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Back to Vegas, Final (suspense, fiction)
December 15, 2011 - Burt Angeli
Bianca, with new rackets to boot, breezed through her semifinal match in straight sets. A day of practice seemed to help.
"What I tell you? Piece of cake. Back at City Park where I play ..."
Bianca and Barbie told me to cut the malarkey. Only one match left for all the marbles.
"This is going to be a tough one," Bianca said with a grimace. "I've never beaten Connie."
"Connie? She goes by just one name. She's that good."
"Connie Abhan, number one ranked junior player in the world," Barbie said. "She was good enough to play Wimbledon last year. You watched part of her quarterfinal match."
"That was her? The girl with the flaming red hair and gold tennis outfit. You're right. You might be in trouble."
My honesty didn't sit well. Barbie and Bianca gave us a look and left to get out of the sun.
"What'd I say, Oslo? That Connie chick is tough. She seems to have trouble with her serve toss but everything else is first-rate."
"Kevin, some times you talk too much. Let's find a good seat for the finals."
Oslo and I grabbed a couple in the front row. Barbie also found her way next to us.
"How's Bianca? Hope I didn't throw her game off?
"No, you're fine," Barbie said. "You didn't tell Bianca something she didn't already know."
My scouting report didn't affect Bianca. Not one bit. She took it to Connie with the match tied going into the deciding third set.
The wind kicked up late in the third set with Bianca serving and holding a 5-4 lead in games. Connie, with the wind rustling her hair in all directions, awaited Bianca's serve for match point.
Barbie and Oslo had their arms locked and fingers crossed.
"I wonder if she remembers?" I said to nobody in particular.
Bianca's serve was a beauty that Connie fought off to get over the net. Bianca charged and backhanded a shot into a gust of wind. Connie didn't have a prayer.
"She remembered! Backhand slice with the wind works at City Park and the Hanges-Reidy Tennis Center."
"Kevin, Oslo, she did it!" Barbie blared.
Barbie raced to the court where she embraced her daughter. A gracious Connie waited for the family gathering to end to offer her congratulations.
"Well, Oslo. Another job well done."
Before Oslo could respond, his cell phone chirped. He turned away to take the call.
"Kevin, thank you so much," Bianca said. "I was listening when you talked about the backhand slice."
Bianca gave me a peck on the cheek and let out a squeal. Her boyfriend, Ron, was right behind me and ready to give his own form of congratulations."
"Bianca," Barbie said with some exasperation.
"Barbie, better give the kids some space. She's earned it."
"Guess you're right, Kevin."
Barbie grasped both of my hands and looked me straight in the eyes.
"Maybe we can celebrate. Just you and me. I think Oslo is off to a video poker tournament. It will give me time to thank you properly."
Even if I wanted to accept, I didn't get a chance. Oslo bounced a tennis ball off my noggin.
"That was Ravenna on the phone. She and her sisters are being honored for catching an international jewel thief. Something about a guy with diamonds in a tennis racket."
"Could be Rick?" I said. "I wouldn't put it past Ravs and her crackerjack sisters to stumble into that one."
"Ravenna also said she knows you're in Vegas and will have you cleaning the pig pen for the rest of the year if you're not on the next plane home."
"Anything else? Did she want to talk to me?
"If she did, I couldn't hear any more over the noise. Something about a stout chugging contest among the sisters," Oslo said.
"Perhaps a raincheck?" Barbie said with a smile.
I gave her a hug. She walked off to join Bianca and Ron.
"When's the next flight home, Oslo?"
"We've got a couple hours."
I found a racket and ball near the main court. I picked up the ball and brought back the racket in a back-hand motion.
"Oslo, let me show you how it's done."
Check this blog in 2012 for another Vegas adventure. Kevin, Ravs, Oslo and Mac find trouble at a rodeo queen contest.
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