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Rated: E · Fiction · Drama · #2254995
Jamie "Spitz" Krukowski battles breath and bullies in a watermelon seed spitting contest.
The Place for Seniors!
#427318 by Monty

August Prompt: Aug 3: National Watermelon Day

About 1270 words

Jamie "Spitz" Krukowsky scowled across the arena at his main opponent. Jason Winkhauser, dark, hulking and arrogant, sneered back. The watermelon seed spitting contest was the next event at the Leduc County Fair, and Jamie aimed to take the prize this year from that insufferable Winkhauser. The Beaumont Bully was going down hard.

After his humiliating defeat at the last fair, Spitz had gone into intense training. He had gone through a package of sunflower seeds a day, working to strengthen his mouth and tongue, striving to perfect technique and distance. He had consumed countless watermelons and shot seeds all over the back yard, to the point where his mom complained about the watermelon plants growing up all over. He had done wind sprints and jogged daily to develop his lungs and breath control. Nobody at Warburg High could shoot a sunflower shell, watermelon seed, or cherry pit as far as Spitz could. Nobody could hawk a lugie and whip it as far as he could. Nobody could blow chewed paper wads onto the classroom ceiling like he could. He was ready.

He and his friends hovered expectantly near the contest area in the arena. Spitz was dreaming of beating the world record of 68 feet 9 inches, a wonderful 21.26 metres. He again caught sight of Winkhauser, and ground his teeth. His thoughts focused on revenge. The only record he cared about was beating Winkhauser.

An official called the event to start. Winkhauser swaggered over and shoved Spitz aside. "Out of the way, little boy." He crowded Spitz over to the sidelines. "Might as well stay here, out of the way of us spitters." Spitz tried to shove back, but the older Winkhauser was bigger, and it was like shoving a tree or a wall. No matter, when push came to shove, it was breath and technique that would count.

The official reviewed the rules. "Contestants will line up behind the start line. When your name is called, step up to the strip of red tape there--that's the spitting line. Choose one seed from the cut-up melons beside the start line. Please use the plastic spoons provided, and garbage the spoon after use."

Winkhauser made hurry-up motions. The official ignored him. "In front of the line is the spitting area--that's the long white tarp with distance lines on it. You can take a running start, but going over the red line will disqualify that spit. Your distance scored will be where the seed ends, so that if it bounces or rolls, that distance will count."

Spitz nodded. Those rolls or bounces could add another meter to a score.

"The top ten contestants will go on to round two, and the top five from that round will have a spit-off. Everybody got that? Any questions? Good. Line up in spitting order as I call your names."

Spitz was ninth in line, two behind Winkhauser. The first six contestants gave fair spits, with distances from 3.32 metres to 10.48 metres. Not world record quality, but not bad for a local fair. The Beaumont Bully stepped up. He carefully selected a seed and popped it into his mouth. He started behind the line, took two quick steps and threw his head forward as he blew. Spitz held his breath and watched as the seed flew...and flew...and flew. "Wow!" said the announcer after his helpers finished the measurement. "That's 10.61 meters, today's top spit so far."

Spitz wasn't impressed. It was four meters less than Winkhauser's winning shot last year, and he himself had shot over 15 metres in practice. He was confident.

When Spitz came up for his turn, he realized that his mouth was dry. A moist mouth is essential for a good spit, so he carefully scooped a little watermelon pulp with his chosen seed. Saliva flooded his mouth in response to the sweet, juicy flesh. He preferred a standing start over a running shot, so he took his place, watched that his toes were not over the line, drew a deep breath, carefully positioned the seed on his tongue, cocked his head, and spat. He watched the seed sail. It landed, bounced, and came to rest. Again he held his breath and waited...

"That's a tie! 10.61 metres," called the announcer.

Winkhauser glared at Spitz. "Lucky shot, punk. You haven't a hope in Round two." He put his hand on Spitz's chest and pushed him out of the way.

The remaining six contestants took their shots, with two disqualified for line violations. The top ten had distances ranging from 8.49 to 10.61 meters.

In round two, Spitz shot first. While in line, he took several deep breaths to build up his capacity. He chose a seed, stepped up, and spit. A good shot, it sailed down the white tarp but stuck on landing. Dang, he had hoped for a bounce. "A new high score, 12.70 metres," was the announcement. While the spectators applauded, Spitz smiled at Winkhauser, who glared back.

When his turn came up, Winkhauser stepped confidently out, took his two step run, and spat. Another good shot, with a bounce and tumble that must have gained half a metre. Spitz gulped. That was a darned good shot. The crowd waited quietly. "A new high, 13.14 metres!" There was applause and cheering. Winkhauser pushed Spitz again and gloated. "That's how it's done, kid. Why don't you just go home and play with your toys?"

When Round Two ended, Winkhauser and Spitz were in the lead, with the others not too far behind. Spitz knew them all, and a couple were serious contenders. He'd have to really blow his best.

In the final round, Spitz was fourth in line with Winkhauser, as the favorite, last to spit. First up, the Breton Blowhard, as he called himself, spit a respectable 12.92. Second up, a buxom lass named Corinne, shot 13.28 metres for a new high score. The crowd cheered and whistled. Winkhauser scowled at her, the officials, and the crowd. The third shooter, a lanky Devon man, took a four step run, and shot a respectable 13.00.

Spitz inspected the badly picked-over watermelons and poked about with the plastic spoon, looking for a plump seed. He mouthed his choice and surrounded it with saliva. It was his last chance. This one would have to count. He stepped to the line, carefully checked his feet, and breathed in deeply. He checked the position of the seed in his mouth. He took one last breath, closed his eyes, tilted his head back, prepared himself mentally. Snapping his head forward, he spit as hard as he could. He kept his eyes closed, visualizing the seed hurtling down the white tarp, landing, bouncing, skittering away. The two guys with the measuring tape checked the distance and reported to the announcer, but Spitz kept his eyes shut.

"Let's hear it for Warburg's Jamie Krukowsky, folks -- an incredible 15.20 metres." Spitz's eyes popped open and he reveled in the cheers and whistles and applause.

Winkhauser's mouth dropped open. "Catching flies, big guy?" Spitz taunted.

Winkhauser cursed, mouthed a seed, and ran at the line. The seed almost hissed as it hurtled through the air. It landed an amazingly long way down the tarp, and stuck. The two officials seemed to be taking a long time with their measurement. Then they measured again. The crowd was quiet. The two strode up to the microphone and passed on the result.

"Wow, folks, what a contest! What an amazing final shot from last year's champion, Jason Winkhauser of Beaumont." Winkhauser beamed at the crowd and stepped towards the trophy on the table.

"Yes, an amazing shot at 15.15 metres, just 5 cm short of the previous shot. Ladies and gentlemen, our winner and this year's champion is Jamie Krukowsky of Warburg." Winkhauser barged through contestants and officials alike. Regardless of everyone watching, he pushed Spitz aside and strode off. Spitz just ignored him.

A thrilling roar of whistles, hoots, applause, and cheers washed over him. He had won.{ /linespace}

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Author's note: My goal here was to develop drama and suspense in a simple story. How did I do?

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