TACO STAND – VLADDY VERSUS THE ARBITROTS
Welcome to the Taco Stand, a tongue-in-shell look at the Blue Jays, Baseball, and other topics I tangentially connect to the two. Today, in honour of Vlad’s fast-approaching arbitration hearing, I thought I’d provide you with a treat: An excerpt from my upcoming and totally real novel “Vladdy Versus The Arbitrots.” It is a spin on the classic tale of a young man coming into his own and facing the greatest evil mankind has ever seen. Please remember that this is just a brief glimpse at an incredibly early draft of what is already being heralded as the next “The Lord of The Rings” meets “Moneyball”. Now, without further ado, I present “Vladdy Versus The Arbitrots”.
Vladdy took one last look out over the cliff. He had just scaled to the treacherous jungle a thousand feet below. It was a long, terrifying journey, but that’s behind me now, thought Vlad, turning his back on the gaping chasm. I am finally at the Arbitretum, ready to meet my fate. Now I’ve just got to find a way in.
Ahead of him stood the Arbitretum, a foreboding black tower that seemed to stretch to the stars. Seeming even to absorb the life-giving light of the sun, the ominous obelisk radiates a sense of dread. It is a place of pure evil where corporate greed rules with a tyrannical fist, crushing the poor millionaires who dare to play a children’s game for profit!
Vlad stepped forward, seeking an entrance to this forbidden flophouse, when suddenly, a cry pierced the howling wind.
Vladdy looked over to see the kind, benevolent Mark Shapiro emerge from the shadows, warm brown eyes shining impossibly in the dimmed sunlight.
“El Presidente, do not try to stop me. I must do this.” Vlad stoically struggled to say, having lost his faithful translator, Hector, in the jungles below.
“Vlad, listen to me. There is still time to turn back.” Mark pleaded fiducially. “Ross, that rapscallion, has grown too powerful when I wasn’t watching. It’s all my fault. I thought we were safe with him secluded in the Northern Wastes of Ontario, but I was wrong! He was biding his time, gathering power from dark forces. If you go through with this, he will destroy you, Vlad!”
“I cannot go back,” Vlad cried hungrily, cradling his trusted bat. The fates of many hang on this meeting. To turn back now would mean he wins. I cannot allow that, not after all I’ve been through, not after what happened to poor Hector.”
Vlad pushed past Mark and thrust himself into the heart of the Arbitretum. After a moment, his eyes adjusted to the darkness, and he looked up. Ahead of him were three figures. On the left was the wretch warlock Ross Atkins, his deathly pale countenance looking on from under his dark hood, his lips pulled back in a rictus grin. To the right stood a dazed Robert Dean Manfred Jr, drool trailing down his chin while he struggled with a children’s ball-and-cup toy. And in the centre loomed The Arbiter!..
Well, I’m going to stop there. I don’t want to give too much away at this point. But what did Vlad go through to get to the Arbitretum? What happened to Hector? Is there a rift between Mark and Ross? Will Manfred come to his senses??? Well, the answer to the last one is no. For the rest, keep an eye out for the release of “Vladdy Versus The Arbitrots”! In stores Smarch 32nd, 2024!