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The short story of a rookie looking to make the Fool's Guild. He has no name in the story, but I'm calling him Bilk for the sake of it. 1000 words exactly, enjoy! The Fool My mouth widened so much that it strained my lips painfully. That’s just how bored I had been. The game was nearly over and I hadn’t even sniffed the ball once. I was beginning to think no one here was going to give me the chance to show off my skills! I was contemplating napping when I saw the other team go for a pass near my position. No, wasn’t a pass! They were trying to catch me off guard and take me out! Kh-dnk! Tiny, white dots of light danced in my eyes when the ball smacked against my head and I stood there with a dumb look on my face as the ball dribbled to a stop right by me. The laughter that rolled through the other rookies in the scrimmage was not lost on me, even if my only response was a goofy, dazed grin, as though surviving the punt was a win all by itself. The angry voice that ripped through the guffaws pulled me to my senses. “GET THE BALL!” The call came from a tall, athletic man looking to impress the Fishermen. “LOOK OUT!” Another teammate cried. My head turned in slow motion as the other team was advancing to recover the ball. “No, wait!” I flailed and quickly hopped over the ball to protect it, just as a tough looking man stomped down on my foot. My shriek was, admittedly, rather high pitched and elicited another round of chortles from my compatriots. Even the dastardly toe crusher paused to grunt an approximation of a laugh. “Eheheh…” I laughed nervously myself and jutted forward. The man quickly went back to trying to retrieve the ball but now our legs were hopelessly tangled. We both dropped to the ground and rather hurtful epithets spilled from the man’s mouth. I unfurled our legs and as I hopped up, I may have accidentally put my foot down on the poor bastard’s- Ahem Let’s just say his shriek of pain matched my earlier yelp in pitch... I had far more important things to worry about as another opponent was advancing from behind to try and catch me! My legs pumped frantically and I put a hand on my head to keep my cap from flying off. I kept my eye on him, making sure he was losing ground. “Go! Away!” I tried to wave my pursuer off when I suddenly felt something under my foot. I was no longer touching the ground but instead I was trying hard not to topple end over end as I balanced on top of the rolling ball. "I can do this! I can do this!” I muttered to myself as my stumbling feet found their rhythm. I looked up and smiled proudly, as if I had just scored a goal. More laughter. More derisive calls. “Buffoon!” “Rube!” I’m doing my best! My embarrassing run came to a sudden and rather soft halt as I crashed into a tall, buxom woman on the other team who had positioned herself to intercept me as I flailed about. My hands came up to protest the incoming punishment, but found a rather cushiony brace to help prop myself up straight. Our eyes met and the fury that roiled in hers was matched only by the heat washing over her cheeks. She decided to forgo the slap for a powerful closed fist that knocked me for a loop! I twirled on my feet to the side, mocking a graceful pirouette. I was lucky to still be conscious, but she was not as fortunate. My previous pursuer had caught up with me and sold out for a punishing tackle! The woman’s mighty punch had knocked me clear of the charging bull and the two collided in a violent impact. Both were laid flat! I scrambled to my feet and corralled the ball, dribbling as I marched on. Somehow, I had ended up near the opposing goal with only one man in front of me. A hulking brute wearing a mask and snorting at me. He cracked his knuckles and took a rumbling step in my direction. His mass alone was enough to block the goal and I could feel my trembling knees knocking together. “Sir…” I squawked, a nervous frog in my throat. I dropped to my knees, cowering over the ball and throwing one arm over my head. “If you’re going to beat me up, at least don’t hurt my cap!” I chattered as I set my cap next to me. I got to me knees and shoved the ball towards him with my hand and then grabbed my own collar. “I’ll even save you the effort!” I punched myself in the cheek and once again another roar of laughter came over the field. “It’s the first time I’ve ever seen someone take themselves out of the game!” One of the other players barked. I spat out some blood and began to crawl to the pitch’s edge. The goaltender eyed me until he was satisfied, then turned and gave the ball a good punt. Splort! Chunks flew through the air and I laughed as I watched the gourd I replaced the ball with splatter! When he angrily turned toward me, I was back upright with the biggest grin on my bruised face. I raised my big, jangling cap and revealed the real ball. I tilted my head to the side and the ball dropped. It caught the curl of my boot, slid off and lightly touched the goal with a soft noise. Bop. That was the game and my grin turned into a cackle of laughter. I fell down, clutching my sides as I surveyed the others on the pitch. A man soon approached me. Somehow, he commanded respect despite wearing a motley similar to mine. “You’re a Fool.” “I hope to be, sir!” I grinned. “Though, I don’t think I could ever compete with the likes of them.” I said as I motioned to the pitch.