Football Bet FTW!byTx Tall Tales©
"Run the BALL!" Lori was shouting at the TV. "When it's working keep it up until they show they can stop it!"
Of course, being up by 28, you could do pretty much anything you wanted to, but I kept that to myself.
We held the 49ers to 3 and out, and as soon as we got the ball back, it was run, run, run. Thirty quick yards by Portis on three straight carries. That had Lori back on her feet, dancing and shouting, "That's what I'm talking about!"
She was always animated, jumping up and down, dancing in place when things went well, and despondent when things didn't. Today was a good day. And the dancing looked different to me than it ever had before. Cuter. Sexier. Hotter.
Four more runs had the ball down to the SF 14 yard line, and Lori was talking about the spirit of Riggo, in the shirt. Then a holding penalty and two passes stalled the drive, and she was almost livid that we settled for a field goal.
"We can run all day on these guys. Why did they stop? Why?" She turned back to the TV. "RUN THE BALL!" she nearly shouted. "And why aren't they running Portis?"
"He's already got over a 100 yards," Derek told her. "With the game in the bag, I think they're just resting him."
Not too long after that, they drove the ball all the way down the field, rushing the whole way. Lori was ecstatic, still crediting the spirit of John Riggins. She was maybe 5 years old when Riggo first wore that shirt. I wondered how much she could really know about him. But she was into it. Half blotto from hitting the beers pretty hard, she now insisted we all touch the shirt for good luck. She didn't even comment when I touched the tear, my hand sliding inside it, stroking her soft side. She just pulled away, giving me a half-hearted smack.
With the score 52 to 7, and just a few minutes left, we started paying more attention to the other games. Philly was down 10 to 17, and Tomlinson was rolling for San Diego. But Dallas was ahead. With Seattle driving late in the fourth, we switched over to it on the big screen with under two minutes to go. Seattle marched down field and scored a TD with 40 seconds left to tie it up. We were all cheering and yelling on that one.
The wind went out of our sails a bit when Dallas got a great kick-off return and had the ball almost at midfield. But with 14 seconds left in the game, Seattle intercepted the ball and returned it to the the 32. With 5 seconds to go, Seattle kicked a 50 yard field goal for the win, and we almost went crazy. It was turning out to be an incredible day after all.
We flipped over for the final Philly score, and were disappointed to find out they'd rallied for 10 points at the end of the fourth quarter, to eke out a win. But we could accept that. Any day when our favorite two teams won, namely the Redskins and whoever was playing Dallas, was a great day.
Without so much as a how-d'you-do, Lori parked herself at my desk and got on the computer. I walked over and saw her checking out all the early game box scores. She was a numbers fanatic. I heard her chuckling, and left her to her fun.
Before zoning in on the late games, we did some fridge restocking, and cleaned up a bit. Lori got excited when she found some Red Bull in the garage beer refrigerator, left over from one of the girls I'd dated a while back, and she switched to Red Bull and Vodka. She was also giving me a hard time about my fantasy team, which hadn't done that well. We were going head-to-head this week, and I was down 20 points. I had Brady as my QB but he had a bye week, and I'd picked up Eli from the Giants just to have a shot at a few points. For my kicker I had Elam from Denver, so this was a huge game for me. I needed some big plays.
"Why don't you just give it up, Jack," she teased. "You don't stand a chance. The Giants will be lucky to score. Your team is so lame."
My team is tied for first place, I wanted to remind her. "Just wait. I'm going to kick your ass tonight."
"HA! Fat chance. If I wasn't tapped out, I'd put some serious cash on that one."
Lori was a gambler, but she never bet beyond her means. It wasn't uncommon for her to dump her wallet out, and bet every last penny in it on some stupid game decision, but she won as much as she lost, and always paid up.
"You'd just lose it. Like you always lose to me. I'm expecting a big night from Elam and Eli."
"Even if you got huge games from them, I've still got Jamal Lewis, and he's a fantasy point machine." The girl was as drunk as I'd ever seen her, but she could still remember every player on both our fantasy teams, every game being played that evening, and all the over-unders and point spreads. Just amazing.
"Jamal? What a has-been. Pretty mediocre last year. What, 7 or 8 TDs?"
"Injuries. He's back this year. I expect another 2000 yards and 14 TDs. Hell, he may go off for 200 yards again tonight. Seven more points, guaranteed."
"Eli might have a big night. You never know," I reminded her.
