What follows is a slightly fictionalized account of something that happened between me and my "friend" Aardvark (the real person that my character David Sagus is based on). Just so you know, we DID skunk his team in Halo's version of Capture the Flag. But that won't make any sense until you read the following account.
The Foosball Vendetta
Foosball n. A stupid tabletop game based on soccer where players attempt to use figures mounted on rotating bars to kick the foosball into the opponent's goal. A winner is determined in foosball when one team scores a predetermined number of goals, say five or ten. It is also known as table soccer.
Vendetta n. Vengeance; blood feud; closely associated with foosball, but much more satisfying.
Sooner or later someone is going to tell you the story, so it might as well be me. Within it lies the reason Aardvark's Halo CTF team will be crushed by the Grand Rapids Frag Pile. It is the bone and marrow that produces the blood of vengeance.
I might have been the "new" guy, but even rough-hewn circus performers steer clear of a homicidal clown; most of them anyway. The first time I saw Aardvark he was eating. I normally didn't have my lunch in the food tent, but being new I had no place else to go. I ended up sitting directly across from him, and to my dismay he began to talk.
"Y'ever play foosball? No? Best game in the world. Me, no, I'm no good. Wanna play? Please? Oh, Pleeeeeeeeeeeze?! Where? Just follow me after lunch."
As I stared across the foosball table at my opponent, I noticed that just about the entire circus had crammed into the small game tent to watch. Aardvark dropped the ball in, and the carnage began.
One hit, one score for Aardvark.
WHACK! WHACK! WHACK! WHACK!
The crowd was buzzing with excitement, though I had no idea why. Aardvark, who hadn't even broken a sweat in racking up a six-zero lead, suddenly looked nervous. The entire audience fell silent as he dropped the ball into play.
Before I could reach across the table to shake Aardvark's hand, the crowd swept him up on their shoulders and ran cheering from the tent. I could hear what sounded like hundreds of people chanting, "Skunk! Skunk! Skunk!"
I went home and thought nothing more of the game. I had no way of knowing it at the time, but a series of cruel and inhuman events had been set into motion. By the next morning, however, my ignorance would dissolve and the nightmare would begin.
THE NEXT MORNING
6:45 a.m. I receive a call from Guinness Book of World Records. They want confirmation that I was indeed skunked in a game of foosball, and proof that I was not mentally or physically impaired at the time.
7:00 a.m. A guy from Sports Illustrated calls, also wanting to confirm the skunk. He gets excited, mutters something about a cover-story and then hangs up.
7:30 a.m. I watch dumbfounded as Aardvark is interviewed on Good Morning America during a half-hour segment titled World's First Foosball Skunk: Fact or Fiction?
7:45 a.m. Later in the same segment, GMA interviews a mathematician from MIT who calls Aardvark a liar. He says that a skunk is mathematically impossible in foosball since, "only divine intervention" could prevent at least one accidental score.
8:00 a.m. A sports historian on ESPN declares that skunking an opponent in foosball is, "the Holy Grail of sports achievements." He says that it is like batting .900 in the majors, scoring 150 points in an NBA game, running 600 yards by half-time in the NFL, or nailing a hole-in-one on a par six using a pitching wedge off of the tee.
Soon afterwards Aardvark hit the talk show circuit, yacking about "The Skunk" to anyone who'd pay the airfare. Just when I thought that my life was ruined the genius from MIT called me. He said that he wanted me to play a game of foosball with his test chimp, Screech. Since he claimed that he could use the resulting data to disprove "The Skunk" I jumped at the chance.
Foosball is a stupid game.
Now Aardvark and Screech the Chimp were doing the talk shows and I could not to leave my home without receiving horrible abuse. But that was not the last straw. The last straw was the visit I received from a group of evolutionary scientists, wondering if I might not be "the missing link." Something broke inside me that day. I vowed to get even with Aardvark, and even is what I mean to get.
Word of advice, Aardvark: cherish your beloved skunk while you still can, because after our CTF match some road-worker in gas mask will be peeling it off of the highway with tweezers.