American Royal – A Short Story

They had sent a specific email out to all of the competitors the day before about the shower facilities.   They were available.   A mobile unit.  On the third day onsite, and no opportunity to leave, Luke had little choice.  With all meats prepped, and only the cookers to light, he headed off on his trusty bike, OVS3, and headed to the area where the showers were.

A security guard stood post at the exit.  A squat man with glasses, clad in an official looking jacket with the Chiefs logo and the number 6342.  He looked bored.

“Hey man…can I leave my bike up here?  I’m headed to the showers” queried Luke.

“Do you have a wristband?”

“No.  Not on me.”

“Well,” the man replied, “I’m not supposed to let you go, or watch your bike.  You should have a wrist band.  But I’m not going anywhere any time soon.   So feel free.  I’ll watch your bike.”

“Thanks dude.”  Luke grabbed his towel and headed off to the showers.

Mobile showers, indeed.  A white building the size of a double wide was parked in the players lot at Arrowhead.   It was dark.  There were no other people around. 

After briefly considering to check the woman’s side to see if it was empty, Luke entered the men’s side.  It was brightly lit with four shower stalls.  Luke opened the door to the stall furthest from him and found the equivalent of a crime scene.  Fouled rags, used soap, a little blood and other things.  He slammed the door shut and jumped back.  His fear of public rest rooms was legendary.

A voice rang out from the stall across the aisle. “Don’t do it man.  It’s not worth it.”

“But I’m so dirty,” exclaimed Luke.  “I’m just going to rinse off.”

“Don’t do it.   There’s no hot water.  And it’s so gross.”


Because of bathroom protocols, the stall next to the fearful stranger was not an option.  Luke reached for the final door, and found a similar environment to the first shower, but in slightly better condition.  He made sure to keep his shoes on and rinsed off quickly.

With some careful towel work, his feet never left his shoes or touched the tainted surface.  He quickly dressed, and left the shower facility.  The voice behind the door said quietly, “I told you.”

Luke abandoned his towel and washcloth outside the shower.   They were as sullied as he was at this point.  He hurried up the stairs, feet still wet inside wet crocs, to find 4 girls and a gentleman arguing with the security guard.

Luke nodded his way past, and got on his bike.  The man with the girls was pleading his case.   He had no wristband, but the girls did.  

“I have an extra back in the trailer.   I will bring it to you,” Luke exclaimed.   The security guard nodded. He didn’t need this sustained interaction.

Luke pedaled back to his site where he found Sean waiting on him.   Luke jumped into the trailer, grabbed an extra wristband, and came back out.  

“Cmon Sean.   Let’s go for a bike ride.”

Sean hopped on his beach cruiser and the two pedaled back to the gate.  The girls and the man were gone. Only the security guard remained.

“What happened?   Where’d they go?”

“They left.   But that was nice of you to go back.”

Luke shrugged and turned to leave, but Sean was interested.

“That’s a nice jacket.  How do I get one?”

The guard replied, “they give them to us when we start our shift.   I dunno.”

“I really like it.  It has the Chiefs logo on it.”

The guard answered, “I have to turn it in every day.”

“6345….is that you?”

“We get a different number every day.”

“So they’d never know it was you, then.” Sean rsponded.

“Maybe tomorrow,” the guard said.  And then went back to his perch by the gate.

The two pedaled off back to site.  They stopped about halfway back to have a laugh.

“That was fun.  But I really need to get back, Sean.  I gotta wash my feet.  I have shower AIDS.”

“We don’t have anything to drink, ” Sean said.  “Where’s that nice blonde woman that always comes by the site?”

“Dreama.  Well, it’s right there.”

Luke and Sean were right next to Rocks Money Pit’s site.  Dreama is Rock’s wife.  

“Let’s go.”

It was around 10 pm, and Rock cooks on a stick burner.   So he was probably asleep.  Luke rapped lightly on the door.”

Dreama answered, “hey guys!  Rocky is asleep.   What’s goin on?”

“Got any liquor?”

“Well yes!”   She reached back in a cupboard and pulled out a full bottle of Fireball and handed it to them.

They thanked her profusely, mounted up with the bottle of Fireball safely in Sean’s basket on his bike and headed back to camp.

Luke still needed to wash his feet.

So they sat there in the middle of the aisle.  Luke washed his feet In a bucket to get rid of the shower AIDS, while drinking Fireball with his buddy Sean and watching fireworks.  An amazing Saturday night at the Royal.