Olympic Judge

The Olympics

“I love the Olympics,” she said, her enthusiasm showing on her beaming face. “I even cried when they played the national anthem for Bode Miller. When he finally won his gold medal.”

“Uh huh,” he said, turning the stocks page of the newspaper.  “Is there any more coffee left?” It was the first time he’d spent the night. Up until now, he’d always left after they had sex.

She poured the remainder into his mug. “You’re not even listening to me,” she said.

“Yes, I was. The Olympics. I watch them too.” He smiled, patted her hand.

“You do?” She was pleasantly surprised. Her best friend, Trudy, was skeptical. Had told her, I don’t think you two have anything in common other than your profession.

He set the newspaper down. “Sure. I like the Olympics. I watched the hockey match-Canada and the U.S. It was wild.” He added milk and sugar to his coffee, took a big swig. “I like your coffee. Is it Alterra?”

“It’s Caribou. Obsidian. “ She got a sudden chill, pulled her robe tighter. “Did you see the Ice Dancing?”

“What’s that?” He bit into an everything bagel. Picked up the newspaper again.

She tried not to look at him while he chewed. “I think it’s called Ice Dancing? Not pairs, but another partner skating event? Anyhow, they had to choose a national dance from a country, like a folk dance. There was this crazy Russian team.”

“Crazy and Russian; isn’t that equivalent? ”

“Maybe. But this one Russian team, they wore these Aboriginal costumes.”

“I didn’t know there was such a thing.”

“My point exactly. They had body stockings, art painted on them, fake bushes and leaves appliquéd to the costumes, even her skates had leaves sticking out the tops.”

“Sounds ridiculous. Which is why I stick to hockey matches. You know what you’re going to get.”

“I wish I had. Their skating was a joke. I kept thinking about how these Olympics opened by honoring all of the indigenous Canadian tribes. Remember?”

His nose was buried in the paper again. “Huh?”

“We watched them together. Anyhow, these two goons stuck out their tongues, aped at one another and the audience the entire time. He dragged her around by her frizzy ponytail.”

He peered around his paper. “Sounds like pre-historic s and m.” He raised his eyebrows.

She laughed. “They even went so far as to mimic the hand over mouth gesture associated with American Indians.” She stood, picking up their coffee mugs, placing them in the sink. Pantomimed the gesture.

His mouth dropped open. “And they probably ended up in first place.”

“They were third after everyone skated. I thought they should have been disqualified.”

He smiled. “Maybe you ought to get another degree? Become a judge?”

“The next Judge Judy? Nah,” she said, “I’ll just stick to judging from my living room couch.”


About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, Robert leads week long National writing retreats at sites like Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Synergia Ranch, and EarthRise IONS. His poems and fiction are published in over 500 print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Los Angeles Weekly, Literary Orphans and Smokelong Quarterly. He is Editor-in-Chief at (b)OINK magazine and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing in Milwaukee. He is six times a Pushcart Prize Nominee and his fiction and poetry have won awards, including a Micro-Fiction runner-up (2012) and twice a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Fiction Award (2013-14). His books are: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps); Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms); RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press), and FUNHOUSE (Unknown Press).
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11 Responses to Olympic Judge

  1. Andrea says:

    I liked this story. I also like that Trudie thinks they have nothing in common. When in fact they do. Nice.

  2. Suzi says:

    It’s so interesting that after their first “sleepover” he has fallen into the cliche’ newspaper reading, coffee drinking, hockey loving, man-of-the-house role so comfortably. And she doesn’t seem to object. Nothing in common? Meh – I think they’re destined to be together.

  3. Dez says:

    I like this, maybe because I enjoy hockey too? I wonder if the seed you plant with Trudy might return later? Otherwise we don’t get to see how that affects the protagonist. I can see how she might agree with Trudy, yet she seems to enjoy this guy, and why not? He seems nice enough? It missing that element of surprise that some of your best vignettes have. But your dialogue, as usual, is so well crafted. And I did see those skaters who your main character refers to here. I agree, disqualify them for poor taste.

  4. Beverly says:

    I like to judge the athletes too. Give them scores, guess their times and places they will finish. I love the Olympics if just for that! But, of course, there is so much more, just like your story.

  5. Theo says:

    The Olympics only come so rarely (every two or four years?) And it seems like they are always with controversy. The subjective sports are often the most contested (look at how the young Russian skater Plushenko is reacting to being awarded the silver, with the “loss” to American Lysecek) and yet even sports that are only timed have issues too (just yesterday, the Dutch speed skater whose coach made a human error, giving him advice that got the skater disqualified). I’m not even sure what I am going on and on about. But it seems that the controversy that you mention in your story might lend well to others being explored? Okay, phew. Oh yeah, nice job writing this, too.

  6. david says:

    fun banter… I love everything bagels

  7. Shari says:

    Is he reading her paper? Must be if he’s spent the night at her place. That’s rude! Oh well, she might be more forgiving than I! I enjoyed the chatter about the Olympics, seems to be wherever I go these days, so you are very current.

  8. theprayerlady says:

    Oh my gosh ! They seem so far apart after having sex. I guess that’s what today is tho, just have sex and move on to the next one. The olympic theme of this story was so real right down to the leaves out of her skates. Love Mom

  9. Don says:

    I’ll take Johnny Weir any day over any of those other skaters. Love your story, too.

  10. G says:

    ok so he is self absorbed, isnt that how many dysfunctional long lasting relationships work? reading that paper and ignoring her UGH!

  11. Tom Froehlich says:

    This seemed so sad yet typical. Kind of would have like to known what their profession was.

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