Chapter 29:

Round 2, Match 2: Archer (Actually Satan) vs WittyAcorn. WittyAcorn:

Community Sudden Fiction Tournament Arc

Round 2, Match 2: Archer (Actually Satan) vs WittyAcorn.

Prompt: It's not a sprint, it's a marathon

Participant: WittyAcorn (

When my secretary told me that an old friend had come to meet me, I was surprised to find Roberto on the other end of the intercom.

‘Yo, homie, I ain’t causing any trouble to you or anything, right?’

‘No— Hi… Are you… Roberto?’

‘Yeah! Riz the whiz still got it, huh?’

‘Ha ha. I guess so. Send him in, Stacy.’

A bearded man with long, flowing hair, wearing a faded brown leather jacket and a cowboy hat walked into my office. His voice hadn’t changed but his looks sure had.

‘Nice setup you got here. Big-ass office with a big-ass desk and a hot secretary. Is she single?’

‘No.’ Not for someone who dresses like you, I wanted to add.

‘Sorry for turning up out of the blue, homie.’

‘It’s alright. I’m done for the day anyways. Was just about to head out. Sit down, man. So what have you been up to?’ Roberto was a friend from high school. He was sharp enough and athletic enough but he never exceeded in anything except picking up chicks. But even those days were probably past him now. Or at least I hoped so for the sake of womankind.

‘Ah, no. I’ll pass on sitting down. I don’t wanna take too much of your time. I’ll cut to the chase. I’m sure we can catch up our later. If you feel like it, of course. What I came here for is to ask you for a favour. Or rather, the return of a favour I once did you.’

‘Oh. That favour.’ I knew what he was talking about. Roberto had helped me cheat in my university entrance test. I had prepared meticulously and I thought that I knew everything, but that day, it was like everything that I had learnt just vanished from my brain. I didn’t know what to do but Roberto was sitting behind me and he passed me a chit that contained a lot of helpful information. I got selected, but strangely, Roberto didn’t. I had asked him then if I could do anything to repay him so he’d keep it a secret and he said he’d think about it but he disappeared after that. It had been nine years since then. And now, here he was, in front of me. The Devil come to collect a soul. My degree, my job, my promotion, my position, all the years of hard work I’d put in could be undone by this man.

‘How much money do you want?’ I asked.

‘Whoa. Whoa. Hold your horses, mate. I ain’t the kind of lowlife who’d blackmail you or anything.’

‘I see.’

‘I won’t tell anyone about that time I scratched your back, so to say. Hell, I don’t have any proof to back it up. I don’t even want any money or anything like that. I just figured I could get you to scratch my back too. In a figurative sense, of course. I’ve got a strange request.’

‘What is it?’

‘From now on, I want you to call me every day and tell me how much of a loser and a piece of shit I am. Just whale on me, homie. Let me have it. No holds barred. Do it until I turn my life around and become successful like you.’


‘Will you do it?’

‘Wh… What? Why do you want me to do that?’

‘I know it’s weird as fuck. It’s better if you don’t ask questions. It’s not sexual, I promise. I’ll just go before I weird you out any more. I’ve left my number with your secretary.’

And he left. Still, I was scared that he might change his mind about keeping my secret a secret so I called him the next day.

‘Hey, Riz the Whiz! Wassup?’

‘You’re a skid mark, Roberto. You looked alright enough in high school but now you look like a piece of rodeo horseshit some whore ate on camera for crack money. What the fuck have you done in the last nine years? You were such a hotshot back then, getting all the girls. And you looked down on nerds like me. Now look at me. I got a sugar bitch in every state. And what have you got? I bet you live in a trailer and jerk off to nothing but your imagination because you can’t even afford an internet connection.’

He let out a laugh. ‘Yeah, I do live in a trailer. That was a good one, homie. Didn’t know you had it in you. Thanks for calling. Talk to you tomorrow.’

Before I knew it, these calls became routine. I called him every day and insulted him till I was exhausted. He laughed it off and thanked me and hung up. It was strange. In high school, Roberto was the king of cool. And here I was, having exceeded him in every field. I started liking it too. It was cathartic, letting out all my pent-up anger after a hard day at work.

But after a while, I started liking it too much for my own good. All day, all I’d be thinking about was what I’d say to Roberto on the phone in the evening. And my work started to suffer because of it. I was distracted. I was falling behind. My superiors started taking notice. They asked me to take a week off.

‘You gotta settle down, homie,’ Roberto said to me. ‘Fucking bitches all the time ain’t good for you.’

‘Yeah, you’re one to talk.’

‘No, I got something serious going on. Alright, gotta go.’

The next day, Roberto didn’t pick up. Nor the day after that. When he finally did, I was ready to let rip but he stopped me.

‘Listen, homie. I think this is taking a toll on you. You don’t gotta do this anymore. I’m plenty happy. I’ve got a job now and an apartment and a girlfriend. You’ve motivated me enough. I wish you good luck, man. Although, I don’t think you need it.’

And with that, he hung up. Forever. The next time I tried calling him, some lady picked up. She didn’t know Roberto. He had changed his number.

An embezzling scandal at my company and I was the scapegoat. Not like I was completely innocent. But I was also the most expendable because of my recent bad performance. I spent five years in prison. When I got out, I went to look at my old office on a whim. And whose name do I see on the gate but Roberto’


Judge's Feedback

znf: Was kinda expecting Roberto to use the tapes to incriminate our narrator but it still went and ended in a pretty interesting direction. Enjoyed the interpretation of the prompt, the slow build up, and the pacing for something so short fits the spirit of the prompt too. I think the ending could probably be worked on, it feels a bit disjointed and rushed, but that's really it.

OscarHM: This one is all over the place. There are some lines that hit but a lot of them don't. The dialogue sounds very 'fake cool', really doesn't work for me a lot of the time. A lot of info dumping, I think you tried to fit too much in. We have both the entire paragraph about the cheating thing and then the embezzlement scheme shoehorned in at the end. Could've done with being more focused.

otkrlj: Really liked this one, the twist at the end caught me off guard, and thats really hard to do. liked it overall.

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