A short story: The Tennis racket

Disclaimer: This story is intended to be silly and humorous and hopes not to offend.

it was midnight, Hickson was getting pretty tired. The store was set to close in 1 hour. A man came in the store. He was very tall and fairly slim, wearing a leather jacket, and had red hair. From behind the counter Hickson said, very politely “hello sir, how are you?” The man didn’t even look in Hickson’s direction and responded “Yes Yes hello, I am good” He responded in a tone like he might be resentful about being asked such a pointless question, but answered nonetheless out of a desire not to be overly impolite. He went straight to the vodka section, seemed to be looking at which bottles were on sale, trying to make a decision on what he was going to take. Just after, another man entered the store. short and stocky, with brown hair, and a button up shirt and jeans. Before Hickson could communicate his friendly greeting, the man said “Hello sir, how are you doing tonight”?

“Very well sir, how about yourself?” Hickson responded.

” I am very well, thank you” The man said smiling, as he strolled by the counter. Made his way into the beer cooler.

A minute later, the short brown haired man walked out of the beer room with a 15 pack of beer. As he started walking to the counter he checked his watch, he smiled, had a satisfied look on his face.

Just as he was halfway back to the front counter the man loudly said to Hickson

“Sure is a beautiful night isn’t it?”

“Sure is sir.” Hickson responded.

Still standing in the vodka section, the tall red hair man took a good look over his shoulder at the other man just after the man had spoken loudly to Hickson. The two men mad eye contact just as they were parallel to each other.

“Howdy there Jim.” The short brown hair man smilingly said to the vodka shopping man as he passed by. The vodka shopping man neither responded or made any attempt to reciprocate the friendly demeanor which he was greeted with. He just scowled at him, and continued to scowl at him even after the other man had looked away and continued walking to the front counter.

The friendly man arrived to Hickson at the front counter.

“Hey any chance you know where I could buy some watermelon at this time of night?”

Before Hickson could respond, or even think up a response, the vodka shopping man appeared, and smashed a bottle of vodka over the short brown haired man’s head. The impact knocked him onto his back, but not unconscious. He sat up, had blood and vodka dripping down his face.

“You son of a bitch” Jim was yelling down at the man, he was pacing back and forth in front of him, seemed unsure of his next move. “You son of a bitch! I can’t believe you could do something like that, You are disgusting!”

“You need to leave now, I am calling the police.” Hickson said from behind the counter, with his phone in his hand.

“No! don’t call the police.” the bloodied man spoke, he was still sitting on the floor, now looking at Hickson. “My name is Marty. It’s my fault. This is Jim, he’s a good guy. Please don’t call the police on him.”

“great. thank you. your standing up for me.” Jim said sarcastically enraged. ” I don’t give a rat’s ass if he call’s the police. Do you have any idea how much trouble you have caused me? to my wife? your just lucky I ran into you in a public place.” Jim wasn’t yelling quite as loud, he seemed to be slowly regaining a level head.

Hickson was again holding his phone in his hand. “Guy’s this is crazy. I am calling the police. okay.” He said like he was still looking for an assurance from Marty.

“No! Don’t. it’s okay. We are working it out. I will pay for any damage, or cleanup, or however much you need for your trouble. Just let us work it out.” Marty assured Hickson from the floor.

Hickson looked completely perplexed, gestured up his hand’s in confusion.

“Okay? If you don’t want me to call the police, you guy’s need to tell me what’s going on. Look at yourself. Your face is covered in blood man. Somebody need’s to tell me whats going on.” Hickson was just staring at the two of them. “RIGHT NOW!” He raised his voice.

Jim had a thought. “You know. that’s a great idea actually.” He was still standing over the bloodied man. “Why don’t you tell him what you did. tell him just how disgusting you are. tell him how I let you guy’s into my home, and you showed yourselves to be the degenerate’s that you truly are.”

“TELL HIM!” He yelled as he took a step closer to him.

“Alright. Okay.” Marty put up his hand’s in front of him as a defensive gesture. ” Well, if I am being completely honest, I am not 100% sure what he’s referring to.” Jim Scoffed at that. Nodded in disgust.

