Bill Todd -- Tim and Sharon
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 Chapter 19

A Special Training Session

      Before the first regular season game against Nevada, the other expansion team, Enoch suggested to Tim that they go off alone to practice some plays. Tim, a little puzzled, asked, “Don’t we practice enough as it is?”

Enoch smiled in a way that suggested something beyond mere mischief. “These will be different sorts of plays, ones that are more useful to ourselves than to the team.”

Tim still didn’t understand, and Enoch explained, “While the league exists to provide entertainment, all its various followers are obsessed with statistics. The people demand heroes, and these heroes are largely determined by such things as yardage gained.”

“Those are hard things to fake.”

“Yes, but the statistics are skewed in various ways, and the people are, to some extent, blinded by them. In your case, for example, the distance of punts is recorded carefully, the averages are computed, and the results are published weekly. The various teams also keep track of hang time. However, no one publishes the critical ratio between the distance of a punt and its hang time.”

“That has occurred to me. If the punt is long, it takes the covering men longer to get to it, so the hang time has to be longer to allow them to cover it.”

“If I were you, I’d punt just for distance and lead the league in punting. Your hang times will automatically be good in themselves. But, I wouldn’t give a fuck if some of those long punts are returned for touchdowns. Although, if you want, you could also be known as the punter who has the speed to catch the return man just before he gets to the goal line.”

Enoch smiled, and Tim replied, “That might be worth a giggle or two.”

“Indeed so. Now, for me, this team is perfect. It’s got a pitiful defense, so it’ll quickly get behind in most games and have to play catch-up. The opponent’s defense, with a cushion, will play deeper and more loosely as the game goes on. That will allow me to catch short and medium length passes all over the field. I’ll break some of those receptions for distance and pile up yardage. I’ll pass some records that I’m closing in on, and I may even lead the league in receptions. Then, if, contrary to my present resolve, I do play next year, I’ll make megamillions.”

“So where do I come in.?”

“It would be nice for both of us to have some spectacular plays, not only for the yardage, but for the publicity.”

“I don’t object to being spectacular. But how?”

“Just do what you did in the Yale game, but with me instead of Howie.”

“This is the NFL, not the Ivy League, Enoch.”

“A team that’s four or five touchdowns ahead in the fourth quarter will be relaxed and easy. All the same things will work.”

      Tim’s whole group, none of whose members had yet departed for Cambridge, accompanied them to a park across the street from the marina on an early evening. Only a few tourists with moderately ruly children were in the area, and, in the distance, there was a pick-up soccer game between Asians, perhaps Cambodians. A couple of trash cans, an abandoned sleeping bag, and Meredith’s jacket were placed to mark the sidelines, and a homeless man, who might have been about to ask for money for a bowl of soup, moved off.

     No one could long-snap, but Jimmy was instead to throw the ball back to Tim fifteen yards behind him. After a couple of tries, they got the speed and timing close to what a long snap would be. Enoch, in a blocking back position, would release, and would then be covered by Howie. Sharon, Audrey, and Meredith would rush Tim. Enoch explained, “We need to get the timing right so that Tim won’t be hit. The others, unblocked, will get to him about as quickly as NFL linemen, having to get by blockers, would be able to. By the time they run the fifteen yards to Tim, I’ll be well out into my pattern, plus the other yards I’ll move while the ball’s in the air.”

Having already decided on the patterns, Tim zipped five straight completions to Enoch before Sharon, leading the rushers, was able to touch him. When they paused, Howie came back, half out of breath, and said, “Now I know I was smart not to try out for the NFL.”

Enoch, who had known about Howie, replied, “You’re quick and fast. With some practice and coaching you’d cover me as well as a lot of NFL defenders. There isn’t really anyone who can cover me on man defense.”

Sharon had been doubtful about the enterprise, but admitted,  “If Tim sticks to doing just this, I guess he won’t get creamed while he’s trying to pass.”

Enoch replied, “Just like punting. There are major penalties for anyone who hits the punter or passer after he gets rid of the ball.”

They then practiced plays where Tim raced to the sideline and looped the ball far downfield before running out of bounds. These were equally successful, and it was explained to Sharon that there were severe penalties for hitting a passer after he had gone out of bounds. In conclusion, Enoch said, “Tim has a much stronger and more accurate arm than any of our quarterbacks.”

     The practice session over, Tim walked with Enoch, some distance behind the others. Enoch said to him, “Your sister is fascinating. Quite an athlete, and such a remarkable face.”

“She’s always been a star athlete, but most people don’t think she’s really pretty. She and I both have the hawk noses.”

“Fashions change. At one time, women were supposed to have soft doughy faces without character. In the old pictures, it’s hard to see why anyone thought them beautiful. But Sharon’s the opposite.”

Enoch then returned to his condo while the others went back to the boat.

     Later that evening, as he was sitting with Audrey on deck with diet cokes, Tim asked what she thought of everything. She replied, “I think Enoch’s okay. He’s certainly rebellious in a good way. I hope it doesn’t land him in too much trouble in the end.”

“Well, he saves money by the million and stashes it away. I think that insulates him.”

