Day 14: The Mascot Strikes.

I don't know what it is about Zambonis... but I couldn't possibly write a story about hockey without one.

The Zamboni driver noticed this, too. He stopped the vehicle and backed up, trying to keep a smooth surface on the ice. He pointed sternly at the penalty box, trying to get Chubby to go back in, but the mascot only put on pains of being shocked, ashamed, remorseful, and indignant in varying degrees. Finally, the old man relented and pulled Chubby up into the Zamboni. He continued along his path, as the mascot waved to the crowd.

The audience didn't really return the greeting, however.

"The egomaniacal blowhard," muttered Saab.

"It's a special position, riding on the Zamboni, isn't it?"

"Of course it is. It's reserved for 50/50 winners, or sometimes when there's a sick kid in the audience, or a singer who's in town for a tour... it's just not his place."

"No, I imagine not." She frowned. "What's so special about the Zamboni, anyway?"

Saab thought about that, and shrugged helplessly. "It's the Zamboni! What else is there to say?"

"Yeah, but... it's a modified street sweeper."

"Well, if you're looking for a symbolic answer, then it's part of the ritual. It's our way to show our appreciation for the players, by making sure that their playing field is free of defects, and will allow them to play to their full ability. It's the opening pitch, the starting ceremony that heralds the game." He smiled. "Also, it combines the awesomeness of hockey with the awesomeness of the riding lawn mower. What's not to love?"

Awya couldn't really argue any of that, so she just took another bite of her hot dog. She could still taste the dill.

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Canadian explorer. Chemist by training, biologist by nature. Long-time supporter and participant in National Novel Writing Month. Known as "Aquadeo" in most Internet circles. Also known as "that guy with the pants" to people who have seen me in certain pants.