“But. I admit I am far from perfect person. Jim is a reasonable guy, so I am sure his anger is justified. Unfortunately I don’t have a great memory, sometimes I forget these thing’s. but If you give me a few moment’s, I am sure I can remember what I did wrong. ” He took a deep breath. Whispered to himself to lapse his memory.

“Okay. I think I got it. Was it the fact that I didn’t use a coaster for my glass of wine on your coffee table?” Marty asked.

Jim just stared at him blankly waiting for him to speak again

“I got it! The cookie container.” Jim remarked excitedly. “We forgot to return the plastic container that Denise gave our cookies in. Jim I am so sorry! The cookies were fantastic. I can’t believe we forgot that. Jim how can I make it up to you?” Marty asked like he was genuinely apologetic.

“You got it Marty, that’s what’s got me so angered, It’s the cookie container” He did a big sarcastic whole body laugh waving his hands around all silly. “Gosh Marty that darn cookie container. That’s why I smashed a bottle over your head, that’s why we are having this conversation. How could you possibly make it up to me for not returning that precious cookie container.” Jim remarked smiling and sarcastic.

“You stupid son of a bitch!” Jim’s light joking tone suddenly shifted. He made a quick step towards Marty like he might strike him.

“Hey Hey, take it easy.” Marty responded. Put his hands over his face defensively.

“Are you a fucking moron Marty? WE HAVE A CAMERA SYSTEM IN OUR HOUSE DUMBASS!” Jim yelled at the top of his lung’s.

“Okay?” Marty was confused.

“The tennis racket! Do you remember what you did to the tennis racket Marty?”

“Oh.” Marty sighed. Finally understood what Jim was getting at.

“You Guys defouled it!” He was still yelling. ” You and your damn boyfriend. We invite you guy’s into our home as guests, my wife makes herself vulnerable to you. She tells you about her dead brother who was a professional tennis player, do you know how hard it is for her to talk about that? She knew you guy’s liked tennis, she wanted to show you his tennis racket, it’s probably her most prized possession in the entire world, and you guy’s do that? You guy’s make me absolutely sick.”

“I’m so sorry Jim.” Marty said sadly from the floor.

“I will tell you, we found it odd that you both went to the bathroom at the same time. But to look at the surveillance tape, and see you take that tennis racket into the bathroom, we couldn’t believe our eye’s. And of course Denise was with me when I looked at the footage. That was great luck. If she didn’t see the footage I could have pretended like it never happened, but instead, she was absolutely mortified. It’s been two weeks, she still hasn’t recovered. You wouldn’t believe what this had done to her. What do you have to say for yourself?” Jim asked.

“Jim I am really sorry. Like I mean it, I really am. But you said you saw us take the tennis racket into the bathroom. Was it damaged? What makes you think we did anything with it?”

“THE TENNIS RACKET HAD SHIT ON IT MARTY!” Jim was yelling again.

“Okay, your right I’m sorry, alright. Were sorry.” Marty sounded genuinely remorseful.

“You guys couldn’t have it at least cleaned it off after?” Jim asked, flabbergasted.

“Your right. I Know.” Marty said.

“Ok. First thing’s first your going to apologize to Denise.” Jim said more calmly.

“Absolutely I will do it right now.” Marty started to get to his feet.

“No! stop.” He pointed his finger at Marty. “You are good just as you were. Sit back down on the floor, and that’s how I want you when she get’s here.” Marty obliged and sat back down in the mess of vodka, broken glass, and his own blood.

“As you know we live just down the street, I’m going to call her, she can be here in not even 2 minutes.” He was opening her contact on his phone.

All of a sudden another man walked through the front door. A tall heavyset man with a bald head and a friendly face. He was wearing a black hoodie, and blue jeans. All three set’s of eye’s already in the store instantly gravitated to him, and his gravitated to the bizarre scene which was in front of him.

He laughed to himself, waved his hands up in confusion. “Is everything okay?” He remarked with some sarcasm.

“Don’t worry about it, just go about your business.” Jim responded briskly.

“Thanks for your concern. everything’s fine. It was just a silly misunderstanding.” Marty assured the man from the floor.

The man looked behind the counter at Hickson for his take on the matter.

“I know it look’s bad, but they really are working it out. I give you my word these man wont cause you any problems, I will be right here to make sure. Sound good?”

