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The Ultimate Challenge
Part Eleven: The Preparation

It is a nice, sunny day.  Not a single cloud in the sky.  It would have been a perfect day to be practicing soccer, or even hit the beach, but Saleem is all wrapped up in bandages at the hospital.  He can't handle being there for another minute.  However, he still feels disoriented from the bone-crushing blow he receieved from Schneider's goon.  He doesn't even remember how he got into the hospital in the first place.

Saleem: "You don't understand! I have to get the heck out of this dump!"

Doctor: "I am afraid that I cannot do that at this time. Your condition is too critical for you to go out."

Saleem: "Listen, it is only a scratch..."

Doctor: "Not from where I see it.  Your bones are visible from the back of your head."

Saleem <disgusted>: "Oh, GROSS! You had to tell me that?!"

Doctor: "At any rate, if you quit being so stubborn about getting out, you might start getting better faster instead..."

Saleem <surrendered>: "Whatever you see fit, doctor..."

Doctor: "Good boy. See you in two hours!"

Saleem: "Right..."

Once the doctor got out of the room, devious, yet very stupid ideas started to stir within Saleem's dizzy mind.

Saleem <to himself>: "HAH! If you think that I'll stay in this Actifed-smelling junk yard, you are highly mistaken!"

Saleem manages to get out of his bed and started walking slowly toward the window.  He opened it with a bit of effort, and stuck his right leg out of the window.  After a couple of seconds, he's out.  However, he started to feel strong, cool wind sweeping him from below.  Without thinking twice, Saleem looked down, only to see that he just jumped out of the 40th floor!!  Saleem let out a mind-blowing scream and managed to grab the window sill, although his fingers started to slip.


Meanwhile in Tokyo, people are finding it hard to walk the streets without being hit on the head by a soccer ball gone astray.  Things are heating up while Kojiro and Tsubasa try out new shots at the soccer practice camp.

Hyuga <exausted>: "I have no idea what I'm doing wrong here!  This shot had to work!"

Morisaki <relieved>: "Good thing it didn't!"

Hyuga: "Now what did you exactly mean by that, Morisaki?!"

Tsubasa <intervening>: "Let's not waste time you guys!  We have a lot of practicing to do!  Hyuga kun, if you and I don't figure out a way to get our shots to soar right towards the goal instead of flying to the streets of Tokyo, then you can kiss that victory goodbye!  So keep on shooting whilst Morisaki is still alive and well, with no broken jaw or arms!"

Morisaki <trembling>: "Why am I getting a bad feeling all of a sudden about this??"

Misaki: "Tsubasa is right.  We apparently are not doing our best here!"

Tsubasa: "I'll ask for your support when I need it, Taro. Thank you very much!"

Misaki <terribly embarrassed>: "Ok Tsubasa kun!"

Matsuyama: "Hyuga kun, I think it is something with the way you position your foot just a second before shooting the ball..."

Hyuga: "I wish Kira was here to teach me the right technique..."

Wakashimazu: "Too bad he was not careful when crossing the street..."

Takeshi: "What did you expect? He was so drunk!"

Hyuga: "The stupid fool..."

Ishizaki: "What have you decided to call your shot anyway, Hyuga kun?"

Hyuga: "I call it, The Green Hurricane Shot!"

Ishizaki: "And what about you Tsubasa? Tsubasa?? Hello?!"

But Tsubasa was too busy with his own thoughts and worries about Sanae.  A month and a half are just too much for him to handle without her around.

Jito: "He's daydreaming again..."

Katagiri: "I hate it when he does that!  It embarrasses the daylights out of me!"

Hyuga: "Wish I had his absent-mindedness.  He seems to be so happy most of the time!!"

At another place, around midnight, we see the tall, handsome, orange-hair goalkeeper at a phone booth outside The Piazza Square Restaurant in Rome, Italy.

Gino: "I know that you cannot wait any longer than this, Marie, but there isn't much that I can do!  Your brother is gone for more than a month now!  How can I can propose to you without him?"

Marie: "Oh Gino you are so old-fashion kinda guy.  That is why I love you so much.  You're sooo cute!"

Gino: "Cute??"

Marie: "Anyway, I have heard that a match of great importance will take place in Tokyo after a month from now.  I bet that Schneider will be there, and so will you and me!"

Gino: "Your brother will kick me like a soccer ball!"

Marie: "Not when I am around, honey.  He can't touch a single hair of your orange head."

Gino: "I love you..."

Marie: "I lo...*beep* (Your time has expired.  Thank you for using our prepaid service!)"

Gino <crashing the handset on the phone>: "Damn those prepaid cards!  They're such a ripoff!"

Author <intruding>: "You're telling me?? Ask my girlfriends!"


Part Twelve