Nicklas Bäckström, pranks
They meet under a neutral flag at a neutral setting, which is actually one of the family lounges and one of Eller’s practice jerseys taped onto one of Alex’s sticks, and held by Jakub Vrana who looks like he has no idea of what is going on or why he’s being made to stand on a chair and hold a shirt-stick-flag, but is too nervous to do anything otherwise. Alex sits down at one side of the table, and Alzy sits down at the other, the two groups taking seats down either side in a rough breakdown of Canada and America on the left, and everyone else on the right. They wait in dead silence.
When Nicky finally walks in, he ignores both of them and sits at the head of the table. He doesn’t say anything for a full two minutes, drumming his fingers and staring at every single person in the room.
“By the power vested in me as last year’s prank war winner,” he finally says. “I declare this 2017 season open, effective as soon as this meeting is officially adjourned. No rules are changed or updated from last year, only the people officially playing. The scoresheet with everyone listed who’s playing is taped up in the locker room, to be updated by a neutral party who is not taking part, this year represented by Grubi. He will also have final say and authority over all point allocations and decisions, and will hold the cash pot and award it to the one with the highest points at the end of the week. If necessary he’ll also judge the winner’s favor request for the losers if there is a formal protest or debate.”
Over in the corner, Grubi nods and waves, wearing the official Judge Hat, which is actually just something leftover from Holtby’s Halloween costume of two years ago.
“All pranks must be complete in effect by midnight of next week. Anything that happens after that is grounds for immediate disqualification, and you have to wear the Terry shirt for the rest of the season.”
No one said anything. Nicky sat in silence for another full
minute, tension growing ever thicker.
“With no further updates, we are now in live competition,” Nicky says. He stands up. “And I am currently in the lead,” he says, as a smile breaks on his face, and he bolts out of the room. Ovi, Alzy, and everyone in a chair tries to jump up after him, and—go nowhere fast, though Ovi rips most of the seat out of his sweats yanking away from the chair.
“Fucking superglue,” Oshie says, half in disgust, half in admiration. “Goddammit. He set that up before we came in. That shouldn’t count! I object!”
“Official ruling. Prank did not go into effect until after competition was live,” Grubi says. “It stands. Backy has fifty points per every chair.”
“Backy! You dead!” Ovi has already taken his pants off and is headed out the door after Nicky, a not entirely unusual sight. Everyone else is trying to extract themselves without losing more cloth or skin than necessary.
It’s going to be an interesting week.