention from Rams Mascot, who was now eating his Lunch with the Big Table all to himself, free from the discrimination displayed by the team.
Sarina alone had played the Big Shot, while all those in identical Bone and Sol colors let themselves be the victims.
And now Sarina would have to take the rap--because the players were more powerful and popular due to their circus games every Sunday, taking their band on the road every other week. How could anyone have anticipated that Sarina could make her voice heard so loudly and cause such destruction?
Solider Sam had put out the fire and was now examining the damage to the engine. Sarina saw Soldier Sam get on his Radio and call his office. Sarina heard him say something out loud, without hesitation and Ringing Out as Clear as a Bell, sending the team scattering like leaves, still afraid for their safety.
“Put a Ring on It! That Will Fix It!” Soldier Sam said for the World to Hear.
The words fell wild and unreal on Sarina’s Heart. But even though Sarina now knew at first hand what would happen next if she decided to respond, Sarina could not have possibly expected how excited she was going to be for what that would mean in both of their Hearts. So much bigger and more powerful than Rams Stadium, the City of Los Angeles, California, their Country and even the Planet!
Sarina saw the Engine on Rams Helicopter was still Flaming.
Soldier Sam was trying the different channels on his Radio to try and find someone who had the requisite skills and Do-It-Yourself Know How to fix the engine and get it back into service for the players.
No answer at the Maintenance and Facilities Office inside Rams Stadium, so Solider Sam took the Biggest Chance of His Life and dialed up Rams Mascot to see if he had finished his Lunch yet.
“Hello, Rams Mascot!” said Soldier Sam. “We need an extra pair of hands out here. This engine is going to need some serious attention.
Rams Mascot answered the call and said he didn’t care that the Rams Players Helicopter was Burning Ablaze.
But Soldier Sam was persistent and continued Heartily. Were going to have to Lick some Stuff into Shape on this Helicopter, Rams Mascot. Ever collaborate before on a project like this?”
“I’ve never Fixed anything like that in My Life before” responded Rams Mascot.
This is different than throwing a Football around but maybe you could give it a shot?” Soldier Sam suggested, with a tone in his voice that bespoke of absolute sincerity.
“Well, Yes” Rams Mascot was considering aloud. “I read a book about this once. It said the best way to fix a burning engine was to “Put A Ring on It.”
Solider Sam wanted to Ask Sarina about such a sucker-trap Super Fix Job. Maybe she would have some ideas about how a Ring could possibly Fix a VIP Helicopter and return the machine to service.
“It all seems Simple enough,” Replied Sarina. “We just need to find the Right Ring to return this Flying Bird to action.”
Don’t you want to talk about your Next Show” Sarina? Have you made any progress on the Subject” You could Film it right here and now” suggested Soldier Sam.
I still haven’t figured out the Scene for the Drama, Sarina admitted.
The Rams Mascot showed up. He had a Toolbox Full of Rings, but they were unorganized. Who would have the Know How to Pick out the Right One for the Job?
“I haven’t ever done something like this before, Soldier Sam” admitted Sarina.”Let’s just start filming and go from there. But the state of this Helicopter looks dismal. How could we ever Fix It?”
Sarina said she would get Her Production Crew to start filming. They showed up at once and had their cameras at the Ready.
A Fix of this sort requires that a Mechanic gets down on A knee to Fix the Engine.
A Camera Shot like that? We’ll have to set up over here” decided the Camera Director Chief.
Rams Mascot leaned over the Work Space and picked up a Manual. The cover read: All about Rings and What they can Fix.”
“It’s a New Model, this Helicopter is” observed Soldier Sam. It’s called the “Super Surprise.”
“Yes?” said Rams Mascot, opening the Tool Box slowly. “Here’s a chapter on the Super Surprise!”
“Rams Mascot started paging through the instructions.” Who has the Know How for a Case Like This?” Is this a Job that only Experts can Fix?”
”What If the Right Ring is not in the Tool Box. Soldier Sam?”, Sarina joined the Show. Could you Find another Parts Store that has a wider Selection?”
“I think I can go on a Expedition like that. “ responded Soldier Sam. I really just am good at figuring out the Big Picture of Operations. I really don’t know how to actually Fix things. “How could we ever find Experts to tackle a problem like this?”
Suddenly another Helicopter showed up on the scene. It carried Engine Experts from the Far Reaches of the Pacific.
The helicopter door opened and the Experts started to walk down a long flight line corridor.
“Hello, Guys,” Soldier Sam said. “We’re having the devil’s own time with the Super Surprise Model Helicopter. Wish you’d take a look at the Engine”
“Glad to,” answered the Lead Mechanic.
“I’ve read your Manifesto on How Rings can Fix Things, Soldier Sam” said the Experts. A Brilliant Performance, Sir”
“Thanks!” said Soldier Sam.
“Quiet, man!” said Sarina in an excited voice. Sarina sprang to the machine, which was now going pocketa-pocketa ding-pocketa-ding. Sarina began delicately turning a row of glistening, sparkling dials.
