The Alphabetical is up. Your bonus letter is Omega, as in "The Touchdown Run At The End Of The World."
Yeah, you're there #21. I see you. Leaning like a sunflower in the wind, everything blowing gently to the west. I'm going east. That's the way the wind blows. I can't help it if it changes directions. The number on my back is all I am the minute before the snap. Everything after that is me, and no one can control that. I can't even control me once this happens. My legs pump, my ass sends me in directions I can't even predict, my eyes swing open to find green grass. On the good days i don't even see you, and on the really good days I see you not for what you are, but for what I am about to make you into.
What I'm about to do now? I'm about to let the wind blow your ass to the ground without touching you.
I'll be honest. I didn't even know you two were in the play. You might not have known, either, but that's fine. You are within a step but miles away at the same time. I'm running to oxygen, underwater but heading towards the flickering light of a sun above the surface. You might as well be in the stands watching at a distance. That's how far you actually are from me right now.
There might be a thought at this point, but I'd be lying if I said it was a word. This is something pre-verbal, something hard-wired. Roger Bannister would say of running:
"Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're a lion or a gazelle--when the sun comes up, you'd better be running."
I'm not the gazelle here. Never been. Never will be. And if I am the gazelle, I'm tramping through a field of screaming house cats. Nothing's so much as scratching me here. I'm breaking right, something my legs do before I can so much as think "right." Every muscle on the defense twitches toward me: I'm the conductor, and they are a full measure behind the sheet music I'm reading.
Oh, hi. 21. This is all going very badly for you. I mean, you followed me all the way from the first missed tackle, the tackle you missed way back there in the backfield. That is such effort, such herculean effort, to come all the way back on this play. If this were a street fight, and we're at the end, and you're lying bleeding on the pavement, I would insist on a burial for you while I let the dogs take the others. You would deserve that for spirit, and because of what I'm about to do to you.
I would say I'm sorry, but I can't. You knew what I was when you got on the field with me. It's design. Everything else after that is math, and this works out to six plus one to come. It's simple addition, and it happens all the time.