Losing the Super Bowl 2019
I had a totally different story outlined and ready for this year’s Super Bowl, but the game ended up being a very low scoring, almost boring game. My story idea wasn’t going to work, but I was intent on keeping with a Losing story every other year, so I started over and made the game itself a rather minor part of the story. Actually, that is almost the way it has become for the game. The hoopla and commercials and everything else surrounding the game has become larger than the game itself.* * * * * * * * * * * *
This didn’t start with the Super Bowl. Charlotte and I have been in each other’s faces since we were hired together six years ago. It’s just that this football season seems to have brought things to a head. We are both section heads for Pearson Consulting, and our names are almost the same– she is Charlotte and I am Charlene– but other than that we don’t seem to have anything in common.
I’m from the west coast, LA born and bred– well actually a northern suburb, but once you get out of California, all anyone knows is LA. She’s a New England snob from some high class family that probably came over on the Mayflower. We were hired almost right out of college together as part of a new, specialized consulting company, but we’ve always gotten along like oil and water. And this year’s football season has really made that worse.
She is all for the players kneeling in protest of social conditions and I have told her many times that doing protests like that during the national anthem is wrong. I agree with their concerns, it is just the wrong time. Kneel after making a touchdown or something. That would really send a message.
According to her, I think the cheerleaders should be paid almost the same as the players, and– as she has told me many times– “any bleach-blonde beach bimbo can do that job.” She knows I’m a natural blonde and I think she knows I was a cheerleader in college. More likely, it is her stupid stereotype of someone from California and she’s just saying that to get under my skin.
We couldn’t even agree on the proposed halftime program for this year. I guess she wanted all singers to refuse to sing. I’m more of a “The show must go on” type of person.
To make matter’s worse, she is originally from Boston and is a rabid Patriots fan. I’m a Ram’s fan through and through and have been since I was old enough to look at a TV screen. My parent’s stayed loyal to the Rams when they moved to Saint Louis back in ‘94 and rejoiced when the team saw the light and finally came back to LA three years ago.
Rooting for opposing teams and being from such different backgrounds, we definitely hadn’t planned to watch the Super Bowl together. Then Ms Pearson decided that our entire office should have a week-long “bonding experience” together way out west at a retreat center in Colorado. She chose the first weekend in February to begin our experience because “Nobody wants any of our consulting activity the week leading up to the Super Bowl because they are too wrapped up in the game.” She then laughed and added, “And nobody wants anything the week after because they are too hung over.”
We all laughed at her joke when she told us about the retreat, but we grumbled later when we were alone. We continued to grumble even after she assured us that it wasn’t going to cost us anything out of pocket because Pearson Enterprises was chartering a jet both ways and the retreat center was actually her ranchhouse with hundreds of acres of ranchland surrounding it. She said, “I consider it to be my personal retreat center. It’s where I go when I need to get away from people and just be me.”
A personal retreat center consisting of a private ranch on the edge of the Medicine Bow National Forest sounds almost impossible, but the Pearsons are rich with a capital R. Our company isn’t the only one she owns. Ours is, however, the only company she manages personally. When asked why her corporate office for Pearson Enterprises is located with Pearson Consulting’s business office, she always answers, “I need to be near a national and international air hub, and I prefer to work in an area free of testosterone.”
Our offices are located in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and all people who work for the consulting company are female. It’s not that Ms. Pearson discriminates against men. There are lots of men in her other companies, but this particular company specializes in consulting with and for female-run businesses. We work with many of the top female executives in the world, helping them in their daily battles to get a level playing field in what is– for now– a male dominated world. We are also the go-to company for training middle and upper management– male and female– to understand the systemic biases against women in most businesses. Men will usually listen to a female consultant, but because of past bad experiences, high-level women don’t want anything that even accidentally sounds like mansplaining. So, an all female staff is necessary for the company.
No men doesn’t mean that there are no alpha personalities. Let’s just say that, if we were men, the testosterone would be overflowing out the windows. All twenty-two women in our office are very hard-driven and dedicated. We can also all be somewhat bitches in our own right, and as section heads, Charlotte and I are the baddest bitches in the room. That makes us a rather difficult group to manage and keep focused on our task... which is making money for Pearson Enterprises.
