The cold from outside crept under the door and choked the room. The blue hue of the Word document was the only light, eerily illuminating a face weathered from years of deadline.
The cursor’s unrelenting blink didn’t make a sound, but grew louder and louder in his head.
It was deafening. And his time was growing short.
Where to go with this column of prose? Why had all those clever ideas escaped him?
Where was the safe place — where ideas grew like kudzu — when he needed it? His mind was nothing more than a wasteland.
The words had flowed like a magic river before, but now not even a trickle of thought was in his bald head. Well, if you didn’t count the other non-important tidbits invading the space like an angry mob with the clichéd pitchforks and torches.
Was “Modern Family” coming on tonight?
I really should clean out my truck sometime in the next year.
And that side mirror really has to be addressed, too. It’s only been four years.
His fingers on the keys had made such sweet music before. Now, the tap, tap, tap of a branch on the newsroom window made him pray for those sounds.
He could even swear a tick-tock was coming from the digital clock.
The shriek of the bat-phone startled him. It was some caller wanting to know if Auburn’s game would be televised Saturday. How was the writer supposed to know what cable system the caller subscribed to?
Writer’s block, the spook of a sports editor.
Clay Central at Madison Academy: A lot has been made (yes, by us) about Clay Central and the major matchups that have appeared on the schedule. It’s not that we were overhyping things (which, yes, we in the media sometimes are guilty of), but we just really thought they were going to be good games.
But much like the University of Alabama, Clay Central turns those games into stinkers pretty quickly.
But this actually be a pretty decent matchup. Two losses, but this bunch is good … Clay Central 42, Madison Academy 35.
Oxford at Spain Park: One of the more intriguing games on the docket, mainly because of the heartbreaking loss Oxford endured. How will the Jackets react? Talent-wise, I think they’re better than the Jags. But I thought that about the Pell City game, too. They’ve got too much pride to end with two losses … Oxford 21, Spain Park 20.
Piedmont at Lincoln: Lincoln’s skid seems to have come out of nowhere. And it won’t end for at least another week. … Piedmont 47, Lincoln 28.
Saks at Jacksonville: Had a temporary lapse Friday night, asking Clint Smith who was on tap in Week 10 for his Golden Eagles. Oh, yeah, the team he coached and took to the playoffs almost every year. That’ll be a big one … Saks 24, Jacksonville 21.
Anniston at Carver-Montgomery: It seems every time I pick Anniston to win, the Bulldogs lose. And when I pick them to lose, they win. Sorry, Bulldogs, that streak will end this week. Carver quarterback Jeremy Johnson can go. … Carver 38, Anniston 14.
Wellborn at Weaver: I would really love to see these two teams go at it completely healthy — there’d be horses on both sides. Weaver, however, is not, nor has it been for weeks now, leaving Wellborn with the most thoroughbreds … Wellborn 42, Weaver 14.
Alexandria at Leeds: While I was impressed seeing the Valley Cubs in person, I don’t know that they can pull out a win over Leeds. Don’t despair, it’ll be a great learning experience for the playoff run you’re about to make … Leeds 24, Alexandria 18.
Woodland at Cleburne County: This is a dangerous pick, because I know what I’ve seen — both teams in person — but I have no idea the level of emotion the Tigers will play with after missing out on the playoffs. … Woodland 21, Cleburne County 20.
Shades Mountain Christian at Jacksonville Christian: There’s been a few wins to slip through the Thunder’s hands this season. Last week didn’t. This week won’t either. A winning streak is always a good way to end the season … JCA 35, SMC 10.
Ohatchee at Gaylesville: Speaking of a winning streak, write it down for the Tribe, too. … Ohatchee 24, Gaylesville 10.
Munford at Talladega: The Lions have had a horrible, horrible history with being able to beat Talladega. Even in some of Talladega’s lowest years, the Tigers always seem to manage a win over Munford, no matter how good the Lions are. Here’s to getting over that hump. … Munford 14, Talladega 13.
Pleasant Valley at Gaston: I had no idea Gaston was as bad as it is — winless, to be specific. Go Raiders. … Pleasant Valley 32, Gaston 17.
White Plains at Collinsville: Collinsville has but one hiccup on its schedule, a loss to Cedar Bluff. I know they’re only a 1A team, and the difference in classification makes me want to go a different direction, but my gut’s telling me not to. I’ve been wrong before — as Wildcats fans know from my recent picks. … Collinsville 25, White Plains 21.
For the rest of them …
Beulah 42, Wadley 40; Spring Garden 45, TC Central 14; Ranburne 24, Ashville 14; Cedar Bluff 42, Sand Rock 35; Etowah 38, Glencoe 13; Westbrook Christian 24, Hokes Bluff 21; Handley 25, Dora 21.
Assistant Managing Editor Bran Strickland: 256-235-3590. On Twitter @Bran_Strickland.