“Okay.” The man laughed at the strangeness of the situation. “Don’t mind me. I just came to buy a bottle of whisky.” The man said as he made his way over to the whisky section.

“Okay. Let me know know if you need anything.” Hickson yelled out reassuringly. Rolled his eye’s. Couldn’t believe he was letting this nonsense hurt his business.

“God dammit, she’s not answering. I tried her twice. She might have gone to sleep.” Jim said frustrated.

“What if I just popped over to your house real quick. if she was still awake I could apologize, and I could even clean the tennis racket for you myself.” Marty said

“You don’t think I already cleaned it Marty? And you think I would actually let you back in my house? I swear sometimes I wonder if…..” CRACK.

The heavy set man who just came into the store had just smashed a whisky bottle over Jim’s head. The impact knocked Jim onto his butt, but he was still conscious with blood and whisky dripping down his face.

” What the hell is wrong with you? Why did you do that? We just told you everything was fine.” Jim said to the heavy set man.

“Hello Jim. I guess you don’t remember me.” The heavy set man said darkly. “Why don’t you jog your memory a little. Stare at my face. See if anything come’s to you.”

” I don’t remember shit.” Jim started to get to his feet.

“STOP!” The heavy set man yelled. Pulled out and opened a switch blade, pointed it within a few feet of Jim. “Sit back down!” Jim did as he was told. ” And you.” He pointed a finger of his free hand at Hickson, who has on his cellphone. “If you call the police I will stab this guy to death right in front of you.”

“Okay.” Hickson said cautiously. Set his cell phone down on the counter.

“And the same goes for you.” He pointed at Marty, who was also still on the floor. “I don’t care what misunderstanding you had with Jim, but as long as you don’t concern yourself with me, I won’t concern myself with you.”

” Can I at least continue my shopping?” Marty asked from the floor.

“I don’t care. Just don’t leave until I do.” The heavy set man said to Marty. “And stay where I can see you. I mean it about killing Jim right here.”

Marty got to his feet and walked deeper into the store.

“Okay then. Let’s get to business. Jim, You still going with that you don’t remember me?”

They stared blankly at each other blankly for a few seconds.

“The tennis racket Jim. Do you remember selling me a tennis racket?” The heavy set man said like it should be obvious.

Jim still didn’t say anything, just sat there.

“Well maybe you remember stealing it from me then? Yeah I know.” The man revealed. “I knew exactly what I was buying. I knew who your wife was, and I knew that it belonged and was used by her famous dead brother, Alexander Cooper, the tennis pro. I’m sure you didn’t realize it’s significance when you were selling it. You probably thought, 30$, for an old tennis racket, That’s a hell of a deal. But then you realized the mistake you made. maybe your wife told you or you found out on your own, doesn’t matter. So you decided to steal it back from me. Don’t even try and deny it. It had to be you. You were the only person on this earth that knew about it. Who else would break into my house and the only thing they take is some old tennis racket. Doesn’t make sense. So here’s what’s going to happen. We are going to go to your house. For you and your wife’s sake, you better still have it, and it better be in the same condition as I bought it. And after I get the tennis racket back, your going to pay me some money. You owe it me. You don’t get to just steal something from someone because you made a bad deal. that’s on you. You could have at the very least tried to…… CRACK.

Marty had just smashed a bottle of Rose wine over the heavy set mans head, Marty had managed to sneak up behind him. The man was unconscious facedown on the floor.

Marty looked at Jim, a shocked look on his face, like he couldn’t believe what he had just done. He was still holding the half of the bottle that hadn’t broken off. He finally dropped it.

“My god. Jim. What should we do?” Marty asked in a panic.

Jim got up. ” It will be fine. Come on Marty. let’s get out of here. Before this guy wakes up.” he started leading Marty out of the store.

Marty stopped. “But what then? Are we supposed to just leave him here like this, with the liquor store guy?” He looked at Hickson.

“Don’t worry about it.” Hickson said to the two men. ” I will call the police. There’s a police station just a few blocks away, they will be here by the time he wakes up. I will make something up, perhaps I will say he tried to rob the place with his knife and was knocked unconscious from a good Samaritan. I know the cops around here, they will believe me. Just pretend this never happened.

Jim and Marty exited the liquor store.

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