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BEAT, PRAY, LOVE

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IN WHICH WE REALIZE THE TRUE CIVIL CONFLICT IS IN OUR HEARTS

[SCENE: East Hartford, Connecticut]

[The clock ticks down in the waning seconds of UCF's come-from-behind 24-16 victory against American Athletic Conference rival Connecticut]

[the whistle blows, and UCF head coach Scott Frost heads out to shake the hand of Connecticut's Bob Diaco]

THE CIVIL CONFLICT TROPHY: Oh, my! What an exciting, hard-fought game this was between two motivated teams. They played hard from start to finish, and they did it all for me! It's so wonderful to be loved. And how exciting for me - after spending my first year of existence at UConn, I'll get to travel somewhere new - the University of Central Florida! I've been reading all about it, it really sounds neat. Their campus is laid out in concentric circles, much like EPCOT! They've got deep connections to the aerospace industry. They have a College of Lasers! Gosh, this is really going to be fun for me. Who knows? Maybe I'll even get to go to Disney World. After a big win like this, you'd have to figure the victors are going to want to show me off all around my new hometown.

[players and coaches begin trickling off the field, toward the locker rooms]

THE CIVIL CONFLICT TROPHY: What a time to be me.

[the crowd on the field thins further]

THE CIVIL CONFLICT TROPHY: Brrr. Getting chilly. Gonna be great to spend the winter in Florida.

[a crow caws]

THE CIVIL CONFLICT TROPHY: ...

THE CIVIL CONFLICT TROPHY, now alone in the waning October light: ... hello?

[the stadium lights shut off]

THE CIVIL CONFLICT TROPHY: [begins softly humming the Smiths' "I Know It's Over"]

[later, back at the apartment it shares with the Frank Leahy Memorial Bowl]

[The Civil Conflict Trophy is packing a suitcase]

THE FRANK LEAHY MEMORIAL BOWL: Civ, you don't need to do this. We've all had our hearts broken before, but you have to pick up the pieces and carry on with your life.

THE CIVIL CONFLICT TROPHY: That's easy for you to say, Frank. You're a beloved tradition. People care about you. People know who you are. We wouldn't even need to shoehorn in awkward exposition to remind readers that you're awarded to the winner of the annual game between Boston College and Notre Dame.

THE FRANK LEAHY MEMORIAL BOWL: Wait what readers

THE CIVIL CONFLICT TROPHY: People care about Boston College and Notre Dame. Even when one of the teams is in a prolonged downturn -

THE FRANK LEAHY MEMORIAL BOWL: Like Notre Dame?

THE CIVIL CONFLICT TROPHY: - yes, like Notre Dame, who is currently 2-5 - people want to win you!

THE FRANK LEAHY MEMORIAL BOWL: Look, you can't run away from your problems.

THE CIVIL CONFLICT TROPHY: I'm not running away. I'm living the life I was always supposed to live. I'm not going to live by their rules any more.

[we go through a montage of the trophy traveling by taxi, by plane, by train, and finally on horseback, set to like, an Ed Sheeran song]

[the trophy arrives in a small Italian country town, where a crowd has gathered to watch two men eating pasta furiously]

THE CIVIL CONFLICT TROPHY, fumbling with translation app: Che cosa sta... succedendo qui?

VILLAGER: Oh, uh, it's an eating competition. The men are competing to see who can eat the most pasta.

THE CIVIL CONFLICT TROPHY: Wow, this is terrific! Hey, I bet you need a trophy for the winner.

VILLAGER: No, we just make him the mayor.

THE CIVIL CONFLICT TROPHY: [sadly] Aw.

VILLAGER: Ehi ragazzi, guardate questo triste trofeo parlano!

[we skip ahead, where the trophy is in a temple somewhere in India, sitting next to religious idols]

THE CIVIL CONFLICT TROPHY: Nope, no, this doesn't feel right at all, we're going to abandon this scene before we go any further

[we skip ahead again, and the trophy is sitting alone, watching local amateurs play a soccer match in a small town somewhere in South America]

THE CIVIL CONFLICT TROPHY: Maybe I'll never find my truth. Maybe I'll never find love. Maybe I'm destined to roam the earth forever, without anyone wanting to hoist me above their head in the throes of moderate victory.

[VOICE FROM BEHIND THEM]: Excuse me, is this seat taken?

[the Civil Conflict Trophy turns]

THE KEG OF NAILS: You look like you could use a friend.

THE KEG OF NAILS: [winks]

[romantic music swells as a bright smile crosses the face of the Civil Conflict Trophy]

[credits roll]

Postscript: The lovestruck trophies were seized by federal drug enforcement agents as they attempted to clear customs in the Miami International Airport. The Keg of Nails was found to be full of cocaine, part of a larger criminal syndicate masterminded by the Cincinnati Bearcat]

Post-postscript: The Bearcat later died in a prison yard dispute.