The Lure of the Sack
First published in AustrAlien Absurdities, 2002.
“Village Football last no longer than an hour, to minimise any risk of permanent damage, but the true duration depends more on how quickly the warring forces can exterminate their respective opponent.” He spotted my look of concern and added, “Mind you, in this war, the mayhem is controlled. No man may be liberated unless he is in possession of the sack, and this rule is strictly enforced by the spectators. ‘Possession’ is defined as that period of time two seconds before the sack is caught by the player, until two seconds after the player has relinquished his hold of the sack. It’s a very important distinction: just last year, one match saw fifteen players in possession of the sack at the same time, resulting in one of the bloodiest battles in history: surprising, since each ‘team’ consists of no more than seven players. Just last week Brereton Hammock, through an unusual application of Probability Theory, Temporal Physicks, and some clever passing by his opponents, was deemed to be in possession of two sacks at the same time, warranting a rather swifter-than-usual extraction by several of the enemy.” He chuckled at the image. I knew that chuckle meant that Mr. Hammock was probably no longer with us, and he was certainly no longer an active participant in this bloody game. “The best play I ever saw was when Hugger Dan pretended to throw the sack, then pounded his opponent, claiming that he was technically in possession for at least two seconds. He got away with it too,” Horlyck mused. “Hit him for a full five minutes, and only avoided a penalty because somewhere along the line he’d crammed the sack so far down the poor bugger’s throat they had to cut his head off to continue the game!”
“You mean…he was dead?”
“After they cut his head off? I’d hope so.”