Ms Pearson– nobody EVER calls her Joyce and no one had better EVER call her Mrs. Pearson– Ms Pearson had noticed that there was tension building in our office. “What authority do I have,” she said, sounding upset, “to tell others how to create harmony– or at least order– in their businesses when I have such strife in my own office.”
That led to two or three big meetings to talk about interpersonal tensions and relationships. But when every single one of us is a specialist in resolving such problems... and a bitch... and everyone already knows all the methods and tricks for bringing about unwilling compromise, both meetings devolved into barely restrained chaos as we growled at each other, “Don’t you dare try that shit on me.” or “No, I wouldn’t like to say more about that!”
The manure really hit the ventilator, so to speak, when the Rams and the Patriots ended up facing each other in the Super Bowl... and it was going to be played in Atlanta! With our trash talking all season, everyone knew that the Rams were my team and the Patriots were Charlotte's. Our constant bantering, and all the local hoopla for the game, helped the rest of the office coalesce behind one or the other of us. Surprisingly, some of the women in my section sided with Charlotte and some of the women in her section sided with me. The turncoats were about balanced out, though, so it still ended up a perfect 50-50 split with ten women siding with her and ten women siding with me.
Things were starting to get nastier and nastier in the office as February 3 approached. It was obvious that if that’s how we were at work, there was no way we could all be together in one place for the game. Two Super Bowl parties was the plan of the day. Charlotte was going to party with “her girls” at a local hotel. I was going to be a little more public about it and put down a deposit on a party room at a sports bar downtown. Evidently Ms. Pearson found out about our plans because that’s when she called the whole office together and said that we were all going out west with her for two weeks.
I had never heard of Clark, Colorado before. I had to run my map program almost all the way in before it showed up, let alone any of the roads around it. Her ranch is almost straight east of there right along the border with the national forest. She has a special permit to keep Bison so there is an unbelievably high and strong double fence surrounding most of the property. On the plane out, she told us that there are only a dozen or so Bison and they are actually just an excuse for the strong, high, electrified fence.
“I like my privacy,” she said with a sly smile, “and I know how to get it and keep it.” She also evidently liked to stay in touch because when we got to the ranch, there were seven large communications dishes on top of the hill pointed to various parts of the sky. Several ranchhands helped carry our suitcases into the house. I noticed that they were all women... very strong and hard-looking women, but women none-the-less.
“You will be two to a room,” Ms. Pearson said cheerily as we got off the bus she had chartered to bring us from the Denver International Airport. Not surprisingly, Charlotte and I were assigned to the same room, and the other twenty women were also assigned so that there was one from each side in each room.
“There are two queen beds in each room,” Ms Deliah added as we filed into the huge ranchhouse. Ms Delia was Ms Pearson’s personal assistant and was as strict about her name as her boss was.
“It’s Mizz Deal-E-uh,” she told me sternly my first day on the job. “There is no ‘sir name,’ I am not a sir.” Office gossip was that her name ended in “son” and so she didn’t want to use it. Others thought it must have contained the word “man.” I, personally, was betting on Manson. I don’t think Ms Deliah likes men, but then again, I’m not sure she likes women. She is a rather threatening sort of person who seems to bow to no one except Ms Pearson.
All of our eyebrows raised more than slightly when we saw that Ms Pearson and Ms Delia were sharing the master bedroom. We could see through the open door that there was only one bed, a huge, at least king-sized bed with old fashioned posts on the corners and a huge canopy over it all.
Ms Deliah stood in the hallway and said loudly, “This is Ms Pearson’s house and you will treat it with respect. All clothing will be hung up properly in the closet or be placed in the drawers that are also in the closet. The house staff will collect your luggage when you are unpacked.”
Both Charlotte and I started into our assigned room, but before we could close the door, Ms Pearson announced loudly, “Ms Delia will be leading some group exercises after supper.” She paused and looked up and down the hallway at all of us staring back at her from our open doors. “Until then,” she continued, “you have the rest of the afternoon off.”
