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Split Decision by David Perlmutter

Split Decision

by David Perlmutter
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Page 2

This profound silence did not last long, for the crowd cheered loudly when her victory had been established. Even her opponent, when they met for the traditional shaking of… appendages, was impressed.

“You do know we’re supposed to be playing tennis, right?” she said humorously.

“Yeah,” Jody admitted. “But I play so many sports I don’t know the difference between them sometimes.”

That got a laugh that continued as her opponent exited the court, even though Jody was speaking seriously. That confused her. But, even more confusing was the fact that, within that seemingly endless band of good feeling towards her in the stands, she had a strange feeling that there was a new, non-athletic opponent was out there, wanting to attack and kill her for something that she knew nothing about but was somehow responsible for causing…

II.

No fair! You SUCK! BOO!”

The owner of the voice uttering those words was a spectator in the crowd of the match, but she was hardly as impressed as the others at Jody’s performance. Rather, she was finding it hard to conceal her hatred for the robot. Which was odd, for she, as a professional “hero” herself, shared Jody’s avocation.

Jefferson Ball, to give this individual her right name, was as notorious and infamous as Jody was praised and esteemed. For one thing, their characters, in spite of their joint “profession”, were diametrically at odds. While Jody committed herself to physical and moral excellence befitting her inflated stature (which, as a robot, it was relatively easy for her to achieve and gain), Jefferson was just the opposite. Although descended from a long line of genetically endowed “freaks”—and with the enormous strength and speed (rivaling and sometimes surpassing Jody’s) to prove it—Jefferson did not conform to traditional American or Christian (whatever that was) beliefs regarding heroism. As a heroic robot, Jody used her abilities to help others without desire for recompense. Jefferson, in contrast, usually did not get involved in such things unless there was something in it for her, preferably money (which she was bad with), liquor or boys (both of which she was very much addicted to.) But both, when roused, were fierce forces of righteousness, defeating any forces of evil or anything else which stood in their way easily. However, in spite of living in the exact same town at the exact same time, they had never yet crossed paths, even when they faced similar enemies.

They certainly had heard of each other, however. Jefferson, in particular, was aware of the new supposed “threat” posed to her by the “young turk” in robotic form she was now railing against. Particularly onerous to her was the fact that Jody, in her scholastic incarnation, had broken every single record Jefferson had herself set when she had been a Hudson student not so long ago. Records, it should be said, that Jefferson and her peers had both assumed would live forever. Jefferson had not taken it well, as she did not generally do when the odds were against her.

Consequently, she was now bellowing threats at the robot, under the influence of a now half-empty bottle of peach Schnapps she had just begun draining, and in spite of the fact that Jody was now leaving the court and likely couldn’t hear her, anyway.

“Come up here and FIGHT me, you metal faced glory stealer!” Jefferson barked, standing bolt upright in the monogrammed black bikini and boots which were her trademark—and often, only—look. “I’ll rip your head off and piss in your thorax!”

Jefferson would likely have uttered more threats, and more profane ones at that, were it not for the fact that she then vomited, loudly and violently, over those sitting in front of her. Outraged, said beings called for security, and Jefferson was ejected out onto the street, in spite of the protestations she made about how “celebrities” like her should not be treated like this.

Upon landing, she came face to face with her one and only friend, Major Hamilton Pomeranian (Star Soldiers—Ret.), who looked up at her with the strange mix of admiration and hatred that normally constituted their relationship. Hamilton, who wore her black leather motorcycle cap, white T shirt, camouflage pants and black boots as often as Jefferson did her bikini, had left the velodrome without a word as soon as Jefferson uncorked her smuggled in Schnapps bottle, perfectly aware of where, how and why things were going to be going as they were.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” Hamilton snapped at her friend. “This is a tennis match, not a hockey game!”

“All sports are the same,” Jefferson mumbled, in a lame attempt at defense.

“No, they’re NOT!” answered Hamilton. “You might be able to get away with acting like a lout when you’re watching a team sport, but tennis is different. The crowd actually shows some respect for the athletes, for one thing.”

“Did you letter in six sports when you were in high school, shorty?” Jefferson said, needling Hamilton on account of her small frame, which, nevertheless, was very powerful at times.

“No,” Hamilton began reluctantly. “Just one. But I…”

“Then don’t tell me I don’t know anything about sports!”

Jefferson punctuated this statement by using her now empty Schnapps bottle to throw a Hail Mary pass across the parking lot, where it shattered, feet away, into a thousand pieces.

“This is about Jody Ryder, isn’t it?” Hamilton said, reading her friend like a book.

“Don’t mention her name to me!” Jefferson roared.

“Just because she broke all of your precious ‘records’…”

“My legacy!”

“…does not call for you to declare a vendetta on her!”

“Oh, yes it does!”

“It does not! You forget that Jody Ryder is a hero, even more so than you at times!”

“You miserable… I thought you were my friend!”


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About the Author

David Perlmutter

David Perlmutter is a freelance writer from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Story Discussion

Stories by David Perlmutter

Split Decision by David Perlmutter

Split Decision

He was a male dog like Sam himself, but there the similarities between them ended. The stranger’s fur was white, as opposed to Sam’s light gray, and he was both taller and more powerfully built than the Hudson High cheerleader. This meant that Sam would likely lose if he chose to fight him—though Sam was not much of a fighting guy, anyway. But what was most odd to Sam was the stranger’s dress—a cape, speedo and boots, all red, with a white “R” insignia prominently displayed on all of them. At first, Sam wondered if his reputation had preceded him, and that this was a member of his “tribe” (as Jody had called them) who was after the particular brand of “loving” only he could conceivably supply. But that idea quickly passed—Sam knew full well that his “kind” didn’t advertize themselves that flamboyantly in public. Only beings who mocked them publicly, in the subtle racist fashion of the times, did that. So Sam decidedly to deal with this fellow purely based on what he clearly was: an invader of his personal sanctity.

“Who are you?” he demanded. “And how did you get into my house? I have a deadbolt!”

“I expected that from the likes of you,” answered the stranger curtly. Then, in mocking stereotypical “gay” tones, he added: “Even though you’ve likely seen some royalty in your time, huh? Just not me, sugar—not ‘til now!”

“And you are?” Sam prompted angrily.

“Remus The Twenty-Third,” came the reply, as the stranger switched back to his normal, commanding heterosexual tone of voice. “I’m the King—KING, mind you—of a little plot of land way out there in the farthest regions of space. Some place that you could only dream of visiting!”

Sam, calling on his speed in place of his limited strength, tried to rush past Remus and escape him, but Remus caught him mid—sprint, and, with a powerful thrust, threw him backwards into a conveniently placed chair, from which the seemingly invincible monarch continued to pontificate down towards the secret agent/cheerleader, whom he clearly regarded as a very inferior being.

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