The Half-Time Show This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The Half-Time Show





by J. R.,

Wellesley, MA

The messenger stumbled into the throne room and collapsed at the feet of his queen. Private Tyler had run for hours in order that General MacKenzie's all-important message would be delivered. The exhausted private wearily stood up, and delivered his news to the impatient queen, "Your Majesty, General MacKenzie is in dire need of reinforcements! The enemy is forcing him to retreat daily, and he is sustaining incredible losses. Without help our forces will be overrun! The enemy could be at the foot of our hill in just a few hours!" After processing this frightful information, Queen Formica stammered "See to it that Tyler is taken care of. Also, be sure that all of my military staff assembles in the conference room in 10 minutes!" Servants scampered off through the maze of corridors to carry out their majesty's orders.

Meanwhile, multitudes of enemy brigades had pinned down General MacKenzie and the remainder of his once powerful force. Soldiers were dying left and right, and he prayed that the young private had safely relayed his distress signal. The enemy was advancing rapidly, and MacKenzie knew that his only hope for survival would be if he could somehow distract the enemy long enough so that his forces could retreat into the forest behind them. Having made up his mind, the general spoke to his troops. "Third Brigade, you have a difficult task ahead of you. At my signal you will charge the enemy. You will need to use hand-to-hand combat, and you must hold them off long enough for the rest of us to escape. Once we reach the treeline, turn around and run to join us. Now move!" At his signal, the 60 or so soldiers belonging to the Third Brigade charged, knowing full well that their chances of survival were minute, but willing to die to preserve their kingdom. As these valiant soldiers attacked, General MacKenzie ordered the rest of his troops to retreat into the woods. As he ran, he couldn't help thinking about those brave 60 soldiers whom he had condemned to death in order that he might survive.

As the troops ran helter-skelter into the woods, the queen was reporting her army's plight to her military staff committee. The news noticeably distressed the committee. The Chief of the Army regrettably announced that the only troops not currently engaged were those in the queen's private guard. After much deliberation the Queen Formica spoke: "We are in a tough predicament. However, I believe I see a way out of this unpleasant situation. If we recall our entire army from the front and reposition them at the top of our hill, we stand a good chance of repelling an invasion." The committee briefly discussed this plan and then unanimously voiced its approval. With all her other messengers at the front, the queen once again sent for Private Tyler. Though still weary from his last trip, Tyler obediently began running back in the direction he had come, in order to report the change in strategy.

Back on the battlefield, the situation had worsened. After many hours of vicious combat, the enemy forces had managed to destroy the entire Third Brigade. However, it had succeeded in its mission; the rest of the army had safely retreated into the shelter of the forest while sustaining only minor casualties. As General MacKenzie called for them to regroup, Private Tyler arrived with the new orders. After hearing what Tyler had to say, MacKenzie relayed the information to his troops and ordered them to immediately march back to the relative safety of their hill. Meanwhile, the enemy had discovered what was going on, and was heading toward the same destination, not far behind MacKenzie and his battle-weary forces.

After an expeditious march the queen's army reached the outskirts of the colony and began climbing the hill to the entrance of the palace. The arrival of the army greatly relieved the queen and her military advisors, but their relief did not last long. Even before the first soldier reached the top of the hill, the front lines of the enemy were visible not more than 10 minutes away. MacKenzie ordered his troops to advance to the top of the hill as quickly as possible so that they might have time to set up some sort of barricade to attempt to stop the rampaging enemy. The army was only able to construct a small trench from which they could fight before the first enemy lines began charging up their hill.

The enemy came at the defenders in droves, but time and time again the queen's brave troops repelled them. However, the queen's army was suffering enormous casualties, and the General knew that they could not keep the enemy at bay for long. Everyone present could feel the tension hanging in the air. Then the sound of charging soldiers broke the stillness. The enemy broke through the queen's last bastion of defense in several places, and stormed the palace. One enemy soldier had reached the queen who was hidden away in her chambers and lunged at her with hate and destruction burning in his eyes. As he attacked, the battle outside was raging more fiercely than ever. As Queen Formica braced herself for the attack, she felt a horrid burning sensation in her throat. The queen looked up and noticed that her attacker was also suffering. She glanced out the window, but as far as the eye could see there was nothing but a noxious white gas. As the pernicious clouds of gas reached the combatants they immediately fell convulsing to the ground. After only a few seconds, every living creature in the area became a rotting carcass.

Yes, John Smith had finally gotten around to destroying the ant population in his yard. After emptying the can of Raid into the anthill, he hurried back into his house. He opened a can of cola and a bag of chips, and settled into his easy chair. He sank into the soft leather, praising himself on eliminating the sordid pests before the second half of the football game began.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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Imaginedangerous This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 13, 2010 at 11:26 am
Ha! I love the ending. At first I was thinking, 'Formica' is an awfully strange name...  and at the last paragraph it all made sense. Great job!
 
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