Charlotte turned to me saying acerbically, “I think I will spend it in my room reading.”
“In that case,” I replied, trying to match her tone, “I will spend it out in the living room by the fire.”
There is a huge living room that is open to the dining area. A large, open circular fireplace helps separate the two areas slightly. From the looks of it, it might even be possible to cook steaks– or even a whole meal– over the fire. There are several big, comfy chairs near the fireplace and dozens of huge pillow-like chairs spread all over.
There was an unbelievably great wifi signal, so I curled up with my phone and began to catch up with my social media stuff. It got dark around five and a little after that, an older woman in a white apron rang a loud bell and called out, “Supper’s ready.”
We all gathered around the long table. Ms Pearson sat at one end and Ms Delia at the other. “For supper,” Ms Delia said, “I want you to sit across from your roommate.”
She didn’t specify which side of the table to sit on, so everyone waited for Charlotte and I to sit down. Then all of Charlotte’s girls sat on her side and all of mine sat with me. I glared over at Charlotte and she glared back at me. There was a lot of glaring at each other over supper. While we were eating, several of the ranchhands were busy re-arranging the fireplace area. By the time we finished supper, all but two of the chairs had been moved up against the walls and twenty-two big, round pillow-chairs were in a circle around the fire. One chair, probably for Ms Pearson, was at the very top of the circle, and other, probably Ms Delia’s, was at the very bottom. There were eleven pillow-chairs on each side in the circle between the chairs.
“We are going to tear down some walls tonight,” Ms Deliah said as the kitchen staff was removing plates and other dinnerware from the table. One of them came back and very carefully washed and dried the table.
“To do that,” she continued, “you are going to have to allow yourself to be vulnerable... completely vulnerable... vulnerable to everyone here.”
We all looked around wondering what she meant. Then she stood up and took off her jacket and placed it on the table. “Ms Pearson and I will also allow ourselves to be vulnerable for this exercise,” she said firmly.
She continued taking off clothing until she stood nude at the end of the table. “I think you now know what is expected of you,” she said flatly. “Leave your clothing at your place on the table and take a seat in the circle.” She paused and added, “You may sit wherever you please except in the chairs.”
I hurriedly undressed and scurried over so that I was sitting to the right of where Ms Pearson would be seated. Charlotte was only a few seconds behind me and claimed the cushion seat on the other side of the chair. A few minutes later, Ms Pearson– also nude– took her seat in the chair. A couple of the girls sat or stood at the table hesitating.
“This is a requirement of your employment,” Ms Delia said. “It is mandatory.” She paused and then said in a much softer voice, “I can understand your reluctance. If you are unable to participate in this exercise, an equivalent position will be found for you in a different sector of Pearson Enterprises. No negative comments of any sort will be entered into your file and you will receive positive performance recommendations for your new position.” Her voice turned harsh again as she said, “But Pearson Consulting is dysfunctional and unless we correct that, the company may need to be dissolved.”
Three of the holdouts stood thinking for a moment, then they began placing their clothing on the table One girl remained motionless.
“No matter how your slice it,” Ms Delia continued, “your job with Pearson Consulting is dependent upon this exercise being successful.”
The girl gave a big sigh and placed her clothing on the table. I was glad to see that she was sitting on Charlotte’s side of the circle.
After we were all seated in the circle, Ms Delia began, “This exercise is simple. Each of you is going to honestly and completely tell the whole room a secret that you would not want your worst enemy to find out.” She paused and said, “Ms Pearson will begin.”
“Thank you Delia,” Ms Pearson said. Then she looked at everyone in the circle. “My secret, which some of you may have guessed, is that Ms Delia and I are lovers, and have been for almost twenty years.”
Everyone was silent until Ms Delia said, “You may think that my secret would be the same as Ms Pearson’s, but it is not. My secret is that I am a border-line sadist and have to work daily to control my impulses.” She paused to smile at everyone and then added, “... but many of you have already guessed that, too.”
