Reilly and Jonesy knock gently on the door to the Shamrockettes locker room. They’re wearing their game day grey and navy suits, and bounce on their toes a little, clearly pleased. Reilly puts his hand on Jonesy’s lower back, then removes it, stutters, and pats the back of Jonesy’s head. Jonesy leans into Reilly’s shoulder and pumps his fist.
“Right. Players. ”
Nobody has anything rude to say back. The team is chatty and cheerful. Reilly and Jonesy exchange puzzled looks.
Suddenly all of the players are incapable of making eye contact. Reilly and Jonesy’s previous exuberance starts to fade. Something isn’t right with their team. This is a serious problem. Both of them screw their faces up as if they’re staring into a bright light.
The goalie jerks one thumb toward the showers.
Absolute silence falls.
In the quiet, the sounds of slapping and yelling filter in from the showers. The inevitable has finally happened: Mary-Anne and Betty-Anne are having a scrap.
“It’s okay,” Reilly says.
“Even we’ve had a go at it before. Really clears the air,” Jonesy adds.
“Lets off some steam.”
“Now we work together better than ever! Best buds.”
“Best best buds!”
The silence in the locker room gets, impossibly, silenter.
“Better break it up, huh bro?” Jonesy says.
“Coaches going in.”
They turn around the corner to the showers and come to a dead stop. Mary-Anne and Betty-Anne aren’t fighting. Or, more accurately, they aren’t just fighting. Reilly and Jonesy’s faces twist into identical expressions of horror, and then they spin 180˚ to face the opposite wall.
Mary-Anne and Betty-Anne don’t notice them, and the noise from the shower doesn’t stop.
“That’s great, Betty-Anne, keep doing that. I don’t mind that your fingernails are like rusty saw blades. Even if I get taco-tetanus, my downstairs will look better than yours.”
“Oh, Mary-Anne, I’m grateful that I have something to use as a machete right now. Your bush is like my grandfather’s back lot. He hasn’t been able to push a lawnmower in fifteen years; there’s rabid racoons in there.”
“I’m glad you came up with an excuse for how much trouble you’re having finding my clit. Do you need an instruction manual? I can make one without words, like the directions from Ikea.”
“That’s a good idea, actually. I could build myself a better Kyunnt than yours to fuck out of three sheets of particle board and a couple eye screws.”
There’s the sound of a slap and a yelp, then a loud thump. Reilly and Jonesy wince.
“I don’t feel like we should be listening to this,” Reilly says.
“Two girls is supposed to be hot, but…” Jonesy shakes his head, whites of his eyes visible all around. “Do you want to...go in and split them up?”
“No, buddy.” Reilly’s voice is very small.
“Me neither, buddy.”
The unmistakable sex noises continue.
“What body wash do you use, Betty-Anne? I’ve always wanted to smell like week-old tuna melt.”
“Oh, Mary-Anne, don’t worry, your natural musk is powerful enough on its own. I’ve heard lots of people are turned on by the sweet, sweet aroma of midsummer truck stop.”
“Good grief Betty-Anne, how do you keep a tampon in this yonic cavern? I could put my whole hand in here.”
“I stretched it out on your dad’s dick, Mary-Anne. It’s not my fault your virginal pussy’s so tight you couldn’t fit a number two pencil up it without tearing something. Now put your dusty mitts to work.”
“If I stick my fingers any deeper in you they’re going to need a professional spelunking team to retrieve the remains. I’ve got a better idea.”
“Unh, watch your teeth. Don’t make that fact that you were too poor to afford braces as a kid my pussy’s problem.”
“Your breadbasket’s wet enough for it, Juicy Jill.”
“I’m afraid that’s all shower water, because -- ah, fuck -- this really isn’t doing it for me.”
Betty-Anne doesn’t answer because, presumably, her mouth is occupied. Reilly and Jonesy flee through the locker room and out into the safety of the empty stands. They sit side by side and stare out over the ice.
Simultaneously, they take a deep breath, hold it for three seconds, then puff out their cheeks and blow it out.
Jonesy speaks first, starting slow and then tentatively getting back into their typical rhythm. “Now...I’m not homophobic. Wouldn’t dream of gay-bashing.”
“Nah it’s perfectly natural for two clams to slam.”
“I support chicks who don’t do meat sticks.”
“No men in their henhouse.”
“No balls in their halls.”
“No cock on their block.”
Reilly and Jonesy exchange an uncomfortable look. Jonesy chews his lip.
“Hockey players don’t bang hockey players, bro.”
“Like, does that make them both puck bunnies?”
“Or are they both hockey players?”
“It’s too confusing.”
“It’d be like if, you know, if we…”
“I mean, two hockey players can help a bro out of his gear after a donnybrook if he got suckered in the kidneys and can’t bend down.”
“One hockey player can admire another guy’s flow when he takes off his helmet.”
“You got the lettuce, bud, anybody would take a bite out of your salad.”
“And of course two hockey players can do a manual check on those gains.”
“You know we check those gains.”
“Bicep gains, pec gains, trap gains, ‘zoid gains.”
“Quad gains, ham gains, glute gains!”
“So many gains.”
“More gains than brains!”
“Hey, c’mon, don’t put yourself down like that, you have gains and brains.”
“Thanks man, but we’re dogshit at spelling, geology and literature.”
“You did pretty good at art history.”
“Old timey art got mad bazongas. You know I never forget a tit. And you’re like, a mathlete.”
“That’s true, man.”
“Whole package, man.”
“With a great package, obviously.”
Reilly and Jonesy stop, consider what they just said, and giggle nervously. Maybe they’ve crossed a line here into territory unknown. Jonesy rubs Reilly’s back, trying to be comforting, then realizes what he’s doing and puts his hands in his lap. Reilly pats him several times on the knee to let him know it’s okay. They’re okay. They’re best bros. They support each other.
“Do you think it’s safe to go back in there yet?”
“Nooooo, no. Maybe never safe again.”
“But...they might slip on the tile.”
“That would be bad.”
“Coach might come in. That would be…”
They stand up, determined, and straighten out their suit jackets. They’re resolute, prepared. Ready to take one for the team.
On three, they open the door to the women’s locker room.
“What are you two fishsticks looking at?” Betty-Anne demands, sitting fully dressed on the bench in front of her gear.
Mary-Anne crosses her arms over her chest. “Not you, Betty-Anne. You can tell because they haven’t turned to stone.”
Jonesy recovers first. “We just wanted to, uh, congratulate everyone on the W,” he says.
“Nothing else, definitely that’s it,” Reilly agrees.
“Good,” Betty-Anne says. “Because it would have been awkward if you’d caught me and Mary-Anne fucking in the shower.”