12+ It's the grand final, and the siren is due any moment. My team kick the ball, and it tumbles towards our goals. Our supporters cheer and roar, willing the ball to be straight and true, though some, like me, hold our breaths. A goal will win the game for our team. And we will be the champions.
For a few heart-stopping seconds, while the ball tumbles and we roar or hold our breaths, our team has neither won nor lost.
And then it happens, the ball falls short. The other team gathers it, and their supporters roar. The siren sounds — our supporters are silent while theirs cheer loudly.
But later, when I dream of those final few seconds, that cursed ball tumbles straight and true through my team's goals. It is our supporters who cheer and roar the loudest, and we are the champions. And though I know it's only a dream, I'm filled with joy.
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So if I'm tossing and turning in bed, don't shake my shoulder, leave me sleeping.
There is no need to wake up.
© 2000 Robert Fairhead
I wrote this story for a local radio competition in 2000. The brief was to include the tag line, “There is no need to wake up”. As luck would have it, I have occasionally dreamed my footy team has won games that, in reality, they lost.
A middle-aged dad and dog owner, Robert is a writer and editor at Tall And True and blogs on his eponymous website, RobertFairhead.com. He also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads podcast, featuring his short stories, blog posts and other writing from Tall And True.
Robert's book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media. In 2020, he published his début collection of short stories, Both Sides of the Story, and in 2021 his first twelve short stories for the Furious Fiction writing competition, Twelve Furious Months. And in 2022, his second collection of Furious Fictions, Twelve More Furious Months.
Besides writing, Robert's favourite pastimes include reading, watching Aussie Rules football with his son and walking his dog.
He has also enjoyed a one-night stand as a stand-up comic.