Chapter 2: Copping Only a Minimal Feel
Our hero, our fearless heroic hero, nearly instantly regrets his agreement to show Jennifer, the “mouthy filmmaker” around the practice facility (19). Mouthy is such a gendered adjective; I disapprove. Apparently, in trying to stall for time he has remained in the shower “willing away his reaction” so long that he has worn the bar of soap “down to nothing.” I don’t know about you, but my bars of soap last a lot longer than one shower. Even if Axel weren’t starting with a fresh bar of soap, he’d have had to have been in the shower for a really long time. (Out of curiosity, I did a Google search and while respondents disagree, I saw most people’s bars of soap lasted a minimum of 2 weeks’ worth of showers, with the average seeming to be closer to 3 weeks. Apparently, the average American’s shower lasts 8.2 minutes. Assume 1 shower per day for 2 or 3 weeks (14-21 showers) and that would be 114.8 minutes (almost 2 hours) or 172.2minutes (almost 3 hours) To be fair, one generally doesn’t use the soap the entire time one’s in the shower, so it might be less than that to wear away a bar. But we could still assume more than an hour. Damn, Axel is wasting a lot of water.
Furthermore, while the above quote doesn’t explicitly say his “reaction” is an erection (which is odd, given that this is a Blaze and just as in Body Check we’ll learn much about our hero’s penis’s general reactions to the world later), that’s what it reads like. If my (admittedly hasty) calculations are right, then he’s probably fine. But if he’s using soap that lasts even longer, it’s not inconceivable that he’d go past the 4 hour mark, in which case, according to commercials, he’d want to see a doctor for that erection.
At any rate, presumably shriveled like a raisin, Axel finally leaves the shower and gets dressed. As he finishes, Kyle Murphy walks in. Kyle, as I mentioned before, is Axel’s friend, team superstar, and son of the family who “facilitated Axel’s move to the U.S.” (20). His appearance here, though, is basically to chat about Axel’s new task of showing Jennifer around, and to provide a place for Axel to think about how “seriously hot” she is. (Apparently she has “sexy, shoulder-length red curls. Vivid green eyes. Cute-as-hell freckles and a build so willowy he could probably wrap his arms around her a few times” (20-21). (Not that it matters, but I personally prefer the more average heroines. Also, we learn elsewhere that Jennifer is short, which to my mind doesn’t quite go with willowy.)
But lest you think Axel is only interested in Jennifer’s body, the narrative quickly corrects us. “But that stuff was window dressing for the spark inside her, a spark that flared from the moment she stepped out from behind the post to greet him” (21). That’s right, everyone. Watch out. Jennifer is fraught with spark…ness. What does that even mean?
Digression time! (Since this post has been *so* on topic thus far…) Hearing about Jennifer step out from behind the post makes me think of one of the coyotes practices I’ve been to, and I’m going to share it because why not? (This was with Flurry, who can back me up on this.) I think it must have been a weekday practice because I don’t remember very many people there. And Raffi Torres was still on the team, so this must have been two seasons ago. Raffi got off the ice and someone called to him (someone who’d been watching, but who he seemed to know). He turned to say something to that woman, but kept walking. He finished what he was saying, turned around, and walked directly into an enormous post. I managed to keep from laughing until he got through the doors leading off to the other rink/the Yotes’ dressing room, then turned to Flurry wand was all “Did I just see what I think I saw?” and she was looking at me the same way. It was awesome.
ANYWAY. Back to the Philadelphia Phantoms…. When Axel asks Kyle if the latter had met Jennifer, he learns that she is currently up in the rafters in order to discern what kind of wide-angle shots she can get. Axel flips out about this, slightly, worrying for her safety, and dashes off to save her.
Here’s where I have to admit ignorance. (I hate admitting ignorance.) I have only been in one NHL team’s practice facility (the Coyotes’ obviously.) So the description of the Phantoms’ practice “arena” seems odd to me, but I cannot actually safely say that it’s impossible. But it does really seem like the author had a regular arena in mind, not a rink.
Axle plowed through the double doors, past the tunnel leading to the ice, toward the viewing area for visitors.
“Up here!” she called, lying prone on a steel girder that was part of the open web truss system holding up the clear glass arena ceiling (21).
That all seems rather exorbitant for a practice facility. All I can say is that the Coyotes’ practice rink doesn’t have any of that- no tunnel (you don’t need a tunnel if no one is above you in the stands to throw things at you), no viewing area, and certainly no clear glass arena ceiling. That last, however, might be because, well, Phoenician desert sun is maybe something you don’t want to invite in when you’ve got to cool the place enough to keep ice from melting.
They share some witty banter, during which Axel accuses Jennifer of being an insurance liability, since she’s fifteen feet up, then she swings herself down most of the way. Axel, hero that he is, positions himself underneath to catch her if she falls, and also sneaks a look up her blouse. Then he wraps his arms around her and they do that whole ‘sliding down his body’ thing, and he eventually puts her down “copping only a minimal feel” (23).
And here we’re back to that thing where they’re both attracted to each other and we know that they’re going to end up together, so that’s all right then, thing, but I’m still not really okay with this. She didn’t even want his help getting down. (Also, what is a “minimal feel”?)
They both catch their respective breaths and he starts the tour of the facility.