6 Life is just a Super Bowl of Cherries
Ace and Harry walked out onto the mezzanine level of the Galactic/Xeonosis Colloseum (It’s Not Just a Coliseum!) and gazed out on the field below. The brilliant green of the turf and white of the lines was reflected in the fantastically contoured green and white fairways and bunkers of the golf courses that stretched out into the desert beyond the end zone. The seating rose in the three tiers on the cheap side, but across the Colloseum were six stories of glass-fronted luxury boxes, which were piggy-backed onto the gigantic domed Galactic Hotel and Casino, the new pride of Las Vegas.
The air was fresh and cool. Las Vegas in February: ideal for a football game outdoors. Of course, should the elements not cooperate, the entire stadium could be covered by the retractable white tent roof that reminded one of something out of the Arabian Nights. Since the Omani Sheik UrMani-Makr had provided guarantees that led to the financial backing for the construction of the whole Hotel/Casino/Stadium complex, this seemed only right. The Sheik’s box was next to Charles Franks’ on the third level at mid-field. Each suite was equipped with two full fifty-foot bars and instant access to the best restaurants in the Hotel with the flick of a finger. There were screened-off private viewing areas in each box which could be used for particularly intimate game viewing by couples or other small groups of close friends, The Sheik had a thing for three girls while he watched. He had also personally interviewed the entire cheerleading squad for the new Las Vegas Gamblers franchise, of which he was a silent partner.
Tonight, Richard “Fightin’ Dickie” York, the president of the United States, would be hanging out in the Xeonosis suite, along with Hall of Famers Senator Jed Chunkright, Slammin’ Joe Washington, and Johnny “Big” Baloni. Charles’s whole family would be there. His twenty-nine year old secretary Svetlana, with whom he was having a not-so-secret affair, had her own box on the second tier.
Out on the field, groundskeepers were adding the Super Bowl logo, showing the helmets of the Mexico City Aztecs and the Las Vegas Gamblers. Under the stadium, huge motorized stages were ready to go for tonight’s show. Childhood would perform Here Comes the Big One right before kickoff.
As game time approached, the huge crowd spilled in a tidal surge into the massive arena. There would be over one hundred and twenty thousand spectators at the largest sporting event ever held in the United States. Camo-wearing Protestors from the Minutemen were gathering beyond the secure parking areas carrying signs saying, “No Spics!”, and “Gamblers, si! Aliens, no!” Presumably, they didn’t care for the appearance of a team from Mexico in that most American of institutions, the Super Bowl, even though all the players except for place-kicker Romeo Valdez’ were high-priced free agents from the states. Their quarterback, Peel Bogey, had taken the New Orleans Saints to their first ever Super Bowl win the year before and had promptly jumped ship and signed a reputed four hundred and thirty million dollar, three-year deal with the new Mexico City franchise. The anti-Mexican sentiments were not held by the seventy percent Hispanic population of Las Vegas, and since the open border agreement pushed through by President York, there was a lot of speculation that Mexico would soon become a part of the United States in the next five years anyway. The Aztec’s TV deal alone was worth over six billion dollars, three percent of which was secretly being funneled to President York’s teen-age daughter’s holdings in the Cayman Islands.
By six o’clock the stadium was packed. The high rollers had sloshed into their boxes, which opened up right into the forty-story casino. Waitresses either in skimpy, feathered Aztecs outfits or low-cut Wild West dancehall girl rigs, continued to bring drinks and place bets for the wealthy patrons. Earl Stunk, the big car dealer, lost one hand of blackjack worth one-point two million five minutes before kickoff. On the far side of the Colloseum, Edna Ferble of Grand Forks, North Dakota, the mother of a soldier stationed in Farukyuistan, won the upper-tier keno worth sixty grand.
Ace and Harry and the boys, all except for Joey, who was getting a last minute blow job from a showgirl with her tits painted to look like red-white-and- blue footballs, were on stage under the northern end zone stands, ready to roll. Joey showed up with twenty seconds to spare. The stage manager, a real flamer, put his hands to his forehead, rolled his eyes in mock defeat, and shouted into his headset. “Let’s go, girls!”The stage rumbled out in a cloud of red-white-and blue balloons that were being shot out of enormous air cannons located at each end zone. As the stages rolled, surrounded by two thousand chorus girls, wearing only throngs and pasties, each one painted red-white-or blue, Harry cracked his neon-lighted sticks in time with the lip-sync track of Here Comes the Big One. A thunderclap of pyrotechnics and brilliant lasers exploded on the downbeat, sending multicolored mini-mushroom clouds rising above the rim of the enormous Collosseum. The huge throng erupted at the dramatic start of festivities. The chorus girls swirled around, creating stars and stripes, bayonets, and military helmets with precision mass choreography.
As the stage reached mid-field, and Joey launched into a semi-convincing reenactment of his famous solo (hey, where are the amps? shouted one drunk in the third deck), a powerful wind machine began to inflate a gigantic cylinder of plastic at the forty yard line. It slowly swelled up, going higher and higher. It was colored red-white –and blue as well, with spangly stripes and stars with piercing chrome strobe lights firing all over the huge, rounded crown. The thing stood above the field, a gigantic, patriotic something or other two hundred feet tall and thirty-five feet across. Silver sideways letters up the shaft of the enormous thing read at first X…XEO…XEONOSIS!
Ace leaned into the mic and pretended to sing, Here Comes the Big One! Just as twelve F-29’s streaked low over the stadium, dropping smart bombs of silver- red- and blue confetti on the cheering multitude. Two of the “bombs” contained real twenty dollar bills. Seven people in the cheaper sections were injured, two killed, in the crush of fans scrabbling at the falling money.
As Childhood finished and their stage was driven off the field at forty miles an hour into a tunnel shrouded in red-white- and blue fog, the P.A. announcer intoned, “And now, to Honor America, and our fighting men, women, and transgenders, please rise and join in our National Anthem, tonight being performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and sung by America’s Sweetheart, Miss Filly Rose!”
Ten-year-old Filly, dressed in an extremely revealing caricature of a Catholic School Uniform, appeared to warble out the anthem, at the end of which the F-29’s screamed over again, trailing long American flag banners and this time dropping hundies. More people were trampled in the ensuing melee’, but since the smart bombs only targeted the seats donated by charity to lower-income and service families, no one really gave a damn. Paramedics soon had the mess cleared away. The sun had just set. Fireworks filled the sky over the spectacle.
Up in Charles’ box, President “Fighting Dickie” York smiled and sipped a scotch. So what of three hundred thousand of our troops were pinned down in the Wadah- Fuqup Mountains of Farukyuistan by the fifteen snipers of the radical cleric Iman-A-Zohl? Business was good and retirement was just one year away. I’m good as gone, he mused.
“Charles, a hundred the Aztecs lose the coin toss.”
“You’re on, Mr. President!” Charles smiled.