Story:One For the Morning Glory
One For the Morning Glory
Written by Mitch
One For the Morning Glory
Monday, November 2, 2020
Adge Martin rubbed at his eyes, clearing the sand from them, before his paws pulled down along his weary face, stretching it in an attempt to wake up. The hare’s face found itself pulled taut again, that time by a wide yawn, his buck teeth gleaming in the selfie view from his webcam as he waited for his Vroom meeting to start.
All else was quiet in the northern Florida condo. Decent windows kept the incessant chirp of crickets and buzz of cicadas at bay, while the highway a mile off had fallen still. Aside from the drunks heading home from bars, everything in Tallahassee was asleep, and Adge should have been as well. As a reminder of such, his long ears slowly tilted to one side, taking his head with it, while brown eyes felt their lids drooping.
No! No, he couldn’t fall asleep. It was just going to be a few minutes, then he could go back to bed. Or at least it would be a few minutes if the other end of the call would log on. Cor, he needed to go have a waz, but it would have to wait. Picking what shirt to wear for the call had taken long enough, even if he just settled on a warm-up tee. It didn’t matter, really, just as long as it was a shirt. Just like it didn’t matter that Adge wasn’t wearing pants. Pants weren’t needed for a Vroom call.
What was needed was for the other end to actually get on the call.
Waiting on the guest to receive the meeting. That phrase continued read upon Adge’s screen in an infuriating sans-serif taunt. No, Adge was the one waiting to receive the meeting, as he’d been ready. He’d been ready on time, at the most inconvenient hour, as it was what he was supposed to do. He was holding up his end of the deal. That was his job, he had committed to it.
His phone sat next to the laptop, a message sent two minutes ago asking the other end if they were there, and were still going to take his call. No reply. Adge’s thick thighs pressed together firmly in an attempt to stave off his need to run to the loo, until at last he grunted and stood up. If they couldn’t be on time, they could excuse him for being away if they picked up while he was taking a leak.
“Woah dere!” A voice called from his speakers, and Adge looked down to see his father’s face reeling back from the camera, only to realize it’s because now that he was standing, his brief-clad midsection was in full camera view.
Perfect. Just perfect.
Tugging his shirt down, Adge quickly sat, and the camera picked up the flushing pink inside his ears as he blushed from the accidental exposure to his family.
“Sorry, Dad,” Adge chuckled. “Yew was late, ‘n Ah were gon’ t’ run to ‘e loo.”
His father chuckled, then scooted over as his mother joined him in the shot. “Sorry fer ‘at,” his father apologized. “Been ‘avin’ some trouble wit’ ‘e breaker again, we were. ‘Ad t’ swap in ‘e fuse from ‘e bathroom t’ get this ‘ere one goin’.”
Adge’s ears wilted, and he shook his head. “Call out an electrician, Dad. Ah’ll pay fer it. Yew’ve been dealin’ wit’ ‘at fer far too long.”
“Oh no, dear, we’ll manage,” his mother replied, smiling.
“No, ‘ee won’t,” Adge snorted. “Ah’m a pro baller now, Ah is, ‘n Ah’m not gonna let folks think moy fam’ly lives in no council ‘ouse!”
“But, Adge, this was a council house,” his father stated.
“‘At tent ‘e point!” The younger hare snapped.
“Oy! Yew watch ‘ee tone wit’ ‘ee father!” His mother snapped back even harder.
Adge blinked, having been caught off guard by that, and he sat back in his chair, staring at his parents, before stifling another yawn. There they were, Jacob and Olivia Martin, sat in the morning sun in the half-conservatory which extended the kitchen at the back of their house in Salford.
Their house. Strange to think of it as that, but it was truly theirs, and had never been his. He was sent off to London when they bought it, and so Adge was the only member of the family for which it had never been home.
Nodding, Adge apologized. “Sorry, Dad,” he said. “Ah jes… Lemme do this, please? Tent no need fer ‘ee t’ worry so much when Ah c’n ‘elp. Ah’m not wastin’ moy money ‘ere. No flashy cars, no mansion. Ah c’n ‘elp yew all live proper comfortable until Ah c’n buy back ‘e farm.”
“No flashy cars is roight,” Jacob Martin chuckled. “Ah still can’t believe yew bought ‘e Grangers’ ol’ truck.”
“Is it running well?” Olivia chipped in.
“Aye, ‘n yew wouldn’ believe ‘e proices ‘ey goes for, ‘ere, noither. But, ‘at weren’t what ‘is call were s’posed t’ be ‘boutt,” Adge answered.
Scooting his chair forward, the hare leaned closer to his screen, as if it would bring him closer to his actual family, and a smile crept up his broad face. “Yew see Ah’s first season game, last noight?”
The glance which was spared between his parents was enough to tell him his answer. They had not. Adge’s smile slowly faded, and he sank back into his seat. He’d told them all about it, he’d bought them a brand new home theater system, and made sure to get TV service hooked up, with the plan which would give them all of his games. It was going to be a Sunday night, for them, everything should have been set and ready. And they didn’t even watch.
They didn’t even watch.
“Ah’m sorry, son, tis jes’ ‘at… well, Bristol were playin’ Arsenal, last noight, ‘n-” Jacob began his meandering reply, only to be cut off.
“Yew bloody watched ‘e footy last noight instead of moy game?” Adge roared. “It were one game, Dad! One bloody game!”
“We went to your game here!” Olivia cut in.
“‘At were preseason! ‘At don’t count fer nuttin’!” Adge shook his head. “‘N it were a family ‘oliday Ah done set up fer ‘ee! This were jes’ a game yew could watch in ‘e lounge!”
“Did you win?” Jacob asked, his own ears dipping a bit.