“Get me a Ring!” Sarina snapped.
Soldier Sam handed Sarina a Ring. Sarina pulled a faulty piston out of the engine and inserted the Ring in its place.
“This one is just a Stop-Gap Measure,” Sarina Discovered. “Soldier Sam, you better get a move on and find the Right Ring out in the Field. There are lots of Shops in Los Angeles.
“If you wish,” Soldier Sam said. “What kind of product would you like?”
"I don't know and I don't care," interrupted Sarina sharply. Just get the best deal on one that will work to fix this engine!”
Soldier Sam agreed and they all knew that things needed to be hurried up—fixing the helicopter, there was a limit to how long the camera crew could shoot the scene. The show didn’t need to be endless.
Soldier Sam was inexperienced at shopping for sparkling engine parts so that's where Rams Mascot comes into the Show. Rams Mascot was always good for adding structure to the Show."
“Go on a Mission, Soldier Sam, To Find the Right Ring. Rams Mascot will help you out.”
Soldier Sam beamed with momentary encouragement
As Soldier Sam started out, Sarina called him back and put a shopping list for other stuff in his hand. "First of all, get a new pair of shoes and some flowers. Don't give up!”
“Back it up, Soldier Sam! Look out for that Parking Lot Post!” Rams Mascot shouted. Soldier Sam jammed on the brakes.
“Wrong way, Solider Sam. You’re driving towards the Stadium” said Rams Mascot, looking at Soldier Sam closely.
“Fuck,” Soldier Sam said to himself. He began cautiously to back out of the lane marked “Rams Stadium. Fun Straight Ahead!”
“Leave it sit there,” ordered Rams Mascot. “I’ll put it away.” Soldier Sam dismounted from the Ambush Protected, Reinforced Humvee. None of his other Rides would be able to navigate the narrow Los Angeles Streets.
“Hey, better leave the key, Soldier Sam. You’re on Foot Patrol today.”
“Oh Shit,” said Soldier Sam, handing Rams Mascot the ignition key. Rams Mascot vaulted into the vehicle, backed it up with professional skill, and put it where it belonged.
Solider Sam made his way out of the Rams Stadium Parking Lot and set out on his Mission.
They think they’re so damn special, Soldier Sam said to himself, walking along Hollywood Boulevard; they think they are more important than everything. Once, Soldier Sam had tried to throw a football all the way into the End Zone, but it crashed onto the ground just a couple of yards in front of him.
Since then, Sarina always made him punt the football to move it down the field.
Soldier Sam kicked at the Stars on the sidewalk. “Flowers ,” he said to himself, and he began looking for a Flowers Shop.
When he came out into the street again, with the flowers tucked under his arm, as strongly as those Rams try to hold onto the Football in the Coors Light Red Zone.
Soldier Sam began to wonder what the other thing was Sarina had told him to get. She had told him several times, before Soldier Sam had left Rams Stadium to go on this mission.
In a way, Soldier Sam always got a bit frustrated when he had to go shopping—he was always getting something wrong on the Taco. Steak, Seasoning, Lettuce, Tomato, Shredded Cheese, Sour Cream he thought, were they out of shells and tortillas too? Or was it the T-Shirt Initiative?
Soldier Sam gave it up. But of course Sarina would remember it.
“Where’s the what’s-its-name?” Sarina would ask. “Don’t tell me you forgot the what’s-its-name.”
Back at Rams Stadium, the trial for the Helicopter Strike had begun. Rams Players had been called up into the stands to give their testimony on the record.
. . . “Perhaps this will refresh your memory.” Rams Mascot suddenly thrust a Shoulder Fired Grenade Rocket Launcher at Sarina, now on the witness stand.
“Have you ever seen this before?” Sarina took the weapon and examined it expertly. “This is the Shoulder Fired Grenade Rocket Launcher Soldier Sam has been trying to fix in the Shop all week,” Sarina said calmly.
An excited buzz ran around the Rams Players in the Bleachers. Rams Mascot rapped his gavel for order. “You are a crack shot with any sort of firearms, I believe?” said Rams Mascot, trying to break Sarina down.
“Objection!” shouted Sarina. “Of course I could not have possibly fired the shot. I was carrying my Lunch Tray when that Payload whizzed through the air into the Parking Lot.”
Rams Mascot raised his hand briefly and the Shocked Rams Players were silent.
With any known make of launcher like that,” Sarina said evenly, “That Shot would have sailed clear out of Rams Stadium Grounds. Using My Left Hand!!”
Pandemonium broke loose among the Rams Players Seated on the Bleachers.
Without rising from her chair, Sarina let the players know just how much their Safety was in her hands. An accident like that could really take place on any given day. If she was eating lunch with Soldier Sam in the Cafeteria.
Solider Sam had arrived at the Most Expensive Ring Shop on the California Beach.
“Put a Ring on It. That will Fix It,” said Solider Sam, to no one in particular. He stopped walking and saw Massive Waves crashing onto the Beach, showing the Power of the Pacific Ocean.
