Game Four – Chine Gang Assassins
The frogmen of Yaverslann’d file out of their changing rooms, squeltching as they go.They are ushered onto the pitch by Bumford, casually giving a boot to the arse of Holy Victor, who is lagging behind.
They’re a touch uneasy about this match. Their opponent is Chine Gang Assassins, a lithe Dark Elf team that (much to Bumford’s fury) don’t actually have any assassins on their team roster.
“They should be called the Chine Gang, er, Stupid Bloody Elves. Yeah, much better. Har!” He sniffs.”Huddle!”
The frogs squish together in a moist ring, with Bumford in the centre. He rotates as he speaks to the team.
“RIGHT,” he yells, “First things first, GNASH ‘EM, then GRAB ’EM, then you take their stupid pointy ears and you-“
“Er, coach? Croak Shouldn’t you be keeping your voice down in case they hear us?” squeaks Wasteyenot.
The stream of dwarven swearing plainly carries from the huddle all across the stadium. By the end of the tirade, Bumford is red in the face and Wasteyenot is lying supine.
The Dark Elf team are much more aloof. They are standing in a loose group, staring blankly around. Some of them are armoured in terrifying spiked plate, some are terrifying short on clothes.
The whistle blows for the teams to prepare. The slann line up in their traditional setup, but the dark elves stay put.
The ball is booted deep into the Dark Elf half. They do not move, instead stand quietly still.
The frogs, unsure of how to proceed, start to creep around the elves. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all.
A blood-curlding screech from one of the lady elves with the mad hair, and something snaps in the Chine Gang. They go from statue-still to bloodthirsty maniacs in the split of a second. Spikes impale frogs, booted feet connected with squishy underbellies, and the air is filled with mad croaking and wild whooping.
“Thaaat’s more like it!” cheers Bumford. He’s clapping and jeering with the best of them. “Stupid bloody frogs! Stop pissing around and get stuck in! Great ugly bloated-”
He stops and squints. There’s no denying the Gang are great at their finesse play, they’re elves after all, but something’s wrong. The ball isn’t in their possession any more. Somehow, Todd’m Bouncer has launched himself nine feet into the air and descended on Lebi Leasher, slapping the ball from his hands, and Stretchy Pete has the ball. He’s streaking for the Dark Elf side, several other frogs close behind him.
Oh well, thinks their Coach, at least they’ll score quickly. That’ll give the knife-ears another go at beating them up on the line of scrimmage. Ah, the Line of Scrimmage. Bumford’s eyes glaze over.
He’s standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Dalof and Brouk. He knows some of the other lads are beside them, but he can’t see that far. The snow is so strong and thick it’s filling his boots, his sleeves, his eyes.
“They’re comin’! Get ready lads!”
That’s the voice of Junner, an insane ginger bearded madman of a dwarf. A huge, hirsute shape lumbers towards the young Bumford. It’s enormous, it’s slavering, and it had him in it’s eyes. A weight on his shoulders, and Junner has leapt from Bumford’s shoulders, barrelling into the monster like a cannonball…
Bumford sighs and snaps back to reality. The clock shows it’s nearly the second half, and the frogs still haven’t scored. They’re running the clock down! Cowards!
“No’ on my watch, bloody frogs!”
He jogs through the crowd, shoving and pushing, until he is beside the match. One particularly ugly ogre takes offence at being shoved, and bellows, rumbling after Bumford. Bumford yells insults at him. He turns back to the match. One of the lady elves with the mad hair is attacking Snippy, the smallest of the frogs. He is being forced backwards towards the crowd, towards Bumford himself. Bumford waits for his moment, lunges forwards, grabbing the frog by the scruff of his sticky neck.
Bumford throws Snippy at the furious ogre, who catches him crushingly in one meaty hand, then throws him at the floor with a wet slap. Bumford has already left.
He is now near the elfin touchline, and catches the eye of Stretchy Pete. He warns them that while he showboats up here his team is getting killed. Stretchy Pete reacts with horror, then immediately runs it in for the 1-0 at half time.
“Snippy was a beautiful frog, taken from us at far too young an age.” Bumford wipes a tear from an eye. His voice cracks with emotion “If only we had scored straight away, instead of selfishly running the clock down, giving the vile elves chance to exact revenge on him.” He glares at Pete.
Pete looks down.
The second half begins at the frogs’ hearts aren’t in it any more. They throw themselves at the elves, but don’t really achieve anything. They collect the ball, but their feeble attempts at fighting off the Dark Elves are paltry at best. They trip up, they go down, they drop the ball. By the time the referee blows his whistle it’s 1-1.
When they file into the changing rooms at the end of the match, Bumford is whistling and humming. He spots them on their way in. “So ya drew, never mind. Worse things happen at sea, eh? Why so glum?”
They can’t meet his eye.
“Snippy… his croak mother is in the crowd. She wants to know where he is…” says Wasteyenot.
Bumford nods. “Fair enough. Pete, off you go.”
Pete looks aghast.
“But what do I tell her?”
Bumford eyes him menacingly.
“I think you know. Now, go.”
Pete eyes the floor again, then shuffles away.
Bumford fetches his clipboard and checks it once Pete is gone.
“Ok, so dwarves next week. This should be a laugh, eh? Come on, cheer up! No one’s died.”
They look at him.
“Well, no one important. He barely even put up a fight, little wuss, I barely had to touch him.”
He winks at them and saunters off.
The frogs do not know how to react.