She then pointed at me and said, “We will start with Charlene, and then Charlotte, and then alternate back and forth down the circle.”
I took a deep breath. No one knew this, but several of the people in my first job suspected. “The job market was really tight when I first got out of college,” I began. “I fucked the HR guy to get my first job.” I turned extremely red and then sputtered out, “I was qualified and did really well at the job, but I might not have gotten it if I hadn’t lay over the guy’s desk and let him fuck me from behind.”
Several of the girls in my section were looking at me with very wide eyes. “Charlotte is next,” Ms Delia said.
“OK,” Charlotte began, “if she can admit to fucking her way into her career, I guess I can admit that I...” she paused a long time looking over at me and then at Ms Pearson and then at Ms Deliah. “... I was the captain of the cheerleading squad when I was in college.”
“After all you said to me... and about me...” I sputtered out, jumping to my feet, but Ms Deliah cut me short by saying tersely, “No judgements. No attacking. No comments at all. We are opening ourselves up and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable.”
I sat breathing heavily. That bitch was going to pay for this, I just didn’t know how or when. The rest of the office shared their dark secrets. Three of the women admitted they were lesbian. One woman said she couldn’t get enough cock and cruised the bars almost every night. One very shakily admitted to stealing from her former employer. “It wasn’t that much,” she said, “but I was in charge of the petty cash drawer and the vending machines were right behind my desk and if I was hungry, I sort of borrowed a little bit here and there and it got out of control.”
She looked over at Ms Pearson trembling in fear. “Don’t worry, dearie,” Ms Pearson said, “we knew all about it before we ever offered you the job. But remember one of our catch phrases in consulting is Keep the Honest People Honest. There are always at least two people responsible for all liquid assets at Pearson Consulting.”
“Speaking of liquid assets,” Ms Delia said cheerily, “I think now would be a good time for some drinks.”
Several of the kitchen staff came around with two beverage carts. Most of the standards were available. I had a Jack Daniels and Coke and asked them to make it a double Jack.
After we had all mellowed just a little bit, Ms Delia said “We have one final exercise before we call it a night. We are going to go down the lines once again and this time you are to say something nice to the person across from you.”
Great, I was going to have to say something nice about Charlotte. Ms Delia only gave us a few minutes to think and called on me first. I looked over at Charlotte and said as sweetly as I could, “Whenever you say you are going to do something, you do it. You are a woman of your word.”
“So are you,” she replied. “I have always respected that in you.”
The rest of the circle said things just as tripe and stupid. “I like your hair,” or “You always are so cheerful,” or “You always dress so fashionably.”
Finally after everyone had said their piece, Ms Pearson said, “The staff has taken your clothing to your rooms. You may now retire for the night. Please remain naked and vulnerable as you discuss with your roommate what you experienced here this evening. Breakfast will be at nine. Lunch will be at one. The game starts at three-thirty, mountain time, but our party basically begins at sunup. See you then.”
When we got to our rooms, the beds were turned down... and the closets were locked. “Looks like we are supposed to remain naked all night,” Charlotte said.
“Maybe you could practice your cheers naked in front of the mirror,” I replied snidely and she turned a deep shade of red.
“You used to do that, didn’t you?” I hissed at her and she turned even redder.
“I think I will go to sleep early tonight,” she said, trying to sound like she was in control. Then she turned off the light and pulled the sheet up over her nude body.
I was awakened a little after sunup by a short scream. It wasn’t really a scream, it was more of a yelp. Charlotte was standing in front of the closet staring in.
“They took our clothes,” she said angrily. Then she held up something and said, “Do they really expect us to wear these?”
“Wear something else,” I said from the bed without really looking at what she was holding.
“There is no something else!” Charlotte sputtered. “All our other clothes are gone. And there aren’t any shoes.” She looked at me and said, “And you’ve got the same outfit... more or less.”
