(The following is a short story I wrote before game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. It is partially based off of real events that took place during the series, though it is a fictional piece. There may be inaccuracies in this piece — if so, please let me know, as I’d like to fix it. Thank you, and I hope that you are able to enjoy this quirky little story I put together.)
CHAPTER 1 – THE CLIENT
Blair Winslow was a rather well-off girl, living right outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She owned a comfortable suburban apartment, and was able to pay her bills with money to spare. This came from the earnings she made at her job, which was working for the Eastwood Company.
The goal of the Eastwood Company was simple, and could be explained by their motto of, “Helping fans since 2006.” The Eastwood Company was founded to help sports fans show support for their teams, in whatever way they desired. If asked, Blair would say the day of May 29th, 2017, captured the essence of her job perfectly.
Blair went into work that morning at eight ‘o five, like she usually did. She worked at the receptionist’s desk, ready to hear client’s cases. After buttoning on the blue work vest that designated her as an Eastwood Company employee, Blair sat down on the office chair that was positioned in front of her desk. Resting her head on her hand, she glanced out of the distant windows, taking in the sights of the city she worked in.
The building door swung open, causing a bell to ring. Blair sat up in her chair, facing the person who just walked in. Standing in the room was a middle-aged man, wearing dirtied jeans and a sweat-stained t-shirt. The distinct scent of a farm filled the area around him.
“Welcome to the Eastwood Company,” said Blair, fighting the urge to plug her nose. “How may we assist you today?”
“I need your help to buy somethin’,” said the man, exposing a southern drawl in his voice.
“Could you give me the details of the situation, please?”
“I need to buy a catfish.”
Blair raised her eyebrow at the man, and then shifted to a smiling expression. “Sir, there’s a farmer’s market right down the road that would be more than happy to sell you a catfish!”
“I tried.” The man slammed his hand down on the desk, placing an ID on the wooden surface. “They told me no can do.”
Blair picked up the man’s ID, flicking strands of her honey-blond hair out of the way so she could read it. The man was identified as Austin Ray Charles from Nashville, Tennessee.
“They said they wouldn’t take no customer from Tennessee,” said Austin, scratching his greasy beard.
“Why do you need a catfish?” asked Blair, looking the man in the eye.
“I need to chunk it on the ice tonight,” replied Austin. “I didn’t spend my money on Stanley Cup tickets for nothing.”
“Oh. . . Predators fan, I see,” went Blair, remembering the strange tradition of Nashville’s hockey fans. “Let me see if we can set you up with anything. I’ll be right back.”
Blair turned around, walking away from her desk, and into the office door behind it. The room inside was more like a supply closet than anything else, with its endless shelves filled to the top with boxes containing all sorts of things inside. Blair took a right down the cramped hall. Crouched down on the floor sorting through pieces of paper was her boss, Kenny Eastwood.
“Hey, boss,” said Blair, “we’ve got a client.”
The man looked up from the floor, scratching his head of shiny, jet-black hair. “Can’t handle them by yourself, huh?”
“What’s the case?”
“Man can’t buy a catfish because he’s from Nashville.”
Kenny stood up, dusting off his blue pinstripe pants. “Lead me to him.”
Blair walked back out of the office, Kenny trailing behind her. The man, Austin, was still waiting in front of the counter.
“Hello, sir,” said Kenny, holding out his hand, “my name is Kenny Eastwood, founder and CEO of the Eastwood Company. What would your name be?”
“My name’s Austin,” said the man, giving Kenny a handshake.
“It’s good to meet you, Austin. Blair told me about your situation, and the good news is that it is rather easy for us to get a catfish into your hands. What are your desires for your catfish?”
“Don’t matter,” said Austin, “I just wanna throw it on the ice.”
Kenny nodded, crossing his arms behind his back. “Well, we can certainly arrange things to get you and your catfish into the game tonight. Please give me a few minutes to elaborate on your case.” He turned around. “Blair, come this way.”
Blair followed Kenny back into the office room. “So, what are we doing?” she asked.
“Well, I see no reason to not have you just buy the catfish, and just give it to the guy.”
“So, that’s it? Just buy a catfish?”
“Well, we’ll have to make sure he gets it in okay, but that’s the easy part.”
Blair nodded. “So, what do you need me to do first?”
“Hmm,” Kenny said, rummaging through the boxes arranged on the shelf in front of him, until finally pulling one of the units out. “Let’s start with what’s in here.”