Half Time CH14: Pipe Dream

By Rutskarn Posted Tuesday Jan 12, 2016

Filed under: Lets Play 12 comments

The noise coming from the shower/sick wing is enough to put us all off sleep for a while. It’s not the screams–it wouldn’t be the finale of a big match without those. It’s the crying.

The world’s greatest halfling Blood Bowl player is in there sobbing like a broken pump.

You might think that’s because his limbs look like licorice and he’s so sauced up with blood and pitch mud the apothecary needs a sponge to find which side’s up. Then again, you might think he’s sobbing because he’s the world’s greatest halfling Blood Bowl player. And all my bitter cynicism aside–I think you might be right about that.

“How’s he doing?” I ask an assistant.

“I don’t think he’s dying.”

“Who said he was dying? Why would you tell me something like that? Of course he’s not dying, he’s a damn champion, that’s his job, he is literally a professional fucking champion! If he dies I’ll sue him for breach of contract! How is he holding up?”

“What, like…” He screws his face up. “Emotionally?”

“Mentally! Would you describe his morale as, uh…”

A snotty caterwaul bends through the moldy brickwork.

“Almost acceptable?” I persist. “Needs improvement?”

“Coach, he is not doing very good in there.”

“Well yeah, but he’ll bounce back. That’s what you’re telling me.”

“I haven’t been?”

I run my fingers through my hair. There’s no reason to be nervous about this; even laying aside the fact that I’m profiting whether we win or lose and there is no practical grounds for alarm, there is no grounds for alarm. He’ll recover; this was just another loss. He’s used to that. He’s very, very used to that.

I mean, he got used to victory for a little while.

But now he’s getting defeated again! It’s a return to form. So there shouldn’t be any trouble.

“Do you think maybe I should talk to him?” I ask the assistant coach.

“I think…maybe…you should…” The assistant coach blinks a bead of sweat from his brow, then scrambles out of the hallway.

Okay. Yeah. Let’s have a nice fortifying chat with our old friend Pervince Potatoe. After he stops crying a bit.

A lot a bit.

The door creaks in front of me like the surreptitious cough of a novice butler. My boy must be hungry, because sitting on the trestle there is a massive chunk of tenderized meat that…oh. No, it’s coughing. That’s Pervince.

“It’s me, pal,” I say. “How you doing?”

He’s turned away from me. Paper crinkles. “Fan mail,” he croaks.

“Any new admirers?”

“Not since we’ve been losing.”

“Perv, you tied one game and…”

“We don’t win tomorrow, we’re washed right out of the competition. Right?”

I know the numbers like I know my lucky lotto picks and I forecast roughly equal odds of success. “That’s right,” I say.

“So I guess we’ve just got to win tomorrow.”

“Right.” No, let’s do this. If he starts humming the tune he can’t blame me for waltzing. “Or, and this is fine, we wash out and move on.”


“Yes, Perv. That’s how life works. Somebody has to lose, and it’s…”

“…always us, right?” Pervince’s fist clenches around his letter–blood dribbles from between his fat fingers to the floor. “You know, with your speech at that game last season–you were right. You got it exactly right. We’re born to be fat and slow and clumsy and hungry, and we are born to lose. We’re silly little bastards. Do you ever wonder–what it’s like–to be born a silly little bastard?”

“You don’t like it.”

“I don’t like losing. I don’t like dwarves and humans knocking me over without noticing me. I don’t like growing up with every beautiful person in every halfling song being an elf. I don’t like going out on that pitch knowing that for all my skill and all my grit some orc can knock my teeth out because he’s bored and he forgot the rest of the rules that day! And maybe they’re going to beat me, maybe they’re always going to beat me, and maybe if I don’t accept that I’m going to go crazy. So I’ll go crazy! Because you know the second I tell myself it’s okay to lose I’m agreeing that it’s okay that they win. It’s okay we’re laughingstocks. It’s okay we’re clowns. We’ll never be anything better. Now you tell me, coach, and you be honest with me–you keep being honest with me–” He finally turns to me. “Do you think we’re going to win tomorrow?”

I can’t think of anything I’d like to do less, but I owe it to him–I shake my head.

“That’s what I thought.” He turns back around. “You’ve taught us pretty well. But tomorrow, they follow me.”

“If you don’t win?”

Pervince has nothing to say.


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12 thoughts on “Half Time CH14: Pipe Dream

  1. shiroax says:

    Shit Ruts, that got fucking dark.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      This week in under bowl.

  2. Nixitur says:

    I can’t help but feel like this series is going to wrap up soon. It has that tone to it.
    Also, wow, that was a lovely look into the mind of Pervince Potatoe.

    NEXT WEEK: They’re probably going to lose!

  3. Grudgeal says:

    Greatest Halfling Bloodbowl player? But Puggy Baconbreath isn’t even *in* the Cyanide version.

  4. BounderTree says:

    This is the best sports drama I ever read.
    Then again I don’t give 2 sideways farts about normal sportsball.

    1. Ramsus says:

      100% agreed on both counts.

  5. Kylroy says:

    Breaking Pervince.

  6. Cuthalion says:

    Awww, Potatoe!

  7. Mersadeon says:

    Now I’m excited for the next update.

  8. SmallIvoryKnight says:

    If Pervince dies I will actually cry. Do not do this to me, Rutskarn.

  9. LCF says:

    I’d like you to know, this is bloody good writing.

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