That got my attention. I jumped out of bed to join her at the closet. It was as bare as Mother Hubbard’s cupboard except for two identical– almost– cheerleader outfits. They looked like something out of the 1960's with short pleated skirts and a sweater top. One had a white skirt with a white top. Emblazoned across that top was the face and flag of the New England Patriots. The other had a dark blue top with a gold skirt. The giant horned LA Ram was on the sweater.
“Well,” I said glumly, “at least you can tell who’s is who’s.
“Including the tights,” Charlotte said, holding up two thick pairs of panties.
Mine was gold and someone had recreated the LA Ram facing forward so that its horns would be on my hips. The eyes of the ram faced forward just at my pubic bone. It looked like its mouth would be right over the slit between my legs. I would know for sure when I put them on.
Charlotte slipped her’s on. Her’s were white with the patriot’s hat right along the top edge. His eyes were staring straight out from the top of her slight camel toe. His long chin disappeared between her legs.
“Let’s go get breakfast,” I muttered after I had put on the skirt and sweater. I contemplated just going out naked, but Ms Delia had obviously intended that we wear these, and as she said, our jobs... and perhaps the company itself... depended on it, so I padded down the hallway to the living room.
Both Charlotte and I were surprised to find that all of our girls were dressed almost identically to us. Their dresses were a tad longer, but the design was the same.
I walked up to the table and looked down at the girl sitting next to me. “I assume there is a ram charging between your legs,” I said as I sat down.
The other side of the table began laughing as the girl turned a bright shade of red.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” I said with a laugh, and then turned to face the other side of the table. “And I assume,” I said loudly and firmly, “that you are sitting on a patriot’s chinny chin chin.”
Several of the girls turned red; others laughed; one stood up and lifted her skirt. “Granny panties,” she said disgustedly.
One of the girls on my side said snidely, “You could always take them off.”
“No you can,” came the reply.
“I have a better idea,” Ms Pearson said with a smile. “You are backing a favorite team... or at least following the team choice of your leader. That is very loyal of you.”
She gave a short laugh and said, “I gave you those outfits because thought I should make your loyalties visible.” She laughed again and said, “When you get back, you will find that your positions in the office have been modified so you are now are the team you have chosen.”
I could see two of the girls on the other side of the table look down.
Ms Pearson continued, “No shame in choosing a side. That’s how life works. But what I want to see... no let me rephrase that... what I demand to see is loyalty. If you have chosen a side, that is your team. Stick with it. Win with it... or lose with it, but it is your team.”
“So,” Ms Delia said loudly, “let me hear it for the Patriots.”
Charlotte’s side of the table shouted loudly.
I jumped to my feet and yelled, “Let’s hear it for the Rams!”
The rest of the table joined me in a screaming cheer of “Gooooo Raaaaammmms!”
I then sat down and glared at Charlotte. This was going to be so sweet when her precious Patriots lost.
“Back to the Patriot Panties,” Ms Pearson said, taking a sip of her coffee. “What if you put your panties where your mouth is. Let’s say two pair for a touchdown and one for a fieldgoal.”
There was a flurry of conversation on both sides of the table. Ms. Pearson laughed. “For those of you not part of the accounting area, that means it would take five touchdowns or ten fieldgoals to leave you all comando.
After more muted conversation on both sides of the table, I spoke up loudly. “I’ll take that bet on behalf of our section.”
A couple of my girls yelped out “What!” but I hissed back, “Trust me. This will work out.”
Charlotte stood up and said, “I accept that bet on behalf of my team.” Two of her girls were very wide-eyed and looked like they wanted to run, but everyone remained seated and silent.
“Very good,” Ms Pearson said. “Now all we have to do is wait for the game.”
“But before you leave the table,” Ms Delia said quickly, “you need to fill out your final score slips for the pool.”
She held up a small piece of paper. “There is a square that says Rams next to it,” she explained, “and a square that says Patriots, and a place for your name. Put your prediction of the final score on the sheet, seal it, and drop it into the glass tube on the edge of the fireplace. The only way to open that tube is to break it, which we will do at the end of the game.”
“What do we get if we win?” one of the girls asked.
