The Tennis Match

His head had been aching all morning. He work up with the throb, but instead of yielding to the pain he pushed on, even swallowed two Tylenols. He didn’t believe medicine worked, but when he stopped for gas it was there on the counter while he paid for his coffee. It felt good, coolly sliding down his throat on a stream of tepid black coffee as he sat at his desk at work. Maybe I can still play well this afternoon.  These types of physical ailments, head aches especially, were something his female employees complained about, or he read about in Time magazine. He maintained a strict regime of diet, exercise, sleep, sex, meditation and fresh air.

Shot of a tennis racket and two tennis balls o...

At three o’clock every Friday, he played in a tennis match. He’d met this particular opponent before, a long legged blonde who he’d seen around town before too. It was not a big town. Their match was close the previous time, but as if unwilling to lose to a girl, he prevailed and made a few questionable line calls in the final set.

He sat at his computer, looking over the day’s work while waiting for the medication to take effect. It felt good going down, but now the glare from his computer made his suffering worse, and he felt his skull shrinking. He was unable to think about anything except the pressure on his head, and then he thought again about his afternoon match. It might not be too late to postpone. The thought of the blonde’s legs cooled his ache slightly, but when he placed his fingers on his keyboard, it returned ten fold, and he doubled over. His large office contained a sofa, for what use he was unsure, but now he was aware that it would be appropriate for him to close the blinds, stretch out, and let this head ache run its course. He told his secretary to hold calls, closed the door to his office, and rested. Despite the eight ounces of coffee, he slept almost immediately. He dreamed of hospital beds and being vaccinated, the unbearable urge to watch your own blood coursing through sterile rubber tubes as your veins pump into the open space. He dreamed of a sexy nurse and a cruel doctor who wanted to sew rackets to his hands to improve his game. He woke with creases on his face, his suit wrinkled and his head ache untouched. He sat up and drank one of the bottles of water that stood on the coffee table nearby, guzzled it in a single swallow, then lay back, panting. As he calmed down, he looked through the blinds and noticed it was afternoon light. How long had he slept? He looked at his watch. It was 3 o’clock. He’d lose the match by default.

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