HOW THE SUPER BOWL WAS WON • by Rebecca Roland

It started in 2015 when Amy was overwhelmed with the sudden, inexplicable certainty that the L.A. Quakes would beat the San Antonio Rattlers by a score of 23 to 21 in the Super Bowl despite the experts favoring the Rattlers by a touchdown. It was two hours to kickoff, and so, spurred by a couple of beers and the goading of her friends, she placed a bet.

Roughly five and a half hours later, she collected money. A lot of money.

Amy was a little shaken by her odd premonition, but she sure as hell didn’t question it. Her year passed as it pretty much always did, albeit with a better wardrobe than usual. And when the 2016 Super Bowl came around, she laughed with her friends, recalling her fantastic luck the year before.

But a couple of hours before the game, the certainty of who would win, and by how much, came over her. Despite the three beers she’d already had, she sobered quickly.

Should she place another bet? What were the odds she’d be exactly right two years in a row? She brought it up with her friend, Stacey, who told her to do it, what the hell. Then again Stacey was working on her fourth beer and a couple of puffs of weed and would have been up for running naked down Main Street. Still, she had a point. So Amy placed a bet.

And she won. A lot. Again.

This time, she also won the media’s attention, thanks to one of her friends blabbing about her great luck. They hounded her, treating the story as a fluff piece, but making things miserable for a while just the same. They gave up pretty soon, though, and Amy went about her life, albeit with some money in savings. And a nice wardrobe.

The next year, she skipped the booze and the big party and stayed at home with her cat and her boyfriend. One reporter came by. He flustered her so much that, when the feeling swept over her, she blurted out her prediction.

She was right. Again. Although this time she hadn’t placed a bet, so she didn’t get the satisfaction of counting out her winnings.

Now she was pestered by reporters and so-called psychics and people who wondered if she could predict the NCAA basketball championship or the NBA championship or the winner of the Kentucky Derby, to which she said, “No, no, and no.” She had to change her number, then she had to move, then she had to get a couple of restraining orders.

The following year, she was invited to the Super Bowl by the owner of the Cowpokes. When she told him that his team would lose by twelve points, he kicked her out of his box. Moments later, he forfeited the game, claiming it wasn’t worth playing if his team wasn’t going to win.

That was when the death threats started to come in.

In subsequent years, the teams would gather. Amy would tell them who would win if they played. The Commissioner would hand out the trophy, some music star would perform, and everybody would go home.

Then one year, the sensation didn’t come. Amy stood in front of a bunch of reporters, the teams’ owners, the coaches and players, and she felt nothing except for dread gathering in the pit of her stomach. When the Commissioner asked who the winner would be, she stammered, “I don’t know.”

This elicited gasps from the crowd, a frown from the Commissioner, and one player exclaiming, “You mean we might actually have to play?”

Amy realized what had happened. They’d all come to rely on her so much that none of them had any desire to play the championship game, and so the power behind her precognition was gone.

“I think you do,” she said.

The same player grumbled about missing his flight to Hawaii to start his vacation. The Commissioner quickly put together a plan to play the game the next day. The crowd broke up.

The next day, Amy waited at home, alone save for her cat, and roughly two hours before the hastily arranged game, the overwhelming knowledge of who would win, and by how much, came to her. But this time, she said nothing about it. Instead, she tucked her hair under a cap and put on some sunglasses and went to place a bet.

The rest of her year passed pretty much as usual, save for her month-long vacation in Italy. Five years later, she quietly retired, changed her name, and moved to Paris with her cat.

Rebecca Roland lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico where she writes primarily fantasy and horror. Her first novel, Shards of History, is forthcoming from World Weaver Press. Her short fiction has appeared in Uncle John’s Flush Fiction and in Stupefying Stories, and she is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. When she’s not writing, she’s usually spending time with her family, torturing patients as a physical therapist, or eating copious amounts of chocolate.

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