“Let’s let that be a surprise,” Ms Pearson said. There was something about the way she looked at Ms Delia as she said that which bothered me, but I wasn’t sure why.
As the game approached, the ranchhands brought in two small, heavily padded risers and set them up in a V shape in front of the huge TV. Another even smaller set of risers with no padding filled in the top of the V. You could easily see the TV from the risers, but the best seats were the two recliners which the ranchhands moved to the top of the small risers at the peak of the V. Those two seats were obviously for Ms Pearson and Ms Delia.
I chose to sit in the bottom row on our side and Charlotte sat in the bottom row on her side. There was enough room for everyone to sit and lead back against the next row if no one was sitting behind you. As I looked at my girls sitting evenly spaced on the comfy cushions, I couldn’t help but think that they looked a lot like chess pieces on a board. That thought worried me for a moment, but then I let it pass.
All of the girls– including me– had been drinking pretty heavily as the day wore on. By the time the game actually began, several of them were sitting very loosely on the thick cushions. Looking over at Charlotte’s side, I could see several Patriots staring back down at me from between wide spread legs. No doubt, Charlotte could also see Ram’s eyes staring back at her.
Just before the coin toss, Ms Delia said, “Why don’t you girls lead your sections in a cheer for your team. It would show team spirit.”
I jumped to my feet and turned to my feet and yelled, “Ram them, Ram them, Butt them in the ass!” It was a really stupid cheer, and as soon as I said it, I realized I was a lot less sober than I thought I was.
My girls yelled with me and then laughed. Charlotte’s girls stood and cheered together, “Patriots, Patriots, they always win. They slaughter the goats again and again.”
That wasn’t a really great cheer either, but at least it showed that our side weren’t the only ones drinking a little too much.
We won the coin toss, which brought a few cheers, but the first quarter was basically boring. No one even got close to scoring. “This is going to be a low scoring game,” I said dejectedly at the end of the quarter.
“I don’t think so,” Charlotte said. “I’ll bet that we get at least two touchdowns more than you.”
“You’re giving me fourteen points?” I said back. What’s the bet.
“Twelve points,” she replied, “and...” She looked around. “The loser... and her whole section... has to do two laps around the house naked.” She smiled at me and said, “Outside, in the snow.”
The Pats were supposed to be the underdog for this game so I said, “I’ll take that bet.”
There were a bunch of yelps behind me, so I quickly turned and said, “Don’t worry. We’re going to win. And if they squeak by, it won’t be by two touchdowns.”
We took advantage of the time between the quarters and got more to eat and drink. It looked like the second quarter was going to be as boring as the first until the Patriots made the almost idiotic decision to try a field goal from behind the forty yard line.
“No way that’s going to make it,” I said loudly as they brought out the kicker.
“Double the panty bet?” Charlotte said. “Two and four?”
“Your’re on,” I snapped back.
Maybe I should have waited just a moment or two, because Gostkowski put the football between the upright from forty-two yards out.
“Leader goes first,” Ms Delia said from her chair at the top of the V. “Then whoever is second in command in the group.”
“OK,” I said slowly as I slid my tights to the ground and then kicked them over at Charlotte. June, who seemed to handle things when I wasn’t around said, “Thanks a lot, boss,” and kicked her panties over at the other side.
It went into the half-time still at 3 - 0. The half-time show was OK, but not spectacular. As we were refilling our plates and our drinks, Charlotte and I ended up at the buffet table at the same time. “I’m going to love watching you run around in the snow naked,” she said with a smile. “Pity it’s so warm this weekend.”
“Want to double that bet too?” she asked.
“I don’t think that the Patriots will even get two touchdowns,” I said haughtily. “I think that if they don’t, it should be your section making a couple laps in the snow.”
She laughed and said loudly, “Lets make it ten laps. If your team doesn’t get at least two touchdowns, you have to do ten laps in the snow.”
“I’ll take that bet,” I said loudly. One of my girls was across the table from me and she said, “We’d better win. I hate the cold, but I would love seeing them running naked through the snow.”
