A Birthday Wish

A Birthday Wish Devan Zimmerman


You are this year’s participant in our “Pro Football Birthday Wish” event we hold once a year. You will be meeting with Ben Jackson on February 5th to celebrate. Your itinerary and the location is attached. Please ensure you arrive at the location promptly at 10 am.

-The League

CJ groaned loudly. February 5th was in 2 days. He was bound to be selected for this event sooner than later, having been in The League for 5 years already. Did it really have to be this year, at this time, though? He was trying to celebrate for a least a month after his team’s victory a few days prior.

He flipped the letter and surveyed the itinerary. He groaned again. The location was in the middle of nowhere North Dakota. He might as well start packing a bag now. Good thing it was all paid for…

– — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — –

CJ shouldered his duffel bag and stepped off the plane onto the runway, his manager, Nick, right behind him. The sun was bright, the wind cold and he was trying not to be miserable. He wanted to be back with his team, basking in the limelight of their win. Nick chatted away about the timeline for the day while he pretended to listen, nodding every so often.

They made their way through the airport and to their car. Dropping into the back seat, he jammed his earbuds in and closed his eyes for the drive, ignoring his manager completely. He knew they had arrived to their destination when he felt an elbow jabbing into his bicep.

“CJ, time to shine.” They climbed out of the car and made their way to front of the quaint, two-story home. He was letting Nick take the reins on this one. He stood slightly behind the short man and pasted a smile on his face as the knock sounded. A moment later, the door opened and was followed by a piercing shriek. Yep, this woman knew who he was.

“Hello ma’am, we are here on behalf of The League. Your son, Ben, is the winner of the Birthday Wish event,” Nick informed the older woman.

By this time, 3 figures had gathered at the door, wondering at the commotion. The boy, he assumed was Ben, shoved his way through and stood in front of CJ, gazing up at him in awe.

CJ squatted until he was at eye level with the boy.

“Hello, Ben. Happy Birthday,” he said with a genuine smile on his face this time, reaching out his hand to give him a handshake. Kids weren’t so bad.

“What’s going on here?” a voice called from behind him.

“Mommy!” Ben screeched and ran to the caller. CJ peered over his shoulder and found himself momentarily speechless. A leggy blonde, he assumed was in her late 20s, had stopped a few paces behind the group. Bundled up against the cold in a black parka, complete with pink gloves and hat, she was hands down the most beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes on. Maybe this trip wouldn’t turn out to be so bad after all.

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