Adge winced. There was no way to hide it on camera, and it lasted longer than intended, as his brain suddenly thought it was time to go back to sleep. Reaching up, he rubbed the bridge of his broad muzzle, and sighed. “Yew didn’ e’en check ‘e score?” he asked.
Jacob and Olivia looked at each other, each hoping to find some sort of answer which would placate their irritated son, yet there was no such answer to be found.
“Honey, we’re so sorry,” Olivia started in a sweet, apologetic voice. “We didn’t know it meant so much to you. You have another game tomorrow, roight? We c’n watch that one.”
“Yew can’t expect us t’ watch e’ery game, Adge,” Jacob added. “Ah know yer workin’ ‘ard, but so are we, ‘n yew know this be a Bristol FC ‘ouse.”
Adge just remained there in his chair, trying to not look as tired as he felt. “Ah know, Dad, but… Ah jes’ thought Ah’d earned this. Jes’ this one thing.”
“Don’t ‘ee start wit’ ‘at ‘jes’ one thing’ nonsense,” his father shook his head. “Yew’ve been given a lot ‘o opper’tun’tees, Adge, more’n yer siblings done got, ‘n we’re still raisin’ ‘em whoile ‘oldin’ down jobs, ourselves.”
“But Sim’s off t’ uni, too,” Adge said, quirking his brow.
“Durin’ ‘e week, yes, but then ‘e’s back ‘ome fer ‘e weekends,” Jacob replied. “Point is, there’s more goin’ on ‘ere ‘an you yew thinks, ‘n sometoimes we all needs a break from it.”
“Football. Ah get it,” Adge nodded.
“Aye. Sorry it were on ‘e same noight as yer first game, but… it jes’ ‘ow it were.”
“Ah won,” the younger hare replied. “Ah mean, moy team won. Ah were starter, ‘n Ah did proper good. Weren’t ‘e player o’ ‘e game, but Ah done showed moyself well, Ah did.”
“That’s wonderful, Adge!” Olivia smiled. “Did you have fun?”
Adge found himself smiling in response, then stifling another yawn. “Aye, Ah did.”
“Learnin’ good lessons from ‘at McQuilkin feller?” his dad asked.
The smile faded. “Eh… Ah’m not sure ‘e’s ready t’ share ‘is secrets jes’ yet.” It was a tactful reply, which avoided the hard truth that Adge still felt rather distant from D’Angelo, and questioned his commitment after the drama which had occurred just before the Olympics. It hadn’t been the “meet your heroes” moment he had hoped for. Far from it, and time would be needed for Adge to approach that bridge again.
His parents didn’t need to know any of that, however. D’Angelo McQuilkin was a household name to anyone in England with a passing interest in Basketball, just like Jake Turner, Ambrose Slade, John Stoat, and now Arther Selby. He was a hero to most, and had been to Adge, up until the Olympics. There, a sour attitude, and perceived lack of commitment to team GB had dispelled much of Adge’s enamor with him, and suddenly being put onto his team was added pressure, not support. How was he supposed to tell anyone he felt threatened by a player he’d once looked up to? How was he supposed to tell them that he knew he had to perform at the top of his game, every game, because he knew D’Angelo lurked right behind him, ready to reclaim a starting spot which Adge had somehow managed to squeak into?
He couldn’t tell anyone that. The moment anyone knew, there would be doubts about his confidence, doubts about his skills and play style. Instead he would have to play on the razor’s edge, careful to remain focused at all times, as any slip-up would cost him dearly.
Thankfully his parents bought his answer, and his mother even smiled. “Oh, don’ worry. Ah’m sure he’ll take a shine to yew once ‘e gets t’ know yew!,” she encouraged him.
Adge simply gave her a smile and nod of agreement. “Ah ‘ope so,” he replied. Another yawn stretched his face, and he attempted to block it with his paw as best he could.
“Oh, sweetie, it’s too early fer these calls,” Olivia sighed. “Ah know yew wanted t’ catch us b’fore yer father ‘eads off to work, but yew needs your rest.”
“Aye, can’t ‘ave my boy yawnin’ on ‘e court, now can Ah?” Jacob chuckled. “We’ll be sure t’ catch ‘ee game t’morrer, Adge. Fer now, Ah need t’ be ‘eadin’ down ‘e shop. Get some good shuteye, son. ‘N mebbe get ‘e some sleepin’ trousers.”
“Mebbe if’n yer on toime, next toime, ‘ee won’t see me in moy pants,” Adge laughed.
“Fair ‘nuff!” His father nodded with a grin. “Ah gots t’ be off. Were good seein’ ‘ee, Adge.”
“Take care, dear!” His mother chimed in.
“Ah will. Love you,” Adge replied, smiling, and then the call went blank from the other end.
Under normal circumstances, Adge would have leaned back in his chair and nodded off. However, necessity required a trip to the bathroom, and as he washed his paws afterward he pondered what the call had truly meant.
He had done everything which had been asked of him. He’d done his best, and done well by it, yet it still led to disappointment. But it was not a lasting disappointment, it was one which could be made better by more hard work. More effort. More focus on his own part. His best had gotten him this far, but clearly it had farther to go, if it were to impress his father.
With sleep half-dispelled, the hare paused in the doorway of his bedroom. Turning in now would result in fitful sleep, and he couldn’t afford that with practice in the morning. So, he turned and padded into his kitchen, plucking a bottle of cider brandy from the counter. A glass was set down, and a pour splashed into it.
What was the old song? One for the morning glory, or summat like that? It was technically morning, and there was… well, surely there had to be glory somewhere. Considering that a good enough toast for half two in the morning, he downed it, feeling that warm, sweet fire burning his throat as he swallowed, and he let that warmth carry him off to sleep in his bed.