Landon’s life had fallen together and then apart in a matter of days. Full ride to college washed down the drain with responsibility. Why him? Why her? “It wasn’t supposed to be forever” he screamed out at the fresh open sky. A sky that now made him feel so minuscule in the grand scheme of things. It was the same sky that just hours before he felt he could reach out and grab. A new revelation in the folds of life as life had just begun. From hero to zero his entire being was twisted in knots and for the first time since he could remember he was scared to death as tears streamed down his face. Mother, the whole town, and hell to anyone that mattered he felt like he let them all down.
Life was majestically simpler back when that angel swooped down from the rifts of heaven and placed herself among his side. She used to crane her pretty little head to peek glances at her small town hero while she was cheering him from the sidelines. Always in trouble for watching the gridiron frenzy behind her. She was only a cheerleader because she wanted to be closer to him. She loved the essence of everything he was. She wanted to be a part of everything he was. Heather was an angel in her daddy’s eyes and she could do no wrong. She was 5’7”, 118 pounds of American angel. Her glossy deep blue eyes complimented her perfect pale skin and that red hair gave off a hint of a spark nobody saw; nobody but him that is. She would ride this scholarship as well as her ticket out of that small aged town.
Heather walked beside him their whole high school venture. Hand in hand they experienced it all. From the college visits of UCLA to his national letter of intent; he caught passes, broke records, gave the old men something to talk about over coffee, and most of all he had a way out. A full ride to college because he was fast and dropped absolutely nothing. These were the two skills that had made him a god a legend in his hometown. Three touchdowns in the State Championships one of which came off the longest kick return of Christian county history. A feeling he planned on keeping. From one small town to a whole state and with a little luck the pros. Landon clutched onto the dreams of being a god forever. She walked gracefully by his side the whole way. Never knowing that life could instantly knock them off the path they were taking. Soon enough the mirage would dispel and the smoke would clear and life would hit them in the stomach hard enough you could hear the air dispatch from the lungs they fulfilled.
Life was no longer about the grime of the game or the passion of the love….it was bigger than that…bigger than them. So he made that Pinto scream in mercy as the gravel and dust flew in untraceable directions out from underneath the rusty wheels. Earlier it had been a perfect day a nice mountain morning fishing trip with the guys. It was one of the last real days before they dispelled into the world in separate directions. As each cold brew was replaced by a hole in the ice they felt more like the world was theirs for the taking. That phone call knocked Landon back into sobriety however and now he was alone. Alone and making that rust bucket scream down to the corner store in town. He knew what he needed to buy. He knew what would solve all this and in just hours everything would go back to normal. He was running away from it all at a dead sprint. The first one had to lie…..there could be no truth in what was running through his head now. All of it based off of what 3.00 worth of plastic had told that angel before. That road seemed longer than ever before….everything seemed wide open now. From god to an alien shot to a distant planet he wasn’t at home with anything now.
Landon pulled the ride into a screeching halt in front of Tom’s take out the car coming to a rest parked crooked in the handicapped parking spot. Hell they can tow it he thought to himself. It’s the only thing that attaches me to that worthless father of mine anyway. The car was a gift from his father when he turned 16….it was a $300 Junker his dad pulled out of his own junkyard. The place where his father stayed through birthdays…to inebriated to make it to his sons party. Only game he ever made it to was State, and even through the victory all he was able to mutter is you shouldn’t have dropped that third pass. Records broken and still he wasn’t good enough for his dead beat alcoholic father. Aisle three was where the answer was. In a little pink and white box Fifty cents worth of plastic inside. He knew because it was something that they had stumbled onto before. Just a joke you know something that could never happen to a hero with his red headed Cinderella. He picked up the product and began to briskly move to the counter. The answer would be his as soon as he got to Heather’s house. Life would go back to normal and they would laugh at the first real college party of the year at how terrified he was. Landon paid for the product and talked to old Tom. It was polite you know of course Tom would want to ask him how it felt to be the first All-State player in 40 years from Christian county.
As Landon turned towards the door, it violently flung open and a man clad with a ski mask threw himself inside. You could feel the terror in his voice as he screamed “give me the money you old fuck…..I have a new mouth to feed and this McDonalds bullshit is not feeding the other to as it is….You meat head stay where you are; you’re not the hero on this field”. You could tell it was the man’s first time as the villain. He was trembling as his finger toyed with the idea of pulling the trigger. He had to do it, didn’t see any way out he had new mouths to feed, and a real man does anything to feed his kids. Landon took one step towards the disgruntled man and out of nervousness he pulled the trigger. “You don’t have to…………” the words were replaced by the crack of the explosion that propelled the round out the chamber and he tumbled aimlessly forward.
The gunshot had made everything plain before flash white. Landon desperately clutched his chest as the deep crimson poured out. The man had just received all cash out of the small drawer and the god’s world was closing in. He could hear distant sirens but they were simply two distant. Landon’s last breath came with his whole life flashing before his eyes in a blur. First practice, first touchdown, first kiss was it really all tearing away like this? He would never learn the truth of the joy nine months later. Last thing he felt was a foot across the hand clutching what he had purchased minutes before. The bag slide across the floor in the skirmish as the man ran out the door into the hailing fire from police. It then bounced off the wall and out slide a receipt and a pregnancy test a revelation and the answer to a world that no longer existed. A legacy of a god now fallen resting on his unborn child. The shattered of his dreams was now a bastard in this world that he no longer had control over. His last breath exhaled…….it was all over and he never got to achieve more than his own father….never more than his damn father.