There was a lot more cheering as the third quarter started. Having something at stake evidently helped the girls get even more into the game. It looked like we might get into scoring position a couple of times, but things fizzled. Then the Rams decided to try a fieldgoal from south of the fifty yard line.
“Want to double the panty bet again?” Charlotte said with a grin.
“Damn straight!” I shot back.
The gasps from my girls had hardly finished when Zuerlein popped it fifty-three yards through the uprights making it a 3-3 game. My girls laughed and giggled as Charlotte and three of her section slid their Patriot panties to their feet and kicked them over to our side.
There were only seven minutes left on the clock and I was starting to think that it might go into overtime when the Patriots drove to the goal line and Gostkowski pushed it over the for the touchdown to make it 10-3, Patriots.
“That’s eight pairs of panties,” Charlotte yelled over at me.
I looked up at my girls. Dorothy seemed the most scared, so I said, “You can keep your’s for now.” The rest of the girls huffed and kicked their panties over to the Patriot’s side.
“What happens if they score again?” June said in a worried tone of voice.
Charlotte must have heard her because she said, “Then we get your skirts!”
Dorothy started whimpering and I snapped at her, “Put on your big girl panties!”
Charlotte yelled over, “While you still have them.”
I thought we might score with about four minutes left, but that, like everything else the Rams had tried, fizzled out.
We had the ball at two minutes, so there was still some hope, but nothing happened.
New England took over with a minute sixteen left and punched in a forty-one field goal.
“Two pairs of panties,” Charlotte yelled. Then she said, “Oh, that’s right, there’s only one pair of panties left on your side. That means we get your skirt, Charlene.”
Dorothy was practically crying now, but she shucked off her panties and threw them over to the other side. Everyone was staring at me as I opened the zipper on my skirt and let it fall to the ground.
The Rams tried to score, but their forty-eight yard field goal failed with only eight seconds on the clock. The final score was Patriots 13, Rams 3.
“We won,” Charlotte said loudly. “Time to pay off all your bets.”
“Wait a minute,” Ms Delia said as she started walking down the riser from her chair. “You gave Charlene twelve points and if my math is right, thirteen minus three is ten.”
Our side started cheering loudly.
“And you,” Delia continued, looking at me, “promised that the Rams would get at least two touchdowns.”
“You both lose,” Ms Pearson said from her chair. She paused and said, “I guess we will have to determine the winner by who was closest in the pool.”
She started walking down the riser and called out, “Darlene!”
One of the ranchhands hurried in with a large bucket. Miss Delia took the glass tube from where it had been on the fireplace and smacked it against the side of the bucket. We could hear the glass shattering as it broke open. The ranchhand then reached in to the bucket and scooped out all of the slips.
“There’s no way any of us can win,” June said. “One of them has to be closest to the final score.”
“You never know,” Ms Pearson said. “One of your girls might have played both sides of the street.”
None did. Ms. Delia carefully set aside all of the slips which called for the Rams to win. Surprisingly there were twelve of them.
“I let my heart control my head,” Ms Delia said. “I’ve always had a soft spot for the Rams.”
She then began to read out the slips. “Twenty-eight to zero,” she said and Charlotte looked down and turned slightly red. The next slip was seventeen to seven. That actually remained closest as slip after slip was read. Finally there was only one slip left.
“This is interesting,” Ms. Delia said. She held up the slip and said loudly, “Patriots 13, Rams 3.”
“Wow!” Charlotte exclaimed, turning to her girls, “one of you really nailed it.”
“I’m afraid they didn’t,” Ms. Delia said. “This is Ms Pearson’s slip.”
“It looks like I win,” Ms Pearson said as she walked down to join Ms Delia at floor level.
“That means that both of you lose,“ she said firmly. “And I believe that the bet involved something about running naked through the snow.”
Ms Deliah stood beside her and said, “You can’t really run laps around the house because of the fencing and the terraces, but I’m sure that the sleigh trails will do just as nicely.”
“Everyone to the garage,” Ms Pearson said firmly. “And you can leave your clothes here.”