"Eli? Shit. Are you kidding me? Collapses under pressure. His brother got all the balls in that family. And the Giants suck, 6-10 last year? Denver touchdowns will give Elam maybe 3 or 4 points. Throw in a field goal for 6 or 7 total. You're toast." The game was about to start, and she looked down at the shirt she was wearing. "Think it's time for Riggo to be put to bed, before I let all the good luck run out."
We'd been arguing at the top of the stairs, and I watched her discretely as she headed back to my bedroom, enjoying the view while following her. Legs up to her chin, and damn, those were some nice shorts. "I've got to get out of this shirt. It was cool of you to let me wear it, but I've been sweating bullets I'd mess it up somehow."
I followed her back to my closet, where she again took off the shirt, standing there in her bra and shorts, and passed it to me to put away. I folded it carefully and put it on a shelf. Turning around she was still standing there waiting.
"Got something else I can wear, or do I have to go up there like this?" she asked, with a teasing look in her eye.
"I'd suggest going up like that, but you might give old Bob a heart attack," I teased. "Besides, Derek wouldn't be able to pay attention to the game at all."
"Oh, like you weren't checking me out upstairs?"
First choice, when caught, deny everything. "Checking you out? Please. I could find better curves at the middle school."
"My sister said she I saw you passing out candy there. Pervert." Then she smiled at me. "You're such a liar. You were scoping me out. Just admit it."
"Ok, I admit it. I was stunned. I didn't think they made shorts in size 8 children's."
She punched me for that one.
"Ok," I relented. "I have something nice here, significant but not historic." I pulled another shirt off the rack, and passed it over.
"Number 28, Darrell Green, gotta love it." She was old enough to have seen Darrell play; hell he'd only retired a few years earlier.
"Yep - 1998 game worn, signed. Nothing too fancy, but a nice piece of work. AND, small enough that you won't be swimming in it."
"Jesus! Signed and worn by Darrell Green! Are you some secret millionaire?" she asked, wiggling into it.
I wasn't about to let her know the truth. "Hardly, but you know I buy shirts every year and I'm always looking for bargains. That was part of a charity auction as well. I find some great bargains there, believe it or not."
Lori was checking herself out in the mirror. "Damn, this is the nicest shirt I've ever seen. And it damn near fits me. I'd give my left tit for something sweet as this." The left tit comment was in response to our constant comments about giving our 'right-ball' for a QB, and such.
"Shit, that wouldn't be right, the shirt wouldn't fit near as well. Let's face it - your tits are the only think differentiating you from a 2 by 4." It did fit very well, almost skin tight, accentuating her previously hidden pectoral charms.
She laughed. "Ah, the truth comes out. You like my tits? Good thing my jersies hide them. Wouldn't want you drooling all the time."
"Alright. I'll give you that one. They're passable."
She just smirked.
"And what would something like this run?" she asked, checking out my wall of shirts more carefully now.
"Today's prices, 12, maybe 15 hundred. I don't know, I don't follow the collectible prices that much. A paltry $375 to get it originally." I explained.
"Paltry for you maybe," she laughed, "that's a car payment for me."
"Well if you didn't alway bet on your sorry excuse for a fantasy team, you might have a little more cash for the sweet things in life," I teased.
"Please, you know I win way more than I lose. I'll be kicking your ass today." Lori growled.
"Kissing is more like it. I'm going to own you."
"I'd bet my ass you couldn't pull that kind of comeback." She laughed and turned to check out her shirt in the mirror. "It is a sweet shirt."
"What? Against THAT shirt? Hardly a fair bet."
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"You said you'd bet your skinny ass against that shirt, which is ridiculous. The shirt's worth at least a thousand. A roll with you is worth maybe $20?" I was hitting her had.
"$20! I'll have you know I've been offered over a grand for one evening. I told the stupid fuck I wouldn't take 10 times that."
"Fucking Yankees raising the price. Alright, I could see paying maybe $50. Maybe."
"You are so full of shit. $50? Even that bitch today was offering to get a hotel, dinner and a new flight if I'd play along. Hell, that's worth $500 easy."
"Right. I believe the easy part. But that's a thousand dollar shirt."
"Thousand dollar? You said you paid $375."
"Jesus. I never thought you were such a little hustler. Alright, your ass against the shirt, but you're cheating me."
"Are you out of your mind? I'm not going to bet my ass. Especially not to you."
