Ticket To Heaven

November 30, 2008
Intangible smoke rose to the ceiling and made his nostrils flare while singeing the hair in side. Quick metal clicks rand in his ears while blue and purple flames causes his eyes to flicker back and forth , leaving deep and colored imprints into the blackness of his eye. The sounds of deep and heavy breathing clashed against the metallic sounds of the Zippos. The taste of burning cigarettes flavored his mouth and burned and blackened his lungs.

A troubled boy with jet black hair in a matted mess sat on a brittle metal chair in the corner of the room. He was taller than most boys with a muscular, athletic frame. Sculpted muscles outlined his body while a chiseled jaw dominated his face. His eyes were a fierce and piercing green that seemed to rip right through you and delve into every thought of your very conscience.

Reagan was in the old and abandoned warehouse on Satin’s Way. Plastic tarps masked the blackness of the outside world while swaying in the momentous wind. The furniture was covered in sheets to prevent the blinding dust from being lodged in the hairlines of the fabric. The floor was littered with old and rotted debris from cardboard to plastic and wood to iron flakes. A separate balcony with grated floors and beer bottles strewn about separated the concrete structure into two levels. A set of spiral stairs wound its way to the top of the iron rails surrounding the platform.

Accommodating him to the grim and depressing complex were the Black Raiders. A back alley gang that people tend to steer clear of due to their drunken rage and the violence that was sure to follow. At the time, they were all dominating seniors while he was an underclass sophomore. However he wasn’t here because he called them up for a last minute hook up. He was here tonight because his rep was a shadow of his own.

Upon the dawn of his thirteenth birthday, he lit his first cigarette in the folds of darkness enveloping the trees in his yard. The sensation from the tendrils of addiction taking a firm and iron clad grasp on his easily persuaded body. This disgusting and unsavory habit lost him all of what little connections he had with his friends. Downhill was all he went from there. He began to drink, making alcohol his life relief and stress breaker. Drowning his miseries in a cool beer.
But what he would give to let go. To be released form the spider web that was his addiction. To break it and force the spider to start anew on a better web that he would never be caught in again. Only god wasn’t to kind to him for this web couldn’t be broken. This web was made of bullet proof Plexiglas and had no intention of letting him go. Not until he died with addiction in his heart.
“And what a shameful death that would be,” he concluded to himself.
Reagan’s mental track was drilled and disrupted as the noise of conversation came knocking on his skull. “You know,’’ announced Jason as he lit another cigarette,” I’m really looking forward to spending the money I’m going to be receiving when you and the Sun Devils win tomorrow.”
The mention of the divisional championship surprised Reagan because he had come here tonight to try and remove the game from his mind. Regan was the quarterback of the Lucifer Sun Devils and had led them to a 17-2 record and was two wins away from becoming the state champs. The almighty gods of the turf burnt grid iron. He raised his head as it started to flush with color.
Yeah, I’m a little nervous though. Michael Arcs Angels are good,” he informed. “They’ve won the state championship for the last 7 years and are making a good run for 8. I’m not sure that I can lead a march down the field every time that they burn our weak secondary. They can really-“
“You’d better,” cut in Cameron, “We’ve all got money on you; big money because the odds are paying so high that you lose.” And just as he said that the rest of the gang pulled out small yellow slips of paper. All covered with scribbles and calculations to find out how much money they would be earning.

