It is over.
It is finally, finally, over.
The longest Bindlet Ball game on record is finally over.
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "Well, who won? What stalwart bunch of individuals triumphed after an eight year battle of epic proportions? Tell me, dear Morbus, for my Back Market bookie is eyeing one of my legs with a rather unkindly sneer!"
Well. Here's the thing. Neither team won. The audience did.
I, as Bearer of Bad News, beg your forgiveness.
Both teams, the Sejfeld Succotashes (an all-female ball squad from the Mandeville Girls School) and the Iganeftan Pickers, tried their hardest to best the other, but the final outcome was determined by the tenacity, support, and interaction of the audience. Which is to say, some guy in the third row ("third row" being relative, as the face of the Brahang Field changed many times over the course of eight years) screwed everything up.
His name? Unknown. (Again, forgiveness.) His participation, and its consequences, have been well-recorded, however, and what follows is a very spurious highlighting of this match to end all matches. Stay tuned for Bindlet Banality: How A Good Game Went Long And The Effects On Future Contests (scheduled for late 1 EC, Aliens Press, 423 pages).
- One month after the first ball was spurred into action, he slumbered in a tent he had fashioned from the ever-growing debris of popped corn boxes. Master of paper-folding or not, this was a new idea: instead of the audience taking shifts by half-returning home for sleep and half-staying, this development lent the notion that the audience no longer had to forfeit, and then rekindle, their enthusiam. Profits from selling boxes soon outgrew that made from snacks. After the first Meditation, it was decided that the paper tents and houses needed to be removed, as the soggy mess created from the recent, but odd, rainfall was detrimental to play.
- Three months later, before the second Meditation, he moved 100 unanits back from the playing field and began a new home. Each day, he walked to and from the game, never losing any enthusiam: the cheers of the crowd and the grunts of the players flitted softly to his slumbering ears. Soon, everyone was building shelter 100 unanits away. After the second Meditation, these houses were torn down: not only was the open playing field slowly expanding because fewer and fewer people walked the full distance to the regulated boundaries, but the actual players were deliberately sending the ball closer and closer to the homes. One athlete, interviewed while gasping for breath, claimed the smells of nearby home-cooking was causing both his brain and the ball to think the makeshift windows were actually the bindlet. I tend to disagree.
- Six months in, he sighed. You may not think this a big deal, but it started a confused chain reaction: those nearby, previously cheering, turned toward him quizzically. As they turned, so did others nearer to them, wondering what off-field was so important. The wave continued, until everyone was staring anywhere else but at the players. The Bindlet Ball, having never heard this sound before, spun like chaos unspurned and seriously injured two Succotashes who were carted off the field (legally) for repair. This injury caused a renewed interest in the game, as the furtive whispering escalated to the "Murdering Ball Which Kills Girls" and thrillseekers, daredevils, and bounty hunters came to test their mettle with taunting vocals.
- At the seven month mark, the length of the game had caused some weary fans to go home and not return the next day. The third Meditation concluded that the Bindlet Ball wasn't planning on cooperating any time soon (and, secretly, that the players and audience both lacked the skill to satisfy the primary objective of "geting the @#$!@# ball in THE @#$!@# HOLE!") and the referees may as well allow housing on the field. With carte blanche acceptance, popped corn houses sprung up within hours.
- Coming up on two years, the Brahang arena (more accurately an ever expanding open field with vaguely marked boundaries) was becoming far less an attraction and far more a ramshackle village. The nearby Inn of Brahang, once the only stopping point for those traveling to Mount Yurch or to a nearby battle, had been pre-empted by a number of small apartment complexes (of normal, not popped corn, stature) that had sprung up to provide better comfort for the fans. As the surrounding area became ever more developed, so too did the playing field, weaving in and out of alleys, through kitchens from which home-cooking was being cooked, and up and down strategically placed ramps that allowed players to catapult themselves onto the opposing team. What we now know as Bindlet Banality reached its peak around this time, as the audience gasped and groaned (and huffed and puffed) at each new and impressive move.
- 3 years, 7 months: the two injured Sejfeld Succotashes return. Named the "Sufferin' Succotashes" to commerorate the extent of their injuries and the long recovery, they quickly become crowd (city?) favorites. Dolls, authentic dirt clods they kicked up, lumics, and theatre reproductions of their "traumatic struggle" flood the area.
- After four and a half years, players start disappearing. Not mysterioso disappearing, just "the field is so insanely big, we don't know where they are" disappearing. It is later discovered that certain players have taken up wives (and husbands) from the audience, having fallen in love with them over their constant attention and dedication to the sport. At least two children are born, and the twelvth Meditation declares nesting areas "out of bound", and thus, forfeitable. Unfortunately, due to a loophole made during the ninth Meditation, forfeits were only acceptable when accompanied by 12 eggplants delivered by a pyxie, and none of the players or their families knew of any. Audience members who posed as pyxies were "ejected" from the game and told to "go home", though their permanent homes were now just around the corner and still in play.
- At the end of seven years, the on-going struggle, now a way of life, made its way into the first edition of this esteemed Encyclopedia. We can only assume that the guy from the third row, having left the audience shortly after the fateful sigh that created one of the sports most recoginizable pair of icons, read the article with astonishment. Whatever the impetus, he reappeared on the field in late 0 EC causing, as the fifteenth Meditation iterates, "an attitude not worthy of the inhabitants of Brahang Field. City. Field. Y'know."
A month later, now 1/1/25 EC, the guy from the third row got past field security (not too difficult, considering there were none) and caught up to the currently struggling mass of players. As the Bindlet Ball throbbed inward and outward, complacent in its light emissions, his six fateful words rang quite true: "FIFTH PERIOD! SIXTH PERIOD! SEVENTH PERIOD!"
Silence. The Bindlet Ball dimmed, shuddered gently, and erupted in a burst, nay, a birth, of light renewed, shaken out of its comfortable fourth period mindset and newly reinvigorated with the thrill of the end-game. The players remained stunned, as if seeing a dream they've yearned for every day for eight years suddenly wrap and offer itself lovingly on a silver platter, even as they realized acceptance would mean an end to their lives as they've known it. It was a romantic moment, frozen in time, delicate to the touch, and desiring a soft caress. That is, until the guy from the third row interfered yet again, shouting a personification normally reserved for a mechanaut:
- "BINDLET BALL USE KEYS TO OPEN DOORS!"
And, with a swift kick, the guy from the third row sent the ball forward through a window, past a fefferberry pot, and into a concealed bindlet (themselves added in year five).
Still. Silence. Drama.
As sound slowly returned to Brahang Field that day, conclusions were drawn and the final Meditation, the eighteenth, declared the audience a winner. There were no sighs of relief. No congratulations. No pattings of the back, no return to the locker rooms, no cleanup crew in section K. No one knew what to do; most wandered around in a daze, unwilling to believe the world they lived for the past six years was over. No one noticed the guy from the third row leaving the Field. I don't think anyone would have stopped him if they did.
Addendum: I have been informed by Aliens Press that they have tracked down the guy from the third row and have arranged for an exclusive interview to be published in their upcoming Bindlet Banality book. Any necessary revisions to the preceding article will be available in the next edition of the Encyclopedia.
--Morbus Iff 15:07, 27 May 2005 (EDT)