Flash Friday 12/06/2015: Fair Game
This story is one of the ‘branches’ that originates from the story Crime Doesn’t Pay. It explores one of the paths that Alastair could have taken after leaving his friends. Like any future stories that use Alastair, this story isn’t so much of a ‘sequel’ than it is an exploration of one of many scenarios that could have arisen. You don’t need to have read the origin story to fully ‘get’ this one, but it helps!
“It’s just…” the footballer said, peering at the whiteboard as Alastair drew up the game plan. “We’ve never seen an attack formation like this before. Are you sure it will work?”
“Positive.” Alastair clicked the lid on the marker. “It worked on a high security bank, it’ll work here.”
“Nevermind. Everyone grab your kits. They’re in the specially-marked duffel bags beside your lockers. Make sure to check the side pockets.”
“What’s in them?”
“Ammunition,” Alastair said, clicking a pistol’s barrel back. “In case we go loud.”
The opposing team leader, standing in front of Alastair with the football between them, looked like he could have worked for security. With his bald head, scar across one eye, and build like a brick wall with attitude, however, he looked more like the kind of person that security had to deal with.
“Oh, how cute,” the man said, cracking his knuckles. “So they finally found a replacement. Have to say, you look a lot better than the last team captain they had. Probably because the last team captain had his arm pulled back so far, it became a new addition to his spine.”
“Yes, I’ve heard things,” Alastair said. “It came with the job description.”
“I hear you have your own little dabbling with the darker sides of life.”
Alastair shrugged. “Something like that.”
“Oh, really? So you think a spiny little mongrel like yourself is hot stuff? Probably stole some sweets from the corner shop.”
The rest of the thug’s team snickered.
“A sense of humour is always appreciated,” Alastair said. “But we are here to play football, not do stand-up. Are you ready to begin?”
“Sure, but…” The thug looked past Alastair. “I can’t help but notice that the rest of your team has ditched you. Not that I can blame them. It’s probably the best for their own health.”
Alastair shrugged. “I’ll get over it.”
“Alright, your funeral. Referee, if you please.”
The referee jumped like a dog to a command, placing the whistle to his lips.
“Well, then.” The thug held out a giant hand. “May the best team win. And may the ambulance get here fast enough to put you back together.”
Alastair took hold of the hand, giving it a single shake. “Good luck.”
The whistle was blown.
The thug did not have the time to retract his hand before he found himself spun around on the spot, his hand-shaking arm held behind him. Something small, round and metal was pressed against the square of his back.
“Dribble the ball towards your goal,” Alastair muttered. “Now.”
The man sheepishly kicked at the ball, sending it rolling towards his goal. Alastair moved him forwards, so that he could take another simple punt.
“Boss?” one of the thug captain’s players said. “What are you doing? That’s the wrong way, mate.”
“You gotta help me, I’m–”
“Shh.” Alastair pushed the barrel in harder. “Don’t say it.”
“I’m…exploring a new way of playing football.” The thug gave a forced smile. “A new spin on an old game.”
“We’re playing real football right now. Please turn around.”
“Uh…you know, how about we just give this version a shot? Wait,” he said over his shoulder. “I didn’t mean ‘shot’ as in–”
“What’s wrong with you?” the footballer said, approaching the thug. “And why’s your arm behind your back? Are you going to surprise us with holy smokes that’s a gun!”
Several things all happened in the space of three seconds. Alastair poked out from behind his meat shield and pointed his gun at the approaching footballer. The doors to the indoor football pitch burst open, the windows around the top smashed, and the lockers and storage areas around the hall exploded with activity. Through these three, people ran (or in the case of the window crew, rappelled) into the court, all aiming rifles and pistols at specified enemy footballers. They were all wearing the same football kit as Alastair, bar the addition of balaclavas, which were also striped with the team’s colours.
“Get the one with the whistle!” Alastair barked.
The referee put his hands in the air as a crewmember approached him, dropping the whistle to the floor.
“Alright,” Alastair yelled, once he was certain that every opponent had a muzzle in his direction. “This is how this is going to go. You’re all going to stand there with your arms in the air, and my friend here is going to score in your goal. Does anyone have any problems?”
A sea of shaking heads.
“Good.” Alastair prodded the back of the team captain. “Go on.”
“I don’t like this game anymore–”
“Just dribble it into your goal and this can all be over.”
The only sound that could be heard were the squeaks of two pairs of shoes. Eventually, the ball had come close to the goal, the goalie holding his gloved hands in the air.
“Alright,” Alastair said. “Tap it in. Gently.”
A soft tap. The ball began to trundle towards the goal at an agonising speed.
Alastair leant around his hostage, pointing the gun at the goalie. “I don’t want any heroes. Got it?”
Several nods of the head.
The ball kept rolling, past the goalkeeper, softly nudging itself against the back of the net.
The goal counter hanging over the court ticked up by one.
All at once, the heisters relaxed, with balaclavas being pulled off and happy exasperations being uttered. Alastair’s team began patting each other on the back and shaking the hands of the still-petrified opponents.
“Well, I’m glad that worked,” Alastair chirped. “Never planned a football game before. You folks ready for the rest of the game?”
Alastair turned to the opponent’s team leader, but he wasn’t there. Neither was the rest of the team, nor the referee. The door exiting the football court was still swinging on its hinge.
“That’s a shame,” Alastair said, scratching his head in confusion. “They seemed so eager to play, though.”