Audrey nodded, but then said quietly, “It’s Ted and Diana I have doubts about. Aren’t they exploiting Sharon?”

“They’re certainly going to make money with her, although they seem prepared to pay her well. If it weren’t pornography, there’d be no problem.”

“Yes. But that is the problem, isn’t it?”

“Of course, she’s not a trained actress. She’d never be hired by a regular movie company.”

“There’s also the fact that pictures of her naked self are going to be distributed God knows where.”

“Yeah. She says she isn’t worried about that. Maybe I should be.”

“Well, I wouldn’t like the idea of dirty old men masturbating over me while watching me removing my panties.”

“I didn’t like that when I heard about it. They were going to have a body double do that scene, but Sharon insisted on doing it herself. She might be more ready to listen to you and Meredith than me.”

“I suppose this is why people have mothers.”

“I don’t think Sharon would have taken orders from our mother.”

“No. Well, I guess it’ll be all right.”

“Ted and Diana seem to have rather limited objectives. Just making enough money to allow them to go back and be farmers some place in southern England.”

“You don’t expect pornographers to be so retiring. Particularly when they look like those two.”

“They are beautiful in the same kind of way.”

Nodding in agreement, Audrey said,

“I’ve talked with Diana about it. She’s quite defensive about the whole thing, particularly since she realizes how protective we are of Sharon. She carefully explained to me that she and Ted are only on the very outermost fringes of the pornography business.”

“There must be some delightful characters in toward the center.”

“I always like it when people justify themselves by pointing out other people who are a whole lot worse.”

“Of course, if they’re really successful in their movies, they might stay on and make more. Money might tempt them the same way it does Enoch. And myself.”

‘That could be bad. If this is just one of Sharon’s experiments, it’s probably okay. But we don’t want her sucked in to become a fixture in the porno world.”

“If it looks as if that might happen, I could pick a fight with Ted and beat him up. That would make him go away.”

“The rest of us would be witnesses, and we’d say he attacked you.”

     Jimmy joined them at that point. He had learned English partly from gangster movies, and it sometimes amused him to carry on in that way. Tim didn’t mind, but a lot of people were puzzled to encounter a Chinese boy, a mathematical prodigy no less, who sounded like a Mafioso. Audrey remained for a few minutes, joked with him, and then left. Tim was aware that Jimmy made her nervous. Tim didn’t himself regard Jimmy as an unexploded bomb, but there was undoubtedly a disconnect between his intellectual sophistication and his overall innocence. There was also the urgent sexuality of a rather immature male teen-ager.

     Meredith had recognized Jimmy’s vast potentiality, started him on sex a little before he was entirely ready, and had taught him everything he knew in that area. Tim knew that, in Audrey’s view, Meredith had started something that might reel out of control.

     Tim was jokingly giving Jimmy lessons in looking at women, much as he had once taught him to throw a football without breaking windows. As Diana was presently walking along the railing in fairly tight white shorts, Tim said quietly, “You don’t look directly at her, but about twenty degrees off to the left. Peripheral vision does the rest.”

“She’s amazing looking!”

“So are the mannequins in store windows.”

“I guess I look at those too, particularly the ones in underwear.”

“Meredith is also a pretty girl.”

“Sure. I know that. But, still, see how Diana walks. Is the woman you don’t have always more fascinating?”

“Possibly. Not having any, I guess they all fascinate me.”

“How do you manage, Tim?”

“I like sex with women, but not at the cost.”

“As a football player, you could have girls you’d never see again. I asked Enoch about that.”

Amazed and amused that Jimmy would ask Enoch such a question, Tim, in turn, asked, “What did Enoch say?”

“He had hundreds of women before he started being careful. He got so that he could hardly tell them apart.”

“I took a drawing class once. We had lots of nude models, but I hardly drew the bodies at all. Just the faces.”

“So you looked only at the faces?”

“I was aware of the bodies, of course, but they were mostly peripheral. If Diana were naked where she’s now standing, we’d look. But, after a couple of minutes, we’d look at other things.”

“Gee! Even if she undressed right now?”

“Then, there’d be activity and a story. We’d wonder if she were enticing us. All kinds of things. In that case, we wouldn’t be bored.”

“I read that people sometimes have sexual intercourse because they get bored with the touchy feely stuff, and want an excuse to stop.”

“There may be something to it. Sexual pleasures can be intense, as we both know, but they can only be prolonged so long.”

“Meredith can go a long time.”

A little embarrassed that Jimmy would disclose something so personal, Tim was pleased when the rest of the group joined them. Meredith, in shorts like the others, had a light white top over what appeared to be a lightweight bra. Her rather small breasts were clearly defined, and, given what Jimmy had just said, it seemed that a few touches to the nipples would start her going. Tim wondered idly whether the fact that she was so much more clothes-conscious than Audrey indicated a difference in sexuality.

     What was unmistakable was the effect of the young women on the group. Everyone seemed livelier, more fun, and even possessed of more personality. Again, Tim found himself fascinated by faces and their constantly changing expressions. It seemed that he could sit indefinitely, not saying much, just watching charming women. Once again, he wondered how much it would matter if they were speaking a language he didn’t know.

Bill Todd -- Tim and Sharon
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