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THE BEST FOOTBALL STADIUM IN THE WORLD: FLASH FICTION BY CALEB ECHTERLING

The Best Football Stadium in the World

 

The owner of the local professional football team wanted his new stadium to be the best in the world. So he hired the best public relations firm in the world – A Mother’s Love, LLC – to determine what fans enjoyed about attending professional football games, and thus, what fans would most want in a new stadium.

 

Thousands of interviews, focus groups, and computer simulations later, the public relations firm was able to tender a white paper revealing the precise mechanism by which attending professional football games generated joy for fans. To wit, the feeling of being soaked for every last nickel and not being able to so much as break wind unless they pay for the privilege.

 

In a bit of too-good-to-be-true serendipity that only happens in the movies, this is also what brought joy to the owner of the professional football team.

 

This is how there came to be pay toilets at the new stadium. On the day of the first game, the owner sat in his luxury box, waiting for the sweet, sweet toilet cash to roll in. Instead, there were riots in the restrooms. Stadium workers called the police. The police called in the National Guard. The National Guard called down tactical airstrikes.

 

“Mistakes were made,” the owner declared, and he authorized A Mother’s Love, LLC to make wholesale changes, as long as those changes stayed true to the spirit of gouging fans and wringing every last cent from their pockets.

 


 

At the second game in the stadium, die-hard fan Jerry took the proceeds from his second mortgage and purchased a bland lager the mega-corp brewery pumped out under a ‘hip’ trademark to mimic the edgy cool of a craft beer.

 

Man, that Sex in a Canoe is one fine beer, Jerry thought. Whelp, his thoughts continued, time to shake the dew off the lily.

 

He arrived at the men’s room to find his ingress blocked by a beefy bouncer, who, from the neck down, was a lion.

 

“Excuse me, sir, but nature calls,” Jerry said.

 

“Until you answer my riddle,” the Sphinx said, “your path will remain forever blocked. What walks on eight legs in the morning, four legs at noon, and eight legs at night?”

 

Jerry hopped from one leg to the other. “I dunno man. A crab with a side gig as a goat? I really gotta go.”

 

“Wrong,” the Sphinx said. “It’s an octopus with a side gig as a barstool. Go whiz behind the mustard dispenser.”

 

In his private luxury box, the owner quizzed the head honcho from A Mother’s Love, LLC. “Tell me again how I make money on this? It seems like we’re not wringing any cents at all from this transaction.”

 

“They have to answer a riddle,” said the PR head honcho.

 

“I noticed that. But where does cash come in? Because I didn’t see any.”

 

“Well, if they don’t answer the riddle, they can’t use the facilities.”

 

“I understand. Now the men’s room smell covers the entire stadium instead of being localized to the men’s room. But nowhere in this sequence do I get paid.”

 

The PR head honcho rubbed his trendy chin stubble. “Hmm, the focus groups hated this even more than the pay toilets, so naturally I assumed we were fleecing them for more money. Maybe the Riddle of the Sphinx wasn’t the best episode to lift from the life of Oedipus. Was he famous for anything else?”

 


 

“Mistakes were made,” the owner announced after the game. “For the next game, I promise the bathroom access system will work smoothly, provided your mother’s a good sport.”

 

 


Caleb Echterling‘s recent short story collection deftly combines staid bios with insult comedy, ya filthy bastard. He tweets funny microfiction using the inventive handle @CalebEchterling. You can find more of his work at www.calebechterling.com.