“You know, Jay Foxx, if Studdbecker had intercepted that pass before the half, the result might have been completely different.”


“Only perhaps?”

“Perhaps, Marv, the fans would have demonstrated so long and so loud that the game would have been suspended. Called perhaps. Perhaps even the half-game show would have been canceled. And we might have had to fill a couple of hours of dead network air.”

“And, Jay, it was the Birds’ air attack—”

“Perhaps an unforeseen eclipse would have suddenly darkened the field so that, even under lights, the teams would have turned terrified their eyes to the skies.

“Or perhaps, Marv, sunspot activity would have so interfered with radio waves that the coaches would have failed to rouse their eyes in the skies. Our own broadcast might have failed.

“You have to think about it, Marv: If a football falls and there’s no video to record it, does it ever fall really?”

“Jay, I don’t think–”

“For all we know, if Studdbecker had intercepted, the idea of football would have ceased to exist. If it had ever existed at all. At that point. You’re right, Marv, the result might have been completely different. Completely different.”

“And speaking of something different, Jay—”

“On the other hand, Studdbecker might have scored… ”

“That’s what I meant in the first place, Jay, because then—”

“… with the resulting overconfidence among Studdbecker’s teammates at the hat (debilitating the Blues’ efforts to assemble any offense in the second half even as the Birds would have rallied to score touchdown after touchdown.)”

“Forget it, Jay. Will you please just forget it? Studdbecker did not — he did not — get the I-N-T.”

“No. But even if he had, Marv, the Blues might have fumbled it back to the Birds on the next play allowing them to score so that the result might have been the same although arrived at slightly differently, right?”

“I suppose.”

“I as well.”

“And so the Birds won the game.”


“Let’s send it back to New York then.”

“Yes. Let’s try.”


James Penha

A native New Yorker, James Penha has lived for the past three decades in Indonesia. Nominated for Pushcart Prizes in fiction and poetry, his work is widely published in journals and anthologies. His newest chapbook of poems, American Daguerreotypes, is available for Kindle. His essays have appeared in The New York Daily News and The New York Times. Penha edits The New Verse News, an online journal of current-events poetry. Twitter: @JamesPenha

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