My story "All of a Heap" appears in the anthology Plague: Aftermath

My story “All of a Heap” appears in the anthology Plague: Aftermath

I am thrilled to report that my story “All of a Heap” is now available in the anthology Plague: Aftermath. All available formats (paperback and e-versions), as well as a preview of Aftermath, can be found through this link. In Canada, Plague: Aftermath is available through Amazon.ca.

Overview: Airborne Ebola has found a foothold in many large cities around the world, causing mass panic and mob mentality as people attempt to escape the circumstances they’re thrown into. Here are a few stories of bravery, viciousness, and survival from those trying to escape the next Plague.

Thank you to Jeremiah Donaldson at Ephiroll Productions for putting this project together and for the great collaboration. Plague: Original Cut by Jeremiah is free all week on Kindle in celebration of the Plague: Aftermath release.

I have already been approached to do a reading from “All of a Heap” at a writers’ event in Ottawa in September and will share more details when available.

 

Tennis Ball

I’m an avid tennis fan and with the Wimbledon tournament currently underway, I couldn’t help but wonder about the tournament some thirty years from now as it seems to me players are continually improving fitness levels and matches last ever longer.

The end result is the creative fiction piece that follows. John McEnroe will, of course, still be commentating in 2047 (Let’s be honest, no one does it better!)

I offer you my imagined coverage of the men’s singles final @Wimbledon, 2047:

 

 Wimbledon, 2047

“Welcome back to our continuing coverage of Wimbledon 2047, coming to you live from the All-England Lawn Tennis Club. For those of you just joining us, we are now in day four of the Gentlemen’s Singles Championship. Just a reminder that Peeters broke Artz’ last service game and has taken the lead in the fifth and final set. He will serve 865 to 864 following a quick intervention by the tournament referee.”

“Let’s be honest: it had to be done. When the chair umpire falls asleep, there’s no question it’s time for him to go.”

“I hope the players can shake off that incident and quickly focus back into the match. Peeters is up a break and is serving for the championship.”

“There is no room for mistakes, that’s for sure. This fifth set has been so intense from the first point they played three days ago. I don’t know how much longer they can keep it going. Not only is it physically draining but it takes a toll emotionally.”

“Peeters throws his first serve into the net.”

“It’s a bad time for him to tighten up. You get the sense he’s rushing.”

“Another double fault by Peeters. That’s sixty-two for him in this set.”

“He’s going to have to dig deep and find another gear or this opportunity will just be a bad memory.”

“Looking at them now, with Peeters’ showing a lot of tightness in his shoulders and Artz barely able to drag himself around the court to return the ball, do you think they’re regretting turning down the break offered a few hours ago?”

“They want to avoid anything that will prolong this match any longer than it has to. They have to keep moving. Let’s face it, not only do they not want to lose the match, they both want to win the Championship. If they stopped play for any length of time at this stage, they may not be able to start again. They’ve got to be cramping something fierce.”

“Physical fitness is key more than ever.”

“Let’s be honest, these players today are definitely a new generation of athletes like no other before them. Even at his healthiest, a great champion like Nadal would never have stood a chance; Federer at the top of his game never would have stood a chance. Sampras, Borg. All of them would have been crushed.”

“You as well, John?”

“After four days of such intense play, I would have turned into fertilizer for the grass courts.”

“Peeters gets an ace. Maybe he can dig himself out of trouble.”

“It’s the only ball that’s made it past the net so far in this game. Artz should have attacked it. He’s standing there like his feet are stuck in cement.”

“Peeters double-faults again. One more and he will be giving the game away.”

“It’s almost irrelevant that Artz is on the other side of the net.”

“There is the break. The fifth set is tied at 865 games each.”

“At this point, I don’t know if Peeters can recover from this. He knows he would have won the game – and the Championship – if he had been able to get the ball over the net because Artz can barely move. Maybe Artz can build some momentum on the break and capitalize on it. He at the very least needs to hold serve.”

“The women’s final took an unexpected turn and Simpson was unable to recover. It ended in a crushing defeat for the young American this past weekend.”

“Her service arm falling off was unfortunate, to put it mildly.”

“Reports are that it was successfully reattached but she may not make it to the US Open next month.”

“She wants to defend her title in New York so I wouldn’t count her out yet. She is extremely fit and I think will recover quickly.”

“We of course wish her well.”

“Artz needs to speed up his play here. The last thing he needs is to be called on a time violation.”

“Peeters’ swing completely misses the ball, giving the German an ace.”

“The court’s condition was the cause of that odd bounce. I’m not sure we can even call it grass anymore.”

“Artz just double-faulted, bringing the score to 15-all.”

“He can’t even hide how much he’s cramping and can barely move as it is. Slow play just spells disaster for him.”

“It feels like there are so many missed opportunities on both sides.”

“Especially since Artz is obviously struggling so much right now. Determination is all that is keeping him going. Peeters appears to be the fresher of the two but his spirit seems broken after squandering his last service game. Whoever snaps out of it first will likely win this within the next few games.”

“Another ball served off court by Artz.”

“You’ve got to give it to Artz. The guy is not giving up even if he just double-faulted again in this game. He looks like Frankenstein dragging himself to the other side of the court but at least he’s keeping at it.”

“The end of this match feels closer than it has since yesterday morning.”

“It’s painful to watch but it’s the opening Peeters has been waiting for. He himself recovered from serious lead feet some hundred games ago.”

“Let’s keep in mind these players have been playing this match for just over eighty one hours.”

“And neither of these guys has taken a bathroom break in almost eight hours. They are both seriously dehydrated and the cramps must be unbearable. I’m hurting just watching them.”

“It may be a matter of who wants it more.”

“Artz has never won this tournament and wants it bad. Peeters has won it four times before but this is his first slam final in three years. Neither wants to give the match away. Let’s hope Artz recovers quickly or it will be all over for him in the next few minutes.”

“He looks completely disoriented. He just served into the Royal Box.”

“It would be such a shame for it to end this way after such spectacular play throughout the Championship.”

“Hang on, John. Peeters is on the ground.”

“Is he still conscious?”

“The crowd is rising to its feet, chanting for Peeters to resume play.”

“Artz is stumbling towards the net. Those cramps are really working him.”

“The medical team is on the court. They’re grabbing Peeters’ wrist.”

“Are they looking for a pulse? Anybody know?”

“The umpire is out of his chair, heading towards Peeters’ trainers.”

“Now Artz has dropped to the ground. He’s thrashing around like he’s having some kind of seizure.”

“Let’s hope he recovers so we can have the trophy ceremony. It would be a shame to prevent the loyal fans from seeing the winner crowned.”

“We don’t have a winner yet. Looks like Artz has passed out. Why is the medical team not helping him yet?”

“They’re busy pumping Peeters’ chest.”

“What’s the ball boy yelling? Anybody know?”

“I think he’s saying Artz is not breathing.”

“You cannot be serious!”

“Lots of excitement on court today, John. Can a winner be declared?”

“There’s no precedent. I mean, there is no confirmation but if both players are dead, I’m not sure they can. Peeters dropped first but they both were out within a minute of each other. Even if the match is over, a winner may not be decided today.”

“What an extraordinary Wimbledon this year, John. The record books have been rewritten.”

“You can say that again. And you get the sense next year will be even better, that’s for sure.”

END

 Copyright © Jenner Michaud, 2014