Reagan’s head began to spin and the room seemed to drop from below him. Nausea filled his gut and his thoughts began to race. “If I lose,” he thought, “they are… they’re going to kill me. “ And what made him want to jump out of the open window leading to the black abyss below, glimmered to his left. Jamaal began to twirl his semi automatic pistol and make sharp eye contact with him.
Twirling and twirling and twirling. Mocking him so, as if to warn him of something. Just somehow, hinting him away… away… away…
* * *
Regan was brought back by the sound of coach Calimiro’s raspy and out of tune voice (almost like that of a bad violin) as it wrestled against the melodic tune of his memory.
“Come on boys,” he squeaked, “You’ve come too far and worked too hard to lose here in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter!” He paused to breathe which he struggled so much to do as his lungs had to expand under 273.5 pounds of Twinkies. By the time Coach continued his face was a deep purple and his breathing was heavy. “Now listen,” he wheezed, “there are…43…ugh… seconds left… in the…ugh… game. We need one touchdown and two points to… ugh… win and move… on to…ugh…states. CAN YOU… ugh… DO THAT!
“Yes coach.”
“I CAN’T … hug ugh… HEAR…ugh… YOU!”
“Let’s go boys, let’s go, let’s go!”
As the team left the sideline Coach Calimiro crumpled and wheezed himself to the turf. There was a brief pause in the roar of the crowd as the fans were curious as to what caused the slight tremor in the arena. The defensive line coach walked up beside him and bent over whispering, “Need help there, Joe?”
“No thanks,” he choked as he coughed up the flam in his throat. “We can do this. We can…do, ugh, ugh, do this. I need a beer and a pack a Twinkies.”
The offense took the field with 2 timeouts remaining and trailing 27-19. Regan walked to the huddle group of sweaty animals with the weight of the world on his shoulders. The chant of the crowd screaming, “Let’s go Sun Devils!’ drilled through his ears and pierced the sound of his soft and somber heartbeat. He was wheezing through the smokers lungs he had developed. The ball was resting on the Angel’s 47 yard line, just waiting for that one throw, hit or mistake to tear at your heart. He walked up to the huddle. “69 yard right, XZ drop-cross.” And he walked away from the huddle without bothering to break it. As he walked to the line, he glanced up at the defense from the south. The Angels were big and strong, built for football.
Regan stuck his hand up under his center and began to call out the snap count. “Yellow 69, brown 27, middle, middle. Set hut!” The pigskin slammed into his open hands and he dropped back as he scanned the field for even the slightest glimpse of yellow and gold jersey to let lose his explosive cannon arm downfield. The blue jerseys of the Angels filled in the empty gaps in the line of overweight psychos. The blitz was coming and the pressure was building. Panic filled his gut and as it began to flutter.
The hit came from behind. An eruption of pain flooded through his back as one, overweight mistake hit him in the back for a sack. His sweat dancing off his face and landed on Heavens field as his facemask kissed the turf. He was slow to get up but quick to gather his team to the line. The clock was winding down. His team was slow in comparison to his own fleet feet. Time was against them.
“Set, hut.”
Regan received the ball and dropped back to pass. He swiveled his head to the left. Then to the right. His receiver to the right threw his hand up into the air to signal he was open. However, he ignored the desperate plea for glory and dove into the mass of bodies blobbing in the middle of the field. He was able to break for three yards before he was wrecked by the linebacker. It was at this moment that the Angels began to get cocky, spitting and screaming in his face. He disgustedly threw the ball to his left and hopped to his feet and walked back to the huddle.
Logan, who was the open receiver, let loose a stream of swears for his arrogance for taking it himself.
“Fine, you want the ball? You can have it! Flix red on three. Ready, break.”
They ran to the line with 23 seconds remaining. Time seemed to slow down around him. The teams next to him began to move in a frame by frame motion. His sense of hearing drained from him as the only sound he could hear was the sound of his frantic heartbeat in his ruined chest. Every smell flowed through his nostrils with acute clarity. Every smell became unique and every fragrance held its own meaning. His vision blurred and his legs began to shake ravenously with unbearably muscular fatigue.
“Set… hut,” he bellowed with in humane sound as he dropped back to pass and keep the Devil’s season alive. Logan threw his hands up in the air his gloves in Regan’s sights. So he simply threw it up there and closed his eyes. His fears were realized as a deafening cheer rang up from the Angle’s faithful.
His pass had been picked off with 16 seconds on the clock after it bounced off of Logan’s hands. Regan was stunned beyond mobility and his legs began to tremble as the adrenaline filtered out of his body only to be replaced by fear.
He had lost, he had been defeated and let the weight of the world crush him underneath. Michael Arc’s Angels had defeated Lucifer’s Sun Devils and it was all because of his untimely pickoff. The image of the Black Raiders beating him within an inch of his life filled and tormented his mental wellbeing. His heart began to race and blackness filled his heart.
His breathing became heavy and struggled inside his blackened lungs. He began to hyperventilate and wheeze to the thought of his inevitable death. Grief overcame him and fatigue made him crumple to his face, spread-eagled on the artificial turf. There was a sharp pain at the base of his skull as his vision flickered and failed. The blackness overcame him as blood flooded his head from the abuse his body took from the drugs. Blood began to tear from his eyes and his last links of life came in the form of words. Words that said, “It’s ok Reagan, we’ll get him next time, and start fresh next fall.” ‘There was no fresh start or a next time,’ he thought, and with is last breath gasped from his lung and his last drops of life ebbing away, Regan handed in his ticket to heaven.

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