Thursday, 6 July 2017

Run Henry Run

[Media prompt] How CNN found the Reddit user behind the Trump wrestling GIF. “CNN is not publishing "HanA**holeSolo's" name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behaviour on social media again. … CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.”
Run Henry Run

Henry Lane hit the intersection, legs faltering and chest bursting, with barely a look one way or the other. Some guy in a Tesla rode his horn, rasping an eighth-of-an-inch off his tyres, but it was behind him in a blink, far enough away in two that there was not even the shadow of it in his mind. On the sidewalk, battling to stabilise himself as he veered left, Henry careened into large woman. He straightened up with a violent expulsion of air, a silent curse dying on his chapped lips, before tearing off towards the campus. The urge to turn his head, to know, rather than guess at, the distance between himself and the lean man in pursuit gnawed at him like an ache. But he did not, remembering his football coach’s constant refrain: “When you’re heading for that end zone, you don’t ever look back.” So Henry kept his eyes dead ahead, found his rhythm, and prayed the son of a bitch chasing him would keep his finger off the trigger.

Henry Lane had run more yards for more touchdowns than any player at Western U since Joe Jackson in 1989. His proudest moment, and he had had many, was to kneel next to his hero’s chair after the opening game last season, feeling around his neck the old man’s arms, still hard after everything, and hear him say, “It’s time they had another hero, son.” Jackson had leaned forward to say it, fumbling with the mouthpiece of his oxygen mask. “It’s been a bigger thrill to watch you run than to see my name out front on the stadium.” He died a week later, and Henry wept at the funeral. He had never told another living soul what Jackson whispered in his ear. But sometimes when he ran, clutching the pigskin, the toes of his boots barely touching the turf, he felt Jackson with him. The two of them were invincible. And Henry could feel Joe with him as the main gate of Western U came into focus. “You hang in there, son,” growled the old warrior. “You’re going to make it.”

The campus was a squat and ugly agglomeration of buildings designed by a generation of architects raised in the shadows of brutalism. Men and women without souls, devoid of a belief in anything but themselves and a desire to remake the world in their own images. Apart from the stadium, Henry detested the entire pinched mess. But today, it would be his salvation, a maze to conceal him, and in which he could catch his breath. He had mapped his escape long before arriving, and raced into the library and up the fire escape steps to the top floor. He stood at one of the windows overlooking the quadrangle, watching the lean man who had been chasing him wheel in circles hoping to catch a glimpse of his quarry, just like they did in the movies.

If he had been at a game, the crowd would be on its feet, chanting Hen-ry, Hen-ry. But now he stood, his breathing returning to normal, his heart slowing, watching with disinterest the man far below. He moved back from the window, so he could observe without being seen. After a while the man spoke into his wrist for a long time, then left.

Henry swiped his phone.

“FNN social media enforcer just pursued me for eight blocks," he typed. "You need faster guys."

He attached a picture of his middle finger, extended. "Meme this, you fucks. #FNNBlackmail.

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