The Vagabond

A shaft of sunlight caught Vag full on the face as he spun to avoid the last tackler, and there he was, flat on his back in bed clutching the tight-packed pillow.

The cheering stadium receded into the shadows above the dresser, and then disappeared; the Band gave way to the sound of subway trains shunting around the yards.

It was great to be alive, thought Vag, reluctantly loosening his grip on the pillow. Especially, he thought as he sprung out of bed, especially on Saturday morning. What ho for football, he thought. What ho for the American Way of Life. What ho. Some day he would take his firstborn, Young Vag, to the Stadium and show him the great beating heart of America.

Vag and Young Vag cheering on the team from high on the fifty; Vag explaining the game; Vag shouting for Wintergreen; Vag taking a quick nip from his flask to celebrate a touchdown. Vag and Young Vag in the autumn sunset, following the Band out of the Stadium...

"Stadium, hell," an inner voice snorted. "Have you forgotten television? Who's going to sit out in the cold on four-dollar concrete seats when he can see the game in comfort indoors? You'd better catch up on the American Way of Life, buddy. Gridvid is the coming thing, mark my words."

The vision faded. Instead of the Stadium, grieved. Vag sitting in front of the new, giant two-foot screen. Vag drinking a glass of the sponsor's beer. Young Vag reading a comic book in the near-dark, asking Vag to turn it off, or get a better show. Vag watching Hopalong.

"Yessir," said the inner voice. "Gridvid is the coming thing. See ya at the game-two o'clock in Cronin's. Oughta be a good game, Harvard vs. Dartmouth. A real pipperoo for local gridvidders."

The fiend : cft. Vag looked at the frayed spot in the rug. So grieved was the coming thing. Who was he, Vag, to act his face against progress? Cronin's at two: so be it.

A noise disturbed his reverie. A distant, Band sort of noise. He went to the window and pushed it up. A rush of sound blew in with a couple of leaves: it was the Band, marching down Boylston St., bound for the Stadium, a crowd of urchins skirmishing about its flanks, a long line of respectful cars following in its wake. It proceeded steadily up the street, over the bridge, and out of sight to the Stadium where the flags were already flying. Vag closed the window. He was feeling better now.

A sudden thought possessed him; and he looked in his wallet, worried for a moment. But there they were, hiding behind a dollar bill. "Dartmouth vs. Harvard, "they said on their smug twin faces. "Section 34, Row 11,9 and 10. At 2 p.m. Harvard Stadium."

What ho, thought Vag, what ho for football. To hell with grieved.