(To be read aloud, preferably in a style reminiscent of Charlton Heston or William Shatner; dramatic but with a hint of ham...)
The great event is over and the crowds are melting out of the stadium, flowing in streams to the parking lot, swirling in eddies of automobiles and escaping into the currents of freeways, expressways, boulevards and roads. Eventually, in tiny groups, they coagulate in their homes and for a long time they will carry with them the glow and the specialness of what they witnessed. Every once in a while someone will say: "That was quite the thing to see, wasn't it?" They will nod and smile and remember the glories.
...Back at the stadium, up in the stands, the clean-up crew has finished. They sit on the aluminum benches, they lean on the iron railings, they light cigarettes and they talk about the things that are important to them. One of them stops in the middle of a sentence, squints and with a baffled expression quietly says: "Whut the Hell?" He points down to the field..
...And there, running on the oval racetrack-- not loping gracefully but moving forward awkwardly, pounding the ground with his heavy boots-- is a solitary figure. He does not belong there on the track, and it's more than the boots that give him away. He is not outfitted in current fashion but rather in an outdated manner that he thinks is the current fashion. His socks are pulled up to the knee. His shorts are cut too high and his legs are not the legs of someone accustomed to running. Without consideration for aerodynamics his legs and arms are brazenly left unshaven. You can hear his keys jingling in his pocket.
...The clean-up crew watches silently as the man rounds the final bend, weaving in and out of the outside lane as he does so. He breathes heavily-- frighteningly heavily-- and each breath is accentuated by a vocalization that is part moan and wheeze and gasp. He is damp with sweat and it is the greasy kind of sweat laden with the oils of too many croissants, too many pizzas; it beads and clings to him as though he is basted with exotic butters.
...The runner gulps and groans and thumps down the final stretch. Excitement grows in his breast and he thinks "Turn it on! Time for the final burst of speed!" His arms begin to swing in wider arcs, his breathing sounds increase and become falsetto shrieks, his knees rise higher and pump faster... but for all the show his speed stays about the same.
...Time passes, and finally he crosses over the faded, trampled chalk of the finish line. He staggers and he stumbles to a wobbly but standing halt. He tries to jump and throw his arms up in celebration but he almost falls. He bends over, hands on knees, eyes shut, he is praying for the pain to go away.
..."Hey," say one of the janitors. "Hey, you! You're not supposed to be down there!"
...The runner sees the people in the stands, but the rapid heartbeat pummels his eardrums from the inside and drowns out their cheers. He points at them and whoops and does a little victory dance that gives the impression one of his legs is much shorter than the other. "Whoo!" He yells. "Whoo! 200, baby! 200!"
..."What'd he say?" asks one. "Fukif I know," says another. "Hey! What are doing? I'm going to call the cops if you don't get the Hell out of here!"
..."YES!" the runner enthusiastically declares, triumphantly accepting the adulation of his fans. "200 blog posts! 200! YES!"
...One of the fans pulls out a cell phone and starts dialing.