Book 1I Chapter 1 Tales of Dead Armadillo Medina Valley Chronicles Section one novel by Esteban Erik Stipnieks all rights reserved
Monday came. Stephen King spent lunch hanging out in the publications room slowly trying to bond and fearful of actually dealing with the social scene in the cafiteria. He knew he was soon to be facing Medina Valley. In the locker room, Bo commented "You were the only one who liked Medina Valley." Stephen King smiled "UTSA is worse I like traffic better then sucking lead." Coach Bob said "I think it is a good chance for the team to shine." Stephen King replied yeah we are not so white anymore and we can be competitive out there. Serg said "Speedy Gonzales lives." Tom said "Yeah Stephen King you sure do not run white." Stephen King replied "I may look gringo puro but vato we know when I consider sliced jalapeños better then pickles." It meant action for Stephen he actually liked the course it was work and entertaining. The week would begin with Golfcourse for the team.
Tara walked out the back exit from the girl’s locker room with Amanda and the rest of the girl’s squad. Bo disliked the course at Medina Valley yet he was not going to put it down. Linda actually liked the course but she kept her mouth shut. Linda liked the heat and Kim had run at Medina Valley but hearing all the white girls talk about it she kept her mouth shut. She did not want to start conflict early and her senior year. Different girls liked different courses. The girls were given Eden Home. Tara did not know what to believe. They stretched out on the football field. Tom directed the stretching. The process was slow and methodical.
Aero knew the route. It was simple he had run it once in the summer. Lakeview hang a right down around the golf course to the park through the park up Panther Canyon and back to the high school. He took off Raul just ahead running a decent clip Bo behind him. He had proven to be one of the faster runners of the team. He liked the idea of getting a letter his freshman year. He had been assured of varsity this meet. The sun was hot but he would not face its full force till the later stages of Lakeview Blvd. He was cruising Raul was just ahead. First the run Ohio then down California with its sunny spot by the Kohler house a left on Lakeview. The shade ended and over the white hot gravel he was sweaty but the pace he ran was regulated so as not to bust through the lactic acid threshold as a freshman he had learned about pace in middle school and was not about to push it. Raul seemingly was not wilting just 10 yards in front of him. Aero was excited about the first real race of the year. He was no longer in middle school and he been penciled in on the Varsity squad a place he was determined to keep. At the base of lakeview he was exposed to the sun at it’s most intense. He relished running in the shade. He glanced toward Landa Lake. The Island was a point that had parties as a kid. He snorkled in it he saw it as he passed it memories of see Rio Grande Perch water which was as clear as glass. The golf course grew steadily in view. He saw it in a distance from the time he turned it was growing bigger and bigger finally he got to it. He made the turn and started heading to. The run was now past halfway. Raul just ahead was trucking. Bo was behind him. This run had gotten boring but it was keeping him in shape for soccer. He was a forward who used his small mass and speed along with relentlessness to score. He went down the dip he knew some of the form of hill running but he had never been formally coached. The uphill behind it was a big pain. The water was flowing the rains of last week had helped the aquifer. As a Unicorn running up hills was supposed to be a strength this was a pain in the butt literally. Wurstfest had its own memories. Many of Aero's most memorable moments of life had occurred within eyesight of this run.
(mill race Landa Park within 30 yards of "Golf course" run photo Esteban Erik Stipnieks)
Aero cut his way in his best approximate line straight to the mouth of Panther Canyon the back section of the park was dominated by spring fed streams that all fed into Landa Lake. Finally he got to the Panther Canyon a rising trail that crisscrossed a draw that was a notch in the escarpment that NBHS was built on. The area had been the sight of countless trysts over the years the trail and the draw crisscrossed ending with a steep wall. He finally emerged then shot through the back parking lot. He had to do pushups and sit ups.
For Stephen King the run was familiar disliked but he realized the purpose. It was going to be a blast of boredom and a battle within him. Running Ohio the first two weeks of school he reflected on. He was the superintendent's son. He was going to be running JV he would have to beat out two runners to get a varsity position. On yearbook was going to be the jock photographer. His previous sports work had earned him recognition as he showed off his yearbooks. California and Lakeview were old friends welcoming him. He made adjustments getting extra speed closing on Thomas and Mike who he was determined to stay with throughout the run. The heat was every bit as intense as Denton had been. The shade was welcome. The fact the run was in a nice neighborhood not the land of trailer trash was a novelty. Denton High Ryan campus had been placed perched near Lake Lewisville’s far northern fringe. Stephen King made a form pass down the rest of Lakeview knowing it would not lot last. Thomas and Mike passed him again. The pass though revealed Serg and Tom were not far ahead. The pass was undone near the gravel pit as they went over a flowing spring that had been given its own tunnel underneath the road. By the houses Stephen reflected again and smiled he was back home. The long run that chased the very fringe of Lake Lewisville had a trailer park on one side a natural preserve on the other. No big dogs running loose just established upper middle class and upper class neighborhoods. Stephen King was going just above the lactic acid threshold by a whisker. What once had been industrial had turned to park the golf course. The prehab on the knee allowed a pass again of Thomas and Mike that was undone by the circle arts theatre. Stephen King was processing hills were his friends. The sun was blazing as Landa Park came into view. The new bridge over the mill race was nice it allowed a slightly shorter line approved to get back to Panther Canyon the curve was one across the street from the playground where a stage used to be. It was a challenge to aim at the mouth of the trail which was 12 yards right past where California met the park. Stephen hated the twisting turning trail he avoided getting lost for the first time as near the top. He gotten lost 8 other times as a freshman and once already as a senior. The sight of the high school meant surge time surge to district glory. Bo greeted him with cup of Exceed. Stephen King then did his crunches and push ups. He grabbed another cup he was still thirsty.
For the girls Eden Home was familar long but familar. Amanda and Linda had been at the front all of it. The two were serious about giving encouragement to the other girls. Tara was ahead of Leisha. They were surprised how fast this new face from Denton was. Tara was eager to encourage her sisters on the team keeping the tradition. Linda and Amanda realized soon they would running with the guys on some of the longer runs. The heat though was good preperation for what would be their first meet Medina Valley. Amanda ran with the strange urgency that came from her senior status. She found herself excited with all the prepearation and she realized it would soon be tested under the hot Texas sun. She ran hard on Ohio her and Linda almost racing across the parking lot and practice field to Unicorn stadium. Coach Noel Scott had the exceed ready. The girls did their crunches before leaving to go home for the day.
That night Stephen King got a phone call from his old friend who was on the football team asking him why he was not eating lunch with them. Him and Al wanted to see how he was doing. Stephen King decided that he would be a part of the lunch bunch. Stephen had used the publications room to hide out. His special status at school he was aware of but not something he accepted.
Tara was dealing with the fact she did not have a boyfriend. Her father had assessed the team. No one was worthy of being a boyfriend. He made that crystal clear. She was surprised at the alcohol consumption she heard about. Stephen was skinny and physically hardly attractive. Tara talked to her dad about being the new kid and the comment about the new superintendent. Stephen King's presence was shocking to the town. He stubbornly refused to use his nephew of or son of status. Tara was surprised to see how the town was reacting. Tara had heard in the halls had heard the question asked "Doesn't he know who is mother is?"
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