"More of the usual. All talk. 20 points up and she's still afraid to lose. Put up or shut up." I was hitting her where it hurt. She loved betting, and would die before she'd welsh.
"Are you fucking crazy? I never said I'd make that bet."
"What was all the dickering over? You said you'd bet your ass, but when push come to shove, you're as bad as Bob." A nice roundhouse to the chin there. I had her on the ropes. She was so easy to tease.
"Jack, I'm up 20 points, and still have Jamal. You've got a second-rate QB and a kicker. It's like you're just giving me the shirt."
Wow. That was a surprise. I never expected her to take the bet teasing seriously. Not really. I was just screwing with her. But with the possibility on the table, I definitely couldn't let it show how much I was interested in her. Not in a month of Sundays.
"Aw, never mind. It is one of my favorite shirts. And it looks better on the hangar then on your skinny frame."
"Ha! Looks who's backing out now. I can't blame you, you don't stand a chance. 20 points, and all you got is Elam. Eli isn't worth spit."
"Fine, I'll take the bet. I still think you're cheating me." I stuck out my hand.
She stared at it for a second, as if she didn't really understand what I was doing. After a few seconds she put her hand in mine and shook. Then she held on for just a sec. "Uh, if you did win, even though it's never going to happen, like for how long are we talking?"
"I don't know. Let's say you're worth $100, how about we make it for a week?" I asked.
She laughed out loud. "You've got to be kidding! I was thinking more like an hour."
"Alright, I'll meet you part way. I can see somebody desperate thinking you're worth $200, at least make it two days." I countered again. "And no limits."
"Fuck that. Rear entry is WAY off limits. You couldn't get that for the Riggo. Anything else, until midnight," she offered.
"Until 9:00am tomorrow. That's not so bad for something that's never going to happen."
She looked at me for a while before finally giving in. "Deal," she smiled warily, shaking on it. "It's not like you stand a chance of winning anyway."
"And if I get bored too quickly, I can always have you wash my car."
"Bored? I would fucking blow your mind. You'd be ruined for any other woman. Ever."
"Really. I guess there are a lot of ruined guys out there," I said, referring to her long string of short lived relationships.
She glared at me, the humor gone. "You're an asshole you know? No wonder you're still single."
Damn it. I had stepped over the line.
She turned and walked out of the room and I followed her up the stairs. I caught her arm at the top.
"You're right. I am an asshole. I'm sorry, I didn't mean it. I just let the teasing get carried away."
She paused, took a deep breath, then smiled. "It's Ok. And the single thing was a low blow. We're cool."
"You know it. No way am I leaving your house without this shirt."
We had taken too long getting to our seats, and the guys had already laid claim to the recliner and the end couch seat. Lori got the middle seat, choosing to be closer to the TV, while I got the other end of the couch. We were several minutes into the game, and I found out that Elam had a FG, and the Giants were driving. In deference to both Bob and Derek we had the Bills vs Raiders on the second TV, since they both had players in that game. Why? God only knows.
"Three points," I told my couch neighbor softly. "17 to go."
"Eighteen for the win, wiseguy," she snapped. "I need another drink; you have any more of that Red Bull?"
Normally, I'd just laugh and tell her to fend for herself, but I was feeling generous, and still a little guilty for letting the teasing get out of hand. "I'll check. Be right back." I headed out to the garage and found we still had three more. I grabbed all three, and stopped by the dining room to grab a fifth of Stoli.
"What did I miss?" I asked, passing Lori her drink mixings. She was settled deep in to the couch, legs stretched out, and standing in front of her I was stunned to have a clear view up between those luscious legs. Those shorts were so tight her camel toe was screaming out to me. Just 18 more points.
"Eli touchdown to Plaxico. 7-3."
12 for the win. There is a God.
Lori took a long swig of her Red Bull, then poured a healthy dose of vodka in the can. "Let's see the Raven's game; I'm probably up another 6 by now."
It took a few minutes to find her game, and we parked on that channel for a while. Things were not going Lori's way. Chicago had the Ravens running game shutdown, and by the end of the quarter, Chicago was up 7-0 and Jamal was a non-factor.
Lori was up on her feet, yelling at the TV, coaching from a thousand miles away. "Assholes! RUN THE BALL." Every down she saw another uncalled penalty, and was as exasperated as I'd ever seen her. When we turned back to my game, we saw the 7-6 score, and new that her massive lead was slipping away. I was only 9 points down, and we weren't even in the second quarter.