Charlotte and I looked at each other but then she pulled her sweater over her head and unzipped her skirt. All I had on was my sweater, so I pulled it over my head and let it drop to the floor.
“What do you think she will do?” Charlotte asked as we followed one of the ranchhands down the hallway toward the garage.
“I have no idea,” I replied.
Actually I sort of thought that Ms Pearson was going to have us run in the woods for a short way while she followed in a Jeep or a snowmobile.
I was partially right. She was going to follow us, but it was going to be in a sleigh and we were going to be pulling it.
“Everyone get your shoes and belts on,” Ms Delia said sharply. “The ranchhands will help you.”
The outside of the shoes were weirdly shaped so that they looked almost like a deer’s hoof and the inside was shaped like a really tall high heel. The belt was about six inches wide and had D rings on both sides of it... except mine. Mine had a strange looking catch or something in the middle of my back.
“Charlene’s team will be pulling me,” Ms Delia said. “Charlotte’s team will be pulling Ms Pearson.”
The ranchhands directed the girls into the strange traces attached to the sled. There were three poles which attached by chains to the front of the sled. My girls were directed between the poles and attached to them with short chains. The center pole stuck out slightly in front of the others. The strange clasp on the back of my belt attached to the front of that pole.
“It would be best if you wore gloves to prevent frostbite,” Ms Pearson said after we were all in the traces. The ranchhands hurried around pushing strange, hoof-shaped gloves onto our hands.
“Hold them up in the proper position,”Ms Delia said. “You want to look good for the other animals as we run through the forest.”
“You forgot the sleigh bells,” Ms Pearson said.
When the ranchhands returned I could hear the tinkling of a bunch of small bells. I heard several gasps and grunts behind me, but I couldn’t turn to see what was going on. Then the ranchhand grabbed my left breast and clamped a bell to my nipple. She quickly repeated that for my right breast.
“Now all we need is the leader’s hat,” Ms Pearson said. A ranchhand came and stood in front of me with a strange-looking black leather helmet. There were several long, black feathers sticking straight up from the top of it.
“Bend slightly,” the ranchhand said and I did. She put the helmet over my head and buckled the straps under my chin. A quick look to the left showed me that Charlotte had a similar helmet, but with white leather and white feathers. It wasn’t until I saw her feathers that I realized that I and all my girls had black belts while Charlotte and her girls had white. I hadn’t even noticed that Ms Pearson’s sleigh was white, while Ms Delia’s was black.
“Open,” the ranchhand said, and I opened my mouth. She pressed a stiff piece of leather into my mouth and clipped it to the helmet on both sides. Another ranchhand handed her something and she clipped it to the end of the piece of leather. Then she clipped something to the other end of the piece.
“Those are the reins,” Ms Delia said to me. “You are the leader of your section. They will follow you as we run. But I will be at the other end of the reins. I will tell you when to turn and when to stop.” She came closer to me and smiled. “The whip will tell you when to go and when to go faster.”
She then walked back to get into her sleigh. After Ms Pearson got into her sleigh, she called out, “Forward,” and snapped a long whip. From the way Charlotte jumped, it either snapped right behind her or hit her on the ass.
Ms Delia also called out forward. I heard the sharp snap of the whip and felt a sudden sting in my left ass cheek. I didn’t make a conscious decision, but I started running. The bit in my mouth was directing me out onto a snowpacked trail that led toward the forrest. I don’t know how long we ran, but I– and all of the girls– were dead tired before we got back to the ranchhouse. We also now understood fully the true order of power and authority in our office. I was in charge of my section, but Ms Deliah and Ms Pearson held the reins... and the whip.
“There is a sauna and a large hot pool,” Ms Delia said as we pulled back into the garage. “I would advise using them before going off to bed.”
“And tomorrow,” Ms Pearson said, “we are going to use the big sleigh with two leaders and three columns of fillies. Then the leaders will learn to work together.”
“Looks like Ms Pearson has figured out a way to get us to work together,” I said to Charlotte as we walked into the sauna.
“Until next Super Bowl,” she replied. “I just have to be more careful with my bets.”
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END OF STORY
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