Some Hollywood Acting-Type Stars passing by laughed.
“He said ‘Put a Ring on It. That will Fix It.” They said to each other. “That man said ‘Put a Ring on It. That will Fix It’ to himself.”
Soldier Sam hurried on. He went into the Used Tire Shop, not the first one he came to but a smaller one farther up the street. “I would like to get a Ring to Fix an Engine,” he said to the clerk.
“Any special brand, sir?” The Greatest Tire Fixer in the World thought a moment. He was also adept at Mounting and Balancing the Tires he Repaired Every Day.
“It says ‘I Love You, Hot Stuff’ on the Box,” said Soldier Sam.
Sarina would be punched out of her Work Shift at Rams Stadium in just a moment, Soldier Sam saw in looking at his phone, unless The Bleacher Trial got sticky. Sometimes Trials mediated by Rams Mascot could get sticky. If that inquisition went well; Sarina would want him to be there waiting for her as usual.
Solider Sam found a Seat on the Bleachers, right on the 50 Yard Line and he put the Flowers and the Tool Box on the floor beside him. He picked up his phone and started to get updates about all the action.
“Can the Allies Conquer the World Through the Air?” Solider Sam looked at the pictures of bombing planes and of ruined beaches.
. . . “The cannon fire has got the wind up in the Far Reaches of the Pacific, Sir,” said Rams Mascot.
Soldier Sam looked up at Rams Mascot and responded. “Get them to sleep in the Dirt Tonight,” he said wearily. “With the others. I’ll fly alone.”
“But you can’t, Sir,” said Rams Mascot. “It takes several Brigades to handle that kind of a strike and they pound hell out of the air. The circus is between the islands.”
“Somebody’s got to get that ammunition dump,” said Soldier Sam. “I’m going over. Spot of Bourbon?”
Soldier Sam poured a drink of bourbon for Rams Mascot and one for himself. Conflict thundered and shook around the field at Rams Stadium and battered at the door. There was a barrage of wind blowing across the bleachers where they sat.
“A bit of a near thing,” said Soldier Sam.
“The box barrage is closing in,” said Rams Mascot.
“We only live once, Rams Mascot,” said Soldier Sam, thinking about Sarina. “Or will we?” He poured another Bourbon and tossed it off.
“I’ve never seen any of Rams Players who could hold their Bourbon like you, Sir,” said Rams Mascot. “Not even close.”
Soldier Sam stood up and strapped on his Trans-Pacific Signalling Device. .
“It’s a long stretch through hell, Sir,” said Rams Mascot.
Soldier Sam finished one last bottle of Bourbon. “After all,” he said clearly “what isn’t?”
The pounding of the cannon increased; there was the rat-tat-tatting of anti-aircraft batteries, and from somewhere came the menacing pocketa-pocketa-pocketa of the new flame-throwers.
Soldier Sam started to walk his way from the Bleachers to meet up with Sarina. Soldier Sam turned and waved to Rams Mascot, “Keep it 100..”
“I’ve been looking all over Rams Stadium for you,” said Sarina. “Why do you have to hide in the Bleachers? How did you expect me to find you?”
“Sometimes things close in,” said Soldier Sam, exhausted from the Day’s Events.
“What?” Sarina asked. “Did you get the what’s-its-name? The Ring to Fix the Engine? What’s in your tool box?”
“Pretty Flowers for You,” replied Soldier Sam.
“Couldn’t you have just left them on my desk and filled your tool box with the whole selection of Engine Rings? “
I was panicking about Work,” said Soldier Sam. “Does it ever occur to you that I am sometimes Panicking?” Anyways, there is only one Ring in the Tool Box. And it isn’t for the Helicopter Engine.”
Sarina looked at him. “I’m going to eat Tacos with you when I get you home,” Sarina said.
Sarina and Soldier Sam went out through the revolving doors of Rams Stadium, that made an audible and noticeable whistling sound when you pushed them. It’s wasn’t that far of a drive from Rams Stadium.
They drove along and along the way Sarina made the ride stop.
Sarina had spotted for the first time a shop on the Corner of Rodeo Drive and Sunset Boulevard.
It was called “Disney Snow White Gear Boutique.” Sarina and Soldier Sam got out and walked a short distance down the sidewalk
“Wait here for me” instructed Sarina. “ I forgot something. I’ll just be a minute.”
Sarina was more than a minute. Soldier Sam looked in his pocket for a cigarette. It began to rain.
Soldier Sam Leaned against the wall of “Disney Snow White Gear Boutique, smoking his last cigarette. . . . He put his shoulders back against the wall and considered what a Great Future lay in store for Rams Stadium.
“To hell with the blindfold said Soldier Sam bravely.
He finished his last cigarette and snapped it away.
Then, with Sarina walking out of the Door with a Big Box, he gave her Flowers when she approached walking down the aisle between the Boutique and the Side of the Building.
Soldier Sam faced the assembled firing squad; proud and undefeated, Soldier Sam, defiant to the last.