She dropped heavily onto the couch, groaning. She took a deep drink, finishing off her Red Bull-Vodka. She looked over at me and glared. "Not a fucking word."
I just mimed zipping my lips. And pondered what hers might feel like.
During the second quarter she started on her third Vod-Bomb, and her TV directed profanities continued, though not quite as bad. I managed one more point off an extra kick, and Baltimore was able to move the ball a bit, mostly passes, and scored two field goals to make their game tighter. Jamal was useless, with a handful of stuffed rushes for about 4 yards total. When he caught a pass, he could do no better. It was looking more and more like Lori was going to have to depend on the lead she'd carried into these games.
At half-time we lost Derek. He had the baby at home, and had promised to make it an early night.
I walked him out, picking up a couple more beers.
"What's the deal with Lori? She's even crazier than usual."
"Fantasy teams. We're head-to-head this week, and we made a bet before the game, when she was up 20 points with Jamal still to play. I've got Eli and Elam."
"So what's the score now?"
"She's still up by 7. I need eight for the win."
"She should dump Jamal. He's done."
"Yeah, I told her. And now she's finding out."
"Good luck dude. It's about time she lost. Cost me $25 last time we played."
I didn't let on the nature of our bet. I grabbed the beers from the garage fridge, and headed in. I ran into Lori rummaging through my pantry. When she saw me she walked over and poked me in the chest.
"You didn't tell him, did you?"
"Of course not. I told him we had a bet, but nothing about what it was."
She closed her eyes, and brushed her hair back with both hands, sighing. "Fuck." She reached out to the kitchen counter to steady herself.
"Listen, Lori. If you want to call off the bet, I understand."
She opened her eyes and glared at me. Then she sidled up close, almost nose-to-nose. "You'd like that, wouldn't you? Make me back down, or better yet welsh on a bet. Not going to happen."
"You're wrong. I wouldn't want that. I want you to cheer your guys down to the last losing moment. And then I want you to pay up."
"Fuck you, Jack. I'm going to walk out of here tonight with my new shirt, and you can just slink off to your bed and jack-off over and over, thinking about the best sex you almost had."
"So we're still on?" I asked. "Eight little points."
Reminding her of her dwindling margin seemed to get to her. She stepped back and looked me in the eye. "The bet stands."
Back upstairs, we watched the third quarter almost quietly, switching back and forth constantly, until Bob complained he couldn't follow the game. When Lori wasn't watching her team on the big screen, she was trying to get Bob to switch to it on the side TV. She was acting crazy. I had picked up another point right off the bat, but nothing much was going on for either of us. The Giants were down 20-10 and were looking pretty weak. Half-time adjustments looked to be working. Chicago managed another field goal, and kept the Raven's running game shut down. Definitely a defensive struggle between those two.
Just before the end of the third quarter, Bob decided both games sucked and he was tired of the incessant channel swapping. He took off, leaving just the two of us.
With Bob and Derek gone, it was a bit awkward at first, both of us seated on the couch, at opposite ends. Lori was working on yet another spiked Red-Bull, and I had a nice pile of dead soldiers next to me.
Just a little into the 4th quarter, a Denver drive stalled again, and Elam made the score 23-10.
"Four points for the win," I reminded her.
"Don't get your hopes up," she reminded me. "I told you the Giants suck. Denver has their number."
On the other TV, it was a battle of punts, with neither team able to do anything, and Jamal hardly touched the ball. We focused back on the Giants game where they were finally driving. I think Lori had finally decided that her 20 point lead was all she was going to get.
A dropped pass in the end-zone had us both standing. "Fuck!" I screamed at the TV. She laughed out loud. "Shit that was close." A couple of anxious plays later, Barber ran the ball in for a touchdown. No points for me.
Lori jumped up and danced. "That was it. You're toast. You can kiss your sweet shirt goodbye. I hope you have a big bottle of lotion handy. Wouldn't want you getting blisters tonight, all alone in your bed, dreaming about what might have been."
I was afraid she was right. Time was ticking away, and even though nothing was happening in the other game, with a little over two minutes to go, I was afraid I'd lost. The Ravens had a goose egg for the fourth, and Jamal ended with under 40 yards. Unfortunately, I needed four more points and the bad guys had the ball. Even if they scored a field goal I'd be short. A couple